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Archive for March, 2013

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

Pope Francis gives thumbs up as he greets crowd while arriving for general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he greets the crowd during his arrival for his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Holy Week is a time to follow Jesus out of one’s parish or group and out of one’s comfort zone to go with him in search of the lost sheep, Pope Francis said.

“There is such a great need to bring (people) the living presence of Jesus, who is merciful and rich in love,” the pope said March 27 at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope began very simply, saying in Italian: “Good morning. I’m happy to welcome you to my first general audience.”

After Easter, he said, he will return to the audience series Pope Benedict XVI began on the creed for the Year of Faith, but he wanted to continue the tradition of speaking about the Holy Week liturgies on the Wednesday before Easter.

Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis did not read greetings in a variety of languages. Reportedly not comfortable speaking English, he chose to stick to Italian and allow aides to translate his remarks. The Argentine pope did not even speak Spanish during the audience.

Introducing the Triduum liturgies that commemorate the Last Supper, Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, Pope Francis said Holy Week “is not primarily about pain and death, but about love and the gift of self that gives life.”

Holy Week is a call to follow Jesus more closely, he said, which means going with Jesus “to the margins of existence, making the first move toward our brothers and sisters, especially those who are farthest away, those who are forgotten, those who have the greatest need for understanding, consolation and help.”

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The message at this year’s Chrism Mass focused on the New Evangelization. Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, joined his brother priests and Catholics from across the diocese for the annual celebration March 26 at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, Beaumont.

During Bishop Guillory’s homily, he encouraged those in attendance to bring the good news of Christ to their neighbors.

“We must be a welcoming church. The Church is not just for certain groups of people and she must bring the good news to everyone. The New Evangelism is not just for this year but for all time. The Year of Faith was just the beginning,” Bishop Guillory said

The Chrism Mass is the one Mass during the year when the Sacred Chrism is consecrated, and the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens are blessed by the bishop. These oils are then sent to all parishes, missions, and hospital and prison chaplains to be used throughout the year.

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By Catholic News Service

cns-logoBISMARCK, N.D. (CNS) — A personhood bill that defines life as starting at conception passed the North Dakota House March 22 in a 57-35 vote.

The state Senate in February approved the measure to outlaw abortion in the state. The House’s action now sends it to the desk of Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his signature. The Associated Press said he has not indicated whether he will sign it.

Passage of the personhood bill follows the Senate’s passage March 15 of a bill to ban abortions for the purpose of sex selection or genetic abnormality and another bill to ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which could be as early as six weeks. (more…)

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Celebrating Friday with enchiladas

olg 7Parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe are offering a break from fish fry Fridays. Today they offered people a meatless meal of cheese enchiladas with beans and rice. (more…)

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By Catholic News Service

cns-logoDENVER (CNS) — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper March 21 signed into law a civil unions bill for same-sex couples that Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said “harms families, civil liberties and the natural rights of all Colorado’s children.”

The measure was approved by the state House March 12 and went to Hickenlooper for his signature. The Senate had passed it in February. The new law takes effect May 1 and gives same-sex couples many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

“(It) is the beginning of an effort to redefine the family in Colorado and to undermine the right of all children to have a mother and a father. Civil unions are not about equality, tolerance or fairness,” the archbishop said. (more…)

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By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 19. (CNS photo/Paul Hanna, Reuters)

Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 19. (CNS photo/Paul Hanna, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has decided to celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper in a Rome juvenile detention facility and wash the feet of some of the young detainees.

It marks a change in venue of the previously scheduled March 28 Holy Week event from St. Peter’s Basilica to Rome’s Casal del Marmo prison for minors.

While the practice of his predecessors has included washing the feet of priests or laypeople, the ceremony was normally held in either St. Peter’s Basilica or the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

The Vatican said that, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis used to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper — which reflects on the call to imitate Christ by serving one another — in prisons, hospitals or shelters for the poor and marginalized. (more…)

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By Catholic News Service

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — New proposed regulations governing the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act continue to violate basic principles of religious freedom, said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In comments filed March 20 with the Department of Health and Human Services, the USCCB raised a series of concerns, among them being that the new proposals keep in place “an unjust and unlawful mandate” regarding the provision of contraceptive and other pregnancy services and that the rules provide no exemption, or accommodation, for “most stakeholders in the health insurance process, such as individual employees and for-profit employers,” who are morally opposed to such coverage. (more…)

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