Pope offers prayers for President Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump places his hand on the Bible as he takes the oath of office administered by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts Jan. 20. At Trump's side are his wife, Melania, and children Barron, Donald, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany during his swearing-in as the country's 45th president at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters) See INAUGURATION- Jan. 20, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump places his hand on the Bible as he takes the oath of office administered by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts Jan. 20. At Trump’s side are his wife, Melania, and children Barron, Donald, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany during his swearing-in as the country’s 45th president at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters) See INAUGURATION- Jan. 20, 2017.

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As President Donald Trump was being sworn in, Pope Francis told an interviewer it would be “reckless” to pass judgment on the new president before he had a chance to do anything.
“We must wait and see,” the pope told two reporters from the Spanish newspaper El Pais during a 75-minute interview Jan. 19.
The interview was published late Jan. 20 in its original Spanish with an English translation.
Asked if he wasn’t worried at least about some of the things Trump said before his election, the pope responded, “I’m waiting. God waited so long for me, with all my sins.”
“Being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite reckless,” the pope said. “We will see. We will see what he does and then we will judge always on the concrete. Christianity either is concrete or it is not Christianity.”
El Pais asked another question about Trump and populists in the United States and Europe who, the interviewer said, “capitalize on fear in the face of an uncertain future in order to form a message full of xenophobia and hatred toward the foreigner.”
“Crises provoke fear, alarm,” the pope said. “In my opinion, the most obvious example of European populism is Germany in 1933. After (Paul von) Hindenburg, after the crisis of 1930, Germany is broken, it needs to get up, to find its identity, a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler who says: ‘I can, I can.'”
“Hitler didn’t steal the power, his people voted for him, and then he destroyed his people,” Pope Francis said.
In times of crisis, he said, large segments of the population think, “Let’s look for a savior who gives us back our identity and let’s defend ourselves with walls, barbed-wire, whatever, from other peoples who may rob us of our identity. And that is a very serious thing.”
Obviously, Pope Francis said, nations have a right and duty to control their borders, especially under the threat of terrorism, but “no country has the right to deprive its citizens of the possibility of talking with their neighbors.”

Bishops mention immigration policy in statement

By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Urging Americans to look at their families for stories of immigration, the president and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called attention to the hardships and contributions of immigrants to American society as the U.S. church prepared to observe National Migration Week.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles also said in a Jan. 6 statement that the week is “an opportunity to embrace the important work of continuing to secure the border, to welcome the stranger and serve the most vulnerable” as components of “a humane immigration policy.”
“This year, we are invited to create a culture of encounter where citizens old and new, alongside immigrants recent and long-standing, can share with one another their hopes for a better life,” said the statement marking the observance, which began 25 years ago as a way to reflect on how immigrants and refugees have contributed to the church. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph knew life as refugees, so let us also begin this encounter within our very own families.”
The prelates said migration is “an act of great hope” and those who are forced leave their homelands “suffer devastating family separation and most often face dire economic conditions to the point they cannot maintain a very basic level of living.”
War and persecution force refugees to leave their homelands, they said. They urged Catholics to seek stories from their families about how their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents left their homelands.

A woman holds a child's hand as they arrive for a rally in support of immigrants' rights in New York City Dec. 18, 2016. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles called attention in a Jan. 6 statement the hardships and contributions of immigrants to American society as the U.S. church prepared to observe National Migration Week. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) See USCCB-MIGRATION-HOPE Jan. 6, 2017.

A woman holds a child’s hand as they arrive for a rally in support of immigrants’ rights in New York City Dec. 18, 2016. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles called attention in a Jan. 6 statement the hardships and contributions of immigrants to American society as the U.S. church prepared to observe National Migration Week. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) See USCCB-MIGRATION-HOPE Jan. 6, 2017.

“Let us remind ourselves of those moments when our loved ones were forced to seek the mercy of others in a new land,” the statement said.
Though the United States has a great national heritage of welcoming the stranger, “fear and intolerance have occasionally tested that heritage,” the statement said, adding that “whether immigrating from Ireland, Italy or countless other countries, previous generations faced bigotry. Thanks be to God, our nation grew beyond those divisions to find strength in unity and inclusion.”

USCCB forms working group to monitor needs of migrants, refugees

By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is establishing a working group charged with developing spiritual, pastoral and policy advocacy support for immigrants and refugees.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, has named members of the working group, with the mandate of closely following developments related to immigrants and refugees in the United States. The USCCB Public Affairs Office announced formation of the group Dec. 16.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, will chair the group. Members include the chairmen of USCCB committees and subcommittees involved in immigration concerns: Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, Committee on Migration; Auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Rockville Centre, New York, Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs; Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Committee on Domestic Social Development; Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington, Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants; and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Committee on International Justice and Peace.
The groundwork for the working group was set during the bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore when several bishops suggested the conference closely monitor actions by the federal government that affect immigrants and refugees.
In announcing the working group, the Public Affairs Office said the bishops and USCCB staff will be ready to respond to any executive orders and legislation that the new Congress and President-elect Donald J. Trump may introduce.

People in Tijuana, Mexico, stand next to a wall separating Mexico and the United States Dec. 10. (CNS photo/Jorge Duenes, Reuters) See USCCB-WORKING-GROUP-MIGRANTS Dec. 16, 2016.

People in Tijuana, Mexico, stand next to a wall separating Mexico and the United States Dec. 10. (CNS photo/Jorge Duenes, Reuters) See USCCB-WORKING-GROUP-MIGRANTS Dec. 16, 2016.

The working group will inform the efforts of individual bishops in their pastoral responses to immigrants and refugees and recommend appropriate additional efforts as needed, such as the recent day of prayer on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago outlined some of the responsibilities of the working group in a column in the Dec. 11 issue of the Catholic New World, Chicago’s archdiocesan newspaper.
He said the group will look at what is being done pastorally in U.S. dioceses and will share best practices with bishops.
“Particular attention will be given to addressing the economic struggles, alienation, fear and exclusion many feel, along with the resistance to the church’s message regarding migrants and refugees,” Cardinal Cupich wrote. “Emphasis will be given to ways we can build bridges between various segments of society.”
The working group also will spearhead advocacy, building on existing USCCB efforts, and engage constructively with the incoming administration and Congress, the cardinal said.
The formation of the new entity, which Archbishop Gomez planned to convene weekly, “will send a message to those who live in fear that the Catholic bishops of the United States stand with them, pray with them, offer pastoral support and speak prophetically in defense of their human dignity,” Cardinal Cupich wrote.
He added that the Chicago Archdiocese will continue to “walk with all who, given our broken immigration system, live in the shadows. We will advocate for them as well as for refugees seeking a better life for their families.”
National Migration Week is Jan. 8-14.

Obispos pidieron oraciones por los migrantes

WASHINGTON (CNS) – La Iglesia Católica de Estados Unidos pidió que este año la fiesta del 12 de diciembre en honor a Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe fuera un día de oración enfocado en los inmigrantes y refugiados. Con este propósito se llevaron a cabo servicios de oración y misas especiales en diversas diócesis del país, ya que La Virgen de Guadalupe es la patrona de toda América.
“Cuando se acerca la Navidad y especialmente en esta fiesta a Nuestra Madre, estamos recordando cómo nuestro salvador Jesucristo no nació en la comodidad de su propio hogar, sino más bien en un pesebre desconocido”, expresó recientemente en un comunicado el cardenal Daniel DiNardo de Galveston-Houston, quien es presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB).

A member of of Club Los Vaqueros Unidos (United Cowboy Club) of Wadsworth, Ill., carries a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe as he makes his  way to the the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Ill., as part of a pre-celebration for her Dec. 12 feast day. The feast celebrates the appearance of Mary to indigenous peasant St. Juan Diego in 1531 near present-day Mexico City. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World) See GUADALUPE-RIDERS-SHRINE Dec. 7, 2016.

A member of of Club Los Vaqueros Unidos (United Cowboy Club) of Wadsworth, Ill., carries a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe as he makes his way to the the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Ill., as part of a pre-celebration for her Dec. 12 feast day. The feast celebrates the appearance of Mary to indigenous peasant St. Juan Diego in 1531 near present-day Mexico City. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World) See GUADALUPE-RIDERS-SHRINE Dec. 7, 2016.

La intención del día de oración fue de hacer tiempo para depositar ante un Dios misericordioso las esperanzas, miedos y necesidades de todas aquellas familias que han venido a los Estados Unidos buscando una vida mejor. “Muchas familias se preguntan cómo podrían afectarlas los cambios en la política migratoria”, dijo el arzobispo José Gómez de Los Ángeles, vicepresidente de la USCCB, en un reciente comunicado. “Queremos que sepan que la iglesia está con ellos, que ofrece oraciones en su nombre y que está monitoreando constantemente los acontecimientos a nivel diocesano, estatal y nacional para abogar eficazmente por ellos”.
La USCCB instó a los católicos que no pudieran asistir o no tuvieran cerca un servicio de oración o misa el 12 de diciembre, a que “ofrezcieran sus oraciones donde quiera que estuvieran”. La oficina de Servicios de Migración y Refugiados de la USCCB desarrolló un rosario bíblico titulado “Unidad en la Diversidad” que contiene oraciones para migrantes y refugiados. El mismo puede obtenerse en el portal de internet de la oficina de Justicia para los Inmigrantes: http://tinyurl.com/hldg3o9.
“A todas aquellas familias que están separadas y lejos de su hogar, viviendo tiempos de incertidumbre, nos unimos a ustedes en oración pidiendo consuelo y alegría en esta temporada de Adviento”, añadió el cardenal DiNardo.

Pope names Texas Msgr. Bishop of Biloxi, accepts Bishop Morin’s resignation

BILOXI — Pope Francis named Msgr. Louis Kihneman III, 64, as Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Roger Morin, 75, from the pastoral governance of that diocese on Friday, Dec. 16. Msgr. Kihneman is a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, and currently serves as vicar general.msgr-louis-kihneman-iii
He will be installed at a Mass at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Biloxi on Feb. 17, 2017, at 2:30 p.m..
Msgr. Kihneman III, was born on Feb. 17, 1952, in Lafayette, Louisiana. He holds a bachelor of arts degree and master degrees in religious education and theology from the University of St. Thomas, Houston. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston, and was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi on Nov. 18, 1977.
“I would like to personally welcome Monsignor Louis Kihneman to Mississippi and wish him all the best as he makes the transition to the episcopacy. He brings with him a wealth of experience, having served in many churches in the Gulf South as well as in Mexico. I will keep him in my prayers and I look forward to serving with him in the Magnolia state for many years to come,” said Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson. “I would also like to thank Bishop Roger Morin for his many years of devoted service and wish him a peaceful and prayerful retirement.”
Assignments after ordination included, parochial vicar at San Isidro Labrador Church, Arteaga, Mexico, 1977; St. Anthony of Padua Church, Robstown, Texas, 1978; Christ the King parish, Corpus Christi, 1980; Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Corpus Christi, 1981. Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Alice, 1983; diocesan director of vocations and seminarians, 1986-1993; director, St. John Vianney House of Studies, 1986-1993; director of Christian leadership vocations, 1986-1993; pastor, Sacred Heart Church, Rockport, 1993-2011; vicar general, 2010-present; pastor, St. Philip Church, Corpus Christi, 2014 – present.
Other assignments include marriage tribunal advocate, diocesan director of religious education, priest personnel board, associate vicar for clergy, presbyteral council member and as chancellor.
Bishop Roger P. Morin was born on March 7, 1941, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was ordained a priest on April 15, 1971; he was appointed auxiliary bishop of New Orleans on February 11, 2003, and ordained a bishop on April 22, 2003. He was appointed bishop of Biloxi on Feb. 23, 2009.
The Diocese of Biloxi, originally part of the Diocese of Jackson, comprises 9,653 square miles in the state of Mississippi. It has a total population of 818,801 people of which 57,912 or seven percent, are Catholic.

National Migration Week – set for January – honors most vulnerable

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world’s migrants and require special protection, Pope Francis said.
“Children are the first among those to pay the heavy toll of emigration, almost always caused by violence, poverty, environmental conditions, as well as the negative aspects of globalization,” he said.
“The unrestrained competition for quick and easy profit brings with it the cultivation of perverse scourges such as child trafficking, the exploitation and abuse of minors and, generally, the depriving of rights intrinsic to childhood as sanctioned by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child,” he said.
The pope made the comments in a message on the theme of “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless” for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees 2017; the text was released at the Vatican Oct. 13.

The World Day for Migrants and Refugees is observed Jan. 15. In the United States, National Migration Week will be celebrated Jan. 8-14. Click here for a listing of events celebrating the week in the Diocese of Jackson. migration week
In his message, the pope called for greater protection and integration of immigrants and refugees who are minors, especially those who are unaccompanied.
Minors are especially fragile, vulnerable and often invisible and voiceless – unable to claim or unaware of their rights and needs, he said.

A child sits on railroad tracks near a makeshift camp for migrants in late March at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of in Idomeni, Greece. Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world's migrants and require special protection, Pope Francis said. (CNS photo/Armando Babani, EPA) See POPE-MIGRANTS-MESSAGE Oct. 13, 2016.

A child sits on railroad tracks near a makeshift camp for migrants in late March at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of in Idomeni, Greece. Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world’s migrants and require special protection, Pope Francis said. (CNS photo/Armando Babani, EPA) See POPE-MIGRANTS-MESSAGE Oct. 13, 2016.

In particular, they have “the right to a healthy and secure family environment, where a child can grow under the guidance and example of a father and a mother; then there is the right and duty to receive adequate education, primarily in the family and also in the school,” the pope said. Unfortunately, “in many areas of the world, reading, writing and the most basic arithmetic is still the privilege of only a few.”
“Children, furthermore, have the right to recreation,” he added. “In a word, they have the right to be children.”
Christians must offer a dignified welcome to migrants because every human being is precious and “more important than things,” the pope said. “The worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.”
He urged long-term solutions be found to tackle the root causes of migration such as war, human rights violations, corruption, poverty, environmental injustice and natural disasters.
In so many of these scenarios, Pope Francis said, “children are the first to suffer, at times suffering torture and other physical violence, in addition to moral and psychological aggression, which almost always leave indelible scars.”
Among the many factors that make migrants, especially children, more vulnerable, and need to be addressed are: poverty; limited access to the means to survive; “unrealistic expectations generated by the media”; poor literacy; and ignorance about the law, culture and language of host countries, he said.
“But the most powerful force driving the exploitation and abuse of children is demand. If more rigorous and effective action is not taken against those who profit from such abuse, we will not be able to stop the multiple forms of slavery where children are the victims,” he said.
Immigrant adults must cooperate more closely with host communities “for the good of their own children,” he said.
Countries need to work together and communities need to offer “authentic development” for all boys and girls “who are humanity’s hope,” he said.
Saying inadequate funding often “prevents the adoption of adequate policies aimed at assistance and inclusion,” the pope said that instead of programs that help children integrate or safely repatriate, “there is simply an attempt to curb the entrance of migrants, which in turn fosters illegal networks” or governments forcibly repatriate people without any concern “for their ‘best interests.'”
While nations have the right to control migration and protect and safeguard their citizens, Pope Francis said it must be done while carrying out “the duty to resolve and regularize the situation of child migrants,” and fully respecting the rights and needs of the children and their parents “for the good of the entire family.”
The pope praised the “generous service” of all those who work with minors who migrate, urging them to “not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable.”
Speaking to reporters at the Vatican press office, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, said Christians cannot be xenophobic and they cannot refuse to help welcome immigrants.
While it is impossible for one country “to receive everyone,” he said, that doesn’t mean the problem will be solved by telling immigrants to leave or saying that no one may come.
“It’s a problem that needs to be solved, seek a solution,” he said.
Unfortunately, the cardinal said, people tend to be self-centered and bothered by the presence of “the other.” People prefer to keep to their “ivory tower, their gilded cage and do not want any disturbance” or threats to “the beautiful things we have.”
“This is egoism. This is not human or Christian,” he said.
(Editor’s note: look in the next Mississippi Catholic for a story about what Catholic Charities is doing here in the Diocese of Jackson for migrants, refugees and immigrants.)

 

Diversity theme for USCCB meeting with encuentro news, VP choice

(Editor’s note: Bishop Joseph Kopacz attended the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) fall assembly. He was not able to write a column this week because of travel so news from the assembly takes the place of his column this week.)
BALTIMORE (CNS) – A groundbreaking new study commissioned by the bishops that finds diversity abounds in the U.S. Catholic Church is a clarion call to Catholic institutions and ministries to adapt and prepare for growing diversity, said Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio.
On Nov. 15, the second day of the bishops’ annual fall assembly in Baltimore, the archbishop shared results of a report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University showing the church is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the United States.

Bishops and alter servers process out after Mass at St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore Nov. 14 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) See BISHOPS-PETER-CLAVER-MASS Nov. 15, 2016.

Bishops and alter servers process out after Mass at St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore Nov. 14 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) See BISHOPS-PETER-CLAVER-MASS Nov. 15, 2016.

It was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, chaired by Archbishop Garcia-Siller, to help identify the size and distribution of ethnic communities in the country — Hispanic and Latino, African-American, Asian-American and Native American.
He asked his brother bishops to look at the data and see how it speaks to their regions to help dioceses plan, set priorities and allocate resources.
The study’s finding that there are close to 30 million Hispanics in the U.S. church resonated in the election earlier that day of Archbishop Jose Gómez of Los Angeles to a three-year term as USCCB vice president, bringing a Latino voice to the leadership role for the first time.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected to a three-year term as USCCB president, succeeding Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, whose term ended with the close of the meeting.
The bishops also heard about the church’s preparations for the fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, from Auxiliary Bishop Nelson Perez of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.
The V Encuentro, as it is being called, is to be held in September 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. It will be the culmination of parish, diocesan and regional encuentros, in which the bishops anticipate more than one million Catholics participating over the next two years.
“It is a great opportunity for the church to reach out to our Hispanic brothers and sisters with Christ’s message of hope and love,” Bishop Perez said. “It is a time to listen, a time to develop meaningful relationships, a time to learn and bear abundant fruits, and a time to rejoice in God’s love.”
The effort got a personal endorsement from Pope Francis during a Nov. 15 video message to the U.S. bishops at their fall general assembly in Baltimore.
In other action Nov. 15, the bishops approved making permanent their Subcommittee on the Church in Africa and the hiring of two people to assist the subcommittee in carrying out its work. They also approved another 10-year extension for the Retirement Fund for Religious national collection; before the vote, the collection had been authorized through 2017.
They approved a strategic plan that will govern the work of the conference and its committees from 2017 through 2020, incorporating the theme “Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People With Joy.” It sets five priorities: evangelization, marriage and family life, human life and dignity, vocations, and religious freedom.
Maronite Bishop Gregory Mansour gave a presentation on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, urging the U.S. bishops to bring wider attention to the situation to their parishes and political leaders.
A theme of outreach and inclusion ran through many sessions of the two days of public sessions of the bishops’ meeting. Sessions on the last day of the assembly, Nov. 16, were held in executive session, except for a brief address by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, that was live-streamed. Echoing Pope Francis, he told the U.S. bishops that their ministry is to be “witnesses to the Risen One.”
As the meeting opened Nov. 14, the bishops affirmed as a body a Nov. 11 letter from Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, as outgoing chairman of the Committee on Migration, calling on President-elect Donald Trump “to continue to protect the inherent dignity of refugees and migrants.”
The bishops’ group action followed by a day a TV interview in which Trump said one of his first actions would be to deport two million to three million people he described as “criminal and have criminal records” and entered the country without government permission.
In the letter, Bishop Elizondo offered “a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: Be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.”
That first day the bishops heard a plea from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the new nuncio to the United States, that the U.S. bishops and the U.S. church as a whole reach out to young Catholics, meeting them where they are and engaging them in their faith.
In his last presidential address, Archbishop Kurtz discussed the need to move beyond the acrimony of the now-completed presidential elections, but the main focus of his speech were the encounters he had in his three-year term in which he found that small and often intimate gestures provide big lessons for bishops to learn as they exercise their ministry.
The people he encountered in all his travels were concerned about something beyond themselves — the common good, he said Nov. 14. Seeking the common good would serve the nation well as it moves forward from the “unprecedented lack of civility and even rancor” of the national elections, Archbishop Kurtz said.
In other business the first day, the bishops heard a report on the 2017 Convocation of Catholic Leaders to be held in Orlando, Florida, next July to exploring the Gospel in American life. More than 3,000 people reflecting the diversity of the church are expected to participate. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, who gave an update on the planning, urged bishops in each diocese to send a delegation to the event.
Cardinal Dolan also shared details of a simple celebration next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, founded originally as the National Catholic War Council.
Events will take place Nov. 12 as the bishops convene for their 2017 fall assembly. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will be principal celebrant of an anniversary Mass at Baltimore’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Cardinal Ouellet will deliver the homily.
In his report as chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said all U.S. bishops are required to speak out for religious freedom for all people of faith whose beliefs are compromised.
Bishops must equip laypeople to speak in the public arena about the necessity to protect religious liberty when interventions by government officials at any level infringe on the free practice of religion, he stressed.
In a final afternoon session and later at a news conference that concluded the first meeting day, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta returned to the tensions of the election year.
He is chairman of the new Task Force to Promote Peace in Our Communities, created in July by Archbishop Kurtz in response to the wave of violence in a number of communities following shootings by and of police. Archbishop Gregory urged the bishops to issue, sooner rather than later, a document on racism, given “postelection uncertainty” and that some of the tensions have only gotten worse following the presidential election.
Most questions during news conference that followed focused on the postelection climate. Archbishop Gregory stressed that the church should play a role in helping restore peace in the current climate that is so inflamed.
He also pointed out that no political parties fully embrace all life issues, something that had been stressed by Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who died 20 years to the day of Archbishop Gregory’s remarks.
On the issue of healing racial divides, he said the Catholic response should start at the parish level. “Words are cheap, actions stronger,” he added.
Archbishop Gomez spoke of the fear many immigrants have of possible deportation since Trump’s election as president. When asked if churches could possibly provide sanctuaries for this group, he said that was impossible to answer at this point.
The day ended with the bishops celebrating their annual fall assembly Mass at a West Baltimore church known as the “mother church” of black Catholics, rather than in their traditional venue of Baltimore’s historic basilica.
In his homily, Archbishop Kurtz said the bishops came to the church “to be present, to see with our own eyes, so that we might humbly take a step and lead others to do so.”
(Contributing to this story were Mark Pattison, Rhina Guidos, Carol Zimmermann and Dennis Sadowski).

Heart of Belgian saint travels to Diocese of Shreveport

by Jessica Rinaudo
SHREVEPORT, LA – On Thursday, Dec. 8, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will host a rare Catholic relic – the literal heart of its patron. This special event coincides with the 150th anniversary of the apparition and miracle of St. John Berchmans that occurred in Louisiana.
sjb-holy-cardThis is the first time the heart has ever traveled outside of its homeland, modern day Belgium. Accompanied by the pastor of the church where Saint John Berchmans was baptized, the heart will make its way to the only cathedral in the world named for this saint.
Once it arrives, it will stay at the Cathedral from Dec. 8-18, except for one day, Dec. 14, when it will travel to Grand Coteau, La, the site of the apparition and miracle. During the heart’s stay at the cathedral, there are scheduled times for veneration and for Mass, as well as a series of events and talks related to the saint and relics that are free and open to the public.
John Berchmans was born in 1599 in Diest, which is modern day Belgium. In 1615, at age 16, John enrolled in a newly opened Jesuit college. There he felt called to join the Society of Jesus despite his father’s wishes to the contrary. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate.
After making his first vows in Antwerp, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy. He penned the Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception, which is still prayed today.
In 1621, he succumbed to “Roman fever,” and on Aug. 13, 1621, at the age of 22, he died.
Many stories of miracles have arisen since his death, but the one that led to his canonization took place in Grand Coteau, La. At the convent of the Sacred Heart, novice Mary Wilson had fallen gravely ill. She and a group of sisters prayed a novena for healing through the intercession of the recently beatified Blessed John Berchmans. On the ninth and final day of the novena, he appeared to her in her sickness and she was immediately and completely healed.
Before Berchmans died, he was already well known for his spirituality and sanctity. Father Peter Mangum, rector of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, likened him to the modern day Mother Teresa. People knew they were seeing a living, walking saint. They would go to Mass to see him serve.

The reliquary containing the heart of St. John Berchman is set to visit the Diocese of Shreveport.

The reliquary containing the heart of St. John Berchman is set to visit the Diocese of Shreveport.

Relics are an integral part of our rich faith tradition. “The veneration of relics is a communion with the heroes of our Christian faith, asking for their powerful intercession,” said Father Mangum. “Many people have reported outstanding blessings and conversions through this ministry, and many have reported healings.”
“The earliest of churches were built over cemeteries because that’s where the body was,” he continued. “These are the people without whom the faith would not be passed down to the next generation.” “Even to this day, a little tiny relic is placed into each altar where we place the Body and Blood of Christ. We no longer build churches over cemeteries, so in a sense we bring the cemetery, or we bring part of the relic to the church,” he added.
There will also be extra parish Masses in the evenings and on Saturday morning in addition to their regularly scheduled ones, during which the heart will be present and parishioners and pilgrims alike will have the opportunity to come forward, as individuals or as a family, to venerate the heart and honor the saint, praising the holiness of God.
The schedule of events, including Masses, speakers and veneration times, is available at www.sjbdevotion.org. Individuals are welcome to all events, but groups should call the cathedral’s office, 318-221-5296, before coming.

Miraculous Icon to visit Greenwood

By Maureen Smith
GREENWOOD – A special icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, commissioned in honor of the Jubilee of the original, will spend two weeks with the Redemptorists in Greenwood along with a companion historical exhibit.
Redemptorist missionaries are celebrating 150 years of spreading devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, one of the most beloved images of the Mother of God in the worldwide Catholic Church. Ever since Pope Pius IX entrusted the Redemptorists with the Perpetual Help Icon with the mandate to “Make her Known” in 1866, this ancient image of the Mother of God has enjoyed “great veneration and fame for its miracles.”
“I want people to know that Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a powerful intercessor for us and we have a privileged time with her in Greenwood and in the diocese,” said Father Scott Katzenberger, CSsR, leader of the Redemptorist community in Greenwood.
While the faithful gathered in Rome and major centers of Redemptorist ministry throughout the world on June 27, the feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Redemptorists of the Denver Province hosted a capacity crowd at the historic St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church in St. Louis, MO, where the seed of the perpetual novena was planted in the western USA on July 11, 1922. omph-original-copy-c
Most importantly, the jubilee celebration launched a renewal of the Redemptorists’ commitment to preach the Gospel, especially using the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to illustrate the mystery of redemption: the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
A special Jubilee Missionary Icon touched to the original in Rome has been traveling to Redemptorist ministry sites in the Denver Province with portions of the historical exhibit, and will visit the Mississippi Delta Monday, Nov. 21 through Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Redemptorist community at Locus Benedictus Retreat Center in Greenwood is offering two presentations about the meaning of the symbols contained within the icon. The first, in English, is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26. A Spanish presentation will be offered at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.
People are also welcome to walk through the exhibit and venerate the icon daily from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and in the evenings from 5-7 p.m. except on Thanksgiving.
“We will arrange the items in such a way as to create a space for people to venerate the icon in an appropriate space and be able to enjoy the exhibit,” said Father Katzenberger.
The historical exhibit highlighting the 150-year history of the Redemptorists and Our Mother of Perpetual Help in the western United States includes images and articles about Our Lady of Perpetual Help as well as the history of devotion beginning in the early 20th century.
Part of the exhibit showcases the powerful intercessions of Our Mother with a sampling of the many miracles attributed to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
(Kristine Stremel, public and community affairs director for the Redemptorists of the Denver Province, contributed to this report.)

Líderes laicos y religiosos reaccionan tras triunfo de Trump

Por Catholic News Service

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shows Melania Trump and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump the Mall from his balcony on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 10. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters) See WASHINGTON-LETTER-ELECTION-UNITY Nov. 11, 2016.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shows Melania Trump and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump the Mall from his balcony on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 10. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters) See WASHINGTON-LETTER-ELECTION-UNITY Nov. 11, 2016.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Líderes laicos y religiosos de varias tendencias políticas reaccionaron a las noticias de la inesperada victoria de Donald Trump en la elección presidencial del 8 de noviembre. La mayoría expresó esperanza de que Trump prestaría atención a sus intereses en el futuro, mientras que otros se mostraron decididamente más pesimistas y otros aconsejaron oración.
El arzobispo Joseph Kurtz de Louisville, Kentucky, presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, subrayó un programa ambicioso en un comunicado de prensa después de las elecciones y felicitó a Trump y a todos los que ganaron durante las elecciones.
La conferencia episcopal espera trabajar con el presidente electo para proteger la vida humana desde su comienzo hasta su final natural, dijo el arzobispo Kurtz. “Vamos a abogar por políticas que ofrezcan oportunidad a todas las personas, de todas las religiones, en todos los ámbitos de la vida”, dijo.
“Nos sentimos firmes en nuestra determinación de que nuestros hermanos y hermanas migrantes y refugiados puedan ser acogidos con humanidad, sin sacrificar nuestra seguridad. Vamos a llamar atención a la persecución violenta que amenaza a nuestros hermanos cristianos y a personas de otras religiones de todo el mundo, especialmente en el Oriente Medio, y vamos a buscar el compromiso de la nueva administración con respecto a la libertad religiosa en el país, garantizando que la gente de fe pueda seguir teniendo libertad para anunciar y dar forma a nuestras vidas alrededor de la verdad sobre el hombre y la mujer, y el vínculo de unión matrimonial que pueden formar”.
Después de que Trump aseguró la mayoría de votos para ganar en el colegio electoral el 9 de noviembre, el cardenal Sean O’Malley de Boston dijo por Twitter, “Felicitaciones al presidente electo Donald Trump. Que Dios le conceda buena salud, sabiduría y valor durante su presidencia”.
Jeanne Mancini, presidente de la Marcha Por la Vida nuncio, “Estamos encantados que los resultados de la elección de esta noche reflejan el consenso pro-vida en los Estados Unidos, en la cámara, el senado y la presidencia. Aplaudimos a los candidatos que tomaron una posición sobre la cuestión más crucial de derechos humanos hoy en día, el aborto”.
Samuel Rodríguez, presidente de la Conferencia Nacional de Líderes Hispanos Cristianos, dijo que hay que continuar luchando para reconciliar el mensaje de justicia del reverendo Billy Graham con el de Martin Luther King, de marchar por la justicia. “Ahora que la elección presidencial está finalmente detrás de nosotros, nuestra nación debe poner la política partidista y la retórica divisiva detrás de nosotros también. En lugar de la agenda del burro o el elefante, los cristianos deben enfocarse en la agenda del Cordero”, añadió Rodríguez.
“Nos hemos comprometido a dialogar con los que piensan diferente y trataremos de hablar con el president electo Trump”, dijo en un comunicado Scott Reed, director ejecutivo de la red nacional de PICO, fundada por un sacerdote de California. “Pero el presidente electo debe ser advertido de que nuestra fe no nos va a permitir dejarlo que cumpla su promesa de criminalizar a los inmigrantes, realizando deportaciones masivas o quedarnos con lo brazos cruzados al ver la discriminación contra afroamericanos, latinos y minorías religiosas”.
John Gehring, director del programa católico Faith in Public Life dijo que le cuesta encontrar las palabras para procesar el hecho de que un hombre peleón, que prometió prohibirle la entrada al país a musulmanes, que está orgulloso del asalto sexual que cometió en el pasado, y que demoniza a inmigrantes, y quien insultó al Papa Francisco, fuese elegido presidente.
“Como cristiano y padre de niños pequeños, estoy angustiado”, dijo Gehring. “Pero como cristiano, también estoy comprometido a caminar el camino difícil de la fe y la esperanza. Dijo que no entiende a los católicos que apoyaron a Trump, “pero hay demasiado que arriesgar para no buscar terreno común y el bien común”.
Laura Barrett, directora ejecutiva de Interfaith Worker Justice dijo en un comunicado, “Hoy es un día oscuro en la historia de Estados Unidos”. Un hombre que construyó una campaña para llegar a la Casa Blanca con racismo, xenofobia, machismo, ahora se va a convertir en el líder más poderoso del mundo, dijo Barrett.
Kristan Hawkins, presidente de Students for Life of America, dijo en un comunicado que Trump hizo muchas promesas a los que apoyan al movimiento pro-vida a lo largo de su campaña. “La generación pro-vida asegurará de que mantenga esas promesas como presidente”.