As Pope Francis presents Bishop Robert McElroy with his red hat on Aug. 27, officially making him a cardinal in the Catholic Church, he elevates one of the top supporters of his pontificate in the U.S., including on environmental issues and the message of the pope's landmark encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."
Appointed bishop of San Diego two months before Francis issued in June 2015 the first papal teaching document dedicated to ecological concerns, McElroy has been among the most outspoken in addressing climate change and environmental justice but also transforming the encyclical's words into actions.
"Among the bishops, he's one of our best leaders on Laudato Si'," said Dan Misleh, founder of the Catholic Climate Covenant. "He certainly has spoken a lot about it, but within the Diocese of San Diego they've also acted quite a bit on it."
Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese reminds us that as the cardinals meet in Rome to discuss curial reforms with Pope Francis, they will also be thinking about who among them might be the next pope.
NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters and news editor Joshua McElwee will be joining Vatican correspondent Christopher White in Rome to cover the consistory. Follow along here.
A native of Uvalde, Texas, Sr. Dolores Aviles was playing outside with her grandnieces just a few blocks away when an 18-year-old entered Robb Elementary School on May 24 and killed 19 children and two teachers, the worst U.S. school shooting in 10 years. "Oh, my God. My eyes started to cry. I started to cry," Aviles said.
With help from Catholic Extension, a nonprofit that provides resources and support to underserved Catholic communities, Aviles organized Camp I-CAN for rising third, fourth and fifth graders from Robb Elementary. I-CAN stands for "inner strength, commitment, awareness and networking."
Volunteers, including a second-grade teacher from Robb and 13 sisters from eight congregations, led spiritual activities, sang songs and played games with 25 campers over four days, starting July 25. The goal was to give students a sense of normalcy, help them heal and, above all, let them have fun.
Catholic Extension has endowed 30 full scholarships at a Catholic school for students wounded in the Robb Elementary School mass shooting.
ICYMI: Fifty years have passed since St. Paul VI instituted the ministries of lector and acolyte, opening them to the laity, and Pope Francis wants a formal "dialogue" with the world's bishops' conferences to discuss their experiences with the ongoing promotion of the church's ministries so they foster unity and evangelization.
ICYMI: Participants will face a packed agenda and heated debate at the upcoming fourth plenary assembly of the Synodal Path reform project on the future of the Catholic Church in Germany.
ICYMI: Marking the six-month anniversary of the start of Russia's war against Ukraine, Pope Francis renewed his appeal for prayers for an end to "the horror of war."