Holy Name of Jesus - Saint Gregory the Great Parish

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Programming Associate(Theater & Talks)

The Sheen Center

Accounting Coordinator for Northwest/South Bronx

Global Regional School System (GRSS)

Anti-Catholic McCarthyism in the US Senate

The old stain of anti-Catholicism has re-appeared in the US Senate. Senators are asking nominees about their Catholic and Christian faith, and their association with religious organizations like the Knights of Columbus. A new face is being given to the old bigotry.

Accounting Coordinator for Manhattan

Global Regional School System (GRSS)

Chilean bishops' president names delegate to replace him at papal meeting

Santiago, Chile, Jan 2, 2019 / 04:03 pm (ACI Prensa).- At the Vatican summit to discuss sex abuse next month, the secretary general of the Chilean Bishops Conference will take the place of the conference president, who is embroiled in the nation’s current sex abuse crisis.

Bishop Fernando Ramos, apostolic administrator of Rancagua and secretary general of the conference, will represent the Chilean bishops at the meeting requested by Pope Francis, which will include the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world.

The anti-abuse summit will be held at the Vatican Feb. 21-24. While the presidents of the national bishops’ conferences have been invited, Bishop Santiago Silva will not attend.

Silva, who serves as president of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference, has been subpoenaed on charges of covering up abuse within the Military Diocese, which he has headed since July 2015.

“Given that this is an important meeting called by the Holy Father,” Ramos told the La Tercera newspaper, Silva asked him to attend “in order to avoid shifting the focus to… the person of the president himself.”

Ramos told La Tercera that at the most recent Plenary Assembly of the bishops' conference in November 2018, Silva said that he was willing to continue as the conference president or to step down.

“At that time, he was asked to continue in his position as president,” Ramos said. “Regarding the invitation that the Holy Father has made to the presidents of the bishops' conferences of the world, for the February meeting, the president of the Chilean Bishops' Conference asked me to attend.”

The Church in Chile is still reeling from revelations of a sex abuse scandal following an in-depth investigation by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Msgr. Jordi Bertomeu of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which resulted in a 2,300-page report on the scandal.

Pope Francis initially dismissed some of the abuse cover up allegations as “calumny,” but later apologized and said he had been misinformed in judging the case, due to “a lack of truthful and balanced information.”

The pope then summoned all the Chilean bishops to Rome in May 2018 for a meeting in which he harshly criticized them for a systematic cover-up of abuse involving not only the destruction of documents, but superficial investigations that led to moving accused abusers to other schools or parishes where they had access to children.

Following that meeting, every bishop in the country submitted their resignation. The pope has accepted several of the resignations and is expected to accept several more in the coming months.

In his interview with La Tercera, published Dec. 29, Bishop Ramos acknowledged that the abuse crisis has contributed to an ongoing decrease in the size of the Chilean Church.

He pointed to a survey finding that Catholics made up 73 percent of the population 20 years ago, but now make up 55 percent. This trend is partly due to “a process of profound transformation of Chilean society where cultural forms of expression of greater individualism and materialism are emerging,” he said.

The bishop added that “the cases of abuse and mishandling that we have had as a Church have accelerated this process of disaffiliation. We must acknowledge our responsibility that we have not responded well to this kind of situation and that has affected Church affiliation.”

Regarding the response to the sex abuse crisis in the country, Ramos argued that the Church in Chile is not “the same Church that it was a year ago.”

“[S]everal bishops have been changed, [and] a very profound process of reflection by our communities has begun, with the aim of our having in 2020 an Ecclesiastical Assembly where a series of pastoral guidelines for the life of the Church can take their final form,” he said.


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Grateful for Family Life, at Home and in the Church

One of the feasts of this Christmas season I very much enjoy is the Sunday after Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family, which we celebrated last Sunday.

This 'pilgrim grandmother' walked 570 miles to pray for families

Mexico City, Mexico, Dec 29, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Emma Morosini has been called the “pilgrim grandmother.”  Earlier this year, at the age of 94, she earned that nickname by concluding a 570-mile walking pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Her 40-day pilgrimage took Morosini from Monterrey, in northeastern Mexico, to Mexico City, where she prayed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, before the tilma of Saint Juan Diego.


Emma Moronsini. 91 años. Camina hace 1 mes. Salió de Tucumán. Quiere llegar a la Basílica (Luján). Ya está en Córdoba pic.twitter.com/zwXJFnIRFw

— Sebastián Volterri (@SebaVolte) February 13, 2015


Morosini, a native of Italy who for more than 25 years has made pilgrimages to shrines around the world, arrived the afternoon of May 12 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, to pray for families, young people, and “world peace.”

The “pilgrim grandmother” has visited shrines in Portugal, Spain, Poland, Israel, Brazil and Argentina.

During this pilgrimage, Morosini began walking each day at 6:30 am, carrying a small suitcase and an umbrella, and wearing a reflective vest as a safety precaution.

For food, Morosini carried milk, juice, bread, and water, receiving along the way some donations of fruits and vegetables.

At various points on her way she was accompanied by medical and civil defense personnel or by Mexico’s Federal Police. She was often housed by municipal authorities along her route.

During a 2015 pilgrimage in Argentina, when she was 91, Morosini told reporters that she was praying for “peace in the world, for young people, for all these families that are divided. Many are separated, some live together but aren't spouses, or they don't have children. It's very sad.”

The “pilgrim grandmother” was applauded by fellow pilgrims when she arrived at the the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Before entering the church, she woman knelt down, kissed the ground, made the sign of the cross and prayed silently for a few moments.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

This article was originally published May 14, 2018.

Nicaraguan bishop criticizes arrest of journalists

Managua, Nicaragua, Dec 24, 2018 / 02:41 pm (ACI Prensa).- The Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Silvio José Báez, has criticized the shut down of the 100% Noticias television channel and the arrest of its owner, Miguel Mora, and press chief Lucía Pineda Ubau.

Police raided the headquarters of 100% Noticias Dec. 21 and arrested Mora, his wife Verónica Chávez, and Pineda. Hours later Chávez was released. The media outlet was shut down.

The Prosecutor’s Office accuses the journalists of “provoking, proposing and conspiring to commit terrorist acts” and inciting hatred “on the basis of political discrimination against members of the Sandinista National Liberation Front party” led by President Daniel Ortega.

The capture of television host Jaime Arellano and journalists Jackson Orozco and Luis Galeano was ordered Dec. 23.

In a Dec. 23 statement, Bishop Báez called what happened to channel 100% Noticias “reprehensible” and “unacceptable.”

“I know Miguel, we’re friends and brothers in the faith. I have talked with Miguel Mora many times and have also prayed with him many times, and I know that he is a man of peace, that he is a man who respects human rights and who deeply loves his people. He is a good person, I could say the same of Lucía Pineda. I consider her a close friend,” he said.

“What they have gone through pains me, and I hope this situation can be rectified and that we don’t have detained journalists. What’s happened has been very painful and puts the country in a very bad light with the international community,” he added.

The prelate said that “it is deplorable that in a society freedom of speech, freedom of the press, are trampled on. A society needs the truth to be communicated, accurate information, raising awareness through editorials. All of this contributes to a free and democratic society. Every trampling of the press is profoundly injurious to society,” he warned.

The bishop reiterated that dialogue is the only way out of the crisis the country is facing.

“The only way out that I see, even when it’s seems further off, is what the bishops have always proposed: some channels of communication have to be opened. By closing things off in a narrative that only seeks to criminalize and that doesn’t build bridges, we’re not going to succeed” in coming out of the crisis,” he said.
Bishop Báez asked Ortega and the members of his government to “to open their hearts to the truth and to open their hearts to goodness. Criminalization and repression cannot be the foundation of the governability of a country.”

The prelate, who again called for the release of political prisoners, asked “all Nicaraguans, especially those who hold power and have in their hands the big decisions” that Christmas “would lead them to set aside all high and mighty and deceitful talk.”

“May the feast day of Christmas, in which we celebrate a mystery that only faith can in some way welcome, that God wanted to become a human being, is the time to respect the dignity of all human beings. Enough of raids, enough of trampling on human rights and the public’s freedoms. This is the best way to celebrate the birth of God made Man,” he said.

The detention of the journalists was also condemned by international organizations such as the Inter-American Press Association, whose president María Elvira Domínguez said that “the Ortega regime shows by this action its intention to shut down all forms of expression in the country.”

“We have no doubt that Ortega and his servile entourage have declared war on independent media. We hold the regime responsible for the physical safety of Mora and all the Nicaraguan journalists that have been attacked, harassed and smeared by a regime that does not have the least respect for human rights,” she said.


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Inmates building 250 confessionals for 2019 World Youth Day

Panama City, Panama, Dec 22, 2018 / 03:30 am (ACI Prensa).- Inmates from La Joya and Nueva Joya prisons have begun the construction of 250 confessionals to be used in the Sacrament of Reconciliation at World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019.

The confessionals will be set up in Omar Recreation Park in Panama City, which will be called “Forgiveness Park” during the youth event. In total, 35 inmates are working from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, sanding, painting, and assembling the crosses and wooden confessionals.

Interior designer Lilibeth Bennet created different two models for the confessionals, both inspired by the WYD logo and using the same colors.

In an interview conducted by WYD organizers, the prisoners said that the project is not just “simple cabinetry work,” but allows them to contribute to a project aimed at young people who will be able to “take a different path” than they did.

“Even though we won't be able to be there (at World Youth Day) we still feel that we're doing something important, and I thank God for the opportunity he has given us as prisoners to contribute to a mission as important as World Youth Day,” explained Luis Dominguez, who is in charge of painting and supervising the sanding of the confessionals.

Jesús Ramos, another one of the inmates constructing the confessionals, said that even though he is an Evangelical, he is sure of the valuable contribution that World Youth Day is making to young people.

“I am grateful that they took me into account because I've learned how to use the tools here, to work based on respect and together toward the same goal…I feel included and happy to work for God,” he said.

The project coordinator for the prison system, Alma De León, explained that the work is being done with the support of an instructor from the National Institute for Professional Formation and Training for Human Development of Panama, and it is a way to demonstrate the capabilities of people in prison. 

Sharon Diaz, deputy director general secretary of the prison system, said that the inmates form “a single team, and they know the importance of working on a project as unique as this one, regardless of the faith they profess.”


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa, Nov. 14, 2018. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


Night of terror: Inside the Catholic church attacked by Nicaragua's paramilitary

Managua, Nicaragua, Dec 21, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- A fire in the church. Bullet holes in the tabernacle. Students fleeing for their lives.

Father Raul Zamora, who serves as parish priest at Divine Mercy parish in Nicaragua, told CNA about his decision to take in 150 university students after paramilitary opened fire on their protest this summer - and how prayer sustained them through the more than 15 hours of gunfire that followed.

On July 13, students at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in Managua were protesting President Daniel Ortega’s pension reforms and increasingly authoritarian rule - part of larger, national protests that had been ongoing since April.

When the Nicaraguan government forces’ repression of the student protests turned violent that day, some students were on their cell phones calling their parents to say goodbye because they were sure that they were going to die. Others called Fr. Zamora.

“That university is actually under my pastoral care,” said Zamora. “It is right next to our parish. I am in charge of attending to those students spiritually. I knew the students personally.”

“I told them, ‘Come to the parish. Come to the parish. Don't stay there,’” said the priest.

Students began to arrive at Divine Mercy Church in groups, and Zamora and other church staff drove over to the university to search for the wounded. They drove back and forth six or seven times. Police and paramilitary were continuing to attack the campus.

“Every time the students tried to go into the parish cars, they would start shooting,” said Zamora.

He thought that the students would be safe once they were in the church, but then the paramilitary gunfire was directed at the parish itself.

Joshua Partlow, a Washington Post reporter who had been covering the protests, ended up taking refuge along with the students in Divine Mercy Church.

The students “carried the wounded into the Rev. Raul Zamora's rectory and put them on chairs or on the blood-spattered tile floor,” wrote Partlow.

“Not long after 6 p.m., with several high-pitched cracks, the mood took a dark turn. The faraway shooting was suddenly nearby. The paramilitaries had appeared, cutting off the only exit from Divine Mercy and firing at the remaining barricade just outside the church. It became clear that everyone inside . . . would not be going anywhere,” he explained.

They remained in the church overnight, sustaining more than 15 hours of gunfire, until Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes Solorzano and Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, the apostolic nuncio, were able to negotiate the student’s release on Saturday morning. Fr. Zamora had been on the phone with them throughout the night explaining the situation.

Throughout the night, Zamora led students in prayer in the divine mercy chaplet and the rosary.

At one moment, when the shooting was particularly intense and everyone was lying on the ground, Partlow remembers some of the prayers Zamora said quietly with the students.

“Lord, we ask you to protect us in this moment,” he said.

“We believe in you, Lord, those of us who have no strength against this great army,” he murmured. “Help us, Lord.”

“The whole night we had a lot of time to pray. The bullets were non-stop,” Zamora told CNA.

He noted that many of the protesting students who took refuge in the church were not practicing Catholics.

“There were students with me in that moment from different religions, different denominations, atheists. In some way, it was very moving to me to see some of those students, who didn't believe in anything, come over and hug me, crying and say, ‘If I were to believe in a God, I would believe in your God.’ That was, for me, very powerful,” said the priest.

“This is a moment when the Church gives witness and really shines forth the face of Christ in us,” he continued.

At one point late in the night, a part of the church caught fire, and a student called Father Zamora over from the rectory as it was put out. That is when he saw the bullet holes in the church’s divine mercy image and in the tabernacle. The student did not know what a tabernacle was, so the priest had to explain. He noted that the Blessed Sacrament was unharmed in the attack.

Two students were killed and at least 10 were injured by the paramilitary forces on July 13.

Zamora reflected on what he considers the lessons of the “persecuted church” in Nicaragua both now and in past decades:

“If the cross is not in our life, if we are not willing to suffer for love, then our religion just stays as something that is exterior. Just trying to do what is ritually appropriate. Our faith starts when we have that deep conviction in Jesus and his message. This is what we learned.”

This article was originally published on CNA July 24, 2018.