The murder case of Blessed Oscar Romero was reopened May 18, nearly 40 years after the Archbishop of San Salvador was killed. CNS photo/Roberto Escobar, EPA

Romero murder re-opened, new Cuban church, priest stabbed: News and Notes

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  • May 23, 2017

News and notes from around the Catholic world as collected by The Catholic Register.

ROMERO MURDER RE-OPENED: A judge has reopened the case of the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was killed in San Salvador in 1980 and beatified as a martyr in 2015. The judge, Ricardo Chicas, asked prosecutors to press charges against Alvaro Rafael Saravia, who is the main suspect in the case.

In 1993, charges against him were dropped because of an amnesty law that forbid trials resulting from the country’s 1980-92 civil war. Last year a constitutional court repealed that law.

Romero, who was outspoken in his country on social justice issues, was 62 when he was shot dead as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel.


NEW CUBAN CHURCH: Funded by a parish in Florida, a new Catholic church is being built in Cuba — the first the island nation has seen in 60 years.

The St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Tampa provided $95,000 in donations for the church’s construction in Sandino, Cuba, and is expected to be completed early next year.

The new church, alongside a refurbished synagogue in Havana, shows Cuba’s progress in religious freedom since Fidel Castro ushered in communism during his revolution in the 1960s. Atheism was established as the belief system for the entire state and many religious leaders were faced with persecution. In 1992, however, Cuba was made a secular state.


DOOR-TO-DOOR POPE: Like parish priests throughout Italy do during the Easter season, Pope Francis spent an afternoon May 19 going door to door and blessing homes.

Continuing the “Mercy Friday” visits he began during the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis chose a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb.

Signs were put up May 17 announcing a priest would be visiting the neighbourhood to bless houses.

“It was a great surprise today when, instead of the pastor, the one ringing the door bells was Pope Francis,” the Vatican press office said.

“With great simplicity, he interacted with the families, he blessed a dozen apartments” and left rosaries for the residents.


PRIEST STABBED: A Mexican priest was left partially paralyzed after being was stabbed in the neck and torso at the conclusion of saying Mass in a Mexico City cathedral on May 15. Fr. José Miguel Machorro Alcalá, 55, has remained in serious condition after the attack in which witnesses reported that it appeared the attacker’s intention was to slit the priest’s throat.

The suspect, detained at the scene, has been identified as John Rock Schild, who claimed he is an artist from the United States.


SINGLE SYSTEM: The public school board in Red Deer, Alta., has become the first in the province to officially support a single publicly-funded school system.

“Having two publicly funded education systems is something that rose out of history and is no longer relevant to the way we do things,” Red Deer public school board chairwoman Bev Manning told the Edmonton Journal after the board voted 4-3 in favour of a single system on May 10.

Guy Pelletier, chairman of the Red Deer Catholic school board, said it’s “a bit difficult not to take a motion like this personally.”

Under the Alberta Act of 1905, Catholics gained the right to a separate publicly funded board. Saskatchewan and Ontario are the other provinces that fund a Catholic school system.


MESSENGER CLOSING: The Prairie Messenger, which has been publishing Catholic news in Canada’s west for more than 90 years, will print its final newspaper in May 2018. The Messenger’s board of governors, the monastic community of St. Peter’s Abbey, decided “it could not carry a debt that has ballooned to more than $200,000 a year,” said Abbot Peter Novecosky.

“Like a number of other religious and secular newspapers, we are affected by the changing times,” he wrote in a message to readers. “The Internet and social media have changed the way people access news today. Our subscription base has fallen below 4,000 weekly subscribers.”


FRENCH BOARD TOPS: The French Catholic school board based in Windsor, is best of class for high school graduation rates among Ontario’s school boards.

Provincial figures show 94.9 per cent of secondary students in Conseil scolaire catholique Providence graduate in four years. The board covers an area from Windsor to Woodstock.

The French public school board was second at 88 per cent while the provincial average is 79.6 per cent.


KENNY HONOURED: Sr. Nuala Kenny, Canadian bioethicist and educator, has earned one more degree to add her already impressive collection.

St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia announced May 9 Kenny will be awarded the school’s highest honour, the Doctor of Sacred Letters. The honour is in recognition of Kenny’s work in child health, medical education and bioethics.

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