Atlanta’s archbishop installed by social distance

Atlanta’s new archbishop was installed in a Mass that tweaked Catholic traditions to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. (May 6)

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Catholic priest blesses Rio de Janeiro from the skies | AFP

Father Omar Raposo flies over Rio de Janeiro and Christ the Redeemer to ask for Jesus to watch over the city, as many below stay indoors and practise social distancing over Easter. Brazil now has over 22,000 cases of the coronavirus, and over 1,200 deaths.

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Good Friday mass held in an open-air cinema in Germany during lockdown | AFP

Unable to go to church because of COVID-19, Catholic and Protestant faithful park in the parking lot of an open-air cinema for a mass organised by a pastor and a priest.

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Catholic bishop blesses Ecuador’s Guayaquil from the sky | AFP

A bishop blesses the Ecuadoran city of Guayaquil from a helicopter. Although a small country of 17.5 million people, Ecuador is the third worst-hit nation from the coronavirus in Latin America, with nearly 5,000 cases and 272 deaths.

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Catholics mourn first U.S. priest dead of COVID-19

The Rev. Jorge Ortiz-Garay, 49, was the first Catholic cleric in the U.S. to die from the coronavirus. His New York parishioners remembered his devotion to the community and how he gave them hope through his favorite word: “Animo! (Courage!) (April 8)

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Panama archbishop delivers Palm Sunday blessing by helicopter | AFP

Panama’s Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa takes to the skies to deliver the traditional Catholic Palm Sunday blessing from a helicopter after the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of churches across the country.

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Vatican celebrates Palm Sunday without congregation due to coronavirus | AFP

Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday behind closed doors in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Basilica and St. Peter’s Square are usually packed by Catholic faithful for Palm Sunday, but this year it is empty because of coronavirus containment measures. IMAGES

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Coronavirus: in Poland, priests celebrate Mass in empty churches | AFP

At the call of the Polish episcopate to fight the epidemic of coronavirus, Catholic worshippers remain at home to pray on Sunday, leaving priests who wish to celebrate Mass in empty churches.

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Keep the faith: Singapore churches go online amid coronavirus | AFP

The faithful in Singapore are turning towards pre-recorded services and going online with some churches closed and Catholic masses suspended indefinitely over coronavirus fears.

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Catholic priest is father to flock, and his kids

In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy flare from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is a rarity: A married Catholic priest. (Feb 14)

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Philippine Catholics swarm Christ icon hoping for miracle | AFP

Swarms of barefoot believers throng a revered icon of Jesus Christ in Manila for a slow-moving and raucous procession considered one of the world’s largest shows of Catholic fervour.

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AP photographer captures abuse survivors using Polaroid

For her latest assignment, “Sundays After,” AP photographer Maye-E Wong describes her process covering Catholic clergy sexual abuse survivors and the Polaroid transfer technique she used to document them.

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Meditation, gratitude keep priest going

The Rev. Philip Schmitter, a Catholic priest, has served the beleaguered city of Flint, Michigan, for 50 years. He concedes that self-care often falls by the wayside, but he still loves what he does. (Dec. 9)

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Reckoning with clergy abuse: Is the Catholic Church falling short on its commitments?

“If it wasn’t for journalism, we would still be in the dark.” — Juan Carlos Cruz, clergy sex abuse survivor.

Watch a recording of a panel discussion examining the state of the clergy abuse crisis and the effectiveness of measures taken by the Catholic Church, hosted by AP and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

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Church boards examining sex abuse fail victims

U.S. Catholic leaders established mandatory review boards to ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry. But an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. (Nov. 21)

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Thailand: Cheering faithful gather to glimpse Pope Francis | AFP

Pope Francis’ visit to Thailand has stirred excitement among the country’s Catholic community who gathered along Bangkok’s streets near the Vatican City embassy to catch a glimpse.

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Supporters of Evo Morales rally in Bolivia’s Plaza San Francisco | AFP

Supporters of ex-president Evo Morales rally in Plaza San Francisco after Bolivia’s influential Catholic Church called for “national dialogue” to end more than a month of violent protests in which 23 people have died. IMAGES

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First Hispanic elected to lead US Catholic bishops

Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, an immigrant from Mexico, overwhelmingly won election Tuesday as the first Hispanic to head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Nov. 12)

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Thousands of Catholic faithful in Brazil celebrate first female saint | AFP

Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful flock to a football stadium in Brazil to celebrate the Vatican’s canonization into sainthood of Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes, dubbed the “mother of the poor.”

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Pope Francis creates five new saints in canonisation ceremony | AFP

Pope Francis creates five new saints, including Britain’s Cardinal John Henry Newman – one of the Catholic Church’s most renowned converts – and a nun dubbed the “Mother Teresa of Brazil”. Heads of state from across the world attended the canonisation ceremony, which also raised a Swiss laywoman as well as two other nuns – an Indian and an Italian – to the highest position within the Church. IMAGES

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Poland’s LGBT community under fire ahead of elections | AFP

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights have become a hot button issue in Poland ahead of the October 13 general election in the heavily Catholic country. The highly influential Catholic Church and the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, the odds-on favourite to win the election, have launched blistering attacks on the LGBT community in the campaign preceding it.

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Africa Weekly: Khat addiction in Ethiopia and Madagascar’s new churches | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly we head to Ethiopia where a detox centre has been set up to help addicts of khat – a plant whose leaves give users a stimulating effect when chewed. Then we visit Madagascar, where an increasing number of people are flocking to evangelical churches, much to the concern of Catholic leaders.

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Pope Francis receives rapturous welcome at the Akamasoa charity | AFP

Pope Francis is welcomed to the Akamasoa charity association by Father Pedro, an Argentinian priest who has lived in Madagascar for over 40 years and is a beloved Catholic figure in Antananarivo. IMAGES

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City of hope rises from Madagascar garbage site | AFP

Father Pedro, an Argentinian priest who has lived in Madagascar for over 40 years, is a beloved Catholic figure in Antananarivo. His association, Akamasoa, has constructed a town on a rubbish dump, making it a sanctuary, and built dozens of schools in neglected villages, providing education for children.

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