Pittsburgh diocese says priest accused of sexual abuse; allegation dates back to 1990s in Plum

The Rev. Robert Cedolia formerly served at Our Lady of Joy in Plum; now priest-administrator of parishes in Clairton, West Mifflin, Jefferson Hills, Pleasant Hills

Source: Pittsburgh diocese says priest accused of sexual abuse; allegation dates back to 1990s in Plum

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Pope Francis issues groundbreaking law requiring all priests, nuns to report sex abuse, cover-up

Pope Francis waves to worshipers upon his arrival for the weekly general audience on May 8, 2019 at St. Peter's square in the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking law Thursday requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-up by their superiors to church authorities, in a new effort to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks.

The new church law provides whistle-blower protections for anyone making a report and requires all dioceses around the world to have a system in place to receive the claims confidentially. And it outlines procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal or religious superior.

Source: Pope Francis issues groundbreaking law requiring all priests, nuns to report sex abuse, cover-up

Rare, 400-Year-Old Bible Stolen From US Library Found and Returned – Sputnik International

A Geneva Bible dating to 1615 that was stolen from a Pennsylvania library has been found in the Netherlands and returned to the US, authorities announced at a Thursday news conference.

The Bible, which has survived more than four centuries, was one of more than 300 items allegedly stolen from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as part of a 20-year scheme by a former archivist Gregory Priore, 62, and rare books dealer John Schulman, 54, local outlet KDKA reports, both of whom had long worked closely with the library. They have been charged with theft, conspiracy and forgery, among other counts.

Investigators traced the tome to the American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden, which had paid about $1,200 for it. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala explained that the director of the Leiden museum realized the Bible it had purchased belonged to the Carnegie Library and reached out to the institution. He’s “an honest man,” Zappala said, according to KDKA.

Source: Rare, 400-Year-Old Bible Stolen From US Library Found and Returned (PHOTOS) – Sputnik International

Greensburg re-enactment brings Jesus’ trial to courthouse steps | TribLIVE.com

Dozens of people braved wind and rain on Good Friday to attend the 25th annual “Way of the Cross” drama in downtown Greensburg.

For the 17th time, Rick Zabrosky reprised his role as Jesus in the hours before his crucifixion — driven relentlessly through the streets of Greensburg by eight Roman soldiers.

“It truly brings the Scriptures to life,” Zabrosky, of Greensburg, said. “I have been stopped after the event by several people who joined the procession and told how moving it was and how it brought tears to their eyes.”

The re-enactment started on the steps of the Westmoreland County Courthouse with Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate. Following his sentencing, he was led by the guards down a route comprising South Main Street, West Otterman Street, South Pennsylvania Avenue and West Third Street.

Source: Greensburg re-enactment brings Jesus’ trial to courthouse steps | TribLIVE.com

(USA Today) – See the Pope or buy a new iPhone? New Yorkers decide

Miguel Guevara, 24, is waiting the iPhone 6S at the 5th Ave Apple Store. Apple’s phone launches the same time Pope Francis visits New York City (Photo: Eli Blumenthal,)

NEW YORK — As crowds filled around 58th Streetand 5th Avenue, not everyone was awaiting the arrival of the Pope.

The site diagonal to Central Park is also home to Apple’s flagship 5th Ave Store. True to form, lines have been increasing over the last few weeks for its own big event:  the first in-store sales of the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

As of midday Thursday, lines for Apple’s new phones, which have been available for pre-order since Saturday, stretched a half block around the 58th Street store. One security guard monitoring the scene said he expected Apple’s line to grow over to 1,000 people by the evening. Still, that’s a small cry from last year’s line and a drop in the bucket to the hundreds of thousands expected to see the Pope Friday at the United Nations.

Apple’s iPhone launches are notorious for their large crowds. Last year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch saw lines extending over 20 blocks, with some lining up weeks to be among the first to buy the devices.

Many of those in line this year were buying the phones to resell domestically or overseas, where there is high resell value for the devices. Many were speaking languages other than English, particularly Chinese or Russian. For them the wait for iPhone came down to a business decision.

The choice between Pope and phone wasn’t so easy for Miguel Guevara, a 24-year-old Apple fan and devout Catholic from New York. Guevara was fifth in line waiting to buy a new iPhone 6S Plus in Rose Gold for himself and a Rose Gold iPhone 6S for his mother, he said Thursday. He’d been waiting since Wednesday, giving away his shift at retail store Tommy Hilfiger to get in line. He’s also a student at Pace University, but isn’t missing school thanks to the Pope’s visit.

“I’m a religious guy,” says Guevara, showing off a cross tattoo on his inner right wrist and rosary beads that he keeps in his pocket. “Its unfortunate that I’m gonna miss the Pope, but I’m sure its going to be packed anyways.”

“And I have DVR, I have my roommate DVRing it.”

The Papal visit has made waiting a bit more difficult than years past, with security prohibiting tents and folding chairs ahead of the Pope’s arrival.

“It would be nice to see the Pope,” says Jackie, 18, who was fourth in line with his friend Andres on behalf of CharityDevice.org. The site that lets people donate their old devices, which are then refurbished or resold with the money going to support clean drinking water and other charities. Both have been in line for around two weeks, and in exchange for their efforts, will each be getting a 64GB Rose Gold 6S.

Jackie notes that the Apple Store is on the Pope’s route to St. Patrick’s Cathedral so they will still see him while still holding their spot in line.

And while the iPhone line-waiters have become a tradition in New York, the spectacle still draws the curious . “A lot of people walk by here and they ask you every time, almost every five minutes,” says Andres, also 18. “Before they put all the gates up, every five minutes somebody would ask us, because they saw all the chairs, ‘what are you waiting for?'”

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal

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(yahoo news) – Pope tells Congress U.S. should reject hostility to immigrants

Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in the Chamber of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington September 24, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

By Philip Pullella and Scott Malone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pope Francis told Congress on Thursday that the United States should reject hostility to immigrants and treat them humanely, directly addressing a thorny subject that is dividing the country and stirring debate in the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the first speech by a pope to a U.S. Congress, the Argentine pontiff said the United States “must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,” when dealing with immigrants.

“Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility,” the 78-year-old Francis told the Republican-dominated legislature.

 

Aversion to illegal immigrants has featured heavily in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Front-runner Donald Trump says he would deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants if he were elected to the White House and has accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals across the border.

Speaking in English to lawmakers and other dignitaries packed into the House of Representatives, Francis said America should not be put off by the number of immigrants who are trying to make it their home.

“We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal,” he said.

The pope described himself the “the son of immigrants” from Italy who settled in Argentina last century.

Several Republican presidential candidates were in the audience, including Ben Carson who caused controversy this week by saying a Muslim should not be U.S. president.

Francis addressed Congress the day after he raised other political issues such as climate change and inequality in a speech at the White House on Wednesday, the first full day of his six-day trip to the United States.

(Additional reporting by David Lawder, Patricia Zengerle and Susan Heavey; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Grant McCool)

 

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(CNN) – Huge mosque opens in Moscow

  • Moscow has 2 million Muslims and just four mosques
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a ceremonial opening of the Moscow Cathedral Mosque
  • He spoke of Moscow being a multireligious city and railed against ISIS

Moscow (CNN)After more than decade under construction, the doors of the newly built Moscow Cathedral Mosque have finally opened in the European city with the largest Muslim population.

It’s hoped the mosque, which can accommodate more than 10,000 worshipers, will help alleviate the acute shortage of space for Muslim prayer in the Russian capital.

“Today, we have only four mosques for 2 million Muslims in Moscow. This is not enough,” Rushan Abbyasov of the Russian Council of Muftis told CNN.

“However, according to our agreement with the Moscow government, we will start considering new projects. God willing, another massive mosque will appear,” he said.

A new spire for the Moscow skyline.

But that may prove unpopular among many non-Muslim Muscovites, many of whom disapprove of the city’s growing Muslim population.

A recent opinion poll, published by the Levada Center, an independent agency, found that 51% of Muscovites, who are overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, are against further mosque construction. Only 4% said they support mosque building.

But the Kremlin, usually sensitive to popular sentiments of this kind, appears to be paying little attention to the concerns.

The ceremonial opening of the Cathedral Mosque, near the city center, was overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Foreign dignitaries also attended, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

With his speech broadcast live on state television, Putin said that the mosque was “worthy” of a multireligious Russian capital and that he hoped it would become a center of spirituality and education in Russia.

Putin, who is stepping up military backing of the Syrian government, also used the mosque opening to push his anti-ISIS message.

“We see what’s happening in the Middle East, where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State are discrediting the great world religion of Islam, planting hatred, killing people, destroying world cultural monuments in a barbaric way,” he told the hundreds of invited guests.

“Their ideology is based on a lie, on a distortion of Islam.”

For Putin, this was clearly more than just a big mosque opening its doors to a grateful Muslim public.

This was another platform from which to bolster his credentials as a staunch opponent of Islamic extremist groups, like ISIS.

And perhaps to prepare the Russian public for even greater involvement in Syria’s brutal civil war.

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(al.com) – Pope Francis in America: Live stream, schedule, appearances, Congressional address

Sign painters move their scaffolding into position to continue painting a portrait of Pope Francis on the side of a New York City office building, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. The Pope visits the U.S. beginning Sept. 22 with stops in Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (Mark Lennihan)

 

Pope Francis will be making his first U.S. visit this week, kicking off with his arrival from Cuba on Sept. 22. The Pope has appearances scheduled for Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia over the coming days.

Schedule of events

Sept. 19-22: Pope Francis arrives in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. CST.

Wednesday, Sept. 23:
8:15 a.m.: Welcome ceremony and meeting with President Obama at the White House.
10 a.m.: Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall
10:30 a.m.: Midday prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew’s Cathedral.
3:15 p.m.: Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Thursday, Sept. 24
8:20 a.m.: Address to joint session of Congress. The Pope is the first Roman Catholic leader to address Congress. You can watch live here.
10:15 a.m.: Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in D.C.
4 p.m.: Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York.
5:45 p.m.: Evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC.

Friday, Sept. 25
7:30 a.m.: Visit to the United Nations and address to the United Nations General Assembly. U.N. says the pope also will meet with Secretary-General Ban Ki during his visit.
10:30 a.m.: Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
3 p.m.: Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem
4 p.m.: Procession through Central Park
5 p.m.: Mass at Madison Square Garden

Saturday, Sept. 26
9:30 a.m.: Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia.
3:45 p.m.: Visit to Independence Mall
6:30 p.m.: Visit to the Festival of Families

Sunday, Sept. 27
8:15 a.m.: Meeting with bishops, cardinals and seminarians at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
10 a.m.: Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
3 p.m.: Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families
6 p.m.: Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation

7 p.m. Departure for Rome.

Seeing the Papal events

People will be pouring in to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia for a chance to see the Pope but those at home will have an opportunity, too.

How you can watch the Pope

Live streaming

  • Time Warner’s Papal Visit Channel will stream online atTWCNews.com/papalvisit and on the Time Warner News app (iTunes andGoogle Play). Online and app access require Time Warner IDs.
  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will live stream all events onusccb.org.

Social media

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be updating with information and photos from the Pope’s visit on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. You can see all those channels here.

First U.S. Canonization

Pope Francis will be leading the canonization service for Father Junipero Serra, the first such mass ever held in the U.S. The ceremony will be held Sept. 23 the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the nation’s largest Catholic church.

Serra, a Spanish native who was sent to California in 1769 to spread the gospel, died in 1784. He is buried at Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel. His sainthood has been protested by Native Americans due to his treatment of Indian populations in California.

Congressional address

Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress Thursday at 8:20 a.m. The address is not without controversy among Republicans, who disagree with the Pope on issues such as global warming and immigration.

Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, a Catholic, already said he plans to skip the debate.

 

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(reuters) – Republican candidate Carson says Muslims unfit to be U.S. president

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Sunday said Muslims were unfit to be president of the United States, arguing their faith was inconsistent with American principles.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The remarks by Carson, who is near the top of opinion polls for the crowded field of Republican candidates, followed a controversy that erupted when front-runner Donald Trump declined to challenge anti-Muslim comments made by a supporter on Friday.

Carson said he thought a U.S. president’s faith should be “consistent with the Constitution.”

Asked if he thought Islam met this bar, the retired neurosurgeon said: “No, I do not.”

Carson gave up some ground in a CNN/ORC poll released on Sunday, slipping to third place from second with 14 percent of support. Sixteen Republicans are seeking the party’s nomination for the U.S. presidential election in November 2016.

The CNN/ORC poll showed Trump, a real estate mogul and former reality TV star, continues to lead the contest with the support of 24 percent of registered voters, down from 32 percent in a previous poll. bit.ly/1OnmXrB

Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina surged into second place with 15 percent support, just above Carson.

Carson’s comments drew scorn from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, another presidential candidate though one who garnered under 1 percent support in the CNN/ORC poll.

“I think Dr. Carson needs to apologize,” Graham said, saying the comments were particularly offensive to U.S. soldiers who are Muslim.

But other Republicans tread more softly around the issue, highlighting its salience among some voters. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who had 4 percent support in the CNN/ORC poll, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that a president’s religion shouldn’t matter but he understood the rise of anti-Islamic sentiment because “we were attacked by people who were all Muslim.”

A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll conducted in January in Iowa, the first state to vote in the nominating contest, showed 39 percent of Republicans see Islam as inherently violent. Thirteen percent of Democrats held that view. buswk.co/1NFcUwB

Ohio Governor John Kasich, another laggard in the polls for Republican nominees, told NBC he didn’t know if a president’s religion mattered.

Speaking to NBC on Sunday, Trump was asked whether he’d accept a Muslim president, and replied: “Some people have said it already happened.”

(Additional reporting by Alistair Bell and Eric Walsh; Editing by Ros Russell and Eric Walsh)

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(The Washington Post) – The Latest: Pope Francis asks faithful to shelter refugees – 

Refugees and migrants take part in a protest demanding the authorities to let them go to Athens and continue their trip towards Northern Europe, at the port of Mytilene, on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. Earlier many of them confronted the police as they attempted to get onboard a ship bound to Athens’ port of Piraeus. (Santi Palacios/Associated Press)
By Associated Press September 6 at 6:32 AM
BERLIN — The latest news as countries across Europe cope with the arrival of thousands of migrants and refugees. All times local (CET):

___

12:30 p.m.

Pope Francis is asking faithful throughout Europe to shelter refugees fleeing “death from war and hunger.”

Francis said Sunday that the Vatican’s two parishes are taking in two families of refugees. He gave no details as he addressed tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

Francis said it’s not enough to say, “Have courage, hang in there,” to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are on the march toward what he called “life’s hope.”

He called on every Catholic parish, convent, monastery and sanctuary in Europe to shelter a family, and asked bishops throughout Europe to urge their dioceses to do the same.

___

11:30 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister says his country is not indifferent to the plight of migrants and refugees flooding Europe, but that Israel is too vulnerable to absorb them.

Benjamin Netanyahu bemoaned the “human tragedy” of the victims of Syria’s civil war and said Israel has aided them in various ways. But he added that Israel is too small a country, both geographically and demographically, to provide a haven for a large influx of migrants.

Israel runs a field hospital on its border with Syria and has taken in wounded Syrians, but has stopped short of opening the borders to its longtime enemy.

Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog says the country should take in a limited number of Syrian asylum seekers amid the current refugee crisis in Europe.

___

10:45 p.m.

Authorities in Cyprus say they have rescued 114 people believed to be refugees fleeing war-torn Syria after their fishing boat issued a distress call some 46 miles (74 kilometers) off the east Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast.

Cyprus police said Sunday that all 114 people, including Palestinians from Syria, are in good health. They include 19 women, 30 children, 5 infants and 60 men.

A merchant vessel notified Cyprus’ Search and Rescue Center late Saturday that the refugees’ 60-foot (18-meter) fishing boat was in trouble.
The refugees were transferred to the southern port of Larnaca for health and identity checks.

Police said three men, including a 28-year-old believed to be the boat’s captain, have been arrested and are being questioned.

___

10:00 a.m.

French mayors are offering to house refugees amid increasing concern for Syrians and others fleeing war and seeking haven in Europe.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement Sunday that several dozen mayors have offered to help in recent days, and convened a national meeting to organize refugee housing on Sept. 12.

France is trying to speed up the process for seeking asylum and to better welcome refugees, as the numbers coming to Europe this year have soared. Many asylum seekers in France have no place to live and sleep in make-shift camps, from Paris to Calais.

A grassroots French group arranging private housing for refugees has also seen a spike in offers in recent days, after the widely viewed photo of a drowned Syrian boy helped raise public awareness.

___

9:30 a.m.

On the Greek island of Lesbos, police have used batons to beat back a demonstration by some 300 migrants chanting “Athena, Athena” as they tried to come out of the port area. Several of the protesters were injured in the clash, with one taken away unconscious by an ambulance.

The migrants, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, say that local authorities on the Aegean island are not processing them quickly enough so they can continue their journey to western Europe. They also complain that authorities on Lesbos are not offering them any help and that they are fast running out of money.

The clashes early Sunday were the third in as many days between migrants and police. The demonstration on Sunday was led by Afghans.

___

9:15 a.m.

Thousands of migrants and refugees have arrived by train and bus in cities across Germany overnight.

Police say a special train with 570 people on board arrived in the Thuringian town of Saalfeld late Saturday. More than half of them were taken onward to Dresden, where a school for German army officers has been cleared to provide temporary shelter for 350 newcomers.
Trains also took migrants to Hamburg in the north and Dortmund in the west of the country, while buses brought more than 300 people to the capital Berlin.

Thousands more people, mainly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing war and persecution, are expected to arrive in Germany and Austria from Hungary on Sunday.

The refugees were allowed to leave Hungary Saturday after the country opened its borders with Austria.

Source: The Latest: Pope Francis asks faithful to shelter refugees – The Washington Post

(huffington post) – Muslims Around The World Share What Eid al-Fitr Means To Them

Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a holy day that comes at the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is a day of merriment and thanksgiving marked by gatherings with friends and family, preparing sweet delicacies, wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts and putting up lights.

Huffington Post editors around the world asked what Eid means to Muslims and non-Muslims alike using the hashtag #MyEid2015. Scroll below to read readers’ responses.

sanaana_23 hours ago
Ramadan seems to have passed as quickly as it came by. That sense of peace that washes over one’s self is so precious, and this blessed month is a glimpse of who we can be and what we can do. May we be blessed to see Ramadan next year and to bask in His mercy, glory and Light again, not only during this blessed month, but every day. #ramadandiaries #ramadan2015 #myeid2015

“It’s a time for reflection and starting fresh. Its a time to rejoice with family and friends. But also remembering those who dont have enough. Its a time to count our blessings while also giving charity to those who dont only fast for the month, but they must fast for the whole year not by choice but bcoz they r not as blessed as others. Fasting teaches us empathy for those.” – Umm Maria, Facebook

“It gives us the opportunity to get closer to God in various recent works of charity to the poor and by doing prayers imposed and enacted.” -Yasser EdenPark, Facebook

“A moment of happiness and joy shared with family and friends, Muslim or not.” – Yahya Mohamed Sidi, Facebook

“It means a celebration with family and friends after one month fasting, trying to be a better person in all aspects (health, spiritual, manner).” — mai_michan, Instagram

“It’s bittersweet! The end of Ramadaan is heartbreaking and anyone who follows this religion and experienced the beauty of the month will attest, but because it’s a faith based on balance I understand that there is a time for all experiences bestowed upon Muslims and I welcome the closing of one day and the opening of another in the form of Eid-dul-Fitr.” – lamz_gram, Instagram

“It is ime to tell Muslims we love and respect their peaceful religion, essential these days.” – Leo Chabot, Facebook

“Sharing and solidarity. No distinctions between rich and poor. The reason we fast for 29 days is to feel the hunger that the poor are feeling every day. We invite non-Muslim friends and offer our mutton and chicken. We distribute gifts and sweets to children”. – Couro Diop, Facebook

Eid means protection of every single Muslim from evil things. Financial stability, acceptance of genuine dua by Allah. – @AdvocateReevnat, Twitter

When I worked in the East End it meant days of special food and lots of fun & happy people! – Lena Leitrim, Facebook

— “Sharing joy.” Kakoli Tahmina, Facebook

“Celebration of victory, forgiveness with people surrounding, glorious food, happiness and a beautiful time to look and feel great.” — rc55, Instagram

A moment of sharing with my Muslim friends and neighbors! Enjoy your celebration, and thanks for your help and generosity throughout the year. I love living among you! – Claire Andco, Facebook

“It’s the day of acceptance and self realization to tolerence – putting all differences aside and hugging each other with open hearts and broad mind, a day to realization and being thankful” — Muzammil Amer, Facebook

“Eid means reflecting on how to make myself a tad bit better for the ppl around me.” @dasghar, Twitter

— arifwidodo, Instagram

“It’s tradition to hug each other and saying “Eid Mubark,” and when we return home, everyone is excited to eat special Eid food with family. Then th whole day guests, friends and family get together, and this makes this event beautiful.” – Abram Jacob, Facebook

“A feast to end the fasting month and a lovely time of love with the family.” – bobbyanwar, Instagram

“The beauty of Eid, its smiles, its beautiful faces, abundant food, abundant drinks, the gifts, the happiness. Eid is love all around, but it also reminds me that the sun has set on Ramadan, a bittersweet feeling between joy and melancholy….” – Sabrun Jameel, Facebook

“Eid means finally making it to the end of the hardest month of the year with a smile on one’s face.” – Asad Dhunna, Twitter

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(CBS News) – Pope Francis visits Paraguay slum, says mass for 1 million

Pope Francis visits Paraguay slum, says mass for 1 million

People’s feet are covered with plastic bags to guard against mud while waiting for Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 12, 2015. ANNA MATRANGA

On the last day of his pilgrimage to South America, Pope Francis visited one of the poorest neighborhoods in one of the poorest countries of his native continent.The Banado Norte shantytown lies on the outskirts of Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. Because of its location on the Paraguay River, it’s frequently overcome with floods — the name “Banado” means wetlands. Settled 50 years ago, 15,000 families live there, most of them surviving by picking through garbage and reselling it. Only 1 out of 10 residents has a regular job.Because of its location between Asuncion and the Paraguay River, the land on which the shantytown sits has recently become valuable real estate, and residents fear that unless the government steps in to protect them, they could be forced out. 46 PHOTOSPope preaches to faithful in Latin AmericaWhen Pope Francis arrived, he stopped to mingle with the residents, shake hands, and hug them. Two women told him their stories. One said: “We feel like the lepers in the gospel. We’ve been rejected until now that they’ve decided our land is very valuable.”The pope told the residents: “I could not come to Paraguay without spending time with you here on YOUR land,” emphasizing the “your.””I want to be your neighbor,” he said.Pope Francis then told the gathered residents that their faith would bring them the solidarity that would see them through.”A faith without solidarity is a sick faith, a dead faith,” the pontiff said. “Be neighbors, above all to the young and elderly. Be a support for young families and all families who are experiencing difficulties.”After Banado Norte, the pope went on to celebrate mass in Asuncion with close to a million people, some from his native Argentina just across the border from Paraguay. Entire families camped out the night before in the field where the mass was held, spreading plastic sheets on the deep mud to stay dry. Many covered their feet with plastic bags, others gave up altogether and went shoeless.People’s feet are covered with plastic bags to guard against mud while waiting for Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 12, 2015. ANNA MATRANGAThe pope’s last scheduled event before heading back to Rome is a meeting with hundreds of thousands of youth, presumably to send a last message of hope for the future of this country, and the continent.

Source: Pope Francis visits Paraguay slum, says mass for 1 million – CBS News

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