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New Orleans 'Hope Monstrance' to visit U.S. communities hit by disasters

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy LÕOsservatore RomanBy Peter Finney Jr.NEWORLEANS (CNS) -- When the levees broke in 2005 and Lakeview became LakePontchartrain, Katrina launched its mad-scientist experiment.Whatwould three weeks of brackish and corrosive water, chemicals and mud do not onlyto St. Dominic Parish's Aquinas Hall in Lakeview, which housed a small chapel acrossthe street from the church, but also to the gold-plated, eucharistic monstrancenow laid on its side and entombed in the muck at the foot of the altar?Asa precaution before the storm, parishioner Susie Veters had removed the BlessedSacrament from the monstrance and placed it in the tabernacle. She kept theempty monstrance on the chapel altar and locked the doors.Themonstrance was no match for the 8 feet of lake water, which lifted it off thealtar and dropped it to the floor, burying it in mud.WhenVeters pulled the sacred vessel from the mud three weeks later, she didn'tthink it had a chance to be restored, but Michael McGee...

Virgin Islands diocese still recovering from 2017 double hurricanes

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of StBy Laura Ann Phillips PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CNS) --One year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria smashed through the Virgin Islands, peopleremain jittery about the rest of the 2018 hurricane season. "Everyone is extremelynervous and anxious about going through another hurricane without recoveringfrom the previous two," said Warren Bush, chief financial officer for theDiocese of St Thomas. A combination of heavybureaucracy, sometimes sluggish supply chains and a shortage of contractorshave slowed recovery efforts, leaving repairs to many damaged homes and publicbuildings still incomplete. Now, at the height of thecurrent hurricane season, "We have to stabilize buildings to preventadditional water damage," Bush said. "We're very concerned about whatcould be." On Sept. 6, 2017, HurricaneIrma mowed through the islands and, two weeks later, Hurricane Maria devastatedwhatever was left. Both hit as Category 5 storms. "We've never experiencedthis level o...

Pope prays for young people, their diligence and courage

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As he often does with a group made up of people ofdifferent faiths or no faith, Pope Francis gave young people in Palermo aspecial blessing, but not a ritual one.After the pope's meeting with teenagers and young adultsSept. 15, some Catholics on Twitter expressed outrage that there was no formalapostolic blessing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.Instead, the pope asked God to look upon the thousands ofyoung people gathered with him in Palermo's Piazza Politeama.After giving his formal speech, Pope Francis apologized tothe young people for delivering it while seated when they were all standing.But, he said, "my ankles are really sore.""Now I would like to give you a blessing, but I knowthat among you there are young Catholics, Christians, members of otherreligions and a few agnostics," he said. "For this reason, I willgive everyone a blessing, and I will ask God to bless the seed of restlessnessthat is in...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

IMAGE: CNS photo courtesy of the Diocese of Arundel and BrightonBy HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed,"tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesanFacebook page was meant to assure people that 60-year-old Bishop Richard Moth ofArundel and Brighton had fulfilled his pledge to go skydiving and had completedthe task successfully and unharmed.Joined by Lucy Barnes, a local Catholic school teacher,Bishop Moth jumped from a plane at 15,000 feet to raise money to take ailingpilgrims to Lourdes."He flies through the air with the greatest of ease,"said another tweet, referring to Bishop Moth.The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales tweeted: "Isit a bird? Is it a plane? ... Wait, it's a bishop!" They made no referenceto the insect that flies and shares the bishop's name.With a goal of 3,000 pounds (just under $4,000), the bishopraised more than 5,160 pounds on an online crowdfunding website.In a press release from the diocese, ...

Update: To Europe's periphery: Pope to visit Baltic nations in late September

IMAGE: CNS photo/VaticanBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will travel to theeastern periphery of Europe to honor a faith that withstood a Nazi invasion andfive decades of communist dictatorship and now is striving to help people livein freedom as authentic disciples of Christ.The pope's visit Sept. 22-25 to Lithuania, Latvia andEstonia comes in the year the three Baltic nations are celebrating the 100thanniversary of their declarations of independence after World War I. Whiledeclared Soviet republics in 1940, the countries were occupied by the Nazisduring World War II and then lived under Soviet rule from 1944 to 1990.St. John Paul II visited the countries in 1993 as they wereat the beginning stages of solidifying democracy and living with full religiousliberty.Bishop Philippe Jourdan, the apostolic administrator ofEstonia's tiny Catholic community, told Catholic News Service that the motto ofthe pope's visit to Estonia "is a well-known Estonian song, 'Mu suda arkau...

Pope, in Sicily, honors priest martyred by Mafia

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy PALERMO, Sicily (CNS) -- Honoring a priest shot atpoint-blank range by the Mafia, Pope Francis insisted that true happiness and areal change in Sicilian society will come only when people love and care forone another rather than trying to grab as much money and power as they can."Having always leads to wanting. I have something andimmediately want another and another without end. The more you have the moreyou want. It's a horrible addiction," Pope Francis said, celebrating MassSept. 15 in Palermo."On the other hand, one who loves finds himself anddiscovers how beautiful it is to help others has joy on the inside and a smileon the outside, just like Father Pino" Puglisi, the anti-Mafia priestgunned down Sept. 15, 1993, his 56th birthday.Pope Francis made a day trip to Sicily to mark the 25thanniversary of the now-beatified priest's martyrdom. His homily and speechesincluded denunciations of the Mafia and a call for the mafiosi to convert, buthe focused ...

Packers fan with months to live sees game with aid from hospice, diocese

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sam Lucero, The CompassBy Sam LuceroALLOUEZ,Wis. (CNS) -- When David Marosek, who had been battling stage 4 rectal cancersince July 2016, got the news in April his cancer had returned and spread intohis lungs and spine, it was a depressing time."I wastold that it was terminal and they gave me like six months to a year" to live,he told The Compass, newspaper of the Diocese of Green Bay, in a telephoneinterview from his Oshkosh apartment. Rather than begin new treatments, Marosekchose to enter hospice."I'vebeen in hospice now for a few months," he said. With the assistance of Auroraat Home Hospice, Marosek receives medical care and home visits from hospicestaff, including Jayne Syrjamaki, Aurora at Home volunteer coordinator.Whenhospice staff met Marosek in July, they asked him, "If you had one wish, whatwould it be?" It's part of the hospice program's "Drop in the Bucket"initiative to grant small wishes to patients. The wish was then turned over toSyrjamaki. "He said...

Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

IMAGE: CNS photo/KNABy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs ofAlgeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, Algeria, the country'sbishops announced.CardinalAngelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, willpreside over the Mass and beatification rite for the six women and 13 men whogave their lives "for the least, the sick and the men, women and youngpeople of Algeria," said a statement published by the bishops Sept. 13.The martyrs "are given to us as intercessors and modelsof Christian life, friendship and fraternity, encounter and dialogue," thebishops said. "May their example help us in our life today.""From Algeria, their beatification will be an impetusand a call for the church and for the world to build together a world of peaceand fraternity," the bishops said.The 19 martyrs were killed between 1993 and 1996 whileAlgeria was locked in a 10-year-long armed conflict between government ...

'Elitist, clericalist' church allows abuse to thrive, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICANCITY (CNS) -- Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandalof its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where the CatholicChurch is "elitist and clericalist," Pope Francis told Jesuits inIreland in August."Thereis something I have understood with great clarity: this drama of abuse,especially when it is widespread and gives great scandal -- think of Chile,here in Ireland or in the United States -- has behind it a church that iselitist and clericalist, an inability to be near to the people of God,"the pope told the Jesuits during a meeting Aug. 25 in Dublin.Asis customary when the pope meets Jesuits during a foreign trip, a transcript ofhis remarks to the 63 Jesuits he met in Ireland was published by the Jesuitjournal La Civilta Cattolicaafter the pope had approved the text; it was released Sept. 13.PopeFrancis met the Jesuits in Dublin immediately after meeting eight people whohad survived abuse at t...

After meeting pope, cardinal says he's hopeful about addressing crisis

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob RollerBy Greg ErlandsonVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo ofGalveston-Houston struck a determinedly hopeful tone after his long-awaitedmeeting with Pope Francis to discuss the growing sexual abuse crisis in theUnited States."I myself am filled with hope," he said, "butI also realize all these things might take purpose and time."The cardinal spoke following a noon meeting Sept. 13 at theVatican. Cardinal DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops, was joined in his meeting with the pope by: Cardinal Sean P. O'Malleyof Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors;Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB; and Msgr.J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference."The Holy Father is the important figure for us in this,"Cardinal DiNardo said. "He sees the problem all over the church andthroughout the world."While the cardinal did not want to discuss the specifics ofthe ...

Thought of the Day

Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:28

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