• Bishop reflects on the pope's encyclical

    It is rare that a much-anticipated document lives up to its expectation, but having studied the encyclical of his holiness Pope Francis, Laudato Sí, I conclude that the document exceeds my expectations and actually gives the human community truths to ponder well into the future.

    Read More
  • Pope's encyclical detailed

    The earth, which was created to support life and give praise to God, is crying out with pain because human activity is destroying it, Pope Francis says in his long-awaited encyclical. La Tierra, que fue creada para apoyar la vida y alabar a Dios, está gritando de dolor porque la actividad humana está destruyéndo, dice el papa Francisco dice en su largamente esperada encíclica.

    Read More
  • Annual Appeal for 2015 continues

    Just over $900,000 has been donated or pledged toward the goal of $1.125 million for the Catholic Community Annual Appeal.

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Area parishioners to take in events

Salina — Seeing Pope John Paul II more than 20 years ago is so etched in his mind that when Deacon Steve Heiman had the opportunity to see Pope Francis next month in Philadelphia, he quickly said yes.

“We were in Denver when Pope John Paul II was there. That was quite an experience, so to have the opportunity to see another pope is really great,” he said.

He and his wife, Diane, had accompanied the youth group from St. Edward Parish in Belleville to see Pope John Paul II during World Youth Day in 1993 in Denver.

So the Heimans and another Belleville couple signed up to go with a Diocese of Wichita contingent traveling to Philadelphia.

The trip was organized primarily to attend the World Meeting of Families, which the Vatican sponsors every three years. When Pope Francis later announced that he would be there, it made the event even more exciting, Deacon Heiman said.

“We’re interested in both events, but the pope is a bigger thing,” he admitted.

Reg and Jan Konrade, the directors of the Salina Diocese’s Office of Family Life, signed up for the Wichita trip right away, too, primarily to represent the diocese at the World Meeting of Families and to glean what information they could to help them do their jobs here.

The Heimans and the Konrades will be among eight people joining the Wichita group. Neighboring dioceses also offered trips.

Bishop Edward Weisenburger will be attending the World Meeting of Families with his fellow U.S. bishops as well as papal events in Philadelphia and Washington.

The Konrades are already poring over the World Meeting of Families schedule to see how many of the internationally known speakers they can hear during the overlapping presentations.

“We won’t get to see everybody,” Reg Konrade said

“Our perspective is we hope we’ll get ideas on how to support families and marriage better in our Church,” added Jan Konrade.

The fact that they might get to see Pope Francis certainly is a plus. But with 1.5 million people or more expected to gather in Philadelphia for an outdoor Mass celebrated by the pope, they don’t anticipate a close encounter.

“We don’t have too high of an expectation to be close to the pope,” Reg Konrade said.

“Maybe we’ll see just a dot,” Jan Konrade added.

For Deacon Heiman, that will be OK, too.

He recalls being quite close to Pope John Paul II. He was on crutches at the time, so he didn’t go with the youth group that attended a gathering at Mile High Stadium. Instead, he staked out a prime place for the outdoor Mass at Cherry Creek State Park.

“We had one of the spots closest to him,” he said.

Parishioners at Belleville had made wooden crucifixes for each of the pilgrims.

“We held them up to have Pope John Paul bless them. It’s still hanging on my mirror in my car,” he said.

Deacon Heiman added he intends to take it with him to Philadelphia.

Featured Events

Catholic News Headlines

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Catholic San FranciscoBy Valerie SchmalzSANTA CLARA, Calif. (CNS) -- Dr. Kelly Kao is no longer making a top salary as a Silicon Valley optometrist and researcher for Google Glass. Instead, Kao and her friends, motivated by their Catholic faith, are using their skills to help poor people see in the Far East and even California's San Joaquin Valley. In the past three years, the Catholic nonprofit See the Lord has brought eyeglasses, and vision health care to thousands of poor people in rural areas of Taiwan, the Philippines and Sanger, California. "I walked away knowing that God had a different path for me, knowing I was called to do missionary work at that point in my life," said Kao, now 30. Kao decided the day her mother died in February 2011 after a nine-year bout with cancer that she had to "love big" with her life. "There were a lot of people trying to talk me out of it," she said. When she quit all her jobs at age 28 in 2012, Kao was in full-time private practice, teaching at the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry, and doing research for Google. See the Lord is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, young professionals who became friends through their faith and involvement in the San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission in Santa Clara. Kao, the only one who works full time for the organization, receives a small stipend as chief executive officer. "Every single person who needs prescription glasses we provide them with brand new lenses and frames. Prescription glasses, sun glasses, reading glasses -- free of charge," said Kao. Mission trip volunteers help pay for the eyeglasses distributed during each trip, said Henry Shu, the organization's chief financial officer. Local Taiwanese lens makers provide discounted rates for glasses and lenses, Kao said. "I think it is the work of the Holy Spirit. What can bring young people to do this kind of thing if it is not the Holy Spirit?" said Father Carlos Olivera, pastor of San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission. Since 2012 when incorporation of the nonprofit was completed, See the Lord has organized 12 mission trips with three more on the calendar for 2015. All but three of the trips have been to Taiwan where people in the rural mountain areas have little access to vision care. This year a U.S. trip is planned to New Orleans. The Bay Area Chinese Catholic community supports See the Lord, said Kao, who grew up in San Mateo and attended St. Luke Parish in Foster City. The Mid-Peninsula Chinese Catholic Community at St. Matthew in San Mateo, where Kao's father sings in the choir, is very supportive, as are St. Clare Parish in Santa Clara, and St. Joseph Church in Fremont, she said. Most of those served in Taiwan are poor children, elderly and disabled people who find it difficult or impossible to travel the three or four hours to a town to get their eyes examined and frequently could not afford glasses if they were prescribed, Kao said. While Taiwan has national health care, it does not include vision care and optometrists are reluctant to travel to remote areas, she said. "I was surprised by how nearsighted the children were;yet they did not even own a pair of glasses. I wondered how these children could function in daily life when they could barely see the largest shapes on the eye chart," volunteer Elaine Oetomo, a mission volunteer in March 2013, said in a testimonial on the See the Lord website. "People work out in the sun all day and have major sun damage or a tree branch has hit their eye and they have lost their vision," said Jean Young, See the Lord spokeswoman. See the Lord mission trips attract young adults, mostly Chinese Americans with some family connection to Asia, Young said. Many are not Catholic. "We have students who are interested in optometry who go on these trips. We have people who just have a heart for the mission," she explained. A mission trip team is usually 10 people. Each person must raise the $2,500 to $3,000 to cover costs for a 10-day trip. "They are not always Catholic, that's fine with us. We do Mass and we do prayers together. We don't make it a criteria that you have to be Catholic," Young said. "They can use their talents. It lets young students and young professionals actually serve," Kao said. About 1 percent of Taiwan is Catholic, Young said. Kao's deeply religious and loving Catholic mother is a big part of the story, because it was some comments her mother made a few months before her death cancer that started Kao thinking. "Her mother was like a saint, never complaining even though she was suffering," Young said. "She said to Kelly -- in Chinese, of course -- my one regret in life is I don't feel like I loved big. I wished I loved on a grander scale." The night her mother died, Kao said she had a vision of her mother asking her to use her talents on that grander scale. The next day Kao procured the website rights for See the Lord, although she said it took more than a year to get the nonprofit up and running. "They are great people with a dedication to the mission of the church, of Jesus," Father Olivera said. "They are good, good Catholics." - - - Schmalz is assistant editor of Catholic San Francisco, newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  - - -Copyright © 2015 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Barbara FraserBy Barbara FraserQUITO, Ecuador (CNS) -- Carlos Leon and Carmen Barrera thought the worst was over when they escaped the death threats in Colombia. Caught between a gang of extortionists and the owner of the property where he was working as a construction foreman, they left on a plane with their twin daughters, each carrying little more than a change of clothes. The couple's three older children, all in their 20s, would follow. Then came the phone call. The older children were being held hostage in their home by the landlady, a police officer and several other people who were demanding hundreds of dollars to allow them to leave, even though the rent was paid. Frantic phone calls brought help, and the family was reunited in Quito, said Leon, tears welling up in his eyes as he recalled his children's terror. But even here, in Ecuador's apparently peaceful capital city, they do not feel safe. "It's like an octopus," Barrera said of the organized crime group that forced her family to flee. "They know who you are and where you are. They have an entire organization. They must have people here. We're vulnerable. We're defenseless." They are not alone. About 1,000 people a month cross the border from Colombia into Ecuador, seeking refuge from armed violence, according to Wilfrido Acuna of Quito's Scalabrinian Mission, which ministers to refugees. Catholic Relief Services, the humanitarian aid agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, also supports refugee ministry in Ecuador. Official figures put the number of Colombians in Ecuador at about 170,000, but church workers along the countries' heavily forested river border say it may be closer to half a million. Negotiators for the Colombian government and the country's largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been holding peace talks in Cuba for the past three years. FARC negotiators recently asked to meet with Pope Francis in September when he visits the island. But a brokered peace is unlikely to staunch the flow of refugees, because many are fleeing extortion, death threats or attacks by criminal bands that grew out of paramilitary groups and are unrelated to the FARC. "The government's concept of peace isn't the same as the people's concept of peace," Acuna said. Unlike Leon and Barrera, most Colombians who flee to Ecuador make the journey overland. Last year, Ecuador beefed up its military presence along the border, where there are 75 known points where contraband -- including smuggled people -- crosses into Ecuador, Acuna said. Sandra Angulo arrived from Colombia's northwestern Choco region in February, unsure of where to go, knowing only that she could not turn back. Members of a criminal group that had tried unsuccessfully to recruit her teenage son finally abducted him. When a neighbor gave her the news, she ran to the house where he was being held. "He was tied up and they had beaten him," she said. His captors assaulted her, too, but she managed to escape with her son. First she moved her family to a different neighborhood, but when some of the same criminals showed up there, they fled south into Ecuador, where a sympathetic taxi driver took them to a shelter. "If it hadn't been for him, we would have slept in the street," Angulo said. At home, her husband had worked in construction and she ran a shop. Now her husband gets odd jobs, for which he is paid off the books. Refugees like him are making local economies thrive, but are invisible in Ecuador's workforce, Acuna said. They are also targets of discrimination. Leon says he was turned down for work when potential employers heard his Colombian accent. Angulo has run into similar problems when trying to rent an apartment. A number of refugees have settled in Atucucho, a neighborhood on a hill overlooking Quito where Ricardo Lemos shreds cooked chicken into a plastic container while his wife, Raquel Alvarez, chops onions and cilantro. Their empanadas -- a pastry-wrapped meat pie -- are always in demand, she said. She makes 40 a day and sells three for a dollar. Rent alone eats up a third of that income, so two of her children also work. Alvarez said she tried to enroll the children in school, but was told the classes were full. Neighbors later told her that was not true. Lemos and others were working on the farm his mother had divided up among her children, in Colombia's Antioquia state, when 15 FARC guerrillas showed up. They roughed up the men, raped several women and demanded protection money known as a "vacuna" or vaccination. Thirty-three members of Lemos' family left that night, including the couple and their five children, who carried just the belongings that fit in a single suitcase. Almost 20 more relatives have joined them in Quito since then. Now they, like tens of thousands of others, are in a legal and emotional limbo as they wait for their asylum applications to be processed. The uncertainty takes its toll. Domestic violence is high among refugees, according to a new study. And although they can use the Ecuadorean health system, mental health care is scarce. Newcomers find their way daily to the Scalabrinian Mission office. "People think the Colombians who arrive here are poor," says Scalabrinian Sister Leda dos Reis, coordinator of the Quito office. "But they are middle-class people. Many are professionals. They come because they were victims of extortion or because armed groups wanted to recruit their kids." Many are skeptical of prospects for peace in their country. "It's a lie," twins Laura and Luisa Leon Barrera said, in unison, of the negotiations in Havana. And some see no prospects for returning home. "There are people who haven't gotten out alive," Angulo says. "If I've been given the chance to get out of there, I won't go back. Why go back? They'd kill us."  - - -Copyright © 2015 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Danny Polanco, handout via EPABy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican official has ordered an autopsy on the body of former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who was found dead Aug. 28 in the Vatican residence where he was awaiting trial on charges of child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography. Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, Vatican spokesman, said Wesolowski's body was found at 5 a.m. by a priest who also lives in the building, which houses the Franciscans who hear confessions in St. Peter's Basilica and offices of the Vatican police force. Wesolowski was in front of a television, which was on, the spokesman said. Officials from the Vatican police, medical service and court arrived quickly, he said, for an "initial verification, which indicated the death was from natural causes." "The promoter of justice ordered an autopsy, which will be carried out today," the spokesman said. "The results will be communicated as soon as possible." In the statement, issued less than four hours after Wesolowski's body was found, Father Benedettini said Pope Francis had been informed. The spokesman told reporters that Wesolowski had been in ill health and was under medical supervision at the time of his death. Wesolowski was to be the first person to be tried by a Vatican criminal court on sex abuse charges. The first session of the trial had been scheduled for July 11, but was postponed when he was taken to the hospital the day before after suffering "a collapse," Father Benedettini said. He remained in the hospital until July 17. The Vatican court had not announced a date for the continuation of the trial of the former Polish archbishop and nuncio -- Vatican ambassador -- to the Dominican Republic. In its official statement about his death, the Vatican referred to him as "His Excellency Monsignor Josef Wesolowski," even though he was dismissed from the clerical state in June 2014 after an investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His appeal of the dismissal was denied, Father Benedettini said, "but was not officially communicated so as not to aggravate the situation" while he was awaiting the separate criminal trial. He was still listed as an archbishop in the 2015 edition of the "Annuario Pontificio," the Vatican yearbook. Before his criminal trial was postponed July 11, the Vatican prosecution read out the five charges against Wesolowski, which included having "corrupted, by means of lewd acts, adolescents presumably between the ages of 13 and 16," in the Dominican Republic, where Wesolowski had served as a Vatican nuncio from 2008 to 2013, when he was accused of abusing adolescent boys. According to Vatican prosecutors, Wesolowski's crimes continued once he was brought back to the Vatican. While being investigated, the court said, he procured and possessed on Vatican City State property "and elsewhere," a "large amount" of "material from Internet sites" depicting minors under the age of 18 in sexually explicit acts or poses. He also was charged with causing "serious injury to adolescent victims of sexual abuse, consisting of mental distress" and of "conduct that offends religious principles or Christian morality" by repeatedly logging on to pornographic sites while in the Dominican Republic, Rome, Vatican City State and elsewhere.- - -Copyright © 2015 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Peter Foley, EPABy Mark PattisonWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Even after a half-century of election law that was intended to settle the question of who is eligible to vote in the United States, contentious issues remain on who gets that right. The battles, just like those before the bill was signed into law Aug. 6, 1965, are held long before someone gets to the voting booth. Before the law, especially in the Jim Crow South, African-Americans were routinely denied the right to vote. Some city or county clerk offices established a "poll tax," set so high that low-income blacks could not afford to pay it. Sometimes blacks were made to take tests to determine their eligibility to vote -- tests that were designed to fail them. Sometimes clerks just outright refused to register black voters, and there was no higher legal authority to tell them otherwise. And, before the Civil War, African-American suffrage in the South was virtually nil. Blacks weren't regarded as citizens, but property. Yet the "three-fifths compromise" allowed slaveholding states to count every five blacks as three persons for purposes of voting strength. Alarmed at declining turnout for presidential elections and even worse turnout for off-year elections, Congress passed a law in 1993 requiring states to offer voter registration with the issuance of driver's licenses -- the "motor-voter" law. Some states even adopted same-day registration laws. Later, some Republicans objected to motor-voter laws because younger drivers, who took the most advantage of the easier voter registration process, tended to vote more Democratic on Election Day. After the highly contested 2000 presidential election, which George W. Bush won despite getting fewer votes nationally than Al Gore -- not to mention the drawn-out process in Florida featuring hanging chads and "butterfly ballots" -- the nation's focus was turned toward the issue of whether every voter's vote had been counted. Somewhere along the way, the conversation changed from making sure everyone who voted had their votes counted to battles over expanding -- or contracting -- the franchise. Disputes have arisen over the eligibility of former prison inmates to vote. In some cases, voters have been purged from the rolls in the belief that they and the ex-con are one and the same when they were not. Ridding from voter lists the names of people who have not voted in recent years has been an issue. The expansion and curtailment of early voting -- depending on which party is in power at the state capital -- has also proved nettlesome. Extending the franchise to those younger than 18 -- 16-year-olds in some jurisdictions -- and to noncitizen residents in the District of Columbia, which has no vote in Congress, has also raised eyebrows. The most visceral of the disputes has come in the form of voter ID laws. Proponents contend the laws cut down on voter fraud; opponents contend the laws discourage voting. In races that seem to be won ever more now by razor-thin margins, every vote -- and every vote not cast -- counts. The Supreme Court decision of 2013 overturning key sections of the Voting Rights Act that required states with history of voter suppression to subject any changes in voting law to federal approval only served to add more fuel to the fire. Gerrymandering that concentrates the minority party in states into ill-drawn districts while leaving the majority party with breathing room to withstand a contested election is increasingly being looked askance upon by the Justice Department. And a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in New Orleans struck down Texas' voter ID law, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act and discriminated against the state's blacks and Hispanics, saying it was tantamount to a poll tax. "The importance of the ruling has not been lost on advocates battling on the frontlines to expand our nation's access to the ballot and thwart legislative attempts at voter suppression," said Marc H. Morial, the Catholic former mayor of New Orleans and Louisiana state senator who now heads the National Urban League. "It's all about politics," declared Charles Steele Jr., president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, at an Aug. 6 Voting Rights Act anniversary rally on the National Mall. "Where people figure if they can suppress 10 to 15 percent of the black vote, they can steal an election." Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act in June. If passed, the law would, among other things, give federal courts jurisdiction to enforce constitutional voting guarantees, and forbid discrimination in voter access due to race, color or membership in a language minority group. The bill was referred in July to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. Changing the law is not enough, according to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who made two bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s. For him, the Constitution should be amended to guarantee the right to vote. "The Constitution does not explicitly guarantee an individual right to vote to all Americans," Rev. Jackson wrote in a column syndicated to black newspapers. "The 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments only outlaw discrimination in voting on the basis of race, sex and age," while leaving the rest to the states. In the past 50 years, "we've gone from protecting the right to vote to suppressing it," he said. "It took a grassroots voting rights movement to gain a Voting Rights Act. It will again take a grassroots voting rights movement to add a right to vote amendment to the U.S. Constitution on the road to a more complete democracy." The Urban League's Morial called widespread voter ID fraud a myth and "nothing more than a political fraud orchestrated by officials eager to shift political fortunes to their party." Morial added, "If our elected officials truly do believe that all votes matter, Congress must commit to stemming the tide of suppression." President Barack Obama, during a White House commemoration of the Voting Rights Act, suggested that turn-aways at the precinct are less important than turnout. "Far more people," he said, "disenfranchise themselves than any law does, by not participating, by not getting involved."  - - -Copyright © 2015 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Robert DuncanBy Robert DuncanVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" bellowed across an immaculately groomed sports field not far from St. Peter's Basilica, a new class of U.S. seminarians faced off against their peers in a fraternal game of softball. The onlooking fans, who included Vatican officials and seminary staff, said they perceive God's providence in the starting lineup of 72 men who are beginning their studies at the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome. Seeing so many new seminarians "gives us the security that good things are happening in the church," said Mexican Archbishop Jorge Patron Wong, secretary for seminaries at the Vatican Congregation for Clergy. "When I see the new class of North American seminarians," he said, "I see the presence of God, the presence of the love of God." The men are signs that "God loves so much the church, humanity and especially the United States" that he is leading many young people to "experience the call of Christ to give their lives to others." Archbishop Patron spoke to Catholic News Service in late August on the sidelines of the softball game as innings changed over and the music of Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen reverberated over the loudspeaker. "Thank God we are growing in the numbers," the archbishop said, "but we are also growing in the quality" of vocations. Having grown up in a secular country, the young men's willingness to follow a vocation to priesthood shows they "really want to give a profound sense to their life," Archbishop Patron said. The "new men," after having spent six weeks intensively learning Italian outside the capital, are given time in August to get to know their brother seminarians. "There are different age groups, different professions," said Msgr. James F. Checchio, the seminary rector. There are "two medical doctors in the group, there are (a) couple lawyers who practiced before they came, and then just all kinds of good young men giving their lives to the Lord." Most who are sent to the seminary make it to ordination, he said. Out of the total enrollment, which this year is 252 men, only eight or nine leave each year, he added. Half of those who leave go back to seminaries in the United States and the others "discern out" of a vocation to the priesthood. "Many men when they come here are pretty certain, and I think that's why the bishops trust them, send them overseas," Msgr. Checchio said. "So it's a blessing for us. It gives us great soil to work with." Msgr. Checchio, who has been on the staff of the seminary since 2003 and rector since 2005, has guided men to the priesthood under St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis, who is making his own mark on this generation of seminarians. "The men are very conscientious of his emphasis on the poor, and reaching out to the poor," Msgr. Checchio said. Avery Daniel, a 22-year-old from the Archdiocese of Atlanta, initially discerned his vocation during the pontificate of Pope Benedict. The election of Pope Francis has greatly affected his understanding of the priesthood, he said. "The Holy Father stresses all the time that a priest has to be a shepherd who smells like the sheep, a shepherd who is with his people, who knows his people, who loves his people, and serves them all the time, who is always willing to be bothered, to be a true father, a spiritual father, and certainly that's something that I've taken to heart and something that I want to be," Daniel said. For 21-year-old Andrew Auer of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Pope Francis influenced his thoughts also about life in the seminary. "One line that I always have to hearken back to and has been very challenging to me and I think a lot of other seminarians," Auer explained, is when Pope Francis said, "seminarians are not to be princes of the church," but rather servants of the church. "That's what I'm called to be and that's what I'm working toward," Auer said. Joe Cwik, 23, from the Archdiocese of Washington, said seminarians have many opportunities to minister to the poor and sick. "Some of us go to college campuses and work, others to nursing homes, visiting the ill and the sick and the homebound," Cwik said. "Our Holy Father is spearheading this effort," Cwik said, "really reaching out and helping those who need it the most." Following Pope Francis' lead on these fronts is becoming a trend at Rome's U.S. seminary, Archbishop Patron said. "The example of Pope Francis, following Christ in the way the Blessed Virgin Mary did it is very clear for us," he said. "To say yes, yes to Christ, yes to the church and do it joyfully, I find those characteristics in the North American seminarians of today."- - -Copyright © 2015 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.