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Ash Wednesday: Ancient tradition still thrives in modern times

In more ways than one, Ash Wednesday -- celebrated March 1 this year -- leaves a mark.

Patti Gallagher Mansfield, front left, was a 20-year-old junior at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh when she attended a Holy Spirit retreat Feb. 18, 1967, with about 25 college students. The "Duquesne Weekend" is the acknowledged beginnings of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the United States, which has spread around the world. (CNS photo/courtesy Patti Gallagher Mansfield)

Catholic Charismatic Renewal marks 50th anniversary of founding this year

For the past 50 years, Patti Gallagher Mansfield has kept the Champion Wiremaster stenographer's notebook, 5-by-8 inches, safely tucked away among her most cherished, sacred items in her dresser drawer.

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is seen in Bonn, Germany, Feb. 16. (CNS photo/Friedmann Vogel, EPA)

Trump administration urged to do all it can to ‘care for creation’

Quoting Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'," three Catholic leaders wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Feb. 17 urging the Trump administration to do all it can to care for creation both domestically and globally.

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

Syrian refugees arrive at a camp in 2016 in Royashed, Jordan. Promised resettlement in the United States, many Syrian refugees are frustrated and angry over President Donald Trump's executive action banning their entry to the U.S. until further notice. (CNS photo/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA)

After years in war zone, burnout rises among those who serve Syrians

Humanitarian aid workers in Syria and Lebanon are exhausted, said Helene Tremblay-Boyko, who recently traveled to the region.

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehend and search two people in 2013 who were suspected of entering the U.S. illegally by crossing the Rio Grande River near McAllen, Texas. In a joint statement, Catholic bishops whose dioceses are along the U.S.-Mexico border called for respecting people's dignity regardless of "migration condition." (CNS photo/Larry W. Smith, EPA) See BORDER-BISHOPS-IMMIGRATION Feb. 16, 2017.

Border bishops call for dignity regardless of ‘migration condition’

In a joint statement, Catholic bishops whose dioceses are along the U.S.-Mexico border spoke of the "pain, the fear, and the anguish" they're seeing in immigrants and vowed to follow the example of the pope in building "bridges, rather than the walls of exclusion and exploitation."

Catholic News Service

People participate in a Feb. 11 protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policy and the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in New York City. (CNS photo/Stephanie Keith, Reuters).

Unusual detentions, raids raise questions as Trump announces ‘crackdown’

People had been on edge for a while. You could feel the tension rise in immigrant neighborhoods in the U.S. as news of the first immigration raids under the Trump administration began in early February.

Catholic News Service

Pope Francis waves as he greet athletes and assistants Feb. 16 preparing for the Special Olympics World Winter Games. During the meeting at the Vatican, the pope said the Special Olympics demonstrate that "every life is precious, every person is a gift." (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, handout).

Special Olympians show world that ‘every person is a gift,’ pope says

The athletes of the Special Olympics witness to the world the beauty and value of every human life and the joy that comes from reaching a goal with the encouragement and support of others, Pope Francis said.

Catholic News Service

Members of the Sharif family share tea at their home in Chicago Feb. 4. They made their way to the United States from Pakistan 20 months ago after being targeted and threatened by a Muslim extremist group. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic).

Refugee family now in Chicago shares experiences of fleeing persecution

The Sharifs were living contentedly in Pakistan when life turned into a nightmare in 2012. An al Qaida-related group called BLA targeted Amir Sharif, a Catholic and a well-known professor at a university in Quetta. He was told to embrace Islam or leave the country.

Catholic News Service

Members of the "Crusaders for Life" pro-life youth group rally Feb. 11 against Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Ill. It was one of many nationwide rallies calling on Congress to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood. (CNS photo/courtesy Sam Scheidler).

Rallies held nationwide call on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood

The organizers of rallies held across the country Feb. 11 to call for defunding Planned Parenthood said their message to Congress is to redirect taxpayer's money to facilities that "do a better job meeting the real health care needs of women and families without specializing in abortion."

Catholic News Service

Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with participants in the Indigenous Peoples' Forum of the International Fund for Agricultural Development Feb. 15 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, handout).

Consult, respect indigenous peoples and their land, pope says

Development projects involving indigenous communities must be planned in consultation with them and must respect their traditional relationship to the land, Pope Francis said.

Catholic News Service