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Faith & Parish

Getting Catholics invested in the mission


WASHINGTON -- U.S. church institutions are "horribly underfunded" and will face growing cutbacks if Catholics don’t begin to give more and make greater commitments to the church’s mission, said Francis J. Butler, president of Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities. Butler has headed FADICA, a membership organization of many of the leading Catholic-oriented foundations in the country, for more than 25 years. NCR asked him to spell out some of the main issues for Catholic philanthropists today. The following are excerpts from that interview.

NCR: What are some of the main concerns of Catholic foundations and philanthropies these days?

Butler: Well, I can tell you what FADICA itself has as a focus at the present time. There would be four areas. One cluster of concerns is around Catholic schools. Another would be the area of generosity, giving and stewardship. Connected to that is the fact that so many Catholic institutions these days are horribly underfunded. So we talk a lot about the operations of Catholic institutions, particularly dioceses and parishes. An additional area is engagement of young people in the church and their participation in the life of the church.

A two-word action plan: Just ask



The Catholic church is clearly a leader in elementary and secondary education and in providing social services that impact the poor, the homeless, the hungry and more. The church’s reach ranges from children to seniors and transcends religious denominations.

The current economic crisis has exacerbated all of the problems of homelessness, hunger and poverty and dramatically alters the ability of church organizations and other groups to deliver solutions.

Collection plate boycott called to protest closings

CLEVELAND -- A grassroots group that's fighting the ongoing closing of churches in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese is urging parishioners to boycott Sunday collections.

The group, Endangered Catholics, has begun circulating forms that parishioners can fill out, saying they are withholding their money until Bishop Richard Lennon reconsiders some of the closings.

A place for renegades


22nd in the "In Search of the Emerging Church" Series.

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Chris Haw, in describing his religious upbringing, speaks of himself as “a mutt.” He was raised Catholic for a time as a youngster and then went with his family to Willow Creek Community Church, the famous and highly influential nondenominational mega-congregation just outside of Chicago.

While at Eastern University, a school near Philadelphia with Baptist roots, he went with friends to services at Episcopal and Mennonite churches. He also traveled to Belize to take part in a theology and ecology study program and returned intent on refashioning his life and finding work that would “connect faith with creation care.”

Seattle pastor begins effort to review new missal translations


Saying he woefully aware of how difficult it is going to be to ‘sell’ faithful Catholics on the new translations of the Catholic missal, a Seattle pastor has begun a nationwide campaign to slowdown the program.

"For some time I’ve followed the bishops’ debates, read many of the new texts, discussed them with brother priests, and visited about them with Catholics in the pews, and I’ve become aware of how difficult it’s going to be to ‘sell’ ordinary, faithful, good Catholics on the new, Latinized translations of the Missal," said Father Michael G. Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral for more than two decades.

“And with good reason, because some of them, in my opinion, are very poor and the principles underlying the translations are highly questionable.”

Ryan said he is “troubled” when he realizes that it’s “almost exclusively the overburdened pastors of this country who will be saddled with the task of getting people to understand why they are getting new translations and why the translations will be better than what they’re used to.”

'Youth of the church are here to help back you up'


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Amid the cacophony of noise and boisterous activity in the massive exhibit hall of the National Catholic Youth Conference here Nov. 21, two teenagers had settled at a table with two Sisters of Charity. All four heads were bent over a craft project: knitting strips of discarded plastic shopping bags into sturdy reusable bags.

The Sisters of Charity Federation had chosen the activity for their booth as a way to engage young conference participants, giving them a chance to sit and talk while learning a skill. In the case of Rebecca Hardy, 16, and Samantha Savich, 17, both youth group members at St. John Vianney Parish in the Detroit archdiocese, both bags and conversation had drawn them in.

Welcoming Anglicans not new for this parish


KANSAS CITY, MO. -- For St. Therese Little Flower Parish here, news of a new process for welcoming Anglicans into the Catholic church is not some distant idea. It’s something parishioners experience every time they come to church.

The Vatican last month announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures to absorb disaffected Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. The structures will allow those Anglicans to hold onto their distinctive spiritual practices, including the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests.

NOLA archbp meets with disaffected Catholics


NEW ORLEANS -- Newly installed Archbishop Gregory Aymond has been in quiet talks with a city pastor and representatives of two closed parishes in hopes of healing a bitter rift that erupted last year over a downsizing plan.

Parishioners, meanwhile, hope the dialogue may also produce a compromise on the occasional reopening of their churches. After two sessions, no decision is near.



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August 15-28, 2014


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