By Kelly SeegersWASHINGTON
(CNS) -- As Pope Francis boarded the plane after his visit to Washington a year
ago, he carried with him a book containing more than 100,000 pledges that
people in the Archdiocese of Washington had made to "Walk With Francis" by
either praying, serving or acting to improve their community.
up to the pope's visit, the Archdiocese of Washington, along with Catholic
Charities, launched the Walk With Francis initiative, which encouraged people
to prepare for the pope's visit by following in his example of love and mercy.
were asked to make pledges to pray regularly for the pontiff, to serve by
caring for those in need and supporting charitable efforts, or to act to
promote human life and dignity, justice and peace, family life and religious
freedom, care for creation and the common good.
the months that followed, individuals, schools, parishes and other
organizations made pledges to help their community in different ways. Many
people posted their pledges on social media, using #WalkwithFrancis. The day
before the pope arrived in Washington Sept. 22, 2015, the Walk With Francis
pledges topped the 100,000 mark. The Archdiocese of Washington then compiled
all of the pledges into a 400-page book that they presented to the pope
as a parting gift when he left in late afternoon Sept. 24, 2015.
Little Flower School in Great Mills, Maryland, each class decided for itself
how they were going to Walk With Francis. Students in the pre-kindergarten
class pledged to act like Jesus toward one another, the second grade pledged to
do an act of kindness every day, the fifth grade pledged to plant a school
garden, the seventh grade pledged to pray the prayer of St. Francis every day,
and the eighth grade pledged to do guided meditations on mercy.
Peters, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade religion, saw the pledges that
her students made go beyond the time leading up to Pope Francis' visit. Both
the seventh and the eighth grade continued their prayers and meditations
regularly throughout the year. In addition, two students from her seventh-grade
class were inspired by the prayer of St. Francis to start a pet supply drive
that now runs annually from the beginning of the year until the blessing of the
pets on St. Francis of Assisi's feast day.
was very affirming for me to be a part of it, to watch my students grow through
the experience and to be able to be a part of the larger church in that way,"
Peters told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington Archdiocese. "It
definitely strengthened my faith to be a part of that with my students."
prominent figures in the Washington area also signed the Walk With Francis Pledge.
Katie Ledecky, the five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist who attends Little
Flower Parish in Bethesda, Maryland, pledged to help Shepherd's Table, Catholic
Charities and Bikes for the World. John Carlson, a member of the Washington
Capitals, pledged to "continue to work on my faith and become a better father
Salmi, director of communications for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of
Washington, said these pledges "helped bring some great energy to the
The Catholic University of America, students were encouraged to sign pledges
after the opening Mass of the school year. Many of the students, such as James Walsh, still wear their "Walk With
Francis" wristbands as a reminder of the pledges they made that day.
"I like to keep it on as a good reminder ... to stay
humble," Walsh said.
Catholic University also had a "Serve With Francis
Day," where hundreds of students went out to serve their local community.
said the effects of the Walk With Francis initiative are hard to measure,
because it is similar to when "you drop a stone in the middle of a pond and the
ripples go pretty far and wide." However, he said he did know that all of the
Catholic Charities programs benefited from having volunteers that joined them.
good deeds did not end when the pope left. Since his visit, more than 10,000
additional pledges have been made. Through the Drive with Francis initiative, the
Fiat that Pope Francis rode in is being used to help those in need. There is
even a new hashtag, #DrivewithFrancis, so that people can share on social media
what they are doing with the papal Fiat.
Fiats were used by Pope Francis during his visit to Washington and later the
cars were donated to the archdiocese by Pope Francis and Fiat Chrysler
Automobiles. The proceeds of the auction of one of the cars are being donated
to various charities.
private donor who wanted to remain anonymous is letting the archdiocese use the
second Fiat via the #DrivewithFrancis initiative to promote good works,
activities and social service programs aiding the local community.
car has been parked at various events in the area, collecting food for a
community food bank or baby items for a crisis pregnancy center in Washington.
It was present at the Washington Nationals' Faith Day, where people could line
up to make breakfast bags for the homeless served by Catholic Charities' Cup of
Joe program. After the game, 550 Cup of Joe bags were delivered to Adam's Place
shelter, which is run by Catholic Charities.
seems pretty perfect for me in summarizing how His Holiness would want the car
to be used," Salmi said.
the first anniversary of the pope's visit to Washington, Catholic Charities and
the Archdiocese of Washington launched a "Walk With Francis 2.0" initiative for
the Sept. 24-25 weekend, when people could renew the pledge or make a new one
if they had not done it before.
in the archdiocese planned to have pledge cards for parishioners to fill out
during Mass and bring up to the altar.
- - -
Seegers is on the staff of the Catholic Standard, newspaper of
the Archdiocese of Washington.- - -Copyright © 2016 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Jason Miczek, ReutersBy Patricia L. GuilfoyleCHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) -- After
two nights of violence in Charlotte, Bishop Peter J. Jugis called
on men, women and children in the Diocese of Charlotte to join him in prayers
for "peace and justice" for all victims of violence and for law enforcement
personnel who have been victims of "unjust violence."
"Let us pray for all men and
women of good will to be instruments of harmony and the always-shining light of
Christ in our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and public places," the bishop
said in a statement Sept. 22.
The protests late Sept. 20 and
Sept. 21, with the crowds swelling at one point to 1,000 people, followed the
fatal police shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, an African-American,
outside an apartment complex the afternoon of Sept. 20.
said while they were trying to serve a warrant on another person in the area,
Scott approached them from his parked car carrying a handgun and ignoring their
calls to drop it.
In their statement, police said
Officer Brentley Vinson, who also is an African-American, perceived an
"imminent deadly threat" and shot Scott. Scott later died at a local
Family members insisted that
Scott was unarmed and was reading a book while waiting in the parking lot to
pick up his son from a nearly school bus stop. Police said they recovered a
weapon from the scene, not a book.
Vinson has been placed on
administrative leave while police conduct an investigation that includes
eyewitness interviews and review of police video footage.
When Scott family members took
to social media to criticize police the evening of Sept. 20, people began to
gather at the site of the shooting. By 11 p.m., the protest had swelled to about
When some protesters began
throwing rocks and smashing the windows of several police cars, police used
tear gas to disperse the crowd, but people continued to protest and block two
roadways and, at one point, a nearby segment of Interstate 85, until early
morning Sept. 21.
Police arrested one person. More
than a dozen police officers were slightly injured in the melee. Local
television video also showed a few people looting and burning the cargo of a
semi-truck that had stopped on the Interstate.
Protests turned violent for a
second night Sept. 21 in uptown Charlotte, about 10 miles away from the site of
the fatal police shooting, with several people injured and several businesses
vandalized and looted. One young man was shot in the head reportedly by
another civilian. He was taken to the hospital and put on life support; he died Sept. 22.
again used tear gas to try to clear the crowd, some of whom tried to block a
section of Interstate 277 as they departed the protest area.
"My heart bleeds for what
is going on right now," said Gov. Pat McCrory, who declared a state of
emergency late that night after a request from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police
Chief Kerr Putney. The emergency notice triggered the North Carolina National
Guard and the State Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement in
responding to the violence.
"Let's pray for our city
and let's pray for peace," added McCrory, who was Charlotte's mayor from
1995 to 2009.
At a news conference Sept. 22, Putney
said he would allow the family to view the footage, but it would not be released
to the public.
At St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic
Church, just a few blocks from the scene of the police shooting and the
protests there, about 150 people gathered Sept. 21 to pray for peace.
During the evening eucharistic
adoration and benediction, Father Patrick Winslow, pastor, offered prayers for
police and for people who have suffered injustice, as well as prayers for his
neighborhood and the city of Charlotte.
"Last evening we were all
taken by surprise when two events collided here in Charlotte -- you could even
say, in our own backyard," Father Winslow said. "One, the national
ongoing concern about racism in law enforcement and, two, the incident of an
African-American man who lost his life in an altercation with local
"In times such as these, it
is good to recall that light shines in the darkness, and it must shine through
you," Father Winslow urged parishioners. "Knowing the genuine spirit
of our parishioners, I am confident that you will embrace a path of peace,
prayer and charity."
History makes it clear, the
priest said, that the light that vanquishes the darkness is not on the
battlefield between nations or races, or "in the streets of Charlotte or any
U.S. city." "The true battlefield is within the human heart -- within each of
us," he said.
"Injustice must be defeated" in
the heart, the priest said. "This is where prejudice and unjust discrimination
live. This is the place from which fear and darkness enter the world. And
likewise, it is the place where it can be vanquished."
He urged people to "storm and
loot your hearts, not the streets, if you want true change for the good.
Vanquish the enemy within and then you will truly help your neighbor."
- - -
Guilfoyle is editor of the
Catholic News Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte.- - -Copyright © 2016 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 email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an
effort to ensure transparency as well as historical and scientific accuracy, Pope Francis has approved revised
norms for the Congregation for Saints' Causes regarding medical consultations on
healings alleged to be miracles.
Among the regulations
published by the Vatican Sept. 23 was the requirement that the medical panel have a quorum of six experts and that a
two-thirds majority is needed to approve a statement declaring a healing has no
natural or scientific explanation.
Previously, the declaration -- a key step in a pope's
recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of a candidate for
sainthood -- required the approval of a simple majority of the consultation team members
"The purpose of the regulation
is for the good of the (saints')
causes, which can
never be separated from the historical and scientific truth of the alleged
miracles," Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci, secretary of the congregation, said in a Sept. 23
Archbishop Bartolucci presided
over a seven-member
commission that began revising the regulations in September 2015 to update the norms
established by St. John Paul II in 1983. Except in the case of martyrs, in general two miracles
are needed for a person to be declared a saint -- one for beatification and the
second for canonization.
The new regulations, which
were approved with the
pope's mandate Aug. 24 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of
state, also state that an alleged miracle "cannot be re-examined more than
For each alleged miracle, the
Medical Consultation team is
comprised of a maximum of seven experts; when the promoter of a cause
appeals a negative judgment, a new team of physicians and medical experts must
be appointed, the new norms say. The members of each consultation will remain unknown to the postulator,
as the promotor of the specific cause called.
A presumed miracle is first reviewed by two
medical experts within the congregation, and with their recommendation is then sent
to the Medical Consultation team.
While the medical experts
receive compensation for their work, the new regulations state that they will only
be paid through wire transfer. Prior to the approval of the new norms, experts
were given the option to receive cash payments for their work.
Archbishop Bartolucci said
the regulations will further ensure that the consultations will be carried out
with "serenity, objectivity and complete security" by the medical
obviously concerns only the proper functioning of the Medical Consultation,
whose task is always more delicate, demanding and, thank God, appreciated
inside and outside the church," he said.
- - -
Follow Arocho on
Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Bright Stars By Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON (CNS) -- When he was a child, Bassem
Hazboun loved helping his mother prepare French delicacies in their Bethlehem kitchen. But it was his father who kept
trying to steer him to study engineering as he reached his teens.
"You don't need this," his father said when Hazboun told him
he wanted to take a cooking course. But the passion he found while cooking by
this mother's side never left.
"My food is my identity," said Hazboun, a Catholic Palestinian
who traveled in September from his native Bethlehem in the West Bank to showcase food from his
homeland to various U.S. cities, including Washington and Connecticut, part of
the "Room for Hope" festival. The festival aims to raise money for scholarships
to help youth in the Holy Land study music, dance, cooking and other arts.
Chef Hazboun, 39, studied at Bethlehem University, a Catholic university in the Holy Land, and is the head of the culinary arts program
at Dar al-Kalima University's College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, which
helps youth in the Holy Land hone skills in arts and culture.
Hazboun said food from the Holy Land is in a way unique for
Christians because some of it hails from biblical times. Sometimes he prepares biblical
menus, he said, for those who arrive in the Holy Land for religious
pilgrimages. This may mean a menu that includes a lentil soup, a dish of lamb
and yogurt, too. Food from the Holy Land also features lots of olives, which
are abundant in the region, he said, and spices you won't find elsewhere.
"All the foods are special," he told Catholic News Service.
In the U.S., Hazboun did several public food demonstrations
and also cooked large-scale dinners so others could learn about the richness of
food from the Holy Land. He prepared "musakhan," a Palestinian roasted chicken
dish served with onions, pine nuts and spices over flatbread; "maqluba," which is "upside-down rice, meat and vegetables"; "mansaf," lamb with yogurt sauce
served with flatbread and rice; and 14 types of Arabic salads.
It's important for him, he said, to help his students
develop a love for the food of their region and to see something positive about
their identity as Palestinians through the craft. It's a love that many of them
can share with others and can also allow them to stay in the Holy Land, where
work for Palestinians is scarce. Luckily, with tourism, many of them are able
to find jobs at restaurants in Bethlehem, he said.
"Sometimes I visit the restaurant and they feed me good,"
Beth Nelson Chase, executive director of Bright Stars
Bethlehem in the U.S., the nonprofit that sponsored the festival, said programs
such as the ones chef Hazboun teaches in Bethlehem help students learn skills
that are useful for the economy of their homelands, where coming across a job
can sometimes prove difficult.
"It gives people hope," Chase said.
The Rev. Mitri Raheb, a Lutheran pastor and president of Bright
Stars of Bethlehem, said in a statement that the events focusing on the arts
and food of the Holy Land were part of the mission of building cultural
bridges "important for both the U.S. and Palestine."
"We are excited to expose our friends in the U.S. to
Palestinian culture and art," he said.- - -Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.- - -Copyright © 2016 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 email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Diocese of NewarkBy TOTOWA,
N.J. (CNS) -- Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark died Sept. 20 while
in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at the order's elder-care
facility in Totowa. He was 104.According
to a remembrance of Archbishop Gerety posted Sept. 21 by the Archdiocese of
Newark on its website, Archbishop Gerety was the world's oldest Catholic bishop
at the time of his death. By 2007, when he was 95, he was already the oldest
living U.S. bishop.Archbishop Gerety's body
will be received at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart the afternoon of
Sept. 25 for the viewing, which will last until 6:30 p.m. local time. On Sept.
26, a 3 p.m. funeral Mass will follow a four-hour period for viewing. Newark Archbishop
John J. Myers will be the main celebrant of the Mass, to be followed
immediately by internment in the crypt of the cathedral basilica.Archbishop Myers in a
Sept. 21 statement called Archbishop Gerety "a remarkable churchman
whose love for the people of God was always strong and ever-growing.""He served as shepherd of this great archdiocese during a
time of spiritual reawakening in the years after the Second Vatican Council,
and a time of deep financial difficulties," he added. "He
very carefully led the church, her people and institutions through those
Gerety had been retired as head of the Newark Archdiocese for 30 years at the time of his
death. He was Newark's archbishop for 12 years. Before that he spent five years as
the bishop of Portland, Maine; he had been coadjutor bishop of the statewide
diocese for three years prior.
his tenure in Newark, Archbishop Gerety helped create Renew International, the
parish renewal program still in wide use among U.S. parishes today. Renew also has created several other parish renewal programs, including one that has been
used in more than two dozen countries outside the United States.
Renew's use was so widespread, Archbishop Gerety asked the U.S. bishops'
Committee on Doctrine in 1988 to evaluate it. Some groups in dioceses where it
was being used were publicly critical of it.
committee's report praised many aspects of Renew, but said participants needed
to be given a more complete understanding of Catholic faith and doctrine, and
small-group leaders were to be more than just facilitators who accepted all the
participants' contributions as equally valid. Revisions suggested by the
committee were made.
2007 interview with The Catholic Advocate, Newark's archdiocesan newspaper, he
noted how he had been ordained a bishop shortly after the close of the Second
Vatican Council. He noticed one important change was a shift from the "top-down"
mentality that had prevailed at that time in the church.
Gerety said the liturgy "improved tremendously" at that time, centering
on increased participation among laypeople. Another major change he saw was the
formation of parish councils and similar programs. In fact, he said one of his
prized possessions was a stone tablet inscribed with a pledge he made in his
early days in Newark when he said in a speech on April 18, 1975: "I am
totally committed to parish councils by April 15, 1976."
19, 1912, in Shelton, Connecticut, Leo -- as his parents called him -- won academic
honors at Shelton High School and was captain of the football team. He was the eldest of nine sons.His mother and father, Peter L. and Charlotte Daly Gerety, "had a tremendous religious faith, and a tremendously optimistic view of life. They loved life very much. They taught us we
could do almost anything," the archbishop once said. After
working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Transportation
Department, the future archbishop entered St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and was
chosen for study abroad at St. Sulpice Seminary in Issy, France. He was
ordained for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1939 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame,
hallmark of his service in the Archdiocese of Hartford was ministry to black
Catholics in New Haven. He founded an interracial social and religious center,
the St. Martin de Porres Center, which gained parish status in 1956 with then-Father
Gerety as its first pastor. In the 1960s, he founded the New Haven chapter of
the Urban League and was a member of the Connecticut State Committee on Race
and Religion and the National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice.
bishop of Portland, Archbishop Gerety was active in pro-life and social justice
causes, led campaigns to protest state legislative efforts to legalize
abortion, and defended the rights of conscientious objectors during the Vietnam
Newark, Archbishop Gerety expanded outreach to black and Hispanic Catholics,
and shored up a deteriorating archdiocesan financial base. On a national stage,
he was known for his work with the Call to Action Committee, formed at the time
of the U.S. bicentennial celebration in 1976 to address and discuss the needs U.S.
eldest of nine brothers, Archbishop Gerety outlived all of them. He is survived
by many nephews and nieces, as well as their children.- - -Copyright © 2016 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.