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Over 1,000 migrants arrive on Italian island

Thousands of migrants have reached Italy following a dangerous sea crossing since the start of the year.

New Vatican working group aims to excommunicate mafia members

A new working group established by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has as its aim the excommunication of members of organized-crime groups.

The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Announces Grants Recipients for Projects that Support Catholic Biblical Literacy and Interpretation

WASHINGTON - This spring, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) awarded grants in the amount of $128,215 for eight projects that support the goals of the CCD to promote Catholic biblical literacy and Catholic biblical interpretation.

The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) to offer these grants, accepting applications only from the CBA, including the organization itself, its designees, and its full and associate members. In fidelity to Dei Verbum, the CBA's purpose is to promote scholarly study in Scripture and related fields by meetings of the association, publications, and support to those engaged in such studies.

Funding for these grants comes from the royalties received from the publication of the New American Bible and its derivative works which the CCD develops, publishes, promotes, and distributes.

The eight projects sponsored by the CCD are as follows:

  • $15,583 to Dr. Richard Ascough (Queen’s University School of Religion, Kingston, Ontario, Canada) for “Associations and Christ Groups under Roman Colonization: Assimilation and Resistance in the Western Provinces”
  • $14,000 to Dr. Marco Benini (The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.) for “Liturgical Hermeneutics of Sacred Scripture”
  • $20,000 to Dr. Giorgio Buccellati (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles) for “Cornerstone and Necromancy: Biblical Implications from the Excavations of a Third Millennium Hurrian City, Urkesh”
  • $25,000 to Dr. Michael Cover (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI) for “Texts of Turning: Representing Conversion in Early Judaism and the New Testament”
  • $22,000 to Dr. Andrew Davis (Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Chestnut Hill, MA) for “Calling Out from the Depths: A Curriculum for Catholic-Jewish Encounter with the Psalms”
  • $9,636 to Dr. Charles Hughes-Huff (Saint Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, Rochester, NY) “Punishment and Holiness in the Priestly Literature”
  • $16,000 to Dr. Chris Keith (Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, United Kingdom) for “Jesus and John: The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for the Historical Jesus”
  • $5,996 to Dr. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman (College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA) for “Languaging Landscape: Entanglements of Identities and Borders in the Iron Age Shephelah”

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Catholic Communication Campaign: Keeping Up with Growing Needs for Church Communications

WASHINGTON - On the weekend of May 15-16, Catholics throughout the United States will be invited to help spread the good news of hope and mercy by giving to the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).

“Ever since Jesus told his disciples to take his message to all nations, the Church has done so using the best communications methods of the day,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of Atlanta and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign.

“Early Christians pioneered new communications technology when they switched from scrolls to booklets. The founder of my own tradition, Saint Francis of Assisi, used the popular media of the middle ages when he spread the Gospel by entertaining in village squares. Today, our Catholic Communication Campaign enables the Church to continue promoting Jesus’ message of faith, hope, and healing through mass media.”

The CCC collection has both local and national impact: half of the gift stays in the donor’s diocese, supporting local projects to inspire, enlighten, and draw people closer to Jesus. The other half supports Catholic communication activities that are national in scope or that aid Catholic outreach in developing nations.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic presented the “perfect storm” with increasing demand for support from the Catholic Communication Campaign while at the same time most parishioners were unable to attend Mass due to COVID-related restrictions the weekend of the collection. That situation resulted in a significant decline in giving to the CCC, which is trending down by more than half.

“We have seen the importance of staying spiritually connected in a time of physical distancing,” said Archbishop Hartmayer. “From local parishes streaming their Masses online for parishioners, to dioceses hosting special opportunities of prayer with their bishops in the midst of fear and uncertainty, the Catholic Communication Campaign provided crucial assistance throughout the COVID pandemic to keep our faith family connected. The CCC relies on the generosity of Catholics across the country to help us continue to spread the Good News, especially during these challenging times.”  

When limitations and restrictions on group gatherings prompted churches to close their doors, funds from the CCC collection enabled Catholic ministry to continue in places with little communication infrastructure. The USCCB used CCC funds to help dioceses and parishes livestream the Mass. The USCCB also launched its own redesigned, mobile-friendly website, where Catholics can find daily readings and reflections on Scripture.

COVID is not the only crisis to which this collection responds. Campaign funds have also enabled bishops to lead virtual roundtables on racism, gun control, and care for creation in order to engage the faithful on pertinent moral and social issues. The reach of the collection is far and wide – it is also helping the Archdiocese of Blantyre in Malawi launch a radio station to reach rural Catholics. A grant to Renew International, which produces small group study materials, will underwrite videos in which Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, explains Church teaching against the death penalty and proposes a better vision of criminal justice. Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, Inc., a Vatican-chartered organization that Pope John Paul II founded to promote Catholic social teaching, will use a CCC grant to improve its social media outreach and to produce animated videos on Catholic social principles.

Several recent grants highlight people whose ministry placed them on the path to sainthood. The forthcoming documentary “Mother Saints” will examine the lives of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), whose service to and advocacy for people on the peripheries still inspires the Church’s social ministry. Another documentary will tell the story of Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990), the granddaughter of a slave who became a joyous advocate for Jesus and for racial justice. In addition, a forthcoming film led by the Diocese of Savannah will share the moving story of the Five Georgia Martyrs who gave their lives in witness to the Christian faith as Franciscan missionaries in what is now Georgia.

“Gifts to this collection will bring the message of Jesus to your community and to communities on the other side of the world,” Archbishop Hartmayer said. “Please give generously, knowing that you are continuing the work of the apostles.”

Resources to promote the collection are on the USCCB’s website. You can learn more about the Catholic Communication Campaign at www.usccb.org/ccc.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Reading I Acts 16:11-15

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
“If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us.

Responsorial Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R.    (see 4a)  The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
    of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
    let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R.    The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
    let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
    and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R.    The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
    let them sing for joy upon their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
    This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R.    The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 15:26b, 27a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:26—16:4a

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you.”

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Canadian Bishops launch new system for reporting sexual abuse

The Bishops of Canada launch a new national, bilingual service for reporting situations of sexual abuse, either committed or covered-up by a Bishop, furthering their commitment to protect minors and vulnerable persons.

Germany: Several churches offer “blessing service for lovers”, including homosexual unions

Over 100 Catholic churches in Germany are holding public religious ceremonies with a "blessing for lovers", especially on Monday. The celebrations are also expressly open to same-sex couples.

Formation of priests: A combination of strength and mercy

Vatican News continues with its inside look at the history, objectives and “mission budgets” of the various Vatican dicasteries assisting the Pope in his pastoral ministry. Here featured is the Congregation for Clergy with an interview with the Prefect, Cardinal Beniamino Stella.

Pope Francis meets with President of Latvia

Pope Francis receives the President of Latvia, Mr. Egils Levits, in audience on Monday morning in the Vatican.

Philippine church bells kick off voter registration campaign

Filipinos are scheduled to go to the polls to choose a new president and vice-president on May 9, 2022.