State wrestling champion pays tribute to late mother (Tue, 08 May 2018)
ROSWELL—Although Blessed Trinity High School junior Vincent Baker shows a quiet demeanor, he smiles broadly when speaking of his mother and his wrestling career. A two-time Class AAAA state
wrestling champion, Baker won his most recent title less than two weeks after the January death of his mother, Louise, from colon cancer. Baker’s mother was […] Full Story
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St. George Church honors founders at Mass of Thanksgiving (Thu, 03 May 2018)
NEWNAN—Parishioners of St. George Church gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving Saturday, April 21, at Oak Hill Cemetery in Newnan. Father Henry Atem, pastor, celebrated Mass in honor of Ellis and
Effie Mansour, whose home was the site of the first Mass ever celebrated in Coweta County 80 years ago. Concelebrating was Father Alvaro Avendaño, […] Full Story
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Blessed Trinity hosts qualifying track and field meet (Thu, 03 May 2018)
ROSWELL—Twenty-three high schools, comprised of Class AAAA’s regions 3, 4, 7 and 8, competed during an April 28 sectional meet at Blessed Trinity High School’s stadium. The top eight competitors
in each of the 16 track and field events qualified for the upcoming state championship. In addition to Blessed Trinity, Marist School and St. Pius […] Full Story
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AACCW honors women, high school seniors for service to others (Thu, 03 May 2018)
CONYERS—At the 41st annual Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (AACCW) Recognition Day, 60 women and 55 high school seniors were honored for their ministries and service to the church
and their communities. Recognition Day was held this year on March 17 at St. Pius X Church, Conyers. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory celebrated the Mass, […] Full Story
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Puerto Rico: ‘An unprecedented level of need’ (Mon, 06 Nov 2017)
Catholic News Service was the first major Catholic news organization to send a photographer and a reporter to tour the island and document the efforts of the church and other organizations to help
many of the people far from the capital of San Juan. Continue reading → >> Read more
Historic Tomb of Michelangelo and altarpiece in dire need of repairs (Wed, 11 Oct 2017)
By Matthew Fowler ROME (CNS) — The historic tomb of Michelangelo and the Buonarroti family altarpiece in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence are in dire need of cleaning and restoration due to
sustained damage over the past 50 … Continue reading → >> Read more
A look back at the Legion of Decency (Thu, 17 Aug 2017)
By Mark Pattison and Julie Asher WASHINGTON (CNS) — It’s summertime and the movies are plentiful. As everyone knows the summer movie season is a big one for Hollywood, and when it comes to a close,
it is followed closely … Continue reading → >> Read more
Jamboree called ‘life-changing event’ for youths, adults (Fri, 28 Jul 2017)
Here’s a dispatch from Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia sent earlier this week by Msgr. John B. Brady from the national Scout jamboree, which closed today. A retired
priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, he became … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 23, 2017 (Fri, 21 Jul 2017)
July 23, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
2) Romans 8:26-27 Gospel: Matthew 13:24-33 By Sharon K. Perkins Catholic News … Continue reading → >> Read more
John C. Quinn tended to the ‘least of these’ in U.S. newsrooms (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
WASHINGTON (CNS) – I’m convinced that around the country, and perhaps the world, there are many letters similar to the one I received in the mail some 18 years ago. It was written by hand and it
ended with a … Continue reading → >> Read more
Some cheese with your ‘whine’: Pope ‘establishes’ complaint-free zone (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis left a not-so-subtle message outside his office in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence: anyone who is thinking of
making a fuss, leave your whining at the door. … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 16, 2017 (Thu, 13 Jul 2017)
July 16, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Isaiah 55:10-11 Psalm 65:10-14
2) Romans 8:18-23 Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23 By Jeff Hedglen Catholic News Service It seems as though every time … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 9, 2017 (Fri, 07 Jul 2017)
The Scriptures this weekend contain a familiar, but difficult text. “Take my yoke upon you,” Jesus says. “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 2, 2017 (Fri, 30 Jun 2017)
July 2, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a Psalm 89:2-3,
16-19 2) Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42 By Beverly Corzine Catholic News Service One winter morning I awoke …
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California bishops ask for U.S. House vote on bipartisan DACA bill (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles blesses worshippers holding palm fronds before processing into the Cathedral
of Our Lady of the Angels March 25 to celebrate Palm Sunday Mass. Gomez is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS/Victor Aleman, Angelus News)
Three California bishops have asked House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to allow a debate and a vote in the coming month on long-stymied Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival
legislation, popularly known as DACA.
In an ad placed May 18, in The Bakersfield Californian newspaper, which is in McCarthy's district, the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's bishops, asked McCarthy,
"Please don't abdicate your authority — allow a vote on DACA now."
There are four DACA-related bills in the House, but the California Catholic Conference asked McCarthy specifically for a vote on a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by two California congressmen, Jeff
Denham, a Republican, and Pete Aguilar, a Democrat.
Their bill, the Uniting and Securing America Act, has 50 co-sponsors — 25 from each party. A companion Senate bill also has bipartisan sponsorship from Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Chris
The bill would prevent DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, from being deported and would allow them to seek full citizenship. About one-third of all Dreamers live in California; they came
across the U.S. border with their parents as young children.
It also would require the federal Department of Homeland Security to conduct a mile-by-mile security assessment of the U.S.-Mexico border and estimate the cost of securing each mile by 2019, with
an eye toward implementation by 2020.
The bill would further add at least 165 immigration judges and 69 immigration attorneys by the end of 2020 to address a backlog in immigration courts.
"The time to act is now. We have to do what we can to protect these blameless people who were brought into our country when they were only small children," the letter to McCarthy said, asking that
a vote be taken by June 25. "You have the power to allow for a debate and a vote on DACA. As majority leader, you and Speaker (Paul) Ryan (R-Wisconsin) can decide what legislation reaches the House
floor," it added.
An effort is under way to collect sufficient signatures on a discharge petition, which would sidestep Ryan and McCarthy and force the bill onto the House floor for debate.
The letter was signed by Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who also is vice president of the U.S. bishops' conference, and Bishops Armando Ochoa of Fresno,
whose territory includes Bakersfield.
David Scott, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said the Orange County Register refused to accept the ad.
Gomez also posted a message May 18 on the Los Angeles Archdiocese's Angelus News Facebook page calling for a DACA vote.
"The Dreamers have been waiting for decades for Congress to do its job and pass immigration reform legislation. But for many years now, reform has been blocked in the House for political reasons
by a minority of lawmakers," Gomez said. "This is happening again, right now. It is wrong. It is cruel, unjust and frustrates the will of the American people."
He added, "There is broad bipartisan support in Congress to help the Dreamers. More than 75 percent of Americans support granting these young people a permanent legal status. This is not about
Republicans or Democrats. It is about right and wrong. People's lives are in the balance."
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Colombian Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos dies at 88 (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos died May 18 in Rome at the age of 88. He is pictured walking near the
Vatican April 16, 2005. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, a longtime Vatican official, died early May 18 in Rome at the age of 88.
In a message of condolence to the College of Cardinals, the cardinal's family and admirers, Pope Francis praised his "generous service" to the church and described him as a "well-deserving servant
of the Gospel."
The cardinal's funeral was to be celebrated May 19 in St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, was to be principal celebrant. Pope Francis was scheduled to
officiate over the final commendation at the end of the Mass.
Castrillon formally retired a few days after his 80th birthday as president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," the commission charged with outreach to the traditionalist Society of St.
Pius X and assistance to Catholics attached to the pre-Vatican II liturgy.
With the cardinal's retirement, then-Pope Benedict XVI placed the commission under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the realignment was seen as a response to the widespread
criticism that arose a couple of months earlier when Pope Benedict lifted the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops, including one who denied the extent of the Holocaust.
Pope Benedict candidly admitted mistakes in the way he and other Vatican officials handled the reconciliation move with the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. Many observers thought that
Castrillon should have looked more carefully at Bishop Richard Williamson beforehand and briefed Pope Benedict about the bishop's radical views on the Holocaust.
For much of the time the cardinal headed the commission, he also was serving as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. St. John Paul II had named him pro-prefect of the office in 1996 before
naming him to the College of Cardinals two years later. Castrillon served as prefect until 2006.
Born in Medellin, Dario Castrillon Hoyos studied in seminaries in his native Colombia before being sent to Rome to study canon law. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1952 for the Diocese of
Santa Rosa de Osos, Colombia. After a couple of parish assignments, he moved to the diocesan chancery to direct the priests involved in the diocese's radio school, a literacy and
formation program broadcast by radio for the benefit of rural farm workers and their families.
Later, he served as secretary-general of the Colombian bishops' conference and taught canon law at a local university.
In 1971, he was named coadjutor bishop of Pereira, and five years later, he became head of the diocese. Continuing to lead the diocese, he also served from 1983 to 1987 as secretary-general of the
Latin American bishops' council, known by its Spanish acronym, CELAM. He was elected president of the council in 1987 and served as head of the organization until 1991.
Named archbishop of Bucaramanga, Colombia, in 1992, Castrillon led the diocese for less than four years before being called by Pope John Paul to head the clergy congregation.
The cardinal's death leaves the College of Cardinals with 213 members, 115 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.
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Malaysian bishops say country can set new course after election (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Supporters of Mahathir Mohamad are seen outside of the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 10, one day
after general elections. (CNS/Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)
Malaysia's bishops have broken their collective silence following the May 9 win by the Mahathir Mohamad-led opposition, calling it a golden opportunity to set the nation on a new course.
The ousting of the corruption-tainted government of Najib Razak spelled the end of a six-decade ruling coalition dominated by the United National Malays Organization.
The bishops thanked God for a relatively peaceful election and expressed gratitude for an electorate that had come of age. They called for people to continue to pray for Malaysia, ucanews.com
"To all the election commission officials, the polling and counting agents, the thousands of volunteers and responsible citizens assisting in the background, 'syabas' (well done) for an almost
incident-free election," the bishops' May 16 statement read.
Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang is president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
Malaysian members include Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur, Archbishop Simon Poh of Kuching and Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, as well as six bishops.
"We have witnessed humility and the seeking of forgiveness for past mistakes," the bishops said.
"We have seen reconciliation offered and received; observed graciousness in defeat; and a love for peace and harmony for this country."
The statement added that the election was an opportunity to increasingly put into practice the values of the Gospel.
"We must pray for healing and unity among all of us," the church leaders said, calling on Catholics nationwide to offer prayers and services to ensure the country's peace is maintained.
In recent decades, government rule and services in the multi-ethnic, religiously diverse but Muslim majority country has become increasingly tilted in favor of ethnic Malays who overwhelmingly are
followers of Islam.
Catholic bishops in the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak, led by Archbishop Wong, have voiced growing concern over the Islamification of provinces that were once majority-Christian.
The opposition was only able to win after a significant number of Malays joined most other ethnic minorities in voting against the Najib regime, reducing its vote from 50 percent five years ago to
It remains to be seen whether the incoming government, initially to be headed by 92-year-old Mahathir, will set out to stem overt Islamification.
Mahathir, a former long-serving prime minister, is expected eventually to hand over the post to veteran politician Anwar Ibrahim, who originally entered politics as an Islamic student leader.
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UPDATED: All of Chile's bishops offer resignations after meeting pope on abuse (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo, Chile, and Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of
Santiago, Chile, at a press conference in Rome May 18 announcing that every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis after a three-day meeting with him at the Vatican. (CNS/Paul
This story was updated at 8:30 a.m. central time with additional reporting about the document in which Francis gave his evaluation of the situation of the church in Chile.
The story was updated again at 9:20 a.m. central time to add reactions from abuse survivors and advocates.
Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal.
"We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father's hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us," Bishop Juan Ignacio
Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said May 18 in a statement on behalf of the country's bishops.
The unprecedented decision was made on the final day of their meeting May 15-17 with Francis.
Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago, secretary-general of the Chilean bishops' conference, said the pope had read to the 34 bishops a document in which he "expressed his conclusions
and reflections" on the 2,300-page report compiled by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and his aide, Fr. Jordi Bertomeu, during a visit to Chile to investigate the scandal.
"The pope's text clearly showed a series of absolutely reprehensible acts that have occurred in the Chilean church in relation to those unacceptable abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse
that have resulted in the lessening of the prophetic vigor that characterized her," Ramos said.
After reflecting on the pope's assessment, he added, the bishops decided to hand in their resignations "to be in greater harmony with the will of the Holy Father."
"In this way, we could make a collegial gesture in solidarity to assume responsibility — not without pain — for the serious acts that have occurred and so that the Holy Father can, freely, have us
at his disposal," Ramos said.
After news of the resignations broke Friday morning, Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz tweeted: "I'm very excited about all of this. It does good to our beloved country, to so many people
who have suffered because of lying and corrupt bishops, and all the survivors in the world who have been ignored.”
“Now there's no giving up. History [or the story] changed. Sincere thanks," Cruz tweeted.
Cruz was one of three abuse survivors who met with Francis individually for several hours over the last weekend in April, and then again together April 30. Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés
Murillo were each abused as minors by Fr. Fernando Karadima. They were invited to the Vatican by Francis after he admitted making "serious mistakes" in his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases in
Anne Barrett Doyle of the abuse watchdog group BishopAccountability.org said, “Today's en masse resignation is historic -- it certainly will be seen as a milestone in the resolution of this
“Catholics everywhere owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the steely and gutsy survivors who brought this about. Juan Carlos Cruz, Dr. James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo withstood years of
disrespect from Catholic church leaders, including the Pope himself, to get us to this point,” Barret Doyle said.
“Thanks too to Pope Francis for acting boldly at last,” she said.
Murillo tweeted: "For dignity, justice and truth: out with all the bishops. Criminals. They didn't know how to protect the weakest, they exposed them to abuse and later they obstructed justice.
For this, they only deserve to go."
The bishops will continue in office unless or until the pope accepts their resignations.
The document in which Francis gave his evaluation of the situation of the church in Chile was leaked May 17 by Chilean news channel Tele 13. The Associated Press reported that the Vatican
confirmed the document's authenticity.
The pope wrote in the document that removing some church leaders from office "must be done," but that "it is not enough; we must go further. It would be irresponsible of us not to go deep in
looking for the roots and structures that allowed these concrete events to happen and carry on."
In it, the pope said that "the painful situations that have happened are indications that something is wrong with the ecclesial body."
The wound of sexual abuse, he said, "has been treated until recently with a medicine that, far from healing, seems to have worsened its depth and pain."
Reminding the bishops that "the disciple is not greater than his master," Francis warned them of a "psychology of the elite" that ignores the suffering of the faithful.
He also said he was concerned by reports regarding "the attitude with which some of you bishops have reacted in the face of present and past events."
This attitude, the pope said, was guided by the belief that instead of addressing the issue of sexual abuse, bishops thought that "just the removal of people would solve the problem."
Read this Next: Backgrounder: What happened before Chile's bishops resigned
Read this Next: Survivors, advocates see lessons for wider church in Chile resignations
In an accompanying footnote, the pope said the bishops' behavior could be labeled as "the Caiphas syndrome," referring to the high priest who condemned Jesus saying, "Better for one man to die for
the people than that the whole nation perish."
The act of covering up cases of abuse, he added, was akin to the Latin American saying, "Muerto el perro se acabo la rabia" ("Dead dogs don't bite").
The document's footnotes included several details from the investigation made by Scicluna, who is president of a board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the board
handles appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse or other serious crimes.
The pope said the report confirmed that, in some instances, the bishops deemed accusations of abuse as "implausible."
But Francis said he was "perplexed and ashamed" after he received confirmation that undue pressure by church officials was placed on "those who carry out criminal proceedings" and that church
officials had destroyed compromising documents.
Those actions, he said, "give evidence to an absolute lack of respect for the canonical procedure and, even more so, are reprehensible practices that must be avoided in the future."
Following the document's release, Cruz applauded the pope's evaluation of the abuse crisis and of the bishops' behavior toward survivors of sexual abuse.
"This is the pope that I met during my conversations in the Vatican," Cruz told Chilean news site, Emol, May 17. "I hope all (the bishops) resign and that the church in Chile begins to rebuild
with true shepherds and not with these corrupt bishops who commit and cover up crimes, as the document states."
Additional resources for this story:
Associated Press: Chile's bishops resign en masse over sex abuse
cover-up It marks the first known time in history that an entire national bishops conference had offered to resign en masse over scandal, and laid bare the devastation that the abuse
crisis has caused the Catholic Church in Chile and beyond.
Reuters: It is not yet clear if Pope Francis
will accept resignations of 34 bishops
Earlier reporting from NCR:
May 14, 2018 Chilean bishop says mistakes were made in
handling abuse cases
May 10, 2018 Chilean bishops say pope's meetings
with survivors show them path to follow
May 2, 2018 Chilean abuse survivors await
actions after 'empathetic' meetings with pope
Apr 11, 2018 Francis admits 'serious mistakes' in
handling of Chile abuse cases
Feb 17, 2018 Vatican investigator meets with Chilean abuse
victim in New York
Jan 30, 2018 Advocates welcome investigation into abuse
cover-up claims in Chile
[NCR Staff contributed to this report.]
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Religious leaders urge appointment of new envoy on anti-Semitism (Thu, 17 May 2018)
People in Jerusalem take part in the "March of the Nations" March 15 in which Christians from around the world
demonstrate against anti-Semitism. (CNS/Ronen Zvulun, Reuters)
One cardinal and two bishops are among the more than 1,200 U.S. clergy and lay religious leaders urging new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to appoint a new envoy to combat anti-Semitism.
The post, which was mandated by Congress, has gone unfilled since January 2017, when President Donald Trump took office.
"Around the world, violent and even lethal attacks have been made on Jews and Jewish institutions," the religious leaders said in a May 15 letter to Pompeo. "Physical harassment of Jews who wear a
kippah (a small head covering) in public is all too common."
The letter added, "New campaigns of Holocaust distortion have been waged and there are proposals in some countries to ban central Jewish religious practices."
"Anti-Semitism starts with Jews, but doesn't end there," it said. "When any minority is threatened, everyone is less safe."
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was one of the signers, as was Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, and Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, chairman of the U.S. bishops'
Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Other clergy who signed included Paulist Fr. Michael McGarry, director of the Paulist Center in Boston; Fr. Brian McWeeney, director of the New York Archdiocese's Office of Ecumenical and
Interreligious Affairs; Fr. Bogdan Bucur, associate theology professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh; and Fr. Donald Senior and Service Fr. John Pawlikowski, retired professors at the Catholic
Theological Union in Chicago.
Women religious signing the letter included Sr. Dianne Bergant, of the Congregation of St. Agnes and a retired professor at Catholic Theological Union; Sr. Rita Mary Harwood, a Sister of Notre
Dame who is head of the Secretariat for Parish Life and Development for the Diocese of Cleveland; and Sr. Audrey Doetzel, a Sister of Our Lady of Sion who is assistant director of programs for Boston
College's Center for Christian-Jewish Learning.
Among the laypeople signing the letter were Eugene Fisher, former associate director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, who now teaches at St. Leo
University in Florida; John Esposito, founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington; and Elena Procario-Foley,
professor of Jewish-Catholic studies at Iona College in New York.
In April a State Department spokeswoman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency said that "combating anti-Semitism internationally remains a priority" for the Trump administration but did not say when
the president would fill the post, created by a law passed in 2004. The spokeswoman said the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom "continues actively to support the (envoy's)
During President Barack Obama's first term, Hannah Rosenthal was the envoy; Ira Forman held the post in Obama's second term. The State Department also an office to monitor and combat
anti-Semitism, which remains unstaffed.
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How US churches are celebrating Mary, Mother of the Church (Sat, 19 May 2018)
Los Angeles, Calif., May 19, 2018 / 06:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- May 21 will mark the memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church, added to
the Roman calendar this year by Pope Francis.
The annual memorial is intended to foster Marian devotion among Catholics. Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said this
celebration will help promote affection for Christ and his mother.
“This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of
the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed,” he said in a March 3 letter.
For the inaugural celebration of the memorial – which will be held annually on the Monday after Pentecost – some dioceses are planning special Masses, processions and prayer services.
The Archdiocese of Detroit has invited Catholics to 5:30 p.m. Mass at Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon will celebrate the Mass with Bishop Gerard Battersby
concelebrating. Priests from around the archdiocese will also participate.
A traditional May Crowning will follow Mass, followed by a procession through the center of Detroit’s Greektown. Michelle St. Pierre, marketing manager for the Michigan Catholic, said they hope for
large and diverse crowd.
“Watching everyone processing through the streets with the statue of the Blessed Mother will be a beautiful witness to the fact that while each of us is unique, we all have one mother: Mary, Mother
of the Church,” she said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles urged his archdiocese to celebrate this new memorial with prayer and celebration of the Eucharist. He encouraged people to join him for Mass at the Cathedral of
Our Lady of the Angels at noon.
Additionally, the archbishop called on all members of the archdiocese to have an image of the Virgin Mary in their home. An image of the Blessed Mother, personally blessed by Archbishop Gomez, will
be offered to any family within the archdiocese who is interested, through the diocesan Angelus News publication.
Calling the memorial a “prophetic rediscovery of an ancient devotion,” the archbishop said he hopes it will bolster modern Catholics’ recognition of Mary’s role in the Church, as well as the infinite
love of God.
“The first Christians understood Mary to be the perfect symbol of the Church’s spiritual motherhood. And to know that Mary is the mother of the Church is to begin to understand the depths of God’s
love for us,” he said.
“Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to be a mother to us and turn all of us to have a new love for her and for Jesus and for our mother the Church.”
The Marian title of “Mother of the Church,” was given to the Blessed Mother by Bl. Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council. It was also added to the Roman Missal after the Holy Year of
Reconciliation in 1975.
Subsequently, some countries, dioceses and religious families were granted permission by the Holy See to add this celebration to their particular calendars. With its addition to the General Roman
Calendar, it will now be celebrated by the whole Roman Catholic Church.
>> Read more
Title X restrictions on Planned Parenthood a 'major victory' (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Washington D.C., May 18, 2018 / 04:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pro-life advocates lauded a federal government proposal that aims to
remove Title X funding from programs and facilities that promote and perform abortions.
“For too long, Title X has been used to subsidize the abortion industry. We need to draw a bright line between what happens before a pregnancy begins and what happens after a child has been created,”
said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee.
In a May 18 statement, Dolan called the proposal “greatly needed and deeply appreciated.”
“Abortion always takes the life of a child and often harms the mother, her surviving children, and other family and friends as well. Most Americans recognize that abortion is distinct from family
planning and has no place in a taxpayer-funded family planning program,” he said.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, hailed the move as “a major victory” for the pro-life movement that helps “disentangle taxpayers from the abortion
“The Protect Life Rule doesn’t cut a single dime from family planning,” she said. “It instead directs tax dollars to Title X centers that do not promote or perform abortions, such as the growing
number of community and rural health centers that far outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities.”
The Health and Human Services Department on Friday filed a proposal with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that abortion is not treated as a method of family planning under Title X.
While federal law currently prohibits money received through the Title X Family Planning Grant Program from being used for abortion, pro-life advocates have long voiced concern that this regulation
is not always enforced.
The proposal will require a “bright line” of physical and financial separation between Title X programs and any program or facility that performs abortion, or supports or refers for abortion as a
family planning method.
It will not decrease the amount of Title X funding, which annually provides $260 million for “family planning” purposes, including contraception, pregnancy testing, and infertility treatments.
Abby Johnson, a pro-life advocate who previously worked as a Planned Parenthood director, said in a statement that there was “never any separation of funds,” and that all money the clinic received,
regardless of source, went into one account.
“It was all about the bottom line,” she said.
Title X funds make up a small percentage of Planned Parenthood’s funding, money that Johnson believes the organization will recoup through its network of high-profile donors and supporters.
"They should have no problem making up those taxpayer dollars though with the support of celebrities, the fashion and tech industries, and Hollywood icons,” said Johnson. “But I’m grateful that my
tax dollars will not fund Planned Parenthood.”
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement that the proposal “is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights.”
“Under this rule, people will not get the health care they need. They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams.”
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the proposal a “dangerous rule” that “should send shivers down the spine of everyone who ever wanted to know the facts and the truth about
their own healthcare.”
However, Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), stressed that Planned Parenthood would not explicitly be defunded under the new proposal. Instead, it would be required to separate abortion from its
services in order to continue receiving Title X funds.
“The Protect Life Rule is about choice. Planned Parenthood can stop performing abortions or stop receiving family planning funding,” Smith said. “For too long the abortion giant has utilized Title X
funding—up to $60 million annually—to further their core mission of destroying unborn human life. The 1970 program is in dire need of reform, and today’s actions lead the way in redirecting the same
amount of taxpayer dollars from the abortion industry to actual health care providers.”
Rep. Smith, the co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, was one of more than 150 members of Congress who sent a letter to the Health and Human Services Department in
April, asking that Title X dollars be prohibited from going to organizations that perform abortions.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri), another signatory of the letter, also applauded the proposal.
“The abortion industry should not be the recipient of taxpayer funded family planning programs,” she said. “This proposed rule will distinguish between health care facilities that provide family
planning services and clinics whose business models promote, facilitate, and perform the inhumane act of abortion.”
While the new proposal could lead to Planned Parenthood losing about $60 million annually from Title X funding, the organization is still eligible to receive some $400 million from Medicaid
reimbursements annually. Federal Medicaid funds are prohibited from going toward elective abortions, although pro-life advocates have also questioned how thoroughly that regulation is enforced.
The new HHS rule is based off a regulation issued by President Ronald Reagan, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, but was later reversed by President Bill Clinton. The new regulation differs from
that of the Reagan era in that it will not ban Title X recipients from counseling clients about abortion.
Last year, Trump signed a repeal of an Obama-era regulation which had prohibited states from denying federal funds to health clinics solely on the grounds that they provided abortions.
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How Meghan Markle's Catholic school is celebrating the Royal Wedding (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Los Angeles, Calif., May 18, 2018 / 04:25 pm (CNA).- Flash mobs, sparkling lemonade, and video toasts to the happy couple are just
some of the ways that a Catholic high school in California is celebrating their most popular alumna, soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle.
An American actress best known for her role on the T.V. series “Suits,” Markle attended middle school and high school at Immaculate Heart Catholic school outside of Los Angeles.
The school has taken the highly-anticipated wedding as a chance for celebration, including an outdoor pre-wedding celebration on Tuesday, complete with a group dance, fancy hats, toasts to Markle and
both American and British flag-waving.
Current Immaculate Heart students told media that they take inspiration from the fact that one of their own, who is a U.N. advocate for women and known for her humanitarian work, is being celebrated
on the world stage.
“The idea that someone like her, who has had an upbringing so similar to ours, will now be able to voice her concerns on a global platform as an internationally recognized figure is a story that
impacts so many young women, especially the young women at our school,” student Mia Speier said in a toast to Markle at the Tuesday event.
“She is from Los Angeles, she's half black, so I feel like no matter what ethnicity you are, no matter where you're from, you could actually make a big change in the world,” Immaculate Heart senior
Chloe Hightower told "Good Morning America."
While teachers at the school recalled Markle as a bright and compassionate student with a knack for remembering names and stories, Markle says the teachers made a lasting impression on her as
Maria Pollia is an Immaculate Heart theology teacher whom Markle remembers especially fondly. In a recent interview, Markle recalled how Pollia inspired her when she said that “life is about putting
others' needs above your own fears.”
“Yes, make sure you are safe and never, ever put yourself in a compromising situation, but once that is checked off the list, I think it's really important for us to remember that someone needs us,
and that your act of giving/helping/doing can truly become an act of grace once you get out of your head,” Markle recalled in an interview for the book “The Game Changers: Success Secrets from
Inspirational Women Changing The Game and Influencing The World.”
Pollia said she was humbled and proud to hear of her impact on Markle, whose humanitarian work since high school has impressed her former teacher.
“This is something that I think really fuels her, her joy and her heart. And I think it's wonderful to know that she is still that person, and that now with her place in the world, she'll be able to
do that on an even greater scale,” Pollia told CNN. “I think that they are both very aware of that. And I think it's wonderful that they will be companions to each other on that journey.”
“She's bringing not just beauty and grace and smarts, but she's bringing this world consciousness,” Christine Knudsen, another former teacher of Markle's, told ABC News.
Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry has raised eyebrows not only for her Catholic ties, but also for her being half black, divorced, and an American, obstacles which just a few years ago may have
disqualified the couple from ascending to the throne.
Father James Bradley, a Catholic priest in the U.K. and a former Anglican, told CNA in November that the excitement surrounding royal weddings “shows that even when, in some sense, the marriage isn’t
everything we would want it to be, society as a whole has a natural inclination towards the good and towards what marriage represents.”
“So people see the goodness of marriage, even people who are opposed to the institution of marriage will cheer when a couple like this get married, or get engaged, because it takes a very hardened
heart not to be happy that two people are seeking this good.”
Prince Harry and Markle will be married in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday.
Immaculate Heart will be hosting a (early) watch party for students and their families - most coverage of the event begins between 1-2 a.m. Pacific time.
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Empty cradle, empty pews? What the low birth rate means for Catholics (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Washington D.C., May 18, 2018 / 04:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Demographic reports indicate that the U.S. birth rate is at a 40-year low,
with significant declines among Hispanic women. That low birth rate could mean declining Mass attendance because couples with children are more likely to attend church, one demographer says.
“It is the case that Catholics, Hispanic or not, tend to become more active in their faith when they marry and have children,” said Dr. Mark Gray, senior research associate at the Georgetown
University-affiliated Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.
“Thus, going to Mass frequently may not necessarily make a couple more open to having more children. Instead, having children may encourage parents to incorporate their faith in their family life
more and thus lead to higher levels of attendance.”
Hispanic Catholics who attend Mass weekly on average have 2.89 children, compared to non-Hispanic Catholics who have 2.35, said Gray, citing General Social Survey figures.
“So it is accurate to say that more frequently Mass attending Catholics have more children,” Gray told CNA. “Hispanics who are not Catholic have 1.8 children, on average. Nearly half of Hispanic
adults are not Catholic, 46 percent.”
At the same time, there are other aspects of the birth rate to consider.
“A growing rate of disaffiliation from Catholicism among Hispanics along with slightly lower rates of Mass attendance among Hispanic Catholics over the last decade could be having an effect on
fertility decisions,” Gray added. “The economy is also important.”
The U.S. reached a 40-year low in the fertility rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control provisional estimate for 2017. There were about 3.85 million births last year, a total fertility
rate of about 1.76 births per woman.
By comparison, the total fertility rate in 2007 was 2.08 children born per woman, with total births numbering as high as 4.31 million.
Lyman Stone, a research fellow at the Charlottesville, Va.-based Institute for Family Studies, said the Hispanic birth rate appears to have declined the most.
“Solidly half of the missing kids over the last decade would have been born to Hispanic mothers, despite the fact that Hispanics only make up about a quarter of fertility-age women,” Stone said at
the Institute for Family Studies website.
From 2008-2016, Hispanic women’s age-adjusted fertility rate fell from 2.85 births per woman to 2.1. They had about 19 percent fewer babies than they were on pace to have before 2008. This numbers
about 2.2 million “missing births,” according to Stone.
By comparison, non-Hispanics’ fertility rate fell from 1.95 births per woman to 1.72. About 2.3 million “missing births” would be from these mothers.
Stone credited the birth rate decline among all groups mostly to changes in marriage and marital status.
“Births to never-married women are down more than births to ever-married women,” he said.
Since 2007, the age-adjusted fertility rate for married women is down 14 percent, while the never-married fertility rate is down 21 percent.
The statistics indicate the birth rate is falling more slowly for women with graduate degrees than women with bachelor’s degrees, while the birth rate is falling most for women with no bachelor’s
“Fertility declines are most strongly associated with factors that are race- or region-specific, not broadly class-specific, as different economic classes appear to have quite similar trends,” Stone
said. “This doesn’t rule out all economic causes: there are important interactions between race and socioeconomic class.”
He suggested that economically-oriented solutions may have only “modest direct effects” on the birth rate.
The CARA research blog, edited by Gray, took a look at a similar time period, 2010-2016. It found a net loss in the U.S. Catholic population of 0.9 percent.
“This is a dynamic that is happening at the level of the family where it meets the parish community. Something is disconnected,” Gray said in a March 12, 2018 post.
Decline in marriage rates between Catholics and non-Catholics also mean a decline in non-Catholic spouses who convert to Catholicism. In 1996, 31 percent of all marriages were between Catholics and
non-Catholics, compared to only 23 percent in 2015, Gray said.
“The most common reason given by adults converting to Catholicism for switching their religion is that they are marrying a Catholic. Fewer marriages in the Church between Catholics and non-Catholics
will result in fewer adult entries into the faith.”
The retention rate among Hispanic Catholics appears to be slipping.
In 2010, 77 percent of Hispanics who were raised Catholic remained Catholic when surveyed, compared to 64 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics. By 2016, only 69 percent of Hispanic Catholics remained
Catholic, compared to about 63 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics.
In 2010, 63 percent of all Hispanic adults in the U.S. self-identified as Catholic, compared to 54 percent six years later.
“Declining affiliation among Hispanic Catholics should be of great concern to the Church because a majority of Catholics under the age of 18, those of the iGen, are Hispanic,” said Gray, referring to
the generation after the Millennials as “iGen.”
He suggested that descendants of immigrants from predominantly Catholic countries often show diminishing religious affiliation over time.
“Coming from a very Catholic country to one with abundant religious pluralism … is a dramatic cultural change,” he said.
The numbers could also reflect differences among Hispanics by national origin.
“In the United States, majorities of self-identified Mexicans, Dominicans, and Salvadorans self-identify their religion as Catholic,” said Gray. “However, minorities of Cubans, Guatemalans, and
Nicaraguans say they are Catholic.”
More Mexican residents of the U.S. are returning to Mexico than entering, with a net population decline of about 140,000 U.S.-residing Mexicans from 2009 to 2014.
Catholic immigrants’ numbers are also on the decline compared to other immigrants.
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Their chapel caught fire, but Salesian sisters remain thankful (Fri, 18 May 2018)
Newark, N.J., May 18, 2018 / 03:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a fire destroyed their chapel just days before Pentecost, a community
of Salesian sisters expressed gratitude for the first responders who extinguished the flames and saved the church’s tabernacle.
“Though our hearts are heavy, we are fortunate to be able to report that no one was harmed and that firemen were able to rescue the most precious item in the chapel: the tabernacle,” the Salesian
Sisters of Saint John Bosco reported in a statement on Friday.
At 1:39am on May 18, a fire broke out at the sisters’ school, Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, New Jersey.
The blaze was a four-alarm fire, meaning at least 168 firefighters were on the scene. Fire departments from four municipalities provided support. The fire was finally snuffed out at 4am. The cause of
the fire has not been released.
The chapel is regularly used by the school, and by the sisters residing nearby. The church was expected to be used for the school’s baccalaureate Mass on June 1 and commencement on June 2. The chapel
was built in 1976 and renovated in 2016.
“During a morning assembly led by Principal Sr. Marisa DeRose, FMA, our community wept as photos of the charred altar, pews, and melted Peragallo pipe organ were shared, along with a warning to
students to keep far from the building,” the statement said.
Despite their sorrow, the community expressed gratitude that the fire did not spread to other areas of the campus, and a donation to rebuild the chapel was received before the school day began.
“The Sisters, students,faculty, and staff of the Academy are devastated by this loss, but remain thankful to the dedicated firemen who contained the fire before it could cause additional damage to
our facilities,” the sisters said.
“A testament to the strength of our community, the first donation to help rebuild the chapel was received from a faculty member before the school day had even begun; upon hearing about the blaze on
the fire scanner radio, she was immediately moved to help.”
Mary Help of Christians Academy opened its doors in 1924. According to the academy’s website, the school teaches young women in the “charism of reason, religion and loving kindness as inspired by
Saint John Bosco and Saint Mary Mazzarello.”
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