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International group of women’s superiors urge sisters to report abuse

11/26/2018 - 5:10pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sivaram V, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The International Union of Superiors General has called on women religious who have suffered abuse to come forward and report it to their congregations and church and state authorities.

"If the UISG receives a report of abuse, we will be a listening presence and help the person to have the courage to bring the complaint to the appropriate organizations," it added in a statement published on its website Nov. 23.

The group — whose members are 2,000 superiors general of congregations of women religious across the world, representing more than 500,000 sisters — said it wished to express "deep sorrow and indignation over the pattern of abuse that is prevalent within the church and society today."

"Abuse in all forms: sexual, verbal, emotional or any inappropriate use of power within a relationship, diminishes the dignity and healthy development of the person who is victimized," it added.

"We stand by those courageous women and men who have reported abuse to the authorities. We condemn those who support the culture of silence and secrecy, often under the guise of ‘protection’ of an institution’s reputation or naming it ‘part of one’s culture.’"

"We advocate for transparent civil and criminal reporting of abuse whether within religious congregations, at the parish or diocesan levels, or in any public arena," it said.

"We commit ourselves to work with the church and civil authorities to help those abused to heal the past through a process of accompaniment, of seeking justice, and investing in prevention of abuse through collaborative formation and education programs for children, and for women and men," it said.

Representatives of the UISG had been invited along with the men’s Union of Superiors General, presidents of bishops’ conferences and others to a February summit called by Pope Francis to address the protection of minors and vulnerable people.

The statement also comes months after police arrested an Indian bishop and charged him with raping a nun.

An Indian nun had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, India, of raping her in 2014 and then sexually abusing her multiple times over the following two years. Bishop Mulakkal claims the accusations are baseless. He was arrested Sept. 21 after police investigated.

The nun had made numerous complaints, including to the Vatican, but claimed she had gotten no church response to her allegations at the time. Pope Francis accepted the bishop’s request to be relieved of his duties Sept. 20.

The nun had explained in a letter that her abuse had gone on for so long because "I had tremendous fear and shame to bring this out into the open. I feared suppression of the congregation and threats to my family members."

She had said many women and nuns suffer clerical abuse. Silence and inaction on the part of church officials to stem clerical abuse will have a "very adverse effect" on women and result in the church losing its credibility, she said.

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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 message from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr

11/26/2018 - 3:59pm

Dear Friends in Christ,

As you may know the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathered in Baltimore for our fall Plenary Assembly. We looked forward with great anticipation to the opportunity to take further steps to eradicate the grave evil of sexual abuse from our Church, in particular addressing the pressing issue of bishop accountability. To that end, we planned to debate and vote on specific measures which the Executive Committee, of which I am a member, had worked diligently to prepare in the weeks leading up to the Assembly. At the last minute, the Holy See asked us to not vote on these measures, but rather to wait for the February meeting that Pope Francis has called to seek a global solution to this issue.

Naturally, our initial reaction was enormous disappointment. The abuse of young people is morally reprehensible and must not be tolerated or enabled anywhere by anyone. The pain and suffering experienced by the victims of sexual abuse cannot be diminished by mere words. Concrete actions must be taken to rebuild trust. The Catholic bishops of the United States are acutely aware of the anger and frustration of all the faithful; thus, the request to not proceed as planned stunned all of us.

As the week went along, however, some important work still took place. The bishops listened to several survivors of abuse and engaged in very direct, and sometimes heated, discussion of the issues, ultimately arriving at strong consensus and direction. This work will enable the president of the USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, to better represent the U.S. Church in the February meeting with the Holy Father. Cardinal DiNardo will bring with him our recommendations regarding:

A process for investigating complaints against bishops, reported through a third-party compliance hotline, by a single national commission of lay people.

Standards of accountability for bishops.

Protocol for removed bishops.

National guidelines for the publication of lists of names of those clerics facing substantiated claims of abuse.

Completion of the various investigations into the situation surrounding Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, and publication of their results.

Of course, a bishop should not need standards of accountability or the results of a thorough investigation in order to exercise strong moral leadership and do the right thing. As your bishop, I promise to do everything in my power to ensure a safe environment for all people – children and adults – involved with any of our various ministries.

If you have followed my statements or heard my interview on Sacred Heart Radio, you know that I remain committed to vigilance and transparency on the local level and have called for the same thing on the national and universal levels of the Church. Today, our process for all employees and volunteers, including bishops and priests, includes:

Fingerprinting and complete background checks.

Required training on recognizing the signs of abuse and how to report it.

Immediate reporting of any abuse allegation to the appropriate civil authorities, usually the county prosecutor, for investigation.

A Child Protection Review Board comprised primarily of lay people.

An active Ministry to the Survivors of Abuse.

In addition, for more than a decade, we have published the names and status of all priests credibly accused of abuse on the Archdiocesan website.

It is my firm conviction that, contrary to the headlines, we do not have a priest abuse crisis; we had a priest abuse crisis that we have taken comprehensive steps to address beginning in 1993. As of this writing, there are no active cases of clerical abuse of minors anywhere in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. If you suspect abuse on the part of any agent of the Archdiocese, please report it to the appropriate civil authorities. If you see something, please say something.

Please join me in praying for the healing of all victims of the grave sin of sexual abuse, as well as for decisive action resulting from the February meeting in Rome. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of the Catholic Church in the United States, intercede for us and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide and protect us.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr

Archbishop of Cincinnati

Consumerism is the enemy of generosity, pope says

11/26/2018 - 3:08pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The desire to spend vast amounts on shopping and needless extravagances can prevent Christians from being generous with others, Pope Francis said.

"Consumerism is a great disease today. I am not saying that we all do this, no. But consumerism, spending more than we need, is a lack of austerity in life; this is an enemy of generosity," the pope said Nov. 26 during Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

In his homily, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Luke in which Jesus noticed wealthy people placing their vast offerings into the treasury while an old widow makes an offering of two small coins.

"I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood," Jesus said.

The pope said Jesus often spoke about and compared the behaviors of the rich and the poor, for example, in his parable of the poor man Lazarus or his encounter with the rich young man.

Jesus’ assertion that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven may cause some to "label Christ as a communist, but the Lord — when he said these things — knew that behind wealth there was always an evil spirit: the lord of the world," he said.

The poor widow in the Gospel reading, he continued, "gave the little she had" because she trusted God and knew that "the Lord is more than everything."

Pope Francis said Christians today wondering if their small deeds or acts can help relieve social ills such as poverty and hunger are no different than the widow and the two coins she gave as an offering.

"It’s the little things. For example, take a trip to our rooms, let us go to our closets. How many pairs of shoes do you have? One, two, three, four, 15, 20 … everyone can answer. A bit too much. I knew a bishop who owned 40 pairs. But if you have so many shoes, give half," the pope said. "It is a way of being generous, of giving what we have, of sharing."

Pope Francis called on Christians to be generous with those in need and to pray to God "so that he can free us from the dangerous evil of consumerism" which is "a psychiatric disease" that can enslave.

"Let us ask for this grace from the Lord," the pope said, "this generosity which broadens our hearts and leads us to magnanimity."

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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

Giving Tuesday #iGiveCatholic Primer

11/26/2018 - 3:06pm

It’s Giving Tuesday, a day to give back. This year, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati sets sail on their first #iGiveCatholic campaign. Here’s what you need to know: All funds collected go directly to the parishes, high schools, and organizations listed. Here’s your 2018 #iGiveCatholic primer. Simply click on the name and that will take you to their page.


Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains (Cincinnati)

All Saints Catholic Church (Montgomery)

Church of the Annunciation B.V.M. (Cincinnati)

Church of the Ascension (Kettering)

Church of the Resurrection (Cincinnati)

Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Eaton)

Corpus Christi Church (Cincinnati)

Emmanuel Church (Dayton)

Guardian Angels Parish

Holy Family Church (Cincinnati)

Holy Trinity Church (Dayton)

Immaculate Conception Church (North Lewisburg)

Immaculate Heart of Mary (Cincinnati)

Nativity Church and School (Pleasant Ridge)

Our Lady of Good Hope Church (Miamisburg)

Our Lady of Grace Parish (Dayton)

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish (Cincinnati)

Our Lady of Sorrows Church (Monroe)

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (St. Marys)

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (Dayton)

Our Lady of the Rosary Church (Greenhills)

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Reading)

Our Lady of the Visitation Parish (Cincinnati)

Our Lady of Victory (Cincinnati)

Precious Blood Church (Dayton)

Sacred Heart Church (St. Paris)

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (Fairfield)

St. Albert the Great Parish (Kettering)

St. Andrew Church (Milford)

St. Angela Merici Parish (Fayetteville)

St. Ann Church (Groesbeck)

St. Ann Catholic Church (Hamilton)

St. Anthony Church (Cincinnati)

St. Bartholomew Parish (Cincinnati)

St. Bernadette Parish (Amelia)

St. Bernard Parish (St. Henry)

St. Bernard Church (Taylor Creek)

St. Boniface Parish (Cincinnati)

St. Brigid (Xenia)

St. Catharine of Siena (Westwood)

St. Cecilia Parish (Oakley)

St. Charles Borromeo Parish (Kettering)

St. Christopher Parish (Vandalia)

St. Clare Parish (College Hill)

St. Clement Parish (St. Bernard)

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish (Milford)

St. Helen Parish (Riverside)

St. James of the Valley Church (Wyoming)

St. James the Greater Parish (White Oak)

St. John Fisher Parish (Newtown)

St. John Neumann Church (Cincinnati)

St. John the Baptist Church (Dry Ridge)

St. John the Baptist Church (Harrison)

St. John the Evangelist Church (New Paris)

St. Joseph Church (Dayton)

St. Jude Church (Bridgetown)

St. Margaret – St. John Church (Cincinnati)

St. Mary Church and Campus Ministry (Oxford)

St. Mary Parish (Urbana)

St. Matthias the Apostle Church (Forest Park)

St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish (Liberty Township)

St. Michael Church (Mount Orab)

St. Michael Parish (Mechanicsburg)

St. Monica-St. George Parish (Clifton)

St. Patrick Church (St. Marys)

St. Paul Church (Englewood)

St. Philip Church (Morrow)

St. Rita Church (Dayton)

St. Susanna (Mason)

St. Vincent Ferrer Church and School (Kenwood)

St. Vivian Parish (Finneytown)

St. William Church (Price Hill)



The Athenaeum of Ohio Mount Saint Marys Seminary (Cincinnati)


Wright State Campus Ministry

High Schools

Badin High School (Hamilton)

La Salle High School (Cincinnati)

Mount Notre Dame High School (Cincinnati)

Purcell Marian High School (Cincinnati)

St. Ursula Academy (Cincinnati)

St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati)

Ursuline Academy (Cincinnati)

Elementary Schools

Annunciation Catholic School (Cincinnati)

CISE (Catholic Inner-city Schools Education)
Serving St. Boniface Cincinnati, Corryville Catholic, St. Francis Seraph, St. Francis deSales, Holy Family School, St. Joseph School (OTR), St. Lawrence, Resurrection

Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori School (Cincinnati)

Holy Rosary School (St. Mary’s)

Mother Brunner Catholic School (Dayton)

Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School (Liberty Township)

Piqua Catholic School (Piqua)

St. Bernard Catholic School (Taylor Creek)

St. Gertrude School (Madiera)

St. Ignatius of Loyola School (Monfort Heights)

St. James School (White Oak)

St. John the Baptist Catholic School (Dry Ridge)

St. Louis School (Owensville)

St. Luke School (Beavercreek)

St. Mary School (Hyde Park)

St. Nicholas Academy (Reading)

St. Patrick School (Troy)

St. Thomas More School (Withamsville)

Special Schools

St. Rita School for the Deaf (Cincinnati)


African American Ministries
The Office for African American Pastoral Ministries inspired by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in all peoples, facilitates the affirmation, acceptance and inclusion of the people of African heritage into the mission and life of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Archives
One of the missions of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is to keep our history alive. One of the ways we do this is through visual displays of items used in our past. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati was established in 1821 and we have items belonging to our bishops going back to that year.

Archdiocese Mission Office
The Office of Mission and the Pontifical Mission Societies is active both locally and outside the Archdiocese. Locally we help animate Catholics to the call to a globally minded church. We help raise funds for the Holy Father’s very own mission organizations as well as for local Catholics in Mission, both in the U.S. and overseas.

Archdiocesan Respect Life Office
Your gift also helps us promote awareness of the many Respect Life Issues today such as abortion, euthanasia, help for those with disabilities, or even human trafficking.

Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio
Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio lives out Christ’s call to “Love one another” (John 13:34) by serving the poor, protecting the vulnerable and welcoming the stranger for more than 100 years. Thousands of volunteers and donors come together each year to share love with their neighbors.

Catholic Cincinnati Prison Mission
Your gift to us transforms our ministry and builds the body of Christ.

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
The goal of this day is to rally our Catholic community in support of the organizations that shape our souls

Cincinnati Right to Life Educational Foundation
The mission of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, Inc., Cincinnati Right to Life Educational Foundation, and the Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati Political Action Committee is to end abortion and prevent euthanasia in Greater Cincinnati.

Comboni Missionaries
Empowerment Through Education – Serving in 42 countries around the world

Couple to Couple League International Inc
Your gift to us transforms our ministry and builds the body of Christ.

Damascus Staffing
Damascus Staffing started in 2015 with a vision to create a smooth re-entry process for formerly incarcerated people. Since then, we have partnered with businesses in many industries such as manufacturing, construction, food service, and transportation.

Friar Works, Franciscan Ministry & Mission
The Friar Works office generates charitable gifts to support all Franciscan ministries so that we are better able to serve the poor and needy, our men in seminary training, and our retired and sick friars.

Gate of Heaven Cemetery Cincinnati
Your generous gift helps Gate of Heaven Cemetery fulfill the mission of the Church— in following the corporal work of mercy in burying our deceased brothers and sisters in Christ.

Glenmary Home Missioners
We are a Catholic society of priests and brothers who, along with lay coworkers, are dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of people living in mission counties throughout Appalachia and the South.

Heaven’s Gain Ministries
Heaven’s Gain Ministries helps families who have lost a baby due to stillbirth, miscarriage, preemie death or infant death. We help families with information, support, birth plans, peer to peer support, group support, Baby Loss Family Advisors, and Baby Loss Doula services.

HOPE: Holy Land Outreach Promoting Education
Building a bridge of love, peace, & friendship through education. Bonds are formed, cultures are shared, Christian solidarity is strengthened.

Little Sisters of the Poor
As of October 14, 2018, we have been serving the elderly poor of Cincinnati for 150 years! It is our goal to be able to continue our mission in Cincinnati for the next 150 years.

Mercy Neighborhood Ministries
Changing Lives with a Touch of Mercy

Ministry to Senior Clergy

New Evangelization Programs
Help us equip Contagioulsy Catholic Parishes

Office for Marriage & Family Evangelization & Discipleship
Walking with couples in the Archdiocese from engagement through marriage.

Pregnancy Center West
Pregnancy Center West is a Christian, pro-life ministry providing education regarding positive alternatives to abortion and offering assistance with pregnancy-related services.

Retirement Fund for Religious
The Retirement Fund for Religious has as its primary focus Direct Care Assistance, the ongoing needs of elder members.

Ruah Woods
Ruah Woods helps men and women live their vocation to love, according to God’s plan as informed by the Theology of the Body.

Run for the Call (Vocations Office)
Run for the Call makes funds available to any seminarian who finds himself facing financial difficulties that effect his ability to enter fully into the formation process.

Sacred Heart Radio
Sacred Heart Radio is listener-supported Catholic radio, with the mission of using the power of broadcasting to transmit the Truth of Jesus Christ as taught by the Catholic Church.

The HELP Program Cincinnati
Community Advocacy and Education

Young Adult Ministry of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Over the past 18 months, the Young Adult Office has experienced exciting growth. More work lies ahead as we cultivate a cohesive and accessible community and provide opportunities for God to reveal Himself to us in profound ways.

Cupich named to organizing group of Vatican’s February meeting on abuse crisis

11/25/2018 - 11:52am

By Hannah Brockhaus

Vatican City, Nov 23, 2018 / (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican announced Friday Pope Francis’ selection for the organizing committee of the Vatican’s February meeting of bishops on abuse prevention. Among the group named is Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago.

The gathering, which will take place Feb. 21-24, 2019, is focused on the protection of minors from sexual abuse within the Church. The pope has asked the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences, and the heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches, to attend.

In addition to Cupich, Francis also placed on the organizing committee Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who was recently made adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

Fr. Hans Zollner, president of the Center for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM), was also named a member and made the contact person for the committee.

Earlier this month, the Vatican asked the United States bishops to postpone their consideration of a new code of conduct for bishops and the creation of a lay-led body to investigate bishops accused of misconduct, until after the conclusion of the February meeting on abuse.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, made the announcement Nov. 12, during the bishops’ fall general assembly in Baltimore. The instruction to halt the vote was given by the Congregation for Bishops.

At DiNardo’s announcement, Cupich intervened from the floor, expressing his support for the pope. He also proposed an alternate plan on how to handle misconduct complaints against bishops, different from the draft measures previously presented by conference leadership.

In a statement Nov. 23, Papal spokesman Greg Burke called the February meeting “unprecedented,” and said that it “shows Pope Francis has made the protection of minors a fundamental priority for the Church.”

The gathering is about “keeping children safe from harm worldwide,” he said, adding that the pope wants the Church’s leaders to “to have a full understanding of the devastating impact that clerical sexual abuse has on victims.”

Burke said that the meeting is for bishops, who, he said, have the most responsibility for the “grave problem” of abuse; but lay men and women who are experts in the area of abuse will also be providing input and will be able to help address what should be done “to ensure transparency and accountability.”

Among those who will be helping with preparations for the February meeting are members of the PCPM and the lay undersecretaries of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life: Dr. Gabriella Gambino and Dr. Linda Ghisoni.

Some number of victims of abuse by clergy will also be helping with preparations.

In addition to Pope Francis, other Vatican representation at the meeting will be the superiors of the Secretariat of State, and the prefects of seven congregations, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation of Bishops, and the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.

Representatives of men’s and women’s religious orders will also be present.

Vatican, World Youth Day officials release pope’s Panama itinerary

11/21/2018 - 3:55pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Pope Francis visits Panama for World Youth Day in January, he will meet with young people not able to attend the festivities: some in jail and with some living with HIV.

He also will dedicate the altar of Panama’s newly renovated 400-year-old cathedral, meet with bishops from Central America and have lunch with some of the young people attending the youth day gathering, according to the schedule released by the Vatican Nov. 20.

The pope’s visit to Panama Jan. 23-27 will be his 26th trip outside of Italy. During his visit, he will deliver seven speeches and celebrate two Masses as well as a penitential liturgy.

The theme for World Youth Day 2019 is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke: "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

The pope’s meeting with young people who will be unable to take part in the activities is a response to the Gospel’s call to clothe the naked, visit the sick and comfort the imprisoned, the organizing committee said in a Nov. 20 statement.

Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama said Pope Francis’ meeting with young detainees will be "a very special event" in which "young people deprived of freedom will take part in a penitential liturgy with the Holy Father in an act of repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness," the committee said.

After the closing Mass for World Youth Day, the pope will visit Casa Hogar el Buen Samaritano (Good Samaritan Home), a center dedicated to helping HIV and AIDS patients "regardless of their sex, religion, sexual orientation, geographical origin" and "who lack the resources to live and cope with their illness."

The pope will also pray the Angelus there with young people from the Malambo hospice, which helps people addicted to drugs and alcohol, and from Hogar San Jose, a house for the poor run by the Missionaries of Charity and the Kkottongnae religious congregation.

Here is the detailed schedule released by the Vatican. All times are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parentheses:

Wednesday, Jan. 23 (Rome, Panama)

— 9:35 a.m. (3:35 a.m.) Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

— 4:30 p.m. Arrival at Tocumen International Airport in Panama.

— 4:50 p.m. Transfer to the apostolic nunciature.

Thursday, Jan. 24 (Panama)

— 9:45 a.m. Welcoming ceremony at Palacio de las Garzas presidential palace.

— 10 a.m. Courtesy visit with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela at Palacio de las Garzas.

— 10:40 a.m. Meeting with government authorities and the diplomatic corps at Bolivar Palace. Speech by pope.

— 11:15 a.m. Meeting with Central American bishops in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Speech by pope.

— 5:30 p.m. Welcoming ceremony and gathering with young people in Santa Maria la Antigua Field. Speech by pope.

Friday, Jan. 25 (Panama)

— 10:30 a.m. Penitential liturgy with juvenile delinquents in Las Garzas de Pacora Juvenile Detention Center in Pacora. Homily by pope.

— 11:50 a.m. Transfer by helicopter to the apostolic nunciature.

— 5:30 p.m. Way of the Cross with young people in Santa Maria la Antigua Field. Speech by pope.

Saturday, Jan. 26 (Panama)

— 9:15 a.m. Mass and dedication of the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua with priests, men and women religious and lay movements. Homily by pope.

— 12:15 p.m. Lunch with young people at San Jose Major Seminary

— 6:30 p.m. Prayer vigil with young people at St. John Paul II Field. Speech by pope.

Sunday, Jan. 27 (Panama)

— 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. John Paul II Field to mark World Youth Day. Homily by pope.

— 10:45 a.m. Visit to Casa Hogar el Buen Samaritano (Good Samaritan Home). Speech and Angelus by pope.

— 4:30 p.m. Meeting with World Youth Day volunteers, the local organizing committee and benefactors at Rommel Fernandez Stadium. Speech by pope.

— 6:00 p.m. Farewell ceremony at Tocumen International Airport.

— 6:15 p.m. Departure from Tocumen International Airport.

Monday, Jan. 28 (Rome)

— 11:50 a.m. (5:50 a.m.) Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino Airport.

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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

Helping others can change the world, pope tells young people

11/21/2018 - 2:28pm

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a video message to young men and women around the world, Pope Francis called on them to provoke an uprising of change by serving others.

In helping those who are suffering, both young believers and nonbelievers can find "a strength that can change the world," the pope said in a video message to youths for the upcoming World Youth Day in Panama.

"It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world. It is the ‘revolution’ of service," he said in the message released by the Vatican Nov. 21.

The theme for the World Youth Day celebrations, which will take place Jan. 22-27, is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke, "May it be done to me according to your word."

In his message, the pope said those words uttered by Mary during the Annunciation are "the positive reply of one who understands the secret of vocation: to go beyond oneself and place oneself at the service of others."

Life, he said, can only find meaning when serving God and others. Like Mary, young people must engage "in conversation with God with an attitude of listening" so that they may discover their calling either in marriage, consecrated life or the priesthood.

"The important thing is to discover what God wants from us and to be brave enough to say ‘yes,’" the pope said. "When God has a proposition for us, like the one he had for Mary, it is not intended to extinguish our dreams, but to ignite our aspirations."

Pope Francis encouraged young people to say ‘yes’ to God’s calling, which is "the first step toward being happy and toward making many people happy."

"Dear young people," the pope said, "take courage, enter within yourselves and ask God: ‘What do you want from me?’ Allow God to answer you. Then you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju


– – –

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

People must confront their evil desires, beg God for mercy, pope says

11/21/2018 - 1:48pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God handed down his commandments not for people to hypocritically follow the letter of the law with a proud and righteous heart, but for people to recognize the truth of their weaknesses and acknowledge their need for help, healing and salvation, Pope Francis said.

"Blessed are those who stop fooling themselves, believing they are able to save themselves from their weakness without God’s mercy," which is the only thing that can heal a troubled heart, he said Nov. 21 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

"Blessed are those who recognize their evil desires and, with a penitent and humiliated heart, stand before God and humanity, not as one of the righteous, but as a sinner," he said.

The pope continued his series of talks on the Ten Commandments, reflecting on the final commands, "You shall not covet … your neighbor’s wife" and "anything that belongs to your neighbor."

The last commandments, he said, encapsulate the essence of all of God’s commands — that every sin or transgression stems from "coveting" and being caught up in evil thoughts and desires.

The commandments aim to set clear limits, which, if they are crossed, do great harm to oneself and to one’s relationship with God and others, the pope said.

But what compels people to cross those boundaries? he asked.

All transgressions and sins, he said, stem from "one common inner root: evil desires." These desires "stir the heart and one enters the fray and ends up transgressing. But not a formal or legal transgression. A transgression that wounds, wounds oneself, wounds others."

He said Jesus explains in the Gospel of St. Mark that what is evil comes from what is inside a person, what is in their hearts — evil thoughts like, "unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly."

"Each one of us could ask ourselves which of these desires occurs often in me," as part of an examination of one’s heart and recognition of the truth, he said.

The Ten Commandments will have no impact or effect if people do not understand the source of sin is inside them and the challenge is to "free the heart from all of these evil and ugly things," the pope said.

God’s laws could be reduced to just a "beautiful facade of a life that is still the life of a slave and not children" of God, he said.

"Often, behind that pharisaical mask of asphyxiating correctness, something ugly and unresolved is hiding," he added.

"Instead, we must let ourselves be unmasked by the commandments" in order to reveal one’s spiritual poverty and be led to "a holy humiliation," recognizing one’s failings and pleading to God for salvation.

The laws of the Bible are not meant to "deceive people that a literal obedience (to the law) brings one to an artificial and, for that matter, unattainable salvation," he said.

The law is meant to bring people to the truth about themselves — to recognize their poverty and to authentically open themselves up to the mercy of God, "who transforms us and renews us. God is the only one who is able to renew our hearts as long as we open our heart to him. That’s the only condition."

The commandments help people face "the disarray of our hearts in order to stop living selfishly" and become authentic children of God, redeemed by the Son and taught and guided by the Holy Spirit.

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Thanksgiving Day Mass Times

11/21/2018 - 11:41am

The Catholic Telegraph Mass Times and More Calendar has released Mass Times for Thanksgiving Day.  A great way to start Thanksgiving Day is with the family and friends and attend a Mass near you. For the calendar, click here

‘Every day is Thanksgiving,’ says Cherokee chief

11/20/2018 - 6:29pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sarah Webb,

By Gina Christian

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — Thanksgiving should be a daily attitude rather than an annual observance, according to an American Indian leader in Pennsylvania.

Chief Buffy Red Feather Brown, leader of the Southeastern Cherokee Confederacy of Pennsylvania Earth Band, says that a true appreciation for God’s many gifts makes "every day a day of Thanksgiving."

"I thank God when I wake up that I can see, that I can walk," said Red Feather. "I look at the bottom of my foot for an expiration date, and when I don’t see one, I thank God I’ve got another day."

A devout Catholic who fully embraces both her faith and her Cherokee heritage, Red Feather noted that many Native Americans do not observe Thanksgiving for several reasons.

Gratitude, continuously expressed, is already integral to American Indian cultures, so a single — and often highly commercialized — commemoration is regarded as a "false celebration," she told, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In addition, the U.S. holiday’s origins recall the deeply conflicted history of relations between American Indians and immigrant settlers.

In 1621, European colonists at Plymouth — located in what is now the state of Massachusetts — gathered with several Wampanoag Indians for a harvest feast that later inspired days of thanksgiving in various states. A national holiday was established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

Despite the celebration at Plymouth village, whose settlers relied on extensive assistance from the Wampanoag for survival, interactions between colonists and various indigenous nations were largely tragic. According to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, "European contact resulted in devastating loss of life, disruption of tradition and enormous loss of lands for American Indians."

Red Feather’s own family was almost wiped out during the Trail of Tears, the federal government’s forced relocation during the 1830s of Indians in the southeastern U.S. to territory west of the Mississippi River. An estimated 100,000 indigenous residents were driven from their homes, with approximately 15,000 perishing en route.

"My people were in North Carolina 1838," said Red Feather, who regularly represents her tribe at the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s annual cultural heritage Mass. "When the soldiers came to force them onto the trail, my ancestors went into the mountains and stayed there until the soldiers left. When they came back down, they had to start rebuilding their lives."

The Trail of Tears is one of many key historical events highlighted during Native American Heritage Month, designated as November by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. The National Museum of the American Indian stresses that indigenous nations should be viewed as complex, dynamic societies, rather than one-dimensional stereotypes, since "there is no single American Indian culture or language."

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, whose mother’s ancestry is mostly Potawatomi Indian, said in an email to that "it is important not to forget the original peoples of this land."

In contrast to European explorers’ perceptions, "we weren’t ‘discovered,’" noted Red Feather. "We were already here for centuries, and mostly living at peace."

The effects of earlier European contact continue to impact American Indians, who currently experience disproportionately high levels of poverty, disease, suicide, violence, addiction and marginalization. Despite such daunting challenges, indigenous cultures remain vibrant, demonstrating their "persistence, creative adaptation ‘ and resilience," according to the National Museum of the American Indian.

"The history of the relationship of our country with native people is a mixture of sadness, misunderstanding and even hope," Archbishop Chaput said.

The recent midterm elections provided two examples of such optimism, as Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico became the first two Native American women elected to Congress.

Facing the future while holding onto one’s heritage is essential, Red Feather pointed out.

"We are trying to always remember the past, but not live in the past," she said.

These days, Red Feather particularly focuses on protecting the unborn and the environment, noting that "God made all things, and we are the caretakers of the earth."

She also emphasizes the need to pass on faith — and a deep sense of gratitude — to the next generation, especially as the Christmas season begins.

"So many things are pushed onto young people through the media, and they don’t know the real significance of these holidays," she said. "We need to remind them that every day is a day of thanksgiving, and that they need to remember the true meaning of Christmas."

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Christian is senior content producer at, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


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Huge Catholic-run food pantry creates Thanksgiving blessing for the poor

11/20/2018 - 4:54pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Katie Rutter

By Katie Rutter

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — Jesus himself might have set the all-time food record when he miraculously served 5,000 men with a few loaves and fish.

In this day and age, however, the Indianapolis Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul might hold that title.

The Catholic organization leaders host what they believe to be the largest food pantry in the Midwest, if not in the country, giving out groceries to 3,000 families each week.

A visit to the food pantry during one of their busiest times — the week before Thanksgiving — did not reveal any miraculous loaf-dividing. Rather, the nonprofit showed that the unbelievable becomes possible with a combination of organization, resourcefulness, generosity, sheer volunteer power and faith.

"We always have enough for our clients," said John Ryan, president of the Indianapolis Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. "Just due to the generosity of our donor base, there’s never been a day when we haven’t had enough food."

A fine-tuned system ensures efficiency from the entrance all the way back to the parking lot.

Clients check in with a number and that same number is attached to a shopping cart so that they can claim and load their groceries into their car.

Then, they shuffle through a long line of canned goods, boxed food and perishables, selecting their own food according to a point system.

Of utmost importance to Ryan is that clients are able to choose their own food from some 150 different options.

"A study showed that in a client-choice food pantry there’s 40 percent less waste of food because they’re actually choosing what they want to eat versus us giving them what they want to eat," he said.

Behind the scenes, the food selections are supplied from a sprawling warehouse. Some rooms are stacked with pallets of canned goods, others are lined with boxes of nonperishables. In one room, saran-wrapped bales of cornflakes stood at least seven-feet high.

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Indiana food pantry received 200 frozen turkeys for volunteers to hand out.

"They’ll pick a day, like probably tomorrow morning, and all 200 will fly out the door," Ryan told Catholic News Service during a November interview at the food pantry, without intending the pun.

The group budgets about $330,000 per year for food purchases, which equals out to roughly $2 per family per week. Yet each family walks away with bags of groceries that would have been $50-$75 to purchase in a store.

The almost-biblical multiplication is possible through a cunning resourcefulness acquired by decades of negotiation and market knowledge.

Some food is acquired for free from food drives and big donations. Some is purchased at an extremely low price from at least three Indiana food banks. Some is purchased in bulk — as in, a tractor-trailer load — on the open market.

Occasionally, the organization will be contacted by a trucker whose load was rejected by a grocery store that would otherwise be destined for a landfill.

"If they know about us, they’ll call us and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a semi full of green beans here, I’ll sell them to you for $3,000,’ and we’ll say, ‘Well, how about $1,000?’" Ryan told CNS.

The Indianapolis Council runs almost entirely on volunteer power. Dedicated individuals, each with unique talents, handle everything from organizing food to directing traffic and managing tax requirements.

A core group of about 20 volunteers, mostly retirees, manage the whole operation, putting in hours akin to a full-time job. About 300 additional people come in on a weekly basis. Thousands more volunteer infrequently, including people from schools and business groups looking for service opportunities.

"I think it’s the Holy Spirit at work that draws people, or sends people to our organization, said Ryan, himself a volunteer at the food pantry. "It just happens."

Ryan also credits the Holy Spirit for the financial support that sustains St. Vincent de Paul.

He estimates that 6,000 donors give to their charitable appeals, which are organized every three months. The Indianapolis Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul also applies for grants to fund large projects, such as the recently completed restroom renovations.

Despite the masses the society serves annually, the group leaders don’t get caught up in the numbers. Ryan said he fights cynicism by simply understanding poverty and attempting to relate to those caught in it.

"I can cite numbers for you off the top of my head," he said. "I can tell you that one in seven people in Indianapolis technically live in poverty. I can tell you that a third of them, 35 percent of them, are children. "The numbers don’t mean anything. You’ve got to look at those people, look them in the eyes, they are as kind and as appreciative and as generous as anybody you’ll meet."

Ryan firmly asserted that, ultimately, those in poverty simply want hope, and prays that God supplies that gift.

If the literal mountains of food moved by this St. Vincent de Paul council each day are any indication, God is certainly at work among the poor of Indianapolis. Just this time, his disciples don blue jeans and hand out frozen turkeys rather than raw fish.

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Lumen Christi Award winner has spent life as a religious serving poor

11/20/2018 - 4:20pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rich Kalonick courtesy Catholic Extension


CHICAGO (CNS) — Sister Marie-Paule Willem, a Franciscan Missionary of Mary, who has been serving the poor in the U.S. and around the world for more than 60 years, will receive the 2018-2019 Lumen Christi Award from Catholic Extension.

"Working across many countries, Sister Willem believes strong families are the foundation of the church and society," said the news release announcing the award Nov. 19.

The Lumen Christi Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Chicago-based national organization, which raises and distributes funds to support U.S. mission dioceses, many of which are rural, cover a large geographic area, and have limited personnel and pastoral resources.

The recipient is chosen for best demonstrating how the power of faith can transform lives and communities.

Sister Willem, who is 85 and speaks five languages, is currently in ministry in the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she serves women in detention and leads a growing parish along the U.S.-Mexico border as pastoral administrator.

Nominated by her bishop, Sister Willem was one of 47 nominees this year and one of eight finalists.As the Lumen Christi recipient, Sister Willem and her diocese will share in a $50,000 grant.

Born into a large, Catholic family in the city of Bruges, Belgium, Sister Willem has early memories of World War II and the Nazi invasion, fleeing with her family as the bombs fell around them. They were eventually liberated by Allied forces. At age 23, she joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, "who serve where the need is greatest and where no one else wants to go, among the poorest and most forgotten," Catholic Extension said.

She ministered in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in the 1970s during times of military dictatorships and political upheaval.

"She was part of the church’s advocacy and social justice efforts to help the condemned, who were put in outdoor ‘corrals’ and left to starve. For her mission, she risked her life, received death threats and was ousted from the region," the news release said.

Still wanting to work with the poor but knowing she could not return to Latin America, she found an opportunity in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

In 1980 Sister Willem joined her community in Roma, Texas, a border town, and became director of religious education for a parish. She led bilingual programs in catechesis for children and worked with incarcerated women at a detention center

She then moved to the Diocese of Las Cruces to serve migrant farmworkers and immigrants. At age 80, she became pastoral administrator at San Jose Mission Church in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, a mission church in a working-class neighborhood. It had only a handful of parishioners and no full-time pastor.

"When I arrived, it was so sad here," Sister Willem recalled. "The buildings were falling apart, and no one seemed to care."

She started walking around the neighborhood, telling people about the parish and asking what they needed.

She started building up the community and the church itself — the liturgy, the buildings, the ministries and the grounds, which are now full of gardens. The parish hall was recently remodeled, and the church received updating.

Today the parish has more than 200 active families; about 35 people attend Mass on Saturdays and nearly 100 on Sundays.

"Sister Marie-Paule has turned the parish around," said parishioner Irma Chavez May. "The church was in bad shape, and few people came. It is beautiful now and so many attend Mass, it’s hard to find parking on Sunday."

Added Irma’s husband, Robert: "She came with a vision, enthusiasm and a passion for the church. She has gotten everyone involved and keeps us connected. If she wasn’t here, this parish would likely have closed."

At the Dona Ana Detention Center, she about 60 women. She gathers weekly with them, "using poetry and heartfelt meditation, helps them find hope, dignity and self-confidence," Catholic Extension said. She also works with immigrants, tutoring them, teaching them English and helping them prepare for citizenship.

"Sister Marie-Paule teaches us that war, persecution and suffering cannot extinguish the light of Christ," said Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension. "Most importantly, she shows by her example how ordinary people can become the light of Christ that brilliantly shines for others."

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Simple Christians: Ordinary Trappist martyrs gave extraordinary witness

11/20/2018 - 4:03pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Vatican Dicastery for Communication

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After Islamic terrorists stormed the Algerian monastery he called home, Trappist Father Christian de Cherge felt compelled to put pen to paper and write down his testament.

Father de Cherge, prior of the Monastery of Notre Dame de l’Atlas, said he held no ill will to those who would eventually kill him. In his letter, written between Dec. 1, 1993, and Jan. 1, 1994, he said he knew extremists in the country followed a "caricature of Islam" and urged his loved ones to not confuse Muslim "religious tradition with the all-or-nothingness of the extremists."

"I do not see how I could rejoice that this people that I love should be globally blamed for my murder," the Trappist monk wrote.

The sense of impending doom felt by Father de Cherge would prove correct when he and six of his fellow Trappists — Fathers Christophe, Bruno and Celestin as well as Brothers Luc, Michel and Paul — were murdered in 1996 by members of the Armed Islamic Group in Tibhirine, Algeria.

More than 20 years after their martyrdom, the seven Trappist monks will be beatified along with 12 of their fellow martyrs who were killed between 1993 and 1996, while Algeria was locked in a 10-year armed conflict between government forces and extremist Islamic rebel groups.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, will preside over the Dec. 8 Mass and beatification for the six women and 13 men in Oran, Algeria.

In anticipation of their long-awaited canonization, the Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, presented a new book on the lives of the Trappist martyrs: "Simply Christians: The Life and Message of the Blessed Martyrs of Tibhirine."

The book, written by Trappist Father Thomas Georgeon, postulator of the monks’ canonization cause, and Francois Vayne, communications director for the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, details the lives of the monks before their martyrdom.

In a video message shown during presentation of the new book Nov. 19, Father Georgeon said that while the church will formally recognize the sanctity of the seven Trappist martyrs, St. John Paul II recognized their holiness soon after their death.

Father Georgeon said the book’s cover features a picture of a mosaic located in the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel: it pictures Father de Cherge, flanked by two martyrs of the church. He said he asked Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik, who designed the mosaic, how the Trappist monk was included in the final design.

Father Georgeon recalled Father Rupnik "told me that he met the Holy Father (St. John Paul) to present the project, but there were doubts of including Father Christian only three years after his death. The canonical process of his beatification had not begun."

"The Holy Father gave him a big pat on the back and told him, ‘This monk must absolutely be included in the mosaic. You will see that he will obtain great graces for us.’ It was a prophetic word from St. John Paul II, who was the first to spread the monks’ reputation of holiness," the postulator said.

Vayne, who was born and raised in Algeria until his teens, told journalists the memory of his martyred friends continues to move him. He recalled often visiting the Tibhirine monastery, which "was the lung of the diocese."

Through their work in helping others and their witness in staying with their people despite the risks, the monks are a testament to the brotherhood that exists between Christians and Muslims, Vayne said.

Just as Pope Francis said that martyred Christians of different denominations share "an ecumenism of blood, we can also speak of a Muslim-Christian interreligious brotherhood of blood," Vayne said.

Cardinal Becciu, who wrote the book’s preface, told Catholic News Service that the example of the Trappist martyrs teaches Christians today to be "strong, courageous, faithful and coherent" in the face of persecution and to give "themselves to the cross, even though going to the cross brings extreme consequences."

Recalling Father de Cherge’s final testament, Cardinal Becciu said the martyred prior knew until the day he died how to distinguish between "the Islam that he knew and he experienced" and the beliefs of extremists who "betrayed Islam in its essence."

"He knew an Islam that was tolerant and, in being in contact with (Muslims), he saw them as respectful, friendly people who needed help. They were ready to help and receive (the monks) in their homes. So, he couldn’t react by saying, ‘All Muslims are that way’ and give a global judgement," Cardinal Becciu told CNS.

Franciscan Father Giulio Cesareo, editorial director of the Vatican publishing house, said the lives of the Trappist martyrs detailed in the book also dispel the myth that the path to holiness is lived only by "people who do extraordinary things, who do a lot of penance, work so many miracles or who are out of the ordinary."

Although the monastic experience is something that not all Christians live, the Trappist martyrs "gave of themselves in what did" through their daily activities, which ranged from blacksmithing to providing medical care for their Algerian neighbors," Father Cesareo told CNS.

"This is a great message for all of us because, in the end, we think that saints are far away," he said. "Instead, we are all saints in the measure in which we live within this logic of giving ourselves (to others)."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.


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“Telegraph” freelancer honored as outstanding caregiver

11/20/2018 - 12:56pm
Walt Schaefer poses for a photo with Teresa Nichols, a member of the Caring Like Karen Committee. (Courtesy Photo)Walt Schaefer poses for a photo with Teresa Nichols, a member of the Caring Like Karen Committee. (Courtesy Photo)

By Erin Schurenberg

Inspired by caregiver Karen Mason, Patti Alderson founded the “Caring Like Karen” awards in 2012, with six categories of honor, each recognizing an outstanding caregiver who emulates the love and patience Mason showed in her lifetime. Mason came to care for Alderson’s elderly mother after losing her husband to a long illness. “She was an instant fit with my mom and our household,” Alderson said. “She was unsurpassed in the quality of care she provided. The fund was formed to honor others like her.” Mason died in 2012 of pancreatic cancer.

Each year, six regional recipients are selected. The nominators seek to recognize an individual who serves with a high level of quality and compassion in some caregiving capacity. A committee of area healthcare professionals, nursing home administrators, home care coordinators, and caregiving peers collectively decide the winners. The six award categories are: Hospital/Hospice, Nursing Home/Retirement Community, Home Care, Physician, Child Caregiver, and Family Caregiver.

The 2018 award recipients were honored at a luncheon on Sept. 28. Walt Schaefer, editor for “Moeller Magazine” and regular contributor to “The Catholic Telegraph,” received the 2018 award in the Family Caregiver category. Melinda Zemper, a fellow member of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, nominated Schaefer for the quality of care he provides to his wife of 35 years, Rose Mary. She has struggled with the progression of Alzheimer’s for the last eight years.

When Rose Mary’s symptoms appeared, Schaefer researched the disease. Much online reference was made to “the long goodbye.” Schaefer found this label depressing. Neurologist Dr. Rhonda Schatz brought a more constructive perception. “The doctor sees Alzheimer’s like a diary in reverse where the pages are being torn out from the most recent first,” said Schaefer. “Alzheimer’s is a disease of phases and a series of plateaus. I’ve decided that the best way to cope is to make the best of what we’ve got.”

What the Schaefers have is a strong foundation rooted in decades of love and their Catholic faith. Schaefer’s love and respect for his wife echo in every comment. He admires her long history as a first grade teacher. As a long-time police reporter and columnist for “The Cincinnati Enquirer,” Schaefer never lost sight of the flexibility his sweetheart showed him in the beginning. “She was beyond loyal and understanding. In all of our years together, I have never seen her flustered until this disease struck,” he said.

The Schaefers have neighbors and the community of St. Maximilian Kolbe who care and help. They have an excellent neurologist and the Alzheimer’s Association with its 24-hour hotline and supportive counselors. “I am humbled by it all. There are lots of people with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s,” said Schaefer.

What he does not mention is that he helps supports his adult daughter, Alison, and her daughter, Annie, who live with him and his wife. At birth, baby Annie had a five percent survival rate and was one of the most critical cases at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Annie received brain surgery. Although blind, unable to talk, fed by a feeding tube and unable to walk, Annie lives and loves and is cherished by her family. The world of a person with Alzheimer’s disease begins to shrink as some activities or past-times become difficult, if not impossible. Going to Mass is no longer safe if the person wanders. Schaefer tries to keep Rose Mary social with a normal weekly routine that includes going to the same restaurants, taking rides in the car, and visiting doctors.

“Walt keeps a positive attitude, organizes a team of health care workers, and looks at life with equanimity and humor,” wrote Zemper in her nomination essay. “I would feel lost in this world without a strong Catholic foundation and the conviction that God has a divine plan for both of us,” Schaefer said.

Scalia, Staubach among seven who receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

11/19/2018 - 7:54pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters


WASHINGTON (CNS) — Late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach, both devout Catholics, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in a White House ceremony.

President Donald Trump presented the awards to five others as well Nov. 16.

Calling Scalia "one of the greatest jurists ever to serve our country," Trump said the one-time U.S. Supreme Court justice was admired for "his towering intellect, brilliant wit and fierce devotion" to the country’s founding principles.

Scalia’s widow, Maureen, received the award for her husband. The president also named the couple’s nine children, and joked to her, saying, "Wow. I always knew I liked him."

"Justice Scalia transformed the American legal landscape, igniting a national movement to apply the original meaning of the Constitution as written," said the president, who has often invoked the jurist as a model justice. "Few have done more to uphold this nation’s founding charter."

"Through nearly 900 written opinions and more than 30 years on the bench, Justice Scalia defended the American system of government and preserved the foundations of American freedom. Our whole nation is indeed indebted to Justice Scalia for his lifetime of noble and truly incredible service," Trump added.

Scalia died Feb. 13, 2016, at 79 of natural causes while on a hunting trip in Texas. The Senate confirmed him as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in September 1986. He had been the longest serving member of the current court when he died.

He repeatedly maintained in interviews that he always took his Catholic faith seriously but never allowed it to influence his work on the high court.

Staubach, a native of Cincinnati, won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player in 1963 and became two-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys. Retiring from football after an 11-year career, Staubach went on to have a success in commercial real estate. He regularly is invited to speak to various audiences, including Catholic school students, about success in life and the importance of faith in his life.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy Staubach volunteered for duty in Vietnam for a year and served in the Navy for a total of four years. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Others receiving the Medal of Freed were retiring Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, who was first elected to his seat in 1976 and is the longest serving Republican senator; Miriam Adelson, physician and philanthropist, whose husband is casino magnate Sheldon Adelson; Alan Page, a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL who went on to become a Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice; baseball legend Babe Ruth, who also was Catholic; and rock ‘n’ roll star and heartthrob Elvis Presley.

The award recognizes people who have made an especially commendable contribution to the national interests of the U.S., world peace, cultural or other endeavor.


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AOC joins Giving Tuesday, #iGiveCatholic campaign

11/19/2018 - 10:46am

One hundred ministries, schools and parishes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will join the iGiveCatholic online fundraising campaign on Nov. 27. The day of digital giving is designed to involve thousands of individuals of all ages whose donations will help fund worthwhile projects and programs.

It is the first time the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will participate in the four-year-old iGiveCatholic program. Celebrated annually on Giving Tuesday, a global effort dedicated to involve people who wish to give back to society in a meaningful way. Declared “the most successful Catholic crowdfunding event to date” by the National Catholic Register, one of the founding sponsors, the giving day kicks off the charitable season and “brings the Catholic community together to give thanks and give back to the organizations that shape our souls: Our parishes, schools, and nonprofit ministries,” said Archdiocesan Stewardship Director David Kissell.

Mount Notre Dame High School is one entity looking forward to the celebration of giving.

“We are grateful to members of the MND community who support us through charitable giving and the iGiveCatholic program provides another vehicle to do so,” said Rose Eckhoff, director of advancement. “This partnership will extend our reach to others that may be interested in our mission to educate and empower young women to learn, live, lead and serve. We are grateful to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for providing this additional opportunity for the Catholic community to give on Giving Tuesday. We also hope there are members of the larger Catholic community who wish to invest in our students and will give directly through a simple online process during Giving Tuesday.”

Eckhoff said the Giving Tuesday gifts will support the Annual Giving Fund, which is used to help MND fill the gap between the cost of tuition and the actual cost of an MND education, and will also support the school’s mission by providing tuition assistance funding for those in need.

“St. Julie Billiart, the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, challenges us to “have hearts as wide as the world, said Judy Back Gerwe ‘78, MND president. I hope charitable individuals of all ages will consider making an online gift to Mount Notre Dame through #iGiveCatholic on Giving Tuesday and support other ministries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as well.”

Another school participating for the first time is St. Brigid School.

“Our new pastor, Father Andrew Cordonnier, in collaboration with our new Business Manager, Beth Sticka, recognizing the program’s success in other communities, thought this to be an ideal tool to provide an opportunity for the community to support our St. Brigid parish and school,” said Terry Adkins, principal.

All funds raised that day will be contributed into the efforts to replace most of the existing playground equipment, which is 22-years old and wearing down, Adkins said. “We hope to raise $57,800 to replace it with modern and vibrant new equipment that is safer, healthier and appropriate for our young, growing school and parish families. We also plan to replace and upgrade the old basketball poles and backboards.”

The school has more than $17,000 donated only two weeks into its efforts and hopes to reach the goal before the end of December, so that it can contract for a summer 2019 installation.

The goal at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish is $35,000 for iGiveCatholic. Every donation made on Giving Tuesday will be used to help pay for a solution to solve a flooding problem at the parish. After every long and/or hard rain, a relatively large, though shallow, lake forms on the property because of inadequate drainage. At times, the water reaches all the way to the doors of the school, flooding parts of the playground and parking lot. The freeze and thaw of the water on the parking lot is also contributing to its deterioration. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s goal is crucial due to the frequency of the flooding that is increasing. “By eliminating this situation we will not have to worry about water coming into our school, we can fully use our playground and parking lot, and eliminate the ill effects on our parking lot,” said Valerie Hofmann, business manager.

A complete list of the entities participating in #iGiveCatholic on Nov. 27 is found on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati website:

Ethical Trade: Share the gift of Solidarity

11/19/2018 - 9:18am

An international experience that helps foster growth in solidarity with artisans and farmers and their families around the world will open its doors Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UD’s River Campus, 1700 S. Patterson Blvd., across from the Carillon Tower.

Beautiful hand-crafted items for home and personal use, intricately-designed jewelry and scarves, brightly-colored baskets and home décor along with chocolate, gourmet foods, coffee and tea, are among the many items available at the sale.

Products are sourced from Catholic Relief Services Ethical Trade, which brings Catholics closer to their faith through education, advocacy and access to ethically produced products of the highest standards. CRS’ vetting process employs the principles of the world’s leading fair trade organizations and goes a step further to ensure these companies’ business practices are not in conflict with Catholic social teaching.

As shoppers browse the sale, they will learn about the artisans and families who produce the products offered. The sale also connects shoppers with the mission-supporting efforts of religious sisters and a parish and with people who have resettled in the Dayton area.

Gift-giving will bless both family and friends as well as families around the world. Weavers of Justice, a collaborative of Dayton area parishes, coordinates the sale through the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Catholic Social Action Office.

Throughout the day lively music gives shoppers an opportunity to watch performers share traditional dances from cultures around the world.

For more information call Sara Seligmann at 937-481-4124, ext. 5018 or email

Helping the poor is not a papal fad, but a duty, pope says

11/18/2018 - 12:50pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As the rich get richer, the increasing misery and cries of the poor are ignored every day, Pope Francis said.

"We Christians cannot stand with arms folded in indifference" or thrown up in the air in helpless resignation, the pope said in his homily Nov. 18, the World Day of the Poor.

"As believers, we must stretch out our hands as Jesus does with us," freely and lovingly offering help to the poor and all those in need, the pope said at the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. About 6,000 poor people attended the Mass as special guests; they were joined by volunteers and others who assist disadvantaged communities.

After the Mass and Angelus, the pope joined some 1,500 poor people in the Vatican’s audience hall for a multi-course lunch. Many parishes, schools and volunteer groups across Rome also offered a number of services and meals for the poor that day.

God always hears the cries of those in need, the pope said in his homily at the Mass, but what about "us? Do we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hands outstretched to offer help?"

Pope Francis urged everyone to pray for the grace to hear the cries of all the poor: "the stifled cry of the unborn, of starving children, of young people more used to the explosion of bombs than happy shouts of the playground."

May people hear the cry of the abandoned elderly, those who lack any support, refugees and "entire peoples deprived even of the great natural resources at their disposal," he said.

Referring to the Gospel story of the poor man begging for scraps, Pope Francis many people today are just like Lazarus and "weep while the wealthy few feast on what, in justice, belongs to all. Injustice is the perverse root of poverty."

Every day, he said, the cry of the poor becomes louder, but it is increasingly ignored. Their cries are "drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich," he said.

The pope reflected on St. Matthew’s account of what Jesus did after he fed thousands with just five loaves and two fish. The passage (Mt 14: 22-32) explains that instead of gloating or basking in the glory of successfully feeding so many people, Jesus goes up to the mountain to pray.

"He teaches us the courage to leave, to leave behind the success that swells the heart and the tranquillity that deadens the soul," the pope said.

But then Jesus goes back down the mountain to the people who still need him, he said.

"This is the road Jesus tells us to take — to go up to God and to come down to our brothers and sisters," to tear oneself away from a life of ease and comfort and leave behind fleeting pleasures, glories and superfluous possessions, the pope said.

Jesus sets people free from the things that do not matter so they will be able to embrace the true treasures in life: God and one’s neighbor, he added.

The other event in the passage according to St. Matthew, the pope said, is how the storm and the winds died down after Jesus got into the boat carrying his frightened disciples.

The secret to navigating life and its momentary storms, the pope said, "is to invite Jesus on board. The rudder of life must be surrendered to him" because it is he who gives life, hope, healing and freedom from fear.

The third thing Jesus does is stretch out his hand to Peter, who, in his fear and doubt, is sinking in the water.

Everyone wants true life and needs the hand of the Lord to save them from evil, the pope said.

"This is the beginning of faith — to cast off the pride that makes us feel self-sufficient and to realize that we are in need of salvation," he said. "Faith grows in this climate" of being not on a pedestal aloof from the world but with those crying for help.

"This is why it is important for all of us to live our faith in contact with those in need," the pope said. "This is not a sociological option or a pontifical fad. It is a theological requirement" to acknowledge one’s own spiritual poverty and that everyone, especially the poor, is pleading for salvation.

"Rouse us, Lord, from our idle calm, from the quiet lull of our safe harbors. Set us free from the moorings of self-absorption that weigh life down; free us from constantly seeking success. Teach us to know how to ‘leave’ in order to set out on the road you have shown us: to God and our neighbor," he said.

The pope established the World Day of the Poor to encourage the whole church to reach out to those in need and let the poor know their cries have not gone unheard, the pope said in his message this year.

U.N. groups estimate there are some 700 million people in the world who are unable to meet their basic needs and that 10 percent of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty.


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California prelates urge prayers, humanitarian aid for victims of fires

11/16/2018 - 10:38pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Terray Sylvester, Reuters


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — By midday Nov. 16 firefighters had gained more ground in trying to contain the Camp Fire in Northern California, which is north of Sacramento and one of the deadliest blazes in the state.

The same day in Southern California, more residents displaced by Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles were being allowed to return to their homes. Both fires started Nov. 8, but authorities have not determined the cause.

Fueled by low humidity and strong winds, the Camp Fire has destroyed over 11,000 buildings across over 140,000 acres. The entire population of Paradise, about 30,000, were forced to evacuate Nov. 9; the town was destroyed. The death toll stands at 66 and at least 631 people are missing.

"The tremendous loss from the Camp Fire ravaging parts of the diocese is devastating," said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento. "The families in Paradise and the surrounding communities affected by the fire can rely on the support of our prayers.

"We also pray for the brave men and women responding to this disaster and battling the fires," he added in a statement posted on the diocesan website, "May all those who have died in this catastrophic inferno be granted eternal repose in the merciful hands of the Lord Jesus."

Bishop Soto was to celebrate Mass Nov. 18 at St. John the Baptist Parish in downtown Chico for all those affected by the Camp Fire. He especially invited the community of St. Thomas More Parish in Paradise; their church was in the direct line of fire.

Many of St. Thomas’ parishioners have lost their homes. The Sacramento Diocese has confirmed that church and school buildings have survived the fire. The new rectory, old rectory and parish hall were destroyed.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Northern Valley Catholic Social Service were working with partner organizations on local relief and recovery efforts. Donations can be made through the Sacramento Diocese by visiting (choose the Fire Assistance Fund).

In a Nov. 14 statement, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez asked all people of faith and goodwill to join him in offering prayers and support for everyone affected by the fires in Southern California.

"The devastation of the wildfires continues throughout our state. We need to keep praying for those who have lost their lives and their homes and livelihoods, and for all the men and women fighting the fires," said Archbishop Gomez.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has started a fund to help the victims of these fires. Donations can be made at

"These funds will assist families within our parish communities in their recovery efforts," he said.

The archdiocese of Los Angeles has been providing support to the communities affected by the fires through Catholic Charities of Los Angeles and local parishes and schools.

As of Nov. 16, these are the facts about each of the fires, according to Cal Fire and local officials:

— Northern California: Camp Fire, Butte County: 142,000 acres burned; 45 percent contained; 63 fatalities confirmed; and 11,862 structures destroyed (including homes).

— Southern California: Woolsey Fire, Los Angeles County, Ventura County: 98,362 acres burned; 69 percent contained; three fatalities confirmed; and 616 structures destroyed, 57,000 in danger.

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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