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These are the members of the Synod on Synodality study groups

Pope Francis among the delegates of the Synod on Synodality, held in October of 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jul 9, 2024 / 14:35 pm (CNA).

The Vatican published Tuesday the names of the members of 15 study groups doing deeper analyses on questions such as women deacons, the ministry of bishops, and synodal formation for future priests from last year’s session of the Synod on Synodality.

Some of the groups were formed at the request of Pope Francis, who asked the dicasteries of the Roman Curia to collaborate with the General Secretariat of the Synod to deepen the theological, pastoral, and canonical reflections on certain themes that emerged during the synodal assembly in October 2023.

Additional study groups were also created to provide deeper theological analysis of “five perspectives” ahead of the second session of the synod, to be held at the Vatican Oct. 2–27. 

The Instrumentum Laboris, the guiding document for the October 2024 assembly, makes reference to these study groups throughout.

The groups “are entrusted with the task of delving into 10 themes emerging from the [summary report of the first session] and identified by the pope at the end of an international consultation. These study groups, made up of pastors and experts from all continents, use a synodal working method,” the document said.

Here is the full list of study group members as presented by the Vatican:

Group 1

Some aspects of relations between Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin Church (summary report 6)

1. Professor Péter SZABÓ, professor of canon law in the Post-Gradual Institute of Canon Law in Budapest (HUNGARY), consultor of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches, coordinator

2. Cardinal Claudio GUGEROTTI, prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

3. Archbishop Laurent ULRICH, archbishop of Paris and ordinary for the Eastern Faithful residing in France and lacking the hierarchy of their own Church “sui iuris” (FRANCE)

4. Archbishop Cyril VASIL’, SI, archbishop of Kosice for Catholics of the Byzantine Rite (SLOVENIA)

5. Archbishop Boghos Levon ZEKIYAN, archbishop of Istanbul, Constantinople, of the Armenians (TURKEY)

6. Archbishop Borys GUDZIAK, archbishop of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians (U.S.A.)

7. Archbishop Michel JALAKH, OAM, secretary of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

8. Bishop Joseph SRAMPICKAL, bishop of the Eparchy of Great Britain of the Syro-Malabars (GREAT BRITAIN)

9. Bishop Flaviano Rami AL-KABALAN, apostolic visitor for the Syrian Catholic Faithful residing in Europe and procurator of the Syrian Catholic Church in Rome (ITALY)

10. Father Filippo CIAMPANELLI, undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

11. Father John D. FARIS, corepiscop of the Maronite Church (LEBANON)

12. Father Daniel GALADZA, official of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

13. Dr. Daoud Boutros TAYEH, secretary-general of the Pastoral Council of the Maronite Eparchy of Jounieh (LEBANON).

Group 2

Listening to the cry of the poor (summary report 4 and 16)

1. Dr. Sandie CORNISH, professor of Social Doctrine of the Church in the Australian Catholic University in North Sydney (AUSTRALIA), member of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, coordinator

2. Cardinal Michael CZERNY, SI, prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development

3. Father Francis MAZZITELLI, FDP, head of the Office of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity

4. Sister Maria CIMPERMAN, RSCJ, professor of Theological Ethics and Consecrated Life in the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, U.S.A.

5. Dr. Joseph GUNN, executive director of the Oblate Centre, A Voice for Justice in Saint Paul University in Ottawa (CANADA)

6. Dr. Mauricio LÓPEZ OROPEZA, vice president of the Amazon Ecclesial Conference

7. Dr. Leocadie LUSHOMBO, professor of theological ethics in the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, U.S.A.

8. Professor Agnes BRAZAL, professor of theology in De La Salle University in Manila (PHILIPPINES)

Group 3

Mission in the digital environment (summary report 17)

1. Dr. Kim DANIELS, director of Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life in Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (U.S.A.), coordinator

2. Archbishop Rino FISICHELLA, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization (Section for Fundamental Issues of Evangelization in the World)

3. Dr. Paolo RUFFINI, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication

4. Bishop Paul Desmond TIGHE, secretary of the Dicastery for Culture and Education

5. Father Lucio Adrián RUIZ, secretary of the Dicastery for Communication

6. Father Antonino SPADARO, SI, undersecretary of the Dicastery f o r Culture and Education

7. Sister Nathalie BECQUART, Xavière, undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod

8. Father Joseph BORG, professor of media and communications in the University of Malta (MALTA)

Group 4

The revision of the Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis.

In a missionary synodal perspective (summary report 11)

1. Cardinal José COBO CANO, archbishop of Madrid ( SPAIN), coordinator

2.  Cardinal Jean-Claude HOLLERICH, SI, archbishop of Luxembourg (LUXEMBOURG), general rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

3. Cardinal Lazarus HEUNG-SIK, prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy

4. Father Eamonn MCLAUGHLIN, assistant undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Clergy for the Office of Formation.

5. Father Mario ANTONELLI, rector of the Pontifical Lombard Seminary in Rome (ITALY)

6. Father Hubertus BLAUMEISER, director of the magazine Ekklesía and member of the Study Center of the Focolare Movement (ITALY), consultor of the Dicastery for the Clergy

7. Father Andrew RECEPCIÓN, spiritual director of the Pontifical Philippine College in Rome (ITALY)

8. Father Guy BOGNON, PSS, secretary-general of the Pontifical Missionary Work of St. Peter the Apostle

9. Dr. María Lia ZERVINO of the Servidora Association, council member of the Laudato Si' Movement, consultant to the Dicastery for Bishops and the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue

Group 5

Some theological and canonical issues around specific ministerial forms (summary report 8 and 9)

The in-depth study of the issues at hand — particularly the question of the necessary participation of women in the life and leadership of the Church — has been entrusted to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the coordination of the secretary for the Doctrinal Section, Monsignor Armando MATTEO, and in dialogue with the Secretariat General of the Synod. The dicastery has initiated its study according to the procedures established in its own Rules of Procedure, with a view to the publication of an appropriate document.

Group 6

The revision, from a synodal and missionary perspective, of documents governing relations between bishops, consecrated life, Church aggregations (summary report 10)

1. Cardinal Joseph William TOBIN, CSR, archbishop of Newark (U.S.A.), coordinator

2. Cardinal Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization (Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches)

3. Cardinal João BRAZ DE AVIZ, prefect of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

4. Cardinal Kevin Joseph FARRELL, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life

5. Cardinal Robert Francis PREVOST, OSA, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops

6. Sister Simona BRAMBILLA, MC, secretary of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

7. Archbishop Luis MARÍN DE SAN MARTÍN, OSA, undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod

8. Dr. Linda GHISONI, undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life

Group 7

Some aspects of the figure and ministry of the bishop (particularly: criteria for the selection of candidates for the episcopate, judicial function of the bishop, nature and conduct of ad limina Apostolorum visits) in a missionary synodal perspective (summary report 12 and 13)

1. Archbishop Felix GENN, bishop of Münster (GERMANY), member of the Dicastery for Bishops, coordinator

2. Cardinal Luis G. TAGLE, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization (Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches)

3. Cardinal Jean-Claude HOLLERICH, SI, archbishop of Luxembourg (LUXEMBOURG), general rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

4.  Cardinal Leonardo Ulrich STEINER, OFM, archbishop of Manaus (BRAZIL), vice president of the Amazon Ecclesial Conference

5. Cardinal Mario GRECH, secretary-general of the General Secretariat of the Synod.

6. Cardinal Robert Francis PREVOST, OSA, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops

7. Cardinal Claudio GUGEROTTI, prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

8. Father Samuele SANGALLI, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization (Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches)

9. Father Giacomo COSTA, SI, president of the “San Fedele Cultural Foundation” in Milan (ITALY), Special Secretary of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

10. Sister Hermenegild MAKORO, CPS, former secretary-general of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa (SOUTH AFRICA)

11. Dr. Karlijn DEMASURE, head of the Centre for Safeguarding Minors and Vulnerable Persons in Saint Paul University in Ottawa (CANADA)

12. Dr. María Lia ZERVINO of the Servidora Association, council member of the Laudato Si' Movement, consultant to the Dicastery for Bishops and the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue

Subgroup in charge of deepening the topic of the bishop’s judicial function

1. Bishop Filippo IANNONE, O Carm, president of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts, coordinator

2. Father Ivan KOVAČ, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Bishops

3. Father Samuele SANGALLI, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization (Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches)

4. Father Markus GRAULICH, SDB, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts

5. Father Erwin José Aserios BALAGAPO, head of the Office of the Dicastery for Evangelization (Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches).

6. Father Francesco PANIZZOLO, OFM Conv, head of the Office of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (Disciplinary Section)

Group 8

The Role of Pontifical Representatives in Missionary Synodal Perspective (summary report 13)

1. Cardinal Oswald GRACIAS, archbishop of Bombay (INDIA), coordinator

2. Cardinal Mario GRECH, secretary-general of the General Secretariat of the Synod

3. Archbishop Antonio FILIPAZZI, apostolic nuncio to Poland

4. Archbishop Salvatore PENNACCHIO, president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy

5. Archbishop Luciano RUSSO, secretary for Papal Representations (Secretariat of State)

6. Father Joseph MURPHY, undersecretary for the Diplomatic Role Personnel of the Holy See (Secretariat of State)

7. Father Angelo TOGNONI of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, official of the Section for the Diplomatic Role Personnel of the Holy See (Secretariat of State)

8. Professor Myriam WIJLENS, professor of canon law in the Universität Erfurt (GERMANY), Consultant of the General Secretariat of the Synod

Group 9

Theological criteria and synodal methodologies for shared discernment of controversial doctrinal, pastoral, and ethical issues (summary report 15)

1. Archbishop Carlos Gustavo CASTILLO MATTASOGLIO, archbishop of Lima (PERU) and ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, coordinator

2. Archbishop Filippo IANNONE, O Carm, president of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts

3. Father Piero CODA, professor of dogmatic theology in the University Institute “Sophia” in Loppiano (ITALY), secretary-general of the International Theological Commission

4. Father Maurizio CHIODI, professor of moral theology at the Pontifical Theological Institute “John Paul II” in Rome (ITALY)

5. Father Carlo CASALONE, SI, professor of moral theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (ITALY) and coordinator of the Scientific Section of the Pontifical Academy for Life

6. Sister Josée NGALULA, RSA, professor of dogmatic theology in the Université Catholique du Congo in Kinshasa (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO), member of the International Theological Commission

7. Professor Stella MORRA, professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (ITALY) and consultor of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith

Group 10

The reception of the fruits of the ecumenical journey in Church practices (summary report 7)

1. Bishop Paul ROUHANA OLM, auxiliary bishop for Sarba of the Eparchy of Joubbé, Sarba ,and Jounieh (LEBANON), coordinator

2. Sister Nathalie BECQUART, Xavière, undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod

3. Father Juan USMA GÓMEZ, head of the Office of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

4. Father Anthony T. CURRER, official of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity

5. Father Hacynthe DESTIVELLE, OP, official of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity

6. Father Lawrence IWUAMADI, dean of the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey (SWITZERLAND)

7. Father Jorge Alejandro SCAMPINI, OP, professor of ecumenical theology in the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires (ARGENTINA)

8. Professor Astrid KAPTIJN, professor of canon law in the Université de Fribourg (SWITZERLAND), consultant of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

9. Professor Teresa Francesca ROSSI, professor of ecumenical theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome (ITALY)

Five additional study groups

Five Perspectives to Deepen Theologically in View of the Second Session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

Group 1

The synodal missionary face of the local church

1. Father Riccardo BATTOCCHIO, president of the Italian Theological Association (ITALY), special secretary of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, coordinator

2. Father Dario VITALI, professor of dogmatic theology in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (ITALY), coordinator of the theological experts of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, coordinator

3. Archbishop Roberto REPOLE, archbishop of Turin and bishop of Susa (ITALY)

4. Father Alphonse BORRAS, professor emeritus of canon law in the Université Catholique de Louvain (BELGIUM), consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod

5. Father Carlos María GALLI, dean of the faculty of theology in the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires (ARGENTINA), member of the International Theological Commission

6. Father Gilles ROUTHIER, professor of theology in the Université Laval (CANADA), consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod

7. Sister Maria CIMPERMAN, RSCJ, professor of theological ethics and consecrated life in the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, U.S.A.

Group 2

The synodal missionary face of Church groupings

1. Father Riccardo BATTOCCHIO, president of the Italian Theological Association (ITALY), special secretary of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, coordinator

2. Father Dario VITALI, professor of dogmatic theology in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (ITALY), coordinator of the theological experts of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, coordinator

3. Bishop Shane A. MACKINLAY, bishop of Sandhurst (AUSTRALIA)

4. Father Pedro BRASSESCO, assistant secretary-general of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (COLOMBIA)

5. Sister Birgit WEILER, MMS, professor of theology in the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima (PERU)

6. Professor Rafael LUCIANI, professor of theology in the Universidad Católica “Andrés Bello” in Caracas (VENEZUELA), member of the Theological- Pastoral Commission of CELAM

7. Professor Péter SZABÓ, professor of canon law in the Post-Gradual Institute of Canon Law in Budapest (HUNGARY), consultor of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

8. Professor Myriam WIJLENS, professor of canon law in the Universität Erfurt (GERMANY), consultant of the General Secretariat of the Synod

Group 3

The synodal missionary face of the universal Church

1. Father Riccardo BATTOCCHIO, president of the Italian Theological Association (ITALY), special secretary of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, coordinator

2. Father Dario VITALI, professor of dogmatic theology in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (ITALY), coordinator of the theological experts of the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, coordinator

3. Father Clarence S. DAVEDASSAN, professor of moral theology in the Catholic Research Centre in Kuala Lumpur (MALAYSIA)

4. Father Gaby Alfred HACHEM, professor of theology in the Université Saint- Esprit in Kaslik (LEBANON), member of the International Theological Commission

5. Father José SAN JOSÉ PRISCO, dean of the faculty of canon law in the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (SPAIN)

6. Father Hacynthe DESTIVELLE, OP, official of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity

7. Professor Catherine E. CLIFFORD, professor of systematic theology in Saint Paul University in Ottawa, CANADA.

Group 4

The synodal method

1. Father Piero CODA, professor of dogmatic theology in the University Institute “Sophia” in Loppiano (ITALY), secretary-general of the International Theological Commission, coordinator

2. Father Giacomo COSTA, SI, president of the “San Fedele Cultural Foundation” in Milan (ITALY), special secretary of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, coordinator

3. Father Philippe BORDEYNE, dean of the Pontifical Theological Institute “John Paul II” in Rome (ITALY), member of the Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life

4. Father Matteo VISIOLI, professor of canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (ITALY)

5. Father Ormond RUSH, professor of theology in the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane (AUSTRALIA), consultant to the General Secretariat of the Synod

6. Father Paul BÉRÉ, SI, professor of biblical sciences in the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (ITALY), consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod

7. Father Christoph THEOBALD, SI, professor emeritus of fundamental and dogmatic theology in the Facultés Loyola in Paris (FRANCE)

8. Father María Clara Lucchetti BINGEMER, professor of fundamental theology in the Pontificia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro (BRAZIL), consultant of the General Secretariat of the Synod

Group 5

The “place” of the synodal Church in mission

1. Father Piero CODA, professor of dogmatic theology in the University Institute “Sophia” in Loppiano (ITALY), secretary-general of the International Theological Commission, coordinator

2. Father Giuseppe BONFRATE, professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (ITALY), consultant of the General Secretariat of the Synod, coordinator

3. Bishop Jean-Marc EYCHENNE, bishop of Grenoble, Vienne (FRANCE)

4. Father Felix WILFRED, professor emeritus of theology in the State University of Madras, director of the Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies in Chennai (INDIA)

5. Sister Josée NGALULA, RSA, professor of dogmatic theology in the Université Catholique du Congo in Kinshasa (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO), member of the International Theological Commission

6. Professor Antonio AUTIERO, professor emeritus of moral theology at the Universität Münster (GERMANY)

7. Professor Ana María CELIS BRUNET, director of the Department of Canon Law in the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago de Chile (CHILE)

  1. Dr. Kim DANIELS, director of Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life in Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (U.S.A.)

Pope Francis spotted visiting Rome optometrist

Pope Francis gives a blessing to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square during his general audience on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. / Credit: Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jul 9, 2024 / 13:56 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis was spotted visiting his optometrist near the Spanish Steps on Monday afternoon.

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, the pope went to the eyewear store of Alessandro Spiezia to change out the lenses of his glasses after noting he was having difficulty reading his homily at a Mass over the weekend.

“I apologize for reading like this, but the sun moves everything for me,” Francis said in the northern Italian city of Trieste on July 7.

Photos of Francis’ approximately half-hour stop at the optometrist showed him surrounded by a crowd of lucky bystanders, who happened to catch sight of the pontiff during one of his rare secret excursions outside the Vatican walls.

After being driven up to the shop in his white Fiat 500, the pope had his vision tested and bought new lenses with the correct prescription but asked to keep the glasses frames he already had, Il Messaggero reported.

He also visited the same optometrist, located just a few steps from Piazza del Popolo in Rome’s historic center, in 2015. At the time, the pope needed to repair an arm of his eyeglasses.

According to Il Messaggero, Spiezia and his family, including son, Luca, and wife, Annamaria, have become friends of the pope over the years of his pontificate — even visiting him with other optometrists at his Santa Marta residence every year on the Dec. 13 feast of St. Lucy, a patron saint of the blind.

Pope Francis frequently wears glasses, especially when reading speeches, and had eye surgery for cataracts in 2019.

Oklahoma Catholic charter school to appeal to Supreme Court in public funding dispute

U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, D.C. / Credit: Bob Korn/Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Jul 9, 2024 / 13:02 pm (CNA).

A nascent Catholic charter school managed by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that it could not be funded using public taxpayer dollars.

St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, a joint project between the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa, was set to launch in August as an online, tuition-free, Catholic K–12 charter school based out of Oklahoma City.

In the U.S., charter schools are free, publicly funded schools that have greater flexibility in their operations and management than traditional public schools. In a lawsuit last year, state Attorney General Gentner Drummond had asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to declare the state’s contract with the school unconstitutional on the grounds that it constituted public funding of a religious institution.

The court last month agreed, ordering the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board to rescind its contract with the virtual Catholic charter school. 

The archdiocese said this week that the school will appeal that decision. 

“The school plans to seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court,” archdiocese spokesman John Helsley told CNA via email on Tuesday. 

The school is working with attorneys from the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Clinic, which is part of the Notre Dame Law School Religious Liberty Initiative. 

Oklahoma state law says that charter schools must be “nonsectarian” in their “programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations.” The Oklahoma Constitution forbids government funding of “any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion.”

The Catholic charter school’s board told CNA last year that the attorney general’s lawsuit “employs the language of fear and discrimination, twists the law of religious liberty beyond recognition, and ignores the very real successes of faith-based schools in our country.”

Drummond, meanwhile, had argued the school’s contract approval “violated the religious liberty of every Oklahoman” by forcing state residents to fund “the teachings of a specific religious sect with our tax dollars.”

The Oklahoma dispute follows several recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in favor of some public funding of religious institutions. 

A 2022 Supreme Court ruling in Carson v. Makin found that Maine couldn’t exclude religious schools from a tuition aid program. The ruling found that the state violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment by excluding “otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise.” 

The court’s ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, meanwhile, found that Montana’s Blaine Amendment, which prohibited religious schools from participating in a state scholarship program, violated the First Amendment.

Ukrainian Greek archbishop condemns ‘horrifying’ attack on children’s hospital

Smoke billows into the air behind a Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, after a missile attack on July 8, 2024. / Credit: Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

CNA Staff, Jul 9, 2024 / 12:19 pm (CNA).

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) has condemned a “horrifying” alleged Russian attack that struck a children’s hospital in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

A Monday press release on the UGCC’s website said that Russian forces had “launched a massive missile attack” that resulted in hits on the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital as well as “a private maternity hospital in Kyiv.”

UGCC head Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said in a video accompanying the release that the strike was “a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance.”

“It is horrifying to see that the children who came to save their lives in the artificial kidney center were ruthlessly killed by Russian criminals,” the prelate said in the release. 

Russia has denied responsibility for the attack.

The bishop said that many of the children in the hospital “were on the verge of death” at the time of the strike, according to the news release, with many “undergoing surgery at the time.”

“In the name of God, with all our resolve, we condemn this crime against humanity,” the archbishop said. 

Rescue workers were still clearing the rubble, Sviatoslav said, but “we already know about dozens of dead and around a hundred injured.”

First responders were “standing in a chain and dismantling stones to save more children whose hearts are beating under the rubble,” he said.

The prelate described the strike as “not only a crime against human laws and … international rules of warfare” but also “a sin that cries for vengeance to heaven, according to Christian morality.”

“Today we cry with all the victims, we pray for all the perished, especially the innocent children,” Sviatoslav said. “We want to wrap all the wounded with our Christian love, all those who are hurting the most.”

“Lord, by your power, instill in us hope for the protection of the lives of our children and women. Merciful God, bless our long-suffering Ukrainian land with your just peace!” the archbishop said.

The Russian government, meanwhile, denied responsibility for the attack, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling media on Tuesday that the country’s military does not target civilian structures. 

Peskov alleged that the strike was instead caused by “a falling anti-missile system” used by Ukraine.

GOP softens pro-marriage language in 2024 platform

null / Credit: vectorfusionart/Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Jul 9, 2024 / 11:45 am (CNA).

The Republican Party’s 2024 platform has notably softened the party’s stance on marriage, pulling back from earlier language that affirmed the traditional definition of marriage and denounced the Supreme Court’s earlier rulings on the matter.

In its 2016 platform, the GOP had defended “traditional marriage and family,” which it said was “based on marriage between one man and one woman” and constituted the “foundation for a free society.”

The 2016 platform directly criticized the 2013 Supreme Court ruling on United States v. Windsor, which said that the federal government could not treat state-sanctioned same-sex “marriages” differently from traditional heterosexual marriages. 

The platform also condemned the landmark 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriages throughout the U.S. The Obergefell ruling “robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” the party said.

The Republican Party did not release an updated platform in 2020. However, in its 2024 platform, the GOP significantly dialed back its language on marriage, remarking on it only briefly while vowing to “empower American families.”

“Republicans will promote a culture that values the sanctity of marriage, the blessings of childhood, the foundational role of families, and supports working parents,” the platform says. “We will end policies that punish families.”

The GOP’s 2024 platform is largely seen as being heavily guided by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. CBS News referred to the document as “Trump-influenced,” while NPR said the platform “follows Trump’s lead.”

Trump has given conflicting answers on same-sex marriage in the past, though in 2016 he said he was “fine” with the Supreme Court’s ruling on that policy, and in 2019 one of his advisors reaffirmed his acceptance of “gay marriage.”

The GOP platform has softened in other ways since 2016. The 2024 Republican National Convention’s platform committee also moved this week to adopt new language regarding abortion, removing from the platform a “right to life” plank as well as a call for a national law protecting unborn life.

Previous versions of the document said that unborn children have a “fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed” and called for a constitutional amendment to guarantee that right. 

But this year’s platform uses much more moderate language and emphasizes the role of states in protecting life.

“We proudly stand for families and life,” the new document reads. “We believe that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no person can be denied life or liberty without due process and that the states are, therefore, free to pass laws protecting those rights.”

Sustained pushback against abortion, gender ideology at OAS meeting 

Members of the civil society organization Actívate (Get Active) celebrated the appointment of new judges to the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights, especially highlighting the election of Peruvian Alberto Borea and Paraguayan Diego Moreno "for not being promoters of abortion." / Credit: Actívate

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 9, 2024 / 08:00 am (CNA).

The 54th regular session of the general assembly of the Organization of American States was held from June 26–28 in Paraguay. The event brought together representatives from various countries and civil society organizations to discuss various issues, including life and gender ideology.

The digital platform Actívate (Get Active), which represents more than 20 civil society organizations, attended this assembly and shared its conclusions with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.

Actívate reported in a statement that at the session, civil society representatives from Mexico, El Salvador, and Paraguay “firmly opposed the establishment of a progressivist regime and against supposed ‘reproductive rights.’”

According to the platform, many participating countries faced pressure to adopt “an anti-life agenda,” which included allocating resources to promote “abortion, the morning-after pill, and eliminating their classification from the penal code.”

The digital platform also denounced the “widespread discrimination and censorship in Latin America against people and groups that defend fundamental rights such as life, family, and freedoms, labeling us as ‘anti-rights’ and ‘conservative,’ forcing us to remain silent or change our discourse.” 

Actívate also celebrated the appointment of new judges to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, especially highlighting the election of Peruvian Alberto Borea and Paraguayan Diego Moreno “for not being promoters of abortion.”

Paraguay stands for life, family, sovereignty

Especially notable during the assembly were statements by the deputy minister of foreign affairs of Paraguay, Víctor Alfredo Verdún Bitar, because of his country’s position on issues such as abortion and gender ideology.

Verdún made it clear that in Paraguay the national constitution establishes “that the right to life is inherent to the human person, guaranteeing its protection in general, from conception.”

The Paraguayan official advocated for “equality of rights between both sexes,” in line with the constitutional framework of his country, and referred to an interpretation of the term “gender” based on the biological sex of people, “recognizing only two categories: man and woman."

He also highlighted the need to use “clear and precise terms, avoiding ambiguities in their interpretation and ensuring consistency with the legal system.”

Regarding equality and nondiscrimination, the deputy minister of foreign affairs stressed that, although “individual freedoms and the intrinsic dignity of each human being are the fundamental pillars of our fight against discrimination,” these positions “should in no case compromise the fundamental freedoms of people.” 

Verdún said that in his country, Paraguayans “reject any attempt to use the argument of hate speech to silence voices from some sectors.”

The Paraguayan official stressed that “none of the positions that Paraguay holds involve discrimination, hatred, or any setback.” On the contrary, he said, “by constitutional principle, Paraguay defends nondiscrimination, equality before the law, and fundamental freedoms, including religious and ideological freedom, as well as freedom of speech and thought.”

He also encouraged all countries in the region to “build bridges that allow us to move forward, avoiding impositions that only deepen divisions and polarizations.” He ended his speech by stating: “And finally, I wish to state for the record so that there may be no doubt that Paraguay is life, Paraguay is family, and Paraguay is sovereign.”

Paraguay’s position hailed

Rodrigo Iván Cortés, president of the National Front for the Family of Mexico and vice president of the Political Network for Values, applauded “the strength, clarity, and positivity” of the message that Verdún gave.

Through a video shared on social media, the pro-family leader applauded the government representative for making it clear “that the fundamental right is life and is also based on the constitution itself.” Cortés also expressed his appreciation for Paraguay taking a position against the use of the term “hate speech to cancel the voices of those who defend life, family, and freedoms.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Vatican prohibits customary Traditional Latin Mass for pilgrims in Spain 

Our Lady of Christendom is an annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Covadonga (Asturias) that takes place around the feast of St. James the Apostle (July 25), patron saint of Spain. / Credit: Our Lady of Christendom Pilgrimage

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 9, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

The Vatican has prohibited the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Covadonga, a rite that customarily takes place at the conclusion of the annual Our Lady of Christendom pilgrimage in Spain.  

The organizers of the fourth edition of the pilgrimage announced the prohibition in a July 6 post on X: “At the Archdiocese of Oviedo they have informed us that they have received instructions from the Dicastery for Divine Worship stating that the Traditional Holy Mass is not to be celebrated in Covadonga.” 

The pilgrimage will take place from July 27–29 starting out from Oviedo. Our Lady of Christendom explains on its website that the pilgrimage “is organized by a group of faithful lay Catholics devoted to the celebration of the Holy Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite,” otherwise known as the Traditional Latin Mass or the Tridentine Mass.

“The aim of the pilgrimage is the sanctification of the soul through the graces requested from Our Lord, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, offering prayers, sacrifices, and mortifications for three days. In these days of pilgrimage we especially commend our homeland and the Holy Father [to the Lord],” the website states.

The organizers note that the pilgrimage of about 60 miles “is independent of any institute, community, or religious organization.”

According to the Archdiocese of Oviedo, this devotion to the Virgin Mary at what is now the shrine in Covadonga dates back to “many years before the battle of Covadonga” in which the Christians led by King Don Pelayo defeated the invading Muslim army in the eighth century A.D. 

“Currently Covadonga receives more than a million visitors throughout the year from the five continents,” the Spanish archdiocese states on its webpage about the shrine.

‘Not a reason to be sad’

Given the prohibition of offering the TLM at the basilica at the conclusion of the pilgrimage, the organizers said in their announcement on X that this year the Mass on the third day will be celebrated in the pilgrims’ camp in the morning before completing the final leg of the pilgrimage. This Mass will be in the extraordinary form.

“This circumstance should not be a reason for sadness but should encourage us to persevere in the love and devotion that we profess for the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar within Holy Mother the Church,” they stated.

Instead of Mass, “upon arriving at Covadonga, the singing of the Te Deum will take place before the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed and the consecration to the Blessed Virgin will take place to conclude the pilgrimage,” the organizers of Our Lady of Christendom stated.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

New Instrumentum Laboris focuses on how to implement goals of Synod on Synodality

Bishops process into St. Peter's Basilica for the closing Mass of the first assembly of the Synod on Synodality on Oct. 29, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, Jul 9, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

The guiding document for the final part of the Synod on Synodality, published Tuesday, focuses on how to implement certain of the synod’s aims while laying aside some of the more controversial topics from last year’s gathering, such as women’s admission to the diaconate.

“Without tangible changes, the vision of a synodal Church will not be credible,” the Instrumentum Laboris, or “working tool,” says.

The six sections of the roughly 30-page document will be the subject of prayer, conversation, and discernment by participants in the second session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held throughout the month of October in Rome.

Instead of focusing on questions and “convergences,” as in last year’s Instrumentum Laboris, “it is now necessary that ... a consensus can be reached,” said a FAQ page from synod organizers, also released July 9, answering a question about why the structure was different from last year’s Instrumentum Laboris.

The guiding document for the first session of the Synod on Synodality in 2023 covered such hot-button topics as women deacons, priestly celibacy, and LGBTQ outreach.

By contrast, this year’s text mostly avoids these subjects while offering concrete proposals for instituting a listening and accompaniment ministry, greater lay involvement in parish economics and finances, and more powerful parish councils.

“It is difficult to imagine a more effective way to promote a synodal Church than the participation of all in decision-making and taking processes,” it states.

The working tool also refers to the 10 study groups formed late last year to tackle different themes deemed “matters of great relevance” by the synod’s first session in October 2023. These groups will continue to meet through June 2025 but will provide an update on their progress at the second session in October.

The possibility of the admission of women to the diaconate will not be a topic during the upcoming assembly, the Instrumentum Laboris said.

The new document was presented at a July 9 press conference by Cardinals Mario Grech and Jean-Claude Hollerich, together with the special secretaries of the synodal assembly: Jesuit Father Giacomo Costa and Father Riccardo Battocchio. 

“The synod is already changing our way of being and living the Church regardless of the October assembly,” Hollerich said, pointing to testimonies shared in the most recent reports sent by bishops’ conferences.

The Oct. 2–27 gathering of the Synod on Synodality will mark the end of the discernment phase of the Church’s synodal process, which Pope Francis opened in 2021.

Participants in the fall meeting, including Catholic bishops, priests, religious, and laypeople from around the world, will use the Instrumentum Laboris as a guide for their “conversations in the Spirit,” the method of discussion introduced at the 2023 assembly. They will also prepare and vote on the Synod on Synodality’s advisory final document, which will then be given to the pope, who decides the Church’s next steps and if he wishes to adopt the text as a papal document or to write his own.

The third phase of the synod — after “the consultation of the people of God” and “the discernment of the pastors” — will be “implementation,” according to organizers.

Prominent topics

The 2024 Instrumentum Laboris also addresses the need for transparency to restore the Church’s credibility in the face of sexual abuse of adults and minors and financial scandals.

“If the synodal Church wants to be welcoming,” the document reads, “then accountability and transparency must be at the core of its action at all levels, not only at the level of authority.”

It recommends effective lay involvement in pastoral and economic planning, the publication of annual financial statements certified by external auditors, annual summaries of safeguarding initiatives, the promotion of women to positions of authority, and periodic performance evaluations on those exercising a ministry or holding a position in the Church.

“These are points of great importance and urgency for the credibility of the synodal process and its implementation,” the document says.

The greater participation of women in all levels of the Church, a reform of the education of priests, and greater formation for all Catholics are also included in the text.

Bishops’ conferences, it says, noticed an untapped potential for women’s participation in many areas of Church life. “They also call for further exploration of ministerial and pastoral modalities that better express the charisms and gifts the Spirit pours out on women in response to the pastoral needs of our time,” the document states.

Formation in listening is identified as “an essential initial requirement” for Catholics, as well as how to engage in the practice of “conversation in the Spirit,” which was employed in the first session of the Synod on Synodality.

Pope Francis and delegates at the Synod on Synodality at the conclusion of the assembly on Oct. 28, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media
Pope Francis and delegates at the Synod on Synodality at the conclusion of the assembly on Oct. 28, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

The document says the need for formation has been one of the most universal and strong themes throughout the synodal process. Interreligious dialogue also is identified as an important aspect of the synodal journey.

On the topic of the liturgy, the Instrumentum Laboris says there was “a call for adequately trained lay men and women to contribute to preaching the Word of God, including during the celebration of the Eucharist.”

“It is necessary that the pastoral proposals and liturgical practices preserve and make ever more evident the link between the journey of Christian initiation and the synodal and missionary life of the Church,” the document says. “The appropriate pastoral and liturgical arrangements must be developed in the plurality of situations and cultures in which the local Churches are immersed …”

How it was drafted

Dubbed the “Instrumentum Laboris 2,” the document released Tuesday has been in preparation since early June when approximately 20 experts in theology, ecclesiology, and canon law held a closed-door meeting to analyze approximately 200 synod reports from bishops’ conferences and religious communities responding to what the Instrumentum Laboris called “the guiding question” of the next stage of the Synod on Synodality: “How to be a synodal Church in mission?”

After the 10-day gathering, “an initial version” of the text was drafted based on those reports and sent to about 70 people — priests, religious, and laypeople — “from all over the world, of various ecclesial sensitivities and from different theological ‘schools,’” for consultation, according to the synod website.

The 16th Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod, together with consultants of the synod secretariat, finalized the document.

According to the working tool, soliciting new reports and feedback after the consultation phase ended is “consistent with the circularity characterizing the whole synodal process.” 

“In preparation for the second session, and during its work, we continue to address this question: How can the identity of the synodal people of God in mission take concrete form in the relationships, paths, and places where the everyday life of the Church takes place?” it says.

The document says “other questions that emerged during the journey are the subject of work that continues in other ways, at the level of the local Churches as well as in the 10 study groups.”

Expectations for final session

According to the guiding document, the second session of the Synod on Synodality can “expect a further deepening of the shared understanding of synodality, a better focus on the practices of a synodal Church, and the proposal of some changes in canon law [there may be yet more significant and profound developments as the basic proposal is further assimilated and lived].”

“Nonetheless,” it continues, “we cannot expect the answer to every question. In addition, other proposals will emerge along the way, on the path of conversion and reform that the second session will invite the whole Church to undertake.”

The Instrumentum Laboris says: “Synodality is not an end in itself … If the second session is to focus on certain aspects of synodal life, it does so with a view to greater effectiveness in mission.”

In its brief conclusion, the text states: “The questions that the Instrumentum Laboris asks are: how to be a synodal Church in mission; how to engage in deep listening and dialogue; how to be co-responsible in the light of the dynamism of our personal and communal baptismal vocation; how to transform structures and processes so that all may participate and share the charisms that the Spirit pours out on each for the common good; how to exercise power and authority as service. Each of these questions is a service to the Church and, through its action, to the possibility of healing the deepest wounds of our time.”

‘Always smiling’: Chiara Corbella’s father remembers her joy, faith

Roberto Corbella (center, with tie) and other family and friends of Chiara Corbella Petrillo attend the closing of the diocesan phase of the investigation into her life and virtues in Rome on Friday, June 21, 2024 / Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA

Vatican City, Jul 9, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

Last month, the Diocese of Rome closed its investigation into the virtues and reputation for holiness of Chiara Corbella Petrillo, a 28-year-old wife and mother who died in 2012 from cancer after delaying treatment until after the birth of her son. 

Chiara is known for her joy and simple faith — which persevered even after the young bride and her husband, Enrico Petrillo, experienced the devastating loss of their first two children shortly following birth.

“One of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying ‘I am good,’” Chiara’s father, Roberto Corbella, told CNA at the closing ceremony for the diocesan phase of her cause for beatification at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on June 21.

With the closing of the diocesan phase, documented testimonies and other materials will now be sent to the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints for further scrutiny. The next step in the process will be for the pope to recognize her as someone who lived a life of heroic virtue and declare her venerable.

Chiara was “always smiling, loved a joke … always ready to find the bright side of things. And she didn’t take herself too seriously,” Corbella recalled.

“The fact that we see that so many people in the world rely on her helps us to accept [her death] better, in the sense that it’s clear that I would rather ... still have her sitting on my lap,” he said with tears in his eyes. “But seeing so many people ask for her help certainly makes us accept everything much better.”

Below is a lightly edited version of CNA’s full interview with Roberto Corbella.

CNA: Who was Chiara?

Roberto Corbella: I think Chiara was the daughter everyone would wish to have — a very cheerful child, very attentive to everything around her, people, but also animals, things. She was very curious and took care of everything around her. Always smiling, loved a joke, so always ready to find the bright side of things. And she didn’t take herself too seriously.

Do you have a favorite memory with Chiara? 

I have so many beautiful memories. Maybe the moment I always remember with the most joy is after lunch, when Chiara had the habit of sitting on my knee. She would do this even as a grown up, even after she was married. When she would come to lunch at our house, after lunch [she would sit on my knee]. It was her way of showing affection.

After seeing your daughter experience great suffering together with her husband, Enrico, has your perspective on pain and suffering changed?

Chiara was always very careful to not let us see her suffer. When she felt very bad during her illness, she would go back into her room saying she didn’t feel very well. She never complained, never let us see [her suffering]. Actually, she minimized what she was going through, so we only partially realized what her real situation was. But certainly, yes, she taught me to understand that everything is relative in life. We complain daily — “It’s so hot today” — everyone complains. And then in a little while, we will complain it is too cold. There are some things that are part of life that are natural. Chiara was able to bear them, clearly because of her great faith. 

How does it feel to have a daughter who is now known around the world for her faith?

I always say that we are lucky parents, because every day, watching the news, we hear of young kids who have died in violent situations ... Meanwhile, she left us with a smile, meanwhile, she left after telling us all, “I love you.”

Then, the fact that we see that so many people in the world rely on her, helps us to accept [her death] better, in the sense that it’s clear that rather than being here today doing this [interview], I would rather still have her sitting on my lap. But seeing so many people ask for her help certainly makes us accept everything much better. 

“One of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying ‘I am good,’” Chiara’s father, Roberto Corbella, told CNA at the closing ceremony for the diocesan phase of her cause for beatification at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on June 21, 2024. Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA
“One of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying ‘I am good,’” Chiara’s father, Roberto Corbella, told CNA at the closing ceremony for the diocesan phase of her cause for beatification at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on June 21, 2024. Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA

Has this experience changed something for you and your experience of God, faith, the Church?

Well, yes. I always say that I was the most secular of the family, because Chiara, her sister, her mother, they always attended church. I was one of what Pope Francis calls “the Sunday Catholics.” I would go to Mass, but I was just doing the expected things, though, not particularly driven. I often find myself questioning. The road is very long, at least for me, so I’m trying to learn.

What was Chiara’s faith and prayer like, especially as she was part of a world and generation that is practicing the faith less and less?

I would say [Chiara lived the faith] very simply and very naturally. From when she was a very young child, her mom brought her, together with her sister, to a prayer group. So she grew up in this group of children who met regularly, prayed and so on, and so she developed a very strong inner faith. Both her and her sister would find time to devote to prayer every day. They would lock themselves in their room in silence. It was more of a listening prayer than a verbal prayer. This marked her throughout her life — then there were evolutions: Her adult life, during the period of her relationship [with future husband Enrico] she leaned on the friars in Assisi; there she did vocation courses with the [youth center] and ... There she came back to give witness talks after losing her first child. And there she returned when she was in crisis with Enrico [during their engagement], and then there they got married. So she matured. But one of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying “I am good...”

She had relationships with everybody, even people absolutely contrary to the faith. And she didn’t discount [their lack of faith] but she didn’t judge anybody or criticize anybody. It was more her example, her knowing how to listen, that made an impact. So a simple faith. Chiara was what you call a “fresh-faced” girl or “the girl next door.” She was very simple: jeans, a T-shirt. Compared to her sister or her mother, her makeup took 30 seconds, so she was always very quick. I think that’s what gets transmitted more, especially to young people. Today Chiara is appreciated because they see her as one of them. I always say if she was still here today she would blend in with the others. 

What is the message Chiara would have wanted to share with the world and which you carry in your heart?

I would say maybe the most relevant message in these times is the message of peace. Chiara as a child lived through the war in Yugoslavia. She was very little, seeing the news on the television, and she was very upset to see these people who were affected. So today she would have a hard time accepting what is going on around the world in so many places and which unfortunately many people are helping to fuel. Therefore I think we need to lower the tensions and try to think about peace. 

How is Chiara’s living son, Francesco, doing?

Francesco recently turned 13 years old and he’s already as tall as his grandma ... He is very much like Chiara. When he was very small, not just physically, but his gifts, his characteristics, his creative abilities, and so on. Otherwise, he’s a 13-year-old, so wild and used to doing what 13-year-olds do. But a nice grandson. We also have three other grandchildren.

Catholic Charities responds to Hurricane Beryl power outages and flooding

Hurricane Beryl hit Texas early Monday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, claiming two lives and causing power outages in 2.7 million homes in Houston. / Credit: EWTN News Nightly/Screenshot

CNA Staff, Jul 8, 2024 / 19:15 pm (CNA).

After Hurricane Beryl hit Texas early Monday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, claiming two lives and causing power outages in 2.7 million homes in Houston, the head of a local branch of Catholic Charities providing relief told EWTN: “We lean on our faith.”

Hurricane Beryl made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at about 4 a.m. local time on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Designated as a tropical storm on Monday afternoon, the storm that first began as a Category 5 hurricane in the Caribbean islands wreaked havoc and caused widespread flooding in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas. 

Cynthia Colbert, the president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, the region hardest hit by Beryl, spoke to EWTN News’ Montse Alvarado about local needs.  

“With faith and grit and hard work, we’re going to get back to where we were pre-hurricane,” she said on “EWTN News Nightly.”

Colbert explained that Catholic Charities is “one of the early responders” and will be providing some financial assistance, food, cleaning supplies, and more long-term support for those who need it.

“We try to meet the basic needs that people have after the initial storm has passed,” she said.

“We’ll be providing things to help people meet their basic needs,” Colbert continued. “For example, if they’ve had rain damage in their home or anything else, they might not be able to go to work. Maybe they’ve lost their car, they’ve lost all the food in their refrigerator because they don’t have power.”

Those with more long-term needs may have fewer resources or were uninsured or underinsured for the storm, Colbert explained. 

“If they have damage to their home, they’re going to need repairs. We’ll be calling on the community to help with repairs [in the] longer term,” she said. “We provide case management that helps people get back on their feet to pretty much how life was before the storm.” 

When asked about how locals in the Greater Gulf area endure the barrage of storms over the past 15 years, Colbert explained that they all pitch in. 

“I will tell you what I know about Houston in our region and our Catholic Church,” she said. “We are a resilient group. We know how to get together to help the community recover.”

“What you’ll see is Knights of Columbus, we’ll have the St. Vincent de Paul, other Catholic parishes with ministries, we’ll all pitch in and do what we can to help the community recover,” Colbert continued.

“What I know about Houston, we are resilient, we’re collaborative, we lean on our faith,” she continued. “We know that God has a plan, and he has us in the palm of his hands.”

Before it reached Houston, Hurricane Beryl devastated Grenada, where it made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane on July 1. 

“In Grenada, a reported 98% of buildings — home to some 6,000 people — are damaged or destroyed,” a statement from CRS said. “Most families there collect rain from rooftops, which is a low-cost way to store drinking water. With such extreme damage to homes, drinking water is now running out.”

“People in Grenada have described the island as almost entirely homeless — and residents are in urgent need of shelter support, clean water, hygiene supplies, food, and other assistance,” the statement continued. “Especially for families who have lost their homes and assets, immediate safety from the elements is a high priority.”

To support the relief efforts, visit Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services.