National Catholic Reporter

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Washington

'Walk with Francis Pledge' urges Washingtonians to do a good deed ahead of papal trip

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Standing beside a statue called "Homeless Jesus," Msgr. John Enzler pledged to spend a night with the city's homeless before Pope Francis' visit in September.

Enzler, who is president of Catholic Charities, made the vow as part of Wednesday's launch of the "Walk with Francis Pledge," a campaign by the Washington archdiocese and Catholic Charities to get 100,000 people to take on a good deed in preparation for the pope's visit.

Cardinal Baum, longest serving US cardinal, witnessed and made history

Cardinal William Baum, the archbishop of Washington from 1973 to 1980, died Thursday at the age of 88 after a long illness. He was a cardinal for 39 years -- the longest such tenure in U.S. church history.

Baum witnessed history from the Second Vatican Council through the election of the first Latin American pope, and he made history himself.

Pope Francis' address to Congress will be broadcast to crowd outside Capitol

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Pope Francis' address to a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24 will be broadcast live to members of the public on the West Front of the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday.

"The visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol is a historic moment for the country," he said in a statement, adding that "the unprecedented nature of his visit" prompted the decision to broadcast his address.

Independence Day Mass closes US bishops' annual Fortnight for Freedom

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Religious freedom is "the human right that guarantees all other rights," Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski said Saturday in his homily at the closing Mass of the U.S. bishops' fourth annual Fortnight for Freedom.

That right "has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person," he said at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. "Peace and creative living together will only be possible if freedom of religion is fully respected."

New pastoral looks at Catholics' identity, today's challenges to faith

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued a new pastoral letter "about who we are as Catholics."

"We will reflect on our identity as disciples of Jesus -- followers of Christ -- adopted children of God," he notes in the introduction.

A key part of the pastoral looks at "our freedom to be who we are as followers of Christ, and some of the challenges of our age as we try to live and share our faith," he says.

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