Spaghetti Bowl: Fitness, camaraderie part of U.S. seminary life in Rome

Michael Caraway, a seminarian from Diocese of Lake Charles, La., uses a treadmill in the new gym at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Caraway said he got to know many of his brother seminarians while working out. (CNS/Robert Duncan)

Michael Caraway, a seminarian from Diocese of Lake Charles, La., uses a treadmill in the new gym at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Caraway said he got to know many of his brother seminarians while working out. (CNS/Robert Duncan)

By Matthew Fowler
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A seminary is not typically known for its emphasis on physical activity and fitness, but many seminarians see it as an integral part of daily life.

Andrew Auer, Joseph Caraway and his cousin, Michael Caraway, are just a few of the seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome who find value in sports and physical activity.

Priests need energy to serve their people, so “we need to have bodies that are prepared for it,” said Auer, a seminarian from the Archdiocese of St. Louis. “We have our gym always available just to stay healthy to be able to serve, which is really the end goal.”

The North American College, which is sponsored by the U.S. bishops, educates students from the United States and Australia who are preparing for the priesthood. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Sunday Scripture readings, Nov. 19, 2017: Wisdom and gratitude at Thanksgiving

The Catholic News Service column,

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

Nov. 19, Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle A readings

      1) Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

      Psalm 128:1-5

      2) 1 Thes 5:1-6

      Gospel: Mt 25:14-30

 

By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

Jem Sullivan writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column,

Jem Sullivan

We give thanks to God by being faithful stewards of the natural talents and spiritual gifts we receive. This is perhaps what the master in this Sunday’s Gospel meant to convey at the close of the parable when he says, “Come, share your master’s joy” because “you were faithful in small matters.”

No two people in our circle of relationships in family, friends or community have the same talents. In creating us out of love, God lavishes on each of us particular blessings — natural talents and spiritual gifts.

And while Thanksgiving is a perfect time to recall God’s blessings, the whole of the Christian spiritual life is a journey of unpacking the blessings of God. The greatest of God’s blessings is the gift of his son Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection reconcile us to friendship with God. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

New museum tells the story of the Bible — chapter and verse

A touch monitor about Dorothy Day and "Freedom From Want" is seen inside the "Bible in the World" exhibit at the Museum of the Bible in Washington. Day, a candidate for sainthood, co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement and its newspaper. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

A touch monitor about Dorothy Day and “Freedom From Want” is seen inside the “Bible in the World” exhibit at the Museum of the Bible in Washington. Day, a candidate for sainthood, co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement and its newspaper. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Hey, Smithsonian, there’s a new kid on the block.

It’s the Museum of the Bible, just a few blocks from the National Mall in Washington. Opening to the public Nov. 18, it will tell visitors how the Bible — both Old Testament and New Testament — has intersected society and at times even transformed it.

The people behind the museum say that if visitors were to read the card behind every artwork, saw every video, heard every song and took part in every interactive experience — including a Broadway-style musical called “Amazing Grace” about the song’s writer, John Newton, and the biblical inspiration behind the abolitionist movement — it would take them 72 hours to do it all.

But visitors can take their time, because there is no admission charge to the museum. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

In light of faith: Take action against gun violence

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

By Christopher White
Catholic News Service

Christopher White

Christopher White

I was in sixth grade when two gunmen entered Columbine High School and mowed down 12 of their fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives. By the time another madman decided to shoot up his own campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 students and faculty members, I was halfway through college.

What had become immediately clear was the lesson that classrooms had the potential to become battlefields — a reality that the generation following mine knows in even more painful and immediate ways.

Since then, that battlefield has extended to concert venues, airports, movie theaters and churches. By one count, there have been 739 victims of mass shootings in the United States since 1987, the year I was born.

This year alone, over 13,000 people have died as a result of gun violence in this country. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 93 Americans is killed by guns each day based on data from the past five years. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

Chinese officials pay poor to swap religious images for portraits of Xi

Chinese President Xi Jinping is pictured Nov. 13. (CNS/pool via Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is pictured Nov. 13. (CNS/pool via Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

HONG KONG (CNS) — Officials in China’s eastern Jiangxi province have replaced religious images displayed by Christian families with portraits of the country’s leader, Xi Jinping.

Ucanews.com reported that, on Nov. 12, pictures were uploaded to the popular social messaging service WeChat account of Huangjinbu town government, showing officials removing images of the cross and other religious subjects in Yugan County.

The message from officials said the Christians involved had “recognized their mistakes and decided not to entrust to Jesus but to the (Communist) Party” claiming the Christians voluntarily removed 624 religious images and posted 453 portraits of Xi.

The officials also claimed they were “converting” Christians to party loyalty through poverty alleviation and other schemes to help the disadvantaged. Nearly 10 percent of Yugan County’s largely impoverished 1 million people is Christian. Continue reading

Posted in World

Beatification will see ‘Jesus planting his cross’ in heart of Detroit

An image of Capuchin Franciscan Father Solanus Casey is superimposed over Ford Field in Detroit where 66,000 Catholics will gather to celebrate his beatification Nov. 18. (CNS illustration/Michigan Catholic)

An image of Capuchin Franciscan Father Solanus Casey is superimposed over Ford Field in Detroit where 66,000 Catholics will gather to celebrate his beatification Nov. 18. (CNS illustration/Michigan Catholic)

By Mike Stechschulte
Catholic News Service

DETROIT (CNS) — On Nov. 18, more than a few Hail Marys will be thrown around inside Ford Field. And unlike a football game, every single prayer will be answered.

That day jerseys and helmets will be replaced by chasubles and miters as thousands of bishops, clergy and faithful from across the country prepare to celebrate the beatification of Capuchin Franciscan Father Solanus Casey at the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, the largest venue Detroit could find.

There won’t be pyrotechnics or huge inflatable lions when the opening procession begins through the stadium’s giant tunnel, but it should be a surreal sight nonetheless.

“The image for me, when we think about what the Mass is, becomes Jesus planting his cross — his massive cross — in the center of Ford Field,” said Father Robert Spezia, one of several priests helping coordinate the massive liturgy. “Picture this massive crucifix that he died on coming down and being planted on the 50-yard line; that’s what’s going to happen on Nov. 18.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Care for the dying does not mean obstinately resisting death, pope says

Pope Francis prays at a cemetery in Fogliano di Redipuglia, northern Italy, in 2014. In a new message to a medical association he said society should not shorten the natural life of a person but it also doesn't need to try extending life by futile means. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis prays at a cemetery in Fogliano di Redipuglia, northern Italy, in 2014. In a new message to a medical association he said society should not shorten the natural life of a person but it also doesn’t need to try extending life by futile means. (CNS/Paul Haring)

(Updated Nov. 17)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People who are dying must be accompanied with the love of family members and the care of medical professionals, but there is no requirement that every means available must be used to prolong their lives, Pope Francis said.

“Even if we know that we cannot always guarantee healing or a cure, we can and must always care for the living, without ourselves shortening their life, but also without futilely resisting their death,” the pope said in a message to the European members of the World Medical Association.

“This approach is reflected in palliative care, which is proving most important in our culture, as it opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome: pain and loneliness,” the pope said.

The European members of the medical association were meeting at the Vatican Nov. 16-17 for a discussion with the Pontifical Academy for Life on end-of-life care. At the same time, across St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the International Confederation of Catholic Health Care Institutions were hosting a meeting on inequalities in health care. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican