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New building, new priests, saying goodbye mark 2017

For Catholics in Northwest Kansas, the biggest story of the year here came on Oct. 3, when Pope Francis announced that Bishop Edward Weisenburger would become the next bishop of Tucson, Ariz.  Nearly six years after he became bishop of the Diocese of Salina, the faithful learned he would be leaving.  On Nov. 29, he was installed as the Diocese of Tucson’s seventh bishop.

Absent a bishop, the Salina Diocese is overseen by an administrator, Father Frank Coady, who was appointed Dec. 1 by the diocesan consultors — a board of nine priests from the Salina Diocese — to serve until a new bishop is installed.

During his press converence in Tucson, Bishop Weisenburger lauded some of the diocese’s high points from 2017. The first was the opening of a new headquarters for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas. The new building, located at 1500 S. Ninth in Salina, is more than 16,000 square feet. It more than doubles the amount of space for the organization. The new building was blessed March 25 and open for business April 3.

“We are very excited about the possibilities with our new facilities to help more people in poverty,” said Michelle Martin, executive director of Catholic Charities.  Permanent Deacon Larry Erpelding, who is the president of the Catholic Charities Board, said: “It is a new home, a home which has great promise in terms of potential for what Catholic Charities will be able to do in the future.”

The purchase of the building and the bulk of the construction was made possible by an anonymous donor.  Even though it is in a new facility, the majority of Catholic Charities’ budget continues to come from donations. 

“As we have moved away from government-supported grants, the support of donors has become even increasingly important,” Martin said. “We have been blessed by the faithful support of so many people and remain humbled and grateful.”

Another highlight of 2017 was the ordination of three men to the priesthood.  Father Leo Blasi, Father Ryan McCandless and Father Justin Palmer were ordained as priests June 3 in Sacred Heart Cathedral. The last time three were ordained to the priesthood on the same date was June 2, 1962 in the cathedral.  Father Palmer celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Wenceslaus on June 4, exactly 55 years after his late great-uncle, Father Maurice Ptacek, offered his own Mass of Thanksgiving at the same church.

Father Don McCarthy, a priest for 58 years, was buried Dec. 4 in Cawker City

The Register

Cawker City — An overflowing crowd filled SS. Peter and Paul Church and echoed the chorus of the “Lilies of the Field” for the Great Amen during the Dec. 4 Funeral Mass for Father Don McCarthy.  Father McCarthy, who was a priest for more than 58 years, died Nov. 27.  “I gotta give him credit, the whole purpose was to get people to sing,” said Father Damian Richards during the homily. “(Lilies of the Field Amen) did what it was designed to do. That amen is proof of the hope of God. There was no way you could sing that song sadly. It’s impossible. It’s a joyful song. It reflected that joy and hope.”

More than 300 people, young and old, as well as 40 priests gathered to say goodbye to Father McCarthy.  He was a pastor, in addition to working in administration in nearly every Catholic high school in the diocese, and a few grade schools, too. In addition to parish and school duties, Father McCarthy was a high school athletics referee for 50 years.  “I asked ‘Why do you referee,’ ” Father Richards said. “He said ‘So I can be there among the people and be there among the youth.’  “I’ve met people that ‘The reason why I am Catholic is that Fr. Don was a referee while I was wrestling or while I was playing football’ … I had many who told me that.”

Father Richards reflected on the readings from the Mass.  The first reading was Isaiah 61:1-3: “God has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted.”  “A priest’s job is to proclaim the good news to the people,” Father Richards said. “Especially to let people who are lost, who have forgotten, who have never found the hope of God … to let them see God’s hope.  “Father Don preached the message of hope. He was a hopeful priest.”

The second reading was 1 Peter 5:1-4, which is often read at the ordination of priests, and encourages the listener to “tend the flock.”  “That part of being a priest, Father Don got. He understood the giving nature of the priesthood, that we are there to serve others. He understood that and worked very hard at living it out,” Father Richards said. 

He pointed out Father McCarthy was known for potluck dinners, and the congregation chuckled.  “Everybody laughs and jokes that he loves to eat and that it was the food he came for, but it wasn’t,” Father Richards said. “It was the people. That’s what he wanted to be a part of.  “The thing that Father Don knew was that a priest should be out among the people. He knew the best way to get them to church was to go out among them first.”


After the Seminary

The Register

Junction City — On the first day of school, students stream in and out of classrooms. In the hallway is the 2016-2017 Seminarian poster for the Salina Diocese. Just a few steps away, inside Room 206 is a familiar face: Alex Becker.  On Aug. 16, Becker was in St. Francis Xavier High School not as a seminarian, but as the new math teacher.  “By and large, the students have been really interested in (my experience as a seminarian) and it seems like some of them have been more willing to discuss their own interests in seminary in the future because they know it’s not an ‘If you go, you’re committed for life,’ ” Becker said. “They understand it is a process, it’s not a forever decision.”

A graduate from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Becker received a degree in statistics with the intention of working in sports statistics. Upon graduation from K-State, he headed to Conception Seminary College as a pre-theology student. As he neared the conclusion of pre-theology, he prayed about continuing on to theology school. Becker said he didn’t feel called to continue, and shared that with Co-Vocation Director Father Gale Hammerschmidt during a seminary visit.  “It worked out as a happy coincidence,” Becker said. “Father Gale had recently gotten word from their math teacher that she was taking a job elsewhere, so he was already looking for a math teacher.  “I told him I had been not feeling called to continue and he told me to continue praying about that, to make a good decision for sure. Not to rush into anything.”

Then Father Hammerschmidt mentioned the math position that was opening up at St. Francis Xavier school.  “As I prayed about it, I became more and more at peace with the idea of leaving and more and more at peace in taking the job here,” Becker said. “It would be serving the diocese as I had wanted, just in a different way.”  Because he has a college degree in math, he is enrolled in an online transition to teaching program at Fort Hays State University in Hays, which will take two years to complete.  “When I first pursued the degree (in statistics), the one thing I would not do was teach high school,” Becker said. “Any time in my life when I say ‘I’m sure this is not for me,’ it ends up being exactly where I go.”

As a teacher, he is expected to be a role model, similar to when he was a seminarian. The biggest change for him is going from a school environment where he is surrounded by peers, to instructing the students.  “Also, going from a situation where my prayer life is regimented and things are built into my schedule, I now have to take the initiative to make time for that,” Becker said. “It’s still a transition.”

Father Hammerschmidt said he is thrilled with Becker’s transition to teaching in the diocese.  “Obviously, we are disappointed when people leave the seminary, we understand it’s not a failure of the system, but that the system is actually working,” Father Hammerschmidt said. “We find it noble when someone has the courage to at least to investigate whether or not the priesthood is their call. There is no better place to discern one’s call than at the seminary.”


Statement from Bishop on Racism

Racism and bigotry are among the great evils of our age, and the resurgence of neo-Nazi and white-supremacist movements is profoundly troubling.  The follower of Jesus Christ can see something of God’s image in every human being. For this reason, people of faith must unite and speak truth to this evil in our midst.  Let us renew our firm commitment to truth, equality, and universal human dignity.

– Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger

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  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob RollerBy WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a message of support for the March for Life in Washington, a Vatican official praised "the tens of thousands" of participants for their witness to the "value of every human life" and for upholding the dignity of life from conception to natural death. "You give witness to the world of your understanding of the value of every human life and of your commitment to welcome, nurture, protect and integrate every human life from the first moment of conception until natural death," said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He made the remarks in a statement dated Jan. 19, the day of this year's march, and addressed to March for Life officials. It also was sent to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington; and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia. In a Jan. 16 statement, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-life Activities, urged Catholics and others across the country to get involved in the "9 Days for Life" prayer and Action Campaign Jan. 18-26. "Our prayers matter," he said. The campaign's website is www.9daysforlife.com. "We bring many needs to God this month, including care for displaced persons, racial harmony, Christian unity and the protection of all human life," Cardinal Dolan said. "Every prayer matters, and if you can't start at the beginning, jump in when you can!" "9 Days for Life" is the U.S. bishops' annual, pro-life prayer and action campaign surrounding the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. The overarching intention of novena at the center of the event is the end to abortion, and each day treats a different aspect of respecting the dignity of the human person -- from the beginning of life to its natural end. This year, as part of the Catholic Church's "Share the Journey" campaign supporting displaced persons, one day addresses human trafficking, something migrants and refugees are particularly at risk of suffering. Participants can make a "digital pilgrimage." They are encouraged to build "a culture of life" through prayer and action and by sharing their experiences on social media with the hashtags #9DaysforLife and #OurPrayersMatter. There also is a Facebook frame participants can use on their profile picture to show their support for life. In his letter, Archbishop Paglia assured March for Life attendees of his prayers "for the fruitfulness of your undertaking that is so filled with love." He was certain that on Jan. 19 in particular "you will have the blessings and grateful prayers of all the innocent lives for whom you have, over so many years, cared and struggled." Archbishop Paglia recalled his own participation in the march "one very cold January day more than 20 years ago." He added: "I join with Cardinal Wuerl of Washington and Bishop Burbidge of Arlington, with all my brother Catholic and Orthodox bishops in the United States, and with all the members of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, in honoring what you do and who you are, and in encouraging you always to remember the love that God has for you his "good and faithful servants." - - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago CatholicBy Joyce DurigaCHICAGO (CNS) -- Over 5,000 people from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and other Midwestern states gathered Jan. 14 in Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago for the annual March for Life Chicago commemorating the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Participants carried signs with pro-life messages and balloons during the rally and march through the streets of downtown. The drum line from Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein played in the march. Chris Murrens of Libertyville brought her two teen-age children to the march and said seeing the many youth and young adults in attendance was "heartwarming" and "inspirational." "The heavenly Father is smiling. Our Lady is smiling. It's a great day," she told the Chicago Catholic, the archdiocesan newspaper. Murrens said she brought her two teenagers because she felt it was important to expose them to the event and the message. "I want them to see how important this is and for them to be part of this generation that is turning things around to become more pro-life," Murrens said. "They are having a wonderful time and getting the message all at the same time." Young people, especially in their teens, are impressionable and open to new things so that is a pivotal time to share the church's teaching that life is sacred from the womb until natural death, the mother of three said. "This is when they see so much of what is going on in the world. This is the time when you can really grab their hearts and make a difference for the rest of their lives," she said. Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich -- one of several speakers who addressed the gathering prior to the march -- applauded the witness of young people and, referring to the recent feast of Epiphany, called them "the new Magi." "You give us confidence that the energy to protect the child in the womb has not grown weak over these 45 years, but is as youthful, strong and vibrant as you are," the cardinal said. "You are the new Magi in our time, who teach us all to keep our heads up, and amid the darkness of the night at times, to take heart that God is still in the heavens, guiding us like that Bethlehem star and keeping our dreams alive." Quoting Pope Francis, Cardinal Cupich said that children make society "dream beyond ourselves." "Taking human life, especially the life of the child in the womb, not only has an impact on that one human being but deeply wounds all of humanity, robs from us our ability to dream and see life as much bigger than our own concerns, challenges and struggles," he said. "Is it any wonder that we are so divided as a nation when we are so fixed only on ourselves, when we can no longer dream and see all that God is doing beyond ourselves?" The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision robbed the nation of its children and its dreams, he said. "Now with the recent law passed by our Legislature and signed by our governor, more lives and dreams will be robbed as will family incomes that will be forcibly used to pay for abortions," Cardinal Cupich said referring to legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law in 2017 that provides state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions."Can we not better use our tax dollars to support health care for families expecting children, and child care and assistance to parents when their children come into the world?" the cardinal asked. "Can we not better use our tax dollars to keep alive both our children and our dreams as a nation?" Other speakers at the rally included Illinois Congressmen Dan Lipinski and Peter Roskum and former Planned Parenthood director Ramona Trevino. Earlier in the day, Cardinal Cupich celebrated the archdiocesan Mass for Life at Holy Name Cathedral attended by a standing-room only crowd. During the Mass, young people brought white roses to the altar, commemorating lives lost to abortion and homicide in Chicago last year. In the Denver Archdiocese a day earlier, about 3,000 people gathered outside the state Capitol in Denver for the annual Colorado March for Life. The afternoon rally and march were preceded by the celebration of several morning Masses at a number of churches, including one celebrated by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. "This is the Colorado piece of the largest civil rights movement in our lifetime," Lynn Grandon, archdiocesan Respect Life program director, said in advance of the Jan. 13 gathering. More pro-life marches were planned around the country. Among those will be the fourth annual OneLife LA Jan. 20 in Los Angeles, followed exactly a week later by Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. In Chicago, some of those who attended the Mass and rally also planned to travel to Washington for the national March for Life Jan. 19. Others preparing to attend the march and rally in the nation's capital included students at Monsignor Bonner Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Catholic school leaders throughout the U.S. take thousands of their students to the regional or national March for Life events each year in an effort to engage them in the pro-life cause and to eventually pass the torch of leadership to them, said Steven Bozza, director of the Philadelphia archdiocesan Office for Life and Family. The pro-life activists who have been embroiled in the movement for decades will not be able to go on forever and it's up to the current leaders to prepare the next generation of advocates, Bozza told Catholic News Service during an interview in Drexel Hill. "We're going to win this battle," he said. "Maybe not tomorrow or next week. Maybe not this year, but we're going to win it. Especially with the new generation coming up." - - - Duriga is editor of the Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Contributing to this story was Chaz Muth in Drexel Hill.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Zoey Maraist, Catholic HeraldBy Zoey MaraistALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNS) -- The Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments declared St. Mary Church in Alexandria a minor basilica, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington announced to parishioners during Mass Jan. 14. "It is an extraordinary honor to announce that the Holy See has designated St. Mary's in Old Town to be the newest basilica in the United States. This historic announcement recognizes the important role St. Mary's has played in the diocese, the city of Alexandria and even the very founding of our country," he said. To be named a basilica, a church must have architectural or historic value and meet liturgical requirements, such as an adequate amount of space in the sanctuary and a fitting number of priests. There are only four major basilicas, all in Rome -- St. Peter's, St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major. There are thousands of minor basilicas throughout the world, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk. Bishop Burbidge congratulated Father Edward C. Hathaway, pastor of the Alexandria church, and "all of the priests who have served this parish over the generations for their work in bringing St. Mary's to this special day. I pray that Our Lord continues to bless St. Mary's and its community for generations to come!" A committee from St. Mary began to research the application process for becoming a basilica last January, according to Father Hathaway. Bishop Burbidge approved the application in June, and sent it to the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops' Secretariat of Divine Worship. USCCB officials approved the plan in July, and sent it to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. "Today, we are overjoyed and humbled by the recognition of St. Mary as one of the major churches in the world dedicated to Christ," said Father Hathaway. "Thank you so much, Bishop Burbidge, for being here with us today, and for the encouragement and enthusiasm you have shown during the many months that led to this announcement." "The naming of St. Mary as a minor basilica brings honor to the entire diocese and to Roman Catholics throughout the country," the priest continued. "As the first Catholic parish in Virginia and West Virginia, learning its history is to gain a greater insight into the spread of the Catholic faith in the former English colonies and throughout our nation." In 1788, an Irish aide-de-camp of George Washington, Col. John Fitzgerald, held a fundraiser in his home for the construction of a Catholic church. Washington was the first to donate. In 1795, St. Mary was established as a mission of Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown. Eventually, a church was built on South Royal Street, where the contemporary church stands, and was dedicated by Jesuit Father Francis Ignatius Neale in 1827. Throughout the years, the church has undergone several repairs and renovations. Ministry buildings and offices such as the Lyceum as well as the cemetery are scattered around Old Town. The parish school, one of the largest in the diocese with around 700 students, was established in 1869 after a wave of poor Irish immigrants arrived in the area. Today, St. Mary has 7,100 registered parishioners and dozens of liturgical, fellowship and service ministries. In the near future, the church will be marked with special signage indicating its new status. As with all basilicas, St. Mary will install an "ombrellino," a silk canopy designed with stripes of yellow and red -- the traditional papal colors -- and a "tintinnabulum," a bell mounted on a pole and carried during some processions. "Crossed keys, which are the symbol of the papacy, will be placed prominently on the church exterior," said Father Hathaway. St. Mary also has designed a seal, which all basilicas have. The symbols within the seal pay homage to the diocese, the Jesuits who founded the parish, and to Mary. In the bottom right quadrant of the shield is a ship, representing Alexandria's role as an important port town in colonial times. The vessel further represents the frigates that brought Catholic immigrants to the New World. "The Ark and The Dove were the two famous ships, chartered by Cecil Calvert to transport 140 colonists to the shores of Maryland," according to a statement from St. Mary. "Similar ships brought the Jesuit founders, as well as many Irish and Scottish merchants, to the port city of Alexandria." The seal is one of the many ways the new basilica will aim to share its past with visitors. "We will be looking for ways to communicate our significant history and contribution to Catholicism in the commonwealth and beyond through printed guides and other means," said Father Hathaway. The parishioners at the Jan. 14 Mass applauded the announcement. Sam Lukawski, a fifth-grader at St. Mary School, was one of the 11 altar servers at the Mass. "I was glad that it became a minor basilica and that it'll be (St. Mary Basilica) instead of St. Mary Church," he told the Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper. Pat Troy, a longtime parishioner, sent his children to the school and used to host Theology on Tap in his Alexandria bar. He loves the parish for its commitment to Mary, its priests and the fact that it was founded in part by an Irishman. "This was the first time (we) walked down the steps of this historic church as St. Mary Basilica," he said with reverence. Jonathan Fililpowski and Nicole Hendershot are getting married at St. Mary in April. "We're excited to be able to get married at a basilica. It's a beautiful space to come and be able to worship, tied to the roots of our nation," she said. Deborah and Glenn Cooper were thrilled by the announcement. "I'm so honored to be part of this historic occasion. It makes me want to go back and probe more into the history of the church and also into the whole meaning of being a basilica," she said. - - - Maraist is on the staff of the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesSANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Pope Francis, in his first formal speech in Chile, asked forgiveness from those who were sexually abused by priests. Addressing government authorities and members of the country's diplomatic corps Jan. 16, the pope expressed his "pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the church." "I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensure that such things do not happen again," he said. Preparations for Pope Francis' visit to Chile Jan. 15-18 were overshadowed by continuing controversy over the pope's decision in 2015 to give a diocese to a bishop accused of turning a blind eye to the abuse perpetrated by a notorious priest. The pope's appointment of Bishop Juan Barros as head of the Diocese of Osorno sparked several protests -- most notably at the bishop's installation Mass -- due to the bishop's connection to Father Fernando Karadima, his former mentor. Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys. The protests against the pope's appointment of Bishop Barros gained steam when a video of Pope Francis defending the appointment was published in September 2015 by the Chilean news channel, Ahora Noticias. Filmed during a general audience a few months earlier, the video showed the pope telling a group of Chilean pilgrims that Catholics protesting the appointment were "judging a bishop without any proof." "Think with your head; don't let yourself be led by all the lefties who are the ones that started all of this," the pope said. "Yes, Osorno is suffering but for being foolish because it doesn't open its heart to what God says and allows itself to be led by all this silliness that all those people say." Survivors of abuse and their supporters planned a conference and protests around the pope's arrival. But Pope Francis made his way to La Moneda, the presidential palace, and was welcomed by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. Thousands were gathered in the square outside the palace, chanting "Francisco, amigo, Chile esta contigo" ("Francis, friend, Chile is with you"). Despite the jovial atmosphere at outside La Moneda, there were serious signs of protest in Santiago. Chilean media reported vandalism at Divine Providence Parish, not far from O'Higgins Park, where the pope was to celebrate Mass later in the morning. Vandals spray painted the words "complice" ("accomplice") and "papa arde" ("burn, pope") on the facade of the church below a banner welcoming Pope Francis. Three days earlier, several Chilean churches were firebombed, and police found other, unexploded devices at two other churches in Santiago. Some of the pamphlets included the phrase, "The next bombs will be in your cassock" and spoke of the cause of the Mapuche indigenous group. "How are you? Where you able to rest?" Bachelet asked the pope when he arrived at the palace. "Perfectly," he responded. The two leaders stood as the national anthems of Chile and Vatican City State were played before entering the courtyard of the palace where about 700 members of the country's government authorities and of the diplomatic corps welcomed the pope with a standing ovation. In his speech to the country's political leaders, Pope Francis emphasized the need for officials to listen to the people and to value their experiences, cultures, sufferings and hopes. Included in the pope's list were "children who look out on the world with eyes full of amazement and innocence and expect from us concrete answers for a dignified future." At that point he told the officials, "I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the church." The pope's acknowledgment of the crimes of sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy was met with a loud applause from the government authorities present. Looking at the country's social and political life, Pope Francis congratulated the nation for its steady growth in democracy since 1990 when the rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet ended. The recent presidential elections in November, he said, "were a demonstration of the solidity and civic maturity that you have achieved." "That was a particularly important moment, for it shaped your destiny as a people founded on freedom and law, one that has faced moments of turmoil, at times painful, yet succeeded in surmounting them. In this way, you have been able to consolidate and confirm the dream of your founding fathers," the pope said. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is scheduled to hand the office over to President-elect Sebastian Pinera in March. Chile's future, Pope Francis said, depends on the ability of its people and leaders to listen to those in need and "replace narrow ideologies with a healthy concern for the common good." The unemployed, native peoples, migrants, the elderly, young people and children all deserve to be listened to while also giving "preferential attention to our common home." The wisdom of the country's indigenous population, he added, can help Chilean society "transcend a merely consumerist view of life and to adopt a sage attitude to the future." "The wisdom of the native peoples can contribute greatly to this," Pope Francis said. "From them we can learn that a people that turns its back on the land, and everything and everyone on it, will never experience real development." - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesSANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Pope Francis arrived in Santiago Jan. 15, the first stop on a seven-day, six-city visit to Peru and Chile, where he will take his message of hope to people on the margins of society. Arriving in Santiago after more than 15 hours in the air, Pope Francis was greeted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and a young Chilean girl. He told the crowd he was happy to be in Chile, and he blessed the workers at the airport before being transported to the papal nunciature, where he will stay the three nights he is in Chile. On Jan. 17, the pope will travel to Temuco and meet with residents of the Mapuche indigenous community. Members of the Mapuche have called for the government to return lands confiscated prior to the country's return to democracy in the late 1980s. "Chile won't be too difficult for me because I studied there for a year and I have many friends there and I know it well, or rather, well enough. Peru, however, I know less. I have gone maybe two, three times for conferences and meetings," the pope told journalists aboard the papal flight. There was no mention of increased security for the Chilean visit. Three days earlier, several Chilean churches were firebombed, and police found other, unexploded devices at two other churches in Santiago. Some of the pamphlets included the phrase, "The next bombs will be in your cassock" and spoke of the Mapuche cause. Before flying to Peru Jan. 18, Pope Francis will visit Iquique, where he will celebrate Mass on Lobito beach. In Peru Jan. 18-21, will visit Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo. He will also meet with the indigenous people of the Amazon during his visit to Puerto Maldonado. The Amazon rainforest includes territory belonging to nine countries in South America and has experienced significant deforestation, negatively impacting the indigenous populations in the area and leading to a loss of biodiversity. In both countries, he will work to restore trust and encourage healing after scandals left many wounded and angry at the Catholic Church. Shortly after take-off from Rome, Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, distributed a photo card the pope wished to share with journalists aboard his flight from Rome. The photo depicted a young Japanese boy shortly after the bombing in Nagasaki, waiting in line, carrying his dead baby brother on his back to the crematorium. On the back of the card, the words "The fruit of war" were written along with Pope Francis' signature. Before greeting each of the 70 journalists, the pope said that he found the photo "by chance" and "was very moved when I saw this." "I could only write 'the fruit of war.' I wanted to print it and give it to you because such an image is more moving than a thousand words," he said. Responding to a journalist's question about nuclear war, Pope Francis said: "I think we are at the very limit. I am really afraid of this. One accident is enough to precipitate things." The Peru-Chile trip is Pope Francis' fourth to South America. In July 2013, he visited Brazil for World Youth Day. In July 2015, he traveled to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. His trip to Colombia in September was his third visit to the continent as pope. - - - Contributing to this story was Jane Chambers in Santiago. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @ArochoJu.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.