Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

OAKLAND, Calif. – The local Catholic community in Oakland – parishioners, priests, school students and Catholic Charities' workers – have been offering prayers and support for victims of the Dec. 2 fire that erupted in an Oakland warehouse, killing 36.

KINSHASA, Congo – Congolese President Joseph Kabila expressed support for Catholic bishops' efforts to mediate a constitutional crisis after he extended his term in office.

WASHINGTON – Faith leaders and immigrant advocates urged President Barack Obama to pardon immigrants in the country without legal documentation and people with nonviolent, federal drug offences serving prison sentences.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, making him the first martyr born in the United States.

BRUSSELS – Pax Christi International has called for a new peace process to end violence among Israelis and Palestinians and assure fundamental human rights as defined by international law.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – St. Mary's Catholic Church was at ground zero in the wildfires that devastated parts of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Nov. 28, and while flames reached to within yards of the tourist city church, it appears to have been spared.

PARIS – The president of the French bishops' conference wrote French President Francois Hollande to express his worries about fast-tracked legislation that would extend illegal interference on abortions to websites. Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille, president, said the bishops think the legislation questions the very foundations of liberties in France, and he urged Hollande to not allow the bill's passage.

VATICAN CITY – After meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the Pope confirmed he will visit Ireland in 2018 and that trip organizers would look at the possibility of a stop in Northern Ireland.

BHOPAL, India – The grave of a nun murdered in central India 21 years ago has been exhumed as part of a process that may eventually lead to her canonization.

WASHINGTON – The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities has called for increased efforts and "renewed vigor" to stop legalized physician-assisted suicide after the practice was approved by voters in Colorado and the District of Columbia City Council.