French teens aim to learn extreme poverty during Rome trip

Vatican City, Aug 21, 2013 / 04:05 am (CNA).- A group of French teenagers arrived in Rome this month without money or possessions in the hopes of learning how to let go of material things and grow closer to God.“We've come here without money,” said 17-year-old Marie Lecointe. “It’s taught us to detach ourselves from things like beds, showers...”Lecointe came to Rome on Aug. 19 alongside nine other youths aged 15 to 20. They left Paris on Aug. 3 with barely … [Read more...]

Twenty-thousand Syrian Kurds forced to take refuge in Iraq

Faysh Khabur, Iraq, Aug 21, 2013 / 02:08 am (CNA).- Following recent clashes in Syria between al-Qaeda linked opposition groups and Kurdish forces, 20,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Iraqi Kurdistan – an autonomous region of northern Iraq – in the last six days.“The factors allowing this sudden movement are not fully clear to us at this stage,” said Adrian Edwards, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman, at an Aug. 16 news briefing.Around noon on Aug. 15, a … [Read more...]

Egyptian bishop says terrorists tried to kill him in his home

Luxor, Egypt, Aug 21, 2013 / 12:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In the midst of recent violence in Egypt, the Coptic Bishop of Luxor says he was terrorized Aug. 16 by Islamists who tried to break into his house and kill him. “During a demonstration in Luxor a group of Islamists tried to break into my house and tried to set fire to the whole building,” Bishop Youhannes Zakaria Badir told Aid to the Church in Need Aug. 19. “Thank God, the army intervened to our aid.” His … [Read more...]

Despite rise of ‘nones,’ religious belief still strong in the US

Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2013 / 05:34 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- An increase in the number of religiously unaffiliated in the U.S. does not necessarily mean that the country is growing significantly more secular, said experts at a recent panel.Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, explained during a panel discussion held by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., that the data indicates the rise in self-described “nones” is simply the “already unreligious who are just … [Read more...]

Priest in Italy suspects mafia behind attack on parish

Rome, Italy, Aug 20, 2013 / 04:10 pm (CNA).- A priest in southern Italy believes that local mafia members may be behind a recent attack on his parish after he preached critically about them and called them to conversion. According to the Italian daily Avvenire, Father Stefano Giaquinto – pastor of Saint Mary of the Victory in Casagiove – was surprised on the night of Aug. 15 by a fire at the “Nazarene” parish center, a clinic for drug rehabilitation which he … [Read more...]

Canonization date of late Popes to be announced in September

Vatican City, Aug 20, 2013 / 03:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis plans to hold a consistory Sept. 30 to formally approve the sainthood of Blesseds John Paul II and John XXIII, during which the official date of the canonizations will be announced. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, made the announcement during an Aug. 20 interview with Vatican Radio, saying that only Pope Francis knows for sure the date that the canonizations will … [Read more...]

Pope blesses Hungarians on national feast day

Vatican City, Aug 20, 2013 / 11:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis sent a message to the president and citizens of Hungary today, praying for the nation as it celebrates the feast of its founder and first king, St. Stephen of Hungary.“I ask God that the Hungarian people might find within themselves, and their human and spiritual heritage, the moral resources necessary in order to build a future of peace and fraternity,” he told president János Áder in an Aug. 20 … [Read more...]