The Church of St. Rita

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Former Catholic schools director remembered as advocate

It was a special time for Tom McCarver when the National Catholic Educational Association held its annual convention in Minneapolis in 1997. The 13,000 educators from around the country set an attendance record, and, for McCarver, then director of Catholic Education and Formation Ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the NCEA convention […]y4mxTldusFQ

Former Catholic schools director remembered as advocate

“He reached out to Catholic educators in our archdiocese to share with others what we were doing in Catholic education,” recalled Gary Wilmer, who is director of personnel and planning for the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools._G6R1NdcS50

Pope Francis greets members of Orientale Lumen Foundation on ecumenical pilgrimage

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said on Friday there is no authentic ecumenical dialogue without being ready “for an interior renewal” and the quest for a greater fidelity to Christ and his wishes.  His remarks came in an address at the Vatican to delegates taking part in an ecumenical pilgrimage, promoted by the Orientale Lumen Foundation and led by the Orthodox Metropolitan, Kallistos of Diokleia.   The Pope said this journey towards an interior renewal is “absolutely essential” in order to make progress along the road leading to reconciliation and full communion between all believers in Christ. 

He expressed joy that the Foundation’s ecumenical pilgrimage had chosen to commemorate the figures of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II and said this underlines the two Popes’ great contribution towards developing closer relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches. “The example of these two saints,” he continued, “always bore witness to a strong passion for Christian unity.”

Referring to his upcoming meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, during his visit to Turkey at the end of November, Pope Francis described this meeting as “a sign of the profound ties uniting the Sees of Rome and Constantinople”  and the desire “to overcome, through love and truth, the obstacles that still divide us.”   

(from Vatican Radio)

World Meeting of Popular Movements: the excluded are the motor of social change

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present the World Meeting of Popular Movements, to be held in Rome from 27 to 29 October. The event was organised by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences and the leaders of various movements.

The speakers at the conference were Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of “Justice and Peace”, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, and Juan Grabois, head of the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy, dedicated principally to organisations and movements for the excluded and marginalised.

Grabois knew Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and emphasised that the then-Cardinal Bergoglio sympathised with the struggle of excluded workers in very difficult moments, and accompanied them in the work of assisting the cartoneros, peasants, those forced to live on the streets and, in general, the heirs of a crisis brought on by neoliberal capitalism. “Francis summons us again today, from a universal perspective; he calls to the poor, organised in thousands of popular movements, to fight, without arrogance but with courage, without violence but with tenacity, for this dignity that has been taken from us, and for social justice”.

“Our encounter responds mainly to concrete and simple objectives we share and want to pass on to our children and grandchildren, but that are increasingly harder for the popular majority to reach: land, housing and work”, he continued, also expressing the need to promote the organisation of the poor “to construct from grass-roots level a human alternative to this exclusionary globalisation that has robbed us of our sacred rights to housing, work, land, the environment and peace”.

The World Meeting of Popular Movements will be attended by the social leaders of the five continents, representing organisations of increasingly excluded social sectors: workers in precarious employment conditions; migrants; temporary workers; the unemployed and those those who are self-employed, without legal protection, labour rights or union recognition; peasants; the landless; indigenous peoples and those at risk of expulsion from the fields as a result of agricultural speculation and violence; and those who live in the peripheries and in temporary settlements, often migrants and displaced peoples, who are marginalised, forgotten, and without adequate urban infrastructure. Alongside them there are trades unions and social, charitable and human rights organisations, who have demonstrated their closeness to these movements and who, it has been suggested, might accompany them, respecting the role of grass-roots movements.

“The aims of the meeting include sharing Pope Francis' thought on social matters, debating the causes of growing social inequality and the increase in exclusion throughout the world, reflecting on the organisational experiences of popular movements and the resolution of problems regarding land, housing and work, evaluating the role of movements in the processes of peace-building and care for the environment, especially in regions affected by conflicts and disputes over natural resources, discussing the relationship between popular movements and the Church, and how to go ahead in the creation of joint and permanent collaboration”.

Grabois emphasised the importance of the two acts with which the meeting will conclude: the publication of a final declaration with the widest consensus possible, and the constitution of a Council of Popular Movements which will work to establish possible cases of global level collaboration.

Cardinal Turkson stated that it was essential for both the Church and the world to “listen to the cry for justice” from the excluded; “not only to the sufferings, but also to the expectations, hopes and proposals which the marginalised themselves have. They must be protagonists of their own lives, and not simply passive recipients of the charity or plans of others. They must be protagonists of the needed economic and social, political and cultural changes. ... The Church wants to make its own the needs and aspirations of the popular movements, and to join with those who, by means of different initiatives, are making every effort to stimulate social change towards a more just world”.

Fr William Grimm: Unhappy couples should not be ‘held hostage’ to their past

(UCA News) A major dispute at the recently concluded Extraordinary Synod on the Family, described by Tokyo Archbishop Takeo Okada as “white hot”, concerned the Church’s practice of denying the Eucharist to those who have remarried following a divorce. In […]

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Pope at Santa Marta: Unity in diversity

(Vatican Radio) Every Christian is called to work for the unity of the Church, allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit who creates unity in diversity, said Pope Francis at Mass Friday morning at Casa Santa Marta.

Pope Francis based his homily on the First Reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, in which the Apostle – a prisoner for the Lord -  urges the community to live in a manner worthy of the call they have received, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit. “Building the unity of the Church - said the Pope - is the work of the Church and of every Christian throughout history".

Pope Francis noted that when the Apostle Peter "speaks of the Church, he speaks of a temple made of living stones, that is us”.  The Pope warned that the opposite to this is "that other temple of pride, which was the Tower of Babel". The first temple "brings unity”, the second "is the symbol of disunity, lack of understanding, the diversity of languages​​".

"Building the unity of the Church, building the Church, this temple, this unity of the Church: this is the task of every Christian, every one of us. When constructing a temple or a building, the first thing ones does is find suitable land. Then one lays the cornerstone, the Bible says. And the cornerstone of the unity of the Church, or rather the cornerstone of the Church, is Jesus and the cornerstone of the unity of the Church is Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper: 'Father, that they may be one!'. And this is its strength!”.

Pope Francis continued that Jesus is "the rock on which we build unity in the Church", "without this stone, all else is impossible. There is no unity without Jesus Christ at the basis: He is our certainty".  The Pope then asked, who "builds this unity?": "It is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the only one capable of building the unity of the Church. And that is why Jesus sent him: to make the Church grow, to make it strong, to make it one". The Spirit builds "the unity of the Church" in the "diversity of nations, cultures, and people."

Again Pope Francis posed a question: How is "this temple built?". Speaking on this topic, the Apostle Peter said  "that we were living stones in this building". Saint Paul on the other hand  "advises us not to be stones, to be weak bricks”. The advice of the Apostle to the Gentiles in building this unity is “weak advice, according to human thought".

"Humility, gentleness, magnanimity: These are weak things, because the humble person appears good for nothing; gentleness, meekness appear useless; generosity, being open to all, having a big heart ... And then he says more: Bearing with one another through love. Bearing with one another through love, having what at heart? Preserving unity. The weaker we are with these virtues of humility, generosity, gentleness, meekness, the stronger we become as stones in this Temple".

Pope Francis continued this is "the same path as Jesus" who "became weak" to death on the Cross "and then became strong!".  We too, should do as much: "Pride, self-sufficiency are useless". When you construct a building, "the architect has to draw up plans. And what is the ground plan for the unity of the Church?".

"The hope to which we have been called: the hope of journeying towards the Lord, the hope of living in a living Church, made of living stones, with the power of the Holy Spirit. Only in the ground plan of hope can we move forward in the unity of the Church. We have been called to a great hope. Let's go there! But with the strength that Jesus prayer’ for unity gives us; with docility to the Holy Spirit, who is capable of making living stones from bricks; and with the hope of finding the Lord who has called us, to encounter Him in the fullness of time”.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis: ‘Corruption is a greater evil than sin’

(Breitbart) Corruption is like “bad breath,” says Pope Francis, “it is hard for the one who has it to realize it; others realize it and have to tell him.” In an address to a delegation of the International Association of […]

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Pope Francis defends prisoners’ rights, calls for abolition of death penalty

(Huffington Post) Pope Francis is speaking up for some of the most outcast members of society — the prisoners. The pontiff condemned the practice of extraordinary renditions on Thursday, a counterterrorism strategy that involves moving suspects to secret foreign prisons […]

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Video of dancing priests goes viral: Reverends get a taste of the ‘Singing Nun’ effect

(AP) A video of a pair of dueling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral, following in the footsteps of a now-famous Italian nun whose Alicia Keyes-esque voice won her a singing contest and a record contract. The […]

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Pope Francis to investigate ‘playboy priests’ who posed naked online in scandal-hit disocese

(Telegraph) A scandal-ridden Catholic diocese in Italy where priests posted naked photos of themselves on gay websites, raided church coffers and sexually harassed parishioners is to be investigated by a special envoy to Pope Francis. The Pope reportedly intends to […]

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