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Hike, Mass bring young adults closer to God through nature
JAFFREY, N.H. -- For a group of young Catholics who hiked up Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, N.H., July 12, the trek presented more than an opportunity to enjoy nature, but an opportunity to experience the realities of their faith in beauty created by God.

The Vocation Office and the Office of Faith Formation of Youth and Young Adults of the Archdiocese of Boston hosted the event and Father Michael Harrington celebrated the Mass at 3,166 feet above sea level.
Cardinal says Church will support immigrant children if housed in Mass.
BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was among the local clergy who joined Governor Deval Patrick at a press conference, July 18, when the governor announced that two Massachusetts military bases could be used to house some of the influx of children coming to the United States over the border with Mexico.
Mall chapels bring faith to the marketplace -- literally
BRAINTREE -- Speaking in 2013, Cardinal O'Malley said, "Thomas a Kempis said if there was only one Mass celebrated once a year, in one place, by one priest, everyone in Christendom would spend their whole life trying to get there, to be able to attend Mass at least once during their life, but we have Mass everywhere -- even in the malls."
Obama's order bans discrimination based on workers' sexual orientation
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- President Barack Obama's executive order of July 21 has installed workplace rules forbidding the firing of employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity by the federal government and federal contractors -- a key provision in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act languishing in Congress.
Archbishop says neither church nor courts can change nature of marriage
MIAMI (CNS) -- A Florida county judge's ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry "represents another salvo in the 'culture wars' that ultimately seek to redefine the institution of marriage as solely for adult gratification," said Miami's archbishop.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski praised Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for her decision to appeal the July 17 ruling by Judge Luis M. Garcia of Monroe County Circuit Court. The announcement an appeal will be filed automatically stayed the ruling.
Pope calls for prayers as militants chase all Christians out of Mosul
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As the last Iraqi Christians in Mosul fled the city, Pope Francis urgently called for prayers, dialogue and peace.

"Violence isn't overcome with violence. Violence is conquered with peace," the pope said before leading thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square in a moment of silent prayer July 20.
Stop targeting civilians, archbishop tells Israelis, Gaza fighters
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council urged the Israeli military and fighters in the Gaza Strip to stop targeting civilian areas.

"As the number of people killed, wounded, uprooted from their homes, continues to increase in the conflict between Israel and some Palestinian groups, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the voice of reason seems submerged by the blast of arms," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said July 23 during a special session of the council in Geneva.
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News posted between 7/19/2014 and 7/25/2014
George Weigel
Shipwreck and mission
The post-Vatican II Lectionary for Mass has many fine features, one of which is the continuous reading of the Acts of the Apostles during weekday Masses in the Easter season. As the Church celebrates the Resurrection for 50 days, the Church also ponders the first evangelization: the primitive Christian community, in the power of the Spirit, brings the surrounding Mediterranean world the history-shattering news that Jesus of Nazareth, having been raised from the dead, has been constituted Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of sins. These serial readings from Acts end with Paul established in Rome (probably in today's Trastevere district), speaking with the Roman Jewish community about the fulfillment of their ancient, covenantal hopes in the Risen Christ.

Father Kenneth Doyle
Cremains in church? Funeral Mass for non-Catholic?
Q. I have a question, and I know I'm not the only Catholic confused over this. Why is it that some priests allow cremains in church for a funeral Mass and others do not? The last wish of my dying sister was to be cremated and to have a Mass. The priest, however, would not allow her remains to be in church, and so we had a service for her instead in a funeral home.

Russell Shaw
'The crisis of modernity' and Vatican II
Why did we need the Second Vatican Council? Did we need it at all? Hearing those questions, most Catholics who've thought about Vatican II would probably cite renewing and updating of the Church as solid reasons for the ecumenical council.

Father James J. Ronan
Where Do You Stand?
It is an ancient story Jews and Christians have repeated through the ages. It goes to the heart of the Judeo-Christian understanding of the mercy of God as our protector, savior and our hope, and it began centuries ago in Egypt with the birth of a little boy. The boy was born into a Jewish family at a time when The Pharaoh was oppressing the Jewish slaves. He decided to kill all newborn boys. The mother, rather than face the death of her baby, placed the innocent child in a basket among the reeds of a river bank. The child was rescued and adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh and named Moses.

J. David Franks
A midsummer night's dream: Jericho will fall
What is your midsummer night's dream? Time slows, sweet doldrums take us, a blessed silence of the soul steals in. Do you have a fairytale dream? Shakespeare reminds us, "The course of true love never did run smooth." Do you dream that all the loves in your life will bear fruit? Do you have a dream for our great nation, as a renewed venture in freedom and virtue under God?

Kevin and Marilyn Ryan
Divided we stand
America seems to be in the summer of our discontent. This is certainly the case in the political realm. Adversarial politics is traditionally considered both the life blood and the glory of a vibrant democracy. However, the U.S. is taking "adversarial" to new and dangerous heights.

Adam Johnson
The case for nostalgia
Katie Blanchard loves to reminisce about the past with the senior residents at Youville Assisted Living. As one might expect, the residents have a large fund of collective memories, but Katie, an activities director in her 30s, likes to get the conversation started by sharing her own memories of summers spent with her grandparents on Little Sebago Lake. It was here that she learned how to swim, fish, skip rocks, play cards, identify plants, and water ski. Most importantly, the lake house is the one place on earth that she associates most strongly with the memory of her grandparents. Today it remains a conduit to past memories and an enduring place of solace. "The camp is a big part of who I am today," she tells residents. "I feel lucky to be able to go back there every year with family."

Susan Abbott
Catholic Leadership Institute -- partners in ministry
In a March, 2013 article in The Boston Globe, Father Paul Soper, Director of the Office of Pastoral Planning spoke about the work facing the 12 pastors who were about to begin Phase I of the pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission. Acknowledging the ground-breaking, exciting, but difficult work ahead, Father Soper said, "We're putting a lot on their (the pastors) shoulders; therefore it only makes sense to give them the best support we can," Now in Phase II of the plan, that practical assistance continues.

Clark Booth
Cooperstown follies
We're about to arrive at the sweetest moment on the baseball calendar and nothing in all of sport quite matches it. We speak of Hall of Fame Day at Cooperstown on the banks of that shimmering pond Fenimore Cooper glorified where at the high point of every summer the grand old game is again, indisputably and profoundly, "The American Pastime". If only for a day!

John Garvey
A notable name on a 'dirty' list
The National Organization for Women has put the Little Sisters of the Poor on a list that it calls the "Dirty 100."