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Pope will create 14 new cardinals in June

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis announced he would make 14 new cardinals June 29, giving the red cardinal's hat to the papal almoner, the Iraq-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan, among others.

Announcing his choices May 20, the pope said that coming from 11 nations, the new cardinals "express the universality of the church, which continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all people of the earth."

Pope Francis' list included three men over the age of 80 "who have distinguished themselves for their service to the church."

When the pope made the announcement, the College of Cardinals had 213 members, 115 of whom were under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, was to celebrate his 80th birthday June 8.

Under Pope Francis, the idea that some church posts and large archdioceses always are led by a cardinal is fading, but is not altogether gone. His latest choices included the papal vicar of Rome, Cardinal-designate Angelo De Donatis, and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal-designate Luis F. Ladaria. But other traditional cardinal sees like Venice and Milan in Italy or Baltimore and Philadelphia in the United States were not included in the pope's latest picks.

With the new nominations, the number of cardinal-electors -- those under 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave -- will exceed by five the limit of 120 set by Pope Paul VI. But previous popes also set the limit aside without formally changing the limit.

After the consistory June 29, Pope Francis will have created almost half of the voting cardinals. Nineteen of those under 80 in late June will be cardinals given red hats by St. John Paul II; 47 will have been created by retired Pope Benedict XVI; and 59 will have been welcomed into the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis.

The new cardinals hail from: Iraq, Spain, Italy, Poland, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Japan, Mexico and Bolivia.

The new cardinals, listed in the order Pope Francis announced them, are:

-- Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, 69, Iraq.

-- Spanish Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria, 74, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

-- Italian Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, 64, papal vicar for the Diocese of Rome.

-- Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, 69, substitute secretary of state.

-- Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, 54, papal almoner.

-- Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan, 72.

-- Bishop Antonio dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal, 71.

-- Archbishop Pedro Barreto of Huancayo, Peru, 74.

-- Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar, 63.

-- Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of L'Aquila, Italy, 69.

-- Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda of Osaka, Japan, 69.

-- Archbishop Sergio Obeso Rivera, retired archbishop of Xalapa, Mexico, 86.

-- Bishop Toribio Ticona Porco, retired prelate of Corocoro, Bolivia, 81.

-- Spanish Claretian Father Aquilino Bocos Merino, 80.

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One-Minute Homily: “Go Set the World on Fire”

We may have a burning desire to do good, but our own concerns can extinguish the flame. In this One-Minute Homily for Pentecost, Fr. Michael Rossmann, SJ reminds us that the Holy Spirit has to take the lead. We're invited to go along for the ride.

Pope to canonize Blesseds Paul VI, Oscar Romero in Rome Oct. 14

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will declare Blesseds Oscar Romero, Paul VI and four others saints Oct. 14 at the Vatican during the meeting of the world Synod of Bishops, an institution Blessed Paul revived.

The date was announced May 19 during an "ordinary public consistory," a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process.

During the consistory, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, formally petitioned the pope "to enroll in due course among the saints" six candidates for canonization "for the glory of God and the good of the whole church."

Each of the candidates, the cardinal told the pope, gave "a convinced and coherent witness to the Lord Jesus. Their example continues to enlighten the church and the world in accordance with the perspective of mercy that your Holiness never ceases to indicate and propose."

Briefly giving a biographical sketch of the candidates, Cardinal Amato said that during El Salvador's civil war, Archbishop Romero, "outraged at seeing the violence against the weak and the killing of priests and catechists, felt the need to assume an attitude of fortitude. On March 24, 1980, he was killed while celebrating the Mass."

Reviewing the facts of Blessed Paul's life, Cardinal Amato highlighted how, as a high-level official in the Vatican Secretariat of State during World War II, the future pope "organized charitable assistance and hospitality for those persecuted by Nazism and Fascism, particularly the Jews."

Pope Francis then certified that he had solicited the opinion of the cardinals, who agreed that "these same blesseds should be proposed to the whole church as examples of Christian life and holiness."

Blessed Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated one day after calling on the government to end its violation of the human rights of El Salvador's people.

While Catholics inside and outside El Salvador recognized him as a martyr immediately, his sainthood cause was stalled for years as some church leaders debated whether he was killed for his faith or for his politics.

As Pope Francis told a group of Salvadoran pilgrims in 2015, even after his death Blessed Romero "was defamed, slandered, his memory tarnished, and his martyrdom continued, including by his brothers in the priesthood and in the episcopate."

In February 2015 Pope Francis signed the formal decree recognizing Blessed Romero's martyrdom; the Salvadoran archbishop was beatified three months later in San Salvador.

The Salvadoran bishops' conference and many Salvadorans had hoped Pope Francis would preside over the canonization in San Salvador, particularly because of the difficulty and expense of traveling to Rome. Others, however, argued that holding the ceremony at the Vatican makes it clear that Blessed Romero is a saint for the entire church, not just for the church in El Salvador.

Salvadoran Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez told TV2000, the Italian bishops' television station, that he hoped Pope Francis would make a brief trip to San Salvador in January to pray at the tomb of by-then St. Oscar Romero. The pope will be in Central America for World Youth Day in Panama.

Blessed Paul VI, who was born Giovanni Battista Montini, was pope from 1963 to 1978. He presided over the final sessions of the Second Vatican Council and its initial implementation. He also wrote "Humanae Vitae," a 1968 encyclical on married love, the 1975 apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi" on evangelization and "Populorum Progressio," a 1967 encyclical on social development and the economy.

Speaking in 2013 to a group of pilgrims from Brescia, Italy, Pope Paul's home diocese, Pope Francis said his predecessor had "experienced to the full the church's travail after the Second Vatican Council: the lights, the hopes, the tensions. He loved the church and expended himself for her, holding nothing back."

And, beatifying Pope Paul in 2014, Pope Francis noted that even in the face of "a secularized and hostile society," Pope Paul "could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom -- and at times alone -- to the helm of the barque of Peter while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord."

Pope Francis referred to him as "this great pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle," who demonstrated a "humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his church."

The other men and women to be canonized include: Father Francesco Spinelli of Italy, founder of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament; Father Vincenzo Romano, who worked with the poor of Naples, Italy, until his death in 1831; Mother Catherine Kasper, the German founder of the religious congregation, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; and Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa, the Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church.

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Update: Texas archdiocese, bishops offer healing, support after shooting

IMAGE: CNS photo/HCSO, handout via Reuters

By

HOUSTON (CNS) -- In response to the May 18 school shooting at a Houston-area high school, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said the archdiocesan community would "unite to support and offer healing to those affected."

"As a society, we must strive for a way to end such acts of senseless gun violence in our schools and communities," he added in a May 18 statement.

The cardinal said he was "deeply saddened" and that his prayer and the prayers of Catholics in the archdiocese are with the "victims and families of those killed and injured in this horrific tragedy."

In a separate statement as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal DiNardo said: "Our community and our local church joins an ever-growing list of those impacted by the evil of gun violence. I extend my heartfelt prayers, along with my brother bishops, for all of those who have died, their families and friends, those who were injured, and for our local community."

The school shooting, occurring just three months after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, took place when a male shooter opened fire at a Santa Fe High School the morning of May 18 killing 10 people, most of them students. Another 10 were reported injured.

A suspect taken into custody was identified as 17-year old Dimitrios Pagourtzis and another person of interest also was detained and questioned. Explosive devices also were found at the school and off campus. 

The shooting was the deadliest in Texas since a gunman attacked a rural church late last year, killing more than two dozen people.

"Sadly, I must yet again point out the obvious brokenness in our culture and society, such that children who went to school this morning to learn and teachers who went to inspire them will not come home," Cardinal DiNardo said in his statement at USCCB president. "We as a nation must, here and now, say definitively: no more death!"

He prayed that "the Lord of life" would be "with us in our sorrow and show us how to honor the precious gift of life and live in peace."

"We experienced an unthinkable tragedy at our high school this morning," Santa Fe Superintendent Leigh Wall said in a message posted to Facebook.

"As soon as the alarms went off, everybody just started running outside," 10th-grader Dakota Shrader told reporters, "and next thing you know everybody looks, and you hear boom, boom, boom, and I just ran as fast as I could to the nearest floor so I could hide, and I called my mom."

Another student told CBS News he ran behind some trees, heard more shots, jumped a fence and ran to a car wash. He said he saw firefighters treat a girl who had a bandage around her knee and may have been shot.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, said in a May 18 tweet: "Please keep the victims of the Houston-area school shooting in your prayers. Pray also for their family members and friends who now begin a tragic grieving process. For those killed, grant eternal rest unto them, O Lord, and bestow grace and strength to all in their community."

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All of Chile's bishops offer resignations after meeting pope on abuse

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

"We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father's hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us," Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said May 18 in a statement on behalf of the country's bishops.

The unprecedented decision was made on the final day of their meeting May 15-17 with Pope Francis.

Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago, secretary-general of the Chilean bishops' conference, said the pope had read to the 34 bishops a document in which he "expressed his conclusions and reflections" on the 2,300-page report compiled by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and his aide, Father Jordi Bertomeu, during a visit to Chile to investigate the scandal.

"The pope's text clearly showed a series of absolutely reprehensible acts that have occurred in the Chilean church in relation to those unacceptable abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse that have resulted in the lessening of the prophetic vigor that characterized her," Bishop Ramos said.

After reflecting on the pope's assessment, he added, the bishops decided to hand in their resignations "to be in greater harmony with the will of the Holy Father."

"In this way, we could make a collegial gesture in solidarity to assume responsibility -- not without pain -- for the serious acts that have occurred and so that the Holy Father can, freely, have us at his disposal," Bishop Ramos said.

Shortly after the announcement, Juan Carlos Cruz, one of three survivors who met privately with Pope Francis in April, tweeted, "All Chilean bishops have resigned. Unprecedented and good. This will change things forever."

The bishops will continue in office unless or until the pope accepts their resignations.

The document in which Pope Francis gave his evaluation of the situation of the church in Chile was leaked May 17 by Chilean news channel Tele 13. The Associated Press reported that the Vatican confirmed the document's authenticity.

The pope wrote in the document that removing some church leaders from office "must be done," but that "it is not enough; we must go further. It would be irresponsible of us not to go deep in looking for the roots and structures that allowed these concrete events to happen and carry on."

In it, the pope said that "the painful situations that have happened are indications that something is wrong with the ecclesial body."

The wound of sexual abuse, he said, "has been treated until recently with a medicine that, far from healing, seems to have worsened its depth and pain."

Reminding the bishops that "the disciple is not greater than his master," Pope Francis warned them of a "psychology of the elite" that ignores the suffering of the faithful.

He also said he was concerned by reports regarding "the attitude with which some of you bishops have reacted in the face of present and past events."

This attitude, the pope said, was guided by the belief that instead of addressing the issue of sexual abuse, bishops thought that "just the removal of people would solve the problem."

In an accompanying footnote, the pope said the bishops' behavior could be labeled as "the Caiphas syndrome," referring to the high priest who condemned Jesus saying, "Better for one man to die for the people than that the whole nation perish."

The act of covering up cases of abuse, he added, was akin to the Latin American saying, "Muerto el perro se acabo la rabia" ("Dead dogs don't bite").

The document's footnotes included several details from the investigation made by Archbishop Scicluna, who is president of a board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the board handles appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse or other serious crimes.

The pope said the report confirmed that, in some instances, the bishops deemed accusations of abuse as "implausible."

But Pope Francis said he was "perplexed and ashamed" after he received confirmation that undue pressure by church officials was placed on "those who carry out criminal proceedings" and that church officials had destroyed compromising documents.

Those actions, he said, "give evidence to an absolute lack of respect for the canonical procedure and, even more so, are reprehensible practices that must be avoided in the future."

Following the document's release, Cruz applauded the pope's evaluation of the abuse crisis and of the bishops' behavior toward survivors of sexual abuse.

"This is the pope that I met during my conversations in the Vatican," Cruz told Chilean news site, Emol, May 17. "I hope all (the bishops) resign and that the church in Chile begins to rebuild with true shepherds and not with these corrupt bishops who commit and cover up crimes, as the document states."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Meghan Markle's Catholic school celebrates royal wedding

IMAGE: REUTERS

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Royal wedding fever has caught on in many places, but it has a particular soft spot at Immaculate Heart Middle School and High School outside Los Angeles, the school Meghan Markle attended from seventh to 12th grade.

The school is located more than 5,000 miles from St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England, where Markle and Prince Harry's May 19 wedding is taking place, but the California school bridged this gap during an outdoor pre-wedding celebration May 15.

Students waved British and American flags, toasted their famous alumna with glasses of lemonade, listened to student speeches and did a group dance all while local and international TV and print reporters mingled among them.

The students at the all-girls school were thrilled for the 1999 graduate's big day but they were also proud of the humanitarian and activist work the actress has already done.

"I know that I'm not going to marry a prince ... but it makes me feel like, as a woman, I can do anything, and I can be empowered by Meghan," seventh-grader Amina Brenlini told Reuters during the event, adding that Markle is her "biggest inspiration."

In a speech during the celebration, Mia Speier, the high school student body president, praised Markle for her dedication to service.

"The idea that someone like her, who has had an upbringing so similar to ours, will now be able to voice her concerns on a global platform as an internationally recognized figure is a story that impacts so many young women, especially the young women at our school," said Speier.

Stella Lissak, middle school student body president said Markle's humanitarian work showed that "we at Immaculate Heart truly are women of great heart." Highlights of the speeches were posted on the school's website.

The school, founded in 1906 by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has mission-style terra cotta roofs and is located just a few miles from the landmark Hollywood sign.

Many of the 674 students have been pretty excited to say the least about the royal wedding since the engagement was announced last November. At the time, the communication director for the school, Callie Webb, told Catholic News Service that some of the students had never heard of Markle and others knew every detail about her 15-month romance with Prince Harry, her engagement, her TV career, activism and now- discontinued lifestyle blog, The Tig.

Early on, the school tried to put the engagement news in perspective, announcing when the news first broke in a Nov. 27 tweet: "Over 10,000 women of great heart and right conscience have graduated from Immaculate Heart, and we are proud to count actress and humanitarian" Markle among them.

It posted a similar message that day on its Facebook account but added that as a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, Markle campaigned for clean, safe drinking water. And as a U.N. Women's Advocate, she has spoken up for women's rights and gender equality.

In other words, the school had already been proud of its graduate for a long time.

But they also are fully embracing Markle's upcoming role as Duchess of Sussex.To demonstrate their dedication, and also witness history, some students, alumnae and families will attend a wedding viewing party May 19 at the school that will start at the wee hour of 3 a.m. (PDT).

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

All economic activity has moral dimension, doctrinal congregation says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Financial and economic decisions -- everything from where a family chooses to invest its savings to where a multinational corporation declares its tax residence -- are ethical decisions that can be virtuous or sinful, a new Vatican document said.

"There can be no area of human action that legitimately claims to be either outside of or impermeable to ethical principles based on liberty, truth, justice and solidarity," said the document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The text, "Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System," was approved by Pope Francis and released May 17 at a Vatican news conference with Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria, congregation prefect, and Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the dicastery.

Based on principles long part of Catholic social teaching and referring frequently to the teaching of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, the document insisted that every economic activity has a moral and ethical dimension.

Responding to questions, Archbishop Ladaria said it is true that Catholic moral theology has focused more on questions of sexual ethics than business ethics, but that does not mean that the economy and finance are outside the scope of Catholic moral teaching. For example, he said, over the centuries the church and the popes repeatedly have intervened to condemn usury.

Pope Francis, he said, supported the development of the document, but the idea of writing it and examining the ethical and moral implications of the current economic scene came from "the grassroots."

"At stake is the authentic well-being of a majority of the men and women of our planet who are at risk of being 'excluded and marginalized' from development and true well-being while a minority, indifferent to the condition of the majority, exploits and reserves for itself substantial resources and wealth," the document said.

The size and complexity of the global economy, it said, may lead most people to think there is nothing they can do to promote an economy of solidarity and contribute to the well-being of everyone in the world, but every financial choice a person makes -- especially if they act with others -- can make a difference, it said.

"For instance, the markets live thanks to the supply and demand of goods," it said. "It becomes therefore quite evident how important a critical and responsible exercise of consumption and savings actually is."

Even something as simple as shopping can be important, the document said. Consumers should avoid products manufactured in conditions "in which the violation of the most elementary human rights is normal." They can avoid doing business with companies "whose ethics in fact do not know any interest other than that of the profit of their shareholders at any cost."

Being ethical, it said, also can mean preferring to put one's savings in investments that have been certified as socially responsible and they can join others in shareholder actions meant to promote more ethical behavior by the companies in which they invest.

In a statement distributed at the news conference, Archbishop Ladaria said that "the origin of the spread of dishonest and predatory financial practices" is a misunderstanding of who the human person is. "No longer knowing who he is and why he is in the world, he no longer knows how to act for the good" and ends up doing what seems convenient at the moment.

"The strongest economic subjects have become 'superstars' who hoard enormous quantities of resources, resources that are distributed less than before and are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people," he said. "It's incredible to think that 10 people can possess almost half of the world's wealth, but today that is a reality!"

Cardinal Turkson told reporters, "a healthy economic system is vital to forge flourishing human relationships."

"To help generate such healthy system, this joint document reminds us that the resources of the world are destined to serve the dignity of the human person and must be commonly available for the common good," the cardinal said.

The document takes aim at greed, not capitalism. In fact, it praises economic systems and markets that respect human dignity and promote human freedom, creativity, production, responsibility, work and solidarity.

A healthy economy, it said, promotes all of those goods and realizes that the measure of progress is not how much money people have in the bank, but how many people are helped to live better lives.

One key to judging how well the economy works is how many decent jobs are created, the document said. But too often selfishness gets the upper hand, the rich speculate and gamble, accumulating more money but not creating more jobs.

"No profit is in fact legitimate when it falls short of the objective of the integral promotion of the human person, the universal destination of goods and the preferential option for the poor," the document said.

"It is especially necessary to provide an ethical reflection on certain aspects of financial transactions which, when operating without the necessary anthropological and moral foundations, have not only produced manifest abuses and injustice, but also demonstrated a capacity to create systemic and worldwide economic crisis," the document said.

The global financial crisis that began in 2007, it said, created an opportunity to review mechanisms of the economy and finance and come up with corrective regulations, but very little has been done.

In addition to the immorality of usury and tax evasion, the document signaled out other ethically problematic practices or practices that require more regulation to ensure ethical behavior: for example, executive bonus incentives based only on short-term profit; the operation of "offshore" financial bases that can facilitate tax evasion and the outflow of capital from developing countries; "the creation of stocks of credit," like subprime mortgages, and credit default swaps; and the growth of the "shadow banking system."

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College diploma: source of pride and uncertainty for graduating Dreamers

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz Muth

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A group of current Washington Trinity University graduates are proud of what they've accomplished but also very anxious about the future.

These emotions could ring true for almost any graduate, but for this group of 21 graduating Dreamers -- among the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. protected, for now, by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA -- these feelings are even more intense.

That's because many of these students who came to the United States as children when their parents immigrated here without documentation, never imagined they would be able to afford to go to college or graduate in four years. And now, like other graduates across the country, they worry about financing grad school or getting good jobs all while fearing the worst: possible deportation for themselves or their family members as immigration laws remain in flux.

Two of these Dreamer graduates who spoke to Catholic News Service May 10 -- in between finishing final exams and awaiting their May 19 graduation ceremony -- asked that their last names or the states where they came from not be used to protect their families. 

They are among the 20 DACA recipients who started at Trinity four years ago and the first group of Dreamers to graduate from the school. The term "Dreamer" is coined from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act. One student from the initial group left Trinity and two others joined later as transfer students. The students were among 100 Dreamers who attended the university this year.

All of these students are recipients of scholarships from TheDream.US, a scholarship program for DACA students that partners with colleges. Trinity was the first Catholic college to partner with the program when it started in 2014 and two other Catholic colleges have since joined: Dominican University, just outside Chicago, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago.

Brenda, who came to the United States from Mexico with her family when she was 6, said she will probably cry when she gets her diploma mainly because when she was a senior in high school, she didn't think she'd be able to even go to college, let alone finish in four years.

She said her mom found out about scholarship program and urged her to apply, but Brenda was skeptical because as she put it: "No one even knew about Dreamers" or DACA four years ago. Which means they didn't know immigrants without documentation don't have access to Pell grants, federal education loans or work-study programs and that many of them have to pay out-of-state tuition to go to college in their home states.

Brenda, who is graduating with a double major in business and international affairs, said she wants to get her master's and doctorate degrees, but she knows it won't be easy.

"It will be a challenge. I might have to work even harder to get financial support to figure out how I'm going to get there, but I will," she said with the confidence of someone who has already worked pretty hard.

Brenda disputes a misconception that DACA students are just looking for handouts, noting that everything she and fellow Dreamer students have attained is through hard work. The scholarship program, for example, is only for top academic students.

"We're competing for a spot and what we do has to be two, three, four and five times better than everyone else," she said. "We have to earn it."

Yarely, a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in math, similarly stressed the pressure to work hard and the weight of not knowing what the future holds.

The 22-year-old who came to the United States from Mexico with her mother and sister when she was 8, said: "Sometimes I feel like there really is no choice for me, no path, but then I stop and think about my family, my friends and I just keep going because that's the only thing I can do."

In the days before graduating, she kept her eyes on the ceremony itself. "I feel that is a win -- no matter what -- that is definitely a win," she said.

She doesn't focus on the fact that her mom won't be able to attend her graduation. Yarely is used to having to face challenges on her own. Like Brenda, she didn't do college tours nor did family members help her move in. She simply came to Trinity on her first airplane ride, moved on campus and got to work, literally, holding down two jobs as a student, often tutoring both college and high school students.

A big unknown for her now is the future of DACA, saying she needs it to work and to keep going to school, which she hopes will eventually be medical school. "Not knowing if I am going to even be able to finance that it is definitely something that makes me really scared; it makes me terrified," she said.

Senior year for these students has been a particular roller coaster starting last September when the Trump administration announced the government was terminating DACA. Multiple lawsuits have since challenged that decision and a recent court ruling issued an order to strike down the end to DACA and reinstate the original program while still giving the government 90 days to explain its decision. In early May, seven states filed a lawsuit to try to end DACA.

Yarely and Brenda have seen both sides of the immigration battle. Neither of them are immune to anti-immigrant rhetoric, but they also are grateful for support from their families, teachers and administrators at Trinity, the scholarship program and the Catholic Church at large.

Yarely said she has had nightmares of "being out on the streets and people yelling to me and to my family, just yelling things that I know aren't true," but she also said there are "so many great people out there. ... I know people who yell or say incredibly hurtful things are the minority so I feel like that helps me get into perspective that America is not that way; America is not place of hate and ugliness."

Brenda said she is thankful "for all those who have seen there's a gap, there's injustice leaving us out of opportunities just because of our status." She has hope from those who advocate on behalf of immigrants, especially the Catholic Church, which she saw firsthand during an internship with U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Knowing that the church is involved and wants to be involved does give me hope," she said, adding that church leaders "won't be quiet about it and are willing to stand up for us and with us."

Brenda, who has spent most of her life in this country, considers herself to be American and said she is thankful for the opportunities here that she knows she would not have had in Mexico.

"I love this country," she said, adding: "I do want to stay here and I have all the faith in God that that will be the case."

Pat McGuire, president of Trinity, compared the first class of Dreamers to graduate from the university to Trinity's first graduating class in 1900 because both had "vision for how a great college education can change the fortunes of their children and families."

In an email to CNS, she said the Dreamer graduates were a "force for solidarity" as students of all backgrounds, faculty, staff and alumnae offered personal support and did advocacy work. She said the immigrant students were role models for other students coping with discrimination and setbacks.

The Dreamers' presence also helped the entire school community to sharpen its "sense of mission and commitment to challenge injustice," she said.

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

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Sex trafficking is 'rooted in structure of society,' says speaker

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Kurt Jensen

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation may need its own #MeToo moment, according to a leading trafficking opponent.

Good Shepherd Sister Winifred Doherty, who is her religious congregation's representative to the United Nations, observed that sex trafficking, "a debasement of the human person," is "rooted in the structure of society, and more so today."

The "social acceptance of the prostitution of women and girls" includes the benign label of sex worker. "Prostitution is neither sex nor work," Sister Doherty told the inaugural Shine the Light conference at the U.S. Capitol May 15. If gender equality can be put into laws, traffickers could "no longer buy and sell people," she said.

Conference speakers addressed both sexual and forced-labor exploitation in the United States. According to a recent report from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, 79 percent of human trafficking worldwide involves sexual exploitation. It said 18 percent involves forced labor -- promising desperate people steady high-paying jobs that don't exist while forcing them into debt bondage and low-paying jobs.

That, Sister Doherty emphasized, can be going on in one's neighborhood, and not be something far away. The next time women walk by a hair and nail salon using what appears to be immigrant labor, she said, it's right to ask, "What's happening in there? Who's working in there?"

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was the first comprehensive federal law to address trafficking in persons, but more needs to be done, Sister Doherty said. She also is advocating for the decriminalization of women forced into prostitution.

The conference was co-hosted by the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd with the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. Participants later met with congressional representatives to advocate for two pieces of legislation.

H.R. 4485, also known as Savanna's Act, would standardize investigation procedures and build databases to strengthen the federal response to the growing number of missing and murdered Native American and Alaskan Native women. It is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a 22-year old pregnant member of the Spirit Lake Tribe who was murdered last August.

In the Senate, the Protecting Girls' Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act has been sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, to ensure children overseas who are displaced due to ongoing conflicts receive an education.

Two former prostitutes, now both outreach workers helped by Dawn's Place, a residential rehabilitation center in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and operated by several Catholic religious orders, and at Covenant House Pennsylvania, a facility serving homeless people and refugees in the Philadelphia area, said therapy was key to rebuilding their shattered lives, but it requires a great deal time.

"For me, being in that program," said the Dawn's Place graduate, "basically they were teaching me to love me first. It took a whole year of trauma therapy to feel like a new person."

In the United States, according to statistics provided by the conference, 17,000 children are trafficked for sex annually. That works out to 46 every day.

"Traffickers can sense (past sexual abuse)," said Angela Aufdemberge, president of Vista Maria, a social services organization in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. "The biggest need is to address maltreatment in homes, and regulating who our kids are communicating with on the internet."

Luring girls, she observed, can be as simple as enticing them to send a nude photo via Snapchat, where photos disappear after being received. With a trafficker, of course, the photos always remain.

Her facility learned of one man "who had been contacting 100 children a day to entice them into sexual exploitation."

Hilary Chester, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' anti-trafficking program, said labor traffickers also prey on low self-esteem. Labor trafficking in the United States is heavily involved in the meat and seafood-processing industries.

"Survivors need a soft landing, where they can gather themselves," Chester added.

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Update: Pope expresses concern about 'spiral of violence' in Holy Land

IMAGE: CNS photo/Mohammed Salem, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Warning that violence will never bring peace, Pope Francis urged all sides to do all they can to foster dialogue in the Middle East.

"I am very worried about the intensifying tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East and about the spiral of violence that increasingly leads away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations," he said in an appeal May 16 during his general audience in St. Peter's Square.

The Associated Press reported that May 14, the same day the United States was inaugurating its embassy in Jerusalem, Israeli forces shot and killed 57 Palestinians and injured more than 2,700 people during mass protests along the Gaza border. In addition, a baby died from tear gas inhalation, the Gaza Health Ministry said, bringing the death toll to 58.

Expressing his sadness for those killed and injured, and prayers for all who are suffering, the pope underlined that violence is never of any use for bringing peace.

"War is called war, violence is called violence," he said.

"I invite all those involved and the international community to renew their commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace may prevail," he said, before leading the thousands of people gathered in the square in praying the "Hail Mary."

The pope then sent his good wishes to all Muslims at the start of the month of Ramadan. "May this special time of prayer and fasting help in walking the path of God, which is the path of peace," he said.

Earlier, the head of Jerusalem's Latin Patriarchate called for prayers for peace as the world witnesses "another outburst of hatred and violence, which is once again bleeding all over the Holy Land."

"We need to pray more for peace and our conversion and for all," said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the patriarchate, or diocese.

"The lives of so many young people have once again been shut down and hundreds of families are mourning their loved ones, dead or wounded," said the statement May 15 from Archbishop Pizzaballa. "As in a kind of vicious circle, we must condemn all forms of violence, any cynical use of human lives and disproportionate violence. Once again we are forced by circumstances to plead and cry out for justice and peace!"

He announced that May 19, the eve of Pentecost, the church would hold a prayer vigil at the Church of St. Stephen at L'Ecole Biblique. He asked the entire diocese to dedicate a day of prayer and fasting for the peace of Jerusalem and that the liturgy on Pentecost be dedicated to prayer for peace.

"We must truly pray to the Spirit to change our hearts to better understand his will and to give us the strength to continue to work for justice and peace," the archbishop said.

Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and now feel that, with its embassy there, the U.S. cannot be a fair broker in the peace process with Israel.

Many Israelis see opening the embassy as the long-awaited official recognition of Jerusalem as their capital and the fulfillment of a promise made by numerous U.S. presidents to move the building from Tel Aviv.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, which includes Archbishop Pizzaballa and bishops of the Eastern Catholic churches in the region, reiterated the Catholic Church's position that moving the U.S. embassy and "any unilateral move or decision about the Holy City of Jerusalem doesn't contribute to advancing the long-awaited peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

"We believe that there is no reason that could prevent the city from being the capital of Israel and Palestine, but this should be done through negotiation and mutual respect," said the statement from the assembly May 15.

The Catholic leaders also said the deaths and injuries along the Israeli-Gaza border "or most of them, could have been avoided if non-lethal tools had been used by the Israeli forces."

The assembly called on "all parties involved to avoid use of violence and to find ways to end siege imposed on about 2 million Palestinians in Gaza Strip as soon as possible."

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