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    Norwalk police were monitoring a bar closing when they heard a gunshot nearby early Saturday morning.

    Police found a man, 30, on Mott Avenue with wounds from gunshot fragments to the arm and abdomen after hearing a gunshot around 2:01 a.m. Saturday.

    The man declined medical evaluation by medics at the scene.

    Witnesses identified Carlos Pol Jr. as the shooter and pointed him out to police while he was sitting in a car on Mott Avenue. Pol Jr. got out of the car and began to walk away as police approached, but officers apprehended him.

    Police found a loaded Glock handgun, thirteen-round magazine and expandable baton in the car, police said.

    Pol Jr fired a gunshot into the ground during a disturbance on that street. Gun fragments deflected off the ground and hit the victim, police said.

    Meanwhile, an officer responding to the scene accidentally hit pedestrian Jonathan Torres on West Avenue in front of Lotus Lounge after he ran into the road in front of the cruiser, thinking he could make it across despite the activated sirens, police said.

    Police said Torres appeared to be intoxicated. An ambulance transported him to Norwalk Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Police cited Torres with reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian.

    Pol Jr. is legally licensed to carry a gun, however police charged him with having a weapon in a motor vehicle due to the baton found in the car, police said.

    Police also charged him with unlawful discharge of a firearm, second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, possession of a large capacity magazine and breach of peace.

    Police held Pol in custody on a $50,000 bond.


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    Waterford police are looking for two female suspects they think stole 40-inch TVs from a Walmart in the town.

    Security cameras show the women taking the "spider wrap security device" off a TV and walk out without paying for it and doing it again in the store after changing their clothing.

    Police released surveillance footage of the suspects. They ask anyone who can identify them to call 860-442-9451.


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    Planned Parenthood backers crashed a Carly Fiorina campaign football tailgate on Saturday.

    "I-O-W-A, women's rights are here to stay!" chanted supporters of the organization toward Fiorina, just several feet away.

    Since the release of secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood employees talking about handling fetal tissue for scientific research, the organization has been a target for Republicans. During the second GOP debate, Fiorina brought up the tapes and said, there was "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.'"

    Planned Parenthood have said Fiorina's description is not true and there is no evidence that the video clip the presidential candidate describes was shot inside one of the clinics. 

    "I think we're making a difference, that's my reaction," Fiorina told reporters in Iowa, trying to speak over the chants. "I think they're scared that the people of America are starting to look at what's really going on in a Planned Parenthood clinic."



    Photo Credit: AP

    Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks during the Quad Cities New Ideas Forum, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa.Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks during the Quad Cities New Ideas Forum, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa.

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  • 09/26/15--20:00: Outrage at Indian PM's Visit

  • News that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to hobnob with Northern California's leading tech executives has sparked outrage among human rights advocacy groups.

    National advocacy group Sikhs For Justice plans to protest Modi’s visit at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters on Sunday morning and, later in the day, outside the SAP Center

    The group argues that Modi’s tenure as Indian's leader has resulted in deteriorating religious freedom for its citizens. They allege that he is aggressively trying to turn the world’s largest democracy into a Hindu nation through forced conversion of Muslims and Christians.

    Sikhs For Justice has also offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who poses specific questions to Zuckerberg and Modi regarding the prime minister's treatment of Sikhs. 

    "We urge everyone to remind [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg that hosting a known human rights violator runs counter to the core American value of upholding religious freedom,” said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an attorney and legal advisor for Sikhs For Justice.

    Modi, who was in the United States last September, is slated to visit Tesla, Google and meet with Indian-American startup founders. He believes that the technological innovation that these companies are known for can help to raise the standard of living in India.

    The SAP center is expected to be at full capacity for Sunday evening's event. More than 45,000 people requested tickets to hear Modi speak, but the arena can only hold 18,000. Video screens will be set up outside to accommodate those who were unable to secure a spot inside.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a joint press conference with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at Government Buildings, Dublin, Ireland, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a joint press conference with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at Government Buildings, Dublin, Ireland, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.

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     Iran vowed to take legal action against Saudi Arabia after more than 700 people were killed in a stampede at this year's hajj.

    The pilgrims suffocated or were trampled to death on Thursday when two massive crowds converged on a narrow street. At least 136 of the those who died were Iranian, making up the largest group of causalities identified.

    Shiite Iran is accusing Sunni Saudi Arabia of not handling the annual pilgrimage, which draws over two million people, correctly.

    Saudi Arabia has not responded to the Iranian accusations regarding the convoy.



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this aerial photo made from a helicopter, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers with the four-faced clocks stands over the holy Kaaba, as Muslims encircle it inside the Grand Mosque, during the annual pilgrimage known as the hajj, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.In this aerial photo made from a helicopter, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers with the four-faced clocks stands over the holy Kaaba, as Muslims encircle it inside the Grand Mosque, during the annual pilgrimage known as the hajj, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.

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     Kelly Belanger of Plainville was excited to celebrate her 30th birthday on Saturday with a pub crawl but her boyfriend had bigger plans.

    The couple and friends had planned to ride the CT Fastrak and stop at bars along the busway that runs from New Britain to Hartford.  Belanger thought she had enough bling with the tiara she had chosen to wear as the birthday girl but she was about to be pleasantly surprised.

    When Belanger and her boyfriend, Jonathan Goldberg, arrived at the Cedar Street CT Fastrak station in Newington, there was an extra message scrolling across the digital screen.  Below the schedule of bus arrivals read the words "Kelly, will you marry me?"  

    Goldberg presented Belanger with a ring and she, of course, said "yes."  The couple then boarded the bus and commenced the birthday and engagement celebration.


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    California children with cystic fibrosis hit the waves in Malibu with some of the world's top professional surfers on Saturday.

    About 20 children, both local and out-of-state, flocked to Surfrider Beach to experience surfing with pro surfers Sage Erickson, Allen Sarlo and Kala Alexander as part of the Mauli Ola Foundation's Surf Experience Day.

    "We're having a great time," said Sarlo, an original member of the Dogtown Z-Boys, which sparked the skateboarding and surfing culture in the 1970s. "I took Josh surfing this morning. He got a couple of really nice waves, and he told me it was better than Disneyland."

    Organizers touted the event as fun and beneficial to their health. Saltwater helps clear out the thick mucus in the lungs of those with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease.

    The Mauli Ola Foundation promotes surfing as a natural treatment for genetic diseases.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    Children with cystic fibrosis hit the waves in Malibu with some of the world's top professional surfers on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.Children with cystic fibrosis hit the waves in Malibu with some of the world's top professional surfers on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.

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    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the presidential straw poll at the Values Voter Summit for the third year in a row on Saturday, cementing his position as the favorite of social conservatives in the Republican presidential field.

    He drew 35 percent support among the nearly 1200 attendees that voted in the straw poll, while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson took second with 18 percent support and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came in third with 14 percent support. The only other candidate in the field to draw more than 100 votes was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who placed fourth with 13 percent support.

    As much as the straw poll handed a predictable win to Cruz, it offered a notable rebuke to two of the field's top contenders: businessman Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

    Trump came in fifth place, drawing just 56 votes, or 5 percent support, even as polls have shown him to be the first or second pick of evangelical voters.
     



    Photo Credit: AP

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, waves to the crowd before he speaks, during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, waves to the crowd before he speaks, during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.

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    Rare Australian jellyfish spotted off the coast of San Diego's South Bay, a long way from home, may have been swept up north by El Nino currents.

    Researchers at the Living Coast Discovery Center received a tip Thursday saying there were dozens of jellyfish swimming off the Chula Vista coast.

    But when crews arrived, they didn’t find the moon jellies native to the San Diego area they had been expecting.

    Instead, they found Australian Spotted Jellies, a rare type native to the western side of the Pacific Ocean.

    “What they’re doing here is kind of a mystery,” said Education and Guest Experience Manager Elizabeth Argyle with the center in Chula Vista. The center is housing the jellyfish for the time being. 

    The jellyfish, found scattered throughout the South Bay, are known to sting humans, but the sting generally just leaves a burning sensation and is not harmful, she said. 

    Scientists believe the jellyfish may have been swept up to San Diego in El Nino currents.

    “During an El Nino year, there’s usually warm water currents that come across our Pacific Ocean and that can bring other organism such as these jellyfish, which are kind of a drifter and kind of at the mercy of a current,” Argyle said.

    Argyle said scientists also speculate they may have gotten stuck to the bottom of a boat and been pulled all the way to San Diego or may have reached local shores some other way.

    “The reason they are surviving is because South San Diego Bay has warm waters in the area,” she said.

    The center is working to put the jellyfish on display. She said they should be on display in the near future.



    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    A photo of several Australian Spotted Jellyfish.A photo of several Australian Spotted Jellyfish.

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    An American student was one of two tourists killed during a kayaking trip to New Zealand, NBC News reported.

    Daniel Thomas Hollnsteiner, 21, from New York and James Robert Murphy, 20, from London, were members of a party of 11 students who got into difficulty while kayaking on Lake Tekapo in the South Island, local police confirmed.

    Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin told local media that winds picked up on the lake during Friday afternoon and water swamped the students' kayaks.

    Local volunteers and emergency workers managed to rescue the other nine members from the group of 11 who had all been wearing life jackets at the time, local media reported.

    Both the victims were studying at Monash University in Australia.



    Photo Credit: File--Moment Editorial/Getty Images

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    Emergency responders treated several patients at a Tempe, Arizona, concert Saturday after a crowd rushed the stage, NBC News reported.

    The severity of the injuries was not immediately available. The injuries occurred at the Summer Ends Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park after fans began pushing toward a stage, the Tempe Fire Department said.

    "There were too many people there. I could not breathe and was getting trampled every five minutes," concertgoer Rayna Feerer, 16, from Ahwatukee in Phoenix, told NBC News. "It was one of the worst experiences of my life."

    The Tempe Fire Department said it treated 12 people in conjunction with the rush to the stage. One patient was transported to a hospital with a head injury, the department said. The surge began as the band Rebelution started playing, NBC News reported. 



    Photo Credit: Photo provided by: @potatumtot/Twitter

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    A South Florida man is facing multiple charges after authorities say he strangled a cat belonging to his ex-girlfriend's mother in South Miami.

    Eric Henry Medero, 25, is charged with animal cruelty, burglary, stalking and criminal mischief following his arrest Thursday, according to a Miami-Dade Police report.

    Medero was being held without bond Friday, jail records showed. It was unknown if he's hired an attorney.

    According to the report, Medero broke into the home by prying a door open with a crow bar. The victim, who was at work, saw the man inside her home using a security camera and called police.

    When officers arrived at the home they saw Medero leave through the front door. He ran away but was taken into custody after a short foot pursuit, the report said.

    Officers searched the home and found the cat strangled to death in the room of the woman's daughter. Medero had scratches on both of his forearms "consistent with being clawed by a cat," the report said.

    The woman told officers her daughter had an injunction against Medero for "dating violence," the report said.



    Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections

    Eric Henry MederoEric Henry Medero

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    France said Sunday it has launched its first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, NBC News reported.

    The French presidency said that the strikes hit targets identified as a result of aerial reconnaissance missions over the past two weeks.

    "France has hit Syria," the presidency said in a brief statement. "Our country as such confirms its resolute commitment to fight against the terrorist threat constituted by ISIS."

    "We will strike each time our national security is at stake," it added.

    Previously, France had only participated in anti-ISIS airstrikes in Iraq and resisted launching them in Syria out of fears they could bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

    The statement from his office on Sunday also said that the "Syrian chaos" requires a global response.



    Photo Credit: File--AP

    French President Francois Hollande speaks during his press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Monday Sept.7, 2015. France's president says the country will send reconnaissance planes over Syria to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.French President Francois Hollande speaks during his press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Monday Sept.7, 2015. France's president says the country will send reconnaissance planes over Syria to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.

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    Within a span of 45 minutes, police received four calls about shootings, including a car-to-car shooting that left one driver dead in Southern California, Banning Police said late Saturday.

    A man went on what police said appeared to be a random shooting rampage as he drove through the city of Banning.

    Two people were killed and three others suffered injuries after shootings occurred in multiple areas.

    Police took the driver into custody at the nearby city of Beaumont, police said. 

    The first shooting attack occurred on John Street at 11:36 a.m.

    The driver of a car was killed and the passenger was injured.

    Ten minutes later, another call came in reporting car-to-car shots near Nicolet Middle School at the intersection of San Gorgonio Avenue and Nicolet Street. 

    The victim in the shooting suffered minor injuries to the face when broken glass shattered from shots fired. 

    The violence continued at an AM-PM store on the intersection of 22nd and Ramsey Streets.

    The suspect started repeatedly punching the next victim as he was sitting in his car. The suspect then grabbed a blunt instrument and continued the attack. 

    At 12:15 p.m., police were called to East Lincoln Drive.

    A car crashed, and police found the driver dead in the vehicle. 

    The suspected shooter then began knocking on residents' doors of American Street. 

    He also broke a car's window while people were sitting inside of it. 

    Shortly after, Beaumont Police took him into custody. 

    The police said there was no clear motive as the shooter had no relation to the victims.

    Because his clothes and vehicle matched the descriptions at each location, police said they believe this is the work of one man, but would need to investigate to determine that he was responsible for every shooting.



    Photo Credit: Inland News

    A man went on what police said appears to be a random shooting rampage in the Inland Empire, killing one and injuring others, Banning Police said Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.A man went on what police said appears to be a random shooting rampage in the Inland Empire, killing one and injuring others, Banning Police said Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.

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    Police arrested a man Wednesday who is accused of impersonating a police officer and threatening to shoot a taxi cab driver while yelling at him for blocking in his car while waiting to pick up a customer in Orange, Connecticut, police said.

    Anthony White, 47, of Derby, flashed a badge and handcuffs at the taxi driver, implying he was an officer, during an argument over where the cab was parked while waiting to pick someone up, police said. White complained that the cab was blocking his car. He followed the cab driver into an office and yelled at him, threatening to shoot him, police said.

    Someone else broke up the altercation, so White left the premises, police said.

    Police from the Orange Police Department found White at home. He admitted to police that he thought the cab driver would be more likely to take his complaint seriously if he thought he was a cop, police said. The incident happened at about 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

    Officers discovered three fake police badges, handcuffs, a pistol replica and folding knife at White's home.

    Police took White into custody and charged him with first-degree threatening, second-degree breach of peace and impersonation of a police officer.

    White was held in police custody on a $5,000 bond and was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.



    Photo Credit: Orange Police Department

    Police arrested a man Wednesday who is accused of impersonating a police officer and threatening to shoot a taxi cab driver while yelling at him for blocking in his car while waiting to pick up a customer in Orange, police said.Police arrested a man Wednesday who is accused of impersonating a police officer and threatening to shoot a taxi cab driver while yelling at him for blocking in his car while waiting to pick up a customer in Orange, police said.

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    Neighbors raced to help an elderly woman pinned under a car late Saturday afternoon.

    It happened in a driveway of a town home at 1299 New Britain Avenue in West Hartford.

    A neighbor said the woman somehow became stuck underneath the driver’s side front tire.
    The neighbor reports the woman was getting nervous.

    “I just stayed down close and tried to calm her down, just to keep breathing slowly, that we could hear help was coming," Kristine Norton, of West Hartford, said. "And she kept saying she was not going to make it. And I had her look at her wedding ring that was stuck right by her hand and said just look at that, focus, and she said I can do it.”

    Emergency responders arrived soon after, lifted the car, and rushed the woman to the hospital.

    There’s no word yet on her condition or how she became trapped.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Neighbors raced to help an elderly woman pinned under a car late Saturday afternoon.Neighbors raced to help an elderly woman pinned under a car late Saturday afternoon.

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    Editor's Note: Pope Francis departed from his prepared text at the beginning of his address. Here is a translation of those remarks.

    I carry in my heart the stories, the suffering and the pain of the minors that have been sexually abused by priests. I’m overwhelmed by the shame that people who were in charged of caring for those young ones raped them and caused them great damages. I regret this profoundly. God cries! The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse to minors can't be kept a secret anymore. I commit to the zealous oversight of the Church to protect minors, and I promise that everyone responsible will be held accountable. You, they, the survivors of abuse have become real heralds of hope and ministers of mercy. Humbly we owe each one of them and their families our gratitude for their immense courage for making the light of Christ shine over the evil of minor sexual abuse. I say this because I have just met by a group of people who where abused when they were children, that are helped and accompanied here in Philadelphia, with a especial care from Monsignor Chaput.
     

    Prepared Remarks:

    Dear Brother Bishops,
    I am happy to be able to share these moments of pastoral reflection with you, amid the joyful celebrations for the World Meeting of Families.

    For the Church, the family is not first and foremost a cause for concern, but rather the joyous confirmation of God’s blessing upon the masterpiece of creation. Every day, all over the world, the Church can rejoice in the Lord’s gift of so many families who, even amid difficult trials, remain faithful to their promises and keep the faith!

    I would say that the foremost pastoral challenge of our changing times is to move decisively towards recognizing this gift. For all the obstacles we see before us, gratitude and appreciation should prevail over concerns and complaints. The family is the fundamental locus of the covenant between the Church and God’s creation. Without the family, not even the Church would exist. Nor could she be what she is called to be, namely “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1).

    Needless to say, our understanding, shaped by the interplay of ecclesial faith and the conjugal experience of sacramental grace, must not lead us to disregard the unprecedented changes taking place in contemporary society, with their social, cultural – and now juridical – effects on family bonds. These changes affect all of us, believers and non-believers alike. Christians are not “immune” to the changes of their times. This concrete world, with all its many problems and possibilities, is where we must live, believe and proclaim.

    Until recently, we lived in a social context where the similarities between the civil institution of marriage and the Christian sacrament were considerable and shared. The two were interrelated and mutually supportive. This is no longer the case. To describe our situation today, I would use two familiar images: our neighborhood stores and our large supermarkets.

    There was a time when one neighborhood store had everything one needed for personal and family life. The products may not have been cleverly displayed, or offered much choice, but there was a personal bond between the shopkeeper and his customers. Business was done on the basis of trust, people knew one another, they were all neighbors. They trusted one another. They built up trust. These stores were often simply known as “the local market”.

    Then a different kind of store grew up: the supermarket. Huge spaces with a great selection of merchandise. The world seems to have become one of these great supermarkets; our culture has become more and more competitive. Business is no longer conducted on the basis of trust; others can no longer be trusted. There are no longer close personal relationships. Today’s culture seems to encourage people not to bond with anything or anyone, not to trust. The most important thing nowadays seems to be follow the latest trend or activity. This is even true of religion. Today consumerism determines what is important. Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming... Whatever the cost or consequences. A consumption which does not favor bonding, a consumption which has little to do with human relationships. Social bonds are a mere “means” for the satisfaction of “my needs”. The important thing is no longer our neighbor, with his or her familiar face, story and personality.

    The result is a culture which discards everything that is no longer “useful” or “satisfying” for the tastes of the consumer. We have turned our society into a huge multicultural showcase tied only to the tastes of certain “consumers”, while so many others only “eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (Mt 15:27).

    This causes great harm. I would say that at the root of so many contemporary situations is a kind of impoverishment born of a widespread and radical sense of loneliness. Running after the latest fad, accumulating “friends” on one of the social networks, we get caught up in what contemporary society has to offer. Loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized.

    Should we blame our young people for having grown up in this kind of society? Should we condemn them for living in this kind of a world? Should they hear their pastors saying that “it was all better back then”, “the world is falling apart and if things go on this way, who knows where we will end up?” No, I do not think that this is the way. As shepherds following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd, we are asked to seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time. To look at things realistically, with the eyes of one who feels called to action, to pastoral conversion. The world today demands this conversion on our part. “It is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded” (Evangelii Gaudium, 23)

    We would be mistaken, however, to see this “culture” of the present world as mere indifference towards marriage and the family, as pure and simple selfishness. Are today’s young people hopelessly timid, weak, inconsistent? We must not fall into this trap.

    Many young people, in the context of this culture of discouragement, have yielded to a form of unconscious acquiescence. They are paralyzed when they encounter the beautiful, noble and truly necessary challenges which faith sets before them. Many put off marriage while waiting for ideal conditions, when everything can be perfect. Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full. For knowledge of life’s true pleasures only comes as the fruit of a long-term, generous investment of our intelligence, enthusiasm and passion.

    As pastors, we bishops are called to collect our energies and to rebuild enthusiasm for making families correspond ever more fully to the blessing of God which they are! We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family. Here too, we need a bit of holy parrhesia!

    A Christianity which “does” little in practice, while incessantly “explaining” its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced. I would even say that it is stuck in a vicious circle. A pastor must show that the “Gospel of the family” is truly “good news” in a world where self-concern seems to reign supreme! We are not speaking about some romantic dream: the perseverance which is called for in having a family and raising it transforms the world and human history.

    A pastor serenely yet passionately proclaims the word of God. He encourages believers to aim high. He will enable his brothers and sisters to hear and experience God’s promise, which can expand their experience of motherhood and fatherhood within the horizon of a new “familiarity” with God (Mk 3:31-35).
    A pastor watches over the dreams, the lives and the growth of his flock. This “watchfulness” is not the result of talking but of shepherding. Only one capable of standing “in the midst of” the flock can be watchful, not someone who is afraid of questions, contact, accompaniment. A pastor keeps watch first and foremost with prayer, supporting the faith of his people and instilling confidence in the Lord, in his presence. A pastor remains vigilant by helping people to lift their gaze at times of discouragement, frustration and failure. We might well ask whether in our pastoral ministry we are ready to “waste” time with families. Whether we are ready to be present to them, sharing their difficulties and joys.

    Naturally, experiencing the spirit of this joyful familiarity with God, and spreading its powerful evangelical fruitfulness, has to be the primary feature of our lifestyle as bishops: a lifestyle of prayer and preaching the Gospel (Acts 6:4). By our own humble Christian apprenticeship in the familial virtues of God’s people, we will become more and more like fathers and mothers (as did Saint Paul: cf. 1 Th 2:7,11), and less like people who have simply learned to live without a family.

    Our ideal is not to live without love! A good pastor renounces the love of a family precisely in order to focus all his energies, and the grace of his particular vocation, on the evangelical blessing of the love of men and women who carry forward God’s plan of creation, beginning with those who are lost, abandoned, wounded, broken, downtrodden and deprived of their dignity. This total surrender to God’s agape is certainly not a vocation lacking in tenderness and affection! We need but look to Jesus to understand this (cf. Mt 19:12).

    The mission of a good pastor, in the style of God – and only God can authorize this, not our own presumption! – imitates in every way and for all people the Son’s love for the Father. This is reflected in the tenderness with which a pastor devotes himself to the loving care of the men and women of our human family.

    For the eyes of faith, this is a most valuable sign. Our ministry needs to deepen the covenant between the Church and the family. Otherwise it becomes arid, and the human family will grow irremediably distant, by our own fault, from God’s joyful good news.

    If we prove capable of the demanding task of reflecting God’s love, cultivating infinite patience and serenity as we strive to sow its seeds in the frequently crooked furrows in which we are called to plant, then even a Samaritan woman with five “non-husbands” will discover that she is capable of giving witness.

    And for every rich young man who with sadness feels that he has to calmly keep considering the matter, an older publican will come down from the tree and give fourfold to the poor, to whom, before that moment, he had never even given a thought.

    May God grant us this gift of a renewed closeness between the family and the Church. The family is our ally, our window to the world, and the evidence of an irrevocable blessing of God destined for all the children who in every age are born into this difficult yet beautiful creation which God has asked us to serve!



    Photo Credit: WCAU

    Pope Francis.Pope Francis.

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    While a petition worked its way around the Internet last month for Pope Francis to bless Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford’s knees, one local fan was hoping that the pontiff could help out the entire team.

    “I’m not gonna say ‘divine intervention' — but it certainly can’t hurt!” said Arthur Manos.

    The Folcroft native nailed a sign into the ground on Friday afternoon, one that he hoped would be visible to Francis on his trip to Center City from the airport.

    “My intention was to be down there holding the sign, but with what’s going on that was completely out of the question,” Manos said.

    The sign, located next to a telephone pole at an on-ramp from the airport to I-95, states “God Bless Pope Francis! God Bless America! Pope Francis, Bless our E-A-G-L-E-S!”

    “When I was mounting it, state troopers came up to me and said that as long as there’s nothing derogatory or wrong, it could stay up,” Manos said.

    Manos noted that he came back to the site late Friday night before closures went into effect, and was tempted to move the sign because it’s a lesser-used ramp.

    “I wasn’t sure they’d drive by that way,” said Manos. “It’s not a highly trafficked area. It used to be the only on-ramp to 95, but not anymore.”

    Workers at stores nearby confirmed that Francis’ motorcade did in fact drive by the sign.

    Manos, who says he’s Greek Orthodox but has been excited for the papal visit regardless, was inspired by his meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1979. He was driving near the Girard Point Bridge on I-95, when he approached the papal motorcade on the highway. Back then, the roads were never completely shut down.

    Manos says he and a friend were waved ahead by a police officer, and while passing the motorcade, they saw Pope John Paul II in a limo, who blessed the two of them as they drove by at 35 MPH. Manos was hoping Pope Francis could help out the entire city with a blessing for Philadelphia’s football team.

    “I put the sign right before the curve where they have to slow down, so he definitely saw it,” the diehard Eagles fan said. “I know soccer is his favorite sport, but I figured someone he’s with would be able to tell him who the team is and why they need help.”

    Nevertheless, Manos still expects a victory from the Birds on Sunday.

    “You know, honestly, I think they’ll win," he said. "I sure as hell hope they win.”



    Photo Credit: Arthur Manos

    Pope Francis passed by this sign upon leaving the airport Saturday morning.Pope Francis passed by this sign upon leaving the airport Saturday morning.

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    The first supermoon lunar eclipse since 1982 will occur this Sunday evening.

    First Alert meteorologists have been tracking the potential for clouds in parts of the state this evening, but are more optimistic as of Sunday morning that many parts of Connecticut will experience good viewing conditions.

    Low clouds, which would make viewing the moon impossible, will sneak in from the south over portions of Fairfield County this evening. However, most parts of the state should have mainly clear skies during the total eclipse.

    Those set on getting an awesome shot of the so-called "blood moon" will have the best chance of doing so in northern and eastern Connecticut. The Hartford area should see the eclipse tonight.

    A total lunar eclipse, by definition, is when the earth blocks all of the sun's direct rays from hitting the moon. Thanks to earth's atmosphere, however, some light reaches the moon and results in an orange- or red-looking moon during a total lunar eclipse.

    The supermoon component means the moon is full or new while it makes its closest pass to earth (called perigee). The math shows that a supermoon appears larger than a typical full moon, though it may not be noticeable with a human eye.

    This year's lunar eclipse will begin in partial form at 9:07 p.m. when part of the moon will appear dim.

    The window of total eclipse falls between 10:11 p.m. and 11:23 p.m. This is when the moon will appear orange or red, if the sky condition permits viewing the moon.

    After the total eclipse ends, a partial eclipse will occur again between 11:23 p.m. and 12:12 a.m. Monday morning.

    If this weekend's event doesn't provide a great photo opportunity, it will be a few years before the next chance to snap that award-winning photo. The next lunar eclipse that can be seen in eastern North America will happen 2019.

    A supermoon and a lunar eclipse, when they happen separately, aren't rare. However, it is rare for the two events to happen simultaneously. According to NASA, after Sunday evening, the combination won't happen again until 2033 – some 18 years from now.

    Send photos of tonight's supermoon lunar eclipse to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com!



    Photo Credit: Tyler Jankoski
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    The first supermoon lunar eclipse in 33 years will occur Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. The next one isn't until 2033!The first supermoon lunar eclipse in 33 years will occur Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. The next one isn't until 2033!

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    Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continue to lead the fields for their parties’ nominations while Carly Fiorina has seen the biggest ascent, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    In the GOP race, Trump is the first choice of 21 percent of Republican primary voters — followed by Carson at 20 percent and Rubio and Fiorina tied at 11 percent each.

    In the Democratic race, the former secretary of state is the first choice of 42 percent of primary voters, Sanders is in second at 35 percent and Joe Biden third at 17 percent. That's down from Clinton's 34-point lead over Sanders in July and her whopping 60-point lead in June.



    Photo Credit: AP

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