"People in the airport ask me what my red ribbon means. Fifteen years ago, everyone knew what it symbolized. Now it's different."
When Pope Francis visits South Korea Aug. 14-18, he will find a Catholic church that exemplifies much of what he hopes for the church around the world, including a highly active laity, extensive efforts to help the needy and strong relations with non-Christian communities. So says a retired American missionary who spent nearly half a century building up Catholicism in the country.
"Our brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are chased away," Pope Francis said, assuring Christians in all of Iraq and the Middle East of his "constant prayers."
NCR Today: Every innocent death, Israeli or Palestinian, is one too many. The world has gotten inured to Israeli tactics of disproportionate response to acts of violence.
As Israel continued its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis urged Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the spiraling conflict.
The pontiff telephoned the two leaders Friday to express "his very serious concerns" only six weeks after both joined him at the Vatican for a historic prayer meeting.
Francis said he was concerned about the "climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering" that was claiming many victims, resulting in "a serious humanitarian emergency," the Vatican said in a statement.
Darfur United consists entirely of refugee players from a variety of camps and tribes who set aside their difference and come together for soccer.
An emergency adviser for Catholic Relief Services said many Filipinos learned from Typhoon Haiyan and willingly went to shelters before Typhoon Rammasun struck.
"People realized, 'Oh yes, we are staying in a risky area. We're staying in a tent or shelter that's not very sturdy,' " said Elizabeth Tromans, the Manila-based regional emergency adviser for Catholic Relief Services. "And I think people were quite willing to go into the safe areas that had been identified."
Civilians in Gaza used a brief cease-fire to spill onto the streets and replenish scarce supplies, some church representatives said.
The temporary end of hostilities Thursday was to facilitate moving desperately needed aid into the area as well as give those who could leave a chance to escape, said the Vatican's Fides missionary news agency.
Three foreign Sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word were to leave Gaza after Israeli missiles destroyed a home very close to Holy Family Church, the territory's only Catholic parish, the agency said Thursday.
The leaders of Britain's faith communities have united to warn Parliament against the "grave error" of legalizing assisted suicide.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury joined 21 other of the most senior Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Jain faith leaders to protest the Assisted Dying Bill.
Global Sisters Report: Children in Zimbabwe orphaned by AIDS too often assume roles as caregivers and heads of households at young ages, work sisters help them prepare for.