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  • Via phone, priest helps dying man through act of contrition, prayer

    PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- Because of hospital coronavirus restrictions, a suburban Portland priest March 22 was not allowed to meet with a Catholic patient dying of COVID-19. Msgr. John Cihak, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, did make telephone contact and because of a provision in church law was able to lead him through the process of an act of contrition and a prayer for forgiveness.

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  • Site crashes as half million-plus watch England's rededication to Mary

    WALSINGHAM, England (CNS) -- English Catholics rededicated their country as Mary's Dowry "in the eye of the storm" of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of restrictions on movement and assembly to slow down the transmission of COVID-19, an estimated 530,000 people attempted to join the rededication by watching livestreaming services from parishes, churches and the National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk. The volume of traffic volume was so high by the rededication time of noon March 29 that it caused the website of the Walsingham shrine to crash, along with the livestreams in cathedrals and parishes provided by Churchservices.tv, a technology firm offering media platforms within churches.

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  • Priority on economy over people may lead to 'viral genocide,' pope warns

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Countries fighting the coronavirus pandemic could face deadly consequences if they focus on protecting their economies more than their own people, Pope Francis said. In a handwritten letter sent March 28 to Argentine Judge Roberto Andres Gallardo, president of the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine, the pope said that some governments that have imposed lockdown measures "show the priority of their decisions: people first."

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  • Father Peter Gori cleared of abuse allegation, reinstated

    BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese of Boston announced March 30 that Augustinian Father Peter Gori has been cleared of an allegation of abuse and that Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, has returned him to active ministry. Father Gori has also been reinstated as pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Andover and will return to the parish by Palm Sunday.

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  • Gomez: 'Where is God in this pandemic? Where there is love, there is God'

    LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Here is a column titled "Love in a time without hugs" by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez published online March 24 in Angelus, the media arm of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The archbishop, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, writes a weekly column in Angelus, called "New World of Faith."

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  • Across Europe, churches offer empty facilities to help fight COVID-19

    OXFORD, England (CNS) -- Catholic dioceses and religious orders across Europe are offering to turn church facilities into spaces needed for health care or housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Church leaders throughout Europe have been struggling to maintain Catholic religious devotions during enforced national lockdowns against the coronavirus, but have also sought ways, in addition to regular aid from Caritas and other Catholic organizations, of making resources available for health and social services.

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  • Distraught, determined Little Sisters of the Poor cope with coronavirus

    WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) -- Mother Margaret Regina Halloran was doing her best to fight back tears in the early morning of March 27, but she wasn't really winning the struggle. The local superior of the Jeanne Jugan Residence in Newark, Delaware, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor had the most difficult time the day before when a longtime resident died after testing positive for the coronavirus. The 86-year-old man with Philadelphia roots was a popular resident who delighted many over the years by dancing a version of the "Mummers Strut" -- a Philadelphia New Year's Day parade tradition.

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  • During pandemic, priests work to bridge distance between deceased, family

    ROME (CNS) -- When Father Mario Carminati went to bless the remains of one of his parishioners, he called the deceased man's daughter on WhatsApp so they could pray together. "One of his daughters is in Turin and couldn't take part," he said, the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana reported March 26. "It was very emotional," as she was able to pray with them through the messaging service, said the parish priest from Seriate, near Bergamo.

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  • Cardinal OKs meat on Fridays for remainder of Lent

    BRAINTREE -- As the people of Massachusetts find themselves under a stay-at-home advisory and are being urged limits trips outside -- even to the grocery store -- Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley has lifted the obligation for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston to abstain from meat on Fridays for the remainder of Lent.

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  • Priests offer outdoor confessions in time of 'social distancing'

    BRAINTREE -- In a Lenten season of "social distancing," when Masses have been suspended and civic authorities are urging people to stay home to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus, priests are looking for creative ways to minister the sacraments to their parishioners. A few in the archdiocese have been trying a new way of offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation: creating an outdoor "confessional" with a "drive-through" or "walk-up" setup.

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  • Catholic schools turn to virtual learning during time of closure

    BRAINTREE -- How do you keep a sense of normalcy in a time of crisis? How do you maintain a sense of community while physically isolated from friends, mentors, and colleagues? These are the questions that Catholic school communities have been wrestling with while transitioning to "remote learning" after schools were closed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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  • Cardinal O'Malley leads 'Virtual Lenten Retreat'

    BRAINTREE -- Though Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston began the fourth week of Lent with Masses and other parish activities suspended, they had the opportunity to join Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley for a 5-day "Virtual Lenten Retreat" broadcast through CatholicTV, online and through social media.

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  • Tighter guidelines for churches, Pastoral Center closed following new directives

    BRAINTREE -- In response to a stay-at-home advisory issued by Gov. Charlie Baker, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has issued new, stricter guidelines under which churches in the Archdiocese of Boston should remain open to the public. The cardinal also urged populations vulnerable to COVID-19 to "exercise careful and prudential judgment" when deciding to visit a church.

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  • Parishes turn to Internet as Masses are suspended

    BRAINTREE -- Since the archdiocese announced on March 13 that all Masses were being suspended in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many parishes have turned to the Internet as a platform for sharing the Mass and staying connected with their communities in this time of "social distancing."

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  • From Cardinal Seán's blog

    This week, following the recommended protocols for social distancing, I am celebrating Mass in the rectory of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross each day for all of our people, especially those who greatly desire to attend Mass but are unable to at this time.

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  • On Annunciation, dozens of bishops dedicate their nations to Mary

    Church leaders around the world used the feast of the Annunciation March 25 to entrust their nations to Mary and Jesus. Catholic leaders from 24 states sought divine help in ending the COVID-19 pandemic by consecrating their countries to Jesus and Mary during a March 25 ceremony in Fatima, Portugal.

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  • Vatican confirms pope does not have COVID-19

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Neither Pope Francis nor any of his closest collaborators have the COVID-19 virus, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office. In a note March 28, Bruni confirmed that a monsignor, who works in the Vatican Secretariat of State and lives in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives, did test positive for the coronavirus and, "as a precaution," was hospitalized.

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  • What is a plenary indulgence?

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis said he will grant a plenary indulgence to the faithful who watch or listen to his extraordinary blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) at 6 p.m. Rome time March 27.

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  • Pope prays that world may overcome fear

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis offered his early morning Mass for vulnerable people and health care workers who live in fear that they or their loved ones may fall ill to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world.

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  • Vatican asks bishops to help faithful celebrate Holy Week, Easter at home

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has asked Catholic bishops around the world, both in the Latin rite and the Eastern Catholic Churches, to provide their faithful with resources to support personal and family prayer during Holy Week and at Easter, especially where COVID-19 restrictions prevent them from going to church.

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  • Italian doctors: Staff overwhelmed during pandemic; model must change

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Doctors working in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy have launched an appeal in a major medical journal warning the outbreak in their province is out of control. The medical and humanitarian emergency unfolding before their eyes has made it clear that the Western health care system of centralized hospital care cannot handle this and future epidemics and needs to shift toward more community-focused care.

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