WASHINGTON -- A handful of dioceses and archdioceses across the country have announced plans to change or freeze pensions for lay employees, following a nationwide trend affecting state employees and workers for nonprofit groups and private corporations.
Faith & Parish
Confusion over the correct classification of a well that supplies water to a Virginia parish has led to the removal of a prayer labyrinth by the parish and an outcry from the labyrinth supporters.
St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Va., which is preparing to build a new parish center, had the labyrinth removed to comply with state regulations for a public well. But Candy Hayes, parishioner and original promoter of the labyrinth, said the labyrinth could have been saved, because the parish should have followed private well regulations.
NEW YORK -- Twenty-seven Catholic schools in the New York Archdiocese -- victims of low enrollment and rising costs -- will close at the end of the school year in a move that archdiocesan education officials describe as part of a strategy to ensure long-term success of the overall system.
New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and Timothy McNiff, superintendent of schools, announced the closings Jan. 11.
The schools -- 26 elementary schools and one parish high school -- were among 32 cited in November as "at risk" of losing their archdiocesan subsidies and likely to close.
However, four of the schools originally called at risk will remain open after presenting viable plans to continue operating, and a decision on a fifth school was deferred for a few weeks for further review, the announcement said.
The closings are in line with the strategies of "Pathways to Excellence," a wide-ranging strategic plan that focused on the "3 R's" of reconfiguration, regionalization and reinvestment over the next three years. The goal is a modernized school system that is academically excellent, fully enrolled and affordable.
ELMIRA, N.Y. -- St. Joseph's Hospital in Elmira has formally agreed to align with Arnot Ogden Medical Center in a merger that will enable St. Joseph's to retain its Catholic identity while consolidating with the secular hospital.
IRONDALE, Ala. -- The Eternal Word Television Network, based in Irondale, has signed a letter of intent to acquire the National Catholic Register, which describes itself as "the nation's leading Catholic newspaper."
Effective Feb. 1, EWTN will take full control and ownership of the Register, now based in Irondale. Its editorial and business offices had been based in North Haven, Conn., since 1995, when the Legionaries of Christ bought the paper and moved it to New England from California.
As we celebrate another Week of Prayer for Christianity, what is there to fuel our hope that this isn’t all just an exercise in futility? What’s to celebrate?
Signals are there that this movement called “ecumenical” does in fact move, that reflection as we go along on an increasing degree of “life together” is shaping our perception of the future in positive ways.
In Catholic schools when we were young, the sisters connected the dots for us, teaching us where we were in the world and what was important. These teachers bricked in the foundations for a spirituality, the ground floor of an ongoing encounter with a tradition of wisdom, complete with techniques for prayer and strategies for inner work and conversion.
The sisters provided a container -- not a perfect one, but workable -- into which we could pour our strivings to make sense of life and the world around us. Catholic education offered pious devotions and greenhoused a seedling sense of the world’s sacredness into flourishing growth.
As we enter the second decade of a new century, we can see clear signs of real change in the terrain of Catholic spirituality and culture. There are a variety of individuals and religious communities that are engaged in ecological education, in Earth-friendly enterprises and projects.
After a lengthy appeals process, the Vatican has ruled that nine Boston-area Catholic parishes should be closed despite six-year vigils and other forms of protest from parishioners.
In a letter dated Dec. 15, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State said Pope Benedict XVI had “decided not to accept” an appeal from the Council of Parishes, which represents parishioners fighting to keep their churches open.
The decision brings new pressure to end a drawn-out standoff between the Archdiocese of Boston, which closed 66 parishes in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, and groups of disgruntled parishioners who continue to occupy five church buildings after years of round-the-clock vigils.
Peter Borre, chairman of the Council of Parishes, said the Archdiocese could still reverse its decision, as it has in past cases, and re-open the parishes in question. He’s working toward that outcome, he said.
DENVER (CNS) -- Marco and Monica Tesei consider themselves a normal couple: married for 18 years; three children, ages 16, 14 and 11; living in a peaceful family neighborhood in Denver.
The unusual thing about them is that the family left their home in Rome five years ago to serve as missionaries in the Archdiocese of Denver.
They're part of the Neocatechumenal Way, a parish-based faith formation program that has sent hundreds of missionary families around the world over the past 30 years to be a Christian presence by living a life of service, simplicity and poverty.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- Father Mike Anderson waited patiently on the front steps of St. Bernard in St. Paul on a recent Sunday morning, his purple vestments cloaking him from the chill. Clanging church bells heralded the 10:30 Mass, but only a smattering of parishioners prayed silently in the pews.
Minutes later, a yellow school bus pulled up to the curb, then another one behind it. The priest's face lit up as he greeted dozens of people pouring off the buses into the church.