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John Wester

Utah bishop John Wester named to head Santa Fe archdiocese

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Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M., and named Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City to succeed him.

Sheehan, who has headed the Santa Fe archdiocese since 1993, turned 75 last year, the age at which bishops are required under canon law to submit their resignations to the pope.

A San Francisco native, Wester, 64, has headed the Salt Lake City diocese, which encompasses the entire state of Utah, since 2007.

Bishops who are named to head archdioceses immediately assume the title of archbishop.

Utah bishop decries governor's decision to sign firing squad measure

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By reinstating the use of a firing squad as a method of execution in Utah, "it seems as if our government leaders have substituted state legislation for the law of God," said the state's Catholic bishop.

"They argue that, because executions are lawful, they are then moral. This is not so. No human law can trump God's law," Salt Lake City Bishop John Wester said in a March 24 statement. "Taking a human life is wrong; a slap in the face of hope and a blasphemous attempt to assume divine attributes that we humble human beings do not have."

'I am your brother,' Burlington's new bishop tells Vermont Catholics

The former auxiliary bishop of the Indianapolis archdiocese was installed as the 10th bishop of the Burlington diocese during a joyful celebration of the Mass on Thursday.

"To my new friends in Vermont I say, 'I am your brother, Christopher,' " Bishop Christopher Coyne said to one of many rounds of applause during the nearly two-hour celebration at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.

The name means "bearer of Christ," and that is what he wants to be for them. he said.

Church leaders at Utah ecumenical vigil say 'no more' to gun violence

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Face after face of women and men, boys and girls, African-American, white, Latino and Asian -- all representing the more than 30,000 people who die from gun violence each year in the United States -- shone briefly on the screen at Calvary Baptist Church.

As the images flashed by representatives of five Salt Lake City churches spoke about the need to end the gun violence that had claimed the life of each of those pictured.

Catholic defense of family means aiding migrant families, bishop says

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Migrants are among the poorest, most vulnerable people in the world, and a church committed to defending strong families must be particularly engaged in assisting migrant couples and their children, a U.S. bishop told a Vatican conference.

"Across the globe, 175 million migrants seek safety and sustenance in an unknown land," Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City told the Vatican-sponsored World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants.

U.S. denominations, key Catholic bishop advocate for open Internet

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More than a dozen religious bodies, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, argued in a joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission that the Internet must remain available to all without "fast lanes" and other devices meant to speed up traffic for extra revenue while keeping nonpaying traffic in a slow lane.

"We are concerned about paid prioritization and other policies that will increase costs and limit opportunities for our organizations and the communities we serve," said the letter Monday to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the other four FCC commissioners.

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May 22-June 4, 2015

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