No Picture
News Briefs

Ohio Catholic parish hosts camp to empower refugee women

July 27, 2017 CNA Daily News 1

Toledo, Ohio, Jul 27, 2017 / 04:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- U.S. Together is partnering with a Toledo Catholic parish to create a summer camp for women and children refugees – providing education, opportunities for networking, and information about American culture.

“The purpose of the summer camp is to educate women and children, to empower women to develop physical and language skills, and to provide cultural education and assimilation to their new country,” Corinne Dehabey from U.S. Together told CNA July 26.

“They also learn about all of the education, cultural, and sports activities available in their new community.”

U.S. Together was established in 2003 in response to the needs of immigrants in the central Ohio area. Teaming up with Christ the King Parish in Toledo and serving two dozen refugee families, the two will launch the summer camp for the first time this year.

Christ the King Parish began working with immigrants after Middle School students heard current pastor Father Bill Rose give a homily about the affects of the war in Syria. In 2015, students collected 20 laundry baskets full of cleaning supplies, food, and the basic necessities for immigrating families.

Both Christ the King Parish and U.S. Together aim to serve anyone regardless of gender, religion, nationality, or ethnicity, but the summer program is limited to refugee children and mothers.

According to Cindy Robert, a volunteer and religion teacher at the parish, many of the women and children from Muslim countries have not experienced the diversity of ethnicities and religions in the U.S. A major aspect of the organization and the camp is getting refugee families to mingle with the community to experience culture outside of their social norm.

“We have been able to see them as individuals, and the longer we have the camp, the more they have come out of their shells, and we see their different personalities.”

Women and children will attend the five week summer camp three days a week for free. The summer camp will include a trip down the Maumee River, swimming lessons, art classes, and a visit to the Toledo Zoo.

Attending activities from 10-3 p.m. each day, refugees are also able to practice English, participate in local leisure activities, given transportation information, and helped with obtaining documents like library cards.

Although policies put in place by the Trump administration have influenced the process for migrants and split some families apart, Cindy said Toledo has experienced an openness to immigrants, noting how unique individuals have been seen and not as “just a ‘bloc’ of refugees.”

“Personally, I have been able to have some good, long conversations with various refugees and they are able to ask me questions about life here, about grammar, about my children, etc. It’s opened my world a great deal!”

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Statement claims radical feminist group bombed Mexico bishops’ conference

July 27, 2017 CNA Daily News 1

Mexico City, Mexico, Jul 27, 2017 / 01:02 pm (CNA).- An online statement purporting to be from a radical feminist group has claimed responsibility for the explosive set off at the Mexican Bishops’ Conference earlier this week.

On Tuesday, a small homemade explosive detonated at the Mexican Bishops’ Conference (CEM) in Mexico City. No one was injured, and the building incurred little damage.

On Wednesday, a group calling itself the “Informal Feminist Command for Anti-Authoritarian Action” claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement posted on Contra Info, an international website that claims it is run by “anarchists, anti-authoritarians and libertarians.”

The statement says Feminist Command was responsible for the bomb, which was intended as retaliation “For every torture and murder in the name of your God! For every child defiled by pedophiles!”

While Contra Info has posted previous stories about Feminist Command’s actions in Mexico, the group’s existence is unconfirmed, according to the AP.  

Aramando Cavazos, the bishop conference’s press office director, explained in a statement Tuesday that “the pertinent investigations are taking place, as apparently this is not the first case occurring in that area of Mexico City,” he said.

Mexico has seen a slew of violence against priests in recent months, including numerous stabbings and murders. Earlier this month, Fr. Luis López Villa was found bound and stabbed to death in his room. He was the 18th priest to be murdered in Mexico in the last six years.

 

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Our Lady of Czestochowa to receive a new crown

July 27, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Czestochowa, Poland, Jul 27, 2017 / 10:40 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Three hundred years ago this September the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa was crowned Queen and Protector of Poland by Clement XI.

Nearly 200 years after that, in 1909, the golden, bejeweled crowns of the image – one for Mary and one for the Christ Child– were stolen, along with a pearl “robe” also belonging to the image.

Following the theft, Our Lady was crowned again by St. Pius X in 1910, and later again by St. John Paul II in 2005, but the original crowns were never recovered.

Now, in honor of the 300th anniversary of the first coronation and as a gift to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the original crowns have been replicated in gold diadems created by an Italian artist and goldsmith renowned for his religious art.

The new crowns, which were blessed by Pope Francis May 17 at the Vatican, will be unveiled during a ceremony in Czestochowa July 28, the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ visit to the sanctuary during World Youth Day in Poland.

The crowning itself, the culmination of Poland’s Jubilee Year celebrations, will take place Sept. 8, the 300th anniversary of the first canonical coronation of the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa and the feast of the Nativity of Mary.

The artist of the new diadems, Michele Affidato, was chosen by the Pauline Fathers in charge of the Jasna Góra sanctuary for his skill and expertise in sacred art.

In the course of his work he has made many religious pieces, including golden reliquaries, and has met St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

He is based in the town of Crotone, in the southernmost region of Italy, which is along the sea and home to a “sister” shrine to Czestochowa called Our Lady of Capocolonna, also called the “Black Madonna.”

This shrine was dedicated as a “sister” shrine during the process of creating the new crowns and an image of Our Lady of Capocolonna was gifted to the Jasna Góra sanctuary.

Though it is uncertain exactly when the shrine in Crotone was built, it is believed it was constructed sometime between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, one popular narrative saying it originated with the Greeks, a theory supported by the fact that the shrine is in the same area as an ancient Greek temple to the goddess Hera. Now, only a single column of the temple remains, called Capo Colonna.

More than 94 percent of Poland’s population being Catholic, the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also called the “Black Madonna,” has a significant meaning for Poles and is highly venerated throughout Europe.

The 2017 Jubilee Year was established through resolutions of the Polish government in December 2016, one resolution stating that “the image of the Mother of God at Jasna Góra is… one of the most important religious and material national treasures.”

Although the truly first crowning of the image as Queen and Protector of Poland was done by King John II Casimir in 1652, its first canonical coronation was by Clement XI in 1717 and is the one being honored this year.

A canonical coronation is a pious institutional act, wherein the Pope, through a bull, designates a crown or stellar halo be added to a Marian image under a specific devotional title in a particular area or diocese. The crowning of Our Lady of Czestochowa in 1717 was the first such coronation to take place outside Rome. 

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Ohio bishops: Replace death penalty with mercy, conversion

July 27, 2017 CNA Daily News 4

Columbus, Ohio, Jul 27, 2017 / 06:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders in Ohio stressed the need to replace the death penalty with mercy and spiritual conversion, following the execution of convicted child murderer Ronald Phillips.

“The Catholic Church believes that the death penalty is an unnecessary and systemically flawed form of punishment,” the Ohio Catholic Conference said in a statement.

“The Catholic bishops of Ohio sought mercy for Mr. Phillips because of the belief that spiritual conversion is possible and that all life – even that of the worst offender – has value and dignity.”

“May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace,” the conference said.

The July 26 execution was the first in Ohio since a botched 2014 execution. Phillips, 43, was executed by lethal injection at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, the Associated Press reports. He was convicted for the 1993 rape and killing of three-year-old Sheila Marie Evans, his girlfriend’s daughter.

He gave his final statement ten minutes before his death.

“Sheila Marie didn’t deserve what I did to her,” Phillips said, telling the girl’s family “I’m sorry you had to live so long with my actions.”

Phillips had spent much of the morning praying, kneeling and reading the Bible. Ohio Gov. John Kasich had rejected clemency in 2016, citing “the extremely brutal nature of the offense committed against an innocent 3-year-old child.”

The Ohio Catholic Conference previously cited Pope Francis’ address to Congress in which he had called for an end to the death penalty.

Karen Clifton, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network, said her organization was “deeply saddened” by the resumption of the executions.

“Our prayers are with the victim, her family and all those who were asked to participate in Ronald Phillips’ execution,” she said.

“Ronald Phillips committed a horrific crime, but through the grace of God’s transformational love became a person who asked for forgiveness and journeyed with others from anger and hate to repentance,” Clifton continued. “Today’s execution highlights the need for mercy and reconciliation in our justice system.”

She called on Ohio to reconsider the 26 other scheduled executions.

Other opponents include the group Ohioans to Stop Executions, which had delivered over 27,500 signatures to Gov. Kasich asking him to postpone the state’s executions, including that of Phillips. The group sought better safeguards to prevent sentencing innocent people to death and endorsed 56 recommendations the Ohio Supreme Court’s death penalty task force made to the state legislature, Cleveland.com reports.

European pharmaceutical companies have barred the sale of their drugs for the purpose of executions, causing difficulties for Ohio state officials in charge of executions. Officials say they have enough of the drugs to carry out three executions.

Executions had been halted following the January 2014 execution of Dennis McGuire, in which he was seen clenching his fists, trying to sit up, gasping for breath and choking as the drugs took a record 26 minutes to kill him.
 
The execution used an untested drug cocktail that included the sedative midazolam and the morphine derivative hydromorphone. In a letter to Gov. Kasich, 17 former corrections officials and administrators had warned of possible errors in the use of midazolam, warning that a disturbing execution could traumatize corrections officials.

McGuire was condemned for the 1989 murder of a woman and her unborn child. In the months before his execution, he had returned to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and was an attendee at the prison’s weekly Masses for inmates. At the Mass before his execution, he was a recipient of the anointing of the sick and dying, and received spiritual direction.

Since capital punishment resumed in Ohio in 1999, 54 people have been executed.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Priest horrified at exorcist film showings in abandoned church

July 27, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jul 27, 2017 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- An Irish priest has decried a film festival’s plans to screen two horror films in an abandoned church next month.

The Belfast Film Festival plans to show two horror movies – The Exorcist and The Omen – at Holy Rosary Church in Belfast, a landmark church that has been abandoned since 1980 and is no longer owned by the Catholic Church.  

Local parish priest Fr. Patrick McCafferty told the Belfast Telegraph that the plan was a “cheap stunt” and disrespectful to what once had been a sacred place.

“What is their motivation for showing those types of films in what was once a sacred building that will have such special memories of spiritual occasions for lots of people,” he said.

“Should they not be sensitive to the fact that many people in that area have fond associations and is sacred to the memories of many people that were baptized or married or buried there?” the priest added.

The old church is currently set to be renovated into an Italian restaurant, with with Fr. McCafferty said he has “no problem.”

“…but the screening of horror films in there is another matter entirely,” he told Ireland’s The Times.
 
The Exorcist (1973), based on William Peter Blatty’s novel by the same name, is the horror movie famous for levitating beds, spinning heads and pea-green soup.

The book and film portray the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her exorcism by two Catholic priests. Blatty said he drew inspiration from a 1949 Washington Post story about a Jesuit priest’s successful exorcism of a 14-year-old boy in Mount Ranier, Maryland.

While the U.S. bishops have previously said that the film stands on “shaky ground” theologically, Catholic film critics have said that for the most part, it tries to portray a real exorcism as authentically as possible.

It won two Oscars in 1974 for best sound and best writing and is one of the 20 highest-grossing films of all time. After the film’s release, interest in exorcism skyrocketed in pop culture, sparking a subgenre of films surrounding the topics of exorcism and spiritual warfare.  
 
The other film to be shown, The Omen, is a 1976 British-American that tells the story of the son of an American diplomat who is marked with the sign of the Devil and is the Antichrist.
 
In 2006, attempts to film a remake of The Omen were disrupted on location in Croatia, with sets vandalized and burnt down. The producers blamed the Catholic Church for the disruptions, saying they had decried the film and sparked the outrage.
 
Catholic reviews of The Omen tend to urge caution, as the film can be seen as depicting evil in a victorious light.
 
Fr. Cafferty said he hasn’t seen either film, though he is familiar with their controversial content.
 
“They are not the sort of films that I would choose to watch myself. People have told me about the films and I would have seen bits about The Exorcist – I just don’t understand why anyone would like to see it in a church,” he said.
 
A spokesperson for the film festival has defended the decision, saying that the abandoned church would enhance the audience’s viewing experience, and cited that the church has been defunct for almost 40 years.

“Belfast Film Festival is well known for its site-specific special events,” said the spokesperson told the BBC, citing its 2015 screening of Jaws on Portrush beach as one example.

“The locations chosen add an extra dimension to the screening, and we think the stone cold surroundings of an abandoned church will make for a suitably chilling viewing experience for The Exorcist.”

“Many people will have their own personal reasons for disliking The Exorcist, and we respect their right to that opinion, but the truth is that it was one of the most widely acclaimed films of the 1970s, nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture,” the spokesperson added.

The screenings of The Exorcist and The Omen, to be shown on Aug. 19 and 20 respectively, have already sold out, according to The Times.

[…]