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Philadelphia, Pa., May 6, 2016 / 11:52 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament will sell the Pennsylvania estate that hosts their motherhouse and the tomb of their founder, St. Katharine Drexel. 1 hour 53 min
Vatican City, May 6, 2016 / 07:18 am (EWTN News/CNA).- As he received the prestigious Charlemagne Prize Friday, Pope Francis laid out his vision for a renewed European continent in what could easily be his own version of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. 6 hours 27 min
Lima, Peru, May 6, 2016 / 07:08 am (EWTN News/CNA).- A number of Latin American pro-life leaders haver criticized a recent statement by the head of the Organization of American States, who is encouraging abortion access for pregnant women infected with the Zika virus. 6 hours 37 min
Washington D.C., May 6, 2016 / 04:36 am (EWTN News/CNA).- A coalition of scientists and faith leaders has called on President Barack Obama to take "meaningful" steps to reduce the threat of "nuclear catastrophe" in light of his likely upcoming trip to Japan. 9 hours 9 min
Madrid, Spain, May 6, 2016 / 01:33 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The Feminist Party of Spain has filed a complaint in court over an upcoming surrogate motherhood "fair" as constituting an illegal practice in the country by promoting human trafficking. 12 hours 12 min
Vatican City, May 5, 2016 / 12:30 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- During a prayer vigil on Thursday for all those in need of consolation, Pope Francis stressed that though we cry out in moments of difficulty, we are never alone. 1 day 1 hour
Charlotte, N.C., May 5, 2016 / 12:14 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- North Carolina's governor is standing firm against the U.S. Justice Department's claim that it is unlawful and discriminatory to require individuals to use public bathrooms, locker rooms and showers corresponding to their biological sex. 1 day 1 hour
Rome, Italy, May 5, 2016 / 07:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- To observe the Jubilee Year of Mercy and to connect it with past Jubilee Years, the pilgrimage office of the Diocese of Rome is displaying historical documents proclaiming the jubilees dating back to 1300. 1 day 6 hours
New York City, N.Y., May 5, 2016 / 04:20 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In a Christian neighborhood inside war-torn Syria, a young boy was waiting to be discharged from a hospital after undergoing surgery. Suddenly the building shook from a bombing. 1 day 9 hours
Vatican City, May 5, 2016 / 02:05 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis is set to receive on Friday the prestigious Charlemagne Prize for his efforts in the unification of Europe, drawing major leaders on the continent such as the King of Spain to the celebration. 1 day 11 hours
Dublin, Ireland, May 5, 2016 / 01:08 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The Salvatorians have offered their "deepest apology" for failing to stop a priest who sexually abused children in Ireland until his 2004 arrest. 1 day 12 hours
Aden, Yemen, May 4, 2016 / 11:24 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Two months after being kidnapped in Yemen, Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil remains missing, although a bishop involved in his case remains hopeful about his timely release. 2 days 2 hours
Cape Town, South Africa, May 4, 2016 / 07:38 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The Catholic bishops of South Africa have criticized the government for excessive weapons spending given the country's major social problems.  2 days 6 hours
Washington D.C., May 4, 2016 / 05:52 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has asked a federal court to reconsider its ruling forcing the company to comply with the revised HHS mandate, based on an admission by the federal government in its brief before the Supreme Court. 2 days 7 hours
Vatican City, May 4, 2016 / 05:37 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On Wednesday Pope Francis said the parable of the Good Shepherd is a key example of God's mercy, because it represents the depth of the Lord's concern in ensuring that no one is lost. 2 days 8 hours
Alqosh, Iraq, May 4, 2016 / 03:25 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- After Islamic State militants broke through Kurdish army forces Tuesday, killing one American and three Kurdish fighters, local Christians voiced gratitude that the attack failed, but remain shaken and on edge should there be another assault.   2 days 10 hours

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis this afternoon received the International Charlemagne Prize at an awards ceremony in the Vatican. The prestigious award is conferred each year on an individual or institution for their service in favor of European unification, and is awarded annually by the German city of Aachen to someone who has contributed to the ideals upon which the Prize was founded. Listen:  Pope Francis stressed that he would receive the award with an intention to offer it to Europe, adding, "Ours is not so much a celebration as a moment to express our shared hope for a new and courageous step forward for this beloved continent.” After hearing speeches from the Lord Mayor of Aachen, Martin Philipp, President Shulz of the European Parliament said, “Europe is going through turbulent times, and faces what may be a decisive test of its unity.” Other speakers at the event included the President of the Council of Europe and the President of the European Commission. In his Address, Pope Francis pleaded for a revitalized Europe, saying, “I am convinced that resignation and weariness do not belong to the soul of Europe, and that even our problems can become powerful forces for unity.” Referring to his 2014 address to the European Parliament, he reflected on his comparison between Europe and an aging, weary grandmother. He challenged the people of Europe, asking, “What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?  What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters?  What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?” He spoke of a Europe that can give birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue, and the capacity to generate. He noted that the roots of Europeans were consolidated down the centuries by a constant need to integrate a number of varied cultures. He added that a culture of dialogue “should be an integral part of the education imparted in our schools”, helping to give young people the necessary tools to settle conflicts in a new way. The Pope stressed that all countries – the smallest and the greatest – have an active role to play in the creation of an integrated and reconciled society. Of special importance is the role of young people, who “are not the future of our peoples, they are the present.” He asked those in attendance, “How can we tell them that they are protagonists, when the levels of employment and underemployment of millions of young Europeans are continually rising?  How can we avoid losing our young people, who end up going elsewhere in search of their dreams and a sense of belonging, because here, in their own countries, we don’t know how to offer them opportunities and values?” To create dignified and well-paying jobs, especially for young people, Pope Francis emphasised the need to move away from a “liquid economy”, one directed at revenue and profiting from speculation, to a “social economy”, one that invests in people by creating jobs. Pope Francis concluded by describing his own dream for Europe: a place still capable of being a mother who has life because she respects and offers hope for life; a place attentive to the infirm and elderly; a place where people “breathe the pure air of honesty.” (from Vatican Radio)... 3 hours 1 min
(Vatican Radio) On Thursday 5 May, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Vatican, spoke at a conference at the Palazzo Madama on the subjects of religious freedom, human rights, and globalization. The Cardinal said ecumenical and interreligious dialogue is not a luxury but something that our increasingly injured world needs, otherwise we will continue in a cycle of violence and suffering. Cardinal Parolin called on religious leaders to act as instruments of peace for their governments by combining the concept of dialogue and the concept of peace, for the service of the greater good. He asked that they do everything possible for reconciliation between  parties, and not only resolve conflicts, but offer alternatives to military action. He said peace will be ensured through recognizing fundamental human rights. The Cardinal said this is the new border of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, that religions can come together in order to develop the process of peace and avoid suffering, resentment, and revenge,  as well as poverty and other forms of injustice.   He also spoke about the significant evolution of the role of the Catholic Church and the protection of religious freedom. He said that this does not refer only to the “libertas Ecclesiae”, the liberty of the Church, but to the protection of all believers and all those religious and ethnic minorities who are suffering. Cardinal Parolin said that “the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal” which “has born much fruit” was produced by Christianity, but he strongly criticized that “persistent secularist practice that wants to eliminate religions from public spaces”. The distinction proposed by the Church on the other hand is “a mature inclusive and welcoming laicization with respect to the dignity of others and the rejection of every form of violence to human dignity”. And he expressed his dismay at the increasing numbers of Christian martyrs and the indifference that involves everyone.  (from Vatican Radio)... 4 hours 7 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday received the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen, Germany, from Marcel Philipp, the Lord Mayor of the German city. The International Charlemagne Prize is awarded for work done in the service of European unification. The Prize is named for Charles the Great (Charlemagne), the Franconian king revered by his contemporaries as the "Father of Europe." The awards ceremony also featured addresses from Martin Schultz, the President of the European Parliament; Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission; and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. In his address, Pope Francis said “if we want a dignified future, a future of peace for our societies, we will only be able to achieve it by working for genuine inclusion.” “To the rebirth of a Europe weary, yet still rich in energies and possibilities, the Church can and must play her part,” Pope Francis said. “Her task is one with her mission: the proclamation of the Gospel, which today more than ever finds expression in going forth to bind the wounds of humanity with the powerful yet simple presence of Jesus, and his mercy that consoles and encourages.” The full text of Pope Francis’ address is below Address of His Holiness Pope Francis Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize 6 May 2016 Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,                 I offer you a cordial welcome and I thank you for your presence.  I am particularly grateful to Messrs Marcel Philipp, Jürgen Linden, Martin Schulz, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk for their kind words.  I would like to reiterate my intention to offer this prestigious award for Europe.  For ours is not so much a celebration as a moment to express our shared hope for a new and courageous step forward for this beloved continent.                 Creativity, genius and a capacity for rebirth and renewal are part of the soul of Europe.  In the last century, Europe bore witness to humanity that a new beginning was indeed possible.  After years of tragic conflicts, culminating in the most horrific war ever known, there emerged, by God’s grace, something completely new in human history.  The ashes of the ruins could not extinguish the ardent hope and the quest of solidarity that inspired the founders of the European project.  They laid the foundations for a bastion of peace, an edifice made up of states united not by force but by free commitment to the common good and a definitive end to confrontation.  Europe, so long divided, finally found its true self and began to build its house.                 This “family of peoples”,  which has commendably expanded in the meantime, seems of late to feel less at home within the walls of the common home.  At times, those walls themselves have been built in a way varying from the insightful plans left by the original builders.  Their new and exciting desire to create unity seems to be fading; we, the heirs of their dream, are tempted to yield to our own selfish interests and to consider putting up fences here and there.  Nonetheless, I am convinced that resignation and weariness do not belong to the soul of Europe, and that even “our problems can become powerful forces for unity”.                 In addressing the European Parliament, I used the image of Europe as a grandmother.  I noted that there is a growing impression that Europe is weary, aging, no longer fertile and vital, that the great ideals that inspired Europe seem to have lost their appeal.  There is an impression that Europe is declining, that it has lost its ability to be innovative and creative, and that it is more concerned with preserving and dominating spaces than with generating processes of inclusion and change.  There is an impression that Europe is tending to become increasingly “entrenched”, rather than open to initiating new social processes capable of engaging all individuals and groups in the search for new and productive solutions to current problems.  Europe, rather than protecting spaces, is called to be a mother who generates processes (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 223).                 What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?  What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters?  What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?                 The writer Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Nazi death camps, has said that what we need today is a “memory transfusion”.  We need to “remember”, to take a step back from the present to listen to the voice of our forebears.  Remembering will help us not to repeat our past mistakes (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 108), but also to re-appropriate those experiences that enabled our peoples to surmount the crises of the past.  A memory transfusion can free us from today’s temptation to build hastily on the shifting sands of immediate results, which may produce “quick and easy short-term political gains, but do not enhance human fulfilment” (ibid., 224).                 To this end, we would do well to turn to the founding fathers of Europe.  They were prepared to pursue alternative and innovative paths in a world scarred by war.  Not only did they boldly conceive the idea of Europe, but they dared to change radically the models that had led only to violence and destruction. They dared to seek multilateral solutions to increasingly shared problems.                 Robert Schuman, at the very birth of the first European community, stated that “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan.  It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity”.   Today, in our own world, marked by so much conflict and suffering, there is a need to return to the same de facto solidarity and concrete generosity that followed the Second World War, because, as Schuman noted, “world peace cannot be safeguarded without making creative efforts proportionate to the dangers threatening it”.   The founding fathers were heralds of peace and prophets of the future.  Today more than ever, their vision inspires us to build bridges and tear down walls.  That vision urges us not to be content with cosmetic retouches or convoluted compromises aimed at correcting this or that treaty, but courageously to lay new and solid foundations.  As Alcide De Gasperi stated, “equally inspired by concern for the common good of our European homeland”, all are called to embark fearlessly on a “construction project that demands our full quota of patience and our ongoing cooperation”.                  Such a “memory transfusion” can enable us to draw inspiration from the past in order to confront with courage the complex multipolar framework of our own day and to take up with determination the challenge of “updating” the idea of Europe.  A Europe capable of giving birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate. The capacity to integrate                 Erich Przywara, in his splendid work Idee Europa [The Idea of Europe], challenges us to think of the city as a place where various instances and levels coexist.  He was familiar with the reductionist tendency inherent in every attempt to rethink the social fabric.  Many of our cities are remarkably beautiful precisely because they have managed to preserve over time traces of different ages, nations, styles and visions.  We need but look at the inestimable cultural patrimony of Rome to realize that the richness and worth of a people is grounded in its ability to combine all these levels in a healthy coexistence.  Forms of reductionism and attempts at uniformity, far from generating value, condemn our peoples to a cruel poverty: the poverty of exclusion.  Far from bestowing grandeur, riches and beauty, exclusion leads to vulgarity, narrowness, and cruelty.  Far from bestowing nobility of spirit, it brings meanness.                 The roots of our peoples, the roots of Europe, were consolidated down the centuries by the constant need to integrate in new syntheses the most varied and discrete cultures.  The identity of Europe is, and always has been, a dynamic and multicultural identity.                 Political activity cannot fail to see the urgency of this fundamental task. We know that “the whole is greater than the part, but it is also greater than the sum of the parts”, and this requires that we work to “broaden our horizons and see the greater good which will benefit us all” (Evangelii Gaudium, 235).  We are asked to promote an integration that finds in solidarity a way of acting, a means of making history.  Solidarity should never be confused with charitable assistance, but understood as a means of creating opportunities for all the inhabitants of our cities – and of so many other cities – to live with dignity.  Time is teaching us that it is not enough simply to settle individuals geographically: the challenge is that of a profound cultural integration. The community of European peoples will thus be able to overcome the temptation of falling back on unilateral paradigms and opting for forms of “ideological colonization”.  Instead, it will rediscover the breadth of the European soul, born of the encounter of civilizations and peoples.  The soul of Europe is in fact greater than the present borders of the Union and is called to become a model of new syntheses and of dialogue.  The true face of Europe is seen not in confrontation, but in the richness of its various cultures and the beauty of its commitment to openness.   Without this capacity for integration, the words once spoken by Konrad Adenauer will prove prophetic: “the future of the West is not threatened as much by political tensions as by the danger of conformism, uniformity of thoughts and feelings: in a word, by the whole system of life, by flight from responsibility, with concern only for oneself.” The capacity for dialogue                 If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue.  We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society.  The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to.  Today we urgently need to engage all the members of society in building “a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter” and in creating “a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society” (Evangelii Gaudium, 239).  Peace will be lasting in the measure that we arm our children with the weapons of dialogue, that we teach them to fight the good fight of encounter and negotiation.  In this way, we will bequeath to them a culture capable of devising strategies of life, not death, and of inclusion, not exclusion.                 This culture of dialogue should be an integral part of the education imparted in our schools, cutting across disciplinary lines and helping to give young people the tools needed to settle conflicts differently than we are accustomed to do.  Today we urgently need to build “coalitions” that are not only military and economic, but cultural, educational, philosophical and religious.  Coalitions that can make clear that, behind many conflicts, there is often in play the power of economic groups.  Coalitions capable of defending people from being exploited for improper ends.  Let us arm our people with the culture of dialogue and encounter. The capacity to generate                 Dialogue, with all that it entails, reminds us that no one can remain a mere onlooker or bystander.  Everyone, from the smallest to the greatest, has an active role to play in the creation of an integrated and reconciled society.  This culture of dialogue can come about only if all of us take part in planning and building it.   The present situation does not permit anyone to stand by and watch other people’s struggles.  On the contrary, it is a forceful summons to personal and social responsibility.                 In this sense, our young people have a critical role.  They are not the future of our peoples; they are the present.  Even now, with their dreams and their lives they are forging the spirit of Europe.  We cannot look to the future without offering them the real possibility to be catalysts of change and transformation. We cannot envision Europe without letting them be participants and protagonists in this dream.                 Lately I have given much thought to this.  I ask myself:  How we can involve our young people in this building project if we fail to offer them employment, dignified labour that lets them grow and develop through their handiwork, their intelligence and their abilities?  How can we tell them that they are protagonists, when the levels of employment and underemployment of millions of young Europeans are continually rising?  How can we avoid losing our young people, who end up going elsewhere in search of their dreams and a sense of belonging, because here, in their own countries, we don’t know how to offer them opportunities and values?                 The just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labour is not mere philanthropy.  It is a moral obligation.   If we want to rethink our society, we need to create dignified and well-paying jobs, especially for our young people.                 To do so requires coming up with new, more inclusive and equitable economic models, aimed not at serving the few, but at benefiting ordinary people and society as a whole.  This calls for moving from a liquid economy to a social economy; I think for example of the social market economy encouraged by my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, 8 November 1990).  It would involve passing from an economy directed at revenue, profiting from speculation and lending at interest, to a social economy that invests in persons by creating jobs and providing training.                 We need to move from a liquid economy prepared to use corruption as a means of obtaining profits to a social economy that guarantees access to land and lodging through labour.  Labour is in fact the setting in which individuals and communities bring into play “many aspects of life: creativity, planning for the future, developing talents, living out values, relating to others, giving glory to God.  It follows that, in the reality of today’s global society, it is essential that we ‘continue to prioritize the role of access to steady employment for everyone, no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning’ ” (Encyclical Laudato Si’, 127).                 If we want a dignified future, a future of peace for our societies, we will only be able to achieve it by working for genuine inclusion, “an inclusion which provides worthy, free, creative, participatory and solidary work”.   This passage (from a liquid economy to a social economy) will not only offer new prospects and concrete opportunities for integration and inclusion, but will makes us once more capable of envisaging that humanism of which Europe has been the cradle and wellspring.                 To the rebirth of a Europe weary, yet still rich in energies and possibilities, the Church can and must play her part.  Her task is one with her mission: the proclamation of the Gospel, which today more than ever finds expression in going forth to bind the wounds of humanity with the powerful yet simple presence of Jesus, and his mercy that consoles and encourages.  God desires to dwell in our midst, but he can only do so through men and women who, like the great evangelizers of this continent, have been touched by him and live for the Gospel, seeking nothing else.  Only a Church rich in witnesses will be able to bring back the pure water of the Gospel to the roots of Europe.  In this enterprise, the path of Christians towards full unity is a great sign of the times and a response to the Lord’s prayer “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).                 With mind and heart, with hope and without vain nostalgia, like a son who rediscovers in Mother Europe his roots of life and faith, I dream of a new European humanism, one that involves “a constant work of humanization” and calls for “memory, courage, [and] a sound and humane utopian vision”.    I dream of a Europe that is young, still capable of being a mother: a mother who has life because she respects life and offers hope for life.  I dream of a Europe that cares for children, that offers fraternal help to the poor and those newcomers seeking acceptance because they have lost everything and need shelter.  I dream of a Europe that is attentive to and concerned for the infirm and the elderly, lest they be simply set aside as useless.  I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime but a summons to greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being.  I dream of a Europe where young people breathe the pure air of honesty, where they love the beauty of a culture and a simple life undefiled by the insatiable needs of consumerism, where getting married and having children is a responsibility and a great joy, not a problem due to the lack of stable employment.  I dream of a Europe of families, with truly effective policies concentrated on faces rather than numbers, on birth rates more than rates of consumption.  I dream of a Europe that promotes and protects the rights of everyone, without neglecting its duties towards all.  I dream of a Europe of which it will not be said that its commitment to human rights was its last utopia. (from Vatican Radio)... 5 hours 20 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Friday that a Christian does not anesthetize or numb pain but lives through it in the hope that God will give us a joy that nobody can take away. That was the key message of the Pope’s homily at his morning Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta residence. Listen to this report by Susy Hodges:    Joy and pain of a woman giving birth Taking his inspiration from the day’s reading where Jesus warns his disciples of a coming sadness but says it will be transformed later into a cry of joy, Pope Francis reflected in his homily on how Christians should always maintain their joy and hope, even in the midst of pain. He used  the example of a woman in labour, saying: “She’s in pain because her time has come but when she gives birth to her baby she no longer remembers the suffering.”  She carries on hoping throughout the pain and then she rejoices. “This is (the impact of) what joy and hope together can have on our lives, when we are facing tribulations, when we have problems, when we are suffering.  It is not an anesthesia.  Pain is pain but if lived through with joy and hope it will open the door for you to the joy of a new being. This image of the Lord should give us great hope amidst our difficulties: difficulties that often are awful, horrible difficulties that can even make us doubt our faith… But with joy and hope we journey forward because after this tempest  a new man arrives, just like with a woman giving birth. And Jesus tells us that this is a lasting joy and hope that will not go away.” Joy and hope, not simply happiness or optimism The Pope went on to explain that the joy and hope of a Christian are always tied together and they should not be confused with simple happiness or optimism. “A joy without hope is just enjoyment, a temporary happiness.  A hope without joy is not hope and doesn’t extend beyond a healthy optimism. Joy and hope always journey together and both of them create this explosion that the Church in her liturgy almost cries out -- allow me to say the word -- without shame: ‘Rejoice for your Church!, Rejoice – without  formality.  Because when there is a strong joy, there’s no formality, just joy.” Pope Francis went on to explain how joy and hope depend upon each other to flourish and urged Christians to open out towards others with these two virtues.  “Joy strengthens hope and hope blooms amidst joy. And we go forward like this. But both of these Christian virtues, along with the attitude that the Church seeks to give them, show us the way to open out (towards others). Joyful people do not stay closed in on themselves: hope makes you open outwards, it is just like an anchor on the shore of heaven that pulls us up and out. Open out from ourselves, with joy and hope.” A lasting joy The Pope noted that human joy can be taken away at any time whereas Jesus gives us a lasting joy that nobody can take away from us. It remains “even during our darkest moments” just like the Apostles who after being reassured by the Angels following Jesus’ Ascension into heaven retrace their steps “full of joy.” He said the Apostles have that joy of "knowing that our humanity entered heaven for the first time," that hope of life and of rejoining our Lord.  This, he concluded, becomes "a joy that pervades the whole Church."   (from Vatican Radio)... 5 hours 32 min
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday (the Feast of the Ascension) presided over a prayer vigil “To Dry the Tears” in St Peter’s Basilica dedicated to all those who are suffering and who seek consolation. Members of one family and two individuals who have undergone different types of suffering in their lives testified to the gathering about their painful experience and how they were helped to recover from it. During the vigil the reliquary of Our Lady of Tears of Syracuse were on display inside the basilica for the veneration of the faithful. This reliquary is linked to the extraordinary phenomenon that occurred in 1953, when a small plaster picture depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary that was hanging above the bed of a young Italian married couple shed human tears. The reliquary contains part of the tears that flowed miraculously from the image of Our Lady. Please find below a translation into English of Pope Francis’ prepared meditation during the Prayer Vigil. Dear Brothers and Sisters,                 After the moving testimonies we have heard, and in the light of the word of the Lord that gives meaning to our suffering, let us first ask Holy Spirit to come among us.  May he enlighten our minds to find the right words capable of bringing comfort.  May he open our hearts to the certainty that God is always present and never abandons us in times of trouble.  The Lord Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them alone, but at all times in life he would remain close to them by sending his Spirit, the Comforter (cf. Jn 14:26) to help, sustain and console them.                 At times of sadness, suffering and sickness, amid the anguish of persecution and grief, everyone looks for a word of consolation.  We sense a powerful need for someone to be close and feel compassion for us.  We experience what it means to be disoriented, confused, more heartsick than we ever thought possible.  We look around us with uncertainty, trying to see if we can find someone who really understands our pain.  Our mind is full of questions but answers do not come.  Reason by itself is not capable of making sense of our deepest feelings, appreciating the grief we experience and providing the answers we are looking for.  At times like these, more than ever do we need the reasons of the heart, which alone can help us understand the mystery which embraces our loneliness.                 How much sadness we see in so many faces all around us!  How many tears are shed every second in our world; each is different but together they form, as it were, an ocean of desolation that cries out for mercy, compassion and consolation.  The bitterest tears are those caused by human evil: the tears of those who have seen a loved one violently torn from them; the tears of grandparents, mothers and fathers, children; eyes that keep staring at the sunset and find it hard to see the dawn of a new day.  We need the mercy, the consolation that comes from the Lord.  All of us need it.  This is our poverty but also our grandeur: to plead for the consolation of God, who in his tenderness comes to wipe the tears from our eyes (cf. Is 25:8; Rev 7:17; 21:4).                 In our pain, we are not alone.  Jesus, too, knows what it means to weep for the loss of a loved one.  In one of the most moving pages of the Gospel, Jesus sees Mary weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus.  Nor can he hold back tears.  He was deeply moved and began to weep (cf. Jn 11:33-35).  The evangelist John, in describing this, wanted to show how much Jesus shared in the sadness and grief of his friends.  Jesus’ tears have unsettled many theologians over the centuries, but even more they have bathed so many souls and been a balm to so much hurt.  Jesus also experienced in his own person the fear of suffering and death, disappointment and discouragement at the betrayal of Judas and Peter, and grief at the death of his friend Lazarus.  Jesus “does not abandon those whom he loves” (Augustine, In Joh., 49, 5).  If God could weep, then I too can weep, in the knowledge that he understands me.  The tears of Jesus serve as an antidote to my indifference before the suffering of my brothers and sisters.  His tears teach me to make my own the pain of others, to share in the discouragement and sufferings of those experiencing painful situations.  They make me realize the sadness and desperation of those who have even seen the body of a dear one taken from them, and who no longer have a place in which to find consolation.  Jesus’ tears cannot go without a response on the part of those who believe in him.  As he consoles, so we too are called to console.                 In the moment of confusion, dismay and tears, Christ’s heart turned in prayer to the Father.  Prayer is the true medicine for our suffering.  In prayer, we too can feel God’s presence.  The tenderness of his gaze comforts us; the power of his word supports us and gives us hope.  Jesus, standing before the tomb of Lazarus, prayed, saying: “Father, I thank you for having heard me.  I knew that you always hear me” (Jn 11:41-42).  We too need the certainty that the Father hears us and comes to our aid.  The love of God, poured into our hearts, allows us to say that when we love, nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from those we have loved.  The apostle Paul tells us this with words of great comfort: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or the sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35, 37-39).  The power of love turns suffering into the certainty of Christ’s victory, and our own in union with him, and into the hope that one day we will once more be together and will forever contemplate the face of the Blessed Trinity, the eternal wellspring of life and love.                 At the foot of every cross, the Mother of Jesus is always there.  With her mantle, she wipes away our tears.  With her outstretched hand, she helps us to rise up and she accompanies us along the path of hope.” (from Vatican Radio)... 23 hours 3 min
(Vatican Radio)  “Citizenship is a question of pluralism, a question of recognizing the identity of the other on the basis of respect:” That’s what Jordan’s Prince El Hassan bin Talal has told Vatican Radio following an interfaith meeting in the Vatican on the theme “Shared values in Social and Political Life.” Listen to Tracey McClure's full-length interview with HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal: The two day closed-door meeting 3-4 May was organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and included Christian and Muslim delegates.  His Royal Highness, as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies (RIIFS), headed a delegation of men and women involved in interfaith dialogue. RIIFS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization which offers a space for the interdisciplinary study of intercultural and interreligious issues with the aim of reducing tensions and promoting peace at regional and global levels. Prince El Hassan was one of thirty members of RIIFS received in audience Wednesday by Pope Francis.  In speaking to them, the Pope recalled “with great joy” his visit to Jordan and said the group’s work “is a task of construction” that comes at a time “in which we are accustomed to the destruction wrought by war."  And, he urged them to continue on the “journey” of dialogue “and of bringing people together” which “always helps us to construct.” A journey of Interfaith dialogue “I believe that rising to the higher values referred to by His Holiness Pope Francis on Wednesday is my expectation of this dialogue. To rise to constructive values …simply put.  Broadly put: psychological and physical rebuilding of our mindset towards the issue which is an issue of territoriality, identity and migration worldwide as I see it, is the challenge that we face: how to look at human dignity without discrimination and without silos,” he said. “What I mean by silos,” Prince El Hassan added,  “is that there are international organizations that deal on a binary basis with this organization or that organization, with this group of beneficiaries, migrants, refugees, stateless persons – we’ve even now entered into the immoral reference to some groups of people as ‘un-people.’” “And I think in this regard, stripping people of their nationality is not going to improve the chances of losing large numbers of young people who join radical groups simply because they feel they do not have any other option or because they feel that the incentives are the way they are.  So I think that this dialogue - and we announced a decalogue of dialogue in 2014 in Amman - is actually achieving certain objectives.  And among those objectives is the practical work being done by the monitoring facilities of academics who are looking at the Arab Christian and Muslim image vis-a-vis the world in which we live and correspondingly, asking those who are concerned with projecting the European concerns or the Western concerns: how can we meet in a middle ground whereby we look at liberties in the context of a good neighborhood policy on the one side, and the Eurasian policy on the other?” Asked if enough is being done in the region to foster citizenship and diversity, His Royal Highness stressed: “In the case of Jordan we were supposed to be 2 and a half million people in 1991.  Today we are over 9 million people.  We’ve had a war practically every decade since 1948, ’56, ’67, ’73 and the list goes on to include the Iraq wars and the Iraq-Iran war.  And every war has meant that Jordan and Lebanon for example, have paid the price with the forced migration and of course before that, the Palestinian forced migration. So the question of citizenship is a question of pluralism, a question of recognizing the identity of the other on the basis of respect.” “The question of identity is one of recognizing the other, recognizing that the Christian population is dwindling in the region as a whole which is quite alarming…” added the Prince. Jordan shelters hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees Jordan has generously offered refuge to hundreds of thousands of Syrians who fled the war in their country. Asked if the international community has assumed its fair share of the burden, Prince El Hassan said he looks “forward to the realization of the pledges and the delivery of those pledges as they were made in the [recent] London conference – on assisting the countries that have suffered the consequences of the Syrian debacle and the Syrian civil war.” The 4 February 2016 conference set itself ambitious goals on education and economic opportunities to transform the lives of refugees caught up in the Syrian crisis – and to support the countries hosting them.   Over US$ 11 billion was raised in pledges – $5.8 billion for 2016 and a further $5.4 billion for 2017-20. “These consequences, I believe - whether in infrastructure, education, jobs, economy -should be looked at in terms of a regional stabilization plan. In that regard, I am quite impressed by the statement of [U.S.] Senator Lindsey Graham calling for a Marshall Plan.  I hope he is taken seriously as indeed I hope that the Bretton Woods, the World Bank and the IMF are taken seriously in their call for a stabilization fund.  But to be pro-active, I think that a regional bank for reconstruction and development should be encouraged. I can’t understand why our region is the only region in the world where we don’t have a regional bank where we have to respond to the initiative taken by others beyond our region,”  stated His Royal Highness. “I think that a time may come when we begin to recognize refugees as they truly are: as victims rather than as perpetrators of violence.  I think it’s too much to ask of the poorest countries in the region, the non-oil producing countries in particular, to bear the greatest burden of the folly of others.”   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 2 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday evening sent a video message to the 39th National Assembly of the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives. In his remarks, the Holy Father recalled the advice he first gave them during a meeting on February 28, 2015 , in the Paul VI Audience Hall. Pope Francis summarized those earlier remarks: “Continue to be the motor that lifts and develops the weakest part of your local community and of civil society, especially by establishing companies to provide jobs; be leaders in creating new welfare solutions, as you are already doing;  Manage the cooperatives truly cooperatively - that is, involving all; Endeavour to support, facilitate and encourage family life. With the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia I indicated a prospective of joy and responsibility, but the people and the families should not be left alone, and must harmonized work and family; Bring good means together with determination in order to accomplish good works. It takes creativity and generosity to capitalize your cooperatives and invest well; Counter the false cooperatives, because cooperatives must promote an economy of honesty; Participate actively in globalization in order to integrate – in the world – development, justice and peace.” The Holy Father then told the participants that since that time “the drama, and often the tragedy, of migrants, terrorism without borders, and the global economic slowdown have made these words even more true.” He told them it is their “origins which give you strength,” including their collaboration with the local church, and the ability to reach out to people in need. “Beginning a business out of need is your talent,” Pope Francis said. “Maintain this richness, while you build a common perspective with other associations to make evident the value for every person of the true cooperative.” He encouraged them to be “guided by the commitment to the common good” when deciding what programmes to pursue in the future. “If the cooperative functions to build solidarity also among its members, it reinforces communal responsibility, the ability to recognize what the generosity of others can accomplish, as well as to accept the limits,” Pope Francis said. The Holy Father said cooperatives build “fraternity,” and can be a “witness of how faith animates a concrete commitment” to humanity. Pope Francis concluded by reminding the participants of the Holy Year of Mercy, and expressing his hope that the commitments taken up by the cooperatives become “an expression of mercy.” (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 5 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says God loves each and every one of us, He is totally extraneous to the “throwaway culture” of today and like the good shepherd he does not want a single person to be lost. Speaking on Wednesday at the weekly General Audience , Pope Francis continued his catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy reflecting on the parable of the Good Shepherd. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : He said that the Lord uses the image of the shepherd who leaves his flock to go in search of one lost sheep to express God’s closeness to sinners.  He emphasized that God does not want even a single person to be lost and that in his infinite mercy, he is always ready to meet us wherever we are.   And reflecting on the “throwaway culture” of the contemporary world, the Pope said it is something that is totally foreign to God who would never “throw away” a single person.  “God loves all, he reaches out to every person: one by one! He knows nothing about ‘throwing away people’ because He is all about love and mercy” he said.     The example of the Good Shepherd, Pope Francis continued, also challenges us to go out in search of those in particular need of God’s mercy, especially those who have gone astray.   He said that Jesus teaches us that in his eyes there are no lost sheep, but only sheep needing to be found and that the joy which the Good Shepherd feels must also be the joy of the entire flock.   Continuing to reflect on the parable the Pope pointed out that the faithful must also resist the temptation to close themselves in the pen where there may be no ‘stink of sheep’ but the stuffiness of a closed and airless room. “Christians, he said, must never be closed. Ever! We must not be closed within ourselves, or within small communities or parishes thinking we are ‘right’. Christians, he said, are called to embrace the missionary spirit that takes them into the world to encounter others.  He said that for the Lord no one is definitely lost: “He looks for us up until the very last moment”. Pope Francis concluded saying that we are all lost sheep who were found by the Lord’s mercy. “No distance can keep the shepherd far from his sheep; no flock can afford to give up on a member” he said. And he called us to rejoice in his merciful love, to bring that love to others and to join him in gathering all into the fold. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 6 hours
(Vatican Radio) Ahead of his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis met with participants of a meeting between the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies of Amman and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The Fourth meeting between the two institutions had for its main topic the theme: "Shared values in social and political life: citizens and believers." Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  In brief, off-the-cuff remarks, Pope Francis recalled his visit to Jordan in 2014, saying, “It is a beautiful memory that I carry with me. He thanked those taking part in the colloquium, and told them that the work they are doing is “a work of construction.” Although in our days “we have become used to the destruction caused by wars, the work of dialogue, of rapprochement, helps us always to build.” The Pope emphasized the importance of “dialogue” for work of this kind: “Dialogue is going out of ourselves, with a word, to hear the word of the other. The two words meet, two thoughts meet. It is the first step of a journey. Following this meeting of the word, hearts meet and begin a dialogue of friendship, which ends with holding hands. Word, hearts, hands. It’s simple! A little child knows how to do it…” Reminding his listeners that “we have a common Father: we are brothers,” Pope Francis encouraged the participants in the meeting to “go forward along this street, which is beautiful!” (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 6 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: CWN provides reliable world news and commentary from a Catholic perspective, availble exclusively at CatholicCulture.org.
Posted
An influential German cardinal has charged that "unlawful outside influences" are interfering in the selection of bishops.  Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, a former ... 3 hours 46 min
Pope Francis called for a rebirth of humanism in Europe, as he accepted the Charlemagne Prize on May 6. The Charlemagne Prize is awarded by the people of Aachen, Germany, in recognition ... 3 hours 55 min
New Swiss Guard recruits took their oath of loyalty on May 6, the anniversary of the 1527 sack of Rome by the troops of Emperor Charles V. The “heroic death” of 147 Swiss ... 7 hours 57 min
Pope Francis has appeared in a video designed to publicize his general prayer intention for May: “that in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that ... 8 hours 11 min
In 2009, a Muslim mob attacked Christians in Gojra, a city of 143,000 in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Eight Christians were burned alive, and 40 homes and a church were destroyed, ... 8 hours 30 min
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in an address to seminarians that Pope Francis has not changed the Church’s ... 8 hours 48 min
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has issued its annual message to Buddhists on the occasion of Vesak, the commemoration of Buddha’s birthday. This year, Vesak is ... 9 hours 47 min
Reflecting on the tears of Jesus and the tears “shed every second in our world,” Pope Francis led a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening of May 5 “to ... 10 hours 9 min
During a recent address at Strasbourg Cathedral, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich said that Europe is in need of rebirth, and not of restoration or nostalgia. The prelate, who serves as ... 1 day 8 hours
Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has called upon President ... 1 day 8 hours
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to welcome Syrian refugees who are unaccompanied minors. “I am very happy that ... 1 day 8 hours
In a video message to a conference sponsored by the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives, Pope Francis recalled the themes of an earlier address to the organization and praised ... 1 day 9 hours
A Nicaraguan bishop has denounced President Daniel Ortega’s decision to purchase 50 Russian tanks for $80 million. “Nicaragua is not at war, Nicaragua does not want war, ... 1 day 9 hours
The Bolivian Episcopal Conference has rebuked police in the nation’s capital for using tear gas against disabled protestors who were seeking an increase in government ... 1 day 9 hours
Following his May 4 general audience, Pope Francis recalled that the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asked young people to pray the Rosary daily, and called upon the ... 1 day 10 hours
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian bishops' conference, stated on May 3 that Church leaders will oppose any measure to legalize same-sex ... 2 days 5 hours
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is sponsoring a colloquium with Jordan’s Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies. Greeting the colloquium’s participants on ... 2 days 8 hours
Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 4 general audience to the Christ the Good Shepherd. “The Lord uses the image of the shepherd ... 2 days 8 hours
An increasing number of Asians, especially Indonesians, are taking part in official pilgrimages to the Holy Land’s shrines, according to the Franciscan Pilgrims Office of the Custody ... 2 days 8 hours
The bishops of Northern Ireland have issued a pastoral reflection ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly election on May 5. Describing “the systemic and comprehensive eradication ... 2 days 9 hours
“Day by day the noose tightens” around the Church in Burundi as government intimidation of bishops, priests, and lay leaders increases, according to a report in La ... 2 days 9 hours
Amid a government probe into possible corruption surrounding weapons procurement in the late 1990s, the justice and peace commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ ... 2 days 10 hours
In a joint statement, Aleppo’s Latin-rite and Eastern-rite ordinaries deplored renewed violence in Syria’s city. Citing the “cry of blood of children and ... 2 days 10 hours
In the inaugural issue of a new magazine published by the Vatican and devoted to women, the editor writes that the Catholic Church was slow to recognition a "hidden ... 2 days 10 hours
The National Organization for Women (NOW) has been ordered to pay $63,000 in court cases to a group  of pro-life activists, in the final act of a long-running legal case that began in ... 2 days 10 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily
Posted

Through May 31, “The Fairest of All: Rediscovering Mary.” Paintings by Jan Oliver-Schultz at the University of Dayton (OH) Roesch Library. Exhibit is located on the building’s seventh floor, tours for groups available. For information on exhibits, hours, directions, and parking, see udayton.edu/imri/marian-library/about-us.php.

 

May 6, May Crowning at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, OH), 7:25 pm. Does your parish celebrate this once-popular Catholic custom — placing a crown of flowers on a statue of the Virgin Mary, who is especially honored in May? If not, join people from around the region at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center for evening Mass and May Crowning.

May 7, First Saturday Morning Mass and Talk, with Marian Procession at  Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, OH), 9:30 pm (Rosary: 9 am). Pat Ashcraft will speak on Our Lady of Fatima. Optional Consecration to Our Lady of Fatima with procession follows Mass. Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Fatima Angel of Peace apparitions and the 20th Anniversary of the the First Saturday Group; All welcome.

May 7, “The James Webb Space Telescope: A Deeper View Into Our Universe and its Origins” Astronomy Lecture and Observatory Open House  at the Thomas More College BB&T Observatory (Crestview Hills, KY), 8 pm. Night sky viewing from the Observatory follows lecture  (weather permitting). No fee; all ages welcome. For information see the observatory’s Facebook page: facebook.com/TMCObservatory

May 8. Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast at St. William Church (Price Hill/Cincinnati), after 9 am Mass. Fundraiser to raise money for the St. William School Special Needs Program to visit Lovesome Stables for equine therapy.

May 8, Jericho Walk at Kettering (OH) Abortion Business, 2 pm. Sponsored by 40 Days for LIfe-Dayton. Join in the fifth of seven processions around the late-term abortion business and pray for the walls to come down. For information click here.

Looking for more Catholic events? To see our continually updated long-term calendar, see our Calendar of Events page.

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13 hours 30 min
Second graders at St. Catherine of Siena School (Fr. Thomas, KY) and the banners they made for their First Communion.

Second graders at St. Catherine of Siena School (Fr. Thomas, KY) and the banners they made for their First Communions.

Second graders at St. Catherine of Siena School (Ft. Thomas, KY). pose in front of the school with the banners they made to take to their First Communion at the end of April. The school posted the following prayer for their families and the parish to say for them:

Lord Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Eucharist You left us the outstanding manifestation of your limitless love for us.

Thank You for giving these children the opportunity to experience this love in receiving the Sacrament for the first time.

May your Eucharist presence keep them ever free from sin, fortified in faith, filled with love for God and neighbor, and fruitful in virtue, and that they may continue to receive You throughout their lives and attain final union with You at death.

Amen.

Photo courtesy St. Catherine of Siena School.

You can see all our 1000 Words photos at once: Click on “1000 Words” in the menu at the top of the page, or click here. To submit a photo, send it to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.

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13 hours 40 min
Cheetah at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Mark Dumont, Wikimedia Commons license.

Cheetah at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Mark Dumont, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

From the Society of St. Vincent dePaul – Cincinnati:

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are joining together to “make hunger go extinct” in Greater Cincinnati by hosting a food donation drive at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Saturday, May 7.

Folks who donate a minimum of three non-perishable food items when they visit the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will receive a free child ticket ($13 value) with the purchase of an adult ticket. Limit one ticket per person. Tickets are redeemable August 20 – September 30, 2016.

Donation barrels will be located just inside the Vine Street entrance.

“During the summer months, families truly struggle to feed their children as they can no longer rely on school based programs,” said Mike Dunn, Executive Director, St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati. “For parents trying to stretch every dollar, those extra meals can prevent them from having to choose between feeding their children or paying the rent. With a stocked food pantry, we can help alleviate that pressure.”

St. Vincent de Paul operates many food pantries throughout Cincinnati, including the Edyth and Carl J. Lindner Choice Food Pantry at the Liz Carter Outreach Center, nine neighborhood-based pantries and several food closets.  More than 900 parish-based volunteers visit the homes of struggling families in their own neighborhoods to provide basic necessities such as food.

To learn more, visit www.SVDPcincinnati.org or call 513-421-HOPE (4673).

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13 hours 43 min
Almost 40 pro-life groups say legislation proposed n Ohio's Senate would put vulnerable patients at risk, and would pave the way for euthanasia and assisted suicide. Photo courtesy FreeImages.

Almost 40 pro-life groups say legislation proposed n Ohio’s Senate would put vulnerable patients at risk, and would pave the way for euthanasia and assisted suicide. Photo courtesy FreeImages.

In a surprise move yesterday afternoon, the Ohio Senate approved an end-of-life healthcare bill that a quickly assembled coalition of pro-life groups from around Ohio had lobbied against for the past two weeks.

 

Introduced into the Civil Justice Committee, where it was fast-tracked, the bill was released to the full senate and voted on the same day, unusually fast even for a fast-tracked bill. It passed 30-3 and will now go the House.

 

Sponsored by Sen. Peggy Lehman (R-Dayton) and supported by many hospitals and hospices, the bill would replace Ohio’s Do Not Resuscitate  (DNR) order with a so-called MOLST (Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment). Like a DNR, a MOSLT is a medical order that requires or withholds medical treatment, but unlike the DNR it is covers a variety of treatments that sustain life including food, water, and antibiotics.

 

 

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati joined Cleveland Right to Life to create coalition of almost 40 pOhio and national groups that oppose the bill for what they say are flaws in its wording as well as its possible use for euthanasia and assisted suicide.

 

“SB 165 is a foot in the door toward the introduction of more invasive assisted suicide and euthanasia practices, as is evident by the fact that states and countries that introduced this form (or a similar one) used it to piggy back further legislation that eventually resulted in the introduction of assisted suicide and euthanasia,” Molly Smith, president of Cleveland Right to Life, said in an email to members.

 

“This bill is not necessary, as patient rights are already protected under current Ohio law. National and international pro-life and religious groups have joined our effort. The Right to Life community in Ohio will NOT remain NEUTRAL on this issue and will continue to oppose the bill until a true prolife solution is achieved [emphasis in original].”



Ohio Right to Life, however, says it is and will remain neutral on the bill.

 

Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Right to Life, testified against the bill. She says people from around the state have been calling and emailing her with their concerns, and have been contacting their senators about the bill.

 

“The encouragement from pro-life citizens is inspiring,” she said. “Legislators work for us, they should respond to their citizens.”


Problems with SB 165 the groups cite include that the MOLST goes into effect immediately and does not expire, that changes from previous wording indicate that its purpose is “hastening death” rather than sustaining life, that protocol for advising a patient to sign one is not any sort of diagnosis but simply that “a health care professional would not be surprised if they died within one year,” and that the models for MOLST were created by institutions that perform and promote euthanasia and so-call “physician-assisted suicide.”

 

Anti-euthanasia advocate Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and a member of the Cincinnati RTL Board of Directors, also testified against the bill. “Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment encourage medically vulnerable patients or their surrogates to make critical care decisions,” he said. “Enshrining MOLST in law is a first step toward opening the door to covert euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

 

The three senators who voted against the bill, all Republicans, are Sens. Frank LaRosa, Kris Jordan, and Senate President Keith Faber.

 

Ohio’s Senate session ends next week for the summer. The House will take up the bill in the fall when, Westwood says, the coalition against MOLST legislation will be larger. “We’re used to obstacles in the defense of life,” she says. “We’re not giving up. Pro-life leaders and citizens statewide will continue public awareness and education to clarify concerns with this bill for both patients and those who must implement it”

 

Ohio and national pro-life groups opposing proposed Ohio MOLST

  • Advocates for the Family
  • Citizens for Community Values
  • Clermont County Right to Life
  • Cleveland Lawyers for Life
  • Cleveland Lutherans for Life
  • Cleveland Prays for Life
  • Cleveland Right to Life
  • Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, U.S.A.
  • Fostoria/Bascom Area Pro-Life
  • Fostoria Teens for Life
  • Geauga County Right to Life
  • Geauga County Tea Party
  • Greater Toledo Right to Life
  • H.E.L.P. Pro-Life Apostolate
  • Hancock County Right to Life
  • Henry County Right to Life
  • Hospice Patients Alliance
  • Institute for Principled Policy
  • International Right to Life Federation
  • Lake County Right to Life
  • LifeLink
  • Lima & Allen County Right to Life
  • National Black ProLife Coalition
  • National Lawyers Association
  • Northeast Ohio Values Voters
  • Ohio Christian Alliance
  • Ohio Pro-Life Action
  • Personhood Alliance
  • Putnam County Right to Life
  • Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati
  • Right to Life of Northeast Ohio
  • Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Foundation
  • Tiffin Right to Life
  • Warren County Right to Life
  • What’s Right/What’s Left Ministries  

 

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1 day 13 hours
Pentecost; mural at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptists in Savannah, GA.

Pentecost; mural at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptists in Savannah, GA.

Pray More Novenas, the Dayton-based novena reminder site, will begin “the original Novena” Friday.

“Novenas are an ancient tradition that goes back to the days of the Apostles,” say site owners John-Paul and Annie Deddens. “Jesus told His disciples to pray together after His ascension into heaven, so they went to an upper room along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, (Acts 1:14) and joined constantly in prayer for nine days.”

Beginning Friday and ending on Pentecost, followers of the site can join in the nine-day cycles of prayer daily. Options include downloading all the prayers to pray alone or in groups at your convenience, receiving the prayers daily in your email and praying from your computer or device, or praying with an audio or video recording of the prayer on the Pray More Novenas main page.

“The novena is an imitation of the Lord’s command to the Apostles when they prayed for nine days in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, so this time we’re praying The Pentecost Novena,” the Deddenses say. “The Holy Spirit plays a BIG part in our lives. So, as we pray, ask the Holy Spirit for something concrete and measurable.”

The Dayton couple began the novena site in 2010 to help them remember to pray, and now have about 160,000 followers from around the world. Some of the novenas they feature are traditional and others, like the Pentecost Novena, are written for the site.

To sign up for Pray More Novenas, click here.

Click here for our story on the site and on John-Paul and Annie Deddens.

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1 day 13 hours
Procession, Eastertide Vespers 2016.

Procession, Eastertide Vespers 2016.

After 32 years leading  the Athenaeum Chorale and Seminary Schola in hundreds of services and liturgies, The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the  West Music Director Anthony DiCello led his swan song at Easter Vespers — the last sung Vespers he will lead for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s seminary and graduate school.

“Since I was responsible for introducing sung ‘Sunday Vespers’ to the Athenaeum community, I was particularly pleased that the music-making of the Athenaeum Chorale, the Seminary Schola and Brass Ensemble was so good that night,” said DiCello. “I leave with such good memories of these services and the wonderful musicians who helped to make them such beautiful sung prayer.”

“Tony has had the biggest impact on liturgical music in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati over the last 30 years,” said Deacon David Klingshirn. “People don’t know that Tony is known nationally and internationally. He was Church Musician of the Year in the United States a few years ago. When people think of Church music, they think of Tony DiCello.”

Anthony DiCello.

Anthony DiCello.

After Vespers, The Athenaeum held a dual  reception in honor of the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program’s 40th anniversary and the Chorale and Schola. “Easter Vespers was a beautiful, uplifting and joyous celebration of the season,” said Dr. Susan McGurgan, director of the LPMP program. “The fact that it was Anthony DiCello’s last time to direct the music at Vespers made it all the more meaningful.”

Carol Kovach, an LPMP graduate (’88) and member of the Chorale since 1986, attended the reception and spoke of  DiCello’s legacy. “He has touched so many people over the years,” she said. “Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, have been able to experience the quality of liturgical musicianship that Tony represents. He’s never about performing; Tony is about serving the community through liturgical music.”

Another Chorale member, Fr. Steve Walter, said, “Tony always challenges, enables, and invites us to join our voices to the voice of Christ. I am most grateful for this. It is a real ministry, and it affects not only the Chorale members, but also the persons who come to participate in the liturgical services for which the Chorale sings.”

The Athenaeum Chorale sings at Eastertide Vespers, 2016.

The Athenaeum Chorale sings at Eastertide Vespers, 2016.

Although DiCello will retire from his full-time position at the Athenaeum in June, he will still be an important part of the Archdicoese’s liturgical music scene. He  will continue as director of music at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, a post he’s held for 21 years..

“I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with, teach and lead so many fine people over the years in sung liturgical prayer,” he said. “In particular, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to help form and train so many priests and seminarians and for my work with the members of the Athenaeum Chorale.

“What a real blessing in my life it has been!”

Photos by Susan Declerq, couresty The Atheneum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West. Click here for a gallery of photos.

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1 day 13 hours

chabot prom

For a Throwback Thursday last month, Rep. Steve Chabot (Ohio) posted this prom photo on his public Facebook Page. “With prom season just around the corner, here’s a photo of Donna and me at either the La Salle High School or Mother of Mercy High School prom around 1970,” he wrote. “In June, we’ll have been married 43 years.” Rep. Chabot’s “Throwback Thursday,” often feature the Westside politician’s family and neighborhood, and sometimes scenes from his Catholic school and parish. 

Photo courtesy Rep. Steve Chabot.

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1 day 13 hours
St. William Parish (Price Hill/Cincinnati) will hold a pancake breakfast Sunday to raise money for children in its school's special needs program to visit a farm for equine therapy. Image source: unknown.

St. William Parish (Price Hill/Cincinnati) will hold a pancake breakfast Sunday to raise money for children in its school’s special needs program to visit a farm for equine therapy. Image source: unknown.

Through May 31, “The Fairest of All: Rediscovering Mary.” Paintings by Jan Oliver-Schultz at the University of Dayton (OH) Roesch Library. Exhibit is located on the building’s seventh floor, tours for groups available. For information on exhibits, hours, directions, and parking, see udayton.edu/imri/marian-library/about-us.php.

May 4, Our Lady: Getting to Know Our Patron Talk at Notre Dame Academy (Park Hills, KY), 7 pm. All invited to a talk on the Blessed Mother by art historian Dr. Ceil Dorger. Part of the school’s Empowered and Enlightened Series. No fee; click here to register.

May 5, Talk by Spencer Hargedon at Oregon Express (Dayton, OH), 7 pm. A Dayton Theology on Tap event. Social time before and after 7:30 pm talk. Theology on Tap is a speaker series held at a pub or other casual setting for adults in their 20s and 30s. For information see the Dayton Theology on a Tap Facebook page.

May 5, CareNet Pregnancy Services of Northern Kentucky Annual Banquet at Receptions Hall (Erlanger, KY), 5:30 reception; 6:30 dinner and program. Keynote speaker: Abby Johnson; MC WKRC-TV’s Sheila Gray; music by Velvet Soul. No fee (a donation request will be extended); business attire appropriate. RSVP to jackiek@carenetnky.org by Friday, April 29th.

May 6, May Crowning at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, OH), 7:25 pm. Does your parish celebrate this once-popular Catholic custom — placing a crown of flowers on a statue of the Virgin Mary, who is especially honored in May? If not, join people from around the region at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center for evening Mass and May Crowning.

May 7, First Saturday Morning Mass and Talk, with Marian Procession at  Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, OH), 9:30 pm (Rosary: 9 am). Pat Ashcraft will speak on Our Lady of Fatima. Optional Consecration to Our Lady of Fatima with procession follows Mass. Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Fatima Angel of Peace apparitions and the 20th Anniversary of the the First Saturday Group; All welcome.

May 7, “The James Webb Space Telescope: A Deeper View Into Our Universe and its Origins” Astronomy Lecture and Observatory Open House  at the Thomas More College BB&T Observatory (Crestview Hills, KY), 8 pm. Night sky viewing from the Observatory follows lecture  (weather permitting). No fee; all ages welcome. For information see the observatory’s Facebook page: facebook.com/TMCObservatory

May 8. Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast at St. William Church (Price Hill/Cincinnati), after 9 am Mass. Fundraiser to raise money for the St. William School Special Needs Program to visit Lovesome Stables for equine therapy.

May 8, Jericho Walk at Kettering (OH) Abortion Business, 2 pm. Sponsored by 40 Days for LIfe-Dayton. Join in the fifth of seven processions around the late-term abortion business and pray for the walls to come down. For information click here.

May 9-14, Discernment and Service Week with the Dominican Sisters of Peace (Columbus). Feeling blessed? Share your joy and gratitude with others! Single Catholic women age of 18 – 45 who are discerning a possible call to religious life or lay ministry invited to a mission experience including prayer, ministry, community, and fun! Participants will live together in and go out each day on mission to: an ecology farm, local soup kitchen, or other service agencies. Space is limited. Room and board provided, some travel funds to Columbus are available on a need basis. Visit oppeaace.org to register. For information contact Sr. Pat Dual, OP, by phone or text at 614.216.7688.

May 10, Week Five of the Solemn Novena of St. Anthony at the National Shrine of St. Anthony (Mt. Airy/Cincinnati, 2:30 (Novena prayers) and 7 (Mass and Novena prayers) pm. For information see stanthony.org.

May 10, Fr.Anthony Brausch Talk at The Mellow Mushroom (Hyde Park/Cincinnati). A Theology on Tap Cincinnati event. Theology on Tap is a speaker series held at a pub or other casual setting for adults in their 20s and 30s. For information see the TOTCincinnati Facebook page.

May 11, Renewal Retreat for Youth Ministers at The Athenaeum of Ohio (Mt. Washington/Cincinnati) 11 am – 2:30 pm. All who work in youth ministry are invited to this half-day retreat featuring lectio, Mass, lunch/fellowship, and Adoration. Fr. John Bullock, LC, will lead. No fee. Reservations due by May 4 to Kristen (ymassistant@stgertrude.org).

May 11, Sacred Heart Radio 15th Anniversary Banquet at the Sharonville Convention Center (Sharonville, OH). Keynote speaker: Raymond, Cardinal Burke. Seating limited to 500. For reservations call (513) 731-7740, or reserve online at www.sacredheartradio.com.

May 12, “Creation Narratives” Talk by Fr. Jim Riehle at Oregon Express (Dayton, OH), 7 pm. A Dayton Theology on Tap event. Social time before and after 7:30 pm talk. Theology on Tap is a speaker series held at a pub or other casual setting for adults in their 20s and 30s. For information see the Dayton Theology on a Tap Facebook page.

May 12, CHOSEN: Monthly Holy Hour for Vocations at the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, OH), 8 pm. Music and prayer for those discerning a vocation or praying for vocations. Sponsored by the Archdiocesan Vocation Office and Children of Mary.

May 12, “Slavery by Another Name” Showing at Our Lady of Grace Church (Dayton, OH), 6 pm. Documentary followed by dinner and discussion; sponsored by the Weavers of Justice Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force.

May 13, “Empowering Mercy” Beacon of Hope Breakfast for Business Owners at Union Terminal (Cincinnati), 7:30-9 am. Area CEOs and business owners are invited to hear how Cincinnati companies are finding great success by hiring “Second Chance Citizens” – former prisoners who have paid the price for their mistakes and are eager to turn their lives around and prove themselves. Program will include personal testimony, business strategy, and inspiration. Give someone a second chance without taking a chance on your business. Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Cincinati, Xavier Univeristy, Lawn Life, and Nehemiah Manufacturing. Part of “Outpouring,” an ecumenical weekend celebration. For information see BeaconofHope.org.

May 13, Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and May Crowning at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption (Covington), 7 pm. Celebrate the 99th Anniversary of Our Lady’s feast and the 99th anniversary of her first appearance to the children at Fatima. All welcome.

May 14, Go Cincinnati Day of Service. Churches from throughout the area will participate in this annual one-day event bringing thousands of volunteers to work on hundreds of service projects. Part of “Outpouring,” an ecumenical weekend celebration Pentecost. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is a church partner. For information go to gocincinnati.net or call the Catholic Social Action Office at 513.421.3131×2660.

May 14, The Orchestra in Concert at Mount St. Joseph University (Delhi/Cincinnati), 7:30 pm. A Greater Cincinnati Performing Arts Society Concert; a portion of every ticket sale goes to Catholic elementary education. Former members of Electric Light Orchestra and ELO Part II. Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) began when three members of the Birmingham, England band The Move created ELO as a side project in 1970. They envisioned a hybrid rock/orchestral group with a sound that picked up where The Beatles had left off on songs like “I Am The Walrus.” Under their new name since 2000, The Orchestra has played to sold-out houses around the world. $45 General Admission/$55 Assigned Seating. General Admission/$45 Assigned Seating. For information see www.gcparts.org.

May 15, 11th Anniversary Rosary Rally at Elder High School, 1:30 pm. Outdoor living rosary in “The Pit” (Elder’s sunken stadium – rain site, the school’s gym). Begins with procession and Benediction; followed by worship sons and prayers, 60-ft. helium-filled balloon rosary, more. Local priests will lead prayer. Nearly 2000 people attend each year.  For information call Guy Langenbrunner at (513) 763-0613 or Roger Glandorf at (513) 251-7729.  

May 15, Pentecost Reflection on Saint Pope John XXIII’s Inspiration for Vatican Council II and His Prayer for a ‘New Pentecost’ at Roncalli Chapel, Bergamo Center (Dayton, OH), 3-4 pm. A Year of Mercy Event. No fee (free will offering accepted).to register call  426-2363.

May 15, Jericho Walk at Kettering (OH) Abortion Business, 2 pm. Sponsored by 40 Days for LIfe-Dayton. Join in the sixth of seven processions around the late-term abortion business and pray for the walls to come down. For information click here.

Looking for more Catholic events? To see our continually updated long-term calendar, see our Calendar of Events page.

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2 days 13 hours
Image courtesy the 70th Annual Tony Awards.

Image courtesy the 70th Annual Tony Awards.

Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, nominated for a Tony Award yesterday for choreographing the Broadway smash Hamilton: An American Musical, is a graduate of Cincinnati’s St. Xavier and Nativity Schools.

 

The four-time nominee won in 2008 for In the Heights, also created by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.

 

He was nominated in 2009 for 9 to 5: The Musical, and in 2013 for Bring it On: The Musical, where he again worked with Miranda, and which he also directed.

 

Hamilton received 16 Tony nominations, the most ever for a musical, including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Score.

 

 An American Musical."

A smash since it opened on Broadway, the groundbreaking hip-hop musical “Hamilton” tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life and death. Image courtesy “Hamilton: An American Musical.”

 

A dancer in the 1990s, Blankenbuehler made the rare switch to choreographer after several injuries, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. He is currently working on choreography for a revival of Cats with Andrew Lloyd Webber and the  legendary show’s director, Trevor Nunn, and designer, John Napier.

 

Last year he won the a Drama Desk Special award for his choreography of Hamilton. In 2007 he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography for In the Heights. 

 

In addition to choreographing many musicals, Blankenbeuhler has done choreography for Caesar’s Palace and entertainers including Bette Midler and Elton John and for television commercials and programs, and has been a guest choreographer for Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance.

 

The 70th Annual Antoinette (Tony) Perry Award ceremony will be held at 8pm  on June 12th in New York City, and will be broadcast live on CBS stations.

 

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 An American Musical,"

Image courtesy “Hamilton: An American Musical,”

2 days 13 hours
Young men leading the Life's 5th Quarter rosary pcrocession to Planned Parenthood's abortion center, many of them student athletes, returning to Holy Name Church in Mt. Auburn (Cincinnati) Saturday.

Young men leading the Life’s 5th Quarter rosary pcrocession to Planned Parenthood’s abortion center, many of them student athletes, returning to Holy Name Church in Mt. Auburn (Cincinnati) Saturday.

Young men leading the Life’s 5th Quarter Rosary procession to and from the Planned Parenthood abortion business on Auburn Avenue (Mt. Auburn/Cincinnati) turn the corner and begin the return walk up the hill to Holy Name Church. Begun this year by Covington Catholic High School football coach Rich Andolina, the youth-focused events are meant as an opportunity for young people who attend the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, to continue their pro-life witness at home. The bishops of Cincinnati and Covington have participated in the three previous L5Q events, and Saturday’s brought young people and families from CovCath, St. Henry District High School (Covington), St. Edmund Campion Academy (Oakley, OH), St. Pius X School (Edgewood, KY), Holy Family homeschool co-op, and the Knight of St. George scouting organization.

 

The school year ends before the next fifth Saturday, but  L5Q will continue during the one fifth Saturday of summer, July 30. All are welcome for 8 am Mass at Holy Name followed by Adoration and a rosary procession to the abortion business. For more information see the Life’s 5th Quarter Facebook page. Pro-life Masses and rosary processions are held every Saturday at the church, sponsored by either the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants or Mary’s Mantle pro-life groups.

 

Photo © The Catholic Beat. For an album of photos, go to our Facebook page.

 

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2 days 13 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Posted

Wayne ToppThis month, on May 21, the archdiocese will celebrate the ordination of seven men to the Holy Priesthood, a number not seen in locally in seven years.  This is a very exciting moment for the archdiocese.

Interestingly enough, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr has been the leader of this archdiocese for eight years. Coincidence or not, those numbers align for a reason, and I believe it is the people of the archdiocese, aided by the passionate leadership of the archbishop.

I was sitting in a meeting today with the Serra Club of Cincinnati, a member group of Serra International, a lay apostolate of the universal church dedicated to prayer for and support of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  In this meeting, the rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary gave a short speech during which he thanked the club for their dedication to prayer for the seminarians who are about to be ordained.

He said, “It is your prayers that made it possible for these men to answer the call; your sacrifices that made it possible for them to make the sacrifices necessary to complete their studies; your prayers that kept them steady when doubts arose; and your prayers that will make it possible for them to ‘go up to the altar of God.’”

What an inspiring thought! What a challenging thought!

Shortly after becoming the Archbishop of Cincinnati, Archbishop Schnurr wrote down a prayer and sent it out to be prayed at every Sunday Mass across the archdiocese. Since then, we have seen a consistent rise in the number of our seminarians that continues to this day.

Again, this rise may be attributed to many things, but the most likely answer is as simple and as powerful as prayer. While it is true that we cannot sway the mind of God, or make the call appear where it is not, it is also true that our prayers on behalf of those who are being called can help to soften the hearts of these men and make it fertile ground for the call to take root. It is possible, too, that if we are not faithful in our efforts to pray for these men and the many women who are called to religious life, many men and women may not be ready to receive the call when it comes and will miss the true vocation to which they are called.

The same goes for each of us. Through our continued prayer for the will of God to be done in our lives, we enter more and more into a conversation with our Lord, we become accustomed to His voice and we know it. Without that continued connection, we may not fulfill the mission that God has prepared for us.

We celebrate in a couple weeks, the ordination of seven men to the priesthood because so many have faithfully prayed that the Lord lead them to His altar and that they may become the servants He has made them to be.

It is our responsibility to support one another in prayer, and through that prayer, we will continue to celebrate many more ordinations, professions of vows and beautiful marriages celebrated in accord with the will of God.

Wayne Topp is the assistant director of the Vocations Office for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

 

This Vocations View column first appeared in the May 2016 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

14 hours 44 min

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The tears shed by men, women and children around the world each day cry out for mercy, compassion and consolation, Pope Francis said during a special Year of Mercy prayer service for those who weep.

“How many tears are shed every second in our world; each is different but together they form, as it were, an ocean of desolation that cries out for mercy, compassion and consolation,” the pope said May 5 as he led the prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Before the pope spoke, he and the congregation listened to three testimonies. Giovanna Astarita and Domenico Pellegrino and their son Raffaele spoke about the suicide of Antonio, the couple’s first son. He was only 15. “Antonio dragged my life, my soul and my mind into that tomb, too,” his mother said. Faith in God and an experience of God drying her tears was and is the only thing “that prevents me from going crazy,” she said.

Maurizio Fratamico spoke about how he worked, traveled, made a lot of money, “used and threw away” a lot of young women, but felt empty and alone. His twin brother had a conversion experience and shared it. Thanks to the tears of his parents and his own tears of remorse, Fratamico said he has set out on a journey of faith and has found “the joy I was always seeking.”

Qaiser Felix, a Catholic journalist from Pakistan, spoke about how his reporting on anti-Christian discrimination led to threats against him and against his family, eventually forcing him to flee and to try to start life over in Italy. “To know persecution and the fear of death is a terrible experience, especially when I think of my children,” he said.

The service included special prayers for persecuted Christians; those in imminent danger of death; people enslaved; victims of war and terrorism; abused children; the seriously ill and their caregivers; the unjustly accused and prisoners; those who feel abandoned, depressed and desperate; people suffering from addictions; families who have experienced a miscarriage or the death of a child; and those who have lost or been forced to leave their homes, families or jobs.

But before the formal prayers were read, ushers went through the basilica with baskets, collecting the prayer requests of the congregation.

At the beginning of his homily, Pope Francis asked people to join him in asking for the Holy Spirit’s presence. “May he enlighten our minds to find the right words capable of bringing comfort. May he open our hearts to the certainty that God is always present and never abandons us in times of trouble.”

Everyone has experienced the sadness or suffering that makes them yearn for a comforting presence and a word of consolation, he said. “The bitterest tears are those caused by human evil,” especially when a loved one is violently killed.

When one is in pain or mourning, he said, God offers consolation and “in his tenderness comes to wipe the tears from our eyes.”

For centuries, the pope said, Christians have drawn consolation from knowing they are not alone in their pain and that Jesus, too, knew what it meant to weep for the loss of a loved one.

“In one of the most moving pages of the Gospel, Jesus sees Mary weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus” and he, too, begins to weep, the pope said. “If God could weep, then I too can weep, in the knowledge that he understands me.”

But in addition to offering consolation to believers, Jesus’ tears encourage believers to open themselves to compassion for others, he said. “The tears of Jesus serve as an antidote to my indifference before the suffering of my brothers and sisters. His tears teach me to make my own the pain of others, to share in the discouragement and sufferings of those experiencing painful situations,” particularly the death of a loved one.

“Jesus’ tears cannot go without a response on the part of those who believe in him,” Pope Francis insisted. “As he consoles, so we, too, are called to console.”

Turning to the copy of the Weeping Madonna of Syracuse, a Marian image chosen especially for the prayer service, the pope said: “At the foot of every cross, the mother of Jesus is always there. With her mantle, she wipes away our tears. With her outstretched hand, she helps us to rise up, and she accompanies us along the path of hope.”

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

20 hours 3 min

IMAGE: CNS photo/SvenHoppe, EPA

By

BONN, Germany (CNS) — A German cardinal said names of candidates submitted to the Vatican as potential bishops are being vetoed by “unauthorized people” in Rome.

“In the name of the law, these unlawful outside influences must be set aside and a proper voice given to those who’ll be living with the chosen candidate,” said Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, who was president of the German bishops’ conference from 1987 to 2008.

“If there really is something against a candidate, then the nuncio or Rome must talk about it with the cathedral chapter. Rome cannot just reject names without any comment,” he said.

The cardinal made his criticisms in a German-language book, published by Freiburg-based Herder-Verlag. Extracts were published May 3 by the German Catholic news agency, KNA.

Cardinal Lehmann said “unauthorized people” were interfering in episcopal nominations “also today, unfortunately, under the pontificate of Pope Francis.”

“In recent years, the official list of names has been crossed out and a new list sent from Rome,” said Cardinal Lehmann, who has been bishop of Mainz since 1983. “This represents a burdensome, intolerable disrespect for the church in a given country.”

Church leaders are required by canon law to maintain a secret list of episcopal candidates, who must be “outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues.”

A set of three, or “terna,” for a vacant see is sent to Rome by the Vatican nuncio after consultations with local priests and bishops.

However, the final choice rests with the pope, following recommendations from the Roman Curia, which can reject the “terna” and request new names.

A cathedral chapter is a group of priests, usually senior clerics, who perform solemn liturgical functions and other duties in the cathedral. In 13 of Germany’s 27 dioceses, as well as in some dioceses of Switzerland and Austria, the cathedral chapters also traditionally propose their own candidates for bishop.

However, Cardinal Lehmann said he believed the nomination process was being disrupted by people “focused on a strict church policy allowing no deviation” and who had “knowledge of how things work in Rome.”

“Much greater attention should be given to an episcopal candidate’s theological competence than his formal orthodoxy,” said Cardinal Lehmann. “There’s an urgent need for clarification — otherwise, the whole appointment process will come into question.”

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

23 hours 51 sec

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has been sharing a theology of tears: tears of compassion, compunction and consolation.

Although Pope Francis does not mask his emotions in public, he rarely is seen to cry. One obvious exception was in Albania in September 2014 when he came face to face with a priest who had been imprisoned and tortured for his faith under the country’s communist regime. After a long embrace with the priest and some whispered words, the pope turned from the congregation to wipe the tears from his eyes.

Pope Francis encourages people to pray for “the grace of tears” when pleading to God to help others, when recognizing their own sinfulness, when contemplating the greatness of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and when experiencing God’s mercy.

As part of the Holy Year of Mercy, the pope scheduled a May 5 prayer vigil “to dry the tears” of those who are weeping, inviting parents who have lost a child, victims of war and torture, the seriously ill, the desperate, those enslaved by addiction and everyone else in need of consolation.

Sometimes, he has said, tears are the only true response to the question of why the innocent suffer.

In January 2015, the pope listened to a 14-year-old boy in Manila describe life on the streets as a struggle to find food, to fight the temptation of sniffing glue and to avoid adults looking for the young to exploit and abuse.

A 12-year-old girl, rescued from the streets by the same foundation that helped the boy, covered her face with her hand as she wept in front of the pope. But she managed to ask him, “Why did God let this happen to us?”

Pope Francis said a real answer was impossible, but the question itself was important and the tears that accompanied the question were even more eloquent than the words.

“Certain realities of life,” he said, “are seen only with eyes that are cleansed by tears.”

For people who are safe, comfortable and loved, he said, learning how to weep for others is part of following Jesus, who wept at the death of Lazarus and was moved with compassion at the suffering of countless others.

“If you do not know how to weep, you are not a good Christian,” the pope said in Manila.

When the pope talks about tears, he’s “very Latin and very Ignatian,” said Jesuit Father Daniel Huang, the order’s regional assistant for Asia and the Pacific. A flow of tears indicates that the person’s heart is involved, not just his or her mind.

In his Spiritual Exercises and his Spiritual Diary, St. Ignatius of Loyola — founder of the Jesuits — urges his confreres to request the gift of tears and recounts how often in prayer and in celebrating Mass the gift of tears was given to him.

In the first week of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius suggests those making the retreat may want to pray for the grace “to weep abundantly either over one’s sins or over the pains and sorrows endured by Christ our Lord.”

Crying in grief over one’s sins or out of compassion for Christ’s suffering, Father Huang said, are moments when “I overcome my self-preoccupation or my hardness of heart or my indifference — that’s what the pope talks about all the time.”

The tears of compassion for Christ’s suffering by extension becomes weeping for the suffering of refugees, or the sick or people in mourning, he said.

“Tears presumably come from a deep place within and tears suggest you are not just thinking, you are feeling, your heart is involved,” the Jesuit said.

The ability to shed tears is “a grace” that allows a person to express his or her humanity and connection to other human beings, he said. It expresses “what is best in humanity — that we feel compassion for people and that we are moved by people’s suffering.”

Returning to Rome in mid-April after a one-day visit with refugees in Greece, Pope Francis told reporters traveling with him that the situation of the refugees, what they experienced getting to Greece and how they are living in the refugee camp “makes you weep.”

Going to the back of the plane where the media were seated, the pope carried some of the drawings the refugee children had given him. He explained the trauma the children had experienced and showed one picture where the child had drawn the sun crying.

“If the sun is able to cry, we should be able to shed at least one tear,” he said. “A tear would do us good.”

In meetings with priests, Pope Francis repeatedly asks if they are able to weep when pleading to God in prayer to help their parishioners. He told priests of the Diocese of Rome in 2014 that the old Missal had a prayer that “began like this: ‘Lord, who commanded Moses to strike the rock so that water might gush forth, strike the stone of my heart so that tears” — the prayer went more or less like this. It was very beautiful.”

“Do you weep?” he asked the priests. “Or in this priesthood have we lost our tears?”

In Pope Francis’ teaching, tears — and the suffering that causes them — also can be a step toward renewed faith and clarity about the love of God.

“You see, sometimes in our lives, the glasses we need to see Jesus are tears,” he said at a morning Mass early in his papacy. “All of us in our lives have gone through moments of joy, pain, sadness — we’ve all experienced these things.”

“In the darkest moments, did we cry?” he asked his small congregation, which included Vatican police and firefighters. “Have we received that gift of tears that prepares our eyes to see the Lord?”

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Follow Wooden on Twitter @Cindy_Wooden

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 40 min
A scene in the May 24, 1947 The Catholic Telegraph-Register depicts the ascension of Jesus into heaven. (CT File)A scene in the May 24, 1947 The Catholic Telegraph-Register depicts the ascension of Jesus into heaven. (CT File)

“…He was lifted up before their eyes, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.” – From Acts 1:9

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord is among the oldest feast days in the Church, making it the focus of this week’s Throwback Thursday story.

The image with this post — credited only as “Catechetical Guild picture, St. Paul, Minn.” — is from the May 24, 1946 edition of The Catholic Telegraph-Register. Pictured are Christ and the 11 apostles, and Mary, Jesus’ mother, who Acts of the Apostles chapter one puts at the scene. The text below is an abbreviated version of Acts of the Apostles chapter 1 and a note that the Feast of the Ascension in 1946 would fall on Thursday, May 30, which was then Memorial Day.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Augustine’s writing in the fifth century refers to the Feast of the Ascension as being of apostolic origin. From the first age of Christians until today, the moment of the Lord’s return into heaven following the resurrection has been celebrated in unique ways.

The accession narrative can be found scripturally in Mark 16:19Luke 24:51 and Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that in the past some churches would host triumphant processions to commemorate the day, along with Mass of course. In other churches, a statue or image of Christ would be made to raise from behind the altar, up through and past the roof.

In more than a dozen nations, including France and Germany, the feast is also a national holiday.

Because the feast was traditionally celebrated on the 40th day after Easter, which is always a Thursday, it has come to be known colloquially as Ascension Thursday.

In recent years, a commonly asked question about the feast is, “Is the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord a Holy Day of Obligation?”

The short answer is yes. The longer answer, provided by About.com’s Catholicism page, is more complex.

“The Feast of the Ascension remains a Holy Day of Obligation throughout the United States. The day on which it is celebrated, however, varies. The 40th day after Easter Sunday is always a Thursday, and the feast has traditionally been celebrated on that Thursday.

However, because attendance at Ascension Thursday Masses had been falling for years, the bishops of the United States, in accordance with canon law, petitioned the Vatican to allow the celebration to be transferred to the following Sunday. The Vatican agreed.

Today, only the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and Omaha (the state of Nebraska) continue to celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord on Thursday.”

As the article notes, the feast is transferred to Sunday, and all Sundays are Holy Days of Obligation for Catholics.

Welcome to The Catholic Telegraph’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a weekly online feature wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. We use Throwback Thursday to highlight the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and our publication.

Recent Throwback Thursdays
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Holy Week 2016 in Review

Consider getting the print edition

1 day 1 hour

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sedat Suna, EPA

By Simon Caldwell

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed a U-turn by the British government over the resettlement of child refugees.

He said he was “very happy” with a May 4 announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron that the U.K. will accept an unspecified number of unaccompanied children who arrived in the European Union from Syria.

Under pressure from Parliament, Cameron said the U.K. would not only take in 3,000 children from refugee camps in the Middle East, but that children registered in Greece, Italy or France before March 20, the date when an EU deal with Turkey to return migrants took effect, would also be eligible for resettlement in Britain.

The government will not take in migrant children who arrive after that date because it does not want to encourage human trafficking, the prime minister said.

In a May 4 statement, Cardinal Nichols, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, expressed satisfaction that the government had struck the right balance.

“I am very happy that the government is extending an offer of sanctuary to a greater number of children fleeing conflict, while continuing to combat the evils of human trafficking,” said the cardinal.

“The U.K.’s response to the refugee crisis is improving the lives of thousands,” he added. “I encourage the Catholic community to keep on playing its part through working with local authorities, being generous with time and resources, and extending the hand of welcome to refugees arriving here.”

Days earlier, Cardinal Nichols had used a homily at an annual diocesan Mass for migrants to tell Catholics that they should protest against immigration policies that could put the lives of children at risk.

“While it is right to keep silent when children are asleep, it is never right to stay silent when they are perishing at sea or at risk in hostile camps,” Cardinal Nichols said at the May 2 Mass.

“From those who deal in creating fear of migrant people and who seek to profit from that fear, whether financially or politically, we ask for a more responsible leadership, a leadership that looks at all that we gain as well as the problems we confront,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Nichols told the congregation that London “would not function” without the “great contribution” of its migrant communities. However, he suggested that new policies aimed at restricting immigration meant that the United Kingdom could not show greater hospitality to refugees even if its citizens wanted to.

In an allusion to the EU deal with Turkey to expel migrants, he criticized “international plans that often seem to treat people purely as problems or even as packages to be sent from place to place.”

“We hope that the way in which governments respond to the immense challenge which faces us will take more seriously the personal generosity of so many, in this country, too, who are willing to welcome refugees and desperate migrants and yet are hindered from doing so by policies shaped more by caution and fear,” he said.

“We hear reports of sadness, dismay, frustration, anger, rejection and humiliation: from Iraq and Jordan, to Libya and Calais,” he continued.

“Yes, this is ‘a vale of tears’ as both the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas become, in the Holy Father’s words, graveyards for children, the elderly and their families,” he said.

Last year, migration from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia resulted in more than a million people arriving in Germany alone.

At the Vatican, top officials of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, known by the acronym CCEE, met with Pope Francis May 2 and heads of various dicasteries during their May 2-4 visit to Rome. The presidency members — a president and two vice presidents — were ending their five-year term this year.

Speaking to reporters May 3 at the Vatican, Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, CCEE president, said individual countries are facing the challenge of the immigration and refugee crisis. While the European continent as a whole must also come together to respond to the dilemma, each nation is in its own unique situation, which requires localized responses, he said.

“Therefore it’s necessary to patiently and perceptively examine the situation of each region in order to find a concrete Christian-Catholic response to the situations,” Cardinal Erdo said.

A blanket or mandatory solution is impossible, he said, not only because national laws are different, but because each nation faces a different challenge depending on whether it is a country of origin, transit or destination for refugees and forced migrants. So, for example, he said, a mandatory policy of integrating newcomers does not work if migrants do not want to stay in the so-called country of transit and to do so “would be a restriction on their freedom” to move.

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Contributing to this story was Carol Glatz in Vatican City.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 18 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy CBC News via

By

ST. PAUL, Alberta (CNS) — As firefighters fought to save Fort McMurray from a wildfire that threatened to destroy the northern Alberta city, a bishop gave thanks that there had been no loss of life.

St. Paul Bishop Paul Terrio, whose diocese includes Fort McMurray, also said in a May 4 statement that the city’s St. Paul Church is rumored to have been destroyed in the blaze that forced the evacuation of the city’s entire population the previous day. There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries.

Bishop Terrio said that with the community still in shock from the damage in Fort McMurray, “Let us give thanks to our Lord and God that, with some 60,000-70,000 people evacuated from the community in a matter of hours, there has been no loss of life.”

“Really, this in itself constitutes a major achievement,” the bishop said. “I want to thank and commend all the security and firefighting services, the public authorities but especially the good people of Fort McMurray. Once again, the people of Fort McMurray have rallied together and reached out to help and protect each other.”

The entire neighborhood of Beacon Hill appeared to be lost, according to local officials, while the fire had spread to other neighborhoods. Officials said they feared the fire could worsen.

Bishop Terrio said that as the full extent of loss and damage becomes to be known, the whole community would be called upon to help rebuild and resettle the city. The diocese planned a second collection at all Masses May 7-8 as a first step for the relief effort and to support all those who lost their homes.

“This fire disaster is a hard blow at a time when Fort McMurray is already struggling under an adverse economic situation,” wrote Bishop Terrio, noting the economic slowdown with the worldwide drop in oil prices that has severely affected the local economy in the heart of Canada’s oil country.

“But with our faith, our hope and our love for each other, we shall, as a young local evacuee said on Facebook last night, build a ‘better Fort McMurray,'” he said.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 20 hours

IMAGE: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A new Vatican magazine will give attention to women’s voices, something that often has been missing in the church despite women’s important role in announcing the Gospel, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“If we do not listen attentively to the voice of women in the great decisive moments in the life of the church, we would lose” the crucial contribution of the feminine genius in the church, Cardinal Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said at an event May 3 launching the magazine format.

“Women-Church-World,” which began as a monthly insert in the Vatican newspaper, will now feature two new sections: one “focusing on art with women’s sensitivity and power of expression,” and the other on the Bible, according to L’Osservatore Romano’s website.

“The renovation comes in response to many women’s need to share, reflect and make their voices heard,” the newspaper said.

The new format and new sections were introduced to the press by Cardinal Parolin; Lucetta Scaraffia, the magazine’s coordinator; Elisa Zamboni, a columnist from the Italian ecumenical Community of Bose; and Giovanni Maria Vian, editor-in-chief of the Vatican newspaper.

Cardinal Parolin said the new magazine serves not only to make the presence of women in the church known, but to “pave the way to a new and positive habit” of listening to women.

“Women-Church-World,” he added, hopes to “implement the male and female synergy that so often has been invoked in official documents but not always put into practice.”

“Today, therefore, it is necessary to explore together — men and women, lay and consecrated — the interpretation of sacred texts and draw ideas to reshape and expand the role and service — not the servitude — of women in the church,” the cardinal said.

The front cover of the magazine’s May issue features an icon of the Visitation, an image that Scaraffia said defines the publication’s mission.

Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, Scaraffia wrote in the magazine’s first editorial, is not just a moment of solidarity between women but a manifestation that both are “able to see the true and profound meaning of the events they are going through, to discern the divine even when it is still hidden.”

“The Visitation therefore is the icon of our project: women who bring to light, to the knowledge of the world, what other women have to say or have said and written in the past; what they do or have done,” Scaraffia said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 25 min

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — There is no such thing as a soul that is lost forever, only people who are waiting to be found, Pope Francis said.

God is not part of humanity’s “throwaway culture” and does not shut out the sinner and those most in need, the pope said May 4 during his weekly general audience.

Because of his immense love for everyone, God takes the illogical step of leaving his faithful flock behind in the harsh desert to seek out the one who has gone missing, he told those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope reflected on the Gospel parable of the good shepherd, which, he said, reflects Jesus’ concern for sinners and God’s commitment to never give up on anyone.

Jesus uses the parable to explain how “his closeness to sinners must not scandalize, but, on the contrary, encourage everyone to seriously reflect on how we live our faith,” the pope said.

The parable, he said, responds to the doctors of the law and the Pharisees, who “were proud, arrogant, believed themselves just,” and, therefore, became suspicious or shocked seeing Jesus welcome and eat with sinners.

The parable according to the Gospel of Luke begins, “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the 99 in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?”

The query, the pope said, introduces a paradox that questions how smart this shepherd could be when he abandons his precious flock, not in a safe pen, but in the dangerous desert just for one sheep.

“He could have reasoned, ‘Well, let’s look at the numbers: I have 99, I lost one, oh well,'” the pope said. But, “no. He goes looking for it because everyone is very important to him and that (sheep) is the one most in need, the most abandoned, the most rejected and he goes out to find it.”

The story might make people think that the good shepherd doesn’t care about the ones he leaves behind, the pope said, “But in actuality it’s not like that. The lesson Jesus wants to give us instead is that no sheep can be lost. The Lord cannot resign himself to the fact that even one single person may be lost.”

God’s desire to save all his children is so “unstoppable, not even 99 sheep can hold the shepherd back and keep him locked up in the pen.”

“We are all forewarned — mercy toward sinners is the way God works” and “nothing and no one will be able to take away his will of salvation” for all of humanity, the pope said.

“God doesn’t know our current throwaway culture,” he said. “God throws nobody away. God loves everyone, seeks out everyone, everybody — one by one.”

The parable shows how everything depends on the shepherd and his willingness to look for the lost ones.

But it also tells the faithful flock that they will always be on the move, that they “do not possess the Lord, they cannot fool themselves keeping him imprisoned in our mindset and game plans,” Pope Francis said.

“The shepherd will be found where the lost sheep is,” he said, and it is up to the flock to follow the shepherd’s same journey of mercy so all 100 may be reunited again and rejoice.

The church needs to reflect often on the parable of the lost sheep, he said, because there is always someone who has strayed from the fold.

Sometimes seeing that empty place at the table, the pope said, “is discouraging and makes us believe that the loss is inevitable, an illness without a cure. And then we run the risk of closing ourselves up in the pen where there will be no smell of sheep, but the stink of stale air.”

Christians, he said, must never have the musty smell of confinement, which happens when a parish or community loses its missionary zeal and cuts itself off from others, seeing itself as “we — quote unquote — the righteous.”

Christians must understand that in Jesus’ eyes, no one is ever lost for good; there “are only sheep that must be found.” God waits up until the very end, like he did for the good thief, who repented before he died on the cross next to Jesus, the pope said.

No distance is too far to keep the shepherd away, and “no flock can give up on a brother” because the joy of finding what was lost belongs both to the faithful and the shepherd, he said.

“We are all sheep who have been found again and welcomed by the Lord’s mercy, called to gather the whole flock together with him,” Pope Francis said.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 35 min
George and Kim Vincent. (Courtesy Photo)George and Kim Vincent. (Courtesy Photo)

George Vincent, managing partner and chairman of Dinsmore, was recognized for his contribution to Catholic Inner-city Schools Education Fund (CISE) at a reception at the University Club of Cincinnati. Vincent served as the Chairman for the 2015 CISE Annual Campaign, which raised $2,900,000, well exceeding the campaign goal.

Vincent was supported in this endeavor by a team of dedicated CISE board members and volunteers.  James B. (Rick) Reynolds and Jim Hagerty, investment ddvisors for Bartlett, co-chaired the Major Gifts Committee. The Young Executive team of volunteers was led by Andrew Williamson, assistant vice president, private banker, The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank and Alex Kummer, senior accountant at Clark Schaefer, Hackett & Co.

A highlight of the evening was when student ambassadors from St. Francis Seraph and St. Joseph schools came to the podium. All three confidently addressed the assembled volunteers, expressing their appreciation and sharing their plans for the future. Laurence Christian, an eighth grade student from St. Joseph School, spoke as his mother proudly looked on, “My mother has always taught me to be respectful, but St. Joseph made sure I practiced it,” he said.

Laurence concluded his remarks, saying, “Please don’t walk away from this event believing that your financial support is your only contribution. You provide so much more than that. You’ve provided me with a safe place to learn, I’m a little closer to God, I was surrounded by people who love and care about me, but most of all I plan to be just like you. I will pay it forward.”

“I would like to thank the entire staff at St. Joseph and CISE for helping my mother and shaping me into the young man I am today,” he added. “This experience has allowed me to see that the word impossible really means I’m possible. Your actions have spoken much louder than any words, and I will never forget it.”

Transcripts of all three student’s remarks can be found at www.cisefund.org.

CISE Director Cary Powell, said, “We at CISE are so grateful for the leadership of Mr. Vincent, which led to the success of this year’s campaign. Their efforts and those of our many volunteers and generous donors will help change for the better the lives of the students in the CISE schools as well as our entire community!”

The CISE Annual Campaign benefits 1,800 students in the eight Catholic elementary schools supported by CISE. These schools include: St. Joseph, St. Boniface, St. Francis Seraph, Holy Family, St. Lawrence, Resurrection, Corryville Catholic and St. Francis de Sales. The poverty rate at CISE schools is 90 percent.

There are also 200 CISE elementary school graduates attending Catholic high schools with support from the CISE High School Grant Program. For more information about CISE, visit www.cisefund.org, or call the CISE office at 513-421-3131, ext. 2751.

This press release first appeared in the May 2016 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

2 days 2 hours

IMAGE: CNS/Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer

By Paul Haring

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis receives countless gifts, but most do not require anything in return. However, at his audience with members of the military April 30, the pope received a small gift with a tradition — and obligation — attached.

Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services gave the pope a military challenge coin with a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi stamped on it.

Bishop Spencer, who ministers to U.S. service members in Europe and Asia, explained to the pope — and then to Catholic News Service — the tradition of military challenge coins. “A long-standing military tradition is for leaders to ‘coin’ a person as an outward sign of appreciation and admiration for their actions and service,” the bishop said.

Military challenge coins come with a catch. “The next time the two of you meet after being ‘coined,’ the person receiving the coin must show the coin from the original presenter. If they do not have the coin with them, then they owe you a beer!” said Bishop Spencer, whose began his military service as an Army officer in 1973.

Bishop Spencer said he explained the custom to the pope, who “asked, with a smile, if I would accept wine instead!”

In offering wine, the pope was in fact keeping with the original European heritage of challenge coins. The history begins in World War I when an airman with the U.S. Army Air Service was shot down and captured by the Germany army, who took away his identification and belongings.

U.S. Airman 1st Class Deana Heitzman, who wrote a recent article about challenge coins for U.S. Air Force websites, explained the story: “While escaping from the grasp of the Germans, the pilot made his way to France, where they believed he was a spy and sentenced him to be executed. To prove his identity and save his life, he revealed a bronze medallion with his flying squadron’s emblem, confirming he was an American pilot. The French spared his life and celebrated by giving him a bottle of wine instead,” wrote Heitzman.

Carrying a unit coin became a tradition for the saved pilot’s squadron in Germany. Coin challenges developed as a way to ensure everyone was carrying their coin. If they didn’t have it, they would be buying drinks.

But coins are much more than just a fun tradition that leads to drinks. They also are exchanged on important occasions and mark significant events in a service member’s career. Many service members display important coins in cases as a reminder.

Pope Francis would have no trouble participating in a coin challenge. The Vatican has a long history of creating papal coins. The 2016 Pope Francis coins available from the Vatican are genuine euro tender and range in value from one euro-cent to a 50-euro gold coin that sells for 1,090 euro.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 22 hours
Cathy Diehl poses with wedding gowns that have been donated to her ministry. She makes burial garments for miscarried infants and babies that are stillborn or die at birth. (Courtesy Photo)Cathy Diehl poses with wedding gowns that have been donated to her ministry. She makes burial garments for miscarried infants and babies that are stillborn or die at birth. (Courtesy Photo)

In October of 2014, Cathy Diehl began her quest: creating a ministry to provide gowns for infant girls who lost their lives within a year of birth.

Today, gowns are available — at no cost to grieving parents — at many Cincinnati and Dayton-area hospitals including: Christ, Mercy Anderson, Mercy West, Mercy Fairfield, University of Cincinnati West Chester, Kettering, and Southview

Hospitals contacted to see if they have an interest in proving gowns include: Atrium, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Good Samaritan (Cincinnati), Bethesda North, St. Elizabeth (Kentucky), Fort Hamilton, Dayton Children’s Hospital

“We are contacting new hospitals each week to see if they will accept our donation of Angel Dresses and Angel Wraps. We have more than 60 volunteers sewing and 50 more new volunteers to be trained to sew.  New volunteer workshops begin in April,” said Diehl of West Chester.

Diehl also makes gowns available to people who contact her independently.

The concept was born out of tragedy.

Diehl’s daughter, Ava, was stillborn — caused by a placental issue. It happened in February 2013. Diehl searched in vain for a dress appropriate for her daughter to wear at her burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Montgomery. She looked at baby doll clothes and nothing was small enough…. Ava was one pound, 10 inches.

Shortly after the tragedy, a friend from Texas messaged Diehl about a Texas initiative where Angel Gowns were made from donated wedding dresses. Similar projects exist in Washington State and North Dakota and a woman in Georgia  makes such gowns in her home.

“There was nothing like it here in the Tri-State so I decided to start it,” Diehl said.

Among those recently receiving gowns are Michael Schirmer and Anna Bohman, a Northern Kentucky couple who lost their daughter, Aubrey, Jan. 31. They remain distraught, but Helen Schirmer, Aubrey’s grandmother, was thankful to talk about the ordeal.

“Aubrey lived two weeks. She was born at 26 weeks of gestation and she was breathing on her own and doing great. Then she got a staph infection at the hospital,” she explained.

“Once Aubrey passed away, we started making funeral arrangements and we had to find something for her to wear. I went online and searched everywhere I could find and … what I could find was either very expensive, I would not be able to get it in time, or it was not going to be small enough,” she said. “We started going to different local stores. We went to little kids’ boutiques. Everywhere we went there was never anything small enough. Aubrey weighed two pounds, two ounces. There was just nothing small enough for her.”

Helen Schirmer’s sister, Mary Rust, “knew we were looking and she knows a friend of Cathy Diehl’s. I remember we got to St. Joseph Church, Cold Spring, after spending the morning looking through the stores.  We needed to plan the funeral and we were walking out of church to get in our car when Cathy called.

“She said she understood. She was
so great to deal with. She was very sympathetic to the situation. She offered bring the gowns to us or meet somewhere. So, we actually drove from Northern Kentucky to West Chester were Cathy lives. We are in Wilder Kentucky,” Helen Schirmer said.

“When we got to her house … she had  about 10 gowns laying out for us. One was more beautiful than the next. Some had flowers. We saw one. It was cream-colored with lace. But, there was a little flower on another one Anna liked so Kathy actually got out her scissors, cut the flower off, and put it on the dress we wanted. There was one with a string of like pearl beads. Cathy got her sewing kit out, cut the beads and gave them to us. I actually took those home with me and sewed them onto the dress. It was absolutely gorgeous.

“It was all donated by Cathy. She said it helps her to heal by doing this and it helped us a lot because my son and Anna were grieving too and they don’t have a lot of money,” Helen Schirmer said.

One of Diehl’s Angel Gowns has flown across the Atlantic to a Scotland.

Christina Hubbard, of Kenwood, has been volunteering for Diehl for about a year driving throughout the greater Cincinnati area collecting donated wedding gowns.

“I just love to do it,” said Hubbard, a nurse at DAVITA, a dialysis clinic in Silverton and at the Clovernook Health Care Pavilion in North College Hill, a facility for seniors.

“My aunt and uncle moved to Scotland where they have two children. This past November, my cousin’s wife went into labor. A broken placenta ruptured and the baby died. She was a full term baby. My aunt and uncle live in Glasgow, Scotland. I picked out an Angel Gown for her. In fact, the day it happened and I found out about it, I raced to Cathy. They do not have anything like it in Scotland.”

For information about Angel Gowns and Wraps, visit www.sewinghearts.org.

2 days 23 hours

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians distracted from the path set out by Jesus can turn into decrepit “spiritual mummies,” Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

Spiritual mummies stray from the path of Christian life by choosing to stand still “not doing evil, but not doing good” either, the pope said May 3 in his homily during Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“A Christian who doesn’t walk, who doesn’t move on the path, is a ‘non-Christian’ Christian. No one knows what he is. He is a bit of a ‘paganized’ Christian; he’s there, he’s still, but he doesn’t go forward in Christian life. The Beatitudes do not flourish in his life; he does not do the works of mercy; he is still,” the pope said.

The day’s Gospel reading was Jesus’ discourse during the Last Supper in which he tells his disciples that he is “the way, the truth and the life.”

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father,” Jesus said.

The pope said there are two types of Christians who fail in following the true path: those who are stubborn and those who wander like vagabonds.

Stubborn Christians tend to believe they know the path and “do not allow the voice of the Lord to tell them: ‘Go back and take the right path,'” he said. On the other hand, vagabond Christians walk around aimlessly in circles and are easily distracted by worldly vanities.

“There are others who on the path are seduced by something beautiful and they stop midway; fascinated by what they see — by this idea, by that proposal, by that landscape — and they stop! Christian life is not something charming: it is a truth! It is Jesus Christ!” he said.

Pope Francis called on the faithful to reflect on whether they have strayed from the path of Christian life laid out in the Beatitudes and the works of mercy. Although Jesus’ path leads to the cross, it is also ‘”full of consolations” and “peace in the soul.”

“Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to walk well (on this path), always! And when we tire, (to give us) a little refreshment to go forward. Let us ask for this grace,” the pope said. 

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From: Latest News Releases from USCCB
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Scientists and Faith Leaders Urge President Obama to Announce Steps in Hiroshima to Reduce Nuclear Risks

May 4, 2016

WASHINGTON—The heads of four leading science and faith organizations call on President Obama, who will likely visit Hiroshima, Japan, later this month for the G7 summit, to announce specific steps the United States will take to reduce the real and urgent risks posed by nuclear weapons and prevent a new global nuclear arms race.

"Since Saint Pope John XXIII issued Pacem in Terris in 1963, the Catholic Church has called for a world free of nuclear weapons. Faith and reason, religion and science, agree on this issue," said Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace. "Nuclear weapons pose a moral challenge and represent an existential threat that requires action now."

A statement released May 4, by Bishop Cantú; Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition calls on President Obama to:

″   Scale back the U.S. plan to build a new generation of nuclear weapons, including canceling the new "destabilizing and unneeded" nuclear-armed cruise missile;
″   Reduce the U.S. deployed strategic arsenal by a third, a level the Pentagon agrees is adequate to maintain security; and
″   Remove U.S. land-based nuclear missiles from hair-trigger alert, which would reduce the risk of an accidental, mistaken or unauthorized launch.

The groups met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice in November 2015 to express concern that the risk of nuclear weapons use may be on the rise, and to urge the administration to take concrete steps to reduce that risk.

The full text of the joint statement is available at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/nuclear-weapons/statement-by-faith-leaders-on-reducing-nuclear-threat-2016-05-04.cfm.

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