The Church of St. Rita

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8694 80th St. S.
Cottage Grove, MN 55016-2096
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Ice bucket challenge brings attention to pro-life research center

Few people think of Iowa City, Iowa, as a hotbed of medical research. But in a roundabout way more Catholics are beginning to take notice of a Catholic, pro-life medical research center.zWyrMHrIgdg

U.S. Bishops: Special Collection for the persecuted minorities in Middle East

(Vatican Radio)  Catholic bishops in the U.S. are organizing a special collection to help Christians and other persecuted minorities in the Middle East.


Please find below the press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB): 


“The bishops of the United States will express their solidarity with Christians and other minorities in the Middle East in the face of ongoing violence and persecution by taking up a special collection. Proceeds from the collection will support immediate humanitarian and pastoral needs, as well as the cost of long-term church reconstruction.

The collection will be taken in parishes across the United States on either the weekend of September 6-7 or the following weekend of September 13-14.”

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz  of Louisville, President of the USCCB, recently wrote to President Obama expressing his concern for the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Youth reflect on Totus Tuus experience

Participants of the archdiocesan Totus Tuus retreats share about how God is calling them.rqeM4hkMGPE

Pope Francis sends letter on anniversary of Beslan siege

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter to the residents of the town of Beslan in Russia which is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Belan school hostage crisis this week.

Listen to this report by Lydia O’Kane.

This week 10 years ago the lives of hundreds of Russian students, their parents and teachers changed forever when Chechen terrorists entered former school number 1 in the town of Beslan in Russia’s North Ossetia region taking over 1,000 people hostage.

The terrorists were demanding recognition of the independence of Chechnya at the UN and Russian withdrawal from the area.

On the third day of the hostage crisis Russian security forces entered the school building using heavy weapons.

The siege was resolved but the lives of over 300 people including 186 children were claimed.

Ten years on from the horrific events of the 1st to the 3rd of September of 2004 commemorations are taking place across Russia to remember the victims of the massacre.

One of those who is marking the siege is Amina who was a pupil at the school and was taken hostage by the terrorists. She returned this week to the building where it happened and spoke to Russia Today about her memories of the terrible events.

“I saw people around me running. I think I could have easily ended up trampled to death. And then all of a sudden, somebody’s hand grabbed me and their hand was holding many other little hands. This was our teacher.”

As Russia and Beslan itself mark this anniversary Pope Francis has written a letter to the residents of the North Ossetian town.

The letter, the contents of which are not known, is being delivered by Abbot Paolo De Carli who gave shelter to over 60 Beslan residents for two months at his monastery in the Trentino province in Italy following the hostage crisis.


(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis sends video message to Interreligious Match for Peace

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a video message on Monday evening to Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, where some of football’s best known players – past and present – were facing off in the Interreligious Match for Peace, a charity event he suggested to Inter Milan’s Javier Zanetti earlier this year.

The Holy Father apologized to the mostly Italian crowd for speaking in Spanish, but said it was “the language of my heart, and today I want to speak from my heart,” before thanking everyone for participating in the match.

“I’m glad you have come together for this game, which is very symbolic,” Pope Francis said.  “It is a match which highlights the union of the teams, and the union of all those attending as spectators, the desire of all for peace.”

The proceeds from the event are going to "Scholas Occurentes", an Argentine-run project that aims to connect schools and educational networks from different cultures and beliefs from around the world. The event was co-organized by Zanetti's PUPI Foundation.

The two teams were called “Scholas” – coached by Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger – and PUPI, coached by  Argentina's Gerardo Martino.

The Holy Father said it is a match in which “no one plays for themselves,” but rather for one another.  He said if more people join in, playing as a team, the process gets bigger.

“And playing as a team means the competition, rather than being a war, is the beginning of peace,” he said.  “For this reason, the symbol of the match is an olive tree.”

Pope Francis gave a special greeting to the members of “Scholas”, at the end of his remarks, and noted they would be planting an olive tree for peace at the Stadio Olimpico.

“I invite everyone to plant alongside ‘Scholas’,” he said.

Despite this bit of Papal support, the PUPI team managed to win the game, beating “Scholas” by a score of 6-3.

(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Pope at Santa Marta: The authority of Christian identity

(Vatican Radio) A Christian’s authority comes from the Holy Spirit, not from human wisdom or degrees in theology, said Pope Francis at morning Mass Tuesday, as he explained that Christian identity is having the Spirit of Christ, not the "spirit of the world”.

Emer McCarthy reports Listen: 

The people were astonished at Christ’s teaching because he spoke with authority. Inspired by the passage from the Gospel Pope dwelt on the nature of Our Lord’s authority and, as a consequence that of the Christian. He said that Jesus was “not a common preacher," because his "authority" comes from the '"special anointing of the Holy Spirit." Jesus, he said, is "the Son of God, anointed and sent" to "bring salvation, to bring freedom." And some, he noted, "were scandalized" by this style that belonged to Jesus, by its identity and freedom:

"We too can ask ourselves, what is our identity as Christians? Paul puts it very well today when he says: ‘And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom'. Paul's preaching is not the result of a course at the Lateran, or the Gregorian [Pontifical Universities - ed]... No, no, no! Not human wisdom, no! But taught by the Spirit: Paul preached with the anointing of the Spirit, expressing spiritual things of the Spirit in spiritual terms. Man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God by his own strength: Man alone cannot understand this!”.

The Pope continued that this is why "if we Christians do not fully understand the things of the Spirit, if we do not give or offer witness then we have no identity". For some, he said, "these things of the Spirit are foolishness, they are not able to understand them". The man moved by the Spirit, however, "judges everything: He is free and cannot be judged by anyone".

“Now, we have the thought of Christ and that is the Spirit of Christ. This is the Christian identity. Not having the spirit of the world, that way of thinking, that way of judging ... You can have five degrees in theology, but not have the Spirit of God! Maybe you'll be a great theologian, but you are not a Christian because you do not have the Spirit of God! That which gives authority, that which gives identity is the Holy Spirit, the anointing of the Holy Spirit”.

Pope Francis said that this is why "the people did not love those preachers, those teachers of the law, because they only spoke of theology, they did not speak to hearts, they gave no freedom". These, he added, "were unable to help the people find their own identity, because they were not anointed by the Holy Spirit".

"The authority of Jesus - and the authority of the Christian – comes from this ability to understand the things of the Spirit, to speak the language of the Spirit. It is from this anointing of the Holy Spirit. Often, so often, we find among our faithful, simple old women who perhaps didn’t even finish elementary school, but who can speak to us of things better than any theologian, because they have the Spirit of Christ. Exactly like St. Paul. We all need to ask for this. Lord grant us Christian identity, which You had. Grant us Your Spirit. Grant us Your way of thinking, feeling, speaking: May the Lord grant us the anointing of the Holy Spirit. "


(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Archbishop of Douala on their "ad limina" visit: Church in Cameroon is growing

(Vatican Radio) The Archbishop of Douala and President of the Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, Most Rev. Samuel Kleda says he is optimistic about the growth and the prospects of the Catholic Church in Cameroon. He said this during an interview with Vatican Radio’s Fr. Jean-Pierre Bodjoko, SJ, of the French Africa Service.

“Our joy is to be able to reach the goal of proclaiming Jesus Christ everywhere, ” Archbishop Kleda says. According to the Archbishop, the Church in Cameroon is working hard to become self-sufficient. He says progress has been made both in terms of the proclamation of the Gospel and also with regard to numbers. Many Cameroonians appreciate and are embracing Catholicism. Similarly, vocations to the priesthood and to religious life are also said to be on the increase. The Church further says it is growing in terms of economic self-sufficiency although the latter is not a goal that can be achieved in one day.

This is not to say there are no challenges. Archbishop Kleda singles out, as a major challenge, the need to proclaim the Gospel in such a way that it touches the hearts of every believer. He says the faithful need to believe in a way that shows that their lives are truly converted. This will show itself in their commitment to be true witnesses of Jesus in the society where they live.

”The challenges or rather pastoral concerns are obviously numerous: Justice, rights and the situation of the family. To solve all these problems we need to first start with the announcement of Jesus Christ in Cameroon because this is what touches the heart of every believer,” Archbishop Kleda said.

In answer to the question whether he was concerned about the growth of sects in Cameroon, Archbishop Kleda says these are a source of concern but not necessarily a threat to the Catholic Church.

“Yes it is true that there are some Catholics who leave the Church and join sects but these religious sects, in my opinion, are not a threat. However, some, such as the “Rose Croix” and others who have strong methods of proselytising can become a problem in that some Catholics begin to lead a double life. Our biggest challenge is to make sure that our Catholic faithful are rooted in their own faith”.

The Archbishop has further reaffirmed the commitment of the Church in Cameroon to implement the resolutions of the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa which had as its theme: "The Church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice and peace”.

“We are working hard in the area of justice and reconciliation. Our approach is first to enter into dialogue with society. For example, during the country’s general elections, the Church plays an active role, through the formation of Catholics who act as election observers. In addition, the Bishops' Conference regularly publishes pastoral letters. The Bishops also make it a point to meet political leaders for dialogue with the view to promote peace and reconciliation in the nation. Whenever there are conflicts in the country, the Bishops actively intervene either directly or through other Church structures to help find peaceful solutions to problem areas. We must always remember that peace comes about through respecting every human person. Peace is above, as Pope Paul VI said, “not merely the absence of war…peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the respect for the dignity of persons and peoples’ ” Archbishop Kleda emphasised.

In view of the forthcoming Synod on the Family, Archbishop Kleda says, “I must say it (Questionnaire) was well-prepared and we diligently answered the questionnaire… we will put in place pastoral plans for the family and harmonise diocesan commissions in line with the exhortation to be published. So we are seriously working hard to make the idea the African family viable in order that it becomes the true “domestic Church” that we spoke of in the First African Synod”.

Archbishop Kleda also touched on concerns regarding attacks by the terrorist Islamic group, Boko Haram of Nigeria which has recently carried out attacks in Cameroon. The Archbishop says, “In Cameroon, particularly in the North, now almost all the missionaries of foreign nationality have left the region. So the (Boko Haram) attacks have serious consequences on our pastoral activities especially those of the missionaries. The Boko Haram insurgency is a worry for the Bishops of Cameroon. Cameroon also has refugees from neighbouring Central African Republic. Recently [July 19 in Douala] we organized a day of prayer for peace in Cameroon because the situation is not good”. Archbishop Kleda said in conclusion.

The Bishops of Cameroon are in Rome for their "ad limina" visit which runs from 1 to 6 September.

An ad limina visit or a “quinquennial visit ad limina” is an official visit that Catholic Bishops make every five years to meet with the Pope and report on the state of their dioceses. The Bishops also visit some offices of the Holy See. This is a tradition and practice that has been going on since 1585.

(Fr. Paul Samasumo)  e-mail:


(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Thousands attend Interreligious Match for Peace

(Vatican Radio) Thousands of sports fans, young and old, came out to Rome’s Olympic Stadium Monday night to watch football greats Roberto Baggio, Javier Zanetti and Diego Armando Maradona, among others, take part in the Interreligious Match for Peace.

Players representing the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Shinto religions took to the field for the 8:45 p.m. kickoff.

The event was intended to gather players and fans in a moment of unity and solidarity in support of world peace and to demonstrate the power of sport in building peace.

Listen to the report by Laura Ieraci:

Zanetti, the retired captain of Argentina’s national soccer team and current vice-president of Milan’s Inter, described the match as “a symbolic gesture to help people understand that it is possible to build a world of peace, based on dialogue and respect for others.”

He said the match was the explicit wish of Pope Francis.

Earlier in the day, the 50 former and current professional players who took part in the game were received in an audience with the Pope in the Vatican.

Pope Francis told the athletes that the event was “a highly symbolic gesture to show that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace, where believers of different religions – preserving their identities …can live together in harmony and reciprocal respect.”


The Pope said to “discriminate”  is the same as “contempt”,  and with their game the players were saying “no to all discrimination.”

“Religions,” he added, “are called to be vehicles of peace and never of hatred.” 

“Religion and sport,” he concluded, “can collaborate and offer to all of society eloquent signs of this new era in which people ‘will never again raise the sword one against another.”

The event was organized by the Scholas Occurrentes initiative and Italy's PUPI Foundation, in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.

Proceeds will go to “Un'Alternativa di Vita”, a project that supports poor children in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis receives the parish priest from Gaza

(L’Osservatore Romano) They are a minority, but like all the other people of Gaza they have suffered because of the conflict. They have been sustained by the certainty of being part of the universal Church and of feeling the solicitude […]

The post Pope Francis receives the parish priest from Gaza appeared first on CathNewsUSA.

Stamps: The Vatican’s tiny evangelizers

(National Review) Every month, the Vatican issues a small group of stamps, whose themes range from history to art and biography — and of course, Catholic themes and hagiography. After Ronald Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” in […]

The post Stamps: The Vatican’s tiny evangelizers appeared first on CathNewsUSA.