Charity Teams with Parents in Fight to Release Kidnapped Pakistani Girl

The parents of a 13-year-old Christian girl kidnapped in Pakistan have joined forces with a Catholic charity in their struggle to win back their daughter abducted by a man who forced her to marry him and convert to Islam.

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which supports persecuted Christians, is to provide legal and paralegal aid in the case of Arzoo Raja, a Catholic, who was kidnapped from her home in Karachi.

Lawyer Tabassum Yousaf is due tomorrow (Wednesday, 28th October) to represent Arzoo’s family at the case’s first hearing in the High Court of Sindh.

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National Vocation Awareness Week to be Celebrated November 1-7, 2020 in United States

The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 1-7, 2020. This annual week-long celebration is an opportunity for dioceses and parishes in the United States to uphold and promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life and encourage the faithful to renew their prayerful support for those currently discerning one of these calls.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unforeseen challenges in the lives of many throughout the country. Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, offered that these current challenges provide an opportunity for genuine discernment fully rooted and dependent upon Christ. “These unusual and difficult times have brought much uncertainty and fear into our lives, but we know in faith that Christ’s powerful hand extends over all of us in mercy. I invite those discerning a vocation to use this time to prayerfully renew your love for Christ and recognize your complete dependence upon Him who loves and calls you uniquely.”

Data from recent studies show an encouraging picture for vocations. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) released its annual study on seminary formation enrollment in June 2020, showing steady enrollment over the past decade, despite experiencing a slight decrease in 2019-2020 compared to 2018-2019. In fact, the retention rate for the college seminary class of 2020 is expected to be 75%, which is higher than the average of 71% over the last 12 years. In addition, pre-theology students continue to make up about 22% of total theologate enrollment – another trend that has remained unchanged in the last decade.

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‘Keep heart, Be heart, Give heart!’

Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns, Ireland has written a Pastoral Letter (below) to the people of the Diocese of Ferns for the month of November.

Occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus, Bishop Brennan asks that the people of the diocese now double down on their efforts to reduce the instances of coronavirus and that throughout November (the month of the dead), that they be mindful of those who are vulnerable, those who have died, and those who grieve.

A few highlights:

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Former Swiss Guard releases Catholic Christmas cookbook

CNA Staff, Oct 27, 2020 / 05:44 pm (CNA).-  

A new cookbook offers recipes, some more than 1,000 years old, that have been served at the Vatican during the Advent and Christmas seasons.

“The Vatican Christmas Cookbook” is written by chef David Geisser, who is a former member of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard, along with author Thomas Kelly. The book offers stories of the Vatican’s own Christmas celebrations, and includes 100 Vatican Christmas recipes.

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