BROOKLYN, N.Y. (OSV News) – Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Brooklyn celebrated a Mass of Reparation Nov. 4 in a Brooklyn Catholic Church used in a violent and provocative music video, and he has removed its well-known pastor from his diocesan development role. Pop singer Sabrina Carpenter released a music video to her song “Feather” Oct. 31, which includes scenes of the singer dancing and performing inside and outside of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brooklyn, including in the sanctuary where the altar is located. Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, the parish’s pastor, was removed as the Diocese of Brooklyn’s vicar for development Nov. 3. He will remain pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish. However, Bishop Robert Brennan has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski as the temporary administrator. Earlier this week, Bishop Brennan was said to be “appalled” by what was filmed. “Bishop Robert Brennan strongly condemns the filming of the music video inside Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. A review of the documents presented to the parish prior to the filming, while failing to depict the entirety of the scenes, clearly portrays inappropriate behavior unsuitable for a church sanctuary,” a diocesan statement read.
MOBILE, Ala. (OSV News) – The Archdiocese of Mobile said it is “relieved” that a priest who fled his pastoral assignment this summer has returned to the U.S., as the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office announced its investigation into the priest has been closed with no charges filed. The archdiocese also affirmed the soon-to-be-laicized cleric has been removed from ministry. Father Alex Crow, who abruptly left Corpus Christi Parish in Mobile at the end of July to travel to Italy with a June 2023 graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, “may have returned home to the Mobile area” according to “numerous individuals and media reports,” said the archdiocese in a Nov. 6 statement. The statement – which referred to the priest by his given name, without the title “Father” – noted that he had not contacted the archdiocese, which stressed that Father Crow “has been removed from ministry and his priestly faculties are suspended. “Therefore, Crow is not to exercise any ministry as a priest, or present himself as a priest,” said the statement. “He is not allowed to celebrate Mass, visit school grounds, or lead any church ministries. If anyone is aware of Crow doing so, they are encouraged to contact the Archdiocese immediately at (251) 434-1587.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis will travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates Dec. 1-3 to participate in the U.N. Climate Change Conference, the Vatican press office confirmed. In an interview broadcast in Italy Nov. 1, the pope had said he intended to go, but the Vatican did not confirm the trip until Nov. 3. “Accepting the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, His Holiness Pope Francis will make the previously announced trip to Dubai from 1 to 3 December 2023, on the occasion of the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” commonly called COP28, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office. The conference is designed to assess progress or failures in reaching the goals adopted by 196 nations and parties, including the Holy See, with the Paris climate agreement in 2015.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – On the 800th anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi setting up the first Nativity scene, the creche in St. Peter’s Square in 2023 will come from the Diocese of Rieti, Italy, and pay tribute to the scene set up in the diocese in 1223. The Christmas tree that will stand in St. Peter’s Square is expected to be more than 80 feet tall and come from the Maira Valley near Turin. It will be decorated with live edelweiss flowers cultivated at a nursery nearby; picking or transplanting wild edelweiss is against the law in Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. The unveiling of the creche and lighting of the Christmas tree in the square is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 9. They will remain in the square through the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 7, 2024.
WADOWICE, Poland (OSV News) – In 1988, when he was a convicted drug addict serving time in prison, he thought of God as a severe Father who punishes rather than loves. Until a tiny woman visited his prison. That woman was Mother Teresa. James Wahlberg, once a convict, is now a film producer and has just created a documentary about her. “Mother Teresa: No Greater Love,” produced with the Knights of Columbus, commemorated the 25th anniversary of the death of one of the world’s favorite saints, but the film also provides an exploration of her long-lasting legacy, and producers traveled the world to show it. “This film is much bigger. … Sometimes in Catholic programming … budgets are very low. We had a full budget and we had full access to the Missionaries of Charity,” Wahlberg told OSV News. Brother of Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, James was a troubled kid and fell into drug addiction. Asked about the encounter that changed his life, he said he had “goosebumps” and “emotion welling up” in his chest. “I’m just thinking about that day, the day the first time I ever heard in my life that God loved me and that Jesus died for me,” he said. He recalled there were 800 people in the room but he remembered Mother Teresa “talking to me.” The documentary premiered in Poland Oct. 19.
BUENOS AIRES (OSV News) – Argentina will get its first home-grown female saint in early 2024 with the canonization of Blessed María Antonia de San José. The Vatican announced Oct. 24 that San José, born as María Antonia de Pa Figueroa, but known throughout Argentina simply as Mama Antula, would be canonized as the pope authorized the promulgation of the decree on the miracle attributed to her intercession. The decision means a lot for Argentina, its native Pope Francis and his Jesuit order. She will be the fifth saint associated with Argentina of whom four were elevated to sainthood by Pope Francis but is the first female of Argentina to be canonized. “Mama Antula is considered the mother of the nation. She was a strong, brave woman who believed in Argentina. She was committed to the country and that knowing Christ would transform society,” Bishop Santiago Olivera told OSV News. Mama Antula’s path to sainthood began more than a century ago. Pope Francis beatified her in 2016. When the Jesuits were expelled from Spain and its colonies in the Americas in 1767, Bishop Olivera said that Mama Antula kept the Jesuits’ work going and she continued to work with the Jesuits until the end of her life. “It is impressive that after all these years she will be canonized and it will be a Jesuit who makes her a saint,” said Bishop Olivera.