Co-workers conference explores 'Building the Life of a Parish'
NEWTON -- Lay pastoral workers and clergy of the Archdiocese of Boston gathered to discuss the life of the parish in the new evangelization during the 7th annual Co-Workers in the Vineyard Conference, held April 4 at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton.
The Theological Institute for the New Evangelization's Master of Arts in Ministry Program, Saint John's Seminary, and Our Sunday Visitor Institute cosponsored the event themed "Building the Life of a Parish."
Fallen Boston firefighters laid to rest
BOSTON -- For two consecutive days firefighters gathered from all around the world stood at attention to honor two of their fallen who died the week before fighting a nine-alarm fire in the Back Bay.
A spokesman for the Boston Fire Department said 10,000 firefighters lined the streets at the April 2 funeral Mass for Lieutenant Edward Walsh, 43, at his home parish of St. Patrick in Watertown and at the April 3 funeral Mass for Firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, at Holy Name Church in West Roxbury. Engine 33 carried the casket to and from the church at each funeral, as it followed behind a flower-laden Ladder 15. Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Marty Walsh, and other dignitaries also gathered to honor the fallen firefighter.
Luther's goal not schism but reform of 'church he loved,' says bishop
NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- It was the seminal event of Western Christianity over the past 500 years.
Martin Luther, a German Catholic monk, sent his "95 Theses," or "Disputation on the Efficacy and Power of Indulgences," to the local archbishop Oct. 31, 1517. And he set into motion the Protestant Reformation that four years later prompted his excommunication by the Catholic Church and laid the groundwork for denominational splintering that over the centuries has led to the formation of thousands of Christian churches.
On 20th anniversary of Rwandan genocide, pope urges reconciliation
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Just days before Rwanda was to begin a weeklong period of official mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of its genocide, Pope Francis urged the country's bishops to be resolute in continuing the work of healing and reconciliation.
"Twenty years after those tragic events," when as many as 1 million people were murdered in savage acts of ethnic violence, Pope Francis said, "reconciliation and the healing of wounds must remain the priority of the church in Rwanda."
Pope declares by decree three new saints for the Americas
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis declared three new saints for the Americas, pioneers of the Catholic Church in Brazil and in Canada.
Pope Francis signed decrees April 3 recognizing: St. Jose de Anchieta, a Spanish-born Jesuit who traveled to Brazil in 1553 and became known as the Apostle of Brazil; St. Marie de l'Incarnation, a French Ursuline who traveled to Quebec in 1639 and is known as the Mother of the Canadian Church; and St. Francois de Laval, who arrived in Quebec 20 years after St. Marie de l'Incarnation and became the first bishop of Quebec.
News posted between 4/5/2014 and 4/11/2014
A path of renewal for the Catholic sterilized couple
Among married men and women who undergo surgical sterilization through a vasectomy or a tubal ligation, it has been estimated that anywhere from ten to twenty percent will come to regret the choice. Sometimes there may be an immediate awareness of wrongdoing following the surgery, while in other cases, as Patrick Coffin, radio host and author of ''Sex au Naturel'' notes, sterilized couples may "...drift for years before acknowledging that something between them is no longer in sync. After the initial pregnancy fear subsides, and the vision of 1001 erotic nights turns out be something of a scam, spouse may (subtly) turn against spouse while doing their best to ignore the silent, disturbing 'presence' of the choice they made."
Easter glory in a Roman jewel box
One of the many reasons to follow the Lenten station church pilgrimage through Rome is that, along that unique itinerary of sanctity, one discovers otherwise-hidden jewels of church architecture and design, created in honor of the early Roman martyrs. Perhaps the most stunning of these is St. Praxedes on the Esquiline Hill, hidden behind the vastness of St. Mary Major. As my co-author Elizabeth Lev puts it in ''Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches'' (Basic Books), "the little Basilica of St. Praxedes is a surprising treasure chest, its dingy portal opening into an interior of dazzling mosaics."
Hispanic catechists and evangelizers share the 'Joy of the Gospel'
The nippy air on the morning of April 5 did not deter 449 Spanish-speaking pastoral leaders from twenty-seven parishes with Hispanic ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston from gathering at St. Stephen Parish in Framingham for the Annual Congress of Catechesis and Evangelization. Neither did the time when they were expected to start arriving, 8:00 a.m. Some participants mentioned that they got up at ungodly hours to finish house chores and leave their families settled with the promise of a prompt return, pick up some friends and get on the road to be on time.
Running the road to hope
I find it appropriate that in this year following the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing that we find no shortage of the word "HOPE." Pope Francis has said this is to be a year of hope. Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley recently announced the Catholic Appeal's theme of "Forward in Hope." Even in his inaugural speech, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh stated, "We are a city of hope." At Catholic Charities, we have long referred to our work as "providing hope for all." Indeed, as we hear the stories of those whose lives were impacted by the bombing, there is much to be hopeful for this year.
Vatican II, Holy Week, and parish collaboratives
The Second Vatican Council produced 16 documents: four constitutions, three declarations and nine decrees. The very first, the "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" ("Sacroscanctum Concilium"), passed overwhelmingly with a 2147 to 4 vote. Today, 50 years later, this seminal document reminds all Catholics: "Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Peter 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 14). This directive is operative in parishes in different ways -- yet another example of one size doesn't fit all.
On losing -- graciously
In sports, there is a certain nobility about the art of losing well and it should command much greater respect than our contemporary, overwrought culture begrudgingly allows.