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Faith Briefs for June 24

Beginning Experience to offer series

Beginning Experience of SW MN/Marshall, a peer ministry support group for widowed, separated and divorced people is offering its “Coping With Life Alone” Series for 10 weeks beginning July 11. This series is designed for those wishing to work through the grieving process following the loss of a loved one. The Monday night sessions begin at 7 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church on Church and A streets in Marshall.

Registration will be starting at 6:30 p.m. on July 11 and July 18. Registration is then closed for that session. The support group is open to people of all denominations. There is a $75 fee to cover the cost of materials. If you wish to pre-register or have other questions, contact us at: swmnbe@gmail.com or call: Tim L.: 507-530-6379, MaryAnn S: 507-828-2866, Jean: 507-220-0668.

Families, from Ukraine, elsewhere, tell pope of woes, joys

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Families from many places, including war-ravaged Ukraine, told Pope Francis their stories of joys, sorrows and hopes at an event on a stage at the Vatican Wednesday evening.

The occasion at the Vatican’s auditorium was part of events this week for the World Meeting of Families, a Catholic church tradition established by Pope John Paul II in 1994.

Francis was brought on stage in a wheelchair, as he is battling a knee problem, and listened in silence as five families recounted how they dealt with the challenges of staying united as a couple while raising children.

After listening to several mothers, fathers and some of their older children, Francis offered his reflections. He told a Ukrainian woman and her daughter, who are refugees in Italy, that they had given voice to those whose “loves have been shattered by the war in Ukraine.”

“We see in you the faces and stories of so many men and women who have had to flee their homeland,” the pontiff said.

Other families included a couple who had lost their adult daughter to cancer, diagnosed while she was pregnant, and, at her choice, wasn’t fully treated so she could give birth to a healthy child.

Still another was the widow, with three young daughters, of an Italian ambassador to Congo who was killed there along with an Italian police officer and their Congolese driver when gunmen attacked a U.N. convoy traveling to a school to observe an assistance program.

France rules against burkini swimwear for religious reasons

PARIS (AP) — France’s top administrative court ruled Tuesday against allowing body-covering “burkini” swimwear in public pools for religious reasons, arguing that it violates the principle of government neutrality toward religion.

While worn by only a small number of people in France, the head-to-ankle burkini draws intense political debate in the country.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin hailed the ruling by the Council of State as a “victory for secularism.” Some Muslim women decried it as unfairly targeting their faith and their bodies, and based on outdated misconceptions about Islam.

The city of Grenoble, led by a mayor from the Greens party, voted last month to allow women to wear burkinis in public pools after campaigning by local activists. The city also voted to allow women to swim topless, as part of a broader relaxation of swimwear rules.

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