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U.S. Catholics’ political leanings affect their approval ratings of pope

03/06/2018 - 8:35pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In the advent of Pope Francis’ fifth anniversary in the papacy, a new Pew Research poll of U.S. Catholics shows their regard of the pope is, for the first time, colored by their political leanings.

The survey, released March 6, said it saw “signs of growing discontent with Francis among Catholics on the political right, with increasing shares of Catholic Republicans saying they view Francis unfavorably, and that they think he is too liberal and naive.”

In 2014, one year into Pope Francis’ papacy, “there was no discernible difference between the share of Catholic Republicans (90 percent) and Democrats (87 percent) who expressed a favorable view of Francis,” the survey said. “Today, by contrast, the pope’s favorability rating is 10 points higher among Catholic Democrats (89 percent) than among Catholic Republicans (79 percent).”

“In our polling about John Paul II and Benedict XVI, when we look at them we don’t see any falloff from them over time,” Greg Smith, a Pew senior researcher, told Catholic News Service. “What’s interesting about this survey that this is the first one where this political polarization among American Catholics really stands out.”

The March 6 poll was the eighth time Pew had asked Catholics their views about the pope. Pew had asked Catholics about Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict eight times total over 25 years — five times for Pope Benedict and three for Pope John Paul.

Pope Francis still maintains marks any religious or civil leaders would covet: 94 percent of Catholics say he is compassionate and 91 percent say he his humble — numbers unchanged from a 2015 Pew survey. His overall favorable rating is down one point, from 85 to 84 percent, from a 2014 poll. Those with unfavorable views of the pope were double that of 2014, but still in the single digits at 8 percent.

But “the share of American Catholics who say Pope Francis is ‘too liberal’ has jumped 15 percentage points between 2015 and today, from 19 percent to 34 percent,” the poll said. And 24 percent of U.S. Catholics now say he is naive, up from 15 percent in 2015.

Since 2014, “the share of Catholic Republicans who say Francis represents a major, positive change for the Catholic Church has declined from 60 percent to 37 percent. By contrast, there has been little movement since the end of Francis’ first year as pope in the share of Catholic Democrats who view him as a major change for the better,” the poll said — 71 percent today vs. 76 percent four years ago.

Other groups hold Pope Francis in high esteem, although not as much as Catholics do. Of white mainline Protestants, 67 percent approve of Pope Francis’ tenure, as do 58 percent of religiously unaffiliated adults.

Slimmer majorities of black Protestants (53 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (52 percent) also approve of the pope. Nine percent of white evangelicals were unfavorable toward Pope Francis when he was chosen pope in 2013. That number has since tripled to 28 percent; it had been 31 percent last year.

The survey introduced new questions not asked in past polls.

Fifty-five percent of Catholics said the priests at their parish are “very supportive” of Pope Francis. Another 23 percent say their priests are “somewhat supportive” of the pontiff.

Similar approval numbers were generated when Catholics were asked whether Pope Francis was doing an “excellent” or “good” job appointing new bishops and cardinals; 58 percent said so. And 55 percent say he is doing an “excellent” or “good” job addressing environmental issues.

A somewhat larger majority — 63 percent — said Pope Francis “has done at least a little to promote acceptance of homosexuality,” the survey said, adding he has done “about the right amount” or that they would like to see him “do more” on this issue. Also, 64 percent of Catholics say the pope has done at least a little to increase acceptance of divorce and remarriage.

The survey further asked Catholics to describe the most significant thing Pope Francis has done in his time as pope. In response, American Catholics named a broad range of accomplishments without being prompted as to specific issues. Nine percent noted Francis’ work in setting a good Christian example, another 9 percent cited his “opening up the church and becoming more accepting.” Eight percent said helping the poor; 7 percent said Pope Francis has made the church more accepting toward gays and lesbians; 6 percent mentioned his global outreach; and 5 percent said he is uniting the Catholic community and encouraging open communication and dialogue.

Four percent each cited two negative or neutral actions: becoming overly involved in politics or alienating conservative Catholics. Another 4 percent of respondents said he hasn’t done anything significant at all, or that they are still waiting to see what he will do. And 29 percent either did not know or could not name any significant thing that Pope Francis has done.

The Pew survey was conducted Jan. 10-15 by phone among 1,503 adults, including 316 Catholics — three times as many being contacted by cellphone than by landline. The margin of error was 2.9 percentage points for the full survey, and 6.4 percentage points for Catholics.

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Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

A picture says a thousand words: 5th Grade Math Enrichment at St I’s!

03/06/2018 - 7:52pm
St I's Fifth Grade Math Enrichment Andrew Voelkerding, Maya Destazio, Kyle Goertemoeller, Vincent Foote, John Paul Gray, Colin Birck, Jack Staarman (Courtesy Photo)St I’s Fifth Grade Math Enrichment Andrew Voelkerding, Maya Destazio, Kyle Goertemoeller, Vincent Foote, John Paul Gray, Colin Birck, Jack Staarman (Courtesy Photo)

St Ignatius Loyola School: Fifth grade students in Mrs. Amy Gillespie’s Math Enrichment class constructed a St. Ignatius themed mosaic, and in honor of the winter Olympics, one of the students came up with the idea of creating the American flag. They solved fifty-two 3X3 cubes to construct this patriotic design.
Fifth graders include:
Andrew Voelkerding
Maya Destazio
Kyle Goertemoeller
Vincent Foote
John Paul Gray
Colin Birck
Jack Starrmann
Olive Hines
Nicholas Meyer


St I's 5th Grade Math enrichment Maya Destazio, Kyle Goertemoeller, Andrew Voelkerding, Olive Hines, Nicholas Meyer, Jack Staarman, Colin Birck, Vincent Foote, John Paul Gray (Courtesy Photo)St I’s 5th Grade Math enrichment Maya Destazio, Kyle Goertemoeller, Andrew Voelkerding, Olive Hines, Nicholas Meyer, Jack Staarman, Colin Birck, Vincent Foote, John Paul Gray (Courtesy Photo)

Ursuline Students Attend Junior State of America Winter Congress

03/06/2018 - 3:34pm
Members of Ursuline Academy's JSA chapter attend the opening ceremony for the 2018 JSA Winter Congress. (Courtesy Photo)Members of Ursuline Academy’s JSA chapter attend the opening ceremony for the 2018 JSA Winter Congress. (Courtesy Photo)

Cincinnati, OH – February 18, 2018: Twelve members of Ursuline Academy’s Junior State of America chapter attended the JSA Winter Congress held in Washington, D.C. February 16-18, 2018.

The mission of JSA is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society. The Winter Congress convention allows student members to participate in debates modeled after Congressional-style legislative processes. Delegates write and submit their own bills to be debated at this convention in both House and Senate Chambers. After a bill is passed in both the House and Senate, in both initial and full committees, it becomes a law. Each chamber is moderated by a chair and a clerk. Winter Congress also hosts a variety of political parties, which delegates can participate in by applying to serve as party chairs or whips, or by attending party caucuses.

Thami Pathmarajah ’18 of Sycamore Township, co-president of Ursuline’s JSA Chapter, reflected on her experience attending the Winter Congress: “My experience at Winter Congress reaffirmed my interest in public policy. The parliamentary-style debates, which covered everything from immigration policy to the monopolies held by pharmaceutical companies, demonstrated the ability of young people to approach complex problems with open minds in a bipartisan manner. Thus, JSA truly fulfilled their mission to promote meaningful civic engagement through this convention.”

Ursuline Academy is an independent Catholic college-preparatory school for young women in grades 9 –12. Founded in 1896 in Cincinnati by the Ursulines of Brown County, St. Martin, Ohio, the school has been located at 5535 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash, Ohio since 1970.

Don’t hold grudges; forgiveness comes from forgiving others, pope says

03/06/2018 - 3:03pm

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must let go of resentments and forgive those who have wronged them so that they may experience God’s forgiveness, Pope Francis.

This can be particularly difficult when “we carry with us a list of things that have been done to us,” the pope said in his homily March 6 at morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“God’s forgiveness is felt strongly within us as long as we forgive others. And this isn’t easy because grudges make a nest in our heart and there is always that bitterness,” he said.

The pope reflected on the day’s first reading from the prophet Daniel in which Azariah, one of three young men condemned to death in a fiery furnace, courageously prays for deliverance from God.

“Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord,” Azariah prayed.

Although Azariah is innocent of the crime he is condemned for, the pope explained, his attitude of recognizing his own personal sins is the same attitude Christian men and women should have when approaching the sacrament of penance.

“Accusing ourselves is the first step toward forgiveness,” the pope said. “To accuse one’s self is part of the Christian wisdom. No, not accusing others; (accuse) ourselves. ‘I have sinned.'”

God, he added, “welcomes a contrite heart” and when Christians readily admit their faults, “the Lord covers our mouths like the father did to the prodigal son; he does not let him speak. His love covers it, he forgives all.”

“These are the two things that help us understand the path of forgiveness: ‘You are great Lord, unfortunately I have sinned’ and ‘Yes, I forgive you 70 times seven as long as you forgive others,” Pope Francis said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

Seek the Lord: Sacrifices we make during Lent prepare us to celebrate the joy of Easter

03/06/2018 - 1:36pm

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr’s letter for March:

“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

You may have heard this directive of Jesus pronounced as blessed ashes were placed on your forehead on Ash Wednesday. These few words, which were also part of the Gospel for the Second Week of Lent (Mark 1:15), encapsulate in brief the themes of this liturgical season.

Most notably, Lent is a penitential time as we prepare to celebrate the joy of Easter – 40 days in which we are called to soberly re-examine our lives and our relationship with Christ. This is a time to ask: Is Christ really at the center of my life? How have I sinned against the Lord and His people? What do I need to change?

For the elect – those who are seeking baptism, confirmation, and First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil – this process of self-search and repentance is accomplished in a special way. A series of ancient rites called the scrutinies are celebrated for them at Mass on the three middle Sundays of Lent. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults explains: “The scrutinies are meant to uncover and then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. For the scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.”

At the same time, however, the scrutinies are not only for the elect. They can also have a profound effect on fully initiated Catholics in the congregation who both pray for the elect and reflect with contrition on what they themselves have done and what they have failed to do.

Such repentance is a necessary aspect of the Christian life. It is also an essential prelude to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is particularly appropriate in the Lenten season. If you did not celebrate this sacrament on Feb. 27, the light is still on for you. All parishes offer confession, and many have special opportunities during Lent.

The 40 days of Lent recall Christ’s 40 days in the desert as he prepared to launch his public ministry. During that time, He fasted and prayed. Similarly, the Christian community has long observed the season of Lent with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Through these disciplines of self-denial, we empty ourselves to make room for Christ. The church today has only a few requirements in this regard: Everyone 14 years of age or older is to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. Every person between the age of 18 and 59 is to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Many Christians choose to do more, however. In fact, “giving up” something for Lent in a symbolic act of penance is a popular practice even among inactive Catholics and members of other Christian traditions without a strong Lenten tradition. Perhaps that is because we all have a deeply-imbedded awareness of our sinfulness and the need to repent.

The second part of Christ’s instruction at the beginning of His ministry was “believe in the Gospel” or “good news.” What is the good news? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16). That is what we are preparing ourselves to celebrate at Easter. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the ‘Feast of feasts,’ the ‘Solemnity of Solemnities’… The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crush-
ed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to Him” (CCC 1169).

Because of the solemn and reflective nature of Lent, we do not sing the Alleluia during this season. We give it up for Lent! Some parishes even make a ceremony out of “burying the Alleluia.” Its joyful return is one of the highlights of the Easter Vigil for, as St. Augustine reminds us, “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.”

Claims of heresy over ‘Amoris Laetitia’ are out of place, cardinal says

03/05/2018 - 6:25pm

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ exhortation on the family should prompt discussion and even debate, but accusing him and others of heresy is completely out of place, said German Cardinal Walter Kasper.

“A heresy is a tenacious disagreement with formal dogma. The doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage has not been called into question on Pope Francis’ part,” the cardinal, a theologian, told Vatican News March 5.

Cardinal Kasper was interviewed about his new book, “The Message of ‘Amoris Laetitia’: A Fraternal Discussion.” The interview was published just a few days after Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington issued detailed guidelines for accompanying couples, including those who are divorced and civilly remarried.

In his book, Cardinal Kasper describes “Amoris Laetitia” as “a creative renewal of traditional teaching.”

Vatican News asked Cardinal Kasper specifically about the path of discernment Pope Francis sees for some divorced and civilly remarried to return to the sacraments, including Communion, in some circumstances.

“Sin is a complex term. It not only includes an objective principle, but there is also the intention, the person’s conscience. And this needs to be examined in the internal forum — in the sacrament of reconciliation — if there is truly a grave sin, or perhaps a venial sin, or perhaps nothing,” the cardinal responded. “The Council of Trent says that in the case in which there is no grave sin, but venial, the Eucharist removes that sin.”

“If it is only a venial sin, the person can be absolved and admitted to the sacrament of the Eucharist,” the cardinal said. “This already corresponds with the doctrine of Pope John Paul II and, in this sense, Pope Francis is in complete continuity with the direction opened by preceding popes. I do not see any reason, then, to say that this is a heresy.”

Catholic tradition, he insisted, “is not a stagnant lake, but is like a spring, or a river: it is something alive. The church is a living organism and thus it always needs to validly translate the Catholic tradition into present situations.”

Speaking more generally about “Amoris Laetitia,” Cardinal Kasper said that reading the document has helped many engaged and married couples come to a deeper appreciation of the church’s teaching on marriage and family life and about the joys and challenges facing families today.

“It is not high theology incomprehensible to people,” he said. “The people of God are very content and happy with this document because it gives space to freedom, but it also interprets the substance of the Christian message in an understandable language.”

In a world where there is so much violence, the cardinal said, “many people are wounded. Even in marriages there are many who are wounded. People need mercy, empathy, the sympathy of the church in these difficult times in which we are living today. I think that mercy is the response to the signs of our times.”

Also in early March, Bishop Semeraro, secretary of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals, released a pastoral instruction on “welcoming, discerning, accompanying and integrating into the ecclesial community the faithful who are divorced and civilly remarried.”

The guidelines for the Diocese of Albano, Italy, were published after every meeting of the diocesan presbyteral council in 2016-17 was dedicated to discussing the pastoral care of such couples.

The discussions made it clear that welcoming and integrating into parish life “those who approach us with the desire to be readmitted to participation in ecclesial life requires an appropriate amount of time for accompaniment and discernment that will vary from situation to situation,” Bishop Semeraro wrote. “Therefore, expecting a new general, canonical-type norm, the same for everyone, is absolutely inappropriate.”

No “right” to the Eucharist exists, the bishop said, but there is a right to be welcomed and to be heard. Couples who have remarried civilly without an annulment of their sacramental marriage and who have started a new family will be asked “to make a journey of faith starting from becoming conscious of their situation before God” and looking at the obstacles that would prevent their full participation in the life of the church.

Couples who have recently divorced and remarried, those who “repeatedly fail” to uphold responsibilities toward their children and original spouse and those who pretend that there is nothing wrong with divorce and remarriage should be encouraged to spend time studying and praying before trying to begin the process, the guidelines said.

“Amoris Laetitia,” Bishop Semeraro wrote, “never speaks of a generalized ‘permission’ for all divorced and civilly remarried to access the sacraments; nor does it say that the path of conversion initiated with those who want them must necessarily lead to access to the sacraments.”

At the same time, he said, priests must recognize that “it is no longer possible to say that all those who find themselves in a so-called ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin, deprived of sanctifying grace,” precisely because, as “Amoris Laetitia” taught, a host of factors are involved in determining the degree of guilt of the individuals involved.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

The 2018 Irish Memorial Mass will be March 11th at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral

03/05/2018 - 1:25pm

The sixty seventh Annual Memorial Mass for the deceased friends of Ireland will be sung Sunday March 11 2018 in St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati at 11:00 a.m. Rev Jan Schmidt will celebrate Mass. Prior to the Mass, at 10:40 AM, the Friendly Sons of St Patrick Glee Club will perform a medley of Irish music.

The Memorial Observance, held each year, is to honor and perpetuate the memory of those dedicated individuals who loved Ireland and worked for her freedom. It is sponsored by the Memorial Committee for Friends of Ireland, which is composed of representatives of Irish and fraternal groups and individuals from all walks of life. This year’s ecumenical mass is especially dedicated to those working for the continued success of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

Participating in the ceremonies are the Ancient Order of Hibernians-St Patrick’s Division No. 1 and Our Lady of Knock Color Guards with the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums. Music will be provided by the Cathedral choir under the direction of Anthony J. Dicello and by the Friendly Sons of St Patrick Glee Club.

Refreshments will be served immediately after the Mass in the Undercroft. The William and Rita McDonagh family are in charge of the arrangements.


Bishop Leibold will receive Jon Peterson Scholarships next year

03/05/2018 - 7:00am
Courtesy Image

Miamisburg, OH: Bishop Leibold School has been named by the Ohio Department of Education as an official provider of The Jon Peterson Special Needs (JPSN) Scholarship beginning July 1.

This program provides scholarships to students in grades K-12 who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) from their district. Bishop Leibold is one of only four Catholic elementary schools to be named a provider in Montgomery County, and the only one located in the southern region of the county.

“We believe that this gives us the capacity to best meet the needs of the students and families that will be involved.” said Dr. Theodore J Wallace, principal of Bishop Leibold School. “We are sensitive to the challenges that families with special needs students face. This enables us to be a more personalized partner in meeting those needs.”

The scholarship will provide funding for services called for in the student IEPs  and, in most cases, help with tuition costs for the family.

“With the Jon Peterson Scholarship, Bishop Leibold can offer families an excellent academic education in a faith-filled environment that meets their students’ special needs.” said Karyn Hecker, Regional Director of Dayton and North Elementary Schools with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

For more information on the scholarship or Bishop Leibold School, please contact our enrollment manager, Mrs. Rachel Prindle at 937-866-3021 or .

Boy Scouts Religious Emblems Ceremony

03/04/2018 - 6:10pm

March 4, 2018: The Catholic Committee on Scouting held their Religious Emblems Ceremony at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. Bishop Joseph Binzer presided and during his address to the scouts told them the significance of March 4th: the day we march forth. Awards were given in the following categories:

Light of Christ
Parvuli Dei
Ad Altare Dei
Adult Awards Certificate of Recognition
Bronze Pelican
St. George

Boy Scouts gather at the Cathedral for the Emblems and Awards ceremony. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Boy Scouts gather at the Cathedral for the Emblems and Awards ceremony. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Boy Scouts from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati gather for the 2018 Religious Emblems Ceremony. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Boy Scouts from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati gather for the 2018 Religious Emblems Ceremony. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Banners welcome the Boy Scouts (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Banners welcome the Boy Scouts (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

Bishop Joseph Binzer addresses the participants and family members at the 2018 Religious Emblems Ceremony (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Bishop Joseph Binzer addresses the participants and family members at the 2018 Religious Emblems Ceremony (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Light of Christ Boy Scout recipients (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Light of Christ Boy Scout recipients (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Ad Altare Dei recipients at the 2018 Religious Emblems Ceremony (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Ad Altare Dei recipients at the 2018 Religious Emblems Ceremony (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Bronze Pelican Winners (John Finnegan, Janice Wiles, Kelly Mocahbee) (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Bronze Pelican Winners (John Finnegan, Janice Wiles, Kelly Mocahbee) (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Mary Ellen Moeller recieves the St. George Award (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Mary Ellen Moeller recieves the St. George Award (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Some serious Boy Scout Hardware, including the Jerusalem Cross (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Some serious Boy Scout Hardware, including the Jerusalem Cross (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

Coloring in the “extraordinary form”

03/04/2018 - 7:00am
Coloring the grayscale ChromaCat images (seen at right) with layers of white and colored pencils gives the finished pieces a three-dimensional look (seen at left). (Courtesy photo) Mercer County couple’s Catholic coloring books promote prayer

By Walt Schaefer

Tim and Mandy Hill have combined the beauty of Catholic art and a popular hobby to create an opportunity for reflection, meditation, evangelization, and enjoyment.

Presently living in suburban Denver as Tim Hill completes a Masters of Arts degree at the St. John Institute at Walsh College concentrating on faith foundation, the Hills belong to St. Mary Parish, Philothea, in Mercer County, where Hill grew up on the family farm. While in Colorado, they decided to produce and market a Catholic coloring book piggybacking on the rising popularity of adult coloring books commonly found in hobby shops and book stores.

“My wife and I started developing this book into something for anyone – adults, kids,” said Hill. “We wanted to focus on putting some of the beauty of the faith, and traditions of the faith, in front of people and let them be part of it – understanding how the art relates back to the faith and the traditions of the faith.”

Though children can and do color the ChromaCat pages, Hill said, “it is an adult coloring book.  It’s definitely more complicated. These take more time to do. All of them are mosaics taken from high-definition photographs from different places in Europe.”

ChromaCat (in Latin, “chroma” means “color,” and “Cat” is short for “Catholic”) is the first and only “Extraordinary Form” Catholic coloring book series. The images are grayscale and printed on heavy, acid-free paper, and are meant to be colored in layers using white and colored pencils. This allows the gray to show through as shading, giving the resulting images depth and realism. The first of three planned books “Mosaics” is includes images from mosaics around the world.

A Facebook post by Father Matt Feist recommends coloring the pages as a contemplative Lenten activity.

To help guide the user, the book is printed with the original mosaic in full color on the facing page. “It’s a coloring book combined with a book of beautiful images,” said Hill. “There’s a meditative saint or Scripture quote on the back of each page to help you pray for someone as you color.” Pages are perforated, so each image can be removed and sent as a work of mercy in gold envelopes that are included with each purchase. It is a special gift because it’s a holy image, it takes time, prayer is the best gift, and it is sent in a special way.”

Coloring the images can help users connect with the history of Catholic faith and art, the Hills said. The book can become an evangelization tool when the images are shared with others. “We wanted to intrigue adult Catholics to dig deeper into the roots of their faith and the Mass,” Hill explained. “Coloring has been popular for relaxation reasons. We wanted the book to also serve someone else, rather than just for the buyer’s own gratification. By praying for and sharing the image with that person, we hope, these holy reminders will touch souls.”

The Hills have six children, and discovered that they also enjoy the books. “We have found from our four-year-old to our 11-year-old, and from our artistic to our non-artistic children, boy or girl, they can all color these,” Hill said. “In fact, it teaches them how to color better, because the grayscale has the shading already done. They get a 3D image and feel that they can be an artist.

“The best part, though, must be that holy images are being imprinted forever on their souls and tradition is being passed down.”

The Hills promote the slow coloring process as “coloring your way to holiness” — a way to practice contemplative prayer. “One picture should take you more than one sitting. So, I don’t think you’re going to get to 36 images in, say, Lent,” Hill said. “You may finish three or four. We don’t want people to speed through this.”

Father Matt Feist, parochial vicar for the Fort Recovery Cluster of four parishes, has been promoting the mosaic book on Facebook. “There is a focus on theology, and it’s also an evangelization tool,” he said. “It would be a cool thing to color a page a week for six weeks of Lent and mail them out as Easter gifts for family members.”

Father Feist added that coloring the books can be an activity appropriate for any time, and an ideal way to spur individual or family meditation.

ChromaCat books are available at A promotional video on the site and Facebook page demonstrates the coloring technique, and suggests how to use and share the images. It also includes a gallery where buyers can upload photos of their pages, and see pages other people have colored. Additional books on Mary gardens and stained glass windows will be published later in the year.

Find the books at Amazon, or

Purchases can upload photos of their finished images, like this one one, to an online gallery. (Courtesy photo).

Immigrants, advocates navigating post-DACA-deadline landscape

03/02/2018 - 7:34pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jorge Duenes, Reuters

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The last government shutdown — well, threatened shutdown, anyway — seems so long ago.

The nine-hour “funding lapse” of Feb. 9, like the three-day shutdown that began Jan. 20, hinged on how Congress was going to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump said he would end March 5. He also called on Congress to pass a measure to save the program, created in 2012 by President Barack Obama via executive order.

In the January shutdown, Democratic lawmakers backed down on their threat to keep the government closed until a DACA deal was reached. In the February funding lapse, Democrats and Republicans agreed to conduct a debate and vote on DACA in the weeks to come, as a six-week continuing resolution to keep the government funded through March 23 was overshadowed by the $1 trillion spending package of which it was a part.

The congressional sidestepping of DACA prompted the U.S. bishops to declare a “National Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers” for Feb. 26, one week before the program’s expiration date. The day resulted in thousands of phone calls to lawmakers.

That, in turn, was overshadowed by the Supreme Court declining that same day a request by the administration to bypass federal appellate courts and rule on whether the administration has the right to shut down DACA.

The justices’ action wiped out the March 5 deadline date, leaving DACA up and running at least until the high court accepts the case for the appeals court — and possibly renders a decision — or until Congress finally deals with it. The high court’s action only keeps DACA intact for those currently with DACA status; two federal judges have blocked Trump, saying the administration must continue to accept renewal applications for the program. The rulings do not make DACA available to those who had not already applied for it.

While the exact path ahead is unclear, at least there is a path.

“I think a lot of people feel a little insecure, they don’t feel safe and they’re unsure what’s going to happen because things are up in the air,” said Michelle Sardone, director of strategic initiatives for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

“They’re feeling fear about whether or not to apply: ‘Will the government use information they have on me to use against me?’ If you submit your application with the application fee, will it be adjudicated or … will it be a waste of your money?” Sardone said. “Each person has a particular case. They should go to an accredited legal services provider to find out the best situation for them and for their family.”

“We just buried a man in his 60s who came from Ireland in a house with no electricity, no plumbing. He came over to the U.S. without a trade, became a pipe fitter and a coach,” said Mary Harkenrider, a member of the Southside Catholic Peace and Justice Committee in Chicago, which sponsored a forum March 1 to show support for the city’s DACA holders.

In talking to Catholic News Service, she used the example of this Irishman to illustrate what immigrants bring to this country.

“As a coach and a family man, he affected people throughout the city and across the country and at his funeral there were thousands of people who pay respect to this immigrant, who came to this country without a STEM education or highly advanced skills,” Harkenrider added. 

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Some arguing for the reform of U.S. immigration laws say preference should be given to the highly educated immigrants.

She added: “We would be amiss without the talents of the immigrants in our communities. … whether it’s the Irish or the Polish or the Hispanic. I think we have to continue to recognize our history and build on it.”

Chicago, Harkenrider said, is “a city of immigrants.”

Nor is Chicago the only town that can claim that mantle.

Camden, New Jersey, is such a town. Mexican-born Monica Perez Reyes, 20, has lived there since her parents brought her to the United States at age 2. They entered the country without legal documents. She has kid sisters born in the United States who are U.S. citizens. As for Perez, “I’m good for two years” with DACA.

She admits to frustration with Congress, though. “I’m kind of offended. They’re sort of playing around with my future,” she said. “And the manner they’re handling it, one day they may say they’ll do something to make it better like have a path to citizens, ship, but the next day they say they’re going to terminate it altogether.”

Perez added, “I know some people are scared, but I’m not necessarily scared unless something is set in stone. I have a plan A, a plan B, a plan C. If worse comes to worst, I have a plan; I’ll have to go to Mexico and make my new life there.”

She was accepted to study art at a California college, but her status as an immigrant without documents left her ineligible to receive scholarship money. So Perez is attending community college in Camden while planning to major in art therapy, working to make money to pay her tuition.

Another such town of immigrants is Pasadena, Maryland. Hector Guzman, 19, also born in Mexico, was brought here by his parents, he said, when he was 1 year old. A soccer goalie and midfielder, a German scout recommended he go to England to try out for professional soccer there. He had to decline. “I could get there on my Mexican passport, but I couldn’t come back,” he said.

Guzman has his own plan B. Like Perez’s, it involves going to a community college and working as a butcher and chef to pay tuition. He’ll add landscaping work as the weather warms. He’s starting up a small business already. At some point, he said, he’d like to open a restaurant, maybe several of them, “and maybe have a ranch or a farm.” He said the DACA process was easy.

Patricia Zapor, a CLINIC spokeswoman, said a January check of DACA applications showed the government was still processing applications from 2016. Zapor noted that the government had cut staff in anticipation of DACA ending, then had to ramp up staffing with the upsurge in applications and renewals. Renewals ordinarily took two to three months; Zapor said without DACA, immigrants in the country without legal permission cannot legally work in the United States.

Guzman said he’s not worried. “My parents are a little worried,” he said. An older sister, who like him has DACA status, “doesn’t act like she’s worried,” she added.

With the days winding down until Trump’s original March 5 deadline, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the upper chamber would debate a banking bill in early March, making no mention of DACA — deferred action, indeed.

How to deal with this interim period is “tricky, right?” said Ian Pajer-Rogers, communications and political director for Interfaith Worker Justice, which has more than 30 affiliated worker centers around the country.

“We have taken the position that only a clean DREAM Act will do with no riders or add-ons from the right — no wall, no border security measures. We’ll continue that. Where that leaves us with the party in power and the party that is trying to negotiate for our people, the Democrats, is less clear.” 

The DREAM Act he referred to stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. The bill is what gives DACA recipients the “Dreamer” name.

Anxiety among DACA families cuts both ways, he said. “What I’ve seen among the undocumented folks is a very willingness to self-sacrifice. Among the DACA recipients I’ve worked with they don’t want to trade their parents’ safety and security for their own. … I think you find the parents who are willing to say the opposite, almost. They’re willing to see more enforcement and risk detention if their kids are safe. We’re really going for the starting point that all are protected.”

“The more pressing thing might be the (Feb. 26) Supreme Court ruling,” Pajer-Rogers said, “that folks who are in detention can be detained indefinitely without bond. So if there’s something on the mind of workers today, it’s probably that.”

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Local sisters among participants in Catholic Day of Action for Dreamers

03/02/2018 - 5:20pm

Their respective ministries have brought the immigration issue to the forefront for Sisters of Charity Tracy Kemme and Andrea Koverman, along with making it a very personal one. Sister Tracy has lived and worked at the El Paso-Juarez border volunteering at a shelter for migrants, been a member of the archdiocesan Immigration Task Force, and currently serves as bilingual pastoral ministry at Holy Family Parish in Price Hill. Sister Andrea Koverman spent 20-plus years teaching in South Carolina’s migrant communities and now ministers at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC).

The two sisters were among more than 200 other women religious, priests and lay people who gathered at the U.S. Capitol for the Catholic Action Day for Dreamers Feb. 27 with the goal of persuading lawmakers to protect undocumented immigrants, Dreamers, who were brought to this country as children. Sister of Charity Jean Miller and Associate Deb Rose Milavec also made the trip.

After the Senate failed Feb. 15 to garner the 60 votes needed to move a bill forward to protect the “Dreamers,” officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced a “National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers” Feb. 26.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers,” the USCCB officials said in a joint statement Feb. 19.

The joint statement was issued by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president; Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president; and Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.

“We really wanted to raise awareness and get the attention of Catholic legislators, to let them know that this is important to our country morally,” Sister Tracy explained. “It was our hope that this large, collaborative effort among Catholic faith leaders would prick the consciences of our legislators and people across the country.”

“I’ve spent more than decade in ministry at various stages of the migrant journey, and have seen how our complicated, broken system causes people to suffer,” she explained. “These are deeply faithful, hardworking people. I worship with them at Mass on Sunday. We are one family, and from the mouth of Jesus are called to love one another. As members of my family, I’m going to stand for them.”

“For me, it was an opportunity to stand up publicly and say what so many of us have been saying: that this isn’t about a wall, it’s not about border patrols,” Sister Andrea said. “It’s about young people who were promised protection, and we need to stand behind our word as a nation and as a people of faith. We need to stand with them and treat them justly.”

Armed with the prayers and support of their religious community, Sisters Tracy and Andrea were among the dozens of protestors who chose to engage in a planned act of civil disobedience in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building as they called on lawmakers to help young undocumented adults obtain some sort of permanent legal status.

“We prayed and we sang “Amazing Grace’ as the arrests began,” Sister Tracy said. “We had prayed and discerned in preparation. I felt just so centered in the moment, thinking of the people that we were there for and holding them in in my heart, and thinking of the outpouring of support from our community. It was the most profound experience of living the Gospel I’ve ever had. I was reminded of Jesus’ presence in every immigrant I was standing for and with. As a Catholic and a sister, it was a really important moment of responding to God’s call.”

“I had no sense of fear, just that we were standing on the right side of justice,” added Sister Andrea. “As nuns, we take a vow of obedience and our obedience is to a higher power. I felt like we were following God’s command to us to love one another, to stand up for one another.”

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Ky., extended his hands in the air and said: “We stand with the Dreamers, we are one with the Dreamers. And now I ask God’s blessing upon those who are acting in civil disobedience, part of a long-standing tradition of not supporting unjust laws.” The bishop was not among those arrested. He and the others who did not engage in civil disobedience fell back from the center of the rotunda as the arrests began.
Those being arrested were asked to put their hands behind their backs. Police placed plastic handcuffs around their wrists and the protesters were led away, some in prayer, some singing. They were charged with disorderly conduct, crowding, incommoding and obstruction. The 40 or so who were arrested paid a $50 fine, and all were released by late afternoon.
With the March 5 deadline looming for Congress to find a permanent legislative solution to help the Dreamers, Sister Tracy urges local Catholics to continue to call their legislators: “We are urging people to call in solidarity with our action. Call your senators at 1-888-410-0619; call twice to reach both your senators. Call your representatives at 1-888-496-3502. Continue to call these numbers every day until March 5.”

“Our actions mean nothing unless people to continue to rally, continue to call members of congress and hold them accountable, especially our legislators of faith,” she said.

Catholic New Services also contributed to this story.

A Salvadoran immigrant serves as barber, friend to Washington’s poor

03/02/2018 - 4:50pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rhina Guidos

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Hair clippers and brushes are the tools 34-year-old Rudy Romero uses to carry out his mission to help the poor and homeless.

For the past four years, he has rushed three times a week or so from his day job over to the basement of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington to visit his clientele.

Though this hairdresser gets no tips, his payment largely comes in smiles.

“I do the best I can to help lift their spirits,” said Romero, in between clips and shaves and brushes to the nape of the neck of one of his clients, one of 10 men lined up in the basement of the Catholic church that serves the homeless and anyone else in need of a hot dinnertime meal in Washington Monday through Friday. Along with the meal, they can sign up to get a free cut from Romero.

Though most people don’t think about it, for someone who can’t afford food or shelter, a haircut is financially out of the question, said Capuchin Franciscan Father Moises Villalta, the shrine’s pastor, but a haircut can help them feel a little bit better.  

“This teaches you to have patience,” said Romero, being careful as he buzzes off uneven pieces of hair from the side of a man’s head. “It’s not easy.”

Some of the clients have a variety of challenges, including addictions and mental health issues, and it can be trying to cut their hair, said Romero. He wanted to put to good use the skill he learned at age 17 from his grandfather, who used to cut hair in his native El Salvador.

“My grandfather used to cut hair in his free time,” he told Catholic News Service. “So now I’ve taken his place.”

He gently brushed swaths of recently shaved salt and pepper hair that had fallen on the barber’s gown draped around the client, and turned him around to see if he looked happy. If he weren’t an active member of the Catholic Church, it would be a difficult task, Romero said, but he keeps in mind the importance of works of mercy, of helping and being with the poor.

Before he became their official hairdresser, he volunteered for years serving the food many of his clients receive before the haircut or cleaning the makeshift dining room where they gather.

“He’s very dedicated,” said Father Villalta. “He wants to help them, he wants them to feel clean and to give them dignity.”

Romero said he does his best to carry out the clients’ wishes and gives them any haircut they want. Some want their entire hair gone, but many opt for a cut that’s easy to maintain on the streets. Some of them recognize him and greet him while he’s walking around the bustling neighborhood, remembering he’s the one who helps them stay clean.

“It makes them happy” to get a cut and that, in turn, makes him glad, to ease at least a little bit of the difficulties they face, he said.

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Father Endres for March: What happened to penance on Fridays?

03/02/2018 - 1:27pm

Q: My understanding is that Catholics are to observe some form of penance every Friday during the year, even during Ordinary Time. So even though we’re allowed to eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent, there is an obligation for Catholics to do (or not do) something on these Fridays. Is that true?

A: One of the constants of the Christian life is the need for penance. Since the time of the early church, Christians have imitated Jesus, who fasted and prayed for 40 days in the desert (Mark 1:13). Special attention has been paid to performing penance during the season of Lent and on Fridays, because these days especially commemorate Jesus’ suffering for our salvation.

Historically, Catholics were held to more precise and numerous penitential practices, such as abstinence from meat on all Fridays, additional days of fasting and abstinence throughout the year (the vigils of certain feasts and on the “Ember Days,” which were particular Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), and fasting and limited eating of meat (only one meal) on Lenten weekdays from Monday through Thursday.

In 1966, Pope Paul VI promulgated a new set of regulations for fasting and abstinence, simplifying the required penances and allowing for greater personal freedom in choosing penances. Catholics are asked today to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, and to both fast (only one full meal and two lesser meals) and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Though the precise requirements of fasting and abstinence have been lessened, the obligation for some form of penance each Friday remains. Whatever penance is chosen is up to the individual. It can be varied or repeated, but should be carried out each Friday during the church year when another penance has not been obliged (which would be all Fridays outside of Lent). Penances could include not snacking between meals, abstaining from internet or TV for the day, or forgoing dessert, soda, or alcoholic beverages. The chosen penance could also entail doing some charitable act such as visiting the sick or assisting a neighbor.

In allowing one to choose his or her penance, it was hoped that penitential practices might become more meaningful. However, in many cases, the practice of Friday penances practically ended with the reform of required fasting and abstinence. Yet the older disciplines may still be practiced. The previous penance of abstaining from meat on Friday remains especially recommended by the church, as is some form of fasting during the weekdays of Lent, which, though not obligatory, is strongly recommended as a self-imposed observance (see “Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence,” 1966).

Whatever penance is undertaken, the purpose of penance is the same: to unite oneself to Jesus in his suffering and to maintain the discipline that aids one in living a virtuous life. As sin often involves a misuse of created things, penance allows for a correction to our approach to the things of this world. But penances are an aid to virtue, not an end in of themselves.

Throughout its history, the church has reminded the faithful of the importance of doing penance. The frequency and kind of penance asked of Christians has changed throughout time. Today’s penitential practices emphasize both the freedom and responsibility of the penitent, but do not nullify the need to do penance. We are exhorted in the Gospel of Matthew, “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance” (Matthew 3:8). May the penances we undertake, likewise, be a means to our growth in holiness and as signs of our conversion in Christ.

     Father Endres is dean of Mount St. May’s Seminary of the West and the Athenaeum of Ohio. Send your question of faith to

St. Ignatius Loyola School announces new Principal

03/02/2018 - 1:25pm

On February 27, 2018. St. Ignatius Parish announced that Mr. Kevin Vance has accepted the position as the next principal of St. Ignatius School. Mr. Vance brings with him experience as a Catholic school principal and a strong background in meeting academic, spiritual, social, and emotional needs of students.

Fr. Peter St. George made his selection after consulting individually with the Interview Committee. The committee consisted of Fr. Pete, Pastor, Larry Smith, President of Parish council, Valerie Bender, President of the School Committee, Marianne Bernier, Assistant Superintendent for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Beth Siemer, teacher rep, and Tim Reilly, outgoing principal.

Mr. Vance will finish the school year in his current position at St. Margaret of York and begin his tenure here on July 1, 2018. The parish and school leadership teams will be working with him to ensure a smooth transition.

Fish Fry Friday Roundup 2

03/02/2018 - 9:30am
"Honey Badger" prepares fresh salmon for the Our Lord Christ the King/Cardinal Pacelli Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)“Honey Badger” prepares fresh salmon for the Our Lord Christ the King/Cardinal Pacelli Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

Our New Media Editor Greg Hartman missed the first week of the fish fry season – but made up for it by hitting three fish fries on week two. “It was fairly warm for the last Friday in February and a very cloudy evening,” he said, “yet enthusiasm was out in droves as the CT Squad travelled to fish fries. While a night at a Friday fish fry is filled with joy, it’s also an amazing testament to the dedication of workers throughout the archdiocese who give up their Friday night time for the faithful. The results are a plethora of delicious fish dishes (and of course cheese pizza if you wish) and the wonderful gift of joy that you see in the eyes of the many volunteers.”  Here are the highlights of his Mega Fish Fry Night:

Our Lord Christ the King/Cardinal Pacelli School

“Many kids were at play while the parents stood in line outside the door awaiting the great fish being prepared. Outside a guy nick-named ‘Honey Badger’ was hard at work preparing salmon with a complex rub before placing on the grill. Fried fish was also being prepared for fish-n-chips and delicious sandwiches. You could dine in or carry out and judging by the packed parking lot and lines, this is a definite stop on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Fish Fry Trail.”


Sarah Rose Sperduto (Coordinator of Youth & Young Adults and her fiance - J.P. Bort at St. Cecilia Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Sarah Rose Sperduto (Coordinator of Youth & Young Adults and her fiance – J.P. Bort at St. Cecilia Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) St. Cecilia Church

“Two Miles up the hill through Hyde Park and on to St. Cecilia in Oakley. It was a typical Friday night in Oakley square, but the place to be was in the St. Cecilia School Cafeteria where a full cafeteria hosted delicious Fish Fry Fare. Kenny Haber was hard at work outside frying up fish favorites and the dedicated working crew, Sarah Rose Sperduto, her fiancé J.P. Bort, and Jason Hinson served fish to an awaiting crowd enjoying an evening at the parish.”

St. Francis DeSales Fish Fry Friday. From left to right Daniel Powell, Markus Adam-Scott, Principal Joanne Browarsky and Isaiah Smiley. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)St. Francis DeSales Fish Fry Friday. From left to right Daniel Powell, Markus Adam-Scott, Principal Joanne Browarsky and Isaiah Smiley. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) St. Francis DeSales

“Just about a 5k jaunt down Madison Avenue and a final stop on this busy evening at St. Francis DeSales School Cafeteria. The first thing I noticed were the colorful aprons exclaiming “Straight out of DeSales.” The kitchen was full of many dedicated cooks and what struck me were the years these people have given every Lenten Friday for St. Francis DeSales. I had the honor of a brief encounter with Mrs. Rosetta McDowell who has worked the Fish Fry for over 30 years. I also met Mrs. Pam Forte and Ms. Greta Brandon who also have worked over 20 years. Principal Joanne Browarsky posed with hard working students Daniel Powell, Markus Adam-Scott, and Isaiah Smiley, as they cheerfully served meals to the full cafeteria. The DeSales Slammer is worth the trip, a delicious sandwich that was truly an amazing culinary moment.”

For The Catholic Telegraph’s Fish Fry Guide, click here

For the more pictures check out these:

It's Fish Fry night at Our Lord Christ the King parish in Mount Lookout (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) No need to head for the shore, delicious fish hot off the grill at Our Lord Christ the King Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Delicious fish on the grill on a Lenten Friday night at Our Lord Christ the King Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Another of literally hundreds of volunteers working the Fish Fry at Our Lord Christ the King (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Friendships in and around Cardinal Pacelli school during a nice Fish Fry Night. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) A slide is always fun in the playground on a warm for February Friday Fish Fry Night at Cardinal Pacelli School (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The cafeteria area was decked out with fish artwork at the Cardinal Pacelli Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Order's up and ready to be delivered for carry-out at the Our Lord Christ the King Fish Fry Friday (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Lots to choose from for carry-out orders as workers enthusiastically feed many (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Nothing beats a Friday Night Fish Fry with great food, smiles, and joy from volunteers at Our Lord Christ the King/Cardinal Pacelli Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The lines were long awaiting the great food at the Our Lord Christ the King/Cardinal Pacelli Fish Fry in Mount Lookout (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Kenny Haber oversees the fish at St. Cecilia Fish Fry in Oakley (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Caught! Two young women having fun at the St. Cecilia Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) From left to right your St. Cecilia Fish Fry Crew, Sarah Rose Sperduto, fiance J.P. Bort, and Jason Hinson serve up Fish Fry delights (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Seeing what the folks need at the St. Cecilia Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Having fun and reading a picture book at the St. Cecilia Fish Fry 2018 (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Another hardworking night at St. Francis DeSales Fish Fry. Mrs. Rosetta McDowell-cook, school receptionist, mother and grandmother to many SFDS alumni (including Daniel Powell and Isaiah Smiley!)., Mrs. Tamiko Smiley-PTO president, PK teacher, alum and daughter of Mrs. McDowell!, (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) It was all smiles at St. Francis DeSales. From left to right Mrs. Pam Forte and Ms. Greta Brandon(cook, School Receptionist and mother and grandmother to many SFDS alumni (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Save room for delicious deserts as they were on display at the St. Francis DeSales Fish Fry (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

For our first Fish Fry Roundup, St. Francis Seraph School/Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom and St. Clare Church, click here.

Stations of the Cross

03/02/2018 - 7:00am
Some of the 14 Stations of the Cross from around the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that we used in our pull-out chart — do you know where they are?

Also known as the Way of the Cross, the Stations of the Cross is a devotion especially popular for Fridays in Lent. Brought to Europe by the Franciscans, they represent spots where pilgrims to Jerusalem stop to pray while retracing the steps of Christ. Since the Middle Ages, European Catholics who could not go to Jerusalem have walked indoor or outdoor paths marked with carvings or images depicting the sites, praying just as their brother and sister pilgrims did in the Holy Land.

In the 1700s, all churches in the world were permitted to hang Stations of the Cross in their sanctuaries. Outdoor Stations also remain popular. Many parishes hold group Stations of the Cross prayer on Fridays of Lent, but anyone can pray the Stations at any time. Many prayers and sets of Scripture readings can be used, but the most popular were created by St. Francis of Assisi and St. Alphonsus Liguori.

In 2000, Pope St. John Paul II urged Catholics to add a 15th station, Christ’s Resurrection, to the Stations of the Cross. The 15th Station is not required, and anyone may pray either number, or go back and forth between 14 and 15. Many parishes that have a 15th Station omit it on Good Friday.

Find a free Stations smartphone app at See the center of our March issue for the pull-out Stations of the Cross graphic (pictured below) featuring photos from Stations from around the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, or click on the link below to download a high-resolution, printable pdf of the graphic. (Hint: It prints best on 11 x 17 paper.)

Stations of the Cross spread


The Catholic Ministries Appeal 2018: How YOU can impact the story.

03/01/2018 - 4:55pm

The Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA) is a once-a-year outreach, when all our parishes, more than 200 strong, join together to support these ministries, doing more than one parish could alone.

The goal for the 2018 CMA is $5 million, the same amount as last year. Your help is needed to reach this important goal!

Ninety cents of every dollar contributed goes directly to fund the ministries – a ratio that gets very high marks from those who set the standards.

Every parish that exceeds its Appeal goal receives 50% of the “overage” for its own ministries, evangelization, and other worthy efforts.

Whether you’re a long time supporter … or considering a gift for the first time… we ask you to learn about these ministries on this website, and prayerfully consider making a pledge to the 2018 Catholic Ministries Appeal.

Everyone Has a Story

You have a story. Where have you been? Where are you at now in your life? Where do you hope to be in the future?

Most likely, there are people who have helped you along the way. They have made a difference in your life; they have impacted your story.

Through the annual Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA), you can Impact the Story for others. To Impact The Story, click here

For the 2018 CMA Video on how you can impact the story, click below:


Salvation is gift of God, brings people into community, document says

03/01/2018 - 3:00pm

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Salvation in Christ is a gift of God that cannot be earned by human efforts alone, and it is not simply some kind of interior transformation, but touches the way Christians live in the world and relate to others, said a new document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Both the individualistic and the merely interior visions of salvation contradict the sacramental economy through which God wants to save the human person,” said the document “Placuit Deo” (“It Pleased God”) on “certain aspects of Christian salvation.”

Released at the Vatican March 1, the document was the first issued since Archbishop Luis Ladaria became prefect of the doctrinal congregation in July.

The document, approved by Pope Francis in mid-February, focuses on two errors Pope Francis has said seem to underlie the statements and attitudes of a growing number of Christians: neo-Pelagianism, the idea that people can save themselves by being strong and very disciplined; and neo-Gnosticism, in which the focus is so strongly placed on knowledge that it ends up despising the body, the physical needs of others and the creation of a community.

“Salvation cannot be reduced simply to a message, a practice, a gnosis (knowledge) or an interior feeling,” Archbishop Ladaria said in his presentation of the document. It flows from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, which in turn leads to incorporation in the church and an effort to live as Jesus did, especially in attention to the poor and the suffering, he said.

Responding to reporters’ questions, Archbishop Ladaria said it is probably easier to identify traces of neo-Pelagianism than neo-Gnosticism because “we all have a tendency toward self-sufficiency.”

The document, he said, “does not want to point fingers,” but does want to draw people’s attention to “the tendency of self-sufficiency” and “the tendency of isolation, which does not take into account that salvation is something eminently communitarian.”

To respond to “both to the individualist reductionism of Pelagian tendency and to the neo-Gnostic promise of a merely interior salvation,” the document said, “we must remember the way in which Jesus is savior.”

“He did not limit himself to showing us the way to encounter God, a path we can walk on our own by being obedient to his words and by imitating his example,” it said, but he became the way, and a relationship with him is essential.

“Furthermore, this path is not merely an interior journey at the margins of our relationships with others and with the created world,” it said, because Christ “assumed the entirety of our humanity and lived a fully human life in communion with his Father and with others.”

Understanding the role of the church, “the community of those who have been incorporated into this new kind of relationship begun by Christ,” is essential for combatting the tendencies of self-sufficiency and isolation, the document said.

“The participation in the new kind of relationships begun by Jesus occurs in the church by means of the sacraments, of which baptism is the door, and the Eucharist is the source and the summit,” it said.

Reaffirming age-old Christian teaching, the document insisted “total salvation of the body and of the soul is the final destiny to which God calls all of humanity.”

Since the church is “the universal sacrament of salvation,” all Christians are called to share the good news of Christ and invite others to a relationship with him, it said. But, citing the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, it also said “Christians must also be prepared to establish a sincere and constructive dialogue with believers of other religions, confident that God can lead ‘all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way’ toward salvation in Christ.”

Archbishop Ladaria said the Catholic Church continues to affirm Vatican II’s teaching that the one church of Christ “subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.”

“But it adds immediately,” he said, that “many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its (the Catholic Church’s) visible structure.”

“It’s not that the church has turned back from this definition, this declaration, this affirmation of the Second Vatican Council. No,” he said. “Naturally, the Catholic Church is and will continue to be committed to ecumenism out of this conviction” that God is at work in other Christian communities as well.

“The church recognizes this and does so willingly,” Archbishop Ladaria said.

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St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati Announces New Assistance Fund and West End Building

03/01/2018 - 2:00pm
A rendering of the new St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati services building, which will begin construction this fall across the street from its existing West End facility. Courtesy image.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati announced ambitious plans to build a new outreach center in Cincinnati’s West End and double the amount of financial support it provides to parish-based SVdP groups at a press conference Feb. 28. The new “Upward Spiral Comprehensive Campaign” will raise $12 million for a self-sustaining Conference Assistance Fund, and will renovate the existing Liz Carter Outreach Center as well as build a new, 40,000 sq. ft. facility. Details below:

Cincinnati: St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati revealed a major investment on Wednesday, February 28 benefiting the West End and neighbors across Hamilton County.

The Upward Spiral Comprehensive Campaign will allow the Cincinnati organization to build a new outreach center in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood and double the amount of financial support provided to parish-based St. Vincent de Paul volunteer groups throughout Hamilton County.

St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati will construct a new 40,000 square foot facility directly across the street from their current Liz Carter Outreach Center. The new outreach center, designed by GBBN architects, will allow St. Vincent de Paul to provide better access to services and help struggling neighbors when they need it. The facility will allow programs like the Lindner Choice Food Pantry, Charitable Pharmacy, and social services to be offered concurrently, Monday-Saturday.

“We often meet our neighbors at a crossroads where one car repair, one missed rent payment, or a medical emergency can cause a family to spiral downward into potential homelessness,” said Mike Dunn, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati. “With the support of many people throughout Cincinnati, the Upward Spiral will better address the needs of our neighbors.”

Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2018 at the Northwest corner of Bank Street and Winchell Avenue in the West End. Completion and the opening of the outreach center is expected in the fall of 2019. The existing Liz Carter Outreach Center will house administrative offices and the organization’s Ozanam Center for Service Learning. Haglage Construction will serve as the general contractor.

“The new outreach center is truly for our neighbors,” said Becky Catino, co-chair of the Upward Spiral Comprehensive Campaign. “Our goal is to provide the most dignified experience possible for families and provide better access to our emergency services like our Charitable Pharmacy, food, clothing, furniture, as well as help with rent and utility payments.”

The Comprehensive Campaign will also allow for the creation of a self-sustaining Conference Assistance Fund benefiting the 56 parish-based volunteer groups across Hamilton County.

“A lot of folks are surprised to learn there is just as much need in suburban communities as in city neighborhoods,” said Bart Kohler, co-chair of the Upward Spiral Comprehensive Campaign and St. Vincent de Paul volunteer. “The Conference Assistance Fund will provide a lot of help to Conferences and help many more families across Hamilton County.”

To date, donors have pledged $8 million to the Upward Spiral Comprehensive Campaign with a goal to raise $12 million.

“We ask people throughout our community to join the initial individuals, foundations, and companies who have already pledged their support to help us reach our final goal,” said Catino. “This campaign is reflective of the spirit of Cincinnatians. We are full of pride, we are full of respect, we treat each other with dignity, and that is a true reflection of St. Vincent de Paul.”

“St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati is a beacon of hope for those in our community, and together, we can ensure more of our neighbors find the help and hope they need to move upward,” said Kohler.

More information or to support the campaign, visit: