In Brief

In Brief Asif Pervaiz
Tabernacle found after theft from Ontario cathedral

The tabernacle that was stolen from the St Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in St Catharines, Ontario was recovered on Wednesday, September 9.

A group of parishioners from the cathedral discovered the tabernacle in Centennial Park, which is located near the cathedral. The tabernacle was partially submerged in a canal, and parts of the ciborium were missing.

According to local media, the Eucharist was not found in the tabernacle, but because it was in a body of water, it may have dissolved.

Fr Donald Lizzotti, rector of the cathedral, told CNA that he believed the thieves had previously cased the cathedral to determine how to steal the tabernacle.

Fr Lizzotti said that the police were unable to find fingerprints and they believe the thieves had wiped the scene clean.

Preparations resume for World Youth Day in Portugal

Preparations for the next World Youth Day have resumed after they were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers of the event in Lisbon, Portugal, restarted their work on September 5, according to Vatican News.

Bishop Américo Aguiar, an auxiliary bishop of Lisbon and president of the WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation, told the website that Pope Francis was following developments.

“The Pope is very pleased, but also reassured because he is aware that the preparatory work for WYD is progressing,” he said.

The Pope announced that the Portuguese capital would host the global Catholic gathering of young people at the closing Mass of the last international World Youth Day, in Panama City, on January 27, 2019.

Christian in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemy

A Pakistani court sentenced Asif Pervaiz, a Christian, to death on charges of blasphemy.

The September 8 sentencing by a court in Lahore arose from charges that Mr Pervaiz, 37, included insulting remarks about Muhammad in a text message sent to Muhammad Saeed Khokher, his supervisor at the garment factory where he had worked.

Pakistan’s state religion is Islam, and around 97% of the population is Muslim. The country’s blasphemy laws impose strict punishment on those who desecrate the Quran or who defame or insult Muhammad. Although the government has never executed a person under the blasphemy laws, accusations alone have inspired mob and vigilante violence.

Mr Pervaiz was also sentenced to a fine of 50,000 Pakistani rupees ($300), and three years’ imprisonment.

Catholic Mass is taken off the airwaves in Belarus

A Mass broadcast to Catholics across Belarus has disappeared from the airwaves amid political upheaval following a disputed presidential election.

The Sunday morning Mass was broadcast from the Cathedral of the Holy Name of Mary in the capital, Minsk, by the largest nationwide radio channel in Belarus.

Fr Anthony Klimantovich, the cathedral rector, said that the Mass did not appear on the radio schedule for September, the website of the Catholic Church in Belarus reported.

“Why is there no Mass on the radio? This is definitely not our fault and not for technical reasons,” he said.

“Holy Mass is still celebrated in the cathedral at 8.15am every Sunday, the equipment is working properly, and the signal goes, but there is no broadcast.”

Nigerian archbishop builds house for physically challenged girl

lArchbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha on Tuesday blessed and handed over a house he helped build and furnish for Adaoma Aniwetalu, a physically challenged girl in his local Church.

Speaking during a ceremony on September 8, Archbishop Okeke said the house was part of the Church’s “commitment towards charity and the need to uplift the burden faced by people, especially in this pandemic”.

He also announced a scholarship offer for Ms Aniwetalu, saying: “She is placed on a fully-paid scholarship together with her friend (her helper).”

“May God always guide and protect her,” the archbishop added.

‘We’re sitting on a powder keg,’ says Catholic bishop after beaten youth dies

An Italian bishop spoke this week about a “climate of violence” after a 21-year-old man was beaten to death in a town south of Rome.

“It is something endemic, something which spreads, multiplies, and infects like the Covid virus,” Bishop Vincenzo Apicella of Velletri-Segni told Vatican News.

“And if we do not find, I don’t say a vaccine, but at least some antidote, we really risk that this other pandemic will overwhelm us all,” he said. “We are sitting on a powder keg that can explode at any time and in any place we find ourselves.”

Willy Monteiro Duarte, an Italian whose parents are from the African island nation of Cape Verde, was beaten to death in the Italian town of Colleferro in the early hours of September 6, after reportedly running into a fight to protect a friend.

Archbishop Gänswein hospitalised ‘with severe kidney problems’

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to Benedict XVI, has been hospitalised in Rome.

CNA Deutsch reported on September 11 that the 64-year-old had been admitted to hospital “with severe kidney problems”.

The news agency said it learned of the development on Friday from sources close to the archbishop. It added that no further details were currently available.

In 2003, Archbishop Gänswein became personal secretary to the future Pope Benedict XVI.

He was appointed prefect of the pontifical household in 2012, continuing in the role after the resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis the following year.

Catholic Mass will continue at San Diego Naval bases

Mass has returned to three Naval bases in the San Diego area after the US Navy reversed a decision to end contracts with civilian priests as a cost-saving measure.

“Contrary to previous discussions, this year we will continue contracted religious ministry programs and services similar to what we’ve had in place previously,” said Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, the commander of Navy Region Southwest, in a statement published the evening of September 8 in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Previously, three Navy bases were left without a priest after the Navy announced that contracts with civilian priests would not be renewed.

The three bases are served by civilian Catholic priests as there are not enough Catholic chaplains in the Navy to handle the spiritual needs of Catholics assigned to them.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was pleased with the decision to continue Masses at San Diego Navy bases.