Browsing News Entries
Encounter Jesus in the Mass this Easter with this 7-week series offered by the Eucharistic Revival
Posted on 03/20/2023 22:36 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 15:36 pm (CNA).
This Easter season the U.S. bishops are inviting old and new Catholics to discover the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Mass through a brand-new reflection series releasing every Thursday from Divine Mercy Sunday to Pentecost, April 13 through May 25.
Titled “Beautiful Light: A Paschal Mystagogy” and part of the bishop’s National Eucharistic Revival campaign, the series will feature powerful weekly reflections from some of the nation’s leading Catholic speakers and theologians on the divine mystery of the Mass.
“At every age and stage of life, Jesus invites us to discover the joy of friendship with him,” said National Eucharistic Revival spokesperson Sister Alicia Torres, FE, in a Monday press release. “For Catholics, this happens in a most special way during Mass — the source and summit of the Christian life.’”
“Many of us haven’t had the chance to really explore the beauty and mystery God invites us into at Mass. That is the goal of [this series], to give every Catholic a chance to go deeper this Easter season,” Torres said.
Over the seven weeks of the series, seven different Catholic thinkers will write reflections on different rites of the Mass:
Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis will kick off the series by writing on sacrifice.
Sister Maria Miguel Wright of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, will follow by reflecting on praise and thanksgiving.
Next, renowned biblical scholar Jeff Cavins will write on the universal call to holiness.
Archbishop James Peter Sartain of Seattle will reflect on Jesus as Lord and lover of souls.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops President Archbishop Timothy Broglio will write about the joy of trinitarian adoration.
Theologian and podcaster Father Harrison Ayre will write on the communal character of the Church as the body of Christ.
Archdiocese of Washington adult formation and Hispanic catechesis coordinator Kately Javier will finish off the series by reflecting on the paschal mystery.
“Whether you are just joining the Church at Easter Vigil this year or have been Catholic your entire life, this series is for you,” Torres said.
Torres told CNA that her “primary hope is that this series will help us open our hearts to a new and deeper encounter with Jesus in the Mass that impels us to go on mission with Jesus — especially in the ordinary, everyday moments of our lives.”
“What does it look like to go on mission with Jesus? Jesus told us to love one another as he has loved us (Jn 13:34). Loving this way — the way Jesus loves — this is what it means to go on mission with him. When we are on mission with Jesus, we are living eucharistic lives,” Torres said.
The paschal mystagogy theme calls for an Easter rediscovery of the Mass. The word “paschal” refers to the Easter season while mystagogy refers to “liturgical catechesis to initiate people in the mysteries of Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1075).
In a 2019 address, Pope Francis said “mystagogy means discovering the new life we have received in the people of God through the sacraments, and continually rediscovering the beauty of renewing it.”
To access the Easter reflections, subscribe here.
For more information on the National Eucharistic Revival, click here.
New York City’s Mayor Adams responds to critics of his faith-based comments
Posted on 03/20/2023 22:10 PM (CNA Daily News)
CNA Newsroom, Mar 20, 2023 / 15:10 pm (CNA).
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday responded to critics of his recent statements on faith and spirituality.
In a March 19 appearance on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” when questioned about those who “shorthand” what he has said about religion, Adams responded: “You can allow the loudest to get in the way, and all of a sudden you’re responding to the loudest. So, if people who took my innocent words of saying spirituality is crucial, then let them be.”
Adams, a Democrat and former police officer who has been in office a little more than a year, in recent weeks has raised eyebrows by talking about God, prayer, and his ideas against the separation of church and state.
In the interview with Psaki, Adams said he is concerned about America and that the root of the country’s problems is a failure to embrace spirituality. He likened the current state of affairs in the United States to a frog placed in cool water.
“If you place a frog in hot water, it jumps out right away,” he said. “If you place it in cool water, turn up the temperature, it will stay there and boil itself to death. I think that our country, we are boiling ourselves to death, and that the root of that is our failure to embrace our spirituality.”
Adams’ comparison of the country to a frog in boiling water repeated comments he made at a mental health faith-based summit March 16 at Columbia University Teachers College. The event was co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, created by Adams in February 2022.
“People wonder why I lean into my faith so much. If you only know how broken I have been as a child, and I am just a pure miracle of God. And every day, just to be able to just rejoice in the fullness of [the fact that] you can take a broken child and turn him into the mayor of the city of New York. God is real. God is real,” he told the summit, to applause from the crowd.
He went on to give his opinions on the state of society today.
“Our babies are waking up every day in the morning, on their way to school, stopping into stores and bodegas, buying gummy bears and Skittles laced with cannabis and sitting inside the classroom,” he said.
“People ask me over and over again, 'Why do you keep saying it’s time to pray, it’s time to pray?' We have moved our faith-based leaders outside of what we should be doing together," he said. "We must introduce faith and wellness back into our families. I’m baffled that you can talk about cannabis in schools but not faith.”
Adams then said the city’s Department of Education would roll out “mindfulness,” “breathing exercises,” and “internal care” for school children.
“How do we take a city that is the center of the power of America and turn it into a city, when you enter it, everyone sees faith and sees God?” Adams asked. “Our challenge is not economics. Our challenge is not finance. Our challenge is faith. People have lost their faith.”
At an interfaith breakfast on Feb. 28, Adams also made strong statements about the separation of church and state.
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state,” he said. “State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies. I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official. When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God. When I put policies in place, I put them in with a God-like approach to them. That’s who I am.”
New York archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan on March 1 praised Adams’ comments about church and state. “Bravo, Mayor Adams. Bravo! Glad you said it,” Dolan said on WCBS 880 news radio.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of NYCLU (ACLU of New York), said the mayor’s comments “were playing with fire.”
“Adams’ team is now claiming that those New Yorkers expressing concern over his comments are distorting his meaning — that he was making a point about what animates his leadership,” she wrote on the NYCLU website March 2. “But, without even considering what goes on in theocracies around the world, our city’s history alone shows why Adams is playing a dangerous game by casually dismissing the well-established partition between religion and public policy.”
Adams, who identifies as a Christian, was raised in the Church of Christ but now attends mostly nondenominational services, Politico reported.
In January, Adams introduced the New York City’s Women’s Health Agenda, which includes “expanding access to medication abortion at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Clinics.”
The city said that and other initiatives “build off programs and services launched during Mayor Adams’ first year in office,” such as “a first-of-its-kind Abortion Access Hub that confidentially refers callers from across the country to abortion care providers in New York City, as well as connections to additional financial support, transportation, and lodging.”
Canon law copyright case: Priest’s website stays online thanks to new translation
Posted on 03/20/2023 20:42 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 13:42 pm (CNA).
Canon law enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief. A popular canon law website will continue to offer its content to the public despite fears that it would have to shut down because of a copyright dispute over its English translation of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law.
The website, CanonLaw.Ninja, owned by Father Paul Hedman, will be able to continue its operations with a different translation owned by the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland (CLSGBI).
As CNA reported last Thursday, Hedman shared the Canon Law Society of America’s Code of Canon Law on his website for years before receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the organization telling him to take that translation of the Code of Canon Law down by March 17. He was also instructed to destroy all copies on the website and all personal copies unless purchased from the CLSA.
Hedman told CNA that the British and Irish CLSGBI offered its translation free of charge, as long as their organization receives proper attribution.
As of this past weekend, the website continues to operate with the CLSGBI translation now in use.
“The Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland has graciously allowed me to use their translation of the Code of Canon Law,” Hedman said in a Tweet Saturday.
CanonLaw.Ninja, which describes itself as “a resource for both professional and armchair canonists,” includes up-to-date translations of the Code of Canon Law as well as other documents, such as the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It also offers an easy format and a tool that allows users to search for relevant canons. Hedman created the website as a seminarian because the only other online copy of the code, which was on the Vatican’s website, was not up to date and was not searchable.
Although Hedman initially took to Twitter to express his shock and disappointment over the copyright enforcement, he has since had an amicable discussion with CLSA. He issued a statement saying CLSA has clarified some of the reasons why it sent him the cease-and-desist letter and added that CLSA intends to work with CanonLaw.Ninja in the coming months.
“As it turns out, CLSA itself did not possess the right to publish digital copies online until recently (beginning with the upcoming fourth printing), which led to the desire to address potentially conflicting online versions as the society itself tries to make the code more accessible in digital form,” Hedman said in the statement.
“CLSA is trying to find a new way to work together with me to use and improve CanonLaw.Ninja, hopefully integrating the site with CLSA’s contributions,” the statement continued. “Based on the conversation, I am very hopeful that we will find a solution beneficial to everyone involved.”
Neither CLSA nor Hedman would comment further on the future collaboration when reached by CNA. Rather, they both referred CNA to Hedman’s statement and suggested that further announcements about the collaboration could come in the next few months.
The pro-life fight: What is happening in the states?
Posted on 03/20/2023 19:52 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 12:52 pm (CNA).
Since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in June 2022, the abortion battle has moved to the states.
Now that abortion is no longer considered a federally guaranteed constitutional right, individual states are allowed to determine their abortion policies. This means that each state legislature has a renewed importance when it comes to the abortion fight.
While 13 states have passed total abortion bans, many states have moved in the opposite direction, enshrining abortion as a state constitutional right.
Here is what is happening in the abortion battle right now.
Wyoming bans abortion pills
Republican Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming signed a bill banning abortion pills into law on Friday. The ban is set to take effect July 1 and makes it a felony to prescribe, sell, or use abortion drugs. The bill explicitly states that “a woman upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted shall not be criminally prosecuted.”
Violations of the abortion pill are punishable by six months in prison and a $9,000 fine. This is the first law specifically banning chemical abortion in the U.S., though other states have restricted or banned the use of abortion pills as part of their abortion bans.
Additionally, Wyoming’s “Life is a Human Right Act” also took effect last week without the governor’s signature. This new law declares abortion the killing of a child and bans it except in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, and the life of the mother. As another Wyoming total abortion ban remains blocked, it is uncertain whether this new law will be able to take effect.
Utah bans abortion clinics
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, signed a bill last week that prohibits abortions outside of hospitals and bans clinics that only offer abortion. The bill prohibits the licensing of abortion clinics after May 2, 2023, and makes it a criminal offense for out-of-state actors to prescribe abortion drugs to Utahns.
The law is set to take effect on May 3.
North Dakota abortion ban remains blocked
The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a state law banning abortion will remain blocked as it works its way through the state’s court system. This means that abortion remains legal through 22 weeks in North Dakota for the time being.
Minnesota considers offering legal protection to abortionists
Minnesota lawmakers introduced a bill today offering legal protection to abortionists who provide abortions to out-of-state women. The law would prevent state courts or officials from complying with extraditions, arrests, or subpoenas from other states over abortions provided within Minnesota. Democrats hold majorities in both houses of the Legislature as well as the governorship, making this bill likely to pass.
Arkansas authorizes ‘monument to the unborn’
Arkansas, which has banned abortion within the state, has now authorized the construction of a “monument to the unborn” on the state capitol grounds in Little Rock.
Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the law authorizing the monument last week. The monument, which will be privately funded, will mark the number of abortions that were committed in Arkansas before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
California proposes protecting doctors who mail abortion drugs
California lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to protect doctors from any legal repercussions for sending abortion drugs to women in states where the drugs are banned.
Texas judge considers halting abortion pill sales
Matthew Kascmaryk, a federal judge for the Northern District of Texas, is weighing whether to overturn the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. The judge heard arguments from the Alliance Defending Freedom and lawyers representing the FDA on Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, Kacsmaryk stated he would issue a ruling “as soon as possible.” This case has national implications as a pro-life ruling could potentially halt the distribution of the drug used in over half of the nation’s abortions.
NY pregnancy center that was set on fire is hit again with ‘Jane’s Revenge rhetoric’
Posted on 03/20/2023 19:35 PM (CNA Daily News)
Boston, Mass., Mar 20, 2023 / 12:35 pm (CNA).
A New York pro-life pregnancy center that was seriously damaged in an arson attack in June 2022 was vandalized again Thursday with pro-abortion graffiti.
The destruction of property at CompassCare Pregnancy Services in Amherst, New York, is the latest in a wave of attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers across the country, which began after a May 2022 leak from the Supreme Court indicating that the justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Roe, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide, was overturned that June.
There have only been two reported arrests in the more than 60 acts of vandalism on pro-life pregnancy centers across the country. Amid heavy criticism from the pro-life community, the FBI announced in January a reward of up to $25,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the arsonists of CompassCare.
The word “liars” was spray-painted in red capital letters across the center’s sign at its 1230 Eggert Rd., Amherst, location.
Jim Harden, CEO of CompassCare, told CNA Monday that the graffiti is “consistent with Jane’s Revenge rhetoric.”
“Jane’s Revenge” became a calling card of sorts for dozens of pro-abortion vandals after the May leak from the Supreme Court.
Harden told CNA the suspect was caught on tape vandalizing the clinic. He said he presented the information collected to the FBI and local police.
The sign was taken down and will cost about $2,000 to repair, he said.
The FBI has released a video of the June 2022 attack on the upstate New York pro-life pregnancy center, CompassCare. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals. Credit: FBI Buffalo Office pic.twitter.com/1PDXobalAR— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) November 14, 2022
“This is a very dangerous moment in the history of our country,” Harden said, referring to the vandalism of centers across the country. He accused the Biden administration of weaponizing the federal government against its political opponents by failing to hold the vandals accountable.
“Why is the FBI not saying that it’s Jane’s Revenge or Antifa? Why is the FBI not engaging in any kind of manhunt?”
“The FBI needs to be defunded, dismantled, and rebuilt,” he said.
Harden has employed private investigators to track down those who committed the act of arson last May.
He said that the solution to attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and the weaponization of the government is for the media to cover it and for the “average citizen” to “be vigilant.”
“It’s been said that the only freedoms that we don’t have are the ones that we give up. And quite frankly, we’re giving up a lot of freedoms when we say nothing and do nothing,” he said.
“We have to keep standing strong, and not just for our rights. My personal rights are secondary to my duty to protect the rights of my fellow man. That’s exactly why pregnancy centers exist in the first place.”
Legionaries of Christ to ordain 32 new priests in 2023
Posted on 03/19/2023 15:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
ACI Prensa Staff, Mar 19, 2023 / 08:00 am (CNA).
In 2023 the Legionaries of Christ religious order will provide 32 new priests for service to the Church. Twenty-nine of them will be ordained in Rome in the papal basilica of St. Mary Major on April 29 by Cardinal Fernando Vérguez, president of the Governorate of the State of Vatican City.
The other three will receive priestly ordination at different times of the year.
The soon-to-be new priests of the Legionaries of Christ come from Germany, Colombia, Chile, South Korea, Canada, Brazil, El Salvador, Spain, the United States, Italy, Mexico, and Venezuela.
The April 29 ordination in Rome can be viewed live on the congregation's website at 10 a.m. Rome time.
Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Miguel Esponda Sada, a seminarian of the Legionaries of Christ who will be ordained a priest this year, said that “to be a priest is to be a sign and living presence of Jesus Christ among men; it makes the world see the incarnate love of God.”
A priest, he continued, is “taken from among men, is chosen and consecrated to be mediator and bridge between God the Father and men.”
“He knows well and makes people’s sufferings and hopes his own; he knows well the heart of God and makes it his own,” Esponda said.
In a testimony posted on the Legionaries of Christ website, Pablo Lorenzo-Penalva, another of the seminarians who will receive priestly ordination this year, asked Catholics to say a Hail Mary “for all priests, especially for those of us who are going to be ordained, so that we never forget that the most effective way to come to Jesus is through his mother, Mary.”
Seminarian Carlos Javier Ruiz commented: “My life was planned since I was little. But how great is God who saves us even from our plans. When he calls, if we respond to him, nothing is ever the same.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Pope Francis: The differences of others are an occasion to love better
Posted on 03/19/2023 14:51 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Mar 19, 2023 / 07:51 am (CNA).
We should treat the physical and social differences of others as a chance to love, not as an inconvenience, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on Sunday.
The pope’s weekly message focused on the day’s Gospel reading, which recounts Jesus’ miraculous healing of the blind man.
Francis pointed out the reactions of the different characters in the story and invited people to reflect on how they might respond in a similar situation.
“How do we welcome the difficulties and differences of others? How do we welcome the people who have many limitations in life, either physical like this blind man or social like the beggars we find on the street?” he asked. “And do we welcome these people as inconveniences or as occasions to draw near to them with love?”
Pope Francis addressed approximately 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square on March 19. He also led everyone in praying the Angelus, a traditional Marian prayer, in Latin.
He encouraged everyone to read chapter 9 of the Gospel of John.
“Read about this miracle” of the healing of the blind man, he said. “It’s beautiful the way John recounts it.”
“You can read it in two minutes. But it shows how Jesus proceeds and how the human heart proceeds. The good human heart, the lukewarm human heart, the fearful human heart, the courageous human heart,” he continued.
The pope said the Gospel passage shows how each of the different characters react to Jesus’ healing of the man born blind.
Some are skeptics and some find it unacceptable, he said.
“In all these reactions, for various reasons, there emerge hearts closed in front of the sign of Jesus,” he said, “because they seek a culprit, because they do not know how to be surprised, because they do not want to change, because they are blocked by fear.”
This is similar to many situations today, he added. “When faced with something that is really a message of a person’s testimony, a message from Jesus, we fall into this: we look for another explanation, we don’t want to change, we look for a more elegant way out than accepting the truth.”
The blind man, instead, is the only person who accepts Jesus’ gift well, the pope explained. “Happy to see, [he] testifies what happened to him in the simplest way: ‘I was blind, now I see.’”
Pope Francis said the Gospel is asking us to imagine ourselves in the same scene, so that we might ask what our own reaction would be.
“What would we have said then? And above all, what would we do today? Like the blind man, do we know how to see the good and to be grateful for the gifts we receive?” he said.
He added: “Do we bear witness to Jesus, or do we spread criticism and suspicion instead? Are we free when faced with prejudices or do we associate ourselves with those who spread negativity and gossip? Are we happy to say that Jesus loves us and saves us, or, like the parents of the man born blind, do we allow ourselves to be caged in by the fear of what others will think?”
Or are we, he continued, “the lukewarm of heart who do not accept reality, and do not have the courage to say: ‘No, this is how it is.’”
After praying the Angelus, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Ecuador, who were hit by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on Saturday.
Hundreds of people were hurt and at least 15 people killed in the quake, which mainly affected southern Ecuador and northern Peru, BBC News reported.
“I am close to the Ecuadorian people and I assure of my prayers for the deceased and all those who are suffering,” the pope said.
He also wished a happy Father’s Day to all the fathers.
In countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain, Bolivia, Honduras, and several others, Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19, the Catholic feast of St. Joseph.
“Today we wish all fathers well. May they find in St. Joseph the model, the support, the comfort to live their fatherhood well,” Pope Francis said, inviting everyone to pray the Our Father for fathers.
In 2023, due to March 19 falling on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the liturgical feast of St. Joseph is moved to Monday, March 20.
How a forgotten nun’s visions shed ‘new light’ on the life of St. Joseph
Posted on 03/19/2023 11:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
CNA Staff, Mar 19, 2023 / 04:00 am (CNA).
St. Joseph does not have any words recorded in sacred Scripture, but the published meditations of an 18th-century Italian nun offer the chance to imagine the details of the Holy Family’s daily life as it might have been from the perspective of the foster father of Jesus.
Servant of God Mother Maria Cecilia Baij’s personal revelation, described in the book “The Life of Saint Joseph,” provides an intimate portrait of the life of prayer, suffering, and joy within the Holy Family.
As an artist might fill in the details in a painting depicting a scene in the life of Christ from the Bible, Baij’s account allows the reader to dwell on the scenes that could have made up Joseph’s life with Jesus and Mary, with a particular focus on his interior life.
It begins with the birth of Joseph and provides a 75-page account of his life before meeting Mary, with a focus on how God prepared him with graces for the privilege of meeting the future Mother of God.
From there, the reader accompanies Joseph as he exults in the Incarnation within Mary’s womb, endures trials on the way to Bethlehem, weeps for joy as he holds the Savior of the world in his arms, sings hymns of praise to God with Mary, works with the child Jesus in his workshop, and continually abandons himself to the will of God in the face of uncertainties.
While the Church does not consider it obligatory to believe private revelations as a matter of faith, the book has received an imprimatur and nihil obstat from the Vatican, officially declaring it free from doctrinal and moral error.
Pascal Parente, a professor at the Catholic University of America, translated the 18th-century manuscript into English.
“The account of St. Joseph’s life … was not intended essentially to provide exegetical or historical instruction but rather to serve as a means of edification,” Parente, who died in 1971, wrote in his introduction to the text.
“It reveals the most loving and lovable head of the Holy Family in a new light which cannot fail to impress both the mind and the heart of the reader, thereby making him a partaker of the heavenly peace and harmony that reigned in the Holy Family of Nazareth.”
The manuscript was completed before Baij’s death in 1766 but remained unknown until a Benedictine monk, Dom Willibrord van Heteren, found Baij’s writings in 1900 in St. Peter’s convent in Montefiascone, Italy, and published some excerpts.
Twenty years later, a local priest, Msgr. Peter Bergamschi, took an interest in Baij’s writings in the convent archive and presented them to Pope Benedict XV in a private audience on March 17, 1920, during the month of St. Joseph. The pope encouraged Bergamaschi to publish them.
Maria Cecilia Baij was born in 1694 in Montefiascone, a hill town about 60 miles north of Rome located on the shores of Lake Bolsena. At the age of 20, she took her religious vows with the Benedictine community of Montefiascone. She was named abbess in 1743 and remained in the post until her death at the age of 72.
In her prayers at the convent, Baij received both attacks from the devil and mystical revelations about the life of Christ, St. Joseph, the Holy Family, and St. John the Baptist, which she wrote down in lengthy manuscripts in obedience to her confessor.
Her Benedictine convent, St. Peter’s, remains active today more than 250 years after her death. The sisters welcome pilgrims who walk the Via Francigena, a medieval pilgrimage route that passes through their town. The sisters also still possess all of Baij’s original manuscripts.
Baij is believed to have completed her account of St. Joseph’s life in December 1736. Throughout the text, Joseph is often depicted in prayer, speaking praises to God on his own and together with the Virgin Mary and Jesus.
Baij wrote: “Sometimes, when Joseph worked very strenuously, he would approach his spouse and ask her to condescend to sing for him a hymn in praise of God, and thereby relieve his weariness. The holy virgin would readily comply with his requests. Her singing of the hymns of divine exaltation was so delightful that Joseph often was carried into ecstasy.”
“He once remarked to Mary: ‘My spouse, your singing alone is enough to bring comfort to every afflicted heart! What consolation you gave me through it! What relief for my weariness! What a great joy it is for me to hear you speak or sing!’”
“For the most holy Virgin, these words were the occasion for giving additional praise to God, the source of all that is good. … ‘God has poured these graces into my heart,’ she told him, ‘in order that you might be comforted and obtain relief in your tribulations and affiliations.’ The saint’s love and gratitude to God expanded steadily and he continued to wonder at the virtue of his most holy spouse.”
This story was originally published on CNA on March 16, 2021.
French church vandalized with satanic and anarchist graffiti
Posted on 03/18/2023 15:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
ACI Prensa Staff, Mar 18, 2023 / 08:00 am (CNA).
The walls of Sacred Heart Church, located in downtown Bordeaux, France, were vandalized with satanic graffiti and communist and anarchist symbols the night of March 12-13.
In addition, the vandals burned trash on the church’s esplanade.
The news was confirmed on March 13 by Constance Pluviaud, head of communications for the Archdiocese of Bordeaux.
“On the night of March 12-13, the door and some of the walls of the façade of the Church of the Sacred Heart were defaced with graffiti. A trash fire in front of the church was extinguished by firefighters called to the scene. This fire did not damage the church,” the archdiocese reported in a statement.
Pictures on social media show messages such as “Lucifer is right,” “Devil, take me with you,” “Thank you, Satan,” and “The neighbors hate the Church.”
According to Pluviaud, the parish has filed a complaint with the authorities for property damage.
Étienne Guyot, prefect of New Aquitaine and Gironde Department, lamented on Twitter that Sacred Heart Church was targeted with “hateful epithets and acts of vandalism.”
Guyot also denounced “these intolerable acts. An investigation has been opened so that the perpetrators can be identified and brought to justice.”
The Archdiocese of Bordeaux said it “shares the strong emotions of the Catholic faithful and residents shocked by this act.”
Sacred Heart Church in Bordeaux
The church, located in Gironde Department (the administrative district), was designed by architect Jean-Jules Mondet in the 19th century. It was built at the behest of Cardinal Ferdinand-François-Auguste Donnet, the archbishop of Bordeaux from 1837 to 1882.
Since September 2014, the parish has been administered by priests of the Regnum Christi movement. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24 hours a day in the church’s adoration chapel.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
These 17th-century monks did a beer fast for Lent
Posted on 03/18/2023 11:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 18, 2023 / 04:00 am (CNA).
With the Lenten season underway, Catholics are immersing themselves in 40 days of abstaining from sweets, technology, alcohol, and other luxuries.
But did you know that Catholic monks once brewed beer specifically for a liquid-only Lenten fast?
Back in the 1600s, Paulaner monks moved from Southern Italy to the Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Bavaria. “Being a strict order, they were not allowed to consume solid food during Lent,” the braumeister and beer sommelier of Paulaner Brewery Martin Zuber explained in a video on the company’s website.
They needed something other than water to sustain them, so the monks turned to a common staple of the time of their region — beer. They concocted an “unusually strong” brew, full of carbohydrates and nutrients, because “liquid bread wouldn’t break the fast,” Zuber noted.
This was an early doppelbock-style beer, which the monks eventually sold in the community and which was an original product of Paulaner brewery, founded in 1634. They gave it the name “Salvator,” named after “Sankt Vater,” which “roughly translates as ‘Holy Father beer,’” Zuber said.
Paulaner currently serves 70 countries and is one of the chief breweries featured at Munich’s Octoberfest. Although its doppelbock is enjoyed around the world today, it had a distinctly penitential origin with the monks.
Could a beer-only fast really be accomplished? One journalist had read of the monks’ story and, in 2011, attempted to re-create their fast.
J. Wilson, a Christian working as an editor for a county newspaper in Iowa, partnered with a local brewery and brewed a special doppelbock that he consumed over 46 days during Lent, eating no solid food.
He had regular checkups with his doctor and obtained permission from his boss for the fast, drinking four beers over the course of a work day and five beers on Saturdays and Sundays. His experience, he said, was transformative — and not in an intoxicating way.
Wilson learned “that the human body is an amazing machine,” he wrote in a blog for CNN after his Lenten experience.
“Aside from cramming it [the body] full of junk food, we don’t ask much of it. We take it for granted. It is capable of much more than many of us give it credit for. It can climb mountains, run marathons and, yes, it can function without food for long periods of time,” he wrote.
Wilson noted that he was acutely hungry for the first several days of his fast, but “my body then switched gears, replaced hunger with focus, and I found myself operating in a tunnel of clarity unlike anything I’d ever experienced.” He ended up losing more than 25 pounds over the course of the Lenten season but learned to practice “self-discipline.”
And, he found, one of his greatest challenges was actually fasting from media.
As he blogged about his fast, Wilson received numerous interview requests from local and national media outlets, and he chose to forgo some of these requests and step away from using media to focus on the spiritual purpose of his fast.
“The experience proved that the origin story of monks fasting on doppelbock was not only possible but probable,” he concluded.
“It left me with the realization that the monks must have been keenly aware of their own humanity and imperfections. In order to refocus on God, they engaged this annual practice not only to endure sacrifice but to stress and rediscover their own shortcomings in an effort to continually refine themselves.”
Catholics are not obliged to give up solid food for Lent, of course, but they must do penance during the season of Lent in the example of Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness, in commemoration of his death and in preparation for Easter.
Catholics in the U.S., if healthy adults aged 18-59, must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and are encouraged to continue the Good Friday fast through Holy Saturday to the Easter Vigil.
“No Catholic Christian will lightly excuse himself from so hallowed an obligation on the Wednesday which solemnly opens the Lenten season and on that Friday called ‘Good’ because on that day Christ suffered in the flesh and died for our sins,” the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote in their 1966 pastoral letter on fasting.
Fasting is interpreted to mean eating one full meal and two smaller meals that, taken together, do not equal that one full meal. There may be no eating in between meals, and there is no specific mention of liquids in the guidelines.
In their pastoral letter, the bishops also instruct all Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays in Lent, and “strongly recommend participation in daily Mass and a self-imposed observance of fasting” on other Lenten days, as well as almsgiving, study of the Scriptures, and devotions such as the rosary and the Stations of the Cross.
This article was originally published on CNA March 1, 2017, and was updated March 16, 2023.