Update on the latest religion news

POPE-CATHOLIC WORLD MEETING

Pope Francis confirms trip to the United States

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says next year’s visit by Pope Francis will be the largest event in the city’s modern history.

The pontiff confirmed Monday that he will make his first papal visit to the United States with the trip to Philadelphia in September for the World Meeting of Families. It’s a conference held in a different city every three years to celebrate the importance of family.

Officials have said the meeting could attract more than 1 million people. Hotels within a 10-mile radius of center city Philadelphia have already sold out.

It will be the first papal visit to the United States in eight years.

Francis is also expected to visit New York City and Washington D.C., but Vatican officials aren’t yet confirming those legs of the trip.

President Barack Obama has extended an invitation, as have the U.N. secretary-general and leaders of Congress.

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202-a-10-(Emily McDermott, Hallahan High School student, in AP interview)-“open about everything”-Emily McDermott, a Hallahan High School student, says she’s excited about the pope’s upcoming visit. (17 Nov 2014)

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200-a-04-(Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families, at news conference)-“festival of families”-Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families, announces next year’s visit by Pope Francis. (17 Nov 2014)

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201-a-08-(Emily McDermott, Hallahan High School student, in AP interview)-“part of this”-Emily McDermott, a Hallahan High School student, says her class was present for the annoucement of Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to Philadelphia. (17 Nov 2014)

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161-a-16-(Mayor Michael Nutter, D-Philadelphia, at news conference)-“city of families”-Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says the pope will visit his city next fall for the World Meeting of Families. ((note cut length)) (17 Nov 2014)

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162-a-16-(Mayor Michael Nutter, D-Philadelphia, at news conference)-“with our enthusiasm”-Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says his city welcomes next year’s visit by the pope. ((note cut length)) (17 Nov 2014)

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160-w-37-(Tim Maguire, AP correspondent, with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter)–Pope Francis is coming to the United States. AP correspondent Tim Maguire reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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149-a-14-(Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo), archdiocese of Philadelphia, in AP interview)-“in the Church”-Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput says he “applauded the loudest” of the people cheering the announcement of Pope Francis’ trip to Philadelphia next year. (17 Nov 2014)

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VATICAN-FAMILY

Pope reinforces traditional gender roles

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is seeking to reassure Catholic conservatives that he’s not a renegade bent on changing church doctrine on family issues — weeks after a Vatican meeting of bishops initially proposed a radical welcome for gays and divorced Catholics.

Francis on Monday opened an interfaith conference on the “complementarity” of men and women in marriage and the family. He said marriage between a man and woman is a “fundamental pillar” of society and that children have the right to grow up with a mother and father.

The three-day conference brings together representatives from 14 religions that teach that men and women have different and essential cooperative roles to play in marriage and the family. Speakers Tuesday include the Rev. Rick Warren, one of most prominent evangelical pastors in the United States, and the Rev. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination.

Sound:

218-v-34-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor)–Pope Francis’s September 2015 visit to Philadelphia was announced at a Vatican conference on the complementary roles of men and women in marriage and the family. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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148-r-20-(Sound of Pope Francis, speaking in Italian, announcing visit to World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015, at inter-religious conference on traditional family values)–Sound of Pope Francis announcing in Italian his visit to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, 2015. COURTESY: Vatican Broadcaster CTV ((mandatory on-air credit)) (17 Nov 2014)

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121-v-31-(Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent)–Pope Francis is coming to the United States. AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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122-c-15-(Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent)-“one million people”-AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports Pope Francis’ announced visit to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September will require a lot of planning. (17 Nov 2014)

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218-v-34-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor)–Pope Francis’s September 2015 visit to Philadelphia was announced at a Vatican conference on the complementary roles of men and women in marriage and the family. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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121-v-31-(Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent)–Pope Francis is coming to the United States. AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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122-c-15-(Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent)-“one million people”-AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports Pope Francis’ announced visit to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September will require a lot of planning. (17 Nov 2014)

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EBOLA-OMAHA PATIENT

Man who died from Ebola was a Christian surgeon

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Doctors in Omaha, Nebraska, say they couldn’t save the life of a Christian surgeon from Sierra Leone who contracted Ebola in the African country.

Dr. Martin Salia (sah-LEE’-uh) died Monday. The 44-year-old Salia, who lived in Maryland, first showed Ebola symptoms eleven days earlier, but initially tested negative.

After graduating from the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons training program in 2008, Salia was free to practice anywhere he wanted, but chose to stay in Sierra Leone. The training program’s executive director says Salia “honestly believed that’s what God wanted him to do.”

Salia was a member of a United Brethren Church congregation in Sierra Leone, and the church helped support his medical training.

Jeff Bleijerveld, director of global ministries for the United Brethren Church, said Salia’s death is a testament to “his Christian faith, his willingness to, if necessary, lay down his life for others.”

Sound:

239-v-33-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor)–Doctors in Omaha, Nebraska, say they couldn’t save the life of a Christian surgeon from Sierra Leone who contracted Ebola in the African country. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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173-a-15-(Dr. Phil Smith, medical director, biocontainment unit, University of Nebraska Medical Center, at news conference)-“into his illness”-Dr. Phil Smith, chief of the University of Nebraska Medical Center biocontainment unit, says even the brief treatment of Dr. Salia was a learning experience that will advance medical science and the understanding of Ebola. (17 Nov 2014)

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172-a-12-(Dr. Phil Smith, medical director, biocontainment unit, University of Nebraska Medical Center, at news conference)-“to be detected”-Dr. Phil Smith, chief of the University of Nebraska Medical Center biocontainment unit, says the false negative result of Dr. Salia’s first Ebola test was unfortunate but not unheard of. (17 Nov 2014)

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180-w-34-(Ed Donahue, AP correspondent, with Dr. Dan Johnson from Nebraska Medical Center)–Ebola patient Dr. Martin Salia has died at a hospital in Nebraska. The AP’s Ed Donahue reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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170-a-10-(Dr. Daniel Johnson, critical care physician, University of Nebraska Medical Center, at news conference)-“he was unresponsive”-Dr. Daniel Johnson, a critical care physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says the Ebola virus had already caused organ failure by the time Dr. Salia was brought to the hospital. (17 Nov 2014)

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171-a-10-(Dr. Phil Smith, medical director, biocontainment unit, University of Nebraska Medical Center, at news conference)-“to do so”-Dr. Phil Smith, chief of the University of Nebraska Medical Center biocontainment unit, says the Ebola virus infection had advanced too far to save Dr. Salia. (17 Nov 2014)

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LIBERIA MISSIONARIES

Missionaries returning to Ebola-stricken Liberia

FRANKFORT, Ind. (AP) — Indiana’s former agriculture director and her husband are preparing to return to Ebola-stricken Liberia so they can resume their missionary work.

Gina and Travis Sheets returned to Indiana in July as the deadly disease was spreading in the West African country. WFLI-TV reports that they expect to go back overseas later this month to a city about eight hours from Liberia’s capital, where they will resume teaching agricultural practices at the Liberia International Christian College.

The Sheets, who founded the group Hope in the Harvest Mission International, say everyone around them has been supportive of their return to Liberia and that the number of Ebola cases in the area where they’ve worked has been declining.

Gina Sheets stepped down as Indiana’s state agriculture director in late 2013 after about a year on the job to focus on missionary work in Liberia.

ISLAMIC STATE-AID WORKER

Parents of slain aid worker ask for prayer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The parents of an American aid worker who was beheaded by Islamic State militants are requesting prayers for their son and for others who are still being held captive.

Ed and Paula Kassig of Indianapolis read a brief statement Monday, the day after the U.S. confirmed that their 26-year-old son had been killed.

Peter Kassig was captured Oct. 1, 2013, while delivering aid in Syria through a relief organization he founded. The former U.S. Army Ranger converted to Islam during captivity and changed his first name to Abdul-Rahman.

Ed Kassig, paraphrasing the words of Jesus, said: “Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for another.”

Paula Kassig said she still believes that “good will prevail, as the one God of many names will prevail.”

A memorial service in the Muslim and Christian faiths was being planned for this weekend.

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222-w-32-(Ed Donahue, AP correspondent, with Ed and Paula Kassig, parents of aid worker Peter Kassig who was beheaded by Islamic State militants)–The parents of Peter Kassig, the American aid worker killed by Islamic State militants, say he chose to believe in good. The AP’s Ed Donahue reports. (17 Nov 2014)

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210-a-14-(Ed Kassig, father of aid worker Peter Kassig who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, in statement to reporters)-“against their will”-Ed Kassig, father of aid worker Peter Kassig, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, calls for public prayer for his son and others still held in captivity. (17 Nov 2014)

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209-a-14-(Ed Kassig, father of aid worker Peter Kassig who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, in statement to reporters)-“last few days”-Ed Kassig, father of aid worker Peter Kassig, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, says he and his wife are heartbroken by their son’s death, but take comfort from the public support they’ve received. (17 Nov 2014)

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213-a-17-(Paula Kassig, mother of aid worker Peter Kassig who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, in statement to reporters)-“names will prevail”-Paula Kassig, mother of aid worker Peter Kassig, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, says she believes good will triumph over evil. (17 Nov 2014)

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211-a-09-(Paula Kassig, mother of aid worker Peter Kassig who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, in statement to reporters)-“us can imagine”-Paula Kassig, mother of aid worker Peter Kassig, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, says her son had a full — but harsh life — short as it was. (17 Nov 2014)

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212-a-12-(Paula Kassig, mother of aid worker Peter Kassig who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, in statement to reporters)-“right all along”-Paula Kassig, mother of aid worker Peter Kassig, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, says her son always looked for the best in people. (17 Nov 2014)

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ISLAMIC STATE

Paris prosecutor: At least 1 Frenchman in IS video

PARIS (AP) — A Paris prosecutor says a French convert to radical Islam appears in a video showing a beheaded American aid worker and the deaths of Syrian soldiers.

Francois Molins identified the man as 22-year-old Maxime Hauchard, and said that he has been on the radar of French authorities since he left for Syria in 2013 under cover of humanitarian action. Molins also said Monday that another Frenchman could be among the fighters in the video.

President Barack Obama confirmed the slaying of American aid worker Peter Kassig after a U.S. review of the video, which also showed the mass beheadings of more than a dozen Syrian soldiers.

French citizens make up the largest contingent of European jihadi fighters who have joined extremists in Syria and Iraq. According to the Paris prosecutor’s office, about 1,100 people have been placed under surveillance, and 95 people face charges.

PRIEST ABUSE-APPEALS-DEATH

Priest who was appealing abuse conviction dies

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest from Philadelphia who was appealing his abuse conviction has died.

A religious order confirms that 67-year-old Rev. Charles Engelhardt died over the weekend at a Pennsylvania hospital.

An appeal had challenged the young man who lodged abuse claims against Engelhardt, another priest and a teacher.

Engelhardt had lost 50 pounds since the accusations surfaced in 2009. He was serving a six- to 12-year prison term. At his sentencing last year, Engelhardt said he “accepted this injustice” and believed “it will be righted.”

On Monday, the Rev. Kevin Nadolski, a spokesman for the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales religious order, confirmed Engelhardt’s death.

The blog BigTrial.Net reported that Engelhardt had been hospitalized for heart problems earlier this month and then returned to prison.

CHURCH ABUSE-MINNESOTA

Accused priest extradited from India to Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities say a priest who was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in northern Minnesota has been returned to the U.S. from his native India to face charges.

Roseau County Attorney Karen Foss says the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul was flown to Minneapolis after a high court in New Dehli, India, dismissed his plea to stay in that country. Foss says Jeyapaul will be transported to Roseau County on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old Jeyapaul is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct. Prosecutors say he sexually assaulted a girl multiple times in 2004 and 2005, starting when she was 14. Jeyapaul was a priest at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenbush, near the Canadian border, at the time.

Criminal charges were filed after Jeyapaul returned to India in 2005.

CHURCH ABUSE-WISCONSIN

Former St. Paul priest charged in Wisconsin case

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) — A former Minnesota priest incarcerated for molesting two boys from his St. Paul parish is facing new charges in Wisconsin.

Curtis Wehmeyer is accused of having sexual contact with a teenager while the boy was unconscious in Chippewa County. A criminal complaint says the boy told investigators that Wehmeyer gave him alcohol and marijuana during a 2011 camping trip.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press says the 50-year-old former priest was sentenced to a five-year prison term in 2013 for molesting two brothers from Sacred Heart parish. He’s incarcerated in Minnesota.

AUSTIN-CHURCH BURGLARY

Statue broken during burglary at Austin church

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Officials at the oldest Roman Catholic church in Austin, Texas, say a 130-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary was damaged and at least $2,000 worth of jewelry was stolen in a burglary of the church gift shop.

Father Albert Laforet tells the Austin American-Statesman that the burglar apparently entered St. Mary’s Cathedral by using a ladder to get to the top of a glass entrance and smashing the glass with a pipe.

Austin police Lt. Brian Moon says since some blood was found, it seems like the burglar was cut.

A large chunk of the metal statue was broken off. Laforet says the statue is believed to have been part of the church’s original altar.

SLAVE TRADE MUSEUM

Episcopal diocese plans slave museum in old church

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island wants to open a slave trade museum and a national center for reconciliation in its now-closed cathedral in Providence.

The Providence Journal reports that diocese officials approved the plans for the Cathedral of St. John last month.

Diocese official Linda Grenz says Rhode Island’s role as one of the busiest slave-trading hubs in North America means the church has a responsibility to address it.

She says the Episcopal diocese is looking for partners and grants to help open the center. She says it is already working with Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and The Tracing Center, a Massachusetts group that works to educate the public about the history and legacy of race.