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USCCB calls for concord, collaboration between US and Cuba (USCCB)

“Mutually beneficial trade relations, tourism, and cultural exchange with the United States are key in transforming Cuba and bringing prosperity to the Cuban people,” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said after Cardinal Timothy Dolan visited the Communist nation.

Philippine bishops welcome 'good manners' legislation (AsiaNews)

Both houses of the Philippine legislature have approved a bill making instruction in “good manners and right conduct” mandatory each day in kindergarten through high school.

Iraqi Kurdish leader meets with Pope Francis (Vatican Press Office)

“Today I presented His Holiness Pope Francis with fragments salvaged from an ancient Bible which had been burned by ISIS,” Masrour Barzani, prime minister of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region (map), said on February 19. “This is what Kurdistan stands for: united in protecting our tradition of tolerance between different faiths from those who try to drive us apart.”

Feb. 20 Thursday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time; Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto (Portugal), Weekday

Franciso and Jacinta Marto were officially declared saints of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017, in Fatima, Portugal. The brother and sister who tended to their families' sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima. Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta May 13, 2000, on the 83rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. Both under 12 years old, they were the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church.

Covington Catholic students file suit against media outlets (Cincinnati Enquirer)

A group of students at Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School have filed lawsuits against the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, and several media commentators, charging that they were defamed after the March for Life last year. One of the Covington Catholic students, Nicholas Sandmann, had already filed his own suit against some of the same outlets, reaching an out-of-court settlement with CNN earlier this year.

Catechist killed, parishes closed after jihadist attack in Burkina Faso (Fides)

A Catholic catechist was one of the 24 Christians killed by Islamic terrorists who attacked an ecumenical prayer meeting in Burkina Faso. The attack prompted Church officials to close a parish in area. Three of the six parishes in the Dori diocese have now been shut down because of terrorist attacks, and about 100 Catholics have now taken refuge at the diocesan cathedral.

Harrisburg diocese becomes 21st to enter bankruptcy (York Daily Record)

The Diocese of Harrisburg has become the 21st Catholic diocese in the US to file for bankruptcy protection, and the first diocese in Pennsylvania to take that step in the face of sex-abuse lawsuits.

Pope sees education as 'ecological movement' (Vatican News)

In a February 20 address to members of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Pope Francis said that education should be seen as an “ecological movement.” He He stressed the importance of education in bringing the student “to the knowledge of himself or herself, of the common home in which he or she lives, and above all to the discovery of fraternity as a relationship that produces the multicultural composition of humanity, a source of mutual enrichment.”

Australian archbishop in Rome to discuss legal challenge to confessional seal (Catholic Leader)

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane is in Rome this week for talks with Vatican officials, as the Australian hierarchy plans a response to a new law that requires priests in Victoria to report evidence of child-abuse, even if it is heard in a sacramental confession. The archbishop said that he would also speak with Vatican officials about the status of Cardinal George Pell, whose appeal of a sex-abuse conviction will be heard by Australia’s top court in March.

Mexico City policy does not stop US aid for abortion abroad, group reports (PRI)

The “Mexico City policy,” which bars the use of federal funds to international groups that promote abortion, still allows for federal grants to US-based organizations that sponsor abortion, the Population Research Institute (PRI) notes. PRI points to a campaign in Ghana, underwritten by the Population Council, which receives funding from the federal government.