Health care must be accessible to all, not select few, pope says

By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Health care is a fundamental right for all and not a privilege for the rich while the poor and disadvantaged are left to the wayside, Pope Francis said.

“When a country loses this wealth that is public health care, it begins to make distinctions within the population between those who have access, who can have paid health care, and those who are left without health care services,” the pope said June 4 to representatives of the Italian health care association, Federsanità.

According to its website, Federsanità is a confederation of local health care facilities and hospitals that seek to promote policies “strongly oriented toward a new concept of ‘taking care’ of patients based on proximity, proactivity, personalization and participation.”

In his address, the pope said closeness to patients is “the antidote to self-referentiality” that “breaks the chains of selfishness” and allows health care professionals to view patients “as brothers and sisters, regardless of language, geographical origin, social status or health condition.”

“Being close to others also means breaking down distances, making sure that there are no first- and second-class patients, and committing energies and resources so that no one is excluded from receiving health care,” he said.

Medical professionals, he said, should adopt a more holistic approach to health care that takes into account not only a patient’s illness but also “his or her psychological, social, cultural and spiritual condition.”

“When Jesus heals someone, he not only eradicates the physical ailment from the body, but also restores dignity, reintroducing him or her into society, giving them a new life. Of course, only he can do this, but the attitude, the approach to the person is a model for us,” he explained.

Placing the dignity of the person at the center, he added, helps to counter the “throwaway culture” that views the sick “as a burden and a cost.”

“Illnesses may mark the body, confuse thoughts and take away strength, but they can never nullify the value of human life, which must always be protected, from conception to its natural end,” he said.

Lastly, Pope Francis said health care professionals must seek the common good to counter “the pursuit of partisan interests” in which “the economic or political interests of one group prevail at the expense of the majority of the population.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has proven that “’every man for himself’ translates rapidly into ‘everyone against all,’ thus widening the gap of inequality and increasing conflict.”
“It is necessary to work to ensure that everyone has access to care, that the health care system is supported and promoted, and that it continues to be free of charge,” the pope said. “Cutting resources for health care is an outrage to humanity.”

Pope Francis accepts a copy of the children’s book, “La luna di Kiev” (The Moon of Kyiv), during an audience with representatives of the Italian health care association, Federsanità, at the Vatican June 4, 2022. The pope said that health care is a fundamental right for all and not a privilege for the rich while the poor and disadvantaged are left to the wayside. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

God’s sense of humor

Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

By Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

If we genuinely trust scripture, our own experience, and our own sanity, we can only conclude that God has a sense of humor, and a robust and sneaky one at that. Where’s the evidence?

A generation ago, Peter Berger wrote a remarkable little book entitled, A Rumor of Angels. Unlike Aquinas, Anselm, Descartes and a number of renowned philosophers, he didn’t try to “prove” the existence of God through logic and argumentation. Rather, he simply examined a number of very ordinary human experiences and pointed to what’s hidden inside and behind the walls of those experiences. For instance, when a mother soothes and calms a frightened child at night, assuring the child that there is nothing to fear, she does this in good faith only because at some deep level she intuits that ultimately everything is all right. In effect, unconsciously, she is praying a Creed.

Now, one of the experiences Berger highlights is the experience of humor. Here’s his thesis: no matter how oppressive and dire the circumstance, human beings always have the capacity to make light of it, to view it through the prism of irony and humor. For example, martyrs have joked with their executioners and, no doubt, there was some banter, sarcasm, irony and bitter humor at times inside extermination camps. The fact that people can do this, and do in fact do it, shows that there is always something transcendent inside us, something over which no human oppression has power, something that sets us above any situation within which we find ourselves. Our sense of irony and humor manifests that something in our soul sets us above anything that can beset us.

And this can have its source in only one place, inside of the Creator who made us. Thus, not only must God have a sense of humor, humor must be something inherent within the nature of God, since humor is good, and God is the author of all that is good.

There’s a school of classical philosophy that believes God has four transcendental properties. God, it teaches, is One, True, Good and Beautiful – to this we can add, Humorous. Moreover, this can be inferred from more than just the fact that sometimes we sense that humor manifests our transcendence within a given situation. More importantly, we can infer that humor has some godliness from examining the component parts of love. God is love, and humor is undeniably an important part of love.

When the classical Greek philosophers defined love, they highlighted a number of components within it, namely, erotic attraction, obsession, friendship, pragmatic arrangement and altruism. However, they also highlighted another component, playfulness/banter/humor. How insightful. Humor along with healthy banter and playful teasing are part of the grease that enables us to sustain relationships long term, despite the inevitable over-familiarity, hurt, disappointment and boredom that beset even the most loving relationships. Humor helps make it all work. Thus, since it is an innate part of love, it is an innate part of God.

Sadly, we don’t often picture God that way. Christianity, Judaism and Islam have this in common. We all picture God as male, celibate, solemn – and humorless. How might we picture God differently?

If you were to draw up a composite face representing God, whose face would you include in this picture? The pious face of the gentle, blond-haired Jesus with a lamb on his shoulder we see in our holy pictures? Images of a serenely composed and quiet Mary that we see depicted in our statues of her? The face of Mother Teresa? The face of Therese of Lisieux? The face of Dorothy Day? Of Martin Luther King? Of Oscar Romero? Of Billy Graham? Of Henri Nouwen? Of Rachel Held Evans? The face of your mother or father? Would you also include the face of your favorite comedian or favorite wit? Jerry Seinfeld? Bette Midler? Rowan Atkinson? The mischievous face of your colorful uncle telling a joke?

Any picture of God’s face needs to manifest an inner soul that is One, True, Good, Beautiful, but also Humorous and Mischievous. Funny, while I believe that God is the author of humor, I’ve never been enamored by the various artistic depictions of Jesus as laughing uproariously. Good idea, good intention, good theology, but to my taste, lacking the right nuance. That kind of laughing face has an ephemeral quality that too easily gives way to something else after it’s had its moment. God’s face, I suspect, has a quieter, sneakier, more permanent mischievousness to it.

If this is true, if God not only has a sense of humor but is also the author of humor itself, then humor is an important quality within sanctity and holiness. What makes for wholeness, maturity, holiness, love and for the kind of person you want beside you at the table, here and at the eternal one in heaven? Certainly, you want someone who manifests the qualities that Jesus asked for in the Sermon on the Mount – along with a warm, playful and mischievous sense of humor.

(Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser is a theologian, teacher and award-winning author. He can be contacted through his website

The Heart of the Sovereign King: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Ruth Powers

By Ruth Powers

In popular Catholic piety, the month of June is traditionally devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrated this year on June 24. Most Catholics are familiar with the image of the Sacred Heart: a heart topped with a flame and a cross, signifying Jesus’ love and compassion for us, and circled with a crown of thorns, representing His Passion. Many Catholic homes display a picture of Jesus pointing toward his heart, shown exposed in his chest. The practice of displaying such an image arose after a series of apparitions to a 17th century French nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, but the origins of devotion to the Sacred Heart are much older.

Some of the early Church Fathers used the image of the heart of Jesus to symbolize his love for us, especially in his willingness to die to save us, but it wasn’t until the 11th century that a specific devotion to the wounded heart of Jesus began to develop.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote that the piercing of Christ’s side revealed his goodness and the charity of his heart for us. Practices honoring the Sacred Heart were prevalent in the Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries as private devotions, and soon began to spread to other religious orders. Franciscans had developed a special devotion to the Five Holy Wounds of Jesus, and St. Bonaventure wrote in his Mystic Vine, “Who is there who would not love this wounded heart? Who would not love in return Him, who loves so much?” The Sacred Heart also figured in the visions of several female mystics of the time.

By the 16th century, devotions to the Sacred Heart had become more formalized and special exercises and prayers were written. The Jesuits had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart and placed its image on the title pages of their books and on the walls of their churches. As lay people became more familiar with the idea of the Sacred Heart through the influence of the Jesuits, the devotion began to spread outside of the religious orders. St. Francis de Sales promoted this devotion, and his protégé St. Jane Frances de Chantal was influenced by him in her founding of the Visitation nuns. It is from this order that the best-known devotions to the Sacred Heart developed, thanks to visions of Jesus experienced by a Visitation nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

St. Margaret Mary experienced a series of visions of Jesus beginning in 1674 and ending in 1689. These visions have become the most significant source of devotion to the Sacred Heart in modern times. In these visions, Jesus called for special devotion to Him and his heart because of his great love. He requested reception of Holy Communion on the First Friday of every month for nine consecutive months, Eucharistic Adoration during a Holy Hour on Thursdays, and the celebration of a Feast of the Sacred Heart. In return, he made twelve promises to those who observed this devotion. “I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life. I will establish peace in their homes. I will comfort them in all their afflictions. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

Lukewarm souls shall become fervent. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.”

After initial resistance, the nine First Friday devotions, along with the establishment of the Feast and the Holy Hour, spread throughout the world, aided by promotion by the Jesuits. A formal feast day for the Sacred Heart was recognized in 1765 in France and established as a feast day to be recognized by the whole church in 1899 by Pope Leo XIII.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has a long history in the church. It recognizes the humanity of Christ in the image of the human heart, and the depth of his love and compassion for us in his Passion. The promises tied to devotion to his Sacred Heart are very powerful, and the practice of these devotions (the novena of First Fridays, Holy Hours, placement of a picture of the Sacred Heart in the home) are beneficial to any Catholic.

(Ruth Powers is the program coordinator for St. Mary Basilica Parish in Natchez.)

Church future determined by how we communicate our faith

By Fran Lavelle

Fran Lavelle

In the last decade we have solicited the input of the young church from the Pope’s synod for youth and young adults which was detailed in Christus Vivit (Christ Alive), a USCCB national process of youth and young adult listening, and most recently the Synod on Synodality. In our diocesan efforts to produce a listening process we were keen on hearing from the young church. We heard a lot in our local and regional listening sessions for the Synod that folks are worried about losing our youth. It seems that it has been a problem that in the past few years has grown exponentially. Every year or so a new research poll comes out underscoring what we already know. Many of our youth and young people today are spiritual but not religious. They do not reject the idea of God, but do not support organized religion. This is not an exclusive problem for Catholics as other traditions are facing the same issue.

Looking at the input young people have shared with church leaders over the past decade we have more than enough input to begin to look at ways to improve how we communicate our faith to the young church. As Pope Francis is oft to say they are not the church of the future, they are the church of the now. And, as such, we must find ways to engage our youth and young adults in ways that connect faith and action. In our recent experience with the Synod on Synodality, the young church spoke and was not shy in sharing their perspective.

They asked for more opportunities for service, they feel a call to take care of the poor. They asked that church leaders (ordained and lay) be more authentic in words and actions. Specifically, they asked for leaders to stop being hypocritical. They asked for better preaching that is more relevant and address issues that matter. They asked that we stop using religion to support political views. They want the church to be better examples of faith in action and be more welcoming of others.

In 2017, the National Dialogue on Catholic Pastoral Ministry with Youth and Young Adults began a listening and reflection process focused on understanding and enhancing the church’s ministries with young people. Many national organizations were collaborators in this effort, including the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), the Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA) and the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (LaRED).

The results of that process clearly identified what the young church needs. Included in their findings was a call for more intentional connecting the life of faith with the lived experiences of young people. Address the “authenticity gap.” Many voices expressed that the church needs to show more empathy and authentic engagement with the young. Increase the investment in accompaniment. The church must train more people in “the art of accompaniment” with youth and young adults. Expand ministry with young adults. Reimagine faith formation. There was regular encouragement to move away from a classroom model and toward more relevant learning models featuring mentorship, small groups, accompaniment, faith sharing and authentic witness. Reconsider preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. There was a clear call to reexamine and reconsider how the church prepares young people for Confirmation. Partner with parents and enhance family ministry. There must be increased dialogue and collaboration with families and the domestic church, including the growth of intergenerational/family ministries. And, last but not least, transform ministry leadership. It was evident from the feedback that the church needs to seriously address the formation, support, and resourcing of ministry leaders and create a culture of collaboration and unity across ministerial and ecclesial lines.

If you are an older adult, you might be thinking that no one ever asked you what you needed from the church and you turned out just fine. If that is where you are, I understand and appreciate you. I imagine if you think back to your own Confirmation and ask yourself how many of your high school or college friends are still Catholic, you can easily see the need to adjust how we convey faith to the young church. Be assured, we are not reinventing doctrine or dogma to suit present day culture. The rich beauty of the church and that of the Catholic faith are to be preserved and treasured. What we are looking for are ways to animate our faith in order to keep the young church on fire with the love of God.

The reality is that we cannot unknow or unhear the voices of the young church. We cannot afford to be idle with our “we have always done it like…” mindset. The future of the church will be determined by our ability to dare to reimagine how we communicate our faith. I believe we can find a way.

Feature Photo: Blessing of McGing Hall

CLINTON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Father Thomas McGing bless the newly built McGing Hall at Holy Savior parish. Prior to the blessing, a Mass of Thanksgiving was held in honor of Father McGing, who is retiring after 51 years of service. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)

Calendar of Events

Our Lady of Hope Retreat Center, 15th annual “Speak Lord I’m Listening” Retreat for men and women, using the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Friday, July 22 from 7 p.m. till Sunday, July 24 at 12 p.m. Retreat is directed by Father Bill Henry. Come learn techniques to pray and meditate on the scriptures to deepen your relationship with the Lord. Cost is $250 per person and includes housing and meals; cost for commuters is $150. Registration deadline July 11. Details: Charlene Brown (601) 276-5954 or Marion Amedee (601) 684-3098.

Our Lady of Hope Retreat Center, Quo Vadis? Young Men’s Discernment Retreat, July 26-29. Age range for retreat is 15-25. Come pray, eat, have fun and build fraternity. To register visit: Details: email Father Nick at

JACKSON The Carmelite Monestery invites you to join them for Mass in their Monastery Chapel each evening during their annual Novena of Masses to honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel and to ask her intercession. Masses will be daily at 5:30 p.m., July 7 – July 16 and will be preceded by praying the Rosary at 5 p.m. There will be no morning Masses. Details: email

St. Francis of Assisi, Parish Cook-out Party, July 2 after 5 p.m. Mass. Sign-up sheet posted in parish hall for sides and other things to bring. Details: parish hall (601) 813-2295.

CANTON Sacred Heart, Chair stretch and contemplative prayer, Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. in the parish center. Details: Tereza Speer (769) 233-1989.

CLEVELAND Our Lady of Victories, Ladies Fellowship Lunch, Friday, June 24 at 11:30 a.m. at The Warehouse. Just show up! Details: Mary Foust at (662) 902-9903.

JACKSON St. Richard, 4th of July Family Picnic, Sunday, July 3 after 5 p.m. Mass. Food, fun, treats and more! Bring your favorite dessert to share. Details: church office (601) 366-2335.

St. Richard Boy Scout Troop Flag Retirement Ceremony, Boy Scout Troop #30 will hold their annual Flag Retirement Ceremony at the 4th of July Family Picnic on July 3. Please bring your worn out and torn flags to the church office by Friday, July 1 to participate.

MERIDIAN St. Patrick and St. Joseph, Prison Ministry volunteers needed to spread the Good News. Details: call (601) 527-3497 John Maloney or (601) 513-9907 Ken Woodward.

NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Thursday Nights at the Movies at 6:30 p.m. in the youth wing of the Family Life Center. Classic Catholic movies suitable for older children through adults will be shown. Snacks and drinks available for purchase. Donations accepted with proceeds going to new Miss-Lou Pregnancy Resource Center. June 30 – The 13th Day (2009); July 7 – Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972); July 21 – The Way (2010). Details: church office (601) 445-5616.

St. Francis, VBS, July 11-13 from 5:30-8 p.m. for preschool through age 11. Sign up sheets are in the vestibule. Details: church office (601) 833-1799.

CLINTON Holy Savior, Totally Catholic Rocky Railway VBS, July 11-15 from 6-8 p.m. for children going into PreK-3 through sixth grade. Registration open. Cost is $10 per child. Details: Trish Ballard (601) 924-6344.

NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, VBS, July 11-15 at the Family Life Center. Begins at 5:15 p.m. and a light, kid-friendly supper will be provided. For children entering PreK-4 through exiting fifth grade. Theme is Jerusalem Marketplace. Pre-registration is required and ends on July 1. Register at Details: church office (601) 445-5616.

MERIDIAN St. Patrick, Vacation Bible School, July 18-22. Theme is Food Truck Party … On a Roll with God! Registration now open at the parish office or online at Children must be registered individually. Cost is $10 per child (no child will be turned away if the family is unable to pay the fee). Open for children Kindergarten through fifth grade. Details: church office (601) 693-1321.

Catholic schools across the diocese have a variety of positions open from principals to substitutes. Please visit for an opportunity near you.

BIKING FOR BABIES, Renewing the culture of life in America, one pedal stroke and one pregnancy resource center at a time. They are riding through the state Monday, July 11, starting at St. Mary Basilica, Natchez and their first stop will be Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. at Dayspring Community Church (1100 Clinton Business Park Drive, Clinton). They ask people to attend and support them as they raise funds for Pregnancy Resource Centers across the country. Details:

Eucharistic processions on feast of Corpus Christi will launch revival

This is the logo for the U.S. bishops’ three-year National Eucharistic Revival. On June 19, 2022, the feast of Corpus Christi, archdioceses and dioceses across the U.S. will hold eucharistic processions to launch the revival, which will culminate in the National Eucharistic Congress in 2024. (CNS photo/courtesy USCCB)

By Gabriella Patti
DETROIT (CNS) – Belief in the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist is waning among professed Catholics, and the U.S. bishops are trying to do something about it.

According to a 2019 Pew Research Center study, roughly two-thirds of U.S. Catholics do not believe that the bread and wine at Mass become Christ’s body and blood during the consecration – a core dogma of the Catholic faith and the “source and summit” of the church’s life, according to the catechism.

In response, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is initiating a three-year grassroots revival of devotion and faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, culminating in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States since 1975. The congress will take place in Indianapolis in 2024.

On June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi, the National Eucharistic Revival will be launched with eucharistic processions taking place in archdioceses and dioceses around the country.

In the Detroit Archdiocese, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron will lead a two-mile eucharistic procession from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament to Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

Mercy Sister Esther Mary Nickel, director of worship for the archdiocese, said this “is an opportunity for Jesus to draw people to himself, and so we take Jesus to the streets, and we pray.”

Sister Nickel told Detroit Catholic, the archdiocesan news outlet, that she remembers participating in Corpus Christi processions in Rome with St. John Paul II, when onlookers would join as the congregation moved through the streets.

More than a month ahead of the archdiocesan procession, it was is drawing interest, she said.
“One of the (Detroit police) officers from the precinct who will help us with safety asked, ‘What is this about? What are we really doing?’” Sister Nickel said. “I responded and said, ‘It’s a pilgrimage, and we’re not here to stay. We’re on our way to heaven, and this is a symbolic representation of how we’re on our way to heaven together as we go to the streets.’”

Following these eucharistic processions, U.S. dioceses will develop parish teams of revival leaders to help their fellow Catholics reflect deeper on the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the church.

In the Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, for example, parish initiatives will begin immediately June 20, said Jenny Haug, assistant director of catechesis for the Office of Faith Formation.

The office, which is leading the revival initiative for the diocese, will be collaborating with parishes and the priests in the diocese to find a point person in each parish, she told the Tennessee Register, Nashville’s diocesan newspaper.

“The only prerequisite is that they have this beautiful devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist already and that they are willing to encourage those that they know within their parish that we need to do this together,” Haug explained.

“It is going to be three years diving deeper into the meaning of the Eucharist through catechesis, liturgical celebrations and prayer,” she added.

Catechetical resources will be made available throughout the diocese, said Brad Peper, director of the Office of Faith Formation.

In addition, there will be retreats for lay leaders and a catechetical conference each year “focusing on different consecutive themes regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist – presence, sacrifice and communion/consummation,” he said.

There also will be collaboration with religious education directors and the Catholic schools to plan curriculum that focuses more on the teaching of the Real Presence.

“The Eucharist is at the very heart of our faith,” Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre of Louisville, Kentucky, told The Record, the archdiocesan newspaper. “It is the real presence of Jesus Christ, how the Lord strengthens us to do everything he has entrusted us to do.”

And we are called to share the Eucharist with others, he said. The Corpus Christi procession provides a literal way to do so. It will start at the Cathedral of the Assumption after a noon Mass and travel several blocks in downtown Louisville and return to the cathedral.

“We are called to take Christ to the world,” said the archbishop. The procession “is a manifestation of how we are called to bring Christ to the world, as we take the eucharistic Lord to the streets, we take the word of the Lord into the world to all the places we go, as well.”

The U.S. bishops approved plans for the revival and the congress last November during their fall general assembly in Baltimore. Both are being spearheaded by the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, chaired by Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota.

“We are really aware in these times that we live that the church needs to become more missionary. The culture itself doesn’t support what we do anymore as Catholics,” Bishop Cozzens said in a statement. “All Catholics are invited into a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, especially those Catholics who don’t fully understand the power of the Eucharist.”

As people are seeking deeper connection more than ever before, “this is a time not to be ashamed of the Gospel but to proclaim it from the rooftops,” he added.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, USCCB president, called the Eucharist “the gateway key to the civilization of love that we long to create.”

“Jesus promised that he would be truly present in the sacrament of the altar – but also in the flesh and blood of our neighbors, especially those who are poor and suffering,” he said. “If we ever hope to end human indifference and social injustice, then we need to revive this sacramental awareness.

“In every human person we meet – from the infant in the womb to our elderly parents drawing their dying breaths – we must see the image of the living God.”

Among other components of the National Eucharistic Revival is the selection of 58 priests as National Eucharistic Preachers. They will soon be fanning out to dioceses across the country.

Representing individual dioceses and religious orders, the priests are hoping to inspire people to become better aware of the Eucharist in daily life, said Father Jorge Torres, a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, Florida, who is working as a specialist for the revival at the bishops’ conference.

The preachers will begin to respond to invitations from dioceses to speak at clergy convocations, gatherings of diocesan and Catholic school leaders, diocesan holy hours and youth and young adult events to help build interest stronger connections with the Eucharist and build interest in the congress.

In about a year, Father Torres said, the priests will begin speaking at parishes and smaller gatherings.

“The preachers have been asked to enter into this role because of their love for the Eucharist, their ability to communicate, their schedule for allowing flexibility,” Father Torres told Catholic News Service in early May.

“The goal is to not only speak about the Eucharist but to eventually share the testimonies of who Jesus in the Eucharist is to me and how that affects me whether I am a pastor at a parish or a mom on the way to the soccer game,” he explained.

(Patti is a news reporter on the staff of Detroit Catholic, the online news outlet of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Contributing to this story were Katie Peterson in Nashville and Marnie McCallister in Louisville.)

Patterson ‘bright spot’ in Office of Catholic Education

Rachel Patterson is pictured with her daughter, Tristen. She began working with the Office of Catholic Education in December of 2021. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Patterson)

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Since 2020, Rachel Patterson began praying on how she could grow in service towards her Catholic faith. Late last year, Patterson followed the path she had been praying for and was offered a role in the chancery with the Office of Catholic Education as an administrative assistant.

Patterson previously served as a grant writer and executive assistant at The Little Light House, Central Mississippi, a developmental center that works with special needs children.

“Although I was in a position that I loved, serving children with special needs, I felt called to apply,” said Patterson. “The position presented similar duties … with the added bonus of serving Catholic students within my diocese.”

Working with Karla Luke, executive director of Catholic education for the diocese, was a huge draw for Patterson.

“She has such vision for the Office of Catholic Education and what the future looks like. Her background in Catholic education and strong faith helps guide all of the amazing opportunities she plans to implement … over the next few years,” said Patterson.

Luke says that Patterson is a “bright spot” in the office. “[She’s] always enthusiastic, full of her Catholic faith which is evident in her interactions with all people she encounters.”

“We are extremely lucky and blessed to have her as a part of our team.”

Patterson is married to Rooks Patterson and the couple have a one-year-old daughter, Tristen, and are expecting their second daughter in September. Patterson and her family are members of St. Richard Jackson.

Father Adolfo installed as pastor in tri-lingual celebration

By Berta Mexidor
MORTON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz officially installed Father Adolfo Suarez-Pasillas as pastor of St. Michael Forest, its mission, St. Anne Newton, St. Michael Paulding and administrator of Centro Católico in Morton on Friday, June 3 with a tri-lingual celebration. Between COVID outbreaks, illnesses and scheduling issues, the installation was delayed almost a year, but the celebration was no less joyous.

The missions in Forest, Newton, Paulding and Morton serve many immigrants, not only of Hispanic descent but also Vietnamese among other nationalities, with a history that dates back to 1996 when the Catholic Center opened in Morton with a spiritual retreat led by Father Jorge Julio Mejia of Bogota, Colombia, who was visiting Mississippi and has continuously offered Sunday Mass and social services to the growing Hispanic community residing in and around Morton.

Father Adolfo was ordained on May 11, 2019, and had his first Mass of Thanksgiving, on June 7 of the same year, in the parish of Jesus of Nazareth, in his hometown Jesús Maria, of Aguascalientes in Mexico. Since childhood, around the age of six, Father Adolfo remembers wanting to be a priest and look at the images of his grandmother’s Bible, when he could not read. His grandmother and aunts taught him the world of faith and prayer.

“The first time I remember, the priesthood came to mind was when I was about six years old. It was Sunday, I was walking with my cousin and I remember telling her I wanted to be a priest. She asked me why, then I told her, because all priests go to heaven,” Father Adolfo recalled in an interview with Mississippi Catholic.

With his longing to serve and desire to follow God, Father Adolfo draws on the example of the many saints who inspire him, St. Augustine, St. John Bosco, St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. John Mary Vianney, St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Paul II, along with his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe to serve the People of God.


– Cardinal-designate Robert W. McElroy told reporters May 31 that when he learned he is among the 21 new cardinals Pope Francis will create Aug. 27, “I said a big prayer. I said several prayers because I was stunned and so shocked by this,” said the 68-year-old prelate who heads the San Diego Diocese. He is the only American in the group the pope announced May 29. “It was prayer in gratitude for my family and the many people who have helped form me over the years and thanksgiving to God for all their roles in my life,” he said during a 25-minute news conference held outside the diocesan pastoral center. After the consistory, he will be among 132 cardinals under the age of 80, who will be eligible to vote in a conclave. The number of those over 80 will be 97, bringing the total number of cardinals to 229. A native of San Francisco, Bishop McElroy is the sixth bishop of San Diego. He was installed April 15, 2015. Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco April 12, 1980, he was an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese from September 2010 until he was named to head the Diocese of San Diego in 2015. “By naming Bishop Robert McElroy as a cardinal, Pope Francis has shown his pastoral care for the church in the United States,” said Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “I have known and have had the privilege of working with Cardinal-designate McElroy for many years.”

– Any Catholic who participates in the celebration July 24 of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly can receive a plenary indulgence, the Vatican announced. “Grandparents, the elderly and all the faithful who, motivated by a true spirit of penance and charity,” attend Mass or other prayer services for the occasion can receive the indulgence, which “can also be applied as a suffrage for the souls in purgatory,” said the announcement published May 30. Pope Francis celebrated the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021 and decreed that it be observed each year on the Sunday closest to the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. In his message for this year’s celebration, Pope Francis asked older people like himself to be “artisans of the revolution of tenderness. We grandparents and elderly people have a great responsibility: to teach the women and men of our time to regard others with the same understanding and loving gaze with which we regard our own grandchildren,” he had written.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Holy Trinity shows how to be open to others and to be good, generous and gentle, Pope Francis said. “The Trinity teaches us that one can never be without the other. We are not islands, we are in the world to live in God’s image: open, in need of others and in need of helping others,” the pope said June 12 before reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He also led prayers for the people of Ukraine, who remain “afflicted by war” and whose situation “remains vivid in my heart.” He urged that the world “not grow accustomed” to the tragedy in Ukraine. “Let us always keep it in our hearts. Let us pray and strive for peace,” he said after reciting the Angelus prayer. In his main address, the pope reflected on the day’s feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which celebrates God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks, not of himself, but “he announces Jesus and reveals the Father. And we also notice that the Father, who possesses everything because he is the origin of all things, gives to the Son everything he possesses,” the pope said. The Holy Trinity “is open generosity, one open to the other.”

Inge Kraegeloh, 69, and Werner Deigendesch, 75, of Germany walk on the Via Dolorosa’s new accessible lane in the Old City of Jerusalem June 3, 2022. The Accessible Jerusalem-Old City makes many streets accessible to wheelchairs, baby strollers, and the vision impaired. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

– After 10 years of systematic work, the Old City of Jerusalem is more accessible to the disabled and the elderly. The pandemic-related shutdown allowed for completion of work of the last, most sensitive mile of the historic stone alleyways of the Via Dolorosa – the Way of the Cross. It took years for the first 2.5 miles of the $6.5 million Accessible Jerusalem-Old City project to be complete because of the complexity of working within a historic area that is less than a half square mile in size. Both the Old City and its walls are designated as an UNESCO World Heritage site, requiring planners to carefully consider changes as they accommodated the needs of residents living their daily lives and millions of visitors a year, said Gura Berger, spokeswoman for the East Jerusalem Development Co., which implemented the program. “We worked day and night and we made (1 mile) accessible in two years,” Berger said. “These are the most sentimental (miles) because for the first time in history the Via Dolorosa is accessible. We did something important because people really come here in awe, with respect and hopes to the holy city.”

SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) – Bishops in South Korea have moved ahead to pursue the canonization of 81 Catholics, including priests, religious and laypeople who were martyred by communist forces during the Korean War. The Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization held its closing session June 7 for preliminary examination of 81 Servants of God, the title accorded to individuals as the first step toward canonization, according to a notice from the bishops’ conference of Korea. The bishops agreed that the candidates were “witnesses of modern and contemporary faith” of the Korean Church, reported. Sainthood candidates include Bishop Francis Hong Yong-ho of Pyongyang, 49 priests, seven religious and 23 laymen who were tortured and killed by the communists before and after the Korean War, which was fought from 1950 to 1953. The martyrs include foreign missionaries. One was Msgr. Patrick James Byrne, an American Maryknoll missionary who was the apostolic delegate to Korea. The bishops’ conference said a preliminary examination of data and research materials began Feb. 22, 2017, and 25 sessions were held until May 13 this year. The committee will submit the data and documents it has gathered to the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.