NATION/WORLD

The Fourth of July is a day of celebration, but it is also an ideal time to reflect on our freedoms and the sacrifices our service men and women have made to sustain them — men like Master Sgt. Pablo H. Villesca who witnessed Afghanistan's first free, direct elections.

Ahead of his apostolic visit to the United States in September, some are bracing themselves for more criticisms from the pope, this time directed specifically at the U.S. culture and economy.

Catholics and Buddhists from five U.S. cities have issued a joint statement — a new, practical approach to interreligious dialogue — expressing their commitment to work together to help lift their communities out of poverty and remedy other social ills in their neighborhoods.

Pope Francis visited retired Pope Benedict XVI at his Vatican residence June 30 to wish him a happy summer.

In a landmark ruling, a divided Supreme Court June 26 said same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide.

Holy Cross Father Neil Wack is among three Holy Cross priests in his family. Effective July 1, he will serve as vocations director for the order.

Pope Francis isn't going to be visiting the United States until September, but that hasn't kept the pope from going all around the nation, if only as a simple piece of paper for the time being.

The volunteerism of the Knights of Columbus and the fraternal organization's fundraising for charitable works fit right in with Pope Francis' emphasis on the idea of "a church of and for the poor," according to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.

Youth homelessness is a decades-old issue that Covenant House has been tackling via its shelter system for homeless and trafficked youth that provides them with education, job training, health assistance, pastoral and crisis care.

Leaders of various faith traditions and civic leaders joined their voices with Catholics June 18 in praising Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" and its emphasis on caring for and protecting all of creation.

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