IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- Cones raised in the air, the crowd gathered
for dinner at the Sant'Egidio Community's soup kitchen toasted Pope Francis on his name day, the feast of St. George.
The gelato was
offered by the pope, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as part of his name day
celebration April 23. He provided 3,000 servings of ice cream -- mostly vanilla cones with chocolate and nuts
on top, but also a few pistachio cones and a couple strawberry ones -- to soup kitchens
and homeless shelters around Rome.
"It's not like gelato is the only thing he gives
away," said Ruggiero, who passed on the cones because, he said, at his age
-- 70-something -- "I'm watching my physique."
"Everything this pope does he does for the poor,"
Ruggiero told Catholic News Service. "And then there's his smile."
Alberto, roughly the same age, was seated next to Ruggiero
for the dinner, which began with a course of gnocchi, then moved on to the main
course of veal and potatoes and would normally have finished with fruit.
Oranges were the day's offering.
"It's a very charming gesture," said Alberto as he
unwrapped his cone at the kitchen in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood.
The two men, along with five other friends, had begun their
evening in the tiny Church of San Calisto, where they join in singing evening
prayer and prayers for peace twice a month. Then they walk to the soup kitchen
nearby for dinner.
One of the seven gentlemen wrote their names in big letters
on the paper place mats to save their seats. But there is always room for one
more. And they take turns filling each other's water glasses, passing out the
food and collecting the dirty plates before the next course.
Across the room, Antonino Siragusa was eating, but also
helping to serve. He said he has met the pope "six times. He's a good
person, very lively. He smiles and will meet anyone."
Before the meal began, he admitted he had not known it was
the pope's name day, but he was glad to hear it.
"I love sweets," he said. "This is
great!"- - -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 email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Vatican MediaBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Italian government granted
citizenship to Alfie Evans, a seriously ill British toddler, in a last-minute
effort to prevent doctors in England from withdrawing life-support.
The Italian foreign ministry, in a brief note April 23, said
Angelino Alfano, the foreign minister, and Marco Minniti, the interior
minister, "granted Italian citizenship to little Alfie."
"The Italian government hopes that being an Italian
citizen would allow the immediate transfer of the baby to Italy," the
foreign ministry said.
The baby's parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, lost their
latest legal battle April 23 to prevent doctors from removing Alfie's life-support when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.
Doctors in the U.K. have not been able to make a definitive
diagnosis of the 23-month-old child's degenerative neurological condition, but
they have said keeping him on life-support would be "futile."
A high court judge backed a lower court's ruling that the
hospital can go against the wishes of the family and withdraw life-support.
Tom Evans flew to Rome and met Pope Francis April 18,
begging the pope to help get his son "asylum" in Italy. The
Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome has offered to care for Alfie. Three
specialists from Bambino Gesu had flown to Liverpool and examined Alfie.
According to the president of Bambino Gesu, "a positive outcome would be
difficult, but the baby's suffering can be alleviated."- - -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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Jorge Cabrera, ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called for an end to
violence in Nicaragua after several days of protests against proposed social
security legislation led to the deaths of more than two dozen people.
"I express my closeness in prayer to that country and I
am united with the bishops in asking that every form of violence end, that a pointless shedding of blood be
avoided and that open issues be resolved peacefully and with a sense of
responsibility," the pope said April 22 after praying the "Regina Coeli" prayer with
pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The pope said he was "very worried about what is
happening these days in Nicaragua," where citizens took to the streets beginning April 18
after the government announced changes to the nation's social security system.
The proposed overhaul, which would have increased pension
contributions while reducing benefits by 5 percent, was scrapped by Nicaraguan President
Daniel Ortega April 22.
Ortega has been heavily criticized for his handling of the crisis,
which led to the deaths of 25 people. But despite criticism of the overhaul coming from
business leaders, university students and elderly pensioners, the president publicly
blamed right-wing groups for the inciting violence.
Outrage spread after a local journalist, Angel Gahona, was shot
and killed while broadcasting the protest on Facebook Live. A police officer
was also shot in the head during deadly clashes in the Nicaraguan capital,
Catholic bishops called for peaceful demonstrations and sheltered
protesters in the cathedral of Managua.
Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Jose Baez of Managua has been
outspoken in his support of student protesters who have been targeted. In an
April 22 tweet, he urged the president to engage in constructive dialogue.
"President Daniel Ortega, abandon your arrogant
attitude, listen to the people, embrace dialogue with sincerity, feel the pain
of so many families and contribute to peace in the country," he tweeted.
Bishop Baez also tweeted that he was calling on military and police forces
to end the repression against protesters and "to listen to God's voice in their hearts: 'Thou
shall not kill!"
- - -
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 email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/DC ComicsBy Mark JudgeNEW YORK (CNS) -- Look! Up in the sky! It's Superman! And he's
The year 2018 marks eight decades since the first appearance of Superman in
Action Comics No. 1. It also sees the arrival of issue 1,000 of the "Action"
series. DC Comics is celebrating these milestones with a special expanded
edition of Action Comics as well as a book, "80 Years of Superman: The Deluxe Edition."
Action Comics No.
1,000 costs $7.99, while the book is priced at $30. Both are suitable for
readers of all ages.
Action Comics No. 1,000 is a
series of short comics stories by popular DC writers such as Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns, Tom King and Peter
J. Tomasi. The art is provided by Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Patrick Gleason and superstar Jim
Lee, among others.
The stories in both volumes
celebrate Superman and his commitment to fighting evil, telling the truth and
being a good friend and husband (he and Lois Lane were married in 1996). Not
for nothing is he called "the big blue boy scout," although
in the modern world of dodgy politicians and celebrities, Superman seems deeply
His basic history is well known:
Superman was created in 1933 by writer Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) and artist Joe Shuster (1914-1992).
The two had become friends while attending high school together in Cleveland.
Siegel's daughter, Laura Siegel Larson, penned the forward to "80 Years of
Superman." She notes that her father and Shuster sold the character to DC Comics
for a mere $130 -- a fact that eventually led some of Superman's fans to charge
the publisher with taking advantage of the young duo. In 1976, DC gave Siegel
and Shuster a pension and a "created by" credit for all time.
Based on his non-Earthly
origin and propensity both for saving people and urging them to repent and
think of others, Superman has often been considered a Christ figure. One of the
best stories in Action No. 1,000 reflects this similarity.
It's the 1930s, and Superman stops a crook in his car, then hangs
him from a telephone pole before letting him go. Visiting the man later,
Superman offers not only judgment, but mercy.
had your fair share of knocks," Superman says. "And you can keep knocking the
world back like you've done. Or you can make a decision today. Be that person
who wasn't there for you for someone else." Touchingly, the man does just that.
"80 Years of Superman: The Deluxe Edition" offers short essays
about the Man of Tomorrow by writers and journalists as well as reprints of
classic stories. Editor Paul Levitz includes tales ranging from 1938's Action Comics No. 1 and the first appearance of
Supergirl (No. 252) to Clark Kent revealing to Lois that he is also
Superman (No. 662). In No. 309, Superman gets to meet President John Kennedy.
Years" also features a never-published story, "Too Many Heroes," written by fan favorite Marv Wolfman.
Tye observes that, over the years, "Superman has evolved more than the fruit fly." In the 1930s, the
Man of Steel was a crime fighter. In the '40s, he was a patriot combating Nazi
aggression. In the '50s, he took on communist spies. And at the end of the Cold
War, he tried to eliminate nuclear stockpiles.
Today, Superman might be
focusing on his day job as a journalist. That's been hinted at by Brian Michael Bendis, the star comic book
writer who decamped from Marvel this year to take over the Superman franchise
the same lines, in "80 Years of Superman," David Hajdu, author of the comic
book history "The Ten-Cent Plague," smartly considers how Superman and his
alter ego, Daily Planet reporter Kent, complement each other.
"In his role as a godly endowed hero among humans, Superman has
always been much more concerned with the dispensing of justice than the
revealing of truth," Hajdu writes. "He hunts and catches villains, crooks and
evildoers of all kinds -- earthy, alien, extra-dimensional or inexplicable --
and enforces a resolutely held super code of right and wrong."
However, Clark Kent's mission as a reporter is "to
serve the truth." Superman's creators "made clear that they saw both sides of
their cleverly dualistic character as companionably heroic," Hajdu notes.
Moreover, "Clark's work as a journalist often drove the narratives."
- - -
Judge reviews comic
books and video games for Catholic News Service.- - -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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Marla Brose, Albuquerque JournalBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Tributes from business leaders and
politicians alike described Jennifer Riordan -- the 43-year-old passenger who
died April 17 from injuries suffered on Southwest Flight 1380 when its engine exploded -- as a devoted
mother, community leader, mentor and volunteer.
Riordan, a Wells Fargo executive from New Mexico, was a "thoughtful leader who has long been a part of the fabric of our
community," said Tim
Keller, the mayor of Albuquerque. Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, described her as
"an incredible woman who put her family and community first."
about Riordan that were closer to home for the parishioner of Our Lady of the
Annunciation Catholic Church in Albuquerque and mother of two children
at Annunciation School were issued by her family, who called her their
"bedrock," and her children's school, which described Riordan as an
"integral member of our school community."
who grew up in Vermont, attended Christ the King Elementary School in
Burlington and graduated from Vermont's Colchester High School in 1992. She married
her high school sweetheart, Michael Riordan, in 1996 at Christ the King Church,
according to the Burlington Free Press daily newspaper.
couple had spent nearly two decades living in Albuquerque. Michael is a former
chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque and Jennifer was a vice president for
community relations with Wells Fargo bank.
returning from a business trip in New York when the plane was forced to make an
emergency landing in Philadelphia after its engine exploded in midair and
shrapnel hit the plane breaking the window beside her.
was pronounced dead at a hospital from blunt trauma to her head, neck and torso,
a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Health announced April 19.
of the tragedy spread, the assistant principal at Annunciation School where the
two Riordan children attend, sent an email to parents confirming Riordan's
death and simply adding: "At this point, the family needs all the prayers
we can offer."
Fe Archbishop John C. Wester said: "Our hearts go out to the family of
Jennifer Riordan, who lost her life yesterday, April 17, during the tragic
plane accident." The archbishop also said he would "pray for the
repose of her soul and for her dear loved ones."
School posted a statement on its Facebook page saying the school was "devastated
to lose an integral member of our school community," noting that Riordan
often volunteered at the school and also served on its consultative council.
was seen on campus almost daily supporting her beautiful children. She provided
encouragement to everyone with whom she came in contact. Her positive
motivating spirit will be missed," the statement added before concluding
with the promise that the school community would "keep Jennifer and her
family in prayer."
statement issued by the Riordan family said: "Jennifer's vibrancy, passion
and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her impact on
everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured."
called her "the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story
unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children," and
the statement asked that in her memory people remember to "always be kind,
loving, caring and sharing."
statement echoes Riordan's own advice from what she said in 2015 after she was presented
the Bill Daniels Award for Ethical Young Leadership by the Samaritan Counseling
Ethics in Business Awards.
a parent, I've said to my kids, 'Be kind, loving, caring and sharing, and all
good things will come to you,'" Riordan told the Albuquerque Journal, about
the award. "Integrity embodies the spirit of those four things, as well as
high morals. It's about knowing the difference between right and wrong, and
choosing to do what's right, even when it's very difficult to do what's right."
only was Riordan dedicated to her job and school volunteering, but she also volunteered
with several local nonprofit groups and boards.
on the boards of Junior Achievement of New Mexico and New Mexico First and was appointed
by New Mexico's governor to a board focused on boosting volunteerism in the
still on the board of directors at The Catholic Foundation, a nonprofit Santa Fe archdiocesan
organization that links donors to parishes, schools and organizations in need,
and had planned to attend a meeting with the group in late April.
Larranaga, the foundation's president, said he asked Riordan, who had been
his friend for 15 years, if she'd be on the board, but he also wondered if
she'd even have time because she did so much.
was just thoughtful and probably the most positive person I've ever met,"
he told Catholic News Service April 19, adding that people who didn't know her
well might have thought she was fake because "no one could be that
positive and upbeat."
told him over a year ago that Catholic education saved her life, saying she had
been "going down a path with other people and friends" and her mom
changed that direction by sending her to a Catholic school.
though she had a lot going on, she wanted to help Catholic schools through the
foundation and by sending her children to Catholic school, he said.
wanted to do things to make a difference, not just at work and in the
community, but just in general, she wanted to make things better,"
that spirit continues. Earlier that day, he received a phone call from someone in
Michigan who didn't know Riordan but wanted to do something in her honor. The
donor, who attended Catholic schools, said he was impressed by what he read
just the type of person she was," always making a difference, is Larranaga's
view of the phone call.
even though there will likely be a private funeral for Riordan, he is sure there
will be a public memorial as well at the convention center because her
"impact was that great."
- - -
Zimmermann on Twitter:@carolmaczim.- - -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 email@example.com.