Browsing News Entries

Pope thanks The Papal Foundation for financial assistance to students

Pope Francis expresses his gratitude to The Papal Foundation for its service to the "poor, refugees, and immigrants affected by war and violence,” as the charitable organization announces $14.7 million in grants, scholarships, and humanitarian aid for Catholics worldwide.

Read all

 

Pope invites children at Roman parish to turn to God in prayer

Pope Francis inaugurates the "School of Prayer" with children preparing for their First Holy Communion, responding freely to numerous questions, as he encouraged them to embrace their faith, and turn to God in prayer, in the good times and the bad.

Read all

 

COMECE: New EU Pact on migration presents several critical issues

Legal expert José Luis Bazan of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) says that the agreement reached on Wednesday over the major reform of the EU's migration presents several critical issues though it is still a step forward, considering the present polarized context.

Read all

 

Parish priests are lifeline to church's mission, cardinal says

ROME (CNS) -- The success of the Synod of Bishops on synodality will much depend on also including parish priests in the process, said Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington.

Of the more than 360 bishops, religious and laypeople who participated in the first assembly at the Vatican last October, the small number who were ordained priests "were scholars, missionaries (or) they were engaged in leadership in religious communities," he said.

"Not that those other participants weren't generous and insightful," he said, but in his 40 years as a bishop, his experience has been that "a number of people may know who the bishop is, they all know who the pastor is."

The parish priest is the church's "point of contact and if we lose contact with our people through their priests, it disables the mission of the church," he told Catholic News Service April 10 at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he was to receive the annual Rector's Award April 11. 

Cardinal Gregory
Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington poses for a photo at the Pontifical North American College in Rome April 10, 2024. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

Cardinal Gregory had served as an auxiliary bishop of Chicago before leading the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, and then the Archdiocese of Atlanta; he was named archbishop of Washington in 2019 and then elevated to the College of Cardinals the next year.

Pope Francis personally invited the 76-year-old native of Chicago to attend the synod on synodality in Rome.

"There was a lack of parish priests present" at the first assembly, Cardinal Gregory said, noting the importance of the upcoming gathering of 300 parish priests from all over the world to make their contribution to the ongoing synod process by sharing their experiences of parish life.

Parish priests are the ones who "serve the folks in the pew, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday," he said. The gathering of parish priests, which will be held April 28-May 2 outside of Rome, was needed "because if the synod is going to be a success, it really needs to keep its roots in the Sunday pew."

The priests, selected by bishops' conferences and Eastern Catholic churches, also will have the chance to dialogue with Pope Francis as part of responding to the first assembly's report requesting more active involvement of deacons, priests and bishops in the synodal process.

Because there will only be one to four priests representing each bishops' conference and Eastern-rite Catholic church, Cardinal Gregory said it would be important for the priest delegates to "use media to pass on what they did, what they heard, what they said."

"After all, 300 priests is a good delegation, but it's a small representation of the total number of priests who are engaged directly in pastoral ministry," he said.

Just as priests are being asked to "follow up more effectively with their parishioners and learn how to listen to and to learn from criticism and also support" as part of the synodal process, he said, bishops, too, should be showing their support of their priests, even in the simplest of ways. 

Cardinal Gregory
Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington speaks during an interview with Catholic News Service at the Pontifical North American College in Rome April 10, 2024. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

"Long before the synod and in every diocese that I've served in," he said, he has always shared messages and comments he receives complimenting one of his priests for something they did.

"I always send that complimentary letter to the priest himself, along with my letter of thanks to the individual who thought enough of a pastor to say something nice," he said.

"That builds a relationship with the priest and the bishop that says, 'you know, he contacts me not necessarily because I've done something wrong, but because I've done something right.' And that's very important. Our guys need to know that the bishop is grateful," he said.

The success of the synod, Cardinal Gregory said, will be seen with "an increase in the contact that people, ordinary people, the faithful of God, have with their priests," their bishop and with the pope. Success will be recognizing that the pope "is not an individual who governs the church simply from the desk of the papal apartment" and that the bishop and pastor are not leaders who simply manage or direct activities from afar.

"To have a successful synod outcome, it has to tighten the bonds that unite us, even going into those areas where most people had not been before. And unfortunately, sometimes where bishops haven't been before, that is, in the midst of their flock," he said.

"Isn't that one of Pope Francis' favorite early terms, the smell of the sheep?" the cardinal asked. "You've got to have the smell of the sheep."

St. Marguerite d'Youville: Saint of the Day for Thursday, April 11, 2024

Foundress of the Sisters of Charity, the Grey Nuns of Canada. St. Marguerite D'Youville was born at Varennes, Quebec, on October 15, Marie Marguerite Dufrost de La Jemmerais. She studied under the Ursulines, married Francois D'Youville in 1722, and became a widow in 1730. She worked to support herself and her three children, devoted much of her time to the Confraternity of the Holy Family in charitable activities. In 1737, with three companions, she founded the Grey Nuns when they took their ...

Take evil seriously, pope says at general audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- While intense feelings or drive -- passions -- are natural, Christians know they must be tamed and channeled toward what is good, Pope Francis said.

The virtue of fortitude, "the most 'combative' of the virtues," helps a person control their passions but also gives them the strength to overcome fear and anxiety when faced with the difficulties of life, the pope told visitors and pilgrims at his weekly general audience April 10.

Pope Francis at his weekly general audience
A gust of wind lifts Pope Francis' zucchetto during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 10, 2024. (CNS photo/Pablo Esparza)

Continuing his series of talks about virtues, the pope quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions."

Fortitude "takes the challenge of evil in the world seriously," he said, and that is increasingly rare "in our comfortable Western world."

Some people pretend evil does not exist, "that everything is going fine, that human will is not sometimes blind, that dark forces that bring death do not lurk in history," the pope said. But reading a history book or even the newspaper shows "the atrocities of which we are partly victims and partly perpetrators: wars, violence, slavery, oppression of the poor, wounds that have never healed and continue to bleed."

"The virtue of fortitude makes us react and cry out an emphatic 'no' to evil to all of this," he said.

Fortitude, he said, helps Christians say "'no' to evil and to indifference; 'yes' to the journey that helps us make progress in life, and for this one must struggle."

"A Christian without courage, who does not turn his own strength to good, who does not bother anyone, is a useless Christian," he said.

Pope Francis kisses Ukrainian flag
Pope Francis kisses a Ukrainian flag carried by a group of Ukrainian children attending his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 10, 2024. The pope prayed during the audience for peace in Ukraine, in the Holy Land and in Myanmar. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis asked people to pray for Ukraine and Palestine and Israel. "May the Lord grant us peace. War is everywhere," he said. "Do not forget Myanmar," where the military staged a coup in 2021 and fighting has continued since then. "Let us ask the Lord for peace and not forget these brothers and sisters who are suffering in these places of war."

 

Pope: Have courage to say 'no' to atrocities

Pope: Have courage to say 'no' to atrocities

Pope Francis continued his catechesis series on virtues and vices by reflecting on the virtue of fortitude.

St. Michael de Sanctis: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Michael de Sanctis was born in Catalonia, Spain around 1591. At the age of six he informed his parents that he was going to be a monk. Moreover, he imitated St. Francis of Assisi to such a great extent that he had to be restrained. After the death of his parents, Michael served as an apprentice to a merchant. However, he continued to lead a life of exemplary fervor and devotion, and in 1603, he joined the Trinitarian Friars at Barcelona, taking his vows at St. Lambert's monastery in Saragosa in ...

Catholics Participating in National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and the National Eucharistic Congress Have Opportunities to Receive Plenary Indulgences

WASHINGTON – “It is with gratitude to the Holy Father that we receive his Apostolic Blessing upon the participants in the National Eucharistic Congress, and for the opportunity for Catholics in our country to obtain a plenary indulgence by participating in the events of the Eucharistic Revival,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fostering encounter, sparking personal conversion, and forming disciples will be opportunities for a personal revival in the faith and the fruits of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and National Eucharistic Congress to be held this summer.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and National Eucharistic Congress are milestone moments in the U.S. bishops’ three-year Eucharistic Revival initiative. Archbishop Broglio requested the Apostolic Penitentiary (the office within the Roman Curia that is charged with the granting and use of indulgences as expressions of divine mercy) that a plenary indulgence be granted to Catholics who participate in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. It was also requested that he or another prelate be designated to impart the Apostolic Blessing with a Plenary Indulgence to the Christian faithful present at the National Eucharistic Congress.

“Through the efforts of the revival over the last two years, we have been building up to the pilgrimage and congress that will offer Catholics a chance to experience a profound, personal revival of faith in the Eucharist. Pope Francis continues to encourage and support us as we seek to share Christ’s love with a world that is desperately in need of Him,” said Archbishop Broglio, upon receiving the news that Pope Francis had recently granted the requests.

Plenary Indulgence for National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

A decree issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary and approved by Pope Francis indicates that the plenary indulgence will be granted to the Christian faithful who participate in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage at any point between May 17 and July 16, 2024. It will also be granted to the elderly, infirm, and all those who cannot leave their homes for a serious reason and who participate in spirit with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, uniting their prayers, pains, or inconveniences with Christ and the pilgrimage. This indulgence is granted under the usual conditions of sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father. The faithful may also apply this indulgence through suffrage for the souls of the faithful departed in Purgatory. In recognition of this extraordinary event, the Apostolic Penitentiary also requests that all priests who have been endowed with the appropriate faculties for hearing Confessions present themselves willingly and generously in administering the Sacrament of Penance to all who participate in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

Papal Blessing with Plenary Indulgence for National Eucharistic Congress

The second decree issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary and approved by Pope Francis, says that Archbishop Broglio or another prelate of episcopal rank assigned by him, following the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, may impart the Papal Blessing with a Plenary Indulgence to the Christian Faithful who participate in the National Eucharistic Congress, who are truly repentant, and who are motivated by charity, if the usual conditions for indulgences—sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father—have been met. Faithful individuals who, due to reasonable circumstances and with pious intention, have participated in the sacred rites and received the Papal Blessing through media communications, may also obtain a Plenary Indulgence.

The National Eucharistic Revival began on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) in 2022 and continues through 2025. Following the congress will be a “Year of Missionary Sending,” in which Catholics from all stages and walks of life will be sent out to share Christ’s love that they have received in encounter with him through the Eucharist. For more information on the revival, pilgrimage, and congress, please visit https://www.eucharisticrevival.org.

St. Waldetrudis: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Also known as Waltrude or Waudru, she was the daughter of Saints Walbert and Bertilia and sister of St. Aldegunus of Maubeuge. Marrying St. Vincent Madelgarius, she became the mother of saints Landericus, Madalberta, Adeltrudis, and Dentelin. When her husband chose to become a monk about 643 in the monastery of Hautrnont, France, he had founded, she established a convent at Chateaulieu, around which grew up the town of Mons, Belgium.

St. Julie Billiart: Saint of the Day for Monday, April 08, 2024

St. Julie (Julia) Billiart was born in 1751 and died in 1816. As a child, playing "school" was Julie's favorite game. When she was sixteen, to help support her family, she began to teach "for real". She sat on a haystack during the noon recess and told the biblical parables to the workers. Julie carried on this mission of teaching throughout her life, and the Congregation she founded continues her work. Julie was the fifth of seven children. She attended a little one room ...