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OSV News Showcase | November 24, 2023

People gather in Tel Aviv, Nov. 24, 2023, as they await news of the hostages to be released by Hamas amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal with Israel. After a cease-fire took effect earlier in the day, 24 women and children hostages -- 13 Israeli civilians, 10 Thai and 1 Filipino -- were released by Hamas in the evening. They were transported by the Red Cross across Egypt's Rafah border into the Gaza Strip, then transferred to Israel. In exchange for receiving the hostages, Israel was releasing at least 150 Palestinians -- also women and children -- and allowing fuel, medicine and other humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. (OSV News photo/Itai Ron, Reuters)

Good evening!

Welcome to this week’s showcase. We are coming to you after a very eventful week and after Thanksgiving Day in the United States — in which many families, friends and loved ones get together to reflect on some of the things they are grateful for. And today, we are grateful for the release of 24 hostages held by Hamas who were transported through the Egyptian border in Red Cross vehicles in the late afternoon. However, we are also reminded of the dire situation in Gaza and continue to pray for the remaining hostages and for every single person affected by this war. 

We share some of the stories we published this week, which remind us of the need for prayer – and for being Jesus’s hands and feet — in this world, such as an article about Jesuits ministering to migrants waiting in dangerous Mexican border cities and an ecumenical service remembering a Soviet-era genocide in Ukraine and the commemoration of Red Week. And other stories that offer a ray of hope because of the action of faith-filled people and people of goodwill, such as the late James Madison Smith Sr. and Catherine “Kitty” Smith, formerly enslaved Catholics, are being recognized as agents of the Underground Railroad. Other stories, like the one of a Yakima priest who helped a distressed homeless woman bring two young lives into the world on church grounds and the witness of 12,000 teens at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, also offer some inspiration as we approach the end of the liturgical year. Please see some of this week’s stories below.

You can find more of our stories by following us on Facebook, X (aka Twitter) and Instagram, and we are always happy to hear your story ideas messaged to us on those platforms. Have a great weekend, and pray for peace.

Catholic School’s Teacher, Students Hospitalized After Dublin Stabbing

incident at a nearby Catholic school in the bustling city center of Ireland’s capital. An eyewitness described to state broadcaster RTÉ a scene of terror after three children and their teacher, a woman in her 30s, were stabbed near the school Nov. 23.

Haiti hospital attack shows ‘those most in need’ pay price of violence, says CRS rep

The Fontaine Hospital Center in Cité Soleil — an extremely impoverished area of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince — had to be evacuated Nov. 15 after armed gang clashes enveloped the facility. “Ultimately, the people paying the price for this violence are those who are most in need,” said Jennifer Nazaire, the country representative for CRS in Haiti.

Abortions increased during the last year with Roe still in place, CDC report says

The report documented a total of 625,978 abortions in jurisdictions that reported their data, an uptick from the previous year. The data reflects the last full calendar year with Roe still in place.

Amid Russia’s war, Advent fast takes on deeper meaning for Ukrainian Catholics

An Advent tradition among Eastern Catholics has taken on a deeper meaning amid Russia’s war on Ukraine. The Fast of St. Philip, also known as the Philippian or Nativity Fast, is observed by Eastern Catholics and Christians worldwide. It begins prior to Advent on Nov. 15, the feast day of St. Philip, and ends on Christmas Eve.

Parishes play ‘vital role’ in bringing Christ to the world, say bishops

As a key document on social ministry marks its 30th year, two U.S. bishops said parishes play a “vital role” in bringing Christ’s transformative love to the world. “Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish” was approved by the U.S. Catholic bishops in November 1993 and continues to serve as a roadmap for parish social ministry.

Real bishop behind Les Misérables is on path to sainthood

Bishop Bienvenu de Miollis (1753-1843) was the Bishop of Digne from 1805 to 1838 and an inspiration for Victor Hugo’s character Bishop Myriel in the novel Les Misérables, published in 1862. The French bishops, gathered in Lourdes Nov. 3-8 for their plenary assembly, voted in favor of opening the diocesan process for his beatification.

Latino group forms young adult Catholics in faith, creates community, promotes education

For over a decade, Iskali – a Chicago-based organization with a Náhualt name that symbolizes renewal – has been forming young Latinos to be transformative leaders.

Coadjutor archbishop proposes relocating Vatican, ordaining women deacons

In a wide-ranging interview, Coadjutor Archbishop Christopher J. Coyne of Hartford spoke about working as a bartender, his hopes for the Catholic Church in Hartford, women’s ordination to the diaconate and relocating the Vatican.

Catholic Leaders, White House Officials Talk Climate Change As COP28 Nears

A group of delegates, including three U.S. Catholic bishops and the head of a conference of women religious, met with Biden administration officials Nov. 17 to discuss the Catholic Church’s priorities for what Pope Francis has called “our suffering planet.”

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter is remembered for life of service guided by faith

The Carters were devout Baptists and participated in programs including Habitat for Humanity following their time in the White House.

Antonio Banderas: ‘Journey to Bethlehem’ shows simple message of love

A new musical retelling of Jesus Christ’s birth starring Antonio Banderas makes it “very easy and simple for families” to experience the wonder of the Nativity story, which at heart is about love, the actor told OSV News.

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