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OSV News Weekly Showcase | January 19, 2024

A young woman prays during the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 18, 2024, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. (OSV News photo/Mihoko Owada, Catholic Standard)

Good evening!

After you raise a happy hour glass to St. Germanicus, a youth in Smyrna martyred in 155 after he refused to apostatize, raise it again to the crowds of youth who today are demonstrating their unwavering pro-life convictions at the National March for Life. OSV News has on-the-ground coverage of today’s Washington march and related events, as well as stories about West Coast events marking the Jan. 22 anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. With Dobbs, the pro-life movement is focusing on the array of state laws, but the huge Washington gathering “promises to empower women facing unexpected pregnancies with the message that they are not alone — and that the pro-life movement is ready and waiting to help them choose life for their baby,” Katie Yoder reported earlier this week. 

Beyond Washington, OSV News reporting this week has included Nicaragua, where Bishop Rolando Álvarez was released from prison and, along with other formerly imprisoned priests, exiled to Rome; Gaza, where Catholic children’s first Communion coincided with 100 days of war between Israel and Hamas; and France, where carpenters celebrated finishing Notre Dame’s roof. The U.S. bishops released their first annual report on the “State of Religious Liberty in the United States” and sexual abuse victims reel from former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s legal reprieve from being tried for his crimes.

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

Maria Wiering

Senior Writer

Bishop Rolando Álvarez released, exiled from Nicaragua after over 500 days of detention

Vatican News confirmed Jan. 14 at 10:41 p.m. Rome time that with the exception of one priest who remained in Venezuela, all released priests, including Bishop Álvarez and Bishop Isidoro Mora of Siuna, have arrived in Rome “in the last few hours” and are “guests of the Holy See.”

Christians’ testimony in Gaza a ‘true miracle’ amid nonstop war, says Holy Land custos

As the world marked 100 days since the Hamas militants attacks that unleashed hell in the Holy Land, images of the children from Holy Family Parish — the only Catholic parish in the Gaza Strip — dressed in white albs to receive the sacrament were a stark and welcome contrast in a land that has had very little reason to smile since Oct. 7.

At Mass marking Rev. King’s legacy, cardinal highlights the witness of children

Just like the “unnamed and countless toddlers” Herod ordered killed “to make sure that the Child Jesus would never reach maturity,” Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory said Jan. 13, “innocent children killed in the quest for inclusive, social justice have also paid the ultimate price for freedoms enjoyed by Americans today.”

New US bishops’ report identifies 5 top areas of religious liberty concerns

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ first annual “State of Religious Liberty in the United States,” published Jan. 16, said potential threats to religious liberty in the United States largely come in the form of federal regulations or cultural trends.

Carpenters hail end of Notre Dame roof reconstruction; rector calls it ‘a work of Joseph and Jesus’

On Jan. 12, in the freezing cold, a traditional bouquet of flowers was placed on top of the wooden structure of the cathedral apse. The last rafter had been placed under the snow, three days earlier.

Faith and ‘greatest prayer ever’ help Catholic parents forgive son’s killer

When they learned their 23-year-old son Michael Echaniz had been murdered in March 2022, John and Sharon Echaniz began a journey through the stages of grief, and (although they admit there is work to be done) they offered their son’s killer forgiveness.

McCarrick trial dead-end a double blow to clergy abuse victims, say advocates

With a Wisconsin judge suspending his last remaining criminal trial for sexual abuse, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been granted a legal reprieve — but clergy abuse survivors told OSV News the decision is a kind of “re-sentencing” for them and many fellow victims.

St. John Paul II National Shrine exhibit tells story of Ulma family’s ‘sacrificial love’

Titled “The Good Samaritans of Markowa: The Sacrificial Love of the Ulma Family,” the display opened Jan. 12 and runs through March, the 80th anniversary of the family’s martyrdom.

Catholic groups applaud enhanced Child Tax Credit in framework tax deal

Brian Corbin, executive vice president for member services at Catholic Charities USA, told OSV News that the Child Tax Credit is “part of the toolkit to break poverty in America.”

Church’s surrogacy teaching rooted in the primacy of the rights of the child

“Donum Vitae” is a document that, nearly 40 years ago, made explicit the church’s teaching about in vitro fertilization and related practices, including gestational surrogacy — a teaching that in January 2024 made headlines after Pope Francis called for a worldwide ban on surrogacy while speaking with members of the diplomatic corps assigned to the Holy See.

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