Holy Cross priest presents reflection on immigration issues for bishops

By Natalie Hoefer
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — Holy Cross Father Daniel Groody stood before the U.S. bishops June 14 and held up a chalice. It was not special in appearance, but rather in the story it told.

The chalice was handcrafted primarily with wood from a refugee boat that landed upon the beaches of Lampedusa, the Mediterranean island from which Pope Francis cast a wreath into the waters to remember the thousands of refugees who lost their lives there, attempting to flee persecution.

The base of the chalice was formed from mesquite, a common wood along the U.S.-Mexico border crossed by immigrants seeking better lives in America.

Together, he said, the materials of the chalice speak to the plight of immigrants, a topic addressed during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ spring assembly in Indianapolis. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Commentary: Praying for immigrants

A young man holds a crucifix in El Paso, Texas, as he and other immigrants attend Mass celebrated in 2016 by Pope Francis in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

A young man holds a crucifix in El Paso, Texas, as he and other immigrants attend Mass celebrated in 2016 by Pope Francis in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

(Editor’s Note: This guest commentary titled “Praying for immigrants” is by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez from the Angelus, the online news site of the Los Angeles archdiocese.)

From the beginning, immigrants have helped give America its spiritual and moral identity. Our economy and culture are founded on the energy and creativity of generations of immigrants.

I have been talking about this for years — the “hidden” story of America. Long before the Pilgrims and the Mayflower, and long before the Founding Fathers, this country was being evangelized and settled by immigrants from Latin America and from Asia.

America has always been a beautiful collection of peoples from around the world. And the immigrant spirit is still renewing this country, despite the hardships and struggles of recent years. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Convocation of Catholic leaders will be historic event, bishops told

A bishop votes June 15 during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual spring assembly in Indianapolis. (CNS/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

A bishop votes June 15 during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring assembly in Indianapolis. (CNS/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

By Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — During their spring meeting in Indianapolis, U.S. bishops were reminded that the upcoming Convocation of Catholic Leaders — a gathering they began talking about years ago — is right around the corner.

It will be a historic event, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, told the bishops June 15 about the July 1-4 “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America” in Orlando, Florida.

He also noted that it will be the largest gathering sponsored by U.S. bishops and will be a time to show the unity of the church. Continue reading

Posted in Convocation of Catholic Leaders, U.S.

In light of faith: Let your voice be heard!

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

By Patrick Laorden
Catholic News Service

Patrick Laorden

Patrick Laorden

“Make your voice heard; let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherd of souls,” proclaims Pope Francis in his letter to young people this past January. As we look to the upcoming Synod of Bishops in October 2018, these times are crucial for young adults to be engaged in the life of the church.

For me, this means being an advocate for social change in a world very much in need of it.

For almost five years, I discerned religious life with the Dominicans. My time in formation helped me to understand the apostolic life of the church and what it means to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel as the friars have done for more than 800 years.

[RelatedIn light of faith: Church asks young people for ideas]

In 2014, I served as a missionary in Kenya and made a silent pilgrimage through Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa. While there, I saw extreme poverty. But I also saw a persevering spirit within the people. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

Conversation, listening essential for upcoming synod on youth, vocations

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, speaks June 14 during the USCCB's annual spring assembly in Indianapolis. (CNS/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, speaks June 14 during the USCCB’s annual spring assembly in Indianapolis. (CNS/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

By John Shaughnessy
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — At a time when an estimated 50 percent of Catholics 30 and younger no longer identify with their religion, the U.S. bishops June 14 discussed the need to reverse that trend and why the consultation process for the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on youth and vocations is crucial to that effort.

On the first day of the bishops’ spring meeting in Indianapolis, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia opened the discussion with a presentation on the consultations and questions for the bishops to consider in preparing for the synod.

“The synod indeed comes at a critical time,” Cardinal Tobin told his fellow bishops in his opening remarks. “We know that there are both challenges and opportunities here in the U.S. The increased amount of disconnected millennials is certainly a concern for us, as is the decline and the delay of marriage among young people. Still there are various positive signs to build upon.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Bishops ‘can never say we are sorry enough’ for tragedy of abuse, says archbishop

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory delivers the homily during Mass June 14 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual spring assembly. (CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory delivers the homily during Mass June 14 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring assembly. (CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

(Updated 11:30 a.m. ET)

By Sean Gallagher
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — Standing before some 200 bishops from across the country, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said that “we can never say that we are sorry enough for the share that we have had in this tragedy of broken fidelity and trust” in the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

He made this sober observation in a homily during a June 14 Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on the opening day of the U.S. bishops’ spring meeting.

The liturgy was a response to a call from Pope Francis to episcopal conferences around the world to observe a “Day of Prayer and Penance” for survivors of sexual abuse within the church. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

U.S. bishops urged to be vigilant, never complacent, in stopping abuse

Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, speaks June 14 during the opening session of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual spring assembly in Indianapolis. (CNS/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, speaks June 14 during the opening session of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring assembly in Indianapolis. (CNS/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

By Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, urged the U.S. bishops June 14 during their spring meeting in Indianapolis to continue to keep their commitment to stopping clergy sexual abuse and supporting victims of abuse “at the forefront” of their ministry.

He said sexual abuse of minors by clergy is “not a thing of past” and stressed the bishops have to always be vigilant and be sure to not “let complacency set in” in their efforts to stop it.

The review board is a group working with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to address and prevent sexual abuse of minors in the U.S. by clergy and other church personnel. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.