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Recalling St John Paul II’s seven visits to the United States
CNA Staff, Apr 2, 2020 / 10:02 am (CNA).- St. John Paul II was the most traveled pope in history, logging some 700,000 miles and visiting nearly 130 countries. One of the first countries the pope visited after his election was the United States. As Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, he had visited the US in 1976, two years before his election, stopping at places such as Michigan, Ohio, and Montana, and was eager to return. Over the course of his nearly 27-year pontificate, St. John Paul II would make seven visits to the US— five of significant length, and two brief stopovers during which he nevertheless left a lasting impression on the memories of the locals. St. John Paul II died April 2, 2005. On the anniversary of the saint’s death, we take a look back at his seven visits to the United States.Visit 1, October 1-9, 1979Where: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Des Moines, Chicago, Washington, D.C. St. John Paul II's first visit to the United States as pope was a whirlwind six-city tour that began with a gathering of 100,000 at Boston Common. He then went to New York where he held a youth rally at Madison Square Garden, gave a speech at the United Nations and celebrated Mass before a congregation of 80,000 at Yankee Stadium. He also received a ticker-tape parade in Philadelphia. After a warm welcome in Chicago, St. John Paul II made his way to Des Moines, ostensibly after a Catholic Iowa farmer wrote to the pope to invite him to see life in “rural America, the heartland and breadbasket of our nation.” A crowd of 350,000 greeted him at a farm just outside the city. The visit also marked the first time a pope had entered the White House, as he met with President Jimmy Carter in Washington. The two leaders discussed situations in the Philippines, China, Europe, South Korea, and the Middle East, and the pope emphasized to Carter the need for the United States to keep ties open to the largely Catholic people of Eastern Europe, then under the throes of Communism. Finally, St. John Paul II celebrated Mass on the National Mall.What the pope said: “Dear young people: do not be afraid of honest effort and honest work; do not be afraid of the truth. With Christ's help, and through prayer, you can answer his call, resisting temptations and fads, and every form of mass manipulation. Open your hearts to the Christ of the Gospels—to his love and his truth and his joy. Do not go away sad!” -Mass at Boston Common “Fourteen years ago my great predecessor Pope Paul VI spoke from this podium. He spoke memorable words, which I desire to repeat today: ‘No more war, war never again! Never one against the other,’ or even ‘one above the other,’ but always, on every occasion, ‘with each other.’” -Address to the United Nations “We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our own riches and freedom, if, in any place, the Lazarus of the twentieth century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us all together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person: the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price, the price of ‘the precious blood of Christ" (1 Pt 1 :19).’” -Mass at Yankee Stadium “To all of you who are farmers and all who are associated with agricultural production I want to say this: the Church highly esteems your work. Christ himself showed his esteem for agricultural life when he described God his Father as the "vinedresser" (Jn 15 :1). You cooperate with the Creator, the "vinedresser", in sustaining and nurturing life. You fulfill the command of God given at the very beginning: "Fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1 :28). Here in the heartland of America, the valleys and hills have been blanketed with grain, the herds and the flocks have multiplied many times over. By hard work you have become masters of the earth and you have subdued it.” -Mass in Des Moines “All human beings ought to value every person for his or her uniqueness as a creature of God, called to be a brother or sister of Christ by reason of the Incarnation and the universal Redemption. For us, the sacredness of human life is based on these premises. And it is on these same premises that there is based our celebration of life—all human life. This explains our efforts to defend human life against every influence or action that threatens or weakens it, as well as our endeavors to make every life more human in all its aspects. And so, we will stand up every time that human life is threatened.” -Mass on the National MallVisit 2, February 26, 1981Where: Stopover in Anchorage The pope’s first visit to Alaska was brief— a stopover lasting just over four hours on his way back to Rome after a pastoral visit to the Philippines, Guam, and Japan— but left a lasting impression. An estimated 100,000 people came to downtown Anchorage to see the pope, which remains the largest gathering of people in the history of the state. Then-Archbishop Francis Hurley of Anchorage recalled that as he was escorting the pope downtown, he made a special point of greeting the elderly who waved at him out of the windows of a senior living facility. When he arrived at Holy Name Cathedral, he took the time to greet the diabled and elderly who had come to see him. One disabled child— who died shortly after the encounter— handed him a bouquet of forget-me-nots; St. John Paul II made a point of mentioning the child and the flowers the next time he visited Alaska, saying that “her loving gesture is not forgotten.” The visit "pulled a lot of Catholics out of the woodwork we didn't know were Catholic" and inspired them back to the practice of their faith, Archbishop Hurley told the archdiocesan newspaper.What the pope said: “My brothers and sisters in Christ: Never doubt the vital importance of your presence in the Church, the vital importance of religious life and of the ministerial priesthood in the mission of proclaiming the mercy of God. Through your daily life, which is often accompanied by the sign of the cross, and through faithful service and persevering hope, you show your deep faith in the merciful love of God, and bear witness to that love, which is more powerful than evil and stronger than death.” -Address to priests and religious in the Anchorage cathedralVisit 3, May 2, 1984Where: Stopover in Fairbanks Once again, Alaska served as a midpoint for the pope between Rome and the Pacific, as he embarked on his pastoral journey to Korea, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Thailand. This time, St. John Paul II appeared with President Ronald Reagan, who was himself returning from a trip to China, at the Fairbanks airport. During the pope’s brief, three-hour refuelling stop, Reagan praised him as a defender of human freedom, and as a source of "solace, inspiration, and hope."What the pope said: “In some ways, Alaska can be considered today as a crossroads of the world...Here in this vast State sixty-five languages are spoken and peoples of many diverse backgrounds find a common home with the Aleuts, Eskimos and Indians. This wonderful diversity provides the context in which each person, each family, each ethnic group is challenged to live in harmony and concord, one with the other. To achieve this aim requires a constant openness to each other on the part of each individual and group. An openness of heart, a readiness to accept differences, and an ability to listen to each other’s viewpoint without prejudice. Openness to others, by its very nature, excludes selfishness in any form. It is expressed in a dialogue that is honest and frank-one that is based on mutual respect. Openness to others begins in the heart.” -Address to authorities and people of AlaskaVisit 4, September 10-19, 1987Where: Miami, Columbia, SC, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Detroit This trip was the longest of St. John Paul II's visits to the US, and his first to the contiguous West Coast. Reagan greeted him once again, this time in Miami. Notable episodes from the visit included the pope’s Mass in Miami being cut short because of a storm; addressing representatives of black Catholics at the Superdome in New Orleans; attending an ecumenical conference on the University of South Carolina campus; Mass in San Antonio with about 275,000 in attendance; touring a Catholic hospital and attending the Tekakwitha Conference— a national gathering of Native American Catholics— at the Arizona State Fair Grounds Coliseum in Phoenix; and addressing representatives from the communications industry in Los Angeles. Though the pope encountered some protests in San Francisco, and crowds were not as large as some had expected, his visit still drew at least 300,000 in California.What the pope said: “God loves you! God loves you all, without distinction, without limit. He loves those of you who are elderly, who feel the burden of the years. He loves those of you who are sick, those who are suffering from AIDS and from AIDS-Related Complex. He loves the relatives and friends of the sick and those who care for them. He loves us all with an unconditional and everlasting love.” -Address at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco “The obligation to truth and its completeness applies not only to the coverage of news, but to all your work. Truth and completeness should characterize the content of artistic expression and entertainment. You find a real meaning in your work when you exercise your role as collaborators of truth – collaborators of truth in the service of justice, fairness and love.” -Address to people of the communications industry, Los Angeles “From the very beginning, the Creator bestowed his gifts on each people. It is clear that stereotyping. prejudice, bigotry and racism demean the human dignity which comes from the hand of the Creator and which is seen in variety and diversity. I encourage you, as native people belonging to the different tribes and nations in the East, South, West and North, to preserve and keep alive your cultures, your languages, the values and customs which have served you well in the past and which provide a solid foundation for the future. Your customs that mark the various stages of life, your love for the extended family, your respect for the dignity and worth of every human being, from the unborn to the aged, and your stewardship and care of the earth: these things benefit not only yourselves but the entire human family. Your gifts can also be expressed even more fully in the Christian way of life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is at home in every people. It enriches, uplifts and purifies every culture. All of us together make up the People of God, the Body of Christ, the Church. We should all be grateful for the growing unity, presence, voice and leadership of Catholic Native Americans in the Church today.” -Address to Native American Catholics “I express my deep love and esteem for the black Catholic community in the United States. Its vitality is a sign of hope for society. Composed as you are of many lifelong Catholics, and many who have more recently embraced the faith, together with a growing immigrant community, you reflect the Church’s ability to bring together a diversity of people united in faith, hope and love, sharing a communion with Christ in the Holy Spirit. I urge you to keep alive and active your rich cultural gifts. Always profess proudly before the whole Church and the whole world your love for God’s word; it is a special blessing which you must forever treasure as a part of your heritage. Help us all to remember that authentic freedom comes from accepting the truth and from living one’s life in accordance with it – and the full truth is found only in Christ Jesus. Continue to inspire us by your desire to forgive – as Jesus forgave – and by your desire to be reconciled with all the people of this nation, even those who would unjustly deny you the full exercise of your human rights.” -Address to black Catholics “America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness in the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenceless ones.” -Farewell AddressVisit 5: World Youth Day, August 12-15, 1993Where: Denver At the time it was chosen, Denver seemed to many to be an odd choice for a host for World Youth Day— the international gathering of young people that he himself had instituted in 1985. The city was experiencing a surge in crime, and many feared that the septuagenarian pope would not be successful in attracting young people to the event. Nevertheless, World Youth Day in Denver was a huge success, with an estimated 750,000 people attending the final Mass at Cherry Creek State Park. Young people from all over the world showed their willingness to sacrifice and experience pilgrimage by lodging in parish halls en route to Denver, trudging through the heat to Cherry Creek State Park, sleeping on the ground there, and enduring other discomforts. Upon St. John Paul II death in 20115, then-Archbishop Charles Chaput said that the Pope’s visit to Denver was “a Transfiguration for the Church in Northern Colorado - a moment when Jesus smiled on us in a special, joyful, vivid way and invited us into his mission to the world.”What the pope said: “Pilgrims set out for a destination. In our case it is not so much a place or a shrine that we seek to honor. Ours is a pilgrimage to a modern city, a symbolic destination: the "metropolis" is the place which determines the life–style and the history of a large part of the human family at the end of the twentieth century. This modern city of Denver is set in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Rocky Mountains, as if to put the work of human hands in relationship with the work of the Creator. We are therefore searching for the reflection of God not only in the beauty of nature but also in humanity’s achievements and in each individual person. On this pilgrimage our steps are guided by the words of Jesus Christ: ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’” -Welcome ceremony at Mile High Stadium “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (Cfr. Rom 1,16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (Cfr. Matt 10,27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern ‘metropolis.’ It is you who must ‘go out into the byroads’ (Matt 22,9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.” -Mass at Cherry Creek State ParkVisit 6, October 4-9, 1995 Where: Newark, East Rutherford, NJ, New York City, Yonkers,  NY, Baltimore This marked the pope’s second visit to New York City, and he visited several other cities on the Eastern seaboard. It was his first visit to New Jersey, where he made stops in Newark— celebrating Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral— and East Rutherford. Upon returning to New York, the pope celebrated Mass at Giants Stadium, and also addressed the United Nations for a second time.What the pope said: “Freedom is not simply the absence of tyranny or oppression. Nor is freedom a licence to do whatever we like. Freedom has an inner ‘logic’ which distinguishes it and ennobles it: freedom is ordered to the truth, and is fulfilled in man's quest for truth and in man's living in the truth. Detached from the truth about the human person, freedom deteriorates into license in the lives of individuals, and, in political life, it becomes the caprice of the most powerful and the arrogance of power. Far from being a limitation upon freedom or a threat to it, reference to the truth about the human person — a truth universally knowable through the moral law written on the hearts of all — is, in fact, the guarantor of freedom's future.” -Address to the United Nations “As a Christian, my hope and trust are centered on Jesus Christ, the two thousandth anniversary of whose birth will be celebrated at the coming of the new millennium. We Christians believe that in his Death and Resurrection were fully revealed God's love and his care for all creation. Jesus Christ is for us God made man, and made a part of the history of humanity. Precisely for this reason, Christian hope for the world and its future extends to every human person. Because of the radiant humanity of Christ, nothing genuinely human fails to touch the hearts of Christians. Faith in Christ does not impel us to intolerance. On the contrary, it obliges us to engage others in a respectful dialogue. Love of Christ does not distract us from interest in others, but rather invites us to responsibility for them, to the exclusion of no one and indeed, if anything, with a special concern for the weakest and the suffering. Thus, as we approach the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Church asks only to be able to propose respectfully this message of salvation, and to be able to promote, in charity and service, the solidarity of the entire human family.” -Address to the United Nations “At the end of your National Anthem, one finds these words: "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust!’” America: may your trust always be in God and in none other. And then, "The star–spangled banner in triumph shall wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Thank you, and God bless you all!” -Farewell address at the Baltimore airportVisit 7, January 26-27, 1999Where: St. Louis The pope’s final visit to the United States took him to St. Louis, sometimes called “The Rome of the West” for its many Catholic churches. His visit included a youth rally at an arena, Mass at the city’s stadium, and vespers at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Along the way, he met with President Bill Clinton, civil rights leader Rosa Parks, and baseball players Mark McGuire and Stan Musial. He asked then-governor Mel Carnahan to spare the life of triple-murderer Darrell Mease, whose original execution date had been set for that day— which the governor did, commuting his sentence to life without parole. Though the pope’s age— 78— showed during his 31-hour visit, his enthusiasm and joy attracted thousands of people and left a lasting impression on the city. The Mass he celebrated at the then-Trans World Dome is said to be the largest indoor gathering ever held in the U.S.What the pope said: “I am told that there was much excitement in St. Louis during the recent baseball season, when two great players (Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa) were competing to break the home-run record. You can feel the same great enthusiasm as you train for a different goal: the goal of following Christ, the goal of bringing his message to the world. Each one of you belongs to Christ, and Christ belongs to you. At Baptism you were claimed for Christ with the Sign of the Cross; you received the Catholic faith as a treasure to be shared with others. In Confirmation, you were sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and strengthened for your Christian mission and vocation. In the Eucharist, you receive the food that nourishes you for the spiritual challenges of each day. I am especially pleased that so many of you had the opportunity today to receive the Sacrament of Penance, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this Sacrament you experience the Savior’s tender mercy and love in a most personal way, when you are freed from sin and from its ugly companion which is shame. Your burdens are lifted and you experience the joy of new life in Christ. Your belonging to the Church can find no greater expression or support than by sharing in the Eucharist every Sunday in your parishes. Christ gives us the gift of his body and blood to make us one body, one spirit in him, to bring us more deeply into communion with him and with all the members of his Body, the Church. Make the Sunday celebration in your parishes a real encounter with Jesus in the community of his followers: this is an essential part of your ‘training in devotion” to the Lord!’ -Address to young people “I will always remember St. Louis. I will remember all of you.” -Final words at the cathedral of St. Louis
34,600 people tune in to live daily Mass
Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ, Bishop of Raphoe, has encouraged viewers to participate in daily Mass broadcast by RTÉ News Now at 10.30am, Monday to Friday. Bishop McGuckian said, “As people throughout Ireland are complying with the restrictions that are required to arrest and reverse the spread of Covid-19, the broadcasting of Mass is even more important at this time. The daily broadcast is facilitating a spiritual communion of worshippers who, while not physically present within the church, are digitally united in faith. “On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people who would love to attend daily Mass, but who can’t get to Mass these days and who don’t have access to the internet, I wish to thank RTÉ News Now for broadcasting Mass. May I ask people to spread the word to those not aware of this special broadcast but who would love to participate at Mass on television. Do tell them that Mass is broadcast at 10.30am Monday to Friday,” Bishop McGuckian said. According to Nielsen, the independent audience measuring service, since the first broadcast of Mass on RTÉ News Now on 19 March, and up to and including 31 March, there was an average audience of 34,600 television viewers. This figure is in addition to the circa 2,300 live streams for Mass each day on the cathedral’s own webcam. Currently this RTÉ broadcast of Mass is taking place from the Cathedral of Saint Eunan & Saint Columba in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, but the venue may change. The broadcast is a response to the Covid-19 related restrictions on public gathering. Bishop McGuckian, the cathedral administrator Monsignor Kevin Gillespie, and other members of the cathedral clergy are the celebrants. RTÉ News Now is RTÉ’s news channel and can be received on Saorview channel 21; Virgin Media 200; Sky 521; Eir 500 and on the RTÉ News Now App. Around the country, some parish churches and cathedrals livestream Mass and other liturgies on webcams which can accessed on the homepage of catholicbishops.ie and on:churchservices.tv/churches/mcnmedia.tv/camerasparishwebsites.ie/ Ends
China owes ‘apology and compensation’ for coronavirus, says cardinal
Poor countries are suffering from the coronavirus because of the Chinese Communist Party’s negligence and repression, a cardinal from Burma said on Thursday. “The Chinese regime led by the all-powerful Xi Jinping and the CCP — not its people — owes us all an apology and compensation for the destruction it has caused,” Cardinal Muang Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, wrote in an op-ed published April 2 by UCA News. Cardinal Bo, who is head of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, denounced the Chinese regime Thursday for withholding information about the coronavirus and punishing doctors and journalists who attempted to alert the world of the virus’ potential danger. “China as a country is a great and ancient civilization that has contributed so much to the world throughout history, but this regime is responsible, through its criminal negligence and repression, for the pandemic sweeping through our streets today,” Cardinal Bo said. “Let me be clear — it is the CCP that has been responsible, not the people of China, and no one should respond to this crisis with racial hatred toward the Chinese. Indeed, the Chinese people were the first victims of this virus and have long been the primary victims of their repressive regime. They deserve our sympathy, our solidarity and our support. But it is the repression, the lies and the corruption of the CCP that are responsible,” he said. The cardinal cited multiple examples of whistleblowers silenced by the CCP’s censorship regime. “Doctors who tried to raise the alarm — such as Dr. Li Wenliang in Wuhan Central Hospital who issued a warning to fellow medics Dec. 30 — were ordered by police to ‘stop making false comments.’ Dr. Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was told he would be investigated for ‘spreading rumors’ and was forced by police to sign a confession. He later died after contracting coronavirus,” Bo wrote. The Chinese government has come under criticism for withholding coronavirus information from the international community. On April 1, Bloomberg reported that U.S. intelligence found evidence that China underreported the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. The cardinal said that China’s withholding of information from its own citizens and resistance to transparency with the global community has contributed to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, with disastrous consequences for the poor, especially in Southeast Asian countries neighboring China. “In my own country, Myanmar, we are extremely vulnerable. Bordering China, where COVID-19 first began, we are a poor nation without the health and social care resources that more developed nations have. Hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar are displaced by conflict, living in camps in the country or on our borders without adequate sanitation, medicines or care. In such overcrowded camps the social distancing measures implemented by many countries are impossible to apply,” the cardinal said. “The healthcare systems in the most advanced countries in the world are overwhelmed, so imagine the dangers in a poor and conflict-ridden country like Myanmar,” said Bo. Infectious diseases physician and Harvard Medical School professor Richard Malley and the president of International Crisis Group Robert Malley have warned of the “massive death tolls, economic meltdowns and skyrocketing unemployment and poverty” developing countries could face as a result of the pandemic. United Nations officials have likewise stated that an outbreak in the world’s refugee camps appears imminent. COVID-19, first documented in China’s Hubei Province in December 2019, has now spread to 203 countries worldwide. As of April 2, there have been more than 2,000 cases documented within the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and other developing countries. Bo called on China to write off the debts of other countries to help cover the cost of COVID-19. On March 29, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila and prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also appealed to rich countries to forgive the debts of poor countries, who are struggling to fund a coronavirus response. The Filipino cardinal said the money governments spend on military and security could go toward masks and ventilators. The Burmese cardinal acknowledged that many governments in different parts of the world have been criticized for failing to prepare after the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China. However, he said, China bears primary responsibility as there is strong concern that the Chinese regime’s official statistics downplayed the scale of infection within China and subsequently published propaganda accusing other countries of causing the pandemic. “Lies and propaganda have put millions of lives around the world in danger,” he said. Bo has led the Burmese Archdiocese of Yangon since 2003. Pope Francis made him a cardinal in 2015. The cardinal said that the CCP’s response to the coronavirus is “symptomatic of its increasingly repressive nature.” “In recent years, we have seen an intense crackdown on freedom of expression in China. Lawyers, bloggers, dissidents and civil society activists have been rounded up and have disappeared. In particular, the regime has launched a campaign against religion, resulting in the destruction of thousands of churches and crosses and the incarceration of at least one million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps,” he said. “And Hong Kong, once one of Asia’s most open cities, has seen its freedoms, human rights and the rule of law dramatically eroded.” “Christians believe, in the words of Paul the Apostle, that ‘the truth will set you free.’ Truth and freedom are the twin pillars on which all our nations must build surer and stronger foundations,” Cardinal Bo said. The post China owes ‘apology and compensation’ for coronavirus, says cardinal appeared first on Catholic Herald.
St John Paul II showed how to face suffering by embracing God and Mary
Remembering St John Paul II and the 15th anniversary of his death, Pope Francis encouraged people to pray for his intercession and trust in Divine Mercy, especially during these “difficult days” of the coronavirus pandemic. St John Paul, who, after a long illness died April 2, 2005, will always be an important figure for the church, but is even more so now at a time when so many people are suffering worldwide, said Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica. The last years of his pontificate reflected personal trial and suffering, and he showed the world through his witness a life filled with faith and a way of accepting pain as something redeemed by God’s love, he said in an interview with Vatican News April 1. “This is one of the reasons why the epidemic is so frightening because, for so many people, faith has died. John Paul II was a believer, a convinced believer, a coherent believer and faith illuminated the path of his life,” the cardinal said. Just as the church will be marking Holy Week and the Easter Triduum in a radically different way this year because of restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the cardinal recalled how St John Paul lived the same liturgical period in 2005 with serious illness and in isolation. “We all remember John Paul II’s last ‘Good Friday.’ The image we saw on television is unforgettable — the pope, who had lost all his physical strength, holding the crucifix in his hands, gazing at it with pure love. One could sense he was saying, ‘Jesus, I too am on the cross like you. But together with you, I await the resurrection,'” he said. “John Paul II knew that life is a race toward God’s banquet — the feast of God’s embrace, his infinite glory and happiness,” the cardinal said. “But we must prepare ourselves for that encounter, we must purify ourselves in order to be ready for it, we must cast off any reservations of pride and selfishness, so that we can embrace him who is love without shadows,” he said. The late pope lived his suffering with this spirit, even during very difficult moments, like the 1981 assassination attempt, he said. “He never lost his serenity. Why? Because before him he always had the purpose of life. Today, many people no longer believe in that purpose. That’s why they live through pain with despair, because they can’t see beyond the pain,” he said. Before being named archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica in 2006, Cardinal Comastri served more than eight years as the papal delegate overseeing the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, traditionally marked as the Blessed Virgin Mary’s house from Nazareth. St John Paul, in fact, asked the guardian of the Marian shrine to lead what would be his last Lenten retreat that fell during the Year of the Rosary. Cardinal Comastri has been reciting the rosary and praying the Angelus inside St Peter’s Basilica every day at noon as it is livestreamed on Vatican media. Marian devotion was a hallmark of the saint-pope, so much so “Totus Tuus Maria” (“Mary, I am all yours”) was on his coat of arms. When asked why Mary was so important to the late pope, Cardinal Comastri told Vatican News, “Because Our Lady was close to Jesus at the moment of the crucifixion and she believed this was the moment of God’s victory over human wickedness” through love — God’s greatest strength. From the cross, when Jesus told Mary, “Behold your son,” referring to his disciple, John, the cardinal said that Jesus was telling her, “Don’t think of me, but think of others, help them to transform pain into love, help them to believe that goodness is the strength that overcomes evil.” “From that moment on, Mary took concern for us upon herself, and when we let ourselves be guided by her, we are in safe hands. John Paul II believed this, he trusted Mary, and with Mary he transformed pain into love,” he said. The post St John Paul II showed how to face suffering by embracing God and Mary appeared first on Catholic Herald.
China owes ‘apology and compensation’ for coronavirus, says cardinal
CNA Staff, Apr 2, 2020 / 08:30 am (CNA).- Poor countries are suffering from the coronavirus because of the Chinese Communist Party’s negligence and repression, a cardinal from Burma said Thursday. “The Chinese regime led by the all-powerful Xi Jinping and the CCP — not its people — owes us all an apology and compensation for the destruction it has caused,” Cardinal Muang Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, wrote in an op-ed published April 2 by UCA News. Cardinal Bo, who is head of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, denounced the Chinese regime Thursday for withholding information about the coronavirus and punishing doctors and journalists who attempted to alert the world of the virus’ potential danger.  “China as a country is a great and ancient civilization that has contributed so much to the world throughout history, but this regime is responsible, through its criminal negligence and repression, for the pandemic sweeping through our streets today,” Cardinal Bo said. “Let me be clear — it is the CCP that has been responsible, not the people of China, and no one should respond to this crisis with racial hatred toward the Chinese. Indeed, the Chinese people were the first victims of this virus and have long been the primary victims of their repressive regime. They deserve our sympathy, our solidarity and our support. But it is the repression, the lies and the corruption of the CCP that are responsible,” he said. The cardinal cited multiple examples of whistleblowers silenced by the CCP’s censorship regime. “Doctors who tried to raise the alarm — such as Dr. Li Wenliang in Wuhan Central Hospital who issued a warning to fellow medics Dec. 30 — were ordered by police to ‘stop making false comments.’ Dr. Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was told he would be investigated for ‘spreading rumors’ and was forced by police to sign a confession. He later died after contracting coronavirus,” Bo wrote. The Chinese government has come under criticism for withholding coronavirus information from the international community. On April 1, Bloomberg reported that U.S. intelligence found evidence that China underreported the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. The cardinal said that China’s withholding of information from its own citizens and resistance to transparency with the global community has contributed to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, with disastrous consequences for the poor, especially in Southeast Asian countries neighboring China. “In my own country, Myanmar, we are extremely vulnerable. Bordering China, where COVID-19 first began, we are a poor nation without the health and social care resources that more developed nations have. Hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar are displaced by conflict, living in camps in the country or on our borders without adequate sanitation, medicines or care. In such overcrowded camps the social distancing measures implemented by many countries are impossible to apply,” the cardinal said. “The healthcare systems in the most advanced countries in the world are overwhelmed, so imagine the dangers in a poor and conflict-ridden country like Myanmar,” said Bo.  Infectious diseases physician and Harvard Medical School professor Richard Malley and the president of International Crisis Group Robert Malley have warned of the “massive death tolls, economic meltdowns and skyrocketing unemployment and poverty” developing countries could face as a result of the pandemic.  United Nations officials have likewise stated that an outbreak in the world’s refugee camps appears imminent.  COVID-19, first documented in China’s Hubei Province in December 2019, has now spread to 203 countries worldwide. As of April 2, there have been more than 2,000 cases documented within the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and other developing countries. Bo called on China to write off the debts of other countries to help cover the cost of COVID-19.  On March 29, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila and prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also appealed to rich countries to forgive the debts of poor countries, who are struggling to fund a coronavirus response. The Filipino cardinal said the money governments spend on military and security could go toward masks and ventilators. The Burmese cardinal acknowledged that many governments in different parts of the world have been criticized for failing to prepare after the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China. However, he said, China bears primary responsibility as there is strong concern that the Chinese regime’s official statistics downplayed the scale of infection within China and subsequently published propaganda accusing other countries of causing the pandemic. “Lies and propaganda have put millions of lives around the world in danger,” he said.  Bo has led the Burmese Archdiocese of Yangon since 2003. Pope Francis made him a cardinal in 2015.  The cardinal said that the CCP’s response to the coronavirus is “symptomatic of its increasingly repressive nature.” “In recent years, we have seen an intense crackdown on freedom of expression in China. Lawyers, bloggers, dissidents and civil society activists have been rounded up and have disappeared. In particular, the regime has launched a campaign against religion, resulting in the destruction of thousands of churches and crosses and the incarceration of at least one million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps,” he said. “And Hong Kong, once one of Asia’s most open cities, has seen its freedoms, human rights and the rule of law dramatically eroded.” “Christians believe, in the words of Paul the Apostle, that ‘the truth will set you free.’ Truth and freedom are the twin pillars on which all our nations must build surer and stronger foundations,” Cardinal Bo said.
Good Friday Holy Land collection moved to September due to coronavirus
The Lenten Holy Land collection will be moved to September this year because of the suspension of public Masses in many places in the world due to the coronavirus, the Vatican stated on Thursday. The collection is usually taken up in churches during Good Friday services. Good Friday falls this year on April 10. According to a press release from the Congregation for Eastern Churches on April 2, for the year 2020, Pope Francis approved moving the collection to Sunday, September 13, since many countries will not be holding public Good Friday services this year. The Holy See has overseen the Church’s annual collection for the Holy Land since 1974, when St. Pope Paul VI established Good Friday as the ordinary day for it to be taken up by parishes and bishops around the world. The collection goes toward the maintenance and upkeep of the holy sites as well as supporting the lives of Christians in the Holy Land. “Christian communities in the Holy Land, also exposed to the risk of contagion and living in contexts that are often already very tested, benefit every year from the generous solidarity of the faithful from all over the world,” the April 2 release stated. The Holy Land collection, it continued, helps the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land and other jurisdictions to be “able to continue their evangelical presence, in addition to maintaining schools and the welfare structures open to all citizens for human education, peaceful coexistence, and care above all for the youngest and poorest.” The date of September 13, 2020 was chosen for the collection because it is near the September 14 feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the release said. The Exaltation of the Cross commemorates the discovery of the relic of the cross by St Helena and “the beginning of public worship in Jerusalem with the construction of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.” This will make the collection “a sign of hope and salvation rediscovered after the Passion,” the statement said, adding that it is a sign of “solidarity with those who continue to live the Gospel of Jesus in the land where ‘it all began.'” Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was closed in late March with no definite timeline for reopening. This is the first time in nearly 700 years the holy site, which houses the tomb of Christ and the site of the crucifixion, has closed for an extended time. Authorities in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, closed the Church of the Nativity in early March after four cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the town. The Church of the Nativity was built over the birthplace of Jesus Christ. All tourists were subsequently banned from entering Bethlehem. According to The Times of Israel, as of April 1, the number of COVID-19 deaths in Israel was 26, with 6,092 confirmed cases. The post Good Friday Holy Land collection moved to September due to coronavirus appeared first on Catholic Herald.
Good Friday Holy Land collection moved to September due to coronavirus
Vatican City, Apr 2, 2020 / 06:40 am (CNA).- The Lenten Holy Land collection will be moved to September this year because of the suspension of public Masses in many places in the world due to the coronavirus, the Vatican stated Thursday. The collection is usually taken up in churches during Good Friday services. Good Friday falls this year on April 10. According to a press release from the Congregation for Eastern Churches April 2, for the year 2020, Pope Francis approved moving the collection to Sunday, Sept. 13, since many countries will not be holding public Good Friday services this year. The Holy See has overseen the Church's annual collection for the Holy Land since 1974, when St. Pope Paul VI established Good Friday as the ordinary day for it to be taken up by parishes and bishops around the world. The collection goes toward the maintenance and upkeep of the holy sites as well as supporting the lives of Christians in the Holy Land.   "Christian communities in the Holy Land, also exposed to the risk of contagion and living in contexts that are often already very tested, benefit every year from the generous solidarity of the faithful from all over the world," the April 2 release stated. The Holy Land collection, it continued, helps the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land and other jurisdictions to be "able to continue their evangelical presence, in addition to maintaining schools and the welfare structures open to all citizens for human education, peaceful coexistence, and care above all for the youngest and poorest." The date of Sept. 13, 2020 was chosen for the collection because it is near the Sept. 14 feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the release said. The Exaltation of the Cross commemorates the discovery of the relic of the cross by St. Helen and "the beginning of public worship in Jerusalem with the construction of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre." This will make the collection "a sign of hope and salvation rediscovered after the Passion," the statement said, adding that it is a sign of "solidarity with those who continue to live the Gospel of Jesus in the land where 'it all began.'" Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was closed in late March with no definite timeline for reopening. This is the first time in nearly 700 years the holy site, which houses the tomb of Christ and the site of the crucifixion, has closed for an extended time. Authorities in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, closed the Church of the Nativity in early March after four cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the town. The Church of the Nativity was built over the birthplace of Jesus Christ. All tourists were subsequently banned from entering Bethlehem. According to The Times of Israel, as of April 1, the number of COVID-19 deaths in Israel was 26, with 6,092 confirmed cases.
Stations Of Mercy
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Resources For COVID-19 And Holy Week
As the world goes into lock-down, Emmaus Productions is offering families and communities the video and music resources below to support them spiritually during this extraordinary time as well as offering support to them in their celebration of Holy Week and Easter. To see COVID-19 and Holy Week video and music resources for adults and children, please click here
Pro-life leaders: N Ireland legal abortion thwarts protection for vulnerable
As the British Parliament’s permissive abortion law takes effect in Northern Ireland, pro-life leaders strongly criticised the law, pointing to the coronavirus response as proof of the need to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. “Every unborn baby matters regardless of age or ability, gender or background. He or she has the right to be protected in a community where everyone belongs and deserves our respect,” the Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland said on March 31. “Every woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy matters too. She has a right to be cared for within a community where she is protected from any pressure to abort her baby.” “As the number of deaths caused by Coronavirus continues to rise, news reporters frequently remind us that behind the statistics are real people. Their lives matter regardless of age or ability, gender or background,” said the bishops, noting the heavy government investment in treating patients and protecting medical staff. “Against this background, we are saddened and dismayed at the Government’s decision to introduce extreme regulations for the delivery of abortion services in Northern Ireland,” they said, citing an “overwhelming will” among the people of the region to “protect the life of every human being.’ Previously, Northern Ireland’s laws only permitted abortion in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, or where there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health. Backers of the law said it had saved over 100,000 lives by avoiding the permissive law that took effect in other parts of the United Kingdom in 1967. The new law and accompanying regulations took effect on March 31. They mean no explicit legal protections for unborn children up to 12 weeks into pregnancy, compared to legal abortion allowed up to 24 weeks in other parts of the UK. In some respects, the law is more permissive than the rest of the UK. Doctors, registered nurses, and registered midwives may perform abortions under the rules. In situations where pregnancy is believed to risk a woman’s physical or mental health, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks. There is no time limit where the pregnancy is deemed a risk to the life of the mother or in cases where the unborn child is deemed to have a fatal abnormality or a substantial risk of severe mental or physical impairment. The Northern Ireland pro-life group Precious Life has focused on the responses to the government’s late 2019 consultation on the new abortion law. About 79 per cent of respondents voiced opposition to any abortion in Northern Ireland. Bernadette Smyth, director of Precious Life, said, “thousands of pro-life people throughout Northern Ireland responded in total opposition to a change in the law.” “Yet, we have seen this week, that the UK Government are willing to ignore the results of its own consultation because they are so bloodthirsty and devoted to destroying and killing human lives through abortion in Northern Ireland, even at a time of unprecedented national crisis,” Smyth continued. “People are outraged, upset and hugely frustrated that their democratic voice has been ignored.” “It is horrifying to learn that one of the most permissive, extreme and inhumane abortion regimes in Europe will be introduced to Northern Ireland by the British Government,” she said. “This is in spite of the fact that our elected representatives returned to Stormont in January and at a time when the UK has been brought to its knees by the Coronavirus pandemic.” “And right in the middle of a national crisis, when people in Northern Ireland and across the world are uniting under the shared understanding that all human life is precious and must be protected, the British Government are still intent on killing and destroying innocent and vulnerable human life in Northern Ireland,” she said. The Catholic bishops too said the consultation process had been “utterly ignored.” While Precious Life is circulating petitions asking legislators to repeal the abortion provisions, the bishops said members of the Northern Ireland assembly have some influence. However, their remarks suggested repeal would be very difficult. Politicians and others opposed to the regulations should not “meekly acquiesce to their promulgation,” they said. Where the regulations exceed the 2019 Act of Parliament, legislators can repeal them. The traditionally Protestant and pro-UK Democratic Unionist Party also criticised the new abortion law. Paul Givan, DUP Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly said they were “the most extreme, radical, abortion laws anywhere in Europe.” “It is a travesty that this has been allowed to happen,” he said, objecting that the laws were introduced despite the return of devolved government to Stormont. While abortion is typically a devolved issue of local control, the British Parliament legislation was passed during an absence of a local government. The parties of the Northern Ireland Assembly could have blocked the law from taking effect, but failed to reach any governing agreement due to a dispute between the two leading governing parties, the DUP and the second-largest party, the nationalist Sinn Fein. The nationalist Social Democratic Labour Party also walked out of a final critical meeting. Besides the Catholic bishops, leaders in the Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and the Irish Council of Churches had called on the Northern Ireland Assembly to reconvene to block the abortion legislation. The nationalist parties traditionally draw support from Northern Ireland’s Catholics. Sinn Fein has turned towards backing legal abortion, while some SDLP leaders have made comments welcoming the changes. Caoimhe Archibald, a Sinn Féin MLA, said it was “only right and proper that woman can access abortion services without having to travel, that they are free to be able to have healthcare in a modern and compassionate way”. Among the nationalist critics of the new regime is Peadar Tóibín, leader of the new political party Aontú. “The right to life is a human right. It is the most important human right that any one of us have. Without the right to life no other human right can be guaranteed,” he said on April 1. “The current crisis has seen society radically change its behaviour, to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. This is something that we in Aontú have always understood,” he said. Sometimes we all have to limit our personal choice and autonomy to protect the lives of others. The slogan ‘my body, my choice’ rings particularly hollow now when we realise that in reality we are all in this together.” Tóibín cited the Sinn Féin Mayor of Belfast’s statement in response to the coronavirus pandemic that “Every Life Matters.” “The hypocrisy is breathtaking,” he said. “The abortion law that Sinn Féin helped introduce will directly end thousands of live.” Tóibín was deputy whip of Sinn Fein’s delegation to the Republic of Ireland legislative body known as the Dail, and still holds a seat in that body. However, he was pushed out from the party over his support for the unborn and opposition to legal abortion. Like the nationalist party Sinn Fein, Aontú competes in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. He charged that the Westminster-based Parliament, Sinn Féin and the SDLP leadership had “forced abortion on demand into the north of Ireland against the wishes of the people.” “I say forced, because every opinion poll in the north stated that the majority of men and women sought that the issue of abortion would be decided, not in London but in the north of Ireland. It was not just public opinion that held this view. Legally it was a devolved matter. It was for the elected representatives of the north to decide,” he said. He objected that Sinn Féin had rejected its nationalist stand against British legislation in Ireland and had instead “openly lobbied for Westminster to legislate for abortion on demand in the north.” “For the first time in 200 years of republicanism, its leadership went cap in hand to London and demanded that it legislate for Ireland over the heads and against the will of the people,” he charged. Across all Ireland, pro-life advocates have voiced concern about possible changes to government policy to allow at-home abortions using abortion pills during the coronavirus pandemic. Pressure to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland increased after a 2018 referendum effectively legalised abortion in the Republic of Ireland by a vote of over 66 per cent in favour of removing constitutional protections recognizing the unborn baby’s right to life as equal to the mother’s. The new law also requires the recognition of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The post Pro-life leaders: N Ireland legal abortion thwarts protection for vulnerable appeared first on Catholic Herald.
Dominican priest, microbiologist sees hope for possible coronavirus treatment
In a recent blog post, Fr Nicanor Austriaco, OP, STD, PhD, said he sees reason to hope that the drug hydroxychloroquine could be used to treat the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Austriaco is a professor of biology and theology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. He is currently on lockdown in the Philippines with his mother during the coronavirus pandemic. “As a molecular biologist, what is so exciting for me about this claim is that the clinical trial in France was pretty good, given the extreme circumstances,” Austriaco wrote. “Yes, it was a small trial, but if you read the paper, it was rigorous for what it wanted to do, which is to be a pilot study. And it showed that HCQ significantly shortened the time for the patient to clear (the) virus from his or her system.” Another independent study from a lab in China has shown that HCQ “can prevent viral reproduction in a test tube,” Austriaco added, which is said is hopeful from a microbiology perspective. In an email to CNA, Fr Austriaco noted that both HCQ and a related drug, CQ, have been used in humans to treat malaria “all over the world, including here in the Philippines.” “They have also been used to treat autoimmune diseases like lupus. So we know that they are safe for most people,” he said. However, he added, the prescription drugs “should only be taken under the supervision of a physician…because for some people, they can trigger harmful heart conditions.” While the FDA has approved HCQ for human use for certain diseases, Austriaco noted that it has not yet approved HCQ for use in the treatment of COVID-19, except for in very limited circumstances. However, “if the ongoing clinical trial by WHO called SOLIDARITY shows that HCQ and CQ are effective in treating COVID-19, then the FDA will approve them for that use,” Austriaco told CNA. In his blog post, Austriaco noted that he was also hopeful about HCQ because it is “very cheap and readily available: With a prescription, I could walk down the street to a Filipino pharmacy to buy a 200mg pill for PHP85 (which is the equivalent of $1.30). I know that they have it because I checked online. And this is in a random pharmacy in Manila! According to the study, taking three of these pills every day for six days would rid you of SARS-CoV2. And the side-effects for short-term use of HCQ are minimal. This for about $30.” As for the possibility of a vaccine for coronavirus, Austriaco told CNA that vaccines “usually take 12-18 months to develop though we have accelerated development for the COVID-19 vaccine.” “(T)he vaccine should hopefully be a one shot deal,” he added, as this coronavirus does not seem to mutate as quickly as the flu does, thus necessitating yearly vaccinations. In his post, Austriaco wrote that on the whole, he is “optimistic” about the possible use of HCQ to treat coronavirus. “Yes, there is minimal evidence but that is not unexpected in a pandemic. But the minimal evidence is actually pretty solid, given the practical limits of doing clinical trials in a global crisis,” he said. “Yet, when both in vitro and in vivo studies converge, that is an optimistic sign. Especially when you have a mechanism of action that is reasonable and is in line with what we know about viral reproduction,” he added. “…I am going to pray that this will bear much fruit!” “My primary hope is that we are utilizing the global power of human ingenuity and tenacity to fight this pandemic,” he added to CNA. “With God’s grace, we will prevail.” The post Dominican priest, microbiologist sees hope for possible coronavirus treatment appeared first on Catholic Herald.
Boise bishop bans ‘ad orientem’ posture in ‘ordinary form’ Masses
The Bishop of Boise told priests last month that the ordinary form of the Mass should not be celebrated in the ad orientem posture, and that material from “independent websites” is not appropriate for religious instruction regarding the liturgy. “I am instructing priests in this diocese to preside facing the people at every celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Mass,” Bishop Peter Christensen wrote in a February 28 letter to priests, which was published in the March 27 issue of the Idaho Catholic Register. “There are priests who prefer ad orientem. I am convinced that they mean well and find it a devout way to pray. But the overwhelming experience worldwide after Vatican II is that the priest faces the people for Mass and this has contributed to the sanctification of the people.” The bishop wrote that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal is “unambivalent” about liturgical orientation, and “makes it plain that the universal Church envisions the priest presiding at Mass facing the people.” While liturgists have debated the precise meaning of the liturgical document that references the direction a priest faces during the celebration of the Mass, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship clarified in 2000 that the document does not forbid the ad orientem celebration of the liturgy. In 2016, Bishop Arthur Seratelli, then-chairman of the U.S. bishops’ conference liturgy committee, wrote to U.S. bishops that while the General Instruction of the Roman Missal “does show a preference for the celebrant’s facing the people ‘whenever possible’ in the placement and orientation of the altar,” the Church “does not prohibit the celebration of the Eucharist in the Ordinary Form ad orientem.” “Although permitted, the decision whether or not to preside ad orientem should take into consideration the physical configuration of the altar and sanctuary space, and, most especially, the pastoral welfare of the faith community being served.” While neither universal canon nor liturgical law require the permission of a bishop before a priest celebrates the Mass ad orientem, Seratelli wrote that “such an important decision should always be made with the supervision and guidance of the local bishop.” Ad orientem, or facing the east, was, until recent decades, the long-standing historical posture for celebrating Mass in the Latin rite, and has been understood to reflect the community’s watchfulness for the return of Jesus Christ from the east. In the ad orientem posture, both the priest and the people face the apse of the Church, or the tabernacle, during the celebration of the Mass. The ad orientem celebration of the Mass fell out of customary use in many parts of the world after 1969-1970 revisions to the Roman Missal, although those revisions did not explicitly call for a change in liturgical orientation. The possibility of the versus populum, or facing the people posture was mentioned in a 1964 Vatican instruction regarding the placement of altars. In recent years, some Vatican officials and U.S. bishops have promoted and encouraged a return to the ad orientem posture. Christensen’s letter said that in his diocese, the ad orientem orientation would be prohibited. He explained that “it was clearly the mind of the Council that the priest should face the people.” Deacon Gene Fadness, a spokesman for the Diocese of Boise did not explain what document of the Second Vatican Council conveys the “mind of the Council” on the matter, which is not mentioned in Sacrosanctum concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the liturgy. Fadness did tell CNA that “In all liturgical matters, Bishop Peter carefully considers the statements of the CDWDS, the instructions in the ritual books and Canon Law, and his responsibility as chief liturgist of the diocese.” Christensen’s letter also told priests that “in instructing the faithful regarding questions of posture, gesture, reception of Communion, etc., clergy are to refer always to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Order of the Mass, and other officially promulgated ritual books for the form of liturgy they are celebrating; or to documents propagated by the Holy See or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and approved by appropriate authorities.” “Sources such as independent websites and social media platforms that are unaffiliated with the Holy See or the USCCB are not to be considered trustworthy or appropriate for catechesis,” the bishop wrote. Fadness declined to name the independent websites the bishop had in mind, but when presented with examples of such websites, namely Word on Fire, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic Answers, the spokesman told CNA that “The Bishop has no problem with solid Catholic sources such as Word on Fire, Our Sunday Visitor and Catholic Answers. But, of course, he is not bound by what any contributing writers to these sites say, and he prefers that his priests give priority to the GIRM and approved USCCB documents as catechesis for the faithful on liturgical matters.” The deacon told CNA that Christensen “is the Bishop for our diocese and has full authority to determine liturgical practices within it.” He cited as an example of the bishop’s authority a March 2019 decision to require Catholics to kneel in the Mass after the Agnus Dei, as is the norm in the U.S., but was not the practice in Boise until Christensen’s intervention. In his February letter, Christensen offered additional liturgical norms for the diocese, instructing that while Catholics are permitted to receive the Eucharist while kneeling, priests should not use kneelers or Communion rails that might encourage the practice. The bishop also requested that priests celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass notify the bishop they are doing so, and instructed that “elements from Missal use at the Extraordinary Form liturgy are not to be imported into Masses celebrated under the Ordinary Form.” At least two parishes in the Diocese of Boise offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form, one of which is administered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Christensen, 67, has been Bishop of Boise since 2014. He was named Bishop of Superior, Wisconsin, in 2007. Fadness told CNA that Christensen’s aim was “reminding his priests that the integrity of the instruction within each Missal must be respected insofar as possible.” The letter was sent to priests in February, but published at the end of March, after the public celebration of Mass had been suspended across the U.S. because of the coronavirus pandemic. Asked about the timing of the letter’s publication, Fadness explained that the diocesan newspaper “publishes only twice monthly.” “The Bishop is merely asking that the Ordinary Form be followed during a Novus Ordo Mass and the Extraordinary Form be followed during the Traditional Latin Mass,” Fadness explained. “Some of our priests were mixing Extraordinary Form practices with the Ordinary Form, which was causing confusion among the faithful, some fearing that we were introducing pre-Vatican II practices.” The post Boise bishop bans ‘ad orientem’ posture in ‘ordinary form’ Masses appeared first on Catholic Herald.
Yoga With Mary Conway rsm
2nd April, 2020 Join Mary Monday to Friday for 45 mins of yoga.  The class begins and ends with some breath work and meditation time.  The middle part of the class offers postures to maintain mobility in joints, strengthening of the body and encouraging balance.  All the postures are done from either a sitting position or standing, the only equipment needed is an ordinary straight backed chair. All Mary’s previous classes will be available under the Resources section.
‘We’re in unknown territory’: Uncertainty follows parish and diocesan employee layoffs 
Denver, Colo., Apr 2, 2020 / 04:00 am (CNA).- Dawne Mechlinski was a parish music minister for 41 years. When she was 12 years old, when she was asked to be the organist at her parish in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. She agreed, and added organ lessons onto her piano lessons. After attending Westminster Choir College, she’s been a full-time director of music since 1988 in the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey. Mechlinski, now 53, is the kind of parish music minister who sticks around - she’s only ever served at three different parishes, including her childhood parish. She’s been at her current parish, St. Mark's in Sea Girt, since 2006. That is, until the coronavirus pandemic struck. At first, Mechlinski said employees of the parish took their own social distancing and health precautions, but for the most part, “everything was normal. Then on the weekend of the 14th and 15th (of March), I had questions from parents of choir members.” The parents were wondering if choir practice was continuing, and if so, what it would look like. Mechlinski, who directs four choirs, decided to cancel choir for the weekend. Instead she played the organ while one person sang for all four Masses. Attendance was low, Mechlinski noted, as social distancing was already catching on throughout the United States, but the collection basket wasn’t hit too hard, as many parishioners have moved to online donations. Later that week, on Thursday, March 19, Mechlinski played the organ again for a funeral Mass. That evening, she got the call. "We've decided you're furloughed,” the parish business administrator told Mechlinski. “I even had to question really what that meant,” she said. “I thought that was a military term, to be honest. I wasn't prepared. I actually thought she was calling to give me protocol, how we would be handling things, what would be going on down the road.” “And the business administrator just said, ‘This is what everyone (in the diocese) is doing, this is how we'll handle it.’ She was reading me this letter. And that was it. She said, ‘You will be paid until tomorrow,’ which was Friday. I'm off on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that was it.” Bishops across the United States have suspended public liturgies and closed church buildings in the past few weeks in response to state-issued public safety policies, and Catholic leaders have warned of an immediate revenue shortfall. Consequences of that shortfall include staff reductions, furloughs, and decreased hours. The furlough came as a shock to Mechlinski, who noted that her parish is located in a “very affluent” area. Music ministry has been her life-long passion, it’s also her career: the primary source of income for a widowed mother to four children, two of whom still live at home and have significant medical needs. Mechlinski said she tried to ask some clarifying questions, but as of now, things are “not real clear.” She’s unsure what will happen to her health insurance or her life insurance. She was told that her parish had not been paying into unemployment insurance, so she’s not sure what she qualifies for as far as any kind of aid right now. “I am...a little alarmed that they don't have something in place for their employees as a protection,” she said. “I've asked for a letter of furlough explaining (the details) and I have yet to receive it. I've asked for it a couple of times just to have something permanent rather than a phone conversation.” Linda Rosa, the business manager at St. Mark’s, told CNA that the parish had been in a deficit even before the coronavirus pandemic hit. “We weren't in the best shape to begin with. We were just trying to get out of it and all of a sudden, there's something that happens,” Rosa said. She said she has been in touch with employees and with the diocese as the parish has had to make difficult financial decisions to furlough or lay off employees. Rosa added that as of April 1, no full-time employee of the parish had yet gone without pay. Rosa said Mechlinski was still receiving pay for any personal or sick time off that she had not yet used in the year, as were the other employees. She said Mechlinski and all other employees’ benefits will be covered by the parish for the duration of the pandemic. “We're just continuing to pray for all those that have been affected,” Rosa said. Rayanne Bennett, director of communications in the Diocese of Trenton, told CNA that furloughs were an “unfortunate necessity” due to the coronavirus pandemic, as the drop in donations at the parish level also affects the financial stability of the diocese. Bennett said that the diocese will pay for the health insurance of all furloughed employees for three months “at minimum,” and has advised all furloughed staff to apply for unemployment benefits through new federal coronavirus benefits.   “We are doing all that we can and will continue to give this our best effort. While there is great uncertainty at this time, it is our hope that we can restore our parishes, schools and diocesan operations to full staffing once the current emergency has passed,” Bennett said. Mechlinski said she’s unsure of what comes next. She’s hoping that the terms of her furlough become more clear, and she plans to look into what federal aid she may qualify for. A friend of hers, who was recovering from coronavirus with his wife, set up a GoFundMe page to support her. “He really stepped out and said, ‘Listen, I need to do something for you.’ So he put together a GoFundMe, which I thought was really sweet,” she said. “It's going to be the angels among us that are all going to help us to get through. The community that continues to lift everyone up, and whatever means of support that people find in their hearts is a blessing.” Ministry is also a passion for Emily Davenport, 23, who served as a full-time missionary with LifeTeen last year in Georgia before moving to Sandusky, Ohio in September for a job as a youth minister. The position had been vacant for about a year and a half, Davenport said, and she’s spent most of this year building a youth program back up from scratch. But now, she’s back home in St. Louis, living with her parents and her 19 year-old seminarian brother, after she was laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic. “What we have been told is that we're laid off until Sunday Masses resume, so as far as we know, the plan and the hope is that we're all rehired,” Davenport said. “But I also know that shortly before we got laid off, we were told nobody was going to get laid off. And so it's like everything feels very unpredictable,” she added. Davenport said she doesn’t have hard feelings about being laid off, and that her pastor handled the situation well. “Our pastor is fantastic, for the record,” she said. “He's a really wonderful man. He's really... trying very, very hard to be prudent for the future of the parish. And so almost as soon as public Masses were canceled, most of our parish staff was either laid off or (had) hours cut. He was an accountant before he was a priest, so he has a lot more managerial foresight than I think...a lot of pastors do.” Davenport said when her pastor called to tell her the news, he explained to her how she could apply for unemployment benefits. The parish is also covering Davenport’s health insurance for the pandemic at no cost to her, and because Davenport had been living in parish-provided housing, and has now moved back home with her parents, she doesn’t owe rent anywhere. “I see them trying to do everything they can. It's just a sucky situation,” she said. Fr. Monte Hoyles, the pastor of the Catholic Parishes of Sandusky, the tri-parish conglomerate where Davenport had worked, told CNA he hoped that he could bring his staff back as soon as possible. “I mean, (laying off staff) is not something you want to do. Who would want to do that?” he said. “But with very little money coming in and salaries to pay...until we can get back (to public Masses) this was the only way to ensure that we're able to continue what things we can do for right now,” Hoyles said, adding that the parishes are covering health insurance for all laid-off employees who qualified for it. “I told my employees from the three parishes and also our cemeteries...I want to bring you back as absolutely soon as I possibly can,” Hoyles said. Davenport said she feels blessed because she has her family as a safety net, and her dad’s job is pretty secure. But she still has bills to pay, and she doesn’t want to rely on her family for long. “I was on ‘operation trying to be an independent adult’, but at least for now, I'm trying to take care of my cable bill, and the other things like...car insurance and my car payment,” she said. “Maybe the bank will be able to let me wait a month or two before paying car payments, in the hope that my job would be back and I'd be able to just pick up where I left off,” she added. She said she hopes to return to ministry, but that all depends on how things go in the near future with the Church and the pandemic. “I know I'll be okay for a few months, but after those few months, I'd have to start finding other ways to take care of those bills.” Cassandra Tkaczow is another Church employee facing a layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tkaczow was in her second year as an assistant campus minister at Alfred State and Alfred University in New York until March 18, when she was laid off. “The students were on spring break when everything really started to explode here in New York state,” Tkaczow said. One of her students called her to explain that she wouldn’t be coming back for the semester, but the school’s official policy had not yet been decided. A few days later, Alfred State College and Alfred University announced that the students would be allowed to come back to campus to collect their belongings, but that all classes would be taking place online. At first, Tkaczow said, it seemed like she would be getting paid through the end of the semester, and she would just be moving her ministry online. Just days after that plan was discussed, she was laid off. “Both of us (Tkaczow and her boss) had a suspicion, with the bankruptcy of the diocese in Buffalo that we would not be coming back for the next semester, but we didn't expect it to be this soon,” she said. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy last year due to sexual abuse lawsuits. According to a statement from the Diocese of Buffalo provided to CNA, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated diocesan plans of financial reorganization. “While we deeply regret the very personal impact that this process of realignment will have on dedicated employees of the Catholic Center, we must assess how best to deploy the resources of the Diocese in ways that reflect responsible stewardship and which offer the greatest benefit for our parishes,” Fr. Peter Kalaus, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the diocese, said in a statement. “We anticipate that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will have a severe impact on parishes and exacerbate the financial challenges that the Diocese is already confronting. It is why we are accelerating our plans to better align the functions of the Catholic Center with the needs of our parishes,” he added. According to the statement, 21 employees have been laid off or furloughed and 3 people moved from full-time to part-time. Health insurance will be covered by the diocese through April, after which time employees will either need to find different insurance or pay premiums directly to the diocese. Tkaczow has since moved back home with her parents, who also live in New York. Like Davenport, her housing had been provided, and so rent is not a worry right now. Tkaczow said while she understands from a financial standpoint why her position was eliminated, she feels bad for her students. “I also couldn't help but think, how could they do this to the students? Because they just completely got rid of the campus ministry program, because of the bankruptcy. And with it being this early, how could they do that to them? How are they going to go forward in the coming semesters and years?” For now, she’s been continuing to minister remotely to her students even without pay. She’s leading a rosary and social hour on Thursdays, and on Mondays she’s leading a Bible study. While Tkaczow has a degree in computer science, she said her passion is for ministry, and while she may have to find another job to pay the bills for a time, “if God calls me to be in campus ministry or youth minister again, I would not hesitate in saying yes.” The small parishes of St. Mary in Bloomfield, New Mexico and St Rose of Lima in Blanco New Mexico, in the Diocese of Gallup, have fared slightly better in the coronavirus fallout. Fr. Josh Mayer, pastor of both parishes, told CNA that he expects to be able to pay his employees for the next six months or so, even if extreme social distancing measures for the pandemic continue. “Our parishes are in a very blessed position to be able to take care of our staff for a while,” Mayer told CNA. Mayer said due to canceled Masses, regular tithes to the parish are down to about a third of what they normally are. That could pick up slightly as more parishioners adjust to online donations, but for the most part, a lot of his parishioners haven’t taken to that in recent years, he said. But the parish is still in a position to pay its staff for a while, and Mayer said he has plenty for them to do. “I’ve got lots of projects I can give our people to do. Our maintenance guy has to come in and work on stuff here...even when buildings aren't being used, they need upkeep,” he said. “And we're figuring out...how our parish kind of shifts some of our activities to different categories I guess. I mean a lot of stuff that we do with parishioners, we can still do. It just has to look really different,” he said. Mayer said he was touched by the generosity of his financial manager, Sally Bales, who took a look at the books and the decreased donations and offered to donate her salary back to the parish for the time being so that other staff could remain on payroll. “We’re just hoping that we can keep everybody employed in the meantime, so something like what Sally did is a huge boon for that,” he said. “It definitely helps take care of the other parishioners or the other staff and helps ensure that we can keep them employed.” Bales told CNA that because she and her husband are retired, she decided to donate her salary back for a while, to help younger staff members who are raising families and are relying on their jobs as their main source of income. “The other staff members are younger, of course, than I am, and that's their sole income, so it's a lot harder picture for them than it is for me,” she said. Bales, who manages the finances of both parishes, said that one of the parishes has a significantly higher percentage of online donations than the other. “The parish that had more involvement online has not been as adversely affected as the one that people typically give cash at Sunday Mass,” she said. “That's one thing I shared with Father, so that he can maybe encourage people to do more online giving. Our expenses don't change much whether we have Mass or not, and yet our donations are definitely volatile whether we have a physical gathering or not,” she added. Some parishioners have been mailing in donations, Bales added, and staff have been calling people to encourage them to move to online giving, since “we don't really see an end when this is going to wrap up.” Bales said she’s grateful that the parishes had some money set aside, so that they are not relying on the current week’s donations to pay staff salaries. “As it happens, the parishes that I support have been very conservative and have some money set aside. It's not like we have to have the money this week to pay the next week salary, so that's wonderful,” she said. Bales added that while she and her husband will miss her income from the parish for the time, they realize it isn’t something they need as much as other people on staff do. “It's money. It would delay things we would want, but not things that we need. I think that's the difference,” she said. “I think that actually, people that are retired or are in a better position to support the parish than the young employed people that are losing their jobs or having their time cut back,” she said.  “And so I think it's a time for people that do have a regular income coming in to step up their donations. Usually, you think of someone on a fixed income is on the short end of the stick, but in this situation, we're really in a better position than someone who's currently earning their keep.”
A votive Mass “in time of pandemic” and a new prayer for Good Friday
The Congregation for Divine Worship has issued a votive Mass for this time of pandemic, and a new intention for the Solemn Intercessions during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. The new liturgical texts are available on the Congregation’s website, along with the Decrees dated 30 March promulgating them. The documents had already been provided to the world’s bishops. The Mass opens with a prayer that God would “look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to health care workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love.” In a letter dated 30 March, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, Congregation Secretary, said, “In these days, during which the whole world has been gravely stricken by the COVID-19 virus,” many bishops and priests have asked “to be able to celebrate a specific Mass to implore God to bring an end to this pandemic.” The Mass in the Time of Pandemic,can be celebrated on any day except solemnities; the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter (season); days within the Octave of Easter; the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day); Ash Wednesday; and the days of Holy Week. The Opening Prayer, or Collect, reads: “Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger, to whom we turn in our distress; in faith we pray look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.” The offertory prayer for the Mass reads: “Accept, O Lord, the gifts we offer in this time of peril. May they become for us, by your power, a source of healing and peace. Through Christ our Lord.” The new Mass ends with the “prayer over the people,” which says: “O God, protector of all who hope in you, bless your people, keep them safe, defend them, prepare them, that, free from sin and safe from the enemy, they may persevere always in your love. Through Christ our Lord.” Good Friday intention The intention for Good Friday includes a prayer “for those who suffer because of this pandemic”, that is, those who “suffer the consequences of the current pandemic” The prayer asks that God in His compassion might protect those who are suffering, relieve the pain of those who are sick, give strength to those who are taking care of them, and welcome the deceased into eternal peace. ENDS
Morning Catholic must-reads: 02/04/2020
The Congregation for Divine Worship has composed a new votive Mass “in the time of pandemic”. An Xin says the Chinese government is continuing to persecute house churches amid the coronavirus pandemic. Bishop Peter Christensen of Boise, Idaho has forbidden priests from saying Mass ad orientem. Matthew P. Schneider explains how parishes can avoid laying off staff. And Fr Timothy Gallagher gives ten spiritual counsels for the times we live in. The post Morning Catholic must-reads: 02/04/2020 appeared first on Catholic Herald.
Thought For The Day – April 2nd
Thought for the day for April 2nd – World Autism Awareness Day 2020