Convocation 'great opportunity' for U.S. Church, says religious sister
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Dominican Sister Marie Bernadette Thompson can't help but see things through a teacher's eyes after spending eight years teaching elementary and high school students and belonging to an order whose charism is education and the faith formation of young people. But the 42-year-old sister, who has been council coordinator for the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious since 2014, also is not opposed to being a student particularly when it comes to learning new ways to engage others in the faith and spread the Gospel message. She hopes to pick up some pointers from other Church leaders from around the country this summer at the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" July 1-4 in Orlando, Florida. The convocation, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is an invitation-only event meant to give the 3,000 participants expected to attend a better understanding of what it means to be missionary disciples in today's world through workshop presentations, keynote addresses and prayer.
At anniversary Mass, officials recall spiritual roots of Montreal
MONTREAL (CNS) — Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations kicked off inside Notre-Dame Basilica with a celebration emphasizing that Montreal was not born out of violence or greed, but as a spiritual endeavor. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Cardinals Gerald Lacroix of Quebec and Thomas Collins of Toronto attended the May 17 Mass, along with some 30 bishops, 400 priests, religious men and women and special guests. The Mass celebrated the birth of Ville-Marie -- Montreal's original name -- in 1642. Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal recalled the memory of the founders of Montreal, "those adventurers of hope" who dared "set out without being sure of tomorrow." It is through "their faith in the beauty of the project of a city founded on spirituality, togetherness and solidarity" that Montreal was born, said Archbishop Lepine. These "founding values have gone through time and are still current," he said, recalling that "the value of living together is part of the genes of Montreal and its history." In a message to Archbishop Lepine, Pope Francis also noted the solidarity that drives Montreal and its inhabitants. "In fidelity to the evangelical intuitions of the founders of Ville-Marie, the Holy Father encourages all inhabitants of Montreal to build bridges between men, respecting their differences and thus contributing to the building of a more just and fraternal society," read Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, apostolic nuncio to Canada.
Prudence, pastoral concern guided Medjugorje commission, member says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — If the Catholic Church recognizes as "worthy of belief" only the initial alleged apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje, it would be the first time the Church distinguished between phases of a single event, but it also would acknowledge that human beings and a host of complicating factors are involved, said a theological expert in Mariology. Servite Father Salvatore Perrella, president of the Pontifical Institute Marianum and a member of the commission now-retired Pope Benedict XVI established to study the Medjugorje case, said that although Pope Francis has not yet made a formal pronouncement on the presumed apparitions, "he thought it was a good idea to clear some of the fog." The Pope's remarks to journalists May 13 on his flight from Portugal to Rome "were a surprise, but he told the truth," Father Perrella told Catholic News Service May 18. "For four years, the commission established by Pope Benedict investigated, interrogated, listened, studied and debated this phenomenon of the presumed apparitions of Mary" in a small town in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "The commission did not make a definitive pronouncement," he said, but in discussing the apparitions that supposedly began June 24, 1981, and continue today, the commission opted to distinguish between what occurred in the first 10 days and what has occurred in the following three decades.
Illness a reminder of life's value, Pope tells Huntington's patients
Papal celebration of Corpus Christi moves to Sunday
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The frailty associated with illnesses like Huntington's disease is not a reason to shun the sick but a reminder of the value of life, Pope Francis said. Jesus came to tear down the walls of stigma and marginalization and proved through his love that disease and sickness are "never an obstacle to encountering people," the Pope said May 18 during a meeting with 1,700 people -- those with the fatal genetic disorder and their families. "Fragility is not an evil. And disease, which is an expression of fragility, cannot and must not make us forget that, in the eyes of God, our value is always priceless," he said. The meeting was sponsored by HDdennomore (pronounced "Hidden no more"), a coalition of neuroscientists, research experts and institutes with the goal of "ending the stigma and shame around the disease." Huntington's disease results in the death of brain cells and causes problems with a person's mental abilities, body coordination and movement. Since the disease's discovery in 1872, the uncontrollable movements that characterize the disease have led to the marginalization of those afflicted.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ and the Corpus Christi procession on a Sunday -- June 18 -- and not on the traditional Thursday feast day, which is June 15 this year. Throughout Italy and in most other countries, the feast was transferred to the following Sunday years ago. The Pope celebrating on the Sunday "can strengthen the participation of the faithful in this solemn, public act of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament," said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal vicar of Rome. Announcing the change in a letter May 1, the cardinal said he hoped changing the date of the celebration to a non-work day would allow more people to participate in the traditional procession through Rome from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The date of the papal celebration was announced by the Vatican May 18 along with a list of Pope Francis' other public liturgical celebrations for June. Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square on Pentecost June 4 and he will mark the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul with Mass June 29 in St. Peter's Basilica and the blessing of palliums to be given to new metropolitan archbishops.