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Vatican says Dutch politician's honor was simply diplomatic protocol

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The former Dutch minister of foreign trade and development received a papal honor as a matter of diplomatic courtesy and not because of her political views, which include support for access to abortion, the Vatican press office said.

Pope asks forgiveness from victims of clergy sex abuse in Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Pope Francis, in his first formal speech in Chile, asked forgiveness from those who were sexually abused by priests.

Pope Francis flies over Argentina, sparking questions of when he'll visit

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- The papal flight to Chile lasted about 15 hours and flew over the Pope Francis' native Argentina, where many in the church, politics and chattering classes wondered aloud: When will he arrive here?

Pope begins seven-day pilgrimage to Chile, Peru

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Pope Francis arrived in Santiago, the first stop on a seven-day, six-city visit to Peru and Chile, where he will take his message of hope to people on the margins of society.

Saint Berard and Companions

<em>The Martyrs of Marrakesch, Franciscan friars</em> | Licinio Martiri | Saint Berard and Companions
Image: The Martyrs of Marrakesch, Franciscan friars | Licinio Martiri | Saint Berard and Companions

Saint Berard and Companions

Saint of the Day for January 16

(d. January 16, 1220)

 

Saint Berard and Companions’ Story

Preaching the gospel is often dangerous work. Leaving one’s homeland and adjusting to new cultures, governments and languages is difficult enough; but martyrdom caps all the other sacrifices.

In 1219, with the blessing of Saint Francis, Berard left Italy with Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis to preach in Morocco. En route in Spain, Vitalis became sick and commanded the other friars to continue their mission without him.

They tried preaching in Seville, then in Muslim hands, but made no converts. They went on to Morocco where they preached in the marketplace. The friars were immediately apprehended and ordered to leave the country; they refused. When they began preaching again, an exasperated sultan ordered them executed. After enduring severe beatings and declining various bribes to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, the friars were beheaded by the sultan himself on January 16, 1220.

These were the first Franciscan martyrs. When Francis heard of their deaths, he exclaimed, “Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor!” Their relics were brought to Portugal where they prompted a young Augustinian canon to join the Franciscans and set off for Morocco the next year. That young man was Anthony of Padua. These five martyrs were canonized in 1481.


Reflection

The deaths of Berard and his companions sparked a missionary vocation in Anthony of Padua and others. There have been many, many Franciscans who have responded to Francis’ challenge. Proclaiming the gospel can be fatal, but that has not stopped the Franciscan men and women who even today risk their lives in many countries throughout the world.


The Franciscan Saints

Pro-life bill would eliminate vast majority of legal abortions in Poland

Warsaw, Poland, Jan 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Lawmakers in Poland proposed pro-life legislation last week that would outlaw abortions performed because of a congenital disorder or deformity in the unborn child.

A look at world's 50 most anti-Christian countries

Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- There are more than 215 million persecuted Christians worldwide according to the 2018 World Watch List, Open Doors USA's annual ranking of the 50 worst countries for violence and persecution against Christians.

The nuns who witnessed the life and death of Martin Luther King

Washington D.C., Jan 14, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- This Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be the first without Sister Mary Antona Ebo, the only black Catholic nun who marched with civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Ala in 1965.

Analysis: Why will Pope Francis visit the Greek Ukraine Parish in Rome?

Vatican City, Jan 12, 2018 CNA.- On Jan. 28, Pope Francis will visit the Basilica of Saint Sophia, the Greek Catholic Ukrainian parish in Rome. While there, he will pray in front of the tomb of Bishop Stefan Czmil, who served as a missionary to Argentina, and was a childhood mentor to the young Jorge Bergoglio.

Father Matthew Lamb, influential American theologian, dies at 80

Ave Maria, Fla., Jan 12, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Father Matthew Lamb, the Cardinal Maida Chair of Theology at Ave Maria University, died early Friday morning, the university announced. A fitting conclusion to a life dedicated to education and a teaching career of 45 years, Lamb died in the company of two graduate students, who were keeping a prayer vigil at his bedside.