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Archbishop Auza: Women Need Adequate Protection and Social Care

'Women continue to suffer violence and degradation.'

The post Archbishop Auza: Women Need Adequate Protection and Social Care appeared first on ZENIT - English.

FEATURE: Chicago Catholic Men’s Conference Offers Adventure in Following Christ

'A Man Among Men' Draws 300 For Presentations, Prayer, Adoration, Confession, Mass

The post FEATURE: Chicago Catholic Men’s Conference Offers Adventure in Following Christ appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Archbishop Auza Stresses Value of Unpaid Work and Caregiving

'Unremunerated work in the home has not been given the recognition and value it deserves.'

The post Archbishop Auza Stresses Value of Unpaid Work and Caregiving appeared first on ZENIT - English.

President of U.S. Bishops Conference Suffers Mild Stroke

WASHINGTON—The following statement has been issued by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston regarding Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and Presidentof the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. We join with the archdiocese in praying for the Cardinal’s quick recovery.  

Archdiocesan Statement re: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo:

Cardinal DiNardo was taken to a Houston hospital last night after experiencing the symptoms of what tests today have confirmed was a mild stroke. The Cardinal is resting comfortablyand conversing with associates, doctors and nurses. It is expected that Cardinal DiNardo will remain hospitalized for a few more days of testing and observation, followed by a transfer to another facility for rehabilitation. He is grateful to the doctorsand nurses for their wonderful care and for continued prayers during his recovery. Cardinal DiNardo said, "With so much to do, I am looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible."

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Keywords: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

Worn marble steps of Holy Stairs to be uncovered for public to climb

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For the first time in 300 years, the marble steps of the Holy Stairs will be free from the thick wooden panels installed in 1723 to protect the stairs and left uncovered for the public.

For at least 40 days, people will be able to touch and climb the bare stones that, according to tradition, are the ones Jesus climbed when Pontius Pilate brought him before the crowd and handed him over to be crucified.

The soon-to-be cleaned steps and newly restored frescoed stairway will be unveiled April 11, the week before Holy Week, during a special blessing ceremony at the Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs. The marble steps were going to be left open to the public temporarily before the original and restored wooden panels would be put back on.

The decision was made during one of the final phases of the sanctuary's restoration -- a 20-year-long project overseen by the Vatican Museums and funded with the help of private donors, foundations and the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

Paolo Violini, the Vatican Museums' head fresco restorer, and his team were so astonished and moved when they saw the degree to which the stone steps had been worn away, he felt this hidden testimony of faith had to be seen and experienced -- even just temporarily -- by today's faithful.

"It's an extraordinary occasion to touch the same steps as Jesus and witness the faith of all the other people who came before us," the sanctuary's rector, Passionist Father Francesco Guerra, told Catholic News Service March 15.

"And it is a concrete way to become linked with those who came before us in history and the faith, who passed on the faith to us," he said.

Tradition holds that St. Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine, brought the stairs to Rome from Jerusalem in 326 A.D.

The sanctuary, whose walls and ceilings are covered with newly restored decorative paintings and frescoes depicting Christ's passion and events of the Old Testament, was built specifically for the stairs to be venerated by the public in the late 1580s, by order of Pope Sixtus V.

Since then, millions of people climbed the steps on their knees, slowly and unintentionally digging deep undulating ruts and furrows into the soft stone. One of the 28 steps was so worn away by people's shoe tips, a hole had been bored straight through the thick slab of stone.

That happened, Violini said, because that was the step where pilgrims lingered longer, to lean down and kiss "the most important step" above, which is cracked down the middle and adorned with a metal cross and a raised metal grate. According to tradition, Jesus fell at the 11th step, cracking it with his knee. The cross marks the point of impact, Violini said, and the open grate covers what was said to have been a spatter of his blood.

A worker stuck his finger through the grate to scoop out some debris and show just how much stone had been rubbed away by centuries of people touching the spot. A cross also marks another step at the top of the staircase, indicating where, tradition said, had been another drop of blood.

Up until now, people had only been able to see -- not touch -- these areas through small glass panels in the wooden treads.

A few steps were still being uncovered March 15. Two workers chipped away some pieces of brick along the staircase walls to free the rusty metal hooks securing the 300-year-old walnut wood treads in place.

Handwritten notes, holy cards, colored photographs, small coins, buttons and mounds of black dust spilled out from under the heavy plank, which was peppered with woodworm holes and stuck with wisps of spider silk.

Workers carefully bagged the written prayer requests and mementos, which had been stuck into the open slats in the stair risers. They were to be given to the Passionist Fathers in charge of the sanctuary for cataloging and study. The objects date back to no earlier than the 1950s, Violini said, which has led the restorers to believe the stairs had probably been cleaned for the Jubilee Year of 1950.

Mei Wen, a member of the Vatican Museums' Patrons of the Arts, came from her home in Perth, Australia, to see the steps being revealed.

She told CNS she became a major donor to the stairs' restoration after she and her husband first climbed them in 2013.

"That year what we prayed for and reflected on sort of came true so, because of that, I made a commitment that I should donate to the restoration of this project, for the faithful who want to climb the stairs for whatever reasons, for spiritual or family reasons," she said.

Restoring such "a special place," she said, "is also for the art and the history of it."

She said she was moved by seeing and touching the mementos and grooves in the marble "made by people climbing on their knees. It's very real and it's history made centuries ago, how could you not feel something?"

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

At memorial Mass, CRS remembers four employees who died in plane crash

IMAGE: CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review

By Paul McMullen

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Approximately 480 men and women work at the Baltimore headquarters of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas aid and development agency of U.S. Catholics.

None were more affected than Yishak "Isaac" Affin and Atli Moges by the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash that took the lives of all 157 on board -- including four who were not just colleagues, but their fellow countrymen and women.

Affin and Moges were part of the standing-room-only gathering at the CRS chapel March 14, when Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori offered a memorial Mass. His concelebrants included a majority of the 14 bishops who serve on the CRS board of directors, in town for meetings.

Like the four who perished, Moges and Affin are natives of Ethiopia, which has approximately 100 million residents. Almost half lack access to clean water.

Trying to better themselves so that they could better their country, the four CRS administrators were en route to a training session in Nairobi, Kenya, when their flight crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, the capital of the east African nation that sits in a region wracked by famine.

"They do their work from their hearts," Moges told the Catholic Review, Baltimore's archdiocesan news outlet. "They were the kind of people who stayed in the office until midnight or worked Saturday if that was necessary."

She speaks from experience.

A senior adviser for CRS in financial technical support, Moges came to Baltimore in 1988, but from August 2015 to March 2018 served in Ethiopia as the deputy country representative for operations.

Managing administration, finance, human resources and IT for a staff of approximately 200 during her time in Ethiopia, Moges said she worked with the four deceased staffers "very closely."

They were typical of the 7,000 people employed by CRS, which prioritizes hiring and training local people in the nations it serves.

Moges said that Mulusew Alemu, a senior finance officer, was devoted to his Ethiopian Orthodox faith and "a delightful person, very respectful and hard-working."

Despite his low-key demeanor, she said, Sintayehu Aymeku had "wonderful leadership skills." A procurement manager who had lived for a time in the United States, Aymeku left behind a wife and three daughters.

"I had high hopes for him," Moges said.

Sara Chalachew, who once spent three weeks in Baltimore on temporary duty, was promoted last December to senior project officer for grants. Moges said she was always smiling, and "got along with everyone on staff."

Getnet Alemayehu was a senior procurement officer, known for being patient and persistent while navigating shipments.

Before Affin, a senior accountant, came to Baltimore in 2003, he worked as an auditor in Addis Ababa, where he knew Alemayehu as a driver, albeit one "studying at university."

As Moges got emotional remembering the four after the Mass, Affin placed his right hand on her left shoulder.

The Mass included a choir comprised of CRS staff based in Baltimore.

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, New York, who is chairman of the CRS board of directors, welcomed Archbishop Lori, who had made a short walk from the Catholic Center, headquarters of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, to CRS.

"Sorrow shared," Bishop Mansour said, "is sorrow lessened."

"Why were such good colleagues taken from us?" Archbishop Lori said in his homily. "A tragic moment such as this, and the season of Lent itself, tests and probes the depth of our faith," he said.

"It highlights the kind of faith, hope and love -- coupled with courage -- that undergirds the many risks you and your colleagues take each day to advance the kingdom of justice, peace and love in this world."

Archbishop Lori said the four employees "died in pursuit of their mission to bring a measure of food security to regions of the world that are habitually plagued by famine. They met the Lord as they were dedicating themselves and their lives to the golden rule."

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McMullen is managing editor of the Catholic Review, the news website and magazine of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Update: After attacks, New Zealand bishops tell Muslims: 'We hold you in prayer'

IMAGE: CNS photo/Martin Hunter, Reuters

By Michael Otto

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (CNS) -- New Zealand's Catholic bishops have expressed horror and distress at a terrorist attack in two mosques in Christchurch that saw at least 49 people killed.

The shootings took place at or near the Al Noor Mosque, where 41 people were killed, and at the Linwood Mosque, where 7 were killed. One more person subsequently died at Christchurch Hospital. Muslims had gathered at the mosques for Friday prayers. Some of those killed were children, it has been reported.

The terror attack started at around 1:40 p.m. local time March 15, sparking a massive mobilization by police. Mike Bush, New Zealand police commissioner, announced at 9 p.m. that a man in his late 20s had been charged with murder and would appear in the Christchurch District Court the next day.

Some three-and-a-half hours after the attacks began, the New Zealand bishops released a message, addressed to the nation's Muslim community, via social media.

"We hold you in prayer as we hear the terrible news of violence against Muslims at mosques in Christchurch," the bishops wrote.

"We are profoundly aware of the positive relationships we have with Islamic people in this land, and we are particularly horrified that this has happened at a place and time of prayer.

"We are deeply saddened that people have been killed and injured, and our hearts go out to them, their families and wider community. We wish you to be aware of our solidarity with you in the face of such violence."

The bishops signed off their message "Peace, Salaam."

A message sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, on behalf of Pope Francis, said the pope was "deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life cause by the senseless acts of violence" at the mosques.

"He assures all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks." He also offered prayers and blessings to those injured, those grieving, those who died and emergency personnel.

Christchurch Bishop Paul Martin released his own message on social media.

"We are horrified at the violence that has been inflicted on people of our city this afternoon," Bishop Martin wrote.

"Words cannot convey our distress. Our prayers are with those who are suffering. I invite you now, wherever you are, alone or with family, workmates or friends, to pray together in the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: Lord make me an instrument of your peace ... "

Bishop Martin planned to celebrate a Mass of prayer for peace, "remembering those who have died in the mosques tragedy and praying for those who are suffering," at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral March 16.

This is the second major tragedy involving significant loss of life in Christchurch in the last decade. On Feb. 22, 2011, an earthquake struck the city, killing 185 people. The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament suffered severe damage, as did the nearby Anglican Cathedral.

Anglican Bishop Peter Carrell of Christchurch issued a statement on behalf of all church leaders in the city in early evening.

"Church leaders are absolutely devastated at the unprecedented situation in Christchurch this afternoon, and our hearts and prayers go to all involved. No religious organization or group deserves to be the target of someone's hate -- regardless of beliefs. We stand for an Aotearoa New Zealand, which will never condone such violence. So, across the churches of Christchurch and Canterbury, we are praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters, for those injured and those who have lost loved ones, for the police, ambulance and other emergency services, and for all in the city of Christchurch who are feeling distress and fear due to this event. We are upholding you all in our prayers. We pray, too, for the shooter and their supporters, because for any person to do this, they must have such hatred in their hearts, such misalignment of the value of human life, that they too, need our prayer. We thank many others from around our nation and the world who are praying for peace in Christchurch."

Five Catholic high schools and about a dozen elementary schools in Christchurch city were among many schools that went into lockdown in mid-afternoon as news of the terror attacks spread. Children and staff were unable to leave the schools until 5:30 p.m., when enough police personnel had been deployed to ensure a safe passage home.

When the lifting of the lockdown, one Catholic high school, the all-girls Villa Maria College, stated on Facebook announced that rolls would be taken in the school gym and that students would be "debriefed with pastoral care on hand." After this, students were released.

The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's history. The gunman reportedly live-streamed video of the attack using a helmet-camera. New Zealand police asked people not to share this on social media. The shooter also posted a 73-page manifesto.

Facebook and Twitter reportedly removed the gunman's pages.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack." She said the thoughts and prayers of the nation were with "those who have been impacted today."

"Christchurch was their home," Ardern said. "For many, this may not have been the place they were born, in fact for many, New Zealand was their choice. The place they actively came to and committed to. The place they were raising their families. Where they were parts of communities that they loved and who loved them in return. It was a place that many came to for its safety. A place where they were free to practice their culture and their religion."

The prime minister added: "For those of you who are watching at home tonight and questioning how this could have happened here. We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbor for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of those things."

Mosques across the country closed on Friday at the urgings of police. Vigils sprang up throughout New Zealand as people gathered to mourn and grieve.

A meme on Facebook shared by many showed a sobbing kiwi.

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Otto is editor of NZ Catholic.

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

USCCB Migration Chairman Endorses Proposed Legislation That Gives Permanent Legal Protection to Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Holders

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration endorsed the American Dream andPromise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), legislation that would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders.

 “We need a permanent legislative solution for those who have spent their lives contributing and living in the United States,the country they know as home,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration. “Dreamers and TPS holders are vital members of our community who are going to school, working to make our communities better and raising families.They have lived in limbo for far too long and now is the time for a solution.”  

On Wednesday, March 6th, Most Reverend Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washingtonand a Committee on Migration member testified before the House Judiciary Committee at the hearing “Protecting Dreamers and TPS Recipients.” The full written testimony of Bishop Dorsonville-Rodriguez and the hearing can also be seen in its entirety here.

Please see the USCCB Committee on Migration letter of support here.

More information about Dreamers and TPS can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Bishop Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez, Committee on Migration, refugees,Dreamers, TPS, DACA, immigration reform

 

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Media Contact:

Mark Priceman

202-541-3064

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

President of U.S. Bishops’ Responds to Today’s Mass Shooting at New Zealand Mosques

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement in response to today’s mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The full statement follows:

“I am deeply saddened by the senseless attacks at the Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed dozens of worshippers and seriously injured many others, including children. This slaughter of innocent Muslim brothers and sisters praying peacefully is being described as a terrorist attack carried out by a self-identified fascist and his accomplices. As the Catholic bishops of New Zealand said, 'we are particularly horrified that this has happened at a place and time of prayer.'

Unfortunately, we Americans are all too familiar with gun violence, which often targets religious communities. However, we must not remain complacent or desensitized to the horror of these tragedies.

I join with my brother bishops in New Zealand in expressing solidarity with the Muslim community and in calling Catholics to join in prayer for the victims of this shooting, their families, and the Muslim community that was directly targeted.

May almighty God change the hearts of those who hate to recognize the inherent dignity of all people and bring consolation to all those affected by this heart-rending loss.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, mass shootings, Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque attacks, Muslim brothers and sisters, terrorist attack, fascism , Muslim community, prayers, inherent dignity

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

Researcher: Difference between 'considering leaving' and 'leaving' church

IMAGE: CNS photo/Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The headlines from a March 13 Gallup Poll about the growing number of U.S. Catholics who have thought about leaving the church because of the clergy abuse crisis did not faze one researcher of Catholic data too much.

"There is a substantial difference between considering leaving and leaving. It is also the case among those who do leave, some come back," said Mark Gray, director of Catholic polls and a senior research associate at Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, or CARA.

"When you think about the question about considering leaving, I am frankly surprised the percentage isn't higher. Given the realities of the scandal I think it is natural to ask oneself questions about membership and identity," he told Catholic News Service in a March 14 email.

The Gallup Poll revealed that 37 percent of U.S. Catholics, up from 22 percent in 2002, said the abuse scandal in the church has led them to question whether they would remain Catholic.

The poll's results are based on interviews with 581 U.S. Catholics from Jan. 21 to 27 and Feb. 12 to 28. Gallup conducted a similar poll in 2002 after The Boston Globe reports on clergy abuse gained widespread attention.

In this new poll, responses from practicing Catholics differed from the overall Catholic population.

Forty-six percent of Catholics who seldom or never attend Mass say they have questioned whether they would remain in the faith, while 37 percent of monthly Massgoers say they have considered this and 22 percent of weekly Massgoers have thought about this.

The same pattern existed in 2002, but this year more practicing and nonpracticing Catholics said they were likely to question their place in the church. Seventeen years ago, only one in eight weekly Massgoers asked this question compared to 24 percent of semi-regular Massgoers and 29 percent of those who seldom attend Mass.

The report indicates, although this seemed to get lost in some of the coverage of it, that the responses to the poll don't reveal if "Catholics who are questioning their church membership will actually decide to leave the church. Many Catholics may consider leaving the church but ultimately decide not to do so, or they may have no intention of leaving" but are responding to the question out of frustration with how the church has responded to this crisis.

A tweet posted by CARA March 13 suggested that Gallup track the number of U.S. adults who identify as Catholics by the end of 2019, noting: "In the past, most who considered leaving didn't and among those who did, some returned." It said if the number of U.S. Catholics falls below 21 percent that would be "outside the post-1948 norm." In 2000, the percentage of Catholics in the U.S. was 23 percent and last year it was 22 percent.

Gray, who takes the long view, said that "religious identity and affiliation is much more nuanced over the course of a lifetime than many assume."

He also pointed out that most Catholics are recognizing that the abuse crisis is "not a current event but the scandal is. They are also likely to realize that there is a difference between their faith and the individuals who committed these awful crimes."

But Gray also cautioned that "something feels different about the current situation than in 2002." "It's almost as if this is a second strike" and any further scandal related to sex abuse could have a stronger impact on church membership, he added.

The Gallup Poll showed no major difference in Catholics' opinions about their church membership by age or gender. The poll also revealed that 40 percent of Catholics say they have a great deal of confidence in Pope Francis and 18 percent have quite a lot of confidence in him. These surveyed Catholics expressed similar views about their own parish priests: 41 percent have a great deal of confidence in them and 18 percent have quite a lot of confidence.

But the poll showed that Catholics are less confident overall about priests, U.S. bishops and other Catholic leaders. About one in four U.S. Catholics said they have very little or no confidence in those two groups.

Catholics who go to Mass each week are the most confident in priests and church leaders in general and infrequent Massgoers are the least confident. The widest gaps in confidence appears at the parish level with 86 percent of weekly Massgoers expressing confidence in their own priests, compared with 39 percent of those who seldom or never attend church.

The Gallup Poll, which questioned adults throughout the country via landline and cellphones, has a sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.