World News in Brief

‘Beatnik Jesuit friend’ Fr Daniel Berrigan lived the resurrection

Fr Daniel Berrigan SJ, whose protests against government policies earned him multiple prison sentences, was remembered during his funeral Mass as a “fierce, mischievous visionary”, a “Beatnik Jesuit friend”, a priest who “taught the sacrament of resistance” and a loving uncle ruled by faith, not fear.

More than 800 people packed New York’s Church of St Francis Xavier for the May 6 Mass for the soul of Fr Berrigan, who died on April 30 aged 94. Among the over two dozen priests who concelebrated the Mass was Detroit’s retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.

In his homily, Fr Stephen Kelly described Fr Berrigan as a man who lived the resurrection, and challenged religious leaders to know “bomb-blessing has no place in Jesus’ self-giving”. Fr Berrigan’s life of radical witness made him worthy of recognition as a doctor of the Church, he said.


South Sudan facing many threats

The principle human and natural threats facing South Sudan, according to the leaders of the country’s religious, are “pollution of the water, of the land, of the air; deforestation and cutting of trees, burning the forests, overgrazing and desertification and oil exploitation as the major income for the country but as a grave polluting agent”.

The superiors of over 500 religious in the country, gathered in the Religious Superiors’ Association of South Sudan, followed a workshop on the encyclical Laudato Si’ by issuing a statement entitled “Let us take care of our common home: South Sudan”.

Long years of civil war has grievously damaged communal spirit in the country, the document states, saying, “we have lost the relationship with our brothers and sisters, becoming like Cain who killed his brother” and, continuing, “we have lost our relationship with God”.


Canadian Churches unite in prayer in response to wildfire

Churches of all denominations across Canada have been offering prayers and helping relief efforts for the more than 100,000 residents of Alberta’s Fort McMurray who have fled wildfires in the area.

St Paul’s Bishop Paul Terrio said: “Even as we still are all in shock with the wildfire destruction and damage in Fort McMurray, let us give thanks to our Lord and God that, with up to 70,000 people evacuated from the community in a matter of hours, there has been no loss of life.”

With one Catholic church rumoured to be lost to the flames, he said the diocese would take up a second collection at Sunday Mass “as a first step for the relief effort and support of all those who lost their homes there”, and said that in the coming days and months “we shall all be called upon to continue and extend the tradition of families helping families and communities reaching out to communities to rebuild and resettle”.

Edmonton’s Archbishop Richard Smith has likewise requested special collections at Masses, with parishes also collecting goods and clothing for displaced residents, as well personal toiletries and bottled water.