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St. Germaine Cousin: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

When Hortense decided to marry Laurent Cousin in Pibrac, France, it was not out of love for his infant daughter. Germaine was everything Hortense despised. Weak and ill, the girl had also been born with a right hand that was deformed and paralyzed. Hortense replaced the love that Germaine has lost when her mother died with cruelty and abuse. Laurent, who had a weak character, pretended not to notice that Germaine had been given so little food that she had learned to crawl in order to get to ...

Prayer for God's Blessing of One's Daily Work: Prayer of the Day for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

O Lord, my God, Creator and Ruler of the universe, it is Your Will that human beings accept the duty of work. May the work I do bring growth in this life to me and those I love and help to extend the Kingdom of Christ. Give all persons work that draws them to You and to each other in cheerful service. I unite all my work with the Sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass that it may be pleasing to You and give You glory. I beg Your Blessing upon all my efforts. With Saint ...

Prayer for God's Blessing of One's Daily Work: Prayer of the Day for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

O Lord, my God, Creator and Ruler of the universe, it is Your Will that human beings accept the duty of work. May the work I do bring growth in this life to me and those I love and help to extend the Kingdom of Christ. Give all persons work that draws them to You and to each other in cheerful service. I unite all my work with the Sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass that it may be pleasing to You and give You glory. I beg Your Blessing upon all my efforts. With Saint ...

St. Germaine Cousin: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

When Hortense decided to marry Laurent Cousin in Pibrac, France, it was not out of love for his infant daughter. Germaine was everything Hortense despised. Weak and ill, the girl had also been born with a right hand that was deformed and paralyzed. Hortense replaced the love that Germaine has lost when her mother died with cruelty and abuse. Laurent, who had a weak character, pretended not to notice that Germaine had been given so little food that she had learned to crawl in order to get to ...

Daily Readings for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Reading 1: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 146:2, Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 146:5-9, Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48

Wisconsin Catholic school victorious in reopening case

GUNDAM_Ai/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 14, 2021 / 17:10 pm (CNA).

The Wisconsin state supreme court ruled in favor of a Catholic school last week in its case against a local prohibition on in-person learning during the pandemic.

“It's a big win and people should be rejoicing nationally because of the use of the state constitution to provide additional protection to the religious education of children,” one of the appellate attorneys in the case, Erick Kaardal, told CNA. 

The case of St. Ambrose Academy against executives of Dane County, Wisconsin, was officially decided on June 11. 

Citing dangers of the pandemic, county public health official Janel Heinrich issued an emergency order last August which prohibited in-person learning at all county schools grades 3 to 12. 

St. Ambrose Academy announced last August that it and other Catholic schools were seeking the immediate revocation of the emergency order, “citing harm to ‘parents, children, and schools across the County.’” They cited “freedom of conscience” clauses in the state constitution to make their case. 

St. Ambrose said it had worked with county health officials to produce a 35-page plan to reopen safely that fall, before the order was issued.

The court initially issued a preliminary injunction in September 2020, temporarily stopping the county from enforcing the order. The court’s official ruling was delivered on Friday, in a 5-3 decision in favor of the schools.

In the majority opinion,Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley ruled that “local health officers do not have the statutory power to close schools,” and said that the prohibition on in-person education “infringes the Petitioners' fundamental right to the free exercise of religion.”

Kaardal, special counsel at the Thomas More Society, told CNA on Monday that Heinrich's policy was disappointing for many reasons, but emphasized the exemption of certain grade levels. “The University of Wisconsin-Madison could continue to meet in-person if it wanted to,” he said. “So, it seemed that the policy didn't make sense at a lot of levels.”

Kardaal said the “big message for Catholic schools across the country” is that the U.S. constitution and the state constitutions protect their right to exist and to operate according to their religious tradition. 

“We need to be resourceful as Catholics to make sure to use the courts to protect ourselves when the government overreaches and tries to close down, modify, alter, or change our Catholic schools,” he told CNA.

In the interview with CNA, Kaardal said that Friday’s decision provides a model for other courts to follow. 

“The Wisconsin supreme court was very resourceful in finding a way to protect Wisconsin religious school students and their parents and protect that decision-making process,” he said.

Kaardal compared the significance of the St. Ambrose Academy case to the case of the Brooklyn diocese against New York state pandemic restrictions. 

The U.S. Supreme Court said last November that New York state restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic were a violation of First Amendment protections of religious exercise. 

“That was one big case,” Kardaal said, referring to the high court’s ruling in favor of the Diocese of Brooklyn. “And I think this is the second big case, out of the Wisconsin supreme court, saying you can't shut down Catholic schools during a pandemic.”

Kaardal told CNA that the Wisconsin case is memorable because “it basically, in a blanket way says during a pandemic you can't close down religious schools - you got to find another way.”

BREAKING: Morning Mass nixed from June 15 Pope Francis-Biden meeting

Pope Francis greets then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Vatican in this April 29, 2016. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 14, 2021 / 16:55 pm (CNA).

President Joe Biden's attendance at early morning Mass with Pope Francis has been nixed from an early plan of the June 15 meeting of both leaders, a reliable Vatican source told CNA.

President Biden, who is in Europe for several high level meetings, is taking off the morning of June 15 to meet Pope Francis as President of the United States for the first time. The President's entourage had originally requested for Biden to attend Mass with the Pope early in the morning, but the proposal was nixed by the Vatican after considering the impact that President Biden receiving Holy Communion from the Pope would have on the discussions the USCCB is planning to have during their meeting starting Wednesday, June 16. The U.S. bishops are slated to vote on creating a committee that would draft a document about Eucharistic coherence

President Biden is traveling from Brussels, where he attended the G7 meeting, and will immediately fly to Geneva for his scheduled summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16.

Then-U.S. Vice President Biden met Pope Francis for the first time in September 2015, when the Pontiff visited the United States to attend the World meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

The following year, on April 29, 2016, Biden went to the Vatican for a summit on regenerative medicine, where he praised Pope Francis and advocated for a global push to cure cancer.

Biden opened his speech at the Vatican by recalling how, while visiting the United States the previous September, Pope Francis had comforted him after the loss of his eldest son Beau, who passed away the previous summer at the age of 46 from brain cancer.

CNA launches daily news podcast made for smart speakers

CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jun 14, 2021 / 16:02 pm (CNA).

Catholic News Agency has launched a new audio news update, designed specifically for smart speakers. 

Catholic News” is a two-minute audio briefing of CNA’s top stories of the day, powered by artificial intelligence. It’s now available every weekday on smart speakers and podcast platforms. 

“This is state-of-the-art stuff,” said Alejandro Bermudez, executive director of Catholic News Agency. 

“Our hope is that this product will help today’s Catholics stay informed about what’s happening at the Vatican, and the Church around the world,” Bermudez said. 

“‘Catholic News’ draws on the expertise, resources, and integrity that readers have come to expect from Catholic News Agency. It provides a brand-new and extremely convenient way to consume CNA’s award-winning reporting,” he said. 

Those wishing to listen can ask a smart speaker - any smart speaker - a special launch phrase. 

For a Google Home speaker, the phrase is “Hey Google, play Catholic News.” For those who own an Alexa device, the phrase is similar, “Alexa, open Catholic News.”

Listeners can also search for “Catholic News” and subscribe on any podcast app. 

“Catholic News” joins the CNA podcast lineup that also includes “CNA Newsroom,” an award-winning weekly news and storytelling podcast that launched in 2018. 

Visit catholicnewsagency.com/smartspeakers for more information. 

First Nation leaders ask Canadian Catholics to skip Mass to protest abuses of Indigenous

Memorial in tribute to 215 Indigenous children at the site of the former Kamloops residential school. / meandering images/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 14, 2021 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

First Nation leaders are encouraging Canadian Catholics to skip Mass in response to historic abuses at Catholic-run schools for Indigenous children.

“Something that everybody and every Christian can do is have that show of solidarity and not show up for church on Sunday,” said Felix Thomas, chief of the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation, to Canadian media on Friday, June 11. The Kinistin Saulteaux Nation, a First Nation community, is located northeast of Saskatoon, the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. 

“If it’s not this Sunday,” said Thomas to Catholics of skipping Mass, “pick a Sunday.” 

Thomas was referring to Pope Francis having not issued a formal apology for the Church’s role in Canada’s residential schools. The remains of 215 Indigenous children were recently discovered in unmarked graves at the site of a former Catholic-run boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia. 

Canada’s residential school system operated from the 1870s until the last school closed in 1996. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children were separated from their families and sent to the schools, established by the federal government and run by Catholics and members of Protestant denominations, to force assimilation and strip them of familial and cultural ties.

The Catholic Church, or Catholic religious orders, ran more than two-thirds of these schools. A 2015 report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission claimed that anywhere from 4,100 to 6,000 Indigenous children died at the schools as a result of neglect or abuse.

Thomas hoped that the proposed liturgical boycott would send a message to Church authorities that Catholics in Canada are upset at the Kamloops school findings. 

Since the discovery at Kamloops, there have been demands for Pope Francis to issue a formal apology. In response, Bishop Fred Henry, the retired bishop of Calgary, pointed to previous formal apologies by Canadian bishops over the residential school abuses. Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto also said that a formal papal apology would require a papal trip to Canada, involving significant logistical difficulties. 

Pope Francis, at his Sunday Angelus on June 6, expressed sorrow over the findings at Kamloops and emphasized the need for a “turn away from the colonizing model.”

Another tribal leader, David Pratt, said that he does not think that Pope Francis has “gone far enough.” 

Pratt is the vice chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, an organization which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. In Canada, some Indigenous groups are known as “First Nation.” 

“They have to apologize,” he said of the Church. “I know some people say it’s not important, but we believe it’s really important. There has to be an acknowledgment of the wrongs done by the Catholic Church.”

Pratt told Canadian media that there was “no excuse for (the Church) not accepting their role” in the residential school system. He said the lack of apology from the pope has compounded the pain of survivors of residential schools and their families, particularly since many members of First Nations are Catholics. 

“Many of our people are practising Catholics as well,” said Pratt. “They need to hear the leader of their church recognizing the harms that they’ve done to them,” he added.

Individual bishops in Canada, as well as the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and individual religious orders, have repeatedly apologized for the role played by the Church in operating the schools.

Meanwhile in Vancouver, a church run by the same religious order that formerly operated the Kamloops Indian Residential School - the Oblates of Mary Immaculate - was vandalized on Saturday. 

The phrases “release the records” and “killers” were spray-painted on the door of St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Parish overnight. The parish was founded by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the order that ran the Kamloops residential school from 1893 until 1969. 

Kamloops, the city where the school was located, belonged to the Archdiocese of Vancouver until the Diocese of Kamloops was created in 1945.

Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver issued a “statement of commitment” to the First Nations of Canada on June 2, following the discovery of the remains. 

In the statement he expressed his “deep apology and profound condolences to the families and communities that have been devastated by this horrific news,” and pledged full transparency with regards to any archival records of residential schools.

The following day, Bishop Peter Nguyen of Kamloops issued a similar letter, apologizing for the Church’s role, and pledging to develop “a long-term pastoral approach” for reconciliation and healing.

The story of St. Anthony of Padua’s only approved apparition

Shrine of St. Anthony, Radecznica, Poland / EWTN News Nightly

Washington D.C., Jun 14, 2021 / 13:59 pm (CNA).

Catholics may know St. Anthony of Padua as a Franciscan friar, a Doctor of the Church, and the patron saint of lost items - but only one person has ever seen St. Anthony in an approved apparition. 

In 1664, Szymon the weaver - hailing from the little Polish village Radecznica - encountered St. Anthony in an apparition. Among other things, the saint requested the building of a nearby shrine. More than three centuries later, that miraculous shrine still exists, and on St. Anthony’s feast day – June 13 – pilgrims celebrate with a Eucharistic procession.

Although he was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195, St. Anthony moved to Padua, Italy, after joining the Franciscan order. Yet his apparition occurred in a third country, Poland. Fr. Teofil Czarniak, provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor, called the saint’s apparition a “special event.”

Szymon “had a vision of St. Anthony and St. Anthony gave him some messages,” Fr. Czarniak told EWTN News Nightly on June 11. “One of them was the request of constructing a shrine on [a] nearby hill.”

As a result, he added, “one of the promises of St. Anthony was that whoever comes to this place – because he appeared near the water source – whoever will clean his wounds or drink this water with the faith will be given the graces.”

News of the vision spread across Poland and soon builders constructed the Shrine of St. Anthony next to the nearby lake. 

The shrine later captured the Vatican’s attention. In 2015, Pope Francis named it a minor basilica.

“It was the first confirmed apparition of St. Anthony in the world,” Fr. Teofil Czarniak said. “At the moment, today, you can see [the] beautiful shrine” adorned with a picture of St. Anthony, he said. The shrine is filled with colorful religious art and gilded in gold. 

When pilgrims visit the beautiful church, they receive graces “through the intercessions of St. Anthony,” he added. They gather in a special way on the saint’s feast day, when the faithful participate in a Eucharistic procession with a statue of St. Anthony. 

“We invite every pilgrim, everyone who needs help from God through the intercession of St. Anthony – who is a big, big saint in heaven – to come and visit,” Fr. Czarniak concluded. “To come and pray. To come and become one of the pilgrims in this holy place.”