NEWS BRIEFS

– Tej Francis

WASHINGTON D.C.

VATICAN APPROVES SECOND MIRACLE FOR BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

(CNA) A second miracle attributed to Blessed John Henry Newman has reportedly been approved by the Vatican, fueling expectation that his canonization could occur as early as next year.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom wrote in email newsletter to his diocese last week that he had received a copy of the relatio, or official report, about the second miracle needed for Newman’s canonization. “It looks now as if Newman might be canonized, all being well, later next year,” wrote Egan in the newsletter.

According Fr. Ignatius Harrison, the postulator of Newman’s cause for canonization, there are now two more steps to be taken before Newman can be canonized. First, a commission of bishops has to approve of the canonization, and then Pope Francis must declare him a saint.

Newman’s second miracle concerned the healing of an American pregnant woman. The woman prayed for the intercession of Cardinal Newman at the time of a life-threatening diagnosis, and her doctors have been unable to explain how or why she was able to suddenly recover. This miracle was investigated by the Archdiocese of Chicago, and apparently has now been confirmed.

Newman was an Anglican priest and theologian who converted to Catholicism in 1845 at the age of 44. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1847, and was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in 1879, although he was not a bishop. He was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. The first miracle attributed to Newman’s intercession involved the complete and inexplicable healing of a deacon from a disabling spinal condition.

WASHINGTON

WOMAN RELIGIOUS IN WAR-TORN SYRIA FOCUSES ON REBUILDING, HEALING

(CNS) Sister Annie Demerjian has seen a lifetime of suffering in Aleppo, Syria, over the past seven years. Now, as conflict is beginning to die down, her ministry is no longer about getting emergency supplies to those in need as buildings collapsed and food, water and electricity were scarce. The current challenge is to help people begin to rebuild their lives.

“We are now living the consequences” of years of civil war, she said. As the Syrian city finds its way out of the rubble, Sister Annie and three other Sisters of Jesus and Mary are at work, reopening garment factories and helping people find jobs and develop job skills. “Before, we were living day by day or minute by minute,” she said, stressing that she and the other sisters never knew when bombs would fall or who would die next.

“It was a big fear,” the 52-year-old sister said in Washington Nov. 27. “Every part of my country has a story to tell, a story that reveals wounds that only time and God’s mercy can heal,” she said, stressing that the current situation primarily involves “recovering from this heavy burden.” The death toll from this war is staggering. Earlier this year, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 511,000 people had been killed since fighting began in Syria in March 2011. The U.N. Refugee Agency said 5.6 million Syrians have left the country and 6.6 million are internally displaced since the war began.

Of those who remain, millions need humanitarian assistance and health care. More than 86,000 lost limbs. Sister Annie said children in particular are suffering, especially the 3 million born during the war who only know of violent destruction. More than 20,000 children were killed in the war, and 2.8 million children have been uprooted from their family homes, she added.

TOKYO, JAPAN

JAPANESE MUSEUM FINDS RARE SCROLL FROM COUNTRY’S EARLY CHRISTIANS

(CNA/EWTN News) A Christian scroll found in a Japanese museum is believed to be from the earliest days of Christianity in the country, researchers have said.

The scroll measures about 10.5 feet long and about nine inches high, and depicts 15 scenes from the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The pictures include religious figures wearing traditional Japanese garments, and Latin prayers are spelled out in Japanese phonetic letters throughout the scroll.

The scroll was discovered at SawadaMiki Kinenkan museum in the town of Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, which collects historical Christian items.

According to Japanese newspaper The Mainichi, an inscription on the scroll reads “1592 years since His Birth,” leading historians to believe that this was the year the scroll was created. Carbon dating has dated the scroll as having been created prior to the year 1633, the museum said in a press conference.

If this dating is accurate, the scroll would be from a period of cruel and violent persecution of Christians in Japan. The scroll is now on display at the museum.

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