Sunday Scripture readings, Sept. 23, 2018: Imitate Jesus in times of pain and confusion


The Catholic News Service column, “Speak to Me Lord,” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Sept. 23, Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B
1) Wis 2:12, 17-20
Psalm 54:3-6, 8
2) Jas 3:16 – 4:3
Gospel: Mk 9:30-37

By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

Every saint faces times of trial and persecution, from within or from outside the church. Countless saints ended their lives with a crown of martyrdom, often at the hands of cruel, vicious persecutors.

And some saints who founded religious orders were eventually rejected by their own communities, enduring envy, false accusations and isolation among the very people they gathered together and served. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, delivers the keynote address to delegates Sept. 20 during the Fifth National Encuentro, or V Encuentro, in Grapevine, Texas. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Norma Montenegro Flynn 
Catholic News Service

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) — Quoting from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic leaders and bishops to continue working toward being an evangelizing church by seeking an encounter with Christ and taking initiative while accompanying those on the peripheries.

“The church which ‘goes forth’ is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice,” Archbishop Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, said Sept. 20, the opening day of the Fifth National Encuentro.

Nearly 3,000 ministry leaders at the gathering in Grapevine were selected to represent 159 dioceses across the country.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

A delegate from Region 8 – Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota – prays Sept. 20 during the Fifth National Encuentro, or V Encuentro, in Grapevine, Texas. The Sept. 20-23 event is a gathering of more than 3,200 Hispanic Catholic leaders and about 125 bishops from across the country. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Norma Montenegro Flynn 
Catholic News Service

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) — A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions were the highlights during the first day of the National Fifth Encuentro gathering taking place Sept. 20-23 in Grapevine.

With hearts full of excitement and joy, about 3,000 Hispanic ministry leaders cheered as they welcomed representatives for each of the 14 episcopal regions approaching the stage and carrying the same crosses and colorful banners that accompanied their gatherings during the multiyear process of discernment and consultation that began at their parishes. The crosses were placed on the stage by the bishops who served as chairs for each region.

Pope Francis captivated the audience with a video message that was received with a standing ovation.

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Posted in U.S.

In light of faith: Sex abuse and the synod on young people

(A series of columns focused on and written by millennials and young adults)

Elise Italiano

(CNS photo/courtesy Elise Italiano)

By Elise Italiano
Catholic News Service

With less than one month to go before the opening of the synod on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment,” it is now clear that whatever was on the agenda has been rendered null and void in light of the global crisis in which the church is now enmeshed — a crisis that includes new revelations about the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors, the promotion of predatory priests, the abuse of power within seminaries and infidelity to priestly vows that was known but not disciplined.

The salt in this gaping wound is the reaction of many members of the hierarchy, both at home and abroad, who seem more preoccupied with escalating ideological wars than uprooting systemic evil.  Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

Retired Benedict XVI and Pope Francis talk to each other at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery after a consistory at which Pope Francis created 14 new cardinals at the Vatican June 28. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Updated 11:41 a.m.

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, and he defended taking the title “pope emeritus.”

In two private letters from the retired pope to German Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, the pope defended the way he handled his resignation and warned the cardinal of the negative impact his public comments could have.

The German newspaper, Bild, obtained copies of the letters written in November 2017, but blurred Cardinal Brandmuller’s name in photos. The New York Times named the cardinal and also published translated excerpts from the letters Sept. 20.

The first letter from the retired pope was a response to a comment Cardinal Brandmuller made in a lengthy interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published Oct. 28, 2017.

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Posted in Vatican, World

In homily, Calif. priest says he was abused, hears from dozens of victims

Father Brendan McGuire, pastor of Holy Spirit Church in San Jose, Calif., told the story of his abuse in a homily delivered at five weekend Masses Sept. 8-9. Parishioners responded with “thunderous applause” at two Masses and “three standing ovations” at the others, he said. Father McGuire is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Father McGuire)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — To be a voice for victims of clerical sexual abuse, Father Brendan McGuire realized he had to come to terms with the abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest when he was 18. It was a secret he had held for 35 years.

He told the story of his abuse in a homily delivered at five weekend Masses Sept. 8-9 at Holy Spirit Church in San Jose, California, where he is pastor.

In a Sept. 18 interview with Catholic News Service, Father McGuire said that although he always writes his homilies for distribution via email and social media, it was the first time he read it word for word from the pulpit so he wouldn’t overlook anything he wanted to say.

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Posted in U.S.

Some cry ‘scandal’ to cover their own failings, pope says at Mass

Pope Francis is pictured at a Mass in Palermo, Sicily, Sept. 15. At his morning Mass at the Vatican Sept. 20, the pope spoke about hypocrisy and sinners. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While God’s holy church is made up of sinners, it also has its share of hypocrites who love to cry “scandal” to point out the failings of others and make themselves appear pure, Pope Francis said at morning Mass.

“The devil doesn’t have anything to do with repentant sinners because they look to God and say, ‘Lord, I’m a sinner. Help me,’ and the devil is impotent,” the pope said Sept. 20 during Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“But with the hypocrites he is strong,” Pope Francis said. “He is strong, and he uses them to destroy, to destroy people, destroy society, destroy the church.”

Continue reading

Posted in Vatican