Posted on 03/26/2023 19:20 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 26, 2023 / 11:20 am (CNA).
A local Connecticut television station reported that the Archdiocese of Hartford is investigating a possible eucharistic miracle that may have taken place during the celebration of the Mass at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Thomaston.
On March 5 at the conclusion of Mass, Father Joseph Crowley announced that a eucharistic minister witnessed something unexplainable as he was distributing Communion.
“One of our eucharistic ministers was running out of hosts and suddenly there were more hosts in the ciborium. God just duplicated himself in the ciborium,” an emotional Crowley told the faithful.
“It’s really, really cool when God does these things, and it’s really, really cool when we realize what he’s done, and it just happened today,” the priest said.
“Very powerful, very awesome, very real, very shocking. But also, it happens, and today it happened,” he said.
“They were running out of hosts and all of a sudden more hosts were there. So today not only did we have the miracle of the Eucharist, we also had a bigger miracle. It’s pretty cool,” the priest said.
Watch Crowley describe the possible miracle in the video below:
WFSB Eyewitness News reported Friday that “the Archdiocese of Hartford is looking into this possible miracle.”
A Vatican-endorsed exhibit “Eucharistic Miracles of the World,” featuring documentary evidence of 152 such miracles, has visited over 3,000 churches on its international tour. In the 21st century, there have been four eucharistic miracles recognized by the Catholic Church, the Magis Center reported.
In 2013, in a church in Legnica, Poland, a consecrated host that fell to the floor was put into water so that it would dissolve. Instead, it became streaked with red stains. Forensic testing concluded, “In the histopathological image, the fragments were found containing the fragmented parts of the cross-striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle.”
In 2006, a consecrated host at a parish in the Chilpancingo-Chilapa Diocese of Mexico appeared to be bleeding. Tests later found the presence of blood. “The reddish substance analyzed corresponds to blood in which there are hemoglobin and DNA of human origin,” the study found.
In 2001, witnesses reported seeing the face of Jesus appear on a consecrated host in Chirattakonam, India.
And in 2008, at a church in Sokolka, Poland, a priest dropped a consecrated host, which then appeared to bleed. Tests later found that “the altered fragment of the host is identical to the myocardial (heart) tissue of a person who is nearing death. Additionally, the structure of the muscle fibers and that of the bread are interwoven in a way impossible to produce by human means.”
Posted on 03/26/2023 15:20 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Mar 26, 2023 / 07:20 am (CNA).
Pope Francis on Sunday offered prayers for the victims of a deadly tornado that struck parts of Mississippi and Alabama Friday night.
Cutting a swath of ruin across the impoverished Mississippi Delta, the tornado killed at least 26 people and left twisted piles of debris where homes, businesses, and neighborhoods once stood. The death toll is expected to rise, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) warned.
Speaking after his weekly Angelus reflection in St. Peter’s Square March 26, the pope included victims of the storm among those suffering around the world from war and natural disasters.
“Yesterday, the solemnity of the Annunciation, we renewed the consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the certainty that only the conversion of hearts can open the way that leads to peace,” he said.
“Let us continue to pray for the tormented Ukrainian people. And let us stay close also to the earthquake victims of Turkey and Syria,” he said. “Let us also pray for the population of the state of Mississippi, struck by a devastating tornado.”
On Sunday President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration to speed federal aid to the area, adding that he and First Lady Jill Biden are praying for the victims of the storm.
“Jill and I are praying for those who have lost loved ones in the devastating tornadoes in Mississippi and for those whose loved ones are missing,” Biden said in a statement.
“The images from across Mississippi are heartbreaking. While we are still assessing the full extent of the damage, we know that many of our fellow Americans are not only grieving for family and friends, they’ve lost their homes and businesses,” he added.
The National Weather Service warned that more severe weather is possible for the area on Sunday.
‼️ A large portion of the state has the potential to see severe storms Sunday evening (3/26). Expect damaging wind gusts. Tornadoes cannot be ruled out.— msema (@MSEMA) March 25, 2023
Have a plan.
Know your safe place.
Have multiple ways to receive alerts. pic.twitter.com/afQfE5oDO8
The loss of 25 people so far in Mississippi makes the March 24 twister the deadliest tornado in the state in at least 50 years, Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger reported. One man died in Alabama.
Much of the destruction is centered in the rural Mississippi towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork, about 60 miles northeast of Jackson, USA Today reported. Drone footage the Clarion Ledger posted on its website showed the breathtaking scale of the damage.
“It is almost complete devastation,” Royce Steed, emergency manager in Humphreys County, where Silver City is located, told USA Today. “This little old town … is more or less wiped off the map.”
At least 18 of the dead were from Rolling Fork, with other residents still unaccounted for, the Clarion Ledger reported.
“There are nearly 20 homes on Seventh Street with around 80 residents. Every home was a complete loss,” the news outlet reported.
MEMA officials have preliminarily categorized the tornado with an EF-4 rating. That classification is for tornadoes packing wind gusts from 166 mph to 200 mph, according to the AccuWeather weather service.
The Clarion Ledger spoke with Seventh Street resident John Brewer, a long-haul trucker who was home with his wife, Joyce, when the tornado roared through the neighborhood. The tornado lifted his 27,000-pound truck and dropped it on his neighbor’s home, killing L.A. Pierce and his wife, Melissa.
Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, issued a statement Saturday pledging the support of the diocese’s Catholic Charities disaster response team.
“At this time, we join in prayer for all those affected by the storms that crossed our state and for the repose of the souls of those lost to these devastating tornadoes,” Kopacz said.
“We pray for those who are desperately trying to reach loved ones and unable to reach them, as well as those still seeking safety who are missing as a result of the storms,” he continued.
“We give thanks and pray for first responders, who are working tirelessly in affected communities trying to reach those missing, restore power, and assist those surviving,” the bishop added.
“I encourage all to continue to pray and find ways to support all affected communities,” Kopacz concluded.
Posted on 03/25/2023 14:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Orlando, Fla., Mar 25, 2023 / 06:00 am (CNA).
Tens of millions of people visit the Orlando area each year, and while some only frequent the “altars” of Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter during their stay, others carve out time to worship the source of all blessings. They are welcomed with open arms at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe — a spiritual oasis nestled amid limitless dining, retail, and entertainment options.
“Let Mary Queen be your spiritual home while you are in Orlando,” said Missionary of Mercy Father Anthony Aarons, the church's rector. Visitors from every continent make up the majority of the congregation and often share where they are from after Mass or during confession. “Our priests are available to speak with you and our gift shop is your one-stop shopping place for religious gifts,” he said.
The large, 2,000-seat shrine commands attention from passersby on I-4, the region’s primary highway, and is situated near major attractions including Disney World, Universal Orlando, and retail outlets. It features many stained-glass windows and side chapels, including one devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The broad main altar and gold-tone organ pipes behind it are bathed in natural sunlight, which bounces off the crystal backing of the crucifix suspended overhead. Marian-themed art on display includes a 17th-century painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the back of the basilica attributed to Spanish painter Bartolomé Murillo. A gift shop offers books, rosaries, statues, and other religious goods.
Outside, the grounds include a rosary garden, chapel, bell tower, and religious statues. Natural amenities include a peaceful pond populated by turtles, fish, and birds with nearby willow trees and other greenery.
Like many vacation destinations, the Orlando area is climbing closer to pre-pandemic levels of tourism. More than 70 million people visited from 2017 to 2019, according to estimates published by Visit Orlando. After the number of visitors plummeted in 2020, approximately 59 million people came in 2021, the most recent data available.
The schedules for Mass and confession reflect the vacation-friendly vibe. Daily Mass is celebrated at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. On weekends, a 6 p.m. Saturday Vigil Mass and Sunday Masses at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and noon are offered.
The wide availability of confession year-round is striking — approximately 24 hours total over six days between Monday and Saturday. Weekdays it is offered 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. On Saturdays, priests are present to counsel penitents for six hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to Father Aarons, this is in keeping with the church’s designation by Pope John Paul II as a shrine, sought out by pilgrims who can gain a plenary indulgence through confession and the usual requirements.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the shrine’s 1993 dedication. Its opening was the culmination of decades of work by local Catholics to address the spiritual needs of their brethren from every corner of the globe, growing in scale along with the entertainment nearby.
Since becoming rector last August, Aarons has expanded offerings for the faithful. He added the weekday morning Mass and a noon Mass on Saturdays in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary (unless a feast or obligatory memorial precludes it); a First Saturday speaker series; First Friday eucharistic exposition and Benediction with Divine Mercy Chaplet; and he converted the former gift shop into a conference center.
This story originally appeared in the Arlington Catholic Herald and is published here on CNA with permission.
Posted on 03/25/2023 12:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Denver, Colo., Mar 25, 2023 / 04:00 am (CNA).
It is tradition for Catholics around the world to participate in the Stations of the Cross each Friday during Lent. However, for EWTN foundress Mother Angelica, it was a daily devotion.
EWTN chaplain Father Joseph Mary Wolfe collected Mother Angelica’s spiritual guidance that she shared with him into a book titled “Mother Angelica’s The Way of the Cross,” published by EWTN Publishing.
In an interview with EWTN News Nightly, Wolfe discussed the inspiration behind the book, which features actual pictures of the stations then-Rita Rizzo (Mother Angelica’s given name) prayed in front of in her hometown of Canton, Ohio, before entering the monastery.
It was during a visit to St. Anthony’s Church, the church where Rizzo prayed the Stations of the Cross as a teenager in Canton, that Wolfe thought it “would be wonderful if we could take these actual stations that she prayed before and make them available to people.”
The Stations of the Cross were very meaningful to Mother Angelica. Wolfe recalled the advice she gave him when she encouraged him to pray the Stations of the Cross daily, “because she knew that I would find strength in that.”
“Life has troubles. Life has sufferings. It has difficulties,” he said. “So when we go to the Stations of the Cross, we’re reflecting on Our Lord’s sufferings but also his love and something of his strength and his love is imparted to us.”
Mother Angelica herself had a variety of sufferings from her family’s breakup, her mother’s depression, the poverty she grew up in, and her own physical problems. Due to this, Wolfe said, “Mother could relate to people because she understood their sufferings.”
“Mother said to me one time that suffering was her companion that kept her dependent on God,” he said.
Wolfe recalled an interaction with a woman who was left debilitated after surgery on a brain tumor. “She said, ‘You know, I think the most important lesson that Mother left me ... is how to suffer, how to suffer well,’” he said.
Mother Angelica died on Easter Sunday in 2016. Wolfe was with her during her last moments. He remembered the suffering she was in on the Good Friday before she passed. Together with caregivers and fellow sisters, he and the friars prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet with her at 3 p.m., which seemed to give her peace.
“There’s a crucifix that was in her room. And so I took that crucifix, as I had done many other times on Good Friday, and held it up to Mother and she kissed it for the last time,” he revealed.
“She always wanted to kiss not the feet on the corpus, but the open heart,” he added.
This story was originally published on CNA on March 17, 2022.
Posted on 03/25/2023 01:15 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 24, 2023 / 17:15 pm (CNA).
House Republicans held a hearing Thursday featuring testimony from parents who said their decision to speak up at school board meetings resulted in a Department of Justice effort to intimidate and silence them.
The witnesses offered their testimony at the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government’s first hearing on “Free Speech: The Biden Administration’s Chilling of Parents’ Fundamental Rights.”
Much of the discussion surrounded the DOJ’s October 2021 memorandum that Attorney General Merrick Garland issued to address an alleged “spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence at school board meetings.”
The memo called for federal intervention and tasked the FBI with investigating parents to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats” against education officials.
Nicole Neily, the founder of Parents Defending Education, told the committee her office worked with parents who became worried about speaking against their school boards following the memo.
“Unsurprisingly, parents were frightened by this escalation,” Neily said. “In the days following the release of [the] DOJ’s memo, we fielded dozens of requests from concerned parents who worried whether they should continue their advocacy work or simply stay home, fearing a knock at the door from federal law enforcement.”
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, who chairs the subcommittee, said during his opening speech that the memo was used to “target concerned parents” and “to intimidate these parents into silence by sicking federal law enforcement on them.”
The congressman alleged that the “ambiguity” of the document helped the administration “silence the critics of its radical education policies.”
Tiffany Justice, the founder of the parental rights organization Moms for Liberty, agreed with Johnson’s assessment and said the FBI “made phone calls to parents” who confronted school board officials.
She cited one mother affiliated with her organization who was allegedly questioned by the FBI about whether she owned guns or had mental health problems because she “disagreed with her school board.”
According to Justice, the memo “sent shockwaves across this country that we still feel today.” She said activists in her organization were frequently mistreated.
“We attended school board meetings, often facing unjust treatment,” Justice said. “Parents were expelled, their mics were cut off, and many were prevented from speaking.”
Several Republican lawmakers expressed empathy with the parents, including Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, who noted that the FBI investigations failed to find any criminal activity.
“According to the FBI, not one of these school-board-related investigations resulted in federal arrests or charges,” Hunt said. “Not a single one.”
Democratic members of the subcommittee disputed some of the testimony and the statements made by Republican subcommittee members.
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pennsylvania, who serves as the subcommittee’s ranking member, said the memo was focused on potential criminal activity, such as threats of violence.
“Any reasonable person can see the difference between threats of political violence and legitimate political discourse,” Scanlon said. “Unfortunately, this hearing is based upon [a] false narrative … designed to promote chaos and division in our communities.”
Scanlon claimed the “real First Amendment threat” comes from “extremists [who] are imposing their beliefs on all students and parents through library book bans, bans on certain subjects in the public school curricula, and censorship of educators all to the detriment of students’ learning.”
PEN America Managing Director Nadine Johnson also testified before the committee about states and school districts that have restricted access to controversial books in school libraries.
“In this new era of censorship, we have tracked 303 bills, which we term educational gag orders, in 44 states,” Johnson said. “These government restrictions forbid the teaching of specific curricula or ban certain concepts from the classroom.”
Several Republican committee members, including Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, countered that they believe the books being removed from school libraries are inappropriate for children.
Roy referred to the book “Gender Queer,” which he said contained “graphic pictures that are being put in front of our kids in schools,” such as “two men engaged in a sexual position” and “two men engaged in oral sex.”
Rep. Mike Johnson indicated there would be additional hearings from the subcommittee to address these matters further.
Posted on 03/25/2023 00:42 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 24, 2023 / 16:42 pm (CNA).
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed a “Parents Bill of Rights” designed to ensure that parents can have a stronger role in the public education system, which included last-minute amendments to bolster transparency on schools’ transgender policies.
The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Julia Letlow, R-Louisiana, passed the House in a 213-208 vote, with the support of most Republicans and no Democrats.
“As a mom of two and a former educator, I believe for children to succeed, they need families and schools to work together as partners throughout the learning process,” Letlow said in a statement. “After spending nearly a year and a half working to pass this bill, I’m grateful that we’re finally able to advance this critical legislation.”
The resolution would set new federal standards for the public education system that would mandate greater transparency over the school curriculum and budget, set up more opportunities for parents to voice their opinion on school matters, and establish stronger privacy rights and security protocols for students.
To bolster transparency, the resolution would require school districts to publicly post their school curriculum and provide a list of library books and other library reading materials to parents. It would require states to provide parents with timely notice if gifted and talented programs are to be eliminated and publicize all changes to academic standards and learning benchmarks. The resolution would further mandate that school district budgets, individual school budgets, and all revenues and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
In addition, the resolution would seek to ensure greater cooperation between the schools and the parents by requiring school boards to provide opportunities for parents to address the board and mandating that teachers offer parents at least two in-person meetings every year.
To ensure students’ privacy, the resolution would require that schools receive parental permission before sharing student data with technology companies and would ban the sale of student data for any commercial purposes. It would also require that schools get parental consent prior to any medical exams of students.
As a way to improve student safety and transparency, the resolution would require schools to inform parents of violent activity on school grounds and at school-sponsored events. The schools would be required to maintain the privacy of students involved in the violence when notifying parents.
Lawmakers also approved some last-minute amendments to the resolution, which included two proposed by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado. Her amendments would require that schools notify parents if they allow biological males who identify as female to participate in girls’ sports or use the girls’ restrooms.
“We have seen public schools promote extremely divisive content like critical race theory, radical gender ideology, and even drag shows to impressionable young children,” Boebert said in a statement. “Speaking as a mother of four boys, enough is enough. I send my boys to school to receive an education, not indoctrination. Parents have a right to know what’s happening at their child’s school, and my amendments will ensure just that.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, issued a statement that accused Republicans of putting “politics over parents” by passing the resolution and claimed they were intent on banning books.
“Rather than actually invest in empowering parents, making sure parents have the opportunity to be engaged and involved in the education of their children, extreme MAGA Republicans want to jam their right-wing ideology down the throats of students, teachers, and parents throughout America,” Jeffries said.
The resolution now heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it faces an uphill battle.
Posted on 03/25/2023 00:12 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 24, 2023 / 16:12 pm (CNA).
Speaking at a panel discussion at Georgetown University’s Center on Faith and Justice on Thursday, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi criticized the U.S. Catholic bishops over their opposition to abortion and transgender treatments for children.
“They [the bishops] are willing to abandon the bulk of [Catholic social teaching] because of one thing [abortion],” Pelosi said. “And that’s the fight that we have.”
As an outspoken abortion advocate as well as a supporter of the LGBTQ+ movement, Pelosi regularly cites her Catholic faith as the reason behind her policy positions.
During her time as speaker of the House, first in 2007–2011 and then again in 2019–2023, Pelosi backed legislation opposed by the U.S. bishops, including the Affordable Care Act and the Respect for Marriage Act.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called abortion a “grave evil” and LGBTQ+ legislation “deeply concerning.”
In May 2022, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the city Pelosi represents, announced in an open letter that he would begin forbidding the priests in his diocese from distributing holy Communion to Pelosi because of her stance on abortion.
On Thursday, Pelosi said, “I figure that’s his problem, not mine.”
“He made it very clear, maybe we’re not all God’s children. Maybe we do not have a free will,” Pelosi said of Cordileone, whom she also criticized for opposing LGBTQ+ ideology.
“We have had very negative, anti-LGBTQ stuff coming from our archbishop and others,” Pelosi said, criticizing in particular the bishops’ stance against transgender surgeries on children.
“Right now our challenge is trans kids, that in certain states they will arrest you if you try to meet the health needs of your trans child. They will call that child abuse. So, yeah some of it is stirred up by some of the more conservative leaders in the Church. It’s sad to say — not His Holiness.”
When it comes to her pro-abortion stance, Pelosi said she considers herself pro-life because she had five children in just over six years and because she cares about children.
“I was raised in a family that you would describe probably as ‘pro-life,’ although I think I’m pro-life because I care about children,” Pelosi said. “Because I had five children in six years and one week … so I keep saying to my members, you got five kids in six years? You want to talk about this subject?”
According to Pelosi, she and the bishops are “pretty much in sync” with most Catholic social teaching except for the abortion issue.
Pelosi also touted her role in passing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in 2010.
The USCCB opposed Obamacare on the grounds that it would result in taxpayer dollars being used to pay for abortions as well as force employers to cover abortions and include contraceptives in their employees’ health insurance plans. Congress eventually passed the legislation by overcoming opposition from pro-life Democrats with the inclusion of restrictions to abortion in ACA insurance plans.
Pelosi claimed that the U.S. bishops “were mischaracterizing what was in that bill,” adding that she believes that “their purpose was to destroy Roe v. Wade, right in that bill.”
“Today is the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, something that I’m very, very proud of,” Pelosi said. “But all I can say about how we passed that is, thank God for the nuns, thank God for the nuns because they offset the bishops.”
Though the USCCB opposed the Affordable Care Act, the bill was endorsed by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Vatican has investigated the organization and censured it for embracing a political agenda in contrast with the teaching of the Church.
Jim Wallis, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Faith and Justice, also chimed in, saying that “Catholic women religious were central” in passing Obamacare, “because they thought the Affordable Care Act was pro-life.”
Wallis called this a “consistent ethic of life” based on Catholic social teaching that is “not just focus[ed] on one issue.”
Instead, she asserted that “because we had the nuns, we were able to prevail … So, when we pushed open that gate, the nuns were right there with us, pushing open the gate.”
According to Pelosi, her style of faith and politics is something she shares with President Joe Biden.
“Justice is something that means a great deal to President Biden, in his Catholicism, justice in how we meet the needs of the people, justice in listening to how they want their needs,” she said. “When you’re in [politics], you have to be prepared to take a punch, and you have to be prepared to throw a punch, for the children, always for the children.”
“My ‘why’ is one in five children lives in poverty, goes to sleep hungry at night,” Pelosi added. “That’s what took me from the kitchen to the Congress, from housewife to House speaker.”
During the discussion at the Jesuit Catholic university, Pelosi also called for the Church to start allowing women to become priests, saying that her mother had wanted her to be a nun, but she would have preferred to be a priest.
“Every day [priests] have the power … of turning bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, that is real power, now we’re talking power, and that’s why I was more attracted to that than being a nun,” Pelosi said. “On the other hand, maybe women will be able to do that as well, that’s something to think about, something I was hoping the pope would do.”
Posted on 03/24/2023 20:30 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
St. Louis, Mo., Mar 24, 2023 / 12:30 pm (CNA).
March 25 marks one year since Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Earlier this week, the pope encouraged “each believer and community, especially prayer groups,” to renew the consecration of the whole world every March 25 on the solemnity of the Annunciation. But what does all this mean? Here’s what you need to know.
To “consecrate” is to set aside for a holy purpose. The word “entrustment” is often used synonymously with the word “consecration.”
The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship defines consecration to Mary as an overt recognition of the “singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage.”
St. John Paul II — who consecrated the entire Church and world to Mary three times during his pontificate — taught that by consecrating oneself to Mary, we accept her help in offering ourselves fully to Christ.
Colin Donovan, vice president for theology at EWTN, told CNA that consecration “is an entrustment and also an appeal to God. The entrustment here is the fact that we lay ourselves, our hearts, our prayers, our desires at the feet of Our Lady, and that serves God’s purposes because it elevates Our Lady in the mind of the Church, and hopefully in the mind in the world. And it’s an appeal to God for our particular needs.”
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is an object of devotion, as it symbolizes her perfect will as expressed in her “fiat.” Mary’s heart is generally depicted with seven wounds and pierced by a sword. Early devotion to the heart of Mary was exemplified by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, but the modern devotion was founded by St. John Eudes, a French priest of the 17th century.
The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was first observed by Eudes, and it began receiving papal approbation at the opening of the 19th century. The feast was placed on the General Roman Calendar in 1944, to be observed Aug. 22, the octave day of the Assumption.
Taking place just over a month after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis said he wanted to entrust the nations at war to the Blessed Virgin Mary in response to the “numerous requests from the people of God.”
“Nearly a month has passed since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine that is daily inflicting immense suffering upon its sorely tried people and threatening world peace,” Pope Francis said in a letter dated March 21, 2022.
“At this dark hour, the Church is urgently called to intercede before the Prince of Peace and to demonstrate her closeness to those directly affected by the conflict.”
The pope released another letter March 23 asking all Catholics to assemble in their parishes on that Friday to pray the act of consecration. Catholics around the world — including in every U.S. diocese — participated.
In his homily last year before praying the consecration, the pope said that the prayer “is no magic formula but a spiritual act.”
“It is an act of complete trust on the part of children who, amid the tribulation of this cruel and senseless war that threatens our world, turn to their Mother, reposing all their fears and pain in her heart and abandoning themselves to her,” he said.
Here’s what Pope Francis said:
“Let us not tire of entrusting the cause of peace to the Queen of Peace. I would therefore like to invite every believer and community, especially prayer groups, to renew every March 25 the act of consecration to Our Lady, so that she, who is Mother, may preserve us all in unity and peace. And let us not forget, in these days, troubled Ukraine, who is suffering so much.”
The text of the prayer can be found here.
Posted on 03/24/2023 20:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Boston, Mass., Mar 24, 2023 / 12:00 pm (CNA).
Carlos Medina, the man charged with murdering Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell in February, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in court Wednesday.
News of O’Connell’s Feb. 18 murder shocked the nation after it was reported that he died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds at his Hacienda Heights home. The local and wider Catholic community mourned O’Connell, who was remembered as a man of peace dedicated to serving the poor and immigrants.
Medina, 61, is the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper, and it remains unclear what the motive for the murder might have been. He is being held on more than $2 million bail and will have his next court hearing May 17.
Before his not guilty plea, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said in a Feb. 22 press conference that Medina admitted to the murder.
“He admitted that he had done the killing and we believe we recovered the weapon that they were using, and we have other evidence from the bed, certain things that indicate that they were in the place where the killing occurred,” Gascón said in Spanish, translated here by CNA.
Following the revelation of the alleged admission, a current and former colleague of Gascón criticized him for breaking the L.A. District Attorney’s Office’s own policy of forbidding the disclosure of a defendant's admission in an open criminal case.
John Lewin, a former deputy district attorney for Los Angeles, told Fox News Digital that the statement could affect the outcome of the trial.
“It cannot be more simply stated, George Gascón is a DA who either doesn’t know the basic ethical rules that govern the agency he leads or doesn’t care to follow them,” he said.
“What if a court decides that the confession will not be admitted to trial? You can’t put that genie back into the bottle,” he added.
John McKinney, a current LA deputy district attorney, told Fox News Digital that the disclosure was contrary to police department rules.
“By disclosing a defendant’s confession in an open criminal case, George Gascón has not only committed a blatant violation of LADA policy but has also potentially violated the due process rights of the accused.”
Obtained by CNA, the District Attorney’s Legal Policy Manual states that “at the time of arrest, the issuance of an arrest warrant, the filing of a complaint, or the public revelation of an indictment,” information about a confession, admission, or statement given by the accused shall not be released.
Marc Debbaudt, a former career deputy district attorney for Los Angeles, told CNA Feb. 27 that he didn’t think Gascón’s announcement of the admission could cause the case to be thrown out but said that “it could result in motions to change jurisdiction.”
“It’s just embarrassingly unprofessional,” he said.
Three days of memorial services were held for O’Connell, 69, in early March. O’Connell’s funeral was attended by thousands as Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez called him an intercessor for souls.
Speaking briefly at the conclusion of the funeral liturgy, Gomez said “Bishop Dave,” as O’Connell was affectionately known, would be sorely missed, but “we know that he’s in heaven.”
“From there he’s going to continue to intercede for us,” Gomez said, “as he has done his whole life.”
Posted on 03/24/2023 19:08 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 24, 2023 / 11:08 am (CNA).
Catholic bishops in Texas are all-in advocating for parental school choice in the state Legislature this spring.
“St. Paul VI spoke well of the Catholic Church’s understanding of education. He said, ‘Parents, who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children, must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools.’ Therefore, parental choice continues to be a top priority of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops,” Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth said in a video released Monday.
A bill introduced by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, would establish an education savings account program to allow parents to receive some of their tax dollars back to help pay for the educational institution of their choice. This would allow more Catholic parents to be able to better afford to enroll their children in a Catholic or private school or home-school.
In Iowa earlier this year, Catholic bishops hailed the passage of a school choice bill as a boon for Catholic schools. That state’s bill would allow students to put $7,598 in an educational savings account to be spent at any private or parochial school.
“Currently, there are not any private school choice programs in Texas,” Helen Osman, a spokesperson for the Texas Catholic Bishops, told CNA.
“There are charter schools in many areas of the state, and the state does allow home schooling, but there is no funding provided to parents to choose educational options for their children … We will be testifying in support of [parental choice legislation],” she said.
With the backing of the state’s Catholic bishops, school choice reform seems likely to happen in Texas.
In addition, state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, introduced the Texas Parental Bill of Rights to guarantee parents the right to access information about their children and make decisions regarding their education.
The bill explicitly states that a parent has “the right to direct the moral and religious training of the parent’s child, make decisions concerning the child’s education, and consent to medical, psychiatric, and psychological treatment of the parent’s child.”
If passed into law, the bill would guarantee Texas parents the right to have input on their children’s courses and educational materials. Parents would have the ability to opt their children out of unwanted vaccinations or instruction deemed objectionable such as on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Key Texas political leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, have also signaled their support for the legislation.
Abbott, a Catholic Republican, said on Tuesday that “we must empower every parent in Texas to choose the best education opportunity for their child. This session, we’ll deliver education freedom for every family in Texas.”
Both parental choice bills were presented to the state Senate’s education committee on Wednesday, the first step the bill needs to clear to be passed into law.
Many Texas Catholics showed up at the state capitol in Austin Wednesday to show their support for the bill. Some, including Bishop Olson and Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops legislative director Jennifer Allmon, testified before the education committee in support of parental choice.
“This is not a zero-sum game where private schools win, and public schools lose. It is a win-win for communities when all children can flourish in the educational setting best suited for them,” Allmon said in her testimony.
“It is unrealistic to expect every public school to be everything to every child. By combining public school parental rights improvements with an education savings account, [parental choice legislation] recognizes that public schools will remain the predominant method of receiving education in Texas while allowing children who need something else to have a better chance to access it.”