Divine intervention: Papal tweet of support for ‘Saints’ goes viral

By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – A hashtag mix-up caused a papal tweet meant to give thanks for the Catholic Church’s newest saints to be read as Pope Francis showing support for the New Orleans Saints’ football team.
After the Oct. 13 canonization of five new saints, the pope’s official Twitter account, @Pontifex, tweeted: “Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints. They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession.”
However, the Twitter hashtag automatically uploaded a fleur-de-lis, the official logo of the National Football League team. Needless to say, the tweet caught the attention of many Saints’ fans, who interpreted the tweet as invoking divine intervention for their team’s game that day against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Pope Francis, tweeting about the new saints he recognized Oct. 13, inadvertently used a hashtag connected to the New Orleans Saints football team. But fans appreciated it, as did the team. (CNS photo)

“Big Guy telling you something for this afternoon,” a Twitter user said, sharing the pope’s tweet. “Adjust your bets accordingly, Vegas.”
Other fans were elated that Christ’s vicar on earth was in their corner. “Pope Francis told 18 million followers that he was #WhoDatNation. I love it,” another Twitter follower wrote, referring to the New Orleans football team’s “Who Dat” chant.
But the reaction of the day came from the New Orleans Saints’ own Twitter account after their 13-6 victory over the Jaguars.
“Couldn’t lose after this,” the Saints’ account tweeted after sharing the papal tweet. “#Blessed and highly favored.”
A Vatican official confirmed Oct. 14 that use of the hashtag to trigger the “hashflag” – the fleur-de-lis – was a case of “accidental evangelization,” but hoped that “maybe someone who didn’t know will become aware that there are other ‘saints’ to pay attention to.”

Church must seek new paths in Amazon

By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon will help the Catholic Church make its presence felt and voice heard in a region that is dangerously approaching “a point of no return,” said the special secretaries of the synod.
“It is a great and continuing challenge for the Catholic Church to make the original Amazonian peoples feel part of it and contribute to it with the light of Christ and the spiritual richness that shines in their cultures,” Cardinal-designate Michael Czerny and Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea wrote in an article published Sept. 12 in La Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal.
Cardinal-designate Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Bishop Martinez, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado, Peru, said the synod will take place at a time when “both human and natural life are suffering serious and perhaps irreversible destruction.”
The synod, scheduled for Oct. 6-27, will focus on “Amazonia: New paths for the church and for an integral ecology.”
The Amazon rainforest includes territory belonging to nine countries in South America and has experienced significant deforestation, negatively impacting the indigenous populations in the area and leading to a loss of biodiversity.
As special secretaries, Cardinal-designate Czerny and Bishop Martinez will assist Brazil’s Cardinal Claudio Hummes, synod relator general, in providing a comprehensive outline of the synod’s theme at the beginning of the meeting and summarizing the speeches of synod members before work begins on concrete proposals for the pope.
In the article, titled “Why the Amazon merits a synod,” the prelates said that the synod for the Amazon is an effort to implement “’Laudato Si’ in this fundamental human and natural environment.”
Much like Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical “Rerum Novarum” recognized the exploitation of workers in the early days of the industrial revolution, Pope Francis’ observations on the “gross inequality and cruel marginalization” caused by financial and consumerist greed call “for a new attitude toward nature and the social environment.”
“This new synthesis is a wake-up call to the entire world, to all of humanity,” they wrote. “But it also suggests a new socio-pastoral orientation and dynamic for the church, which must understand the challenges faced by individuals and families and groups within these various dimensions.”
However, Cardinal-designate Czerny and Bishop Martinez wrote that the church “cannot give spiritual guidance and pastoral care if people are understood in isolation from – i.e. not integrated with – how they live and function within the actual natural, economic and social conditions that they face.”
They also noted that the crisis facing the region is not limited only to environmental problems such as pollution, privatization of natural goods and trafficking.
“Mercantilism, secularization, the throwaway culture and the idolatry of money” coupled with decreasing numbers of priests and religious “is endangering the presence of the Catholic Church among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon.”
Such challenges, they added, require a response that moves from a “ministry of visits to a ministry of presence.”
“This is why, during the October Synod, the entire world should walk with the people of the Amazon; not to expand or divert the agenda, but to help the synod to make a difference,” the prelates wrote. “The Amazon region is huge, and its challenges are immense. If destroyed, the impacts will be felt worldwide.”

(Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju)

Community comes together

CARTHAGE – With approximately 80 families affect in the parish of St. Anne, the community and those touched by the plight around the country are coming together to face coming challenges brouch on by the ICE raids on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
St. Anne Carthage has been collecting food and supplies to distribute to families directly impacted by the raids until the community stabilizes.
When visiting for assistance, those affect have been able to meet with attorneys to help guide them through the legal process.
Father Odel Medina is worried about how the families will survive and belies it could take up to six months before affected families find work again.

Cartaghe – photos by Joanna King

Forest – photos by Rebecca Haris

ICE raids – how to help click here

Bishops of four Mississippi churches condemn ICE raid, roundup of workers

By Catholic News Service
JACKSON – Mississippi’s Catholic bishops joined with the state’s Episcopal, Methodist and Lutheran bishops in condemning the Trump administration’s Aug. 7 raid on seven food processing plants in the state to round up workers in the country illegally.
Such raids “only serve to … cause the unacceptable suffering of thousands of children and their parents, and create widespread panic in our communities,” the religious leaders said in an Aug. 9 statement quoting Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, from a July letter he sent to President Donald Trump.
“We, the undersigned, condemn such an approach, which, as he (Cardinal DiNardo) rightly states, ‘has created a climate of fear in our parishes and communities across the United States,’” they said.
Signing the statement were Catholic Bishops Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson and Louis F. Kihneman III of Biloxi; Episcopal Bishop Brian R. Seage of Mississippi; Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church; and Bishop H. Julian Gordy, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Southeastern Synod.
In what is the biggest sweep in a decade, ICE arrested and detained nearly 680 people. About 300 were released that evening; another 380 people remained in custody.
“These are not new laws, nor is the enforcement of them new,” ICE’s acting director, Matt Albence, said in a statement Aug. 7. “The arrests today were the result of a yearlong criminal investigation. And the arrests and warrants that were executed today are just another step in that investigation.”
He said the employers could be charged with knowingly hiring workers who are in the county illegally and will be probed for tax, document and wage fraud, Albence said.
Investigators told The New York Post daily newspaper that six of the seven processing plants were “willfully and unlawfully employing illegal aliens;” many of the workers used false names and had fake Social Security numbers, according to the newspaper.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Aug. 11, Albence acknowledged the timing of the sweep “was unfortunate,” coming just days after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, where the alleged shooter said he was targeting Hispanics.
In their joint statement, the Mississippi bishops wrote: “To say that immigration reform is a contentious and complex topic would be an understatement.”
“As Christians, within any disagreement we should all be held together by our baptismal promises. Our baptism, regardless of denomination calls us to unity in Jesus Christ,” they said. “We are his body and, therefore, called to act in love as a unified community for our churches and for the common good of our local communities and nation.”
They also said their churches stand ready to assist immigrants with their immediate needs following the ICE raid.
“We can stand in solidarity to provide solace, material assistance, and strength for the separated and traumatized children, parents and families,” the bishops said. “Of course, we are committed to a just and compassionate reform to our nation’s immigration system, but there is an urgent and critical need at this time to avoid a worsening crisis.”
Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Jackson was directly assisting families and also was accepting donations for its outreach at https://catholiccharitiesjackson.org.
In other reaction to the ICE sweep in Mississippi, Lawrence E. Couch, director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, called the enforcement actions “outrageous” and “out of order in this land of freedom and welcome.”
He called on the Trump administration to release all the workers.
“The United States government is becoming increasingly heavy-handed in its tactics and is becoming increasingly less recognizable to its citizens and all peoples around the world,” Couch said. “Why has the current administration declared war on our neighbors who are helping to put food on our tables?”
He called the ICE raid “part of a malicious campaign to paint immigrants as criminals and rapists who have ‘invaded’ our country.”
The workers who were arrest “had no criminal record,” he said. “Many have lived and worked in the United States for several years. This action has created a catastrophe for the families and is spreading fear throughout the immigrant community. Children were left homeless and traumatized by having their parents torn from them. It is unknown if some children remain alone.”
Instead of arresting “these hardworking people (who) have lived and worked in our country for many years, raised their families, and contributed their talents and resources to our communities,” Couch added, they should be given a path to citizenship.
Other Catholic agencies offering help to the families in need in Mississippi after the arrest of their breadwinner include Chicago-based Catholic Extension, which announced Aug. 8 it would send help immediately but also would begin fundraising through its “Holy Family Fund,” https://bit.ly/2ZEO7mK.
Catholic Extension is the leading national supporter of missionary work in poor and remote parts of the United States. The Jackson Diocese, one of the poorest in the country, has long been supported by the organization, including some of it parishes in towns where the raids took place.

To read Joint Statement of Bishop Kopacz, Kihneman, Seage, Swanson and Gordy click here

Leadership changes with Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity

MANITOWOC, WI – The Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc, WI, re-elected Sister Natalie Binversie as Community Director on June 24, 2019. Bishop David Ricken, of the Diocese of Green Bay, presided over the election. Sister Natalie, from St. Gregory Parish in St. Nazianz, served one six-year term from 2013 to 2019. Previous to being Community Director, she was a teacher in the primary grades and Novice Directress.
Four Sisters were elected to serve on the General Administration Council. First Councilor is Sister Myra Jean Sweigart and the Treasurer General for the Congregation. Sister Myra Jean, from Cambridge, OH, served one six year term and was re-elected for another six years. Sister also has a background in elementary education as teacher and principal.
Second Councilor is Sister Theresa Feldkamp from Wrightstown, WI, who was re-elected for a second six-year term. Sister Theresa served as an elementary school teacher and principal before being elected to Community leadership.

MANITOWOC, WI – Sister Leonette Kochan, Sister Myra Jean Sweigart, Sister Jane Kinate, Sister Theresa Feldkamp and Sister Natalie Binversie. (Photo courtesy of Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity)

Sister Leonette Kochan, originally from Francis Creek, WI, was elected Third Councilor. Sister Leonette was missioned in Tucson, AZ where she served as principal of Santa Cruz Catholic School and most recently was Coordinator of the Office of Human Life and Dignity in the Diocese of Tucson.
The Fourth Councilor elected is Sister Jane Kinate from Wrightstown, WI. Sister Jane has been in the field of education all of her life and a teacher at Roncalli High School in Manitowoc for the past 20 years.
Installation services for the General Administration of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity were held on July 21, 2019 at Holy Family Convent in Manitowoc. The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity were founded 150 years ago on November 9, 1869 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The Sisters presently serve at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School and Parish in Greenwood, Mississippi. Missions where the Sisters serve outside of Mississippi are located in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Burning church

WESTPHALIA, TEXAS – A statue of Mary is seen amid flames through a window in the Church of the Visitation in Westphalia, Texas, July 29, 2019. The nearly 125-year old wooden church with bell towers on each side, burned to the ground that morning. Since 1883 the parish has served the Catholic community of southwestern Falls County, many of whom are descendents of immigrants from the northwest German region of Westphalia. (CNS photo/courtesy Nathan Wilde)

50 aniversario de Misión de Saltillo

JACKSON – El obispo Joseph Kopacz y el obispo Louis Kihneman viajaron, del 11 al 15 de julio, a la Diócesis de Saltillo para celebrar el 50 aniversario de la relación de las Diócesis de Jackson y Biloxi con las misiones de allí. Los obispos visitaron San Miguel, Ranchos Notillas, San José, Garambullo, Rancho La Brecha, Rancho La Ventura y Rancho Rocamotes donde bendijeron al centro comunitario Padre Quinn, quien fué un misionero irlandés que se dedicó a ayudar a los pobres, en la parte rural de Saltillo, y que hoy es venerado por generaciones.
Los obispos concelebraron Misas en la Divina Misericordia, Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro y Garambullo, la Misa de dedicación de una nueva iglesia en La Brecha y las Misas de confirmación en San Miguel y la Iglesia de San José en La Brecha. Los obispos Kopacz y Kihneman estuvieron acompañados en el viaje por Msgr. Michael Flannery, Dr. Charles Caskey (Jackson St. Richard), Msgr. Michael Thornton y el padre Sergio Balderas de la Diócesis de Biloxi, así como, Terry Dickson y Juliana Skelton de la oficina de comunicaciones de la Diócesis de Biloxi.


Papa nombra a siete mujeres como miembros de una congregación para religiosos

Por Cindy Wooden
CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) – El papa Francisco nombró a seis superioras de órdenes religiosas de mujeres, una mujer laica consagrada y el superior de los Hermanos de la Doctrina Cristiana de La Salle para ser miembros de pleno derecho de la Congregación para los Institutos de Vida Consagrada y Sociedades de Vida Apostólica.
Anteriormente, los miembros habían sido siempre hombres: cardenales, unos cuantos obispos y varios sacerdotes que eran superiores de grandes órdenes religiosas de hombres.

En esta foto de archivo de 2016, una religiosa es vista en la Universidad Católica de America en Washington. (CNS foto/Tyler Orsburn)

Los nombres de las mujeres nombradas por el papa fueron anunciados por el Vaticano el 8 de julio: la hermana Kathleen Appler, norteamericana, superiora de las Hijas de la Caridad; Yvonne Reungoat, superior de las Hermanas Salesianas; Francoise Massy, superiora de las Hermanas Misioneras Franciscanas de María; Luigia Coccia, superiora de las Hermanas Combonianas; Simona Brambilla, superiora de las Hermanas Misioneras de la Consolata; Rita Calvo Sanz, superiora de la Compañía de Nuestra Señora, y Olga Krizova, directora general de los Voluntarias de Don Bosco, un grupo de personas laicas consagradas.
El hermano Robert I. Shieler, norteamericano, superior de los Hermanos de la Doctrina Cristiana de La Salle, también fue nombrado miembro de la congregación, junto con los superiores generales de los jesuitas, los scalabrinianos, los carmelitas descalzos, agustinos, capuchinos y el abad presidente de la Congregación Benedictina de Subiaco Cassinese.
La lista de nuevos miembros anunciada por el Vaticano también incluía a cinco obispos y cuatro cardenales: los cardenales Angelo De Donatis, vicario papal de Roma; Kevin J. Farrell, prefecto del Dicasterio para los Laicos, la Familia y la Vida; Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefecto de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, y Ricardo Blázquez Pérez de Valladolid, España.

‘We need a habitat on the moon’

By Jo Ann Zuniga and James Ramos
HOUSTON, TEXAS (CNS) – Upcoming space travel plans need to include living on the moon, similar to scientific habitats in the Arctic and Antarctica, said Gene Kranz, NASA’s former flight director.
“I believe we need a habitat on the moon just like we have scientists living at the North and South Poles,” Kranz said, a parishioner at Shrine of the True Cross Catholic Church in Dickinson, Texas. “The challenge of a long-term facility and learning to use the resources of the moon is needed for scientific and economic objectives, not political reasons. It needs to be a world project.”

Gene Kranz is seen during a May 17, 2019, video shoot in his Dickinson, Texas, home. Kranz, flight director for Apollo 11, is a parishioner at Shrine of the True Cross Catholic Church in Dickinson, Texas, near Houston. (CNS photo/James Ramos, Texas Catholic Herald)

Still in the Houston-area, at age 85, Kranz remains a very busy man. During his 34 years with NASA, he directed the Gemini and Apollo programs, including the first lunar landing mission of Apollo 11. Now Kranz has been at the forefront of celebrating the 50th anniversary of man’s touchdown on the moon July 20, 1969.
He has shared his experiences in making history and dreams for the future in speaking to multiple community and business groups and at NASA’s Johnson Space Center events. He is scheduled to address the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s upcoming Prayer Breakfast July 30 in Houston.
Asked whether he ever wished that he’d flown into space himself, the aerospace engineer and retired fighter pilot said, “In the very early days of the Mercury program, astronauts would be limited to doing one or two missions. I’ve been involved, in various capacities, with 100” missions, up through the Shuttle missions.
With each Apollo spacecraft’s successful splashdown, Kranz could breathe a sigh of relief and offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
Following the fatal tragedy that claimed the lives of three NASA astronauts during a dress run of Apollo 1, Kranz told his team at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston: “From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: ‘tough’ and ‘competent.’ ‘Tough’ means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do,” he said. “’Competent’ means we will never take anything for granted.”
That commitment remained a hallmark of his storied career, especially highlighted in his efforts to safely bring the Apollo 13 crew back to Earth. Kranz was the lead flight director during the Apollo 13 mission.
The hit film, Apollo 13, chronicled Kranz’s work to devise the plan at NASA’s Mission Control that would safely bring the ship and its crew of three astronauts, Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, home after its oxygen system failed. Actor Ed Harris portrays Kranz in the award-winning film, which was directed by Ron Howard.
Of the effort, Kranz said, “It wasn’t about me; it was about the teams and the people in Mission Control. We truly believed that, in our line of work, failure is never an option.”
“It involves team-building and respect that goes both ways,” Kranz said. “Integrity is really the driver.”
In discussing current plans to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and Mars in the 2030s, Kranz said, “We have a marvelous array of technology and a gifted group of young trained individuals. What we need is leadership and support from the top.”
Kranz also helped spearhead a recent effort to restore NASA’s Apollo Mission Control Center, located at Johnson Space Center in Houston, to its exact appearance. Debuted in June ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the restored center features $5 million of full restoration.
The restoration features original artifacts that were cleaned and restored, or items recreated based on original samples, according to a NASA news release, including paint colors, carpet, coffee mugs and even ashtrays, all placed just as they were 50 years ago.
In a Space Foundation survey in 2010, Kranz was listed second among space heroes who inspired the public, only behind No. 1 pick astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1933, Kranz graduated from St. Agnes Elementary School and Central Catholic High School in Toledo.
In 2007, NASA awarded Kranz the Ambassador of Exploration Award during a presentation ceremony at Central Catholic High School, where the award, a lunar moon rock sample collected by Apollo 16 astronauts, remains today. Central Catholic is the only high school in the world with a lunar rock, said Kranz.
Taught and mentored by men and women religious throughout his education, Kranz is a 1951 graduate of Central Catholic. The award recognizes the sacrifices and dedication of the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury astronauts.
The moon rock is encased in Lucite and mounted for public display at the school as inspiration to a new generation of explorers who will help return humans to the moon and eventually travel on to Mars and beyond. The rock is part of the 842 pounds of samples collected during the six Apollo lunar expeditions from 1969 to 1972, according to NASA records.
An inscription describes the rock as “a symbol of the unity of human endeavor and mankind’s hope for a future of peace and harmony.”
Kranz retired from NASA in 1994 after 37 years of federal service. He and his wife, Marta, are the parents of six children, and reside in Dickinson, where he is also a member of the Knights of Columbus Father Roach Council No. 3217.
Kranz may be one of the few Catholics ever immortalized as a LEGO mini-figure. As part of a collector’s set featuring Apollo 13 astronauts, a two-inch representation of Kranz sports his trademark high and tight haircut and white vest. He’s depicted holding a tiny version of the Apollo 13 flight plan. A London-based company, MiniFigs.me, created the set, as well as the only other featured Catholic, a Pope Francis mini-figure.

(Zuniga and Ramos are on the staff of the Texas Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.)

Paris archbishop celebrates first Mass in Notre Dame since fire

By Catholic News Service
PARIS, France – The archbishop of Paris wore a hard hat as he celebrated the first Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral since a huge blaze devastated the landmark building in April.
The Mass was celebrated in the Chapel of the Virgin June 15 by Archbishop Michel Aupetit to mark the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral’s altar, an event that usually takes place June 16 each year.
About 30 invited guests – mostly clergy, cathedral employees and building contractors – wore protective headgear because of dangers of falling masonry, although the Virgin chapel, situated behind the choir, had been designated as safe.
In his homily, Archbishop Aupetit did not mention the fire but stressed the purpose of Notre Dame as a place of Christian worship, and not an ornament of the secular state.

Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris celebrates Mass in the Chapel of the Virgin inside Notre Dame Cathedral June 15, 2019. It was the first Mass since a huge blaze devastated the landmark building in April. (CNS photo/Karine Perret, pool via Reuters)

He said the building could never be reduced to a cultural or “patrimonial good” and warned the congregation that if Jesus was removed as the cornerstone, it would collapse in a spiritual rather than a physical sense.
The cathedral would simply be an “empty shell, a jewelry box without riches, a skeleton without life, a body without a soul,” the archbishop said.
“The cathedral is born of the faith of our ancestors,” he said during the Mass, which was broadcast by KTO, a French Catholic TV channel.
“This cathedral is born of the Christian hope, which perceives well beyond a small self-centered personal life to enter a magnificent project at the service of all, projecting well beyond a single generation.”
“It is also born of charity since, open to all, it is the refuge of the poor and the excluded who found there their protection,” he added. “Are we ashamed of the faith of our ancestors? Are we ashamed of Christ?”
The cathedral was most significantly a mirror of “the living stones” of the members of the church who worship there, he said.
“Can ignorance or ideology really separate culture from worship?” asked Archbishop Aupetit. “Let me put this bluntly – culture without worship becomes a negative culture.
“You only have to look at the abysmal religious ignorance of our contemporaries because of the exclusion of any divine notion and the very name of God in the public sphere by invoking a secularism that excludes any visible spiritual dimension,” he said.
The cathedral has been closed since April 15, when it was engulfed by fire that destroyed its spire and much of its vaulted ceiling.
French President Emmanuel Macron wants the cathedral rebuilt in five years, but Culture Minister Franck Riester told French radio June 14 that so far just 80 million euros of the 850 million euros pledged has been received, with most of it coming from small donations.
He said the cathedral, originally built in the 12th and 13th centuries, remained in a “fragile state,” with unsecured sections of the vaulted roof still in danger of collapse.