Jan. 19, 2024

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January 19, 2024

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Catholic schools near capacity as enrollment deadlines approach 10

Joyful reaction in Charlotte to Nicaraguan bishops’ prison release 4

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Marcha por la vida 12-13


First-time N.C. pilgrims deepen relationship with Jesus at SEEK24 conference 9

Tradición navideña concluye con la Candelaria 14

At a glance 2

catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD


JANUARY 19, 2024

Timely tips for blending faith & life

Volume 33 • NUMBER 8

1123 S. CHURCH ST. CHARLOTTE, N.C. 28203-4003 catholicnews@charlottediocese.org

704-370-3333 PUBLISHER The Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Bishop of Charlotte

INDEX Contact us.....................................2 Español....................................... 14-17 Our Diocese.............................. 4-9 Our Faith........................................3 Our Schools................................. 10 Scripture................................. 3, 17 U.S. news.................................18-19 Viewpoints.............................22-23 World news............................ 20-21


uring these short winter days, the Catholic Church offers many ways to dispel night’s darkness. Keep the flame of faith alight by illuminating your mind with St. Thomas Aquinas, your soul with Candlemas and your children with the spiritual richness of a fast-approaching Lent.

LET AQUINAS LIGHT YOUR WAY Perhaps you’re a bit daunted about studying the work of St. Thomas Aquinas, a doctor of the Church known for his keen intellect. To honor his Jan. 28 feast day, check out one of many resources that make his teachings easy to grasp. TAN Books’ release, “The Traditional Virtues According to St. Thomas Aquinas: A Study for Men,” offers rich content you may want to peruse, especially before attending the similarly themed Catholic Men’s Conference on Feb. 10 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte. Other Aquinas-related titles from TAN Books include a book for children, “St. Thomas Aquinas: The Story of the Dumb Ox” as well as the nine-day “Marian Consecration with Aquinas” and “A Tour of the Summa.”


PREPARE FOR THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD Candlemas, or the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, is coming Feb. 2. On this day, Catholics celebrate Christ as the Light of the World. In the Canticle of Simeon, he prays, “Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace, according to Thy word: For mine own eyes hath seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all the peoples, A light to reveal Thee to the nations and the glory of Thy people Israel.” In this spirit, we can pray that we, too, can readily recognize Christ’s light and spread it to others. Candles give a physical representation of this and are blessed before Mass on Candlemas. You can purchase them at online retailers such as www.stjudeshop.com, or make your own. Four easy candle-making techniques can be found at www.artofhomeschooling.com.


STAFF EDITOR: Spencer K. M. Brown 704-808-4528, skmbrown@rcdoc.org ADVERTISING MANAGER: Kevin Eagan 704-370-3332, keeagan@rcdoc.org HISPANIC MEDIA MANAGER: César Hurtado 704-370-3375, rchurtado@rcdoc.org

LIGHT THE WAY TO CHRIST’S RESURRECTION Easter is early this year, so the beginning of Lent is, too. Ash Wednesday is Feb. 14, and now is a good time to consider Lenten resolutions and how you will help teach your children about this holy season. Resources abound on Catholic family websites, such as the color-as-you-go Lenten resolution printable available at www.catholicicing.com, which also features a cute video for kids illustrating how to use the printable and say no to temptations. Sara J. Creations has a guide to creating a comprehensive “Catholic Lent Lapbook” (a lap-sized scrapbook) in English and Spanish as well as a Lenten prayer chain project. — Annie Ferguson


MULTIMEDIA DESIGNER: David Puckett 704-808-4521, dwpuckett@rcdoc.org EDITORIAL TEAM: Kimberly Bender 704-370-3394, kdbender@rcdoc.org Annie Ferguson 704-370-3404, arferguson@rcdoc.org Troy C. Hull 704-370-3288, tchull@rcdoc.org Christina Lee Knauss 704-370-0783, clknauss@rcdoc.org COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT/CIRCULATION: Erika Robinson 704-370-3333, catholicnews@rcdoc.org COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Liz Chandler 704-370-3336, lchandler@rcdoc.org ASSISTANT COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Patricia L. Guilfoyle 704-370-3334, plguilfoyle@rcdoc.org

Diocesan calendar of events

THE CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD is published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte 26 times a year.


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VIÑEDO DE RAQUEL: ¿Es usted o un ser querido que busca la curación de los efectos de un aborto anterior? Los retiros de fin de semana son ofrecidos por Caridades Católicas para hombres y mujeres en todas las regiones de la Diócesis de Charlotte. Para obtener información, comuníquese con Karina Hernández: 336267-1937 o karinahernandez@live.com.

ADVERTISING: Reach 165,000 Catholics across western North Carolina! For advertising rates and information, contact Advertising Manager Kevin Eagan at 704-370-3332 or keeagan@rcdoc.org. The Catholic News Herald reserves the right to reject or cancel advertising for any reason, and does not recommend or guarantee any product, service or benefit claimed by our advertisers. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $16.75 per year for registered families of the Diocese of Charlotte and $25 per year for all others. POSTMASTER: Periodicals Class postage (USPC 007-393) paid at Charlotte, N.C. Send address corrections to the Catholic News Herald, 1123 S. Church St., Charlotte, N.C. 28203.

Scan the QR code for this week’s recommended recipes, crafts and activities:

ENTERTAINMENT VOICE & PIANO CONCERT: 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians, 419 Monastery Ln., Belmont. Awardwinning Metropolitan Opera singer Emalie Savoy, soprano, and Mildred Roche, pianist, perform works by Faure, Wagner, Donaudy and others. Admission is free. For details, call 704-461-6012. PRAYER SERVICES IGBO MASS: 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, St. Mary's Church, 812 Duke St., Greensboro. For details, call 336-707-3625.

ANOINTING OF THE SICK MASS: 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, St. Luke Church, 9800 Fairview Road, Mint Hill. Sponsored by the parish's HOPE Committee. For details, call Mary Adams at 704-545-1224. SUPPORT GROUPS RACHEL RETREAT ‘HEALING AFTER ABORTION’: Are you or a loved one seeking healing from the effects of a past abortion? Find healing and support in a confidential, non-judgmental environment at a Rachel Retreat weekend. These retreats are offered by the Diocese of Charlotte’s Family Life Office for men and women, in English and Spanish. For details, contact Jessica Grabowski at jrgrabowski@rcdoc.org or 704-370-3229.TALKS CYCLE PREP FOR MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS: 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., Charlotte. Mothers, this course will give your daughter all the tools she needs to navigate puberty positively, while building a foundation to help continue these conversations with her. Recommended for girls aged 9-12. Registration is free but required. For details, contact Batrice Adcock at familylife@rcdoc.org.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis will participate in the following events: JAN. 25 – 10 A.M. Pastoral Planning Meeting for St. John Neumann Parish Pastoral Center, Charlotte JAN. 27 – 10 A.M. Mass for Rite of Admission to Candidacy and Affirmation of Promises by Deacons St. Patrick Cathedral, Charlotte FEB. 3 – 11 A.M. Mass for World Day of Consecrated Life St. Patrick Cathedral, Charlotte

Our faith

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


‘I Believe’ W

e often speak of “the” creed but the Church in fact employs multiple creeds. The two most familiar are the Nicene Creed, which we profess during the Mass on Sundays, and the Apostles’ Creed, which we recite at the beginning of the rosary. These credal statements have different historical origins, though they profess the same truths. The Nicene Creed was formulated during the Councils of Nicea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A.D.) in response to certain heresies, but the origins of the Apostles’ Creed are more obscure. While there is no evidence that it was composed by the Apostles, as is sometimes claimed, the Catechism says it is “the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome” and calls it “a faithful summary of the apostles’ faith” (CCC 194). Perhaps because of its association with the Apostles, it is often divided into twelve articles. There are conveniently 12 months in a year, so to help our readers have a better understanding of the faith we profess, over the course of this year I will be offering monthly expositions on the Apostles’ Creed, beginning this month with the statement, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” The first word of the Creed is "Credo" in Latin or “I believe” in English. This single word gets to the heart of what a creed is: It is a capsule statement of belief useful both as a teaching tool and as a measure of doctrinal union. As the Catechism puts it, “Communion in faith needs a common language of faith, normative for all and uniting all in the same confession of faith” (CCC 185). A creed, like Dr. Who’s TARDIS, can be described as something “bigger on the inside.” In itself it is small and memorizable, easily fitting on a prayer card. But the truths it expresses are so vast and deep that many volumes could not exhaust its contents.


Let us begin by exploring the words “I believe.” What does it mean to believe in something? The word “belief” today often indicates a degree of uncertainty. For example, “I believe I may have left the oven on this morning” is not as firm a statement as “I know I left the oven on.” Yet when we use the word “believe” in the context of our faith, we mean something certain – something we would stake our lives on, as the martyrs attest. These days faith is often presumed to be a less reliable means of knowing than

Credo A 12-part series on the creed by Deacon Matthew Newsome EDITOR’S NOTE This article is the first of 12 in a new series on the Creed by Deacon Matthew Newsome. Look for new articles each month in the Catholic News Herald and online at www.catholicnewsherald.com.

scientific knowledge. The scientific method is a wonderful way of attaining empirical knowledge about the material world. But in fact, most of the knowledge we possess (not only religious truths) is acquired through faith. I believe that this pill will make me better because I have faith in the doctor who prescribed it. I believe that the sun will rise this morning because it has so far risen every day of my life and I trust my own lived experience. Science offers explanations for why these things work as they do, but unless I run the experiments myself and analyze the data, my knowledge rests on the faith I have in the authorities who teach me.


Faith involves trust in authority, bolstered by reason and affirmed by experience. The greater the authority, the greater trust it warrants. The authority of the Church was given to her by Jesus Christ, attested to by the martyrs, and affirmed over centuries of practice. This brings us to the object of our faith, God the Father almighty. By “God,” we don’t mean to refer to one god among many, as the Greeks believed in

Zeus, Hera and Poseidon. Atheists often seek to minimalize their unbelief by claiming, “I only believe in one less god than you.” But the Christian God is not a preferred favorite of a pantheon. Sometimes the Egyptian pharaoh Ahkenaten is credited as an early monotheist because during his reign he only permitted worship of the sun-god Aten. This was not true monotheism, but merely a restriction of the cultic worship of the many gods believed in by the ancient Egyptians. The existence of the other gods was still acknowledged, though their cults were suppressed. By contrast, the revealed religion of Israel is truly monotheistic. “The Lord our God is God alone” (Dt 6:4) and “Who is God except the Lord?” (Ps 18:31).


We do not worship the god “of the sun” or “of the sea” or “of the harvest.” Our God is the creator of “heaven and earth” – a Hebrew idiom meaning “all above and below,” referring to everything that is. The origin stories of pagan religions typically begin by describing how their gods came to be. Our origin story begins, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1). God is a presupposed reality. Everything else comes from Him. In stating that God makes the sun and the moon, the sea and the land, the author of Genesis is asserting that all the things pagans worship as gods are in fact creations made by the one true God. “The confession of God’s oneness,” the Catechism says, “which has its roots in the divine revelation of the Old Covenant, is inseparable from the profession of God’s existence and is equally fundamental” (CCC 200). “God is unique. There are no other gods besides Him” (CCC 212). This God revealed His divine name to Moses from the burning bush as YHWH, or “I Am Who Am” (Ex 3:14). God simply IS. He alone is the uncreated fullness of being without beginning or end, and the source of all else that exists. He is the Mind, the Power, the Love, and the Meaning that undergirds the entire universe. And the most beautiful and incredible part of this opening credal statement we profess is that, as creatures made in God’s image (Gn 1:27) and adopted through His Son (Eph 1:5, Rom 8:17), we have the unmerited privilege of knowing the ineffable Creator not only as our God, but our “Father.” DEACON MATTHEW NEWSOME is the Catholic campus minister at Western Carolina University. He is the author of “The Devout Life: A Modern Guide to Practical Holiness with St. Francis de Sales,” available now from Sophia Institute Press.

Daily Scripture readings JAN. 21-27

Sunday: Jonah 3:1-5, 10, 1 Corinthians 7:2931, Mark 1:14-20; Monday (Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children): 2 Samuel 5:1-7, 10, Mark 3:22-30; Tuesday (St. Vincent, St. Marianne Cope): 2 Samuel 6:12b-15, 17-19, Mark 3:31-35; Wednesday (St. Francis de Sales): 2 Samuel 7:4-17, Mark 4:120; Thursday (The Conversion of St. Paul): Acts 22:3-16, Mark 16:15-18; Friday (Sts. Timothy and Titus): 2 Timothy 1:1-8, Mark 4:26-34; Saturday (St. Angela Merici): 2 Samuel 12:1-7a, 10-17, Mark 4:35-41

JAN. 28-FEB. 3

Sunday: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Mark 1:21-28; Monday: 2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30, 16:5-13, Mark 5:1-20; Tuesday: 2 Samuel 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30-19:3, Mark 5:21-43; Wednesday (St. John Bosco): 2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17, Mark 6:1-6; Thursday: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12, 1 Chronicles 29:10-12, Mark 6:7-13; Friday (The Presentation of the Lord): Malachi 3:1-4, Hebrews 2:14-18, Luke 2:22-40; Saturday (St. Blaise, St. Ansgar): 1 Kings 3:4-13, Mark 6:30-34

FEB. 4-10

Sunday: Job 7:1-4, 6-7, 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23, Mark 1:29-39; Monday (St. Agatha): 1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13, Mark 6:53-56; Tuesday (St. Paul Miki and Companions): 1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30, Mark 7:1-13; Wednesday: 1 Kings 10:1-10, Mark 7:14-23; Thursday (St. Jerome Emiliani, St. Josephine Bakhita): 1 Kings 11:4-13, Mark 7:24-30; Friday: 1 Kings 11:29-32, 12:19, Mark 7:31-37; Saturday (St. Scholastica): 1 Kings 12:26-32, 13:33-34, Mark 8:1-10

Pope Francis

Lust, pornography poison God's gifts of sexuality, love


ornography and lust undermine and rob people from experiencing God's gift of love, Pope Francis said. "Sexual pleasure, which is a gift from God, is undermined by pornography: satisfaction without relationship that can generate forms of addiction," the pope said Jan. 17 at his weekly general audience. "We must defend love, love of the heart, mind and body, loving by giving oneself to another – this is the beauty of a sexual relationship," he said. Continuing a series of audience talks about vices and virtues, the pope reflected on the vice or "demon" of lust, which is "a kind of 'voracity' with regard to another person, that is, the poisoned bond that human beings have with each other, especially in the sphere of sexuality." "Please note," the pope said, "in Christianity, there is no condemnation of the sexual instinct." The Song of Songs in the Bible, "is a wonderful poem of love between two lovers," he said, and the human experience of falling in love is "one of the purest feelings" and "one of the most astonishing realities of existence." "However, this beautiful dimension of our humanity is not without its dangers," he said. The "garden" of love "is defiled by the demon of lust," which destroys relationships and can become "a chain that deprives human beings of freedom. To love is to respect the other, to seek his or her happiness, to cultivate empathy for his or her feelings," Pope Francis said. Lust, on the other hand, poisons relationships, he said. Toxic relationships display a sense of "possession of the other, lacking respect and a sense of limits," and where chastity has been missing. Lust, "does not want to listen to the other but only to its own need and pleasure; it does not seek that synthesis between reason, drive and feeling that would help us to conduct existence wisely." A person full of lust seeks only shortcuts and "does not understand that the road to love must be traveled slowly" with patience that, "far from being synonymous with boredom, allows us to make our loving relationships happy." "Winning the battle against lust ... can be a lifelong endeavor. But the prize of this battle is the most important of all, because it is preserving that beauty that God wrote into His creation when He imagined love between man and woman," he said. Building a life together is better than going on "the hunt," he said, and cultivating tenderness is better than "bowing to the demon of possession. True love is not possession, it is given, serving is better than conquering." "If there is no love," the pope said, "life is sad, it is sad loneliness."

Our diocese 4

catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD

For the latest news 24/7: catholicnewsherald.com

In Brief

Knights of Columbus announce winners of poster contest CHARLOTTE — The Knights of Columbus chapter at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish had nine entries win or place for the 15 spots in the regional "Keep Christ in Christmas" youth poster contest. Participants were judged on slogan, visuals and overall impact. Four participants from Our Lady of Assumption Parish – Arleth Estrella Perez Salinas, Perla Galvan, Carlos Guzman and Nicole Vazquez – took top awards in several categories. Six more participants – Khan Van Vu, Maya Rosales, Finner Woolard, Austin Beiryrao, David Shar and Mayze Comstock – received their certificates at Our Lady of the Assumption School’s final Mass before Christmas break. Pictured above: (back row from left) Principal Tyler Kulp, Tim Tucker and Bill Sparger; (front row from left) Khan Van Vu, Maya Rosales, Austin Beiryrao, David Shar and Mayze Comstock. — Troy Hull

Brother Raber, a Belmont Abbey seminarian, studies in Pennsylvania LATROBE, Penn. — Seminarian Brother James Raber from Belmont Abbey Monastery is studying at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for the 2023-2024 academic year, his fourth year of theology studies. He is pictured above with seminary administrators at the start of the school year. From left are Deacon Lawrence Sutton, director of pretheologian formation; Father Nathanael Polinski, academic dean; Brother Raber, Belmont Abbey; Father Edward Mazich, rector; Father John Mary Tompkins, vice rector. — Catholic News Herald


Joyful reaction in Charlotte to Nicaraguan bishops’ release CHARLOTTE — Clergy and faithful in Charlotte reacted with joy this week to the news that two Nicaraguan bishops have been released from a political prison and are safe in Rome. Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa and Bishop Isidoro Mora of Siuna were among 19 political prisoners deported from Nicaragua on Jan. 14. Later that day, the Vatican announced that the two bishops, 15 priests and two seminarians are now “guests of the Holy See.” Two of their priests who were similarly exiled from Nicaragua last year – Father Ramiro Tijerino and Father Oscar Benavides – are now ministering at several parishes in the Diocese of Charlotte. “I join the joy of many Nicaraguans and the priests who were freed,” Father Benavides told the Catholic News Herald on OSV NEWS | MAYNOR VALENZUELA, REUTERS Tuesday. “But, at the same After more than 500 days’ detention, the Ortega regime released Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa who has been time, I ask that we continue the Nicaraguan government’s most prominent critic, from prison Jan. 14, and sent into exile along with 18 other imprisoned prayers for Nicaragua.” churchmen. Bishop Álvarez safely landed in Rome Jan. 14, the Vatican confirmed. Seen above, the prelate walks outside a Father Tijerino and Catholic church in Managua May 20, 2022, a few months before his imprisonment. Father Benavides were arbitrarily jailed for several months before being suddenly deported to the United States in February 2023. They are among more than 200 Catholic clergy and religious recently forced out of Nicaragua by its president Daniel Ortega. Bishop Álvarez was supposed to be deported with them, but at the last minute he refused to leave Father Oscar Benavides and was subsequently sent to a notorious Nicaraguan priest now serving in Charlotte political prison. Bishop Mora was Tijerino Benavides arrested last month for saying at Mass that he was praying for Bishop Álvarez. Charlotte after Bishop Peter Jugis offered he was sentenced to 26 years in prison Since coming to Charlotte, Father them sanctuary, later recounted, “He was on charges of conspiracy and spreading Tijerino and Father Benavides have false information – one day after he so excited. He hugged me and said, ‘They been calling for peace in Nicaragua refused to leave the country. are in Rome. They just arrived. They are and encouraging people to pray for the Bishop Álvarez refused subsequent safe!’ You could just see the joy in him.” release of the bishops and other political attempts at exiling him – as expulsion or After Mass, parishioners rallied prisoners. refusing priests reentry to the country around Father Tijerino, Sister Joan in On Jan. 14, the Vatican and the after traveling abroad became a common tears. Nicaraguan government announced that “I am so happy,” Sister Joan said. “This tactic. the bishops and other churchmen had “The dictatorship feels safer or more has been our prayer, that the bishop, and departed Nicaragua on a flight for Rome comfortable with religious people outside the priests and the seminarians would be after reaching an agreement for their the country than inside the country,” released…and now they have!” release and exile. By that afternoon, said Arturo McFields Yescas, a former Bishop Álvarez has become the face of the news had spread online through the Nicaraguan diplomat now in exile. resistance in Nicaragua, raising his voice Vatican’s news outlet and independent “When they are inside (the country) against the increasing intolerance of the Nicaragua media. they consider them a threat, a danger, a Sandinista regime – which has subdued As soon as he heard, Father Tijerino counterweight to their official narrative. the business community, forced the free happily shared the breaking news with press out of the country and attempted to And when they are outside, (the regime) parishioners during Mass at Our Lady feels that they no longer have that control the Catholic Church. of the Assumption Church. He gave critical voice, or that voice of truth, The bishop spent more than 500 days thanks to God and also thanked everyone which spoke to the people and people in custody after police arrested him who prayed and negotiated for the listened to,” he said. in August 2022 during a pre-dawn raid churchmen’s safe release. on his diocesan curia, where he had Sister Joan Pearson, who was at the — Catholic News Herald. OSV News contributed. Mass and has played a key role in helping been holed up protesting the seizure of Catholic media outlets. In February 2023, the two Nicaraguan priests settle in

‘I ask that we continue prayers for Nicaragua.’

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


Vandals can’t stop Mary Our Lady of Grace statue to return to parish after recent vandalism

2023 DSA campaign surpasses goal thanks to generous parishioners CHARLOTTE — The 2023 Diocesan Support Appeal campaign raised $6.77 million from 12,902 donors across the Diocese of Charlotte – surpassing the campaign goal of $6.5 million by 4 percent for the second year in a row. The theme of the 2023 Diocesan Support Appeal, “To Serve is to Love,” encouraged Catholics to help thousands of people in need across the Charlotte diocese. Inspired by Philippians 2:5-9, people are called to follow Christ’s example of humbly regarding others as more important than themselves and to serve one another. Overall, 16 percent of registered parishioners across the diocese gave an average donation of $525, up from an average gift of $495 in the 2022 30% EDUCATION campaign, and 74% percent of parishes 30% CATHOLIC CHARITIES and missions across the diocese DIOCESE OF CHARLOTTE reached or exceeded their campaign 13% MULTICULTURAL goal. MINISTRIES Parishioners in all 92 parishes and 12% VOCATIONS missions in the Charlotte diocese fund 7% OTHER the DSA. 7% DSA CAMPAIGN COSTS Parishes that exceed their goal keep the extra funds they collect, while parishes that fall short of their goal in donations from parishioners make up the shortfall from their operating budgets. Some of the parishes receiving rebate funds include: St. Therese in Mooresville, St. Paul the Apostle in Greensboro, St. Peter in Charlotte and St. Mary Help of Christians in Shelby. “It is wonderful to see our diocese continue to grow in both population and diversity and how the DSA has evolved to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of our local communities,” said David Walsh, the diocese’s associate director of development. “Everyone’s combined support helps our ministries and programs grow and make an impact beyond what one parish could do alone.” The 2023 campaign continues a trend of the DSA campaign goal being achieved every year in the diocese. The 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 DSA campaigns also broke each prior year’s fundraising total and campaign goal, despite the pandemic. — Spencer K.M. Brown

Offices and Ministries supported by the DSA

KIMBERLY BENDER kdbender@rcdoc.org

GREENSBORO — The beloved statue of Mary that greets visitors to Our Lady of Grace Church will soon return to her position of prominence – spiffed up with fresh paint and more beautiful than ever – after another incident of vandalism sidelined her in recent weeks. On Christmas Eve, someone sprayed black paint on the 5-foot statue of Mary, with arms extended and palms open, directing graces upon people. It was the fourth incident in 15 months – but this time the Greensboro Police Department released Crime Stoppers photos of two people on church grounds, seeking the public’s help identifying them. “Mary has endured much more than this,” said Father Casey Colemen, Our Lady of Grace pastor. “She will be back, just as she has returned before. Mary is always there for us as our Mother, and this statue stands as a comforting reminder of her constant presence.” Similar spray-paint incidents occurred in October 2022 and January 2023, requiring Mary’s brief departure to get cleaned and repainted. Staff were able to remove paint from a third incident in March 2023. “People at the church are praying for a conversion of hearts for whomever is responsible for this,” said Matt Fitzgerald, operations manager at Our PHOTO PROVIDED Lady of Grace. The church recently The statue of Our Lady of Grace is a beloved focal point at the Greensboro installed cameras to keep an eye on parish bearing her name. Surrounded by benches, it is a place where Mary, and now has the restoration parishioners gather for prayer, inspiration and conversation. process down to a science. “We would not leave Mary up there defaced,” Fitzgerald said, “she deserves better Know something? than that.” Anyone with information about these incidents The statue was originally installed in the can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 336church garden in 1998, her 3-foot pedestal 373-1000 or www.ggcrimestoppers.com. A Crime inscribed with quotations from Saint Pope Stoppers reward of up to $5,000 is offered for help John Paul II. Even through storm damage, a in solving the case, and photos are available on the kidnapping, and now vandals, our holy Mother Crime Stoppers site. endures.

World Day for Consecrated Life Mass to be held Feb. 3 ANNIE FERGUSON arferguson@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE — All are invited to attend the annual Mass for World Day for Consecrated Life to be celebrated by Bishop Peter Jugis at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at St. Patrick Cathedral, located at 1621 Dilworth Road East. It is a special way to say “thank you” to all the consecrated men and women who serve in the Diocese of Charlotte. Instituted by then-Pope John Paul II in 1997, this annual celebration in the Church is held in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day, commemorating the coming of Christ, the Light of the World, through the symbolic lighting of candles. Similarly, consecrated men and women are called to spread the light and love of Jesus Christ through their unique witness of selfless service. On Feb. 3, Bishop Jugis will recognize consecrated religious in the Diocese

of Charlotte celebrating milestone, or “jubilee,” anniversaries. The World Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated Feb. 2 by the universal Church, and parishes across the diocese will celebrate over the weekend of Feb. 3-4 to highlight the work of consecrated men and women in the Diocese of Charlotte.

A prayer for religious brothers and sisters in the diocese For those consecrated to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, that they may seek to live their baptismal promises more intensely and have the grace to persevere in their commitment to the Lord and serve with open hearts and willing spirits. Amen.

More online At www.catholicnewsherald.com: See the list of 2024 jubilarians.

Bishop Peter Jugis meets with sisters from the Missionaries of Charity at the 2018 World Day for Consecrated Life Mass. FILE | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD


catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD


available at www.ccdoc.org/cchd-crs. The deadline for receipt, via email, of grant applications is Thursday, Feb. 15.


CRS Rice Bowl begins Feb. 14

Catholic Charities accepting applications for grants to local projects fighting poverty CHARLOTTE — Applications are now open for 2024 Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants to fund local projects that target the root causes of poverty and related social concerns. Funded with 25% of the funds raised in the November CCHD Collection, Catholic Charities annually offers these local grants to fund non-profit projects in the Diocese of Charlotte that fight poverty at the grassroots level. All grant applicants and projects are reviewed for conformity to Catholic social doctrine and require a local parish endorsement. The grant applicant should request the letter of endorsement with enough time to include it with the application. Grant guidelines and applications are

CHARLOTTE — Materials will soon be available for parishes and schools that would like to take part in the 2024 Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl campaign, which starts on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14. CRS Rice Bowl gives Catholics across the U.S. the opportunity to assist the global human family through daily prayer, weekly fasting and almsgiving. Parishes and schools already in the program should receive CRS Rice Bowl items this month. A parish or school that wants to confirm its upcoming CRS Rice Bowl shipment or order additional items can call the CRS toll-free number at 1-800-222-0025. Parishes and schools that wish to participate for the first time can also call CRS or go to crsricebowl. org to place an order for the number of CRS Rice Bowl items desired. Materials ordered by Jan. 31 should arrive to parishes and schools in time for distribution before the start of the campaign.


St. Joseph Vietnamese Parish’s Hidden Dragon Lion Dance team performs at the 2020 Tet Festival. They will take part in this year’s event as well.

— Joe Purello

St. Joseph Vietnamese Church invites all to annual Tet festival CHRISTINA LEE KNAUSS clknauss@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE — The Vietnamese Catholic community in Charlotte welcomes all to join them in celebrating one of the most important festivals in Vietnamese culture in early February. Known as Tet, this traditional Vietnamese celebration commemorates the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Members of the community will gather for two liturgies at St. Joseph Vietnamese Catholic Church, located at 4929 Sandy Porter Road in Charlotte, said Father Tri Truong, pastor. The first Mass will be held at 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, and will include a countdown to the beginning of the Lunar New Year at midnight. There will be a second Mass at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, to celebrate the Lunar New Year a second time. Both Masses will feature a celebration with a performance by the parish’s Hidden Dragon Lion Dance Team and firecrackers, part of the traditional celebration of Tet. Two Masses are necessary to celebrate Tet because each one draws hundreds of people from around the Charlotte area as well as

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visitors from other parts of North Carolina and out of state, Father Truong noted. The annual Tet Mass at 11 p.m. regularly draws between 700 and 1,000 people. Father Truong stressed the fact that Lunar New Year celebrations are not pagan traditions, but simply reflect the fact that Asian countries measured years by cycles of the moon in ancient times. “In the Asian tradition they used the lunar calendar until the western calendar was brought to Asia,” he said. “In Vietnamese culture, we still look at the lunar year as the time to celebrate the new year.” In Vietnamese tradition, 2024 is known as the Year of the Dragon, signifying talent, strength, nobility, luck and success. Parishioners will receive special red envelopes which contain a dollar bill and a note with a scripture verse as an expression of appreciation and a wish for God’s blessing and prosperity during the New Year. “I will be offering the same message I give to the people every year, asking God’s blessing for them as they continue their journey into the year with a new and fresh start,” Father Truong said.

Belmont Abbey College announces new graduate degree BELMONT — Belmont Abbey College is expanding their graduate studies program in 2024, adding a Master of Arts in Classical and Liberal Education to the Catholic college’s expanding curriculum. The new degree program aims to provide strong formation in classical pedagogy, the Great Books, and liberal arts, founded in Catholic intellectual tradition. The college will welcome its first cohort for this new program in the Fall of 2024. “At Belmont Abbey College, we believe in the development of the whole person – mind, body, and soul,” said Dr. Joseph Wysocki, dean of the Honors College and interim provost. “During the undergraduate years, we help instill a foundation of critical thinking

in our students so that they can go forth and lead virtuous lives," he said. "At the graduate level, individuals come to us with career and industry experience and a desire to lead. "The new Master of Arts in Classical and Liberal Education takes this idea of educating the whole person and edifies educators on how to implement this approach so they can form future generations.” Belmont Abbey College is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2024 semester. For program information and to learn more about how to apply, go online to www. belmontabbeycollege.edu. — Catholic News Herald

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


Seminarian Spotlight Mark Becker’s heavenward flight: Aviator turns career about-face in pursuit of God’s will ANNIE FERGUSON arferguson@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE — The sky has literally been the limit for seminarian Mark Becker who, ever since he can remember, had his sights set on becoming a Marine officer and “flying cool jets.” He was well on his way when in 2020 – two weeks before receiving his wings – a major brain injury sidelined him, setting off a chain of events that would lead him down a path he had never considered – the priesthood. While off duty, he suffered a subdural hematoma and was taken to a San Antonio hospital where he stayed for five days. His older brother, newly ordained Father Brian Becker, rushed to Texas from North Carolina to give him Anointing of the Sick in the Intensive Care Unit. His sister Deena also flew down as well as his parents, Tammy and Joseph, who was soon to be ordained a deacon at the time. After his release from the hospital, the younger Becker brother spent two months in outpatient therapy and the next year and half trying to convince the Navy doctors he was fit to fly. As his friends all graduated and moved on in their lives, he felt stuck in his small South Texas town fighting for the chance to realize his lifelong dreams. Becker describes this period in his life as his “time in the desert,” and said it was one where he did a lot of listening. As a result, God reordered his life and led him to new horizons. He recently talked with the Catholic News Herald about his journey. CNH: When did you first feel a calling to the priesthood? Becker: From late 2018 to early 2020, when I was recovering from the brain injury, I

Seminarian Mark Becker was on track to become a naval aviator until an injury forced him to change course. Siblings Deena Faust, Father Brian Becker and Mark Becker grew up in a faithful Catholic home where their parents, Joseph and Tammy, taught them how to pray and listen to God. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY MARK BECKER

didn’t know where God was leading me. I was still aggressively pursuing my longtime goal of becoming a naval aviator, but at the same time I was creating several different backup plans for my professional life. It was a turbulent time, and definitely the most difficult time of my life so far, yet through this suffering God reordered my interior life and drew me closer to Him. My dreams were slipping out of my grasp, and I was losing control of my plan for my life. Despite it being a terrible time, there was a constant underlying sense of certainty that I was in God’s hands and that His plan

Mark Becker Biography From: Charlotte Age: 33 Home parish: St. Matthew Church, Charlotte Parents: Deacon Joseph and Tammy Becker Siblings: Father Brian Becker and Deena Faust Background: Baptized at St. Matthew Parish in the gym before the church was built, grew up in Charlotte, attended All Saints before it was St. Matthew Catholic School, continued on to Holy Trinity Middle School and then a Catholic high school in Dunn Loring, Va., graduated from EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University in Florida, where he was involved in the Catholic Student Union, was a flight instructor for a year, went to Officer Candidate School in Quantico for a 10week boot camp, was commissioned as a second lieutenant with Becker a flight contract, spent six more months of training at Quantico, went to flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and received orders to Kingsville, Texas, for further training to become a naval aviator.

Status: Began studies and formation at St. Joseph College Seminary in 2022, expected to transfer to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology in fall of 2024 Favorite Bible verse: “Into Your hand I entrust my spirit; You have redeemed me, Lord, God of truth.” (Ps 31:5) “This verse has been one of my favorites during my time in seminary. It is the verse that Jesus cried out from the Cross just before He breathed His last. It is one of the prayers that is said during compline (night prayer) and is a striking and beautiful way to surrender yourself and unite yourself to Jesus on the Cross just before going to sleep.” Favorite saints: St. Paul of the Cross and St. James. “St. Paul of the Cross has been popping up again and again in my discernment, both before and during seminary. My brother and Sister Mary Raphael of the Daughters of the Virgin Mother had both been asking St. Paul of the Cross and St. James the Greater to intercede on my behalf for quite some time prior to me entering seminary. I was not aware of it at the time, but both of those saints had a role in helping me to see, and to conform myself to, God’s will. Interests (outside of faith): All things mechanical, especially cars and airplanes.

would be far better than my plan. The call to the priesthood happened very naturally. My mom asked me while having coffee one day, “Well, have you ever considered the priesthood?” I immediately gave her a million-and-a-half reasons for why it’s not me God is calling, but that kind of lodged in the back of my head and the thought never really went away. It kept poking at me over the next few months, so I finally started to pray about this, and the more I did, the more it picked up speed. I had started dating a faithful Catholic woman. It was the first relationship I had when we were both very Catholic, and so I’m wrestling with all these things. I finally I went into my church in Texas one day in the middle of the week. Nobody was there, and I went up to the sanctuary and out loud just said to God, “I think this is what you want. Please stop me if this is not what you want.” I asked what He wanted, waited around for a week … and silence. Around this time, I had been telling a good buddy of mine, another Catholic in my squadron, my story. I was in the throes of it, and I was just bouncing ideas off him. He stopped me mid conversation and said, “I think you know what the answer is here.” That was the final nudge.

CNH: How has your brother’s priestly vocation inspired you? Becker: I had the benefit of watching from the sidelines as my brother went through the process. There were so many parallels that popped up between my journey in the Marine Corps and his journey through seminary and the priesthood – the sense of tradition, required high moral standards, the subordinating of ourselves to achieve a common goal, and a sense of brotherhood rarely found elsewhere. Obviously, it was huge having him on speed dial when I first started discerning. At the time, I didn’t want to talk to anybody publicly about it. It was nice to have someone who I personally know who went through the process himself and who also coaches other people discerning a priestly vocation. CNH: With your father as a deacon and your brother a priest, why do you think so many in your immediate family felt these callings? Becker: I don’t truly know. Overall, when my brother entered seminary in 2010 or 2011, the whole family became much, much deeper in our faith. I’ve heard stories of other seminarian families experiencing the same thing. It seems to be how God works, but there’s almost a gravitational pull BECKER, SEE PAGE 11


catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD

Best-selling Catholic author Paul Elie to speak at 24th annual Kennedy Lecture CHRISTINA LEE KNAUSS clknauss@rcdoc.org

St. Pius X hosts special Taizé event for Advent GREENSBORO — St. Pius X Church held a special Advent evening of Taizé style contemplative music and prayer on Dec. 9, under the leadership of Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio, pastor. The service was organized by Francine Britto, pastoral associate for music and liturgy at St. Pius X, along with members of the Music and Liturgy Ministry and guest musicians. More than 100 people from St. Pius and area parishes attended and joined in the simple, repetitive Taizé chants with music carefully chosen to anchor the prayer time with a calming and peaceful influence. Songs of praise and thanksgiving framed the readings from the Psalms and Scripture. The focus was on songs celebrating the Light of Christ, with symbols of darkness and light playing an important role during the Advent celebration. Taizé Prayer is a Christian evening prayer. It is a simple, meditative form of worship, calling the faithful to dwell deeply on Christ’s presence around and within us. Songs, prayerful silence, and short readings guide the focus of the prayer in a candle-lit environment, often accompanied by music. “The timeless Taizé style of music draws the faithful to contemplative prayer,” Britto said. “Having led services like this in other parishes over the years, it is humbling to be a part of this here at St. Pius. With Taizé, the peaceful music swells in the prayerful repetitions with various vocal and instrumental parts taking on a new layer.” A reception followed the service in the Simmons Center, hosted by Martha’s Helpers. The event was so well received by visitors and parishioners that St. Pius X’s Music and Liturgy Ministry plans to host another Taizé service during the upcoming Lenten season. — Georgianna Penn, correspondent

CHARLOTTE — Best-selling author and journalist Paul Elie, who covers Pope Francis and the Catholic Church for The New Yorker, will be this year’s featured Kennedy lecturer on Saturday, Jan. 27. The annual event is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. at St. Peter Catholic Church, located at 507 S. Tryon St., Charlotte. The event is free and open to all with no advance sign-up required. Coffee will be served from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. in Biss Hall. Elie is senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. In addition to working for 15 years as a senior editor with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, he is the author of two books: “The Life You Save May be Your Own,” a joint Elie biography of Catholic writers Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, and “Reinventing Bach,” which focuses on how modern innovators are bringing the work of famed classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach to new audiences. Both were National Book Critics Circle Award finalists. He is currently working on a book about arts and religion in the 1980s. This year’s lecture will be in-person after two years of Zoom-based events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elie will speak about his work and then be in conversation with Tim Funk, a member of the Kennedy Lecture’s organizing committee.

Elie’s extensive coverage of Pope Francis and the Church for The New Yorker allows him a unique perspective on a wide variety of issues and fits neatly with this year’s lecture theme, “Living Our Faith in Turbulent Times.” “We’re very excited that Paul has agreed to be this year’s speaker because many of us on the committee had read his book on the lives of these four iconic Catholic writers and loved it,” Funk said. “We hope to ask him more about his perspectives on these writers and why so many today find inspiration and religious enlightenment from their work. He also has offered some of the most astute and richest coverage of Pope Francis, the Jesuits and other issues in the Church, which we also want to discuss.” The Kennedy Lecture is an annual event funded by Thomas and Richard Kennedy in memory of their parents, Keith and Joan Kennedy. The series started in 2000 and offers a deeper look at Catholic teachings through exposure to the thoughts of prominent people in the religion and ethics fields. Kate Hennessy, the granddaughter of famed Catholic activist Dorothy Day, was the 2023 lecturer. Other recent speakers have included Jesuit Father Tom Gaunt, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) in 2022, and Joan Rosenhauer, executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA View in 2021.

More online At www.stpeterscatholic.org/kennedylecture-2024: Learn more about the Kennedy Lecture, Paul Elie and event details


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January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


Finding a ‘slice of heaven’ in St. Louis First-time N.C. pilgrims deepen relationship with Jesus at SEEK24 conference At one point, she happened to be walking by as Cardinal Timothy Dolan was arriving on the main floor for a media interview. “I was astonished at how approachable he was. He motioned for me to come over when he saw me standing nearby. I had MiraVia’s website pulled up on my phone and showed it to him while introducing myself. He said, ‘Oh yes, MiraVia, you do wonderful work!’” Capen asked if he would bless the organization, and Cardinal Dolan agreed. “He took my phone and said a blessing while making the sign of the cross with his thumb on the image of our building. I knelt down and he gave me a blessing, too,” Capen says. “He reiterated how important the work that we do is and to keep it going. Then he took my hand in both of his and thanked me for asking for his blessing. For such a public figure, I was impressed by his sincerity and his joyful interactions with everyone around him.”

ANNIE FERGUSON arferguson@rcdoc.org

ST. LOUIS — A 22,000-member chorus chanting “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus” swirled into the air enveloping America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis Jan. 4 as hearts and minds were lifted to God in worship. Following a 500-priest procession, it was one of many soulstirring moments of SEEK24, a popular youth and young adult conference held Jan. 1-5 and organized by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). The event’s theme was “Be the Light,” and it drew record attendance, energizing pilgrims more than ever. “Chanting the ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ made me tear up. It was like a small slice of heaven,” says Liz Herpy, youth minister at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Greensboro. “The Mass is heaven on earth, and hearing everyone chanting with all of themselves and singing to God was incredibly moving.” Fresh off celebrating its 25th anniversary, FOCUS is a campus- and parish-based organization that aims to create missionary disciples through a variety of programs and events. United in their love for Jesus, SEEK attendees had the opportunity to worship, listen to talks from Catholic leaders, join in Eucharistic Adoration, learn more about Catholic ministries and religious orders at the exhibitors’ booths, and reunite with friends from around the country and the world. With about 20,000 paid registrants, there was a 28% increase over last year’s conference. Registrants included college students, lay leaders and record numbers of seminarians, bishops, priests, and religious brothers and sisters. Overall numbers swelled higher as the week went on, reaching 24,000 attendees on Jan. 3 when everyone in St. Louis was invited to attend two keynote speeches for free, followed by silent Eucharistic Adoration. Many attendees say their faith lives are transformed by the conference, including three first-time pilgrims from the Diocese of Charlotte – a local college student, a Catholic nonprofit leader, and a parish youth minister. They recently shared their SEEK24 experiences with the Catholic News Herald.



More than 22,000 Catholics attend the conference’s closing Mass Jan. 5. (Below) Belmont Abbey College senior John Carayiannis (right) took time away from his wrestling season to attend the SEEK24 conference. Jake Burns (left), the FOCUS missionary at the school, invited the recently confirmed Carayiannis to the event. “But Jesus came to break the power of Satan!” he continued. “The wound of sin is deep in us, but it’s nowhere near the deepest part of us. Much deeper in our baptized soul is a place for God … and we’re capable, through baptism, of life with God and God living in us.” Carayiannis says he recommends the conference to all young people. “It will 100 percent be worth it in the end,” he says. “The amount the conference builds you up, grows your faith, and brings you closer to Christ in such a short period of time is just remarkable.”



When John Carayiannis was invited to SEEK, he was a little hesitant. The college senior was in the middle of his wrestling season at Belmont Abbey College and wasn’t sure he had time for a five-day trip to St. Louis. However, circumstances changed when he partially tore his LCL right before Christmas, temporarily sidelining him from competing. “Still, the conference wasn’t pushed too much,” he says, “Our missionary, Jake Burns, told me about it, I liked what I heard, and that’s why I wanted to go.” Carayiannis had other inspiration, too. During his reversion to the Catholic faith and right before he entered RCIA last year, he listened to all the talks Father Mike Schmitz had given at the conference and wanted to hear him speak in person. Carayiannis grew up in the Catholic faith but fell away and was never confirmed. When it came time for college, his choice to attend Belmont Abbey was based primarily on wrestling. The fact that it was Catholic was just a plus, he says. Now he’s leading a Bible study on campus and is on fire with

the faith. Hearing Father Schmitz – host of the widely popular “Bible in a Year” podcast and director of youth and young adult ministries in the Diocese of Duluth, Minn. – talk in person at SEEK was surreal for him. “Even though he doesn’t know who I am, he has helped me grow in my faith and learn so much, and it was amazing,” Carayiannis says. “It took me a second to realize that, wow, this is real.” Carayiannis joined approximately 50 pilgrims from Belmont Abbey and says he was especially moved by the keynote speech of Monsignor James Shea, president of the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. “If you’re sad, anxious, burned out, or overwhelmed, maybe you’re not dead wrong. Maybe you’re responding reasonably” to the fact that Satan is real, said Monsignor Shea.

Important ministries also find opportunities for growth at SEEK. MiraVia, a Charlotte-based nonprofit serving pregnant college women, was one of the exhibitors at the conference. “The highlight was being surrounded by 22,000 college students at Mass who showed the utmost reverence for our Eucharistic Lord,” said Debbie Capen, executive director of MiraVia. “Hearing the stadium fill with their voices gently singing the ‘Salve Regina’ at the conclusion of each Mass is an experience I will never forget.” MiraVia also hosted a breakout session called “Greater Expectations” where they taught attendees how they can help pregnant students on their campuses. One of MiraVia's former residents, Emilia Pippen, spoke during the session to provide her perspective and answer questions. “It was beautiful to see her testimony bring tears of joy to so many faces,” Capen says. “I learned there is tremendous hope for the future of our nation and the Church. The theme ‘Be the Light’ was perfect because you could practically see the love of Christ radiating from these young people. They would even stop by our booth to learn about the work of MiraVia and then ask how they could pray for us.” Capen also received spiritual support for MiraVia’s work from clergy in attendance.

Liz Herpy had always wanted to go to the SEEK conference. As a parish youth minister, however, she thought she was now past the intended age group until two friends who work for FOCUS invited her. When she arrived in St. Louis, she soon realized how wide-ranging the demographics of the conference truly are. She says she saw hundreds of people in her track from their mid-20s into their 70s as well as families with babies in tow – all there to learn more about reaching the people they serve. “It was really beautiful and inspiring to see everyone come together to learn how to make missionary disciples,” Herpy says. In her work at Our Lady of Grace, Herpy comes across a few college students in her ministry. However, she says, she mostly sees young Catholic adults, many of whom are single and are discerning what God is calling them to do next. Others are starting to live their vocations as young married couples. The talks she attended informed and inspired her to better reach all those who cross her path, she says. The event was also a Catholic family reunion for her as she came across friends she’s made throughout her youth and while discerning a religious vocation with the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church in Connecticut. “I grew up in Cleveland, and I saw a lot of people from Ohio who I was friends with. They were either Capuchins or priests from the Diocese of Cleveland,” Herpy says. “I even saw friends I made while discerning religious life in Connecticut. It was such a blessing to see them flourishing. Even with 22,000 people there, it’s still a small Catholic world.” What’s her takeaway from the conference? “There’s a real call to live a life totally for the Lord no matter your state in life. As a lay person, I ask myself how I can truly live my life totally for Jesus and bring as many souls as possible to Him, including through my workplace,” she says. “It’s easy to forget that in the busyness of our day-to-day lives. SEEK was a great reminder and source of renewal.” Next year’s SEEK conference, “Follow Me,” is set for Jan. 1-5 in Salt Lake City.

Our schools 10

catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD

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Catholic schools near capacity as enrollment deadlines approach ANNIE FERGUSON arferguson@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE —With half the Diocese of Charlotte’s 20 schools at or near capacity, now is the time to apply for the 2024-25 school year. Continuing demand and a new automatic re-enrollment system for students already in the system mean schools are filling up fast. Enrollment deadlines for new students begin Feb. 1, as the diocese continues to manage record enrollment of more than 8,000 students. School leaders are already planning additional expansions and new school construction but say for now, it’s important for families to secure a place at their chosen Catholic school. Monroe “Catholic Schools excel in forming well-rounded students grounded in faith – and families are increasingly recognizing that,” says Superintendent Greg Monroe. “We support parents as the primary educators of their children by offering strong academics, a clear Catholic identity and culture, and unparalleled opportunities in arts, athletics, and other passions.” Enrollment at every school is on the rise as more families discover the value and benefit of a Catholic education, Monroe says. Across the diocese, enrollment is up 12 percent from a decade ago – and almost 18 percent since the pandemic began in 2020. Students already attending Catholic schools receive priority for securing a spot next year, and inquiries, tours, and open-house visits from new families have been steady. The deadline for new families to apply for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten in Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools (MACS) is Thursday, Feb. 1. The deadline to apply for grades 1-12 is Friday, March 1. Deadlines for schools outside the Charlotte area vary but are also approaching; check your desired school’s website (listed below) for specific deadlines. Applications are accepted on a rolling, space-available basis – with priority given to siblings of current and former students, children of alumni and employees, and registered parishioners. Some classes fill up quickly, so new families are encouraged to register early and get on a waiting list if their preferred school’s classes are full.

Additional interest and applications are expected this year thanks to the North Carolina Legislature’s expansion of the N.C. Opportunity Scholarship. The school choice program is now open to all North Carolina students, kindergarten through 12th grade, who wish to attend a participating “direct payment” school, which includes each of the Diocese of Charlotte’s 20 schools. The state-funded scholarship had been reserved for students in low-income brackets based on family size. Other requirements such as attending a public school the prior academic year were also in effect. Now all students, including those who already attend “direct payment”

Catholic School Enrollment Up approximately 18% over the past 5 years

4,633 4,759

The schools are always looking for good people to join their mission and teach, volunteer or be a teacher’s assistant. If you’re interested, go to www.charlottediocese.org/schools/ join-us or contact to your local school.


7,968 8,100*

6,896 7,026

5,549 5,160 5,368

2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24

2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24

MACS students

Students systemwide

*as of July 31, 2023

schools, are eligible. Current recipients who wish to renew their scholarships still get priority status. After that, scholarships will be awarded starting with the lowest income tier until funds are exhausted. Like many schools across the diocese, St. Pius X School in Greensboro has seen steady growth over the past five years, and Principal Chris Kloesz credits a variety of factors. He expects some of this year’s growth to come from the expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship, noting that the program has enabled the school to have a broader outreach, encouraging more families in the area to consider St. Pius X. “We’ve had touring families tell us the Opportunity Scholarship made it more possible – or turned the possibility into a


Opportunities: Join us!

reality – to consider a Catholic education for their children,” he says. Many schools also cite the pandemic as a factor in their growth, Kloesz says. “Although the pandemic brought a few families our way, we were already growing,” he says. “We retained the vast majority of students who joined us during the pandemic. That is very special and a testament to our staff and school community. The students who enrolled during the pandemic had the opportunity to experience how amazing St. Pius X Catholic School is – and they wanted to stay.” That “discovery” played out across the diocese, says Sissie Kilby, director of

The nine Catholic schools in the Charlotte area are grouped together as the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools system: St. Ann (PK, TK-5), St. Gabriel (K-5), St. Matthew (TK-5), St. Patrick (K-5), Our Lady of the Assumption (PK-8), St. Mark (K-8), Holy Trinity Middle (6-8), and Charlotte Catholic and Christ the King high schools (9-12). Visit each school’s website or contact the school directly to schedule a visit: n Charlotte Catholic High School: 7702 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte; 704-


admission for MACS. She tells the story of one father from St. Matthew Catholic School who called to let her know that he applied to MACS simply because they had in-person learning, but he also said he stayed because his child was finally on grade level for the first time ever. “The same father also mentioned his family had become involved with the school community, which led him and his wife to take RCIA classes,” Kilby says. “He said because MACS put a child’s education first, the dynamics of his entire family has changed for the better. He called just to say thank you!” Tuition for registered Catholic families ranges from less than $5,000 to about $13,000 per year, depending on the school and

543-1127; www.charlottecatholic.org n Christ the King High School: 2011 Crusader Way, Huntersville; 704-799-4400; www.ctkchs.org n Holy Trinity Middle School: 3100 Park Road, Charlotte; 704-527-7822; www.htcms. org n St. Ann School: 600 Hillside Ave., Charlotte; 704-525-4938; www.stanncatholic. org n St. Gabriel School: 3028 Providence Road, Charlotte; 704-366-2409; www. stgabrielcatholicschool.org n St. Mark School: 14750 Stumptown Road, Huntersville; 704-766-5000;

grade level. For many, the Opportunity Scholarship would cover all or a significant portion of the tuition, as funding ranges from about $3,000 to $7,000 per student. Applications for the N.C. Opportunity Scholarship open Feb. 1 and close March 1; families can learn more and apply online at www.ncseaa.edu/k12/opportunity. Additional assistance comes in the form of tuition discounts for multiple children enrollment, and every school offers needbased financial aid for qualifying families. In addition to the Opportunity Scholarship, all of the diocese’s schools participate in the N.C. Disability Scholarship program. “I believe we will set a new record enrollment in the new school year based on the number of people who have already applied, coupled with the Opportunity Scholarship and the general growth of the area,” Monroe says. The schools have already been expanding classes to accommodate growth, and school leaders continue to evaluate further expansion plans. This year marks the first full academic year using the new gym at Christ the King High School in Huntersville, the fine arts center at Charlotte Catholic High School, and the STEM lab expansions at Immaculata School in Hendersonville and Our Lady of the Assumption in Charlotte. “We’ve hosted outside organizations in these facilities, which have become community-building hubs,” Monroe says. “We’ve also seen an increase in faculty and staff joining us from other states, and an increase in the number of families moving from other states to the Charlotte diocese.” Select schools in Charlotte and Greensboro offer special learning programs to better meet the needs of diverse learners. In many instances, parents can provide their special-needs child with a Catholic education from pre-kindergarten through high school. All of the diocese’s Catholic schools are accredited through Cognia (www.cognia. org), the largest accreditation system for primary and secondary schools in the U.S. Cognia has local and global networks, giving schools access to successful practices implemented by educators around the world.

More online At www.charlottediocese.org/schools: Learn more about the Diocese of Charlotte’s 20 Catholic schools, their mission and their leadership.

stmarkcatholicschool.net n St. Matthew School: 11525 Elm Lane, Charlotte; 704-544-2070; www. stmattwildcats.com n St. Patrick School: 1125 Buchanan St., Charlotte; 704-333-3174; www. saintpatrickschool.org n Our Lady of the Assumption School: 4225 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte; 704-531-0067; www.olacatholic.org For more information, including MACS application forms and financial aid SCHOOLS, SEE PAGE 11

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


opportunities, please go online to www. discovermacs.org. Prospective families may also contact MACS Admissions Director Sissie Kilby at slkilby@rcdoc.org or 704-370-3273. MACS tuition rates for the 2024-25 year for participating Catholic families are: $4,839 for half-day pre-kindergarten or $7,564 for full-day pre-kindergarten; $7,915 for elementary school (transitional kindergarten through fifth grade); $8,882 for middle school, and $12,651 for high school. There are additional graduation, technology and activity fees.


Outside Charlotte, the diocese has nine parish-based elementary and middle schools and one diocesan high school.


deeper into the faith. CNH: What about the Marine Corps has helped you in your studies for the priesthood? Becker: Discipline, time management and self-accountability are all skills they’re trying to build into the guys at St. Joseph, and I got a lot of that from the Marine Corps. Building these skills opens you up. God’s going to work on you and your interior life. CNH: What have you most enjoyed about studying at

Each has its own admissions process, tuition rates and financial aid programs. Visit each school’s website or contact the school directly for registration information or to arrange a visit: n Asheville Catholic School: PK-8th grade; 12 Culvern St., Asheville; 828-2527896; www.ashevillecatholic.org n Bishop McGuinness High School: 9-12th grade; 1725 N.C. Hwy. 66 South, Kernersville; 336-564-1010; www.bmhs.us n Immaculata School: PK-8th grade; 711 Buncombe St., Hendersonville; 828-693– 3277; www.immac.org n Immaculate Heart of Mary School: PK-8th grade; 4145 Johnson St., High Point; 336-887-2613; www.ihm-school.com n Our Lady of Grace School: PK-8th grade; 201 South Chapman St., Greensboro; 336-275-1522; www.olgsch.org n Our Lady of Mercy School: PK-8th grade; 1730 Link Road, Winston-Salem; 336722-7204; www.ourladyofmercyschool.org n Sacred Heart School: PK-8th grade; 385 Lumen Christi Lane, Salisbury; 704-633-

St. Joseph College Seminary? Becker: The people here are incredible. Everyone’s fully invested in what they’re doing, and it’s a great familial environment. It’s not just like punching the clock, going to work and going home. These are my brothers. It’s awesome to have these years to grow in deep brotherly relationships, and I look forward to seeing what that will turn into 10, 15, 20 years down the road. CNH: What is your advice for other young men discerning the priesthood? Becker: It can be the most frustrating advice when you’re in the throes of trying to discern: Sprint toward God and try to become holy, and God will show you

2841; www.salisburycatholicschool.org n St. Leo School: PK-8th grade; 333 Springdale Ave., Winston-Salem; 336-7488252; www.stleocatholic.com n St. Michael School: PK-8th grade; 704 St. Michael’s Lane, Gastonia; 704-865-4382; www.stmichaelcs.com n St. Pius X School: K-8th grade; 2200 North Elm St., Greensboro; 336-273-9865; www.spxschool.com


The newest member of the diocese’s schools is Canongate Catholic High School, an independent school in the Asheville area that features a classical curriculum. Learn more online at www.canongatecatholic.org.


MACS offers special needs programs at various locations, including: n PACE (Providing an Appropriate Academic Catholic Education), n MAP (Modified Academic Program),

where to go from there. It’s incredibly frustrating not to know yet what school to apply to, where to move and all of that. All those things come after the first and most important thing. In my own journey, it was falling in love with Jesus in the Eucharist and falling in love with the devotion to His mother.

n MMP (Matthew Morgan Program), n Options Program, which creates an elementary through 12th-grade path for students in the MAP and MMP programs to continue to flourish in school and beyond. The Options Program, based at Charlotte Catholic High School, is specifically designed to bring the MAP and MMP together, creating a “certificate” path enabling students to explore options on college/university campuses after high school. Our Lady of Grace School in Greensboro also offers PACE as well as Quest, the school’s autism-inclusion program. To learn more about these special programs and tuition rates, go online to www.charlottediocese.org/schools/about/ special-learning.

Caring for Charlotte Area Catholic Families in Their Hour of Need Since 1926


FUNERAL SERVICE, INC. Charlotte 704-334-6421 Pineville 704-544-1412

More online

Mint Hill 704-545-4864

At www.catholicnewsherald.com: Want to watch Mark Becker tell his story? Check out St. Matthew Parish’s “In the Pews” segment.

Derita 704-596-3291

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iiiJanuary 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com



‘Standing up for the innocent’ People young and old take part in 18th annual March for Life Charlotte CHRISTINA LEE KNAUSS clknauss@rcdoc.org

Coverage continues in Washington At www.catholicnewsherald.com: Follow along with our coverage of the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., including the North Carolina Mass for Life on Friday and news from the busloads of pilgrims from the Diocese of Charlotte (N.C. Mass will be celebrated by Raleigh Bishop Luis Zarama and Charlotte's Vicar General Monsignor Patrick Winslow).

CHARLOTTE — Nearly 200 people – from little children to the elderly – showed up Friday to pray and publicly show their support for all human life during the 18th annual March for Life Charlotte. The annual march through Uptown Charlotte each January coincides with the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that legalized abortion nationwide until the Supreme Court’s reversal last year in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson that left abortion restrictions up to individual states. The day began with about 150 people attending a special Mass for the Unborn offered at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. Participants then gathered outside the Diocese of Charlotte Pastoral Center where, prior to the kick-off of the march, Bishop Peter Jugis led the crowd in prayer and blessed them. “We are here as advocates for the right to life for the unborn child,” Bishop Jugis said. “We are standing up for the innocent, defenseless little ones who cannot speak for themselves or defend themselves from an

unjust attack on their lives.” Bishop Jugis also noted that the day – Jan. 12 – was the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Charlotte in 1972. “What a wonderful way to honor this anniversary day of our diocese and our consistent pro-life witness,” he said. The march started at noon with a procession to Independence Square at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets in Uptown Charlotte. As a bustling crowd of workers and traffic passed by the busy square, marchers held up signs with pro-life messages and banners depicting the Blessed Mother.



Students from Holy Trinity Middle School marched carrying a banner bearing their school’s name. Marchers prayed the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet in Spanish and English as they walked. Although early weather forecasts had predicted rain and storms at march time, sunshine greeted the crowd at Independence Square. People only had to endure a cold wind that whipped between the buildings and forced them to huddle deeper into their coats as they listened to the event’s keynote speakers. In his keynote address, Father Raymond Ekosse, parochial vicar of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Charlotte, encouraged people to publicly witness for life at all stages – and to urge legislators to do the same. “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message,” Father Ekosse said. “It is to be proclaimed to the people of every age, time, nation, continent and culture no matter the odds... We cannot preach the Gospel of life without being defenders and lovers of LIFE, SEE PAGE 24


January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.comiii



Marcha por

la vida



‘Defender a los inocentes’ Jóvenes y adultos participaron en la Marcha por la Vida Charlotte 2024

CHRISTINA LEE KNAUSS clknauss@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE – Cerca de 200 personas, desde niños pequeños hasta adultos mayores, se presentaron el viernes para orar y mostrar públicamente su apoyo a toda vida humana durante la XVIII Marcha anual por la Vida en Charlotte. La marcha anual por Uptown Charlotte cada enero coincide con el aniversario de las decisiones de la Corte Suprema de 1973 en Roe vs. Wade y Doe vs. Bolton que legalizó el aborto en todo el país, hasta la revocación de la Corte Suprema el año pasado en el caso Dobbs vs. Jackson, que dejó las restricciones al aborto en manos de los estados de manera individual. El día comenzó con unas 150 personas que asistieron a una Misa especial por los no nacidos ofrecida en la Catedral San Patricio en Charlotte. Luego, los participantes se reunieron en las afueras del Centro Pastoral de la Diócesis de Charlotte donde, antes del inicio de la marcha, el Obispo Peter Jugis

dirigió a la multitud en oración y los bendijo. “Estamos aquí como defensores del derecho a la vida del niño por nacer”, dijo el Obispo Jugis. “Estamos defendiendo a los pequeños inocentes e indefensos que no pueden hablar por sí mismos o defenderse de un ataque injusto contra sus vidas”. El Obispo Jugis también señaló que ese día, el 12 de enero, era el 52 aniversario de la fundación de la Diócesis de Charlotte en 1972. “Qué manera tan maravillosa de honrar este día de aniversario de nuestra

diócesis y nuestro constante testimonio pro-vida”, dijo. La marcha comenzó al mediodía con una procesión a Independence Square en la intersección de las calles Trade y Tryon en Uptown Charlotte. Mientras una bulliciosa multitud de trabajadores y tráfico pasaba por la concurrida plaza, los manifestantes sostenían carteles con mensajes provida y pancartas que representaban a la Santísima Madre. Los estudiantes de la Escuela Secundaria Holy Trinity marcharon con una pancarta con el nombre de su escuela. Los manifestantes rezaron el rosario y la Coronilla de la Divina Misericordia en español e inglés mientras caminaban. Aunque los primeros pronósticos meteorológicos habían anticipado lluvias y tormentas en marzo, el sol recibió a la multitud en Independence Square. La gente solo tuvo que soportar un viento frío que azotaba entre los edificios y los obligaba a acurrucarse más en sus abrigos mientras escuchaban a los oradores del evento. LA VIDA, PASA A LA PÁGINA 24

La cobertura continúa en Washington En www.catholicnewsherald.com: Siga nuestra cobertura de la Marcha Nacional por la Vida en Washington, D.C., incluida la Misa por la Vida en Carolina del Norte el viernes (con el celebrante principal, el Obispo de Raleigh, Luis Zarama, y el homilista, Monseñor Patrick Winslow) e información desde los autobuses que transportan a los peregrinos de la Diócesis de Charlotte.


catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 14

Tradición navideña concluye con la Candelaria SERGIO LÓPEZ selopez@rcdoc.org

Dr. Hosffman Ospino

¿Dónde jugarán los niños


n 1992, la agrupación mexicana Maná lanzó uno de sus éxitos musicales más reconocidos con el título “¿Dónde jugarán los niños?” La canción en sí es una invitación a pensar en las consecuencias de vivir sin espacios en donde los niños puedan ser niños. Después de más de tres décadas, el interrogante sigue haciendo eco. Las risas de los niños en un parque nos recuerdan qué tan importante es tener espacios seguros en donde los más pequeños, y quienes los cuidamos, podamos pasar tiempo de manera libre, espontánea y sin muchas preocupaciones. Sí, también de vez en cuendo los niños se caen, se raspan las rodillas, se les enreda el cabello. Mamás, papás, abuelas y abuelos, y otras personas que cuidan niños sabemos que todo esto es parte de la experiencia de salir a jugar. Quienes les observamos experimentamos un sentido de gozo. Les observamos atentamente para estar seguros de que estén seguros y disfruten lo que hacen. A veces imagino que ésta es la manera como Dios mira a la humanidad. Salir a jugar en un espacio abierto nos da la oportunidad de conocer a otras personas. Los niños juegan con otros niños sin prejuicio. Conversamos con vecinos y extraños que también traen a sus hijos a jugar en el mismo espacio en donde nuestros niños juegan. Aprendemos sus nombres. Compartimos historias y descubrimos lo mucho que tenemos en común. No estamos solos. Jugar es más que participar en juegos estructurados guiados por reglas con el propósito de competir. Jugar es ante todo expresarse libremente mientras entramos en comunión con otras personas y el espacio en donde uno juega, enfocados en el presente y casi inconscientes del pasar del tiempo. Los niños hacen esto de manera espontánea e inocente. Simplemente juegan. ¡Qué privilegio es tener espacios en donde los niños pueden jugar y sentirse humanos!. Somos bendecidos al disfrutar las condiciones que les dan a nuestros hijos el tiempo y el espacio para jugar de manera libre, espontánea y sin muchas preocupaciones. Desde esta perspectiva, son muchos los eventos recientes en nuestro mundo me interrogan y me invitan a pensar en la realidad de cientos de millones de niños que no tienen espacios seguros, tiempo, o el apoyo necesario para jugar como niños. Las imágenes de ciudades y pueblos destruidos por causa de guerras nos deben interpelar profundamente como seres humanos. Lo mismo aquellas de pueblos abandonados porque no proveen la seguridad necesaria para vivir y formar a las nuevas generaciones Sin parques, ni campos deportivos, ni patios de recreo en las escuelas, ¿dónde jugarán los niños? Son muchísimos los niños a los que nuestro mundo actual les está robando su infancia y la oportunidad de jugar como niños, viviendo bajo la amenaza constante de la violencia generada por el terrorismo y la guerra, el desplazamiento forzado, el tráfico de personas, gobiernos despóticos, mala legislación, hambre y abandono, entre otros males sociales. Son muchísimos los niños que mueren antes de su tiempo por causa de estas realidades sin darles siquiera la oportunidad de jugar como deberían jugar todos los niños. Estos niños son los santos inocentes de nuestro día. Los podemos ver. Tienen nombres. No podemos permanecer pasivos frente a su sangre, sus lágrimas y sus temores. Abogar por la vida de todos los niños tiene que ir de la mano del compromiso de abogar por espacios seguros en donde los niños puedan jugar. DR. HOSFFMAN OSPINO es profesor de teología y educación religiosa en Boston College.

WINSTON-SALEM — Estados Unidos, al ser un crisol de varias y diferentes culturas se vuelve un terreno de experiencias y apertura para aprender y, ¿por qué no?, para deleite de diferentes tradiciones, en especial en la comunidad católica durante la temporada navideña. En la región de Piedmont Triad, siguiendo la tradición mexicana, la noche del domingo 24 de diciembre, algunas familias llevaron sus imágenes del niño Dios a la iglesia para bendecirlas y prepararlas para participar en lo que llamamos “el arrullamiento del niño”. Después, al retirarse a sus domicilios, continuaron con la cena y, en algunos casos, el rezo del último día de novena de Navidad. Es común que las familias sigan con el rezo del rosario, jaculatorias, letanías y oraciones propias de la navidad, para después seguir con la preparación del niño Dios en la casa donde se lleva a cabo la reunión o la “posada” y así prepararlo para el “arrullamiento”. Durante el “arrullamiento” se deja en una bata sencilla a la figura del niño Dios, poniéndolo sobre una mantilla que es sujetada de extremo a extremo por los padrinos, los dueños de casa o familiares asignados para dicha tarea, con la intención de arrullar al niño Dios como un símbolo de amor y de espera. Al mismo tiempo, los asistentes cantan villancicos alegres y canciones antiguas de cuna para ese momento. Luego seguirá la veneración del niño, donde uno de los padrinos lleva entre sus brazos a la figura del niño para que los asistentes lo veneren. Como una bendición, los participantes toman una reliquia de la charola que el otro padrino o madrina lleva a la par con el niño. La participación de los pequeños de la familia hace de este instante un momento sublime, lleno de amor y de paz, para luego dar paso a la cena navideña. En algunos lugares se continúa como en las tradicionales posadas, con el rompimiento de la piñata navideña y finalizando con los aguinaldos: bolsitas de galletas, golosinas y en algunos casos frutas.


En algunos hogares e iglesias católicas, tradicionalmente se comparte chocolate caliente y la Rosca de Reyes, un pan dulce con pasta de azúcar y frutos secos, en forma de anillo con un muñequito escondido dentro del pan; que originalmente tenía el significado de quien encontrara al muñequito recibía grandes bendiciones. Todo esto en alusión a la búsqueda del niño Jesús en Belén por el rey

Arriba: celebración de “la levantada” del Niño Dios en un hogar en Carolina del Norte. La tradición mexicana dicta que al niño se debe “levantar” pasada la fiesta de la Epifanía, pero antes de la fiesta de la Candelaria. Izquierda: Una niña lleva la imagen de su Niño Dios ante el altar, para ser bendecido después de la Misa de la fiesta de la Candelaria, coincidente con el festejo de la Presentación del Señor en el templo.


Herodes, y cómo la sagrada familia fue capaz de esconderlo y así emprender su huida a Egipto. Actualmente es una pena que para muchas personas encontrar al muñequito signifique un castigo. Quienes encuentran el muñequito, coordinan para ofrecer los tradicionales tamales el día 2 de febrero. En algunos estados de México, el día de Reyes es celebrado con regalos. Tres personas se visten de los reyes magos y reparten regalos a los niños. El 8 de enero, con la celebración del Bautismo del Señor, da por finalizado el tiempo de Navidad y Epifanía; y nos indica que en las siguientes semanas seguiremos con el tiempo ordinario hasta comenzar la cuaresma.


Siguiendo la tradición, después del 6 de enero, es el momento ideal de “levantar” al niño. Las familias se vuelven a reunir en el hogar de las personas que amenizaron la posada o la cena de navidad. Así se repiten los pasos que se realizaron en la Navidad: el niño Jesús es retirado de su pesebre

por la madrina que lo acostó en Nochebuena. La “levantada” del niño se hace con cantos y rosario. Se prepara al niño Dios vistiéndole con ropa diferente a la de Nochebuena, continuando con la veneración y distribución de reliquias, para luego sentar al niño en su trono, una sillita de madera que suele colocarse en algún lugar privilegiado del hogar.


En la fiesta de la Candelaria confluyen tres celebraciones: la fiesta de la presentación del Señor, la purificación de la Virgen María y la Virgen de la Candelaria, aparecida en las Islas Canarias, España, durante el siglo XV. Las imágenes del niño Jesús son llevadas nuevamente a la iglesia donde son bendecidas. Al volver a casa ocupará un lugar especial hasta la siguiente Nochebuena. Estas tradiciones hispanas son hermosas. Los padres de familia estan llamados a seguirlas practicando con los pequeños. Quizás no lo estamos haciendo correctamente, pero siempre es bueno preguntar: tú, ¿cómo lo celebras?

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


Jóvenes y padres de familia se educaron sobre prevención de consumo de drogas CÉSAR HURTADO rchurtado@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE — El pasado mes de diciembre en la Iglesia Católica San Lucas, en Mint Hill, la Coalición de Fe y Salud, una asociación que reúne a diferentes organizaciones cristianas en Charlotte, proporcionó un espacio para que el oficial José Campos, del Departamento de Policía de Charlotte-Mecklenburg (CMPD), y RicardoTorres, director del programa latino del Centro de Servicios de Prevención y la Coalición Libre de Drogas de la Alianza Latina, informaran a la comunidad, especialmente de jóvenes católicos y sus padres, sobre los nuevos peligros en abuso de sustancias que afectan a nuestras comunidades, escuelas y familias en los 50 estados de la Unión Americana, en especial en nuestra ciudad y estado. Los expositores subrayaron la creciente amenaza del fentanilo, un opioide sintético que ha existido durante muchos años y que, dijeron, se administra generalmente, en dosis correctas, a pacientes que sufren dolor intenso durante o después de la cirugía. Sin embargo, dieron a conocer que los traficantes de drogas lo han introducido y mezclan, en algunos casos con cocaína, marihuana, productos horneados y otras drogas sintéticas. Los CDC, Centros de Control y Prevención de Enfermedades de Estados Unidos, asegura que el fentanilo es hasta 50 veces más fuerte que la heroína y 100 veces más fuerte que la morfina. Lo califica como “un factor importante contribuyente a las sobredosis mortales y no mortales en


Ricardo Torres, director del programa latino del Centro de Servicios de Prevención y la Coalición Libre de Drogas de la Alianza Latina, se dirige a los jóvenes y padres de familia para recordarles las consecuencias del abuso de las drogas, tabaco, alcohol y vaping. Estados Unidos”. Sólo dos miligramos de fentanilo son suficientes para provocar una sobredosis mortal, una cantidad que cabe en la punta de un lápiz. El Oficial Campos relató lo que se ve en las calles de Charlotte y la actuación de los agentes de la ley en los casos de tráfico de

drogas y sobredosis. En noviembre de 2023, CMPD informó de un aumento del 20 % en las muertes por sobredosis en Charlotte. La mayoría de los fallecidos (60%) son personas menores de 40 años. Los detectives de CMPD han incautado grandes cantidades de píldoras diseñadas

para parecerse a fármacos comunes como oxicodona, percocet o xanax, que en realidad contienen lo que se sospecha sea fentanilo. Muchos consumidores de drogas, especialmente los más jóvenes, no son conscientes del contenido de las drogas que toman ni entienden por qué tomar una pastilla callejera es como jugar a la ruleta rusa”, señaló CMPD en un comunicado enviado a los medios de prensa. Por su parte, Ricardo Torres educó a los padres sobre otras sustancias que normalmente se olvidan y que también están afectando a nuestra juventud hoy en día, como el alcohol, el tabaco, la marihuana y los vapers, al igual que los medicamentos recetados y el fentanilo. “La prevención es la respuesta para ayudar a los padres latinos a entender qué buscar y para que puedan tener conversaciones con sus hijos. Y, la mejor manera de educar a sus hijos es también involucrarlos en cosas positivas fuera de la escuela, como la iglesia, donde no serán tentados por amigos, familiares y extraños. El aburrimiento y la desinformación de las redes sociales pueden llevarlos a ser tentados por la curiosidad y probar cualquier droga que los amigos u otras personas les den”, señaló. Maribel García, coordinadora del vicariato de Charlotte en la Coalición Fe y Salud agradeció a los expositores por su valioso aporte a la prevención del consumo de sustancias. Además, resaltó la presencia de varios jóvenes voluntarios. “Ha sido muy importante en estos eventos que, aparte de que vienen aprender, hacen su voluntariado sirviendo a la comunidad”.

Programa de donaciones cumple 15 años entrega el recibo, la iglesia que los colecta, organiza y presenta, y nosotros hacemos nuestra parte al entregar el dinero”. Si bien el programa se estableció formalmente en 2012, ya venía operando en algunas iglesias desde años anteriores. Es de resaltar que durante la pandemia de COVID-19 el programa no se detuvo y significó un ingreso y alivio para las iglesias que debieron cerrar sus puertas ante las restricciones sanitarias. Sin embargo, no todo el apoyo de esta empresa es únicamente monetario pues asisten con productos y regalos en festivales y celebraciones religiosas. Además, a lo largo del año organizan festivales de ayuda a la comunidad en general, como por ejemplo el de retorno a la escuela, donde obsequian mochilas y útiles escolares. Collazos señaló que es importante fortalecer a la comunidad para lograr una ganancia mutua. “Cuidamos a nuestra comunidad porque nuestra comunidad

CÉSAR HURTADO rchurtado@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE — Desde hace 15 años, Compare Foods, la cadena de supermercados con sede en el área metropolitana de Charlotte, opera un programa de ayuda a organizaciones de fe, entre ellas varias iglesias católicas, mediante el cual los fieles depositan sus recibos de compra en ese popular supermercado y, las iglesias, al presentar los comprobantes ante esa empresa, reciben como donativo un porcentaje del monto de las compras. La intención, dijo Osiris Collazos, directora de Relaciones Comunitarias de Compare Foods, es colaborar con los diversos programas que llevan adelante los ministerios hispanos de las parroquias. El sistema de entrega de donativos, que no tiene límite en cuanto a los montos económicos, es para la funcionaria un aporte de la empresa a las comunidades católicas, que de esta manera colaboran activamente con su iglesia. “Dar el recibo es aportar a su iglesia. Muchos no tienen la capacidad económica para donar directamente y, de esta manera pueden hacerlo, sentirse valiosos y aportar al bienestar económico de su iglesia”, dijo. Regularmente son alrededor de siete iglesias del Vicariato de Charlotte las que cuentan con unas cajitas de color blanco para que los fieles depositen en ellas los recibos de las compras que realizan semanalmente; aunque en el programa participan también organizaciones de fe


Una pareja de feligreses y voluntarios de la parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe deposita sus recibos de compra de Compare Foods en una cajita ubicada en el pasillo de ingreso de la iglesia. Según refirieron representates del supermercado, esta parroquia es una de la que más fondos recibe gracias a la colaboración de sus feligreses. no católicas y educativas. “Todos aportamos”, dijo Collazos, “el feligrés que realiza sus compras y


cuida de nosotros. Es una relación de interacción entre tres organismos vivos: la comunidad, las iglesias y Compare Foods como empresa”. “Estamos convencidos que, como empresa, la única forma que podemos crecer es haciendo crecer a la comunidad. Es nuestra manera de dar las gracias a la comunidad por su acogida, preferencia y lealtad. Hay que dar para recibir”, puntualizó Collazos, que aclaró que el programa al que se refiere opera únicamente en el área metropolitana de Charlotte, sin descartar que pueda estar realizándose en otras áreas de Carolina del Norte. Si alguna iglesia católica, aparte de las que ya participan en el programa, está interesa en obtener los beneficios de este plan, puede enviar un texto a Osiris Collazos al (704) 560-8446, quien proporcionará los detalles, requisitos y apoyará en el proceso.



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catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD

Reacción de júbilo en Charlotte ante la liberación de obispos nicaragüenses CHARLOTTE — El clero y los fieles de Charlotte reaccionaron con alegría esta semana a la noticia de que dos obispos nicaragüenses habían sido liberados de una prisión política y se encuentran a salvo en Roma. El Obispo Rolando Álvarez, de Matagalpa, y el Obispo Isidoro Mora, de Siuna, se encontraban entre los 19 presos políticos deportados de Nicaragua el 14 de enero. Ese mismo día, el Vaticano anunció que los dos obispos, quince sacerdotes y dos Tijerino seminaristas son ahora “huéspedes de la Santa Sede”. Dos de sus sacerdotes, que fueron exiliados de Nicaragua de manera similar el año pasado, el Padre Ramiro Tijerino y el Padre Oscar Benavides, sirven ahora en varias parroquias de la Diócesis de Charlotte. Benavides “Me uno a la alegría de muchos nicaragüenses y de los sacerdotes que fueron liberados”, dijo el Padre Benavides al Catholic News Herald el martes . “Pero, al mismo tiempo, les pido que sigamos orando por Nicaragua.” El Padre Tijerino y el Padre Benavides fueron encarcelados arbitrariamente durante varios meses antes de ser deportados repentinamente a Estados

Unidos en febrero de 2023. Se encuentran entre los más de 200 clérigos y religiosos católicos que recientemente fueron expulsados de Nicaragua por su presidente Daniel Ortega. Se suponía que el Obispo Álvarez iba a ser deportado con ellos, pero en el último momento se negó a abordar el avión y posteriormente fue condenado a 26 años de prisión en una notoria prisión política en Managua. El Obispo Mora fue arrestado el mes pasado por decir durante Misa que estaba orando por el Obispo Álvarez. Desde que llegaron a Charlotte, los Padres Tijerino y Benavides han estado haciendo llamados por la paz en Nicaragua y animando a la gente a rezar por la liberación de los obispos y otros presos políticos. El 14 de enero, el Vaticano y el gobierno nicaragüense anunciaron que los obispos y otros miembros del clero habían partido de Nicaragua en un vuelo hacia Roma, después de llegar a un acuerdo por su liberación y exilio. Por la tarde, la noticia se difundió a través del medio de prensa oficial del Vaticano y los medios de prensa independientes de Nicaragua. Tan pronto como tuvo conocimiento del hecho, el Padre Tijerino compartió con alegría la noticia de última hora durante una Misa celebrada en la Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Dio gracias a Dios y también a todos los que oraron y negociaron la liberación de los eclesiásticos. La hermana Juana Pearson, que asistía a la Misa y ha desempeñado un papel clave en la ayuda a los dos sacerdotes nicaragüenses a establecerse en Charlotte

Después de más de 500 días de detención, el régimen de Ortega liberó de prisión el 14 de enero al obispo nicaragüense Rolando Álvarez de Matagalpa, quien ha sido el crítico más destacado del gobierno de Nicaragua, y lo envió al exilio junto con otros 18 clérigos encarcelados. El obispo Álvarez aterrizó sano y salvo en Roma el 14 de enero, confirmó el Vaticano. OSV NEWS | MAYNOR VALENZUELA, REUTERS

después que el Obispo Peter Jugis les ofreciera refugio, más tarde dijo que el Padre Tijerino “estaba muy emocionado. Me abrazó y me dijo: ‘Están en Roma. Acaban de llegar. ¡Están a salvo!’. Podías ver la alegría en él”. Después de Misa, los feligreses se reunieron alrededor del Padre Tijerino. “Estoy muy feliz”, dijo la hermana Juana llorando. “Esta ha sido nuestra oración, que el obispo, los sacerdotes y los seminaristas sean liberados... ¡Y ahora están libres!”. El Obispo Álvarez se ha convertido en el rostro de la resistencia en Nicaragua, alzando su voz contra la creciente intolerancia del régimen sandinista que ha sometido a la comunidad empresarial, expulsado a la prensa libre del país e intentado controlar a la Iglesia Católica. El obispo pasó más de 500 días bajo custodia después que la policía lo arrestara en agosto de 2022 durante una redada antes del amanecer en su curia diocesana, donde se había refugiado en protesta por

la incautación de medios de comunicación católicos. En febrero de 2023, fue condenado a 26 años de prisión por cargos de conspiración y difusión de información falsa, un día después de que se negara a abandonar el país. El Obispo Álvarez rechazó los intentos posteriores de exiliarlo, ya que la expulsión o el rechazo a los sacerdotes a reingresar al país después de viajar al extranjero se convirtió en una táctica común. “La dictadura se siente más segura o más cómoda con la gente religiosa fuera del país que dentro del país”, dijo Arturo McFields Yescas, un ex diplomático nicaragüense ahora en el exilio. “Cuando están dentro (del país) los consideran una amenaza, un peligro, un contrapeso a su narrativa oficial. Y cuando están afuera, (el régimen) siente que ya no tiene esa voz crítica, o esa voz de la verdad, que le hablaba a la gente y la gente escuchaba”, dijo. — Catholic News Herald. OSV News contribuyó en este reportaje.

Campaña DSA 2023 superó meta y espera un éxito continuo CHARLOTTE — La campaña de Apoyo Diocesano 2023, “Servir es amar”, recaudó $6.77 millones provenientes de 12,902 donantes en toda la Diócesis de Charlotte, superando la meta de la campaña de $6.5 millones en un 4 por ciento por segundo año consecutivo. El tema de la Campaña de Apoyo Diocesano 2023, “Servir es amar”, pidió a los católicos a que ayuden a miles de personas necesitadas en toda la diócesis de Charlotte. Inspiradas por Filipenses 2:5-9, las personas fueron llamadas a seguir el ejemplo de Cristo de considerar humildemente a los demás como más importantes que ellas mismas y a servir las unas a las otras. En general, el 16 por ciento de los feligreses registrados en toda la diócesis compartieron una donación promedio de $525, en comparación con una donación promedio de $495 en la campaña de 2022. El 74% de las parroquias y misiones de toda la diócesis alcanzaron o superaron su meta. Los feligreses de las 92 parroquias y misiones de la diócesis de Charlotte financian el DSA. Las parroquias que exceden su meta retienen con los fondos adicionales que

recaudan, mientras que las parroquias que no alcanzan su meta en donaciones de sus feligreses compensan el déficit con fondos de sus presupuestos operativos. Algunas de las parroquias que están recibiendo fondos de reembolso son Santa Teresa en Mooresville, San Pablo Apóstol en Greensboro, San Pedro en Charlotte, Santa María Auxiliadora en Shelby. “Es maravilloso ver que nuestra diócesis continúa creciendo tanto en población como en diversidad y cómo la DSA ha evolucionado para satisfacer las necesidades físicas y espirituales de nuestras comunidades locales”, dijo Dave Walsh, director asociado de desarrollo de la diócesis. “El apoyo combinado de cada uno de nosotros ayuda a que nuestros ministerios y programas crezcan y tengan un impacto más allá de lo que una parroquia podría hacer por sí misma”. La campaña de 2023 continúa una tendencia de que se alcance la meta de la campaña DSA cada año en la diócesis. Las campañas DSA de 2019, 2020, 2021 y 2022 también superaron el total de recaudación de fondos y la meta de recaudación de cada año previo, a pesar de la pandemia. — Spencer K.M. Brown

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


Iglesia vietnamita San José invita a celebrar Tet, el Año Nuevo Lunar CHRISTINA LEE KNAUSS clknauss@rcdoc.org

CHARLOTTE — La comunidad católica vietnamita en Charlotte invitó a todos a unirse a ellos en Tet, el festejo de una de las celebraciones más importantes de la cultura vietnamita a principios de febrero. Conmemorando el inicio del Año Nuevo Lunar, los miembros de la comunidad se reunirán para dos liturgias en la iglesia católica vietnamita San José en Charlotte, dijo el Padre Tri Truong, párroco. La primera Misa se llevará a cabo a las 11 p.m. del viernes 9 de febrero, e incluirá una cuenta regresiva para el comienzo del Año Nuevo Lunar a la medianoche. Habrá una segunda Misa a las 8 de la noche del sábado 10 de febrero para nuevamente celebrar el Año Nuevo Lunar. Ambas Misas contarán con la actuación del grupo de danza ‘Hidden Dragon’ de la parroquia que presentará la Danza del León, y el lanzamiento de cohetes y cohetecillos. Se requiere del oficio de dos Misas porque cada una atrae a cientos de personas de toda el área de Charlotte, así como a visitantes de otras partes de Carolina del Norte y de fuera del estado, señaló el Padre Tri. La Misa anual de

víspera de Año Nuevo a las de la noche atrae regularmente entre 700 a mil personas. El Padre Tri enfatizó el hecho de que las celebraciones del Año Nuevo Lunar no son tradiciones paganas, sino que simplemente reflejan el hecho de que los países asiáticos medían los años por ciclos de la luna en la antigüedad. “En la tradición asiática usaban el calendario lunar hasta que el calendario occidental fue llevado a Asia”, dijo el Padre Tri. “En la cultura vietnamita, todavía vemos el año lunar como el momento para celebrar el Año Nuevo”. En la tradición vietnamita, 2024 se conoce como el Año del Dragón, animal que representa el talento, fuerza, nobleza, suerte y éxito. Los feligreses recibirán sobres rojos especiales que contienen un billete de un dólar y una nota con un versículo de las Escrituras como expresión de agradecimiento y deseo de la bendición y prosperidad de Dios durante el Año Nuevo. “Ofreceré el mismo mensaje que doy a la gente todos los años, pidiendo la bendición de Dios para ellos mientras continúan su viaje hacia el año con un nuevo y refrescante comienzo”, dijo el Padre Tri.


El equipo de Danza del León y el Dragón Oculto de la parroquia vietnamita de San Joseph se presenta en el Festival Tet 2020. También participarán en el evento de este año.

San Juan Bosco, patrono de la juventud C

ada 31 de enero, la Iglesia Católica celebra al santo patrono de la juventud, San Juan Bosco, el santo cuya vida fue la realización de estas, sus propias palabras, “Uno solo es mi deseo: que sean felices en el tiempo y en la eternidad”. Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, conocido por todos como Don Bosco, fue el fundador de diversas comunidades religiosas, agrupaciones e iniciativas que componen lo que se denomina como la Familia Salesiana. Por su dedicación a la formación de niños y jóvenes fue declarado “Padre y maestro de la juventud” por el Papa San Juan Pablo II el 24 de mayo de 1989. Nacido el 16 de agosto de 1815 en Italia, perdió a su padre a los dos años, y fue su madre, Margarita Occhiena, la que se encargaría de él y sus hermanos. A los nueve años, tuvo un sueño que en el que vio una multitud de niños que peleaban entre sí y blasfemaban. Juan, furioso, intentó callarlos yéndose a los golpes. El sueño se había tornado en pesadilla, hasta que de pronto, entre los niños, apareció Jesús, quien le pidió que se calmara pues ese no era el camino. Jesús le dijo entonces que para ganarse la confianza y el respeto de los muchachos, debía hacerlo con mansedumbre y caridad. Al instante, Cristo le mostró quien sería su guía y maestra en esa tarea: la Virgen María. La Madre de Dios, María Auxiliadora, que ahora ocupaba el foco de su sueño, le indicó que mirara en dirección hacia donde estaban los muchachos. Juan volteó y lo que vio lo dejó atónito: ya no estaban los niños, sino un grupo numeroso de animales salvajes, pero que empezaban a transformarse paulatinamente en mansos corderitos. En

ese momento, la Virgen se le acercó y le susurró al oído: “A su tiempo lo comprenderás todo”. Poco a poco, en Juan fue creciendo un gran interés por los estudios, así como el deseo de ser sacerdote. Soñaba con ayudar a esos niños abandonados que no iban a la escuela. Inicialmente, Juan se sintió atraído por la vida de los franciscanos, pero finalmente decidió ingresar al seminario diocesano de Chieri. En ese lugar conoció a San José Cafasso, quien le mostró las prisiones y los barrios pobres donde había muchos jóvenes necesitados. Juan se ordenó en 1841 y, poco después, abrió un oratorio para niños de la calle bajo el patronazgo de San Francisco de Sales. Con el transcurso de los años, San Juan Bosco se entregó de lleno a consolidar y extender su obra. Brindó alojamiento a chicos abandonados, ofreció talleres de aprendizaje y, a pesar de sus limitaciones económicas, construyó una iglesia en honor a San Francisco de Sales, el santo de la amabilidad. En 1859 fundó la Congregación Salesiana junto a un grupo de jóvenes entusiasmados con la misión que la Virgen le había trazado, y que habían crecido inspirados por su carisma y fortaleza. Más adelante fundaría a las Hijas de María Auxiliadora al lado de Santa María Mazzarello. Luego vendrían los Salesianos Cooperadores y otras organizaciones con las que compondría la gran Familia Salesiana. Con las donaciones de sus cooperadores, logró financiar la construcción de la Basílica de María Auxiliadora de Turín y la Basílica del Sagrado Corazón en la ciudad de Roma. San Juan Bosco partió a la Casa del Padre el 31 de enero

Fotografía original de San Juan Bosco tomada en 1880. Se le atribuye a Carlo Felice Deasti, fotógrafo italiano, quien también fotografió al santo durante sus exequias. FOTO DOMINIO PÚBLICO

de 1888. Su vida fue una entrega total a Jesús y a la Virgen a través de sus queridos niños y jóvenes. Y, vale la pena decirlo, fue la demostración en los hechos de aquellas palabras que alguna vez dirigió al más querido de sus alumnos, el pequeño Santo Domingo Savio: “Aquí hacemos consistir la santidad en estar siempre alegres”. — Texto extraído de ACI Prensa

Lecturas Diarias ENERO 21-27 Domingo: Jonás 3:1-5, 10, 1 Corintios 7:29-31, Marcos 1:14-20; Lunes (Día de oración por la protección legal de los niños no nacidos): 2 Samuel 5:1-7, 10, Marcos 3:22-30; Martes (San Vicente, diácono y mártir y Santa Marianne Cope, virgen): 2 Samuel 6:12-15, 17-19, Marcos 3:31-35; Miércoles (Memoria de San Francisco de Sales, obispo y doctor de la Iglesia): 2 Samuel 7:4-17, Marcos 4:1-20; Jueves (Fiesta de la Conversión de San Pablo, Apóstol): Hechos 22:3-16, Marcos 16:15-18; Viernes (Memoria de Santos Timoteo y Tito, obispos): 2 Timoteo 1:1-8, Marcos 4:26-34; Sábado (Memoria de Santa Ángela Merici, virgen): 2 Samuel 12:1-7, 10-17, Marcos 4:35-41

ENERO 28-FEBRERO 3 Domingo: Deuteronomio 18:15-20, 1 Corintios 7:32-35, Marcos 1:2128; Lunes: 2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30, 16:5-13, Marcos 5:1-20; Martes: 2 Samuel 18:9-10, 14, 24-25, 30, 19:3, Marcos 5:21-43; Miércoles (San Juan Bosco, presbítero): 2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17, Marcos 6:1-6; Jueves: 1 Reyes 2:1-4, 10-12, Marcos 6:7-10; Viernes (Fiesta de la Presentación del Señor): Malaquías 3:1-4, Hebreos 2:14-18, Lucas 2:22-40; Sábado (San Óscar, obispo, y San Blas, obispo y mártir): 1 Reyes 3:4-13; Marcos 6:30-34

FEBRERO 4-10 Domingo: Job 7:1-4, 6-7, 1 Corintios 9:16-19, 22-23, Marcos 1:29-39; Lunes (Memoria de Santa Águeda, virgen y mártir): 1 Reyes 8:1-7, 9-13, Marcos 6:53-56; Martes (Memoria de San Pablo Miki y compañeros, mártires): 1 Reyes 8:2223, 27-30, Marcos 7:1-13; Miércoles: 1 Reyes 10:1-10, Marcos 7:14-23; Jueves (San Jerónimo Emiliano y Santa Josefina Bakhita): 1 Reyes 11:4-13, Marcos 7:24-30; Viernes: 1 Reyes 11:29-32, 12:19, Marcos 7:31-37; Sábado (Memoria de Santa Escolástica, virgen): 1 Reyes 12:26-32, 13:33-34, Marcos 8:1-10

Our nation 18

catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD

New U.S. bishops’ report identifies 5 top areas of religious liberty concerns KATE SCANLON OSV News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new annual report by the U.S. bishops’ conference identifies five top threats to religious liberty in the United States, including a federal regulation it says could impose mandates on doctors to perform objectionable procedures and threats to the church’s service to people who are migrants. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ first annual “State of Religious Liberty in the United States,” published Jan. 16, said potential threats to religious liberty in the United States largely come in the form of federal regulations or cultural trends. Five key areas of concern, the 48-page report said, include attacks against houses of worship, especially in the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas conflict; the Section 1557 regulation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which the report said “will likely impose a mandate on doctors to perform gender transition procedures and possibly abortions”; threats to religious charities serving migrants and refugees, “which will likely increase as the issue of immigration gains prominence in the election”; suppression of religious speech “on marriage and sexual difference”; and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act regulations, which the report said “aim to require religious employers to be complicit in abortion in an unprecedented way.” The report’s introduction said that due to a divided federal government, “most

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ "State of Religious Liberty in the United States" report, published Jan. 16, identifies five top threats to religious liberty in the United States, including a federal regulation it says could impose mandates on doctors to perform objectionable procedures and threats to the Church’s service to people who are migrants. OSV NEWS | BRADLEY BIRKHOLZ

introduced bills that threatened religious liberty languished,” resulting in threats in the form of “proposed regulations by federal agencies,” or cultural trends such as growing partisanship over migration. The report noted the U.S. Supreme Court only heard two cases implicating religious liberty in 2023, “but in each case the Supreme Court ruled for broader protections – for religious exercise in the workplace, in Groff v. DeJoy, and for free speech based on religious beliefs, in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.” Other areas of concern identified in the report include some state bills making clergy mandatory reporters for abuse without an exception for the seal of the confessional. As the report notes, “For Catholic priests, breaking the

confidentiality of statements made during the Sacrament of Reconciliation – that is, breaking the seal of the confessional – is a grave offense, resulting in automatic excommunication from the Church.” The report also identified partisanship within the Church as an area of concern. “This dynamic is not new, is not unique to Catholics, nor will it disappear anytime soon,” it said. “But it will be especially salient in 2024, and the long-term standing of the Church in the public square requires a conscious and sustained turn – away from partisanship and toward the Gospel.” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort WayneSouth Bend, Indiana, chair of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, who oversaw the report, said that the committee began this annual report in order to

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“educate the faithful” and “motivate people to get involved in promoting and protecting religious liberty.” Bishop Rhoades noted that threats to houses of worship remain a significant cultural concern, as Catholic churches and organizations saw vandalism and other crimes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in 2022 that overturned prior rulings by the high court making abortion access a constitutional right; other faith traditions have seen more violence occur at their places of worship, such as the 2018 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Dan Balserak, the USCCB’s religious liberty director and assistant general counsel, told OSV News the committee’s work has historically centered on “legal problems.” “Things are such now these days that we are actually having to worry about the physical health and safety of people in their place of worship,” Balserak said. “Which is pretty disturbing.” Both Bishop Rhoades and Balserak said that a growing cultural divide on the issue of migration also threatens to imperil the Church’s service to people who are migrants and refugees. “The Church’s mission, you know, is we’re to serve, serve the poor and the needy. That’s part of our mission to the corporal works of mercy, so welcoming the stranger,” Bishop Rhoades said, an act of mercy demanded by Jesus Christ in Matthew 25 when He renders justice at the final judgment. “And we’re talking here about basic needs: sometimes food, sometimes shelter, clothing and other kinds of assistance. The Church has always done this, and it’s just part of our Christian responsibilities.” Bishop Rhoades said some have suggested that “somehow the Church is contributing to illegal immigration” through such service. “Comprehensive immigration reform is something that the Catholic Church in the United States has been advocating for decades,” he added. He said “our provision of humanitarian aid to human beings who are in need” is needed regardless of whether and how Congress would act. Balserak said, “It seems that the role that religious charities play in the immigration system as service providers – helping immigrants get a place to sleep, get a meal, understand their legal obligations, the role that religious charities play in that regard – has been essentially scapegoated.” The real burden of responsibility is with Congress, which has failed to address “the immigration problem that the immigration crisis has created.” Charities that ensure “newcomers who arrive in America deserve to have their basic human needs met” are sometimes then accused of “conspiratorial, outlandish stuff – like you know, facilitating ‘the great replacement.’” The so-called “great replacement” theory is a conspiracy theory advanced by white supremacists in which they claim people of other races plot to eliminate the white race. The racist theory was amplified recently by Vivek Ramaswamy at a GOP presidential primary debate prior to dropping out of the race after a distant fourth-place finish in the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses. REPORT, SEE PAGE 19

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI

For the latest news 24/7: catholicnewsherald.com

In Brief Like Martin Luther King, God’s disciples are called to work to transform world, says cardinal SAN DIEGO — Cardinal Robert W. McElroy of San Diego called on all disciples of God to work to transform the world, particularly on the social justice front, just as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did. Cardinal McElroy celebrated Sunday morning Mass Jan. 14 at Christ the King Church, where it was standingroom only, on the day before the national holiday honoring King. This year the holiday, observed on the third Monday of January, fell on the civil rights leader’s actual birthday. The Diocesan Commission for African American Catholics organized the Gospel Mass. Father Tommie Jennings, the parish’s pastor, served as a concelebrant, along with Auxiliary Bishops Ramón Bejarano and Michael M. Pham, Father Emmet Farrell, and Deacon Robert Booth. In his homily, Cardinal McElroy said King understood that his faith called him to try to transform the world, particularly on the issue of racial justice. “And so, he spent his life and lost his life because of his dedication,” the cardinal said. “And we know in our country, sadly, the issue of race and racial division, which has torn our country asunder from the beginning, is still with us in various forms that are very corrosive, very damaging. … We are called to proclaim the reign of God in justice, racial justice and social justice. … That’s a major part of our mission as disciples.”

D.C. March for Life 2024 aims to make abortion ‘unthinkable’ WASHINGTON, D.C. — This year, the national March for Life in Washington Jan. 19 promises to empower women facing unexpected pregnancies with the message that they are not alone – and that the pro-life movement is ready and waiting to help them choose life for their baby. “When a woman is facing an unexpected pregnancy, what she most needs to hear is, ‘You can do this. You’ve got this. And I’m going to help you,’” March for Life’s president, Jeanne Mancini, said in November, ahead of the pro-life rally that regularly draws tens to hundreds of thousands to the nation’s capital each January. The March for Life, which calls itself the “largest annual human rights demonstration in the world,” began in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which once legalized abortion nationwide. This year’s event is the 51st March for Life and marks the second march since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in 2022. The 2024 event centers on the theme “Pro-Life: With Every Woman, For Every Child.” It highlights the pregnancy centers and maternity homes that support women and families in need during and after pregnancy. “We will march until abortion is unthinkable,” Mancini said.

U.S. Catholics urged to pray novena for life Jan. 16-24 WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities invites Catholics nationwide to pray “9 Days for Life” Jan. 16-24, emphasizing that “continuing efforts are needed to protect children and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion.” The annual Respect Life novena encompasses observance of the annual Day of Prayer for the


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Legal Protection of Unborn Children, which is Jan. 22. Now in its 12th year, the novena “has reached hundreds of thousands of people in over 100 countries spanning six continents” since it began, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Participants may access the novena and other resources at respectlife. org/9-days-for-life.


Erroneous claims about the Church’s service to migrants, Balserak said, could imperil their ability to partner with the federal government on services to migrants and on other projects. “What’s being proposed is basically if you exercise your religious beliefs in this particular way or area, we’re going to penalize you,” he said, calling those claims “a classic religious liberty threat.” Both Bishop Rhoades and Balserak said the USCCB annual report concerns the landscape for domestic religious liberty, but the issue of religious liberty in the U.S. has echoes around the globe. Bishop Rhoades said an erosion of that liberty would not only be “harmful to our country, and the principles on which our nation was founded, but also I think affects others around the world.” “If you’ve been paying attention to the international religious liberty front recently, we are incredibly blessed,” Balserak said. “For all the problems that we are talking about in this report, we are incredibly blessed to live in the United States.” Balserak said the best way for Catholics to respond to religious liberty threats is to “go out and do the things that we are fighting for your right to do.” A “ground up approach,” Balserak said, “is the most viable long-term solution to current threats that we face to religious liberty.”

Rare Blessed Carlo Acutis stained-glass window installed in Minnesota adoration chapel FORESTON, Minn. — During the parish year of the National Eucharistic Revival, one of the oldest adoration chapels in the Diocese of St. Cloud is getting a very special facelift. Several stained-glass windows are being installed in St. Anne's Chapel at St. Louis Parish in Foreston, Minnesota, including a depiction of Blessed Carlo Acutis, one of the patrons of the revival. The Blessed Carlo window is the first known window of the future saint in the diocese, as well as the first in the country. The window is one of seven created for the adoration chapel. The other windows are of traditional saints, so it was a challenge to create a realistic depiction of Blessed Carlo that also would fit in with the rest of the design of the chapel. "This window is going to have a little bit of a different feel from the rest of them because my reference was a photograph, not a painting," said stained-glass artist Christi Becker, who designed it. Blessed Carlo wears modern clothes, not like the other saints. He also carries a backpack and uses a computer. It feels really good to be a part of creating this special window, Becker said. "I love being a part of sharing his light." — OSV News



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catholicnewsherald.com | January 19, 2024 CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD

Canopy over main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica to undergo restoration JUSTIN MCLELLAN OSV News

VATICAN CITY — The nearly 400-year-old sculpted canopy towering over the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica will be surrounded by scaffolding for most of 2024 as it is washed, repaired and restored. Standing over 30 feet tall, the baldachin, designed by Baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini, has stood over the tomb of St. Peter since 1634. And for all that time it has gathered dust, cracks and rust despite regular cleanings. As a result, “we can’t not intervene” to restore the structure, said Alberto Capitanucci, the head engineer of the Fabbrica di San Pietro – the office responsible for upkeep of the basilica. Speaking at a news conference announcing the Vatican’s restoration plans Jan. 11, Capitanucci said the procedure will follow that of the baldachin’s last recorded restoration in 1758, only using an independent scaffolding structure that was not previously possible to build. The restoration process will begin after Feb. 12 and the scaffolding, which will allow for direct restoration work, will be installed

around the baldachin before Holy Week, Capitanucci said. The entire restoration process is expected to last about 10 months and papal liturgical ceremonies will continue to take place at the altar. Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, said the restoration will take place “in view of the jubilee,” or Holy Year 2025, “since the work is expected to end in December of the current year before the holy door is opened.” The first step will be to photograph the entire baldachin, followed by a deep cleaning to remove accumulated dust and dirt particles. Restorers will then treat the metal components of the structure to remove rust and apply surface protection, clean its marble base and use an acrylic resin to fill cracks in the baldachin’s wooden pieces. Pietro Zander, head of the Fabbrica’s artistic heritage section, said that the degradation of the baldachin is partially because the “microclimate inside of the basilica changes from the continuous flux of visitors,” which some days can reach up to 50,000 people. The flow of visitors during the day, along with the significant changes in temperature and humidity between night and day, lead

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The baldachin, or canopy, stands over the tomb of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Oct. 9, 2023. It will be restored this year. CNS PHOTO | LOLA GOMEZ

to the corrosion and rusting of its metallic components and the swelling of its wood. According to a document published by the Vatican Jan. 11, over 20% of the baldachin is made of wood which has been painted or gilded and is sensitive to temperature variations and changes in humidity. The project is expected to cost 700,000 euro (about $766,000) and will be entirely funded by the U.S.-based Knights of Columbus, which has funded 17 other projects in collaboration with the Fabbrica of San Pietro. Patrick Kelly, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, told Catholic News

Service that the decision to fund the baldachin’s restoration is an “outgrowth” of the knights’ core principles of charity and unity. “We’re in union with the Holy See, with the successor of St. Peter, and so these kinds of projects are very much in keeping with who we are and our mission,” he said. Kelly said the baldachin project is an “iconic restoration” over the tomb of St. Peter that “is a great sign of unity in the Church.” “It’s something we can look to,” he said. “All of us can be proud of this and gratified that there is unity; it’s not all disunity.”

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In Brief Carpenters hail end of Notre Dame roof reconstruction PARIS — In a historic year for Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which the French capital and the whole world will see reopen Dec. 8, milestones will be reported on regularly, but this one made Parisians drop a tear or two – the reconstruction of the roof structure is now completed. On Jan. 12, in the freezing cold, a traditional bouquet of flowers was placed on top of the wooden structure of the cathedral apse. The last rafter had been placed under the snow three days earlier. Notre Dame Cathedral was ravaged by a devastating fire in 2019 that sent its spire crumbling down, and restoration works continue. Julien Mulvet, who was in charge of the rooftop project at the cathedral, placed the yellow mimosas bouquet at the top, along with his young apprentice, 19-year-old Leonard Laforest. “This is how it is traditionally done in the carpenters profession,” Mulvet said. “It is a symbol of passing on knowledge to the youngest generations.” “The bouquet of carpenters was arranged by the youngest of them: the Notre Dame structure is ready!” French President Emmanuel Macron said Jan. 13 on X, formerly Twitter. The cathedral’s rector-archpriest, Father Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, said the carpenters “worked with great peace, strength and joy, aware that they are not working for an ordinary house, but for a church, to make it available for worship and visits.”

Pope says he’s not thinking of resigning, talks about blessings VATICAN CITY — While a pope can resign, Pope Francis said resignation is not on his mind. “It is neither a thought, nor a worry, nor even a desire; it is a possibility, open to all popes. But for the moment it is not at the center of my thoughts, my worries, my feelings,” he said in

an interview on Italian television Jan. 14. “As long as I feel I still have the capacity to serve, I will go on,” the 87-year-old pope said. “When I can no longer do it, it will be time to think about it.” Pope Francis made the comments in an interview lasting more than 50 minutes on the program “Che Tempo Che Fa” on Italy’s Nove channel. Pope Francis was asked how he imagines hell if he really believes God forgives everyone who asks. “It’s difficult to imagine it,” the pope said. “What I would say is not a dogma of faith, but my personal thought: I like to think hell is empty; I hope it is.”

Modern war is ‘crime against humanity,’ Pope Francis says VATICAN CITY — With massive civilian deaths and the destruction of cities and their infrastructure, modern “war is in itself a crime against humanity,” Pope Francis said Jan. 14. After reciting the Angelus prayer with an estimated 10,000 visitors in St. Peter’s Square, the pope urged people to remember “those who suffer the cruelty of war in so many parts of the world, especially in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. At the beginning of the year,” he said, “we exchanged wishes of peace, but weapons continue to kill and destroy.” Pope Francis prayed that the leaders of warring parties would reflect on the fact that war is not the way to resolve problems “because it sows death among civilians and destroys cities and infrastructure," he said. "In other words, today war is in itself a crime against humanity.” The pope repeated himself, saying, “Let us not forget this: War is in itself a crime against humanity. People need peace! The world needs peace!”

Argentine President Milei plans to visit Vatican, meet with pope

sources, the Buenos Aires newspaper Clarín reported. Milei would attend the canonization after visiting Israel – a country he has strongly supported. A spokesman for the Argentine bishops’ conference referred questions to the Argentine government. News of the president’s Vatican trip came after Milei on Jan. 11 released a letter in which he invited Pope Francis to visit his native Argentina for the first time since being elected in 2013. “You well know that you do not need an invitation to come to Argentina. At the risk of saying the unnecessary, I invite you to visit our beloved homeland, according to the dates and places indicated to us,” read the letter, which was dated Jan. 8.

Christians' testimony in Gaza a true miracle amid nonstop war, says Holy Land official JERUSALEM — In the shadow of darkness, eight children in Gaza City beamed with joy as they received their first Communion. As the world marked 100 days since the Hamas militants attacks that unleashed Hell in the Holy Land, images of the children from Holy Family Parish – the only Catholic parish in the Gaza Strip – dressed in white albs to receive the sacrament were a stark and welcome contrast in a land that has had very little reason to smile since Oct. 7. Across the border in Israel, the families of those hostages still held by Hamas and other groups marked the poignant milestone of 100 days without their loved ones with a vigil in Tel Aviv. In an appearance on Italian television Jan. 14 to plead for an end to violence, the pope said, "It's true that making peace is risky, but war is riskier." Speaking to OSV News from Jerusalem, Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, custos, or guardian, of the holy places, was downbeat as the war marked its 100th day. "I feel very sad and frustrated,

MEXICO CITY — Javier Milei, who disparaged the pope while campaigning for president, is expected to travel to the Vatican next month, according to Argentine media, marking the first meeting between the Argentine leader and Pope Francis since Milei’s surprise election victory. The Vatican invited Milei to attend the Feb. 11 canonization of María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, known as Mama Antula in Argentina, according to Vatican and presidential


because at this moment it seems impossible to do something for the civilian population of Gaza," he said. Before the war there were an estimated 1,200 Christians in Gaza.

As Iran hits northern Iraq, prelate says Middle East is 'like a volcano,' Christians are targeted AMMAN, Jordan — The Iraqi Catholic community feels unsettled after Iran launched ballistic missiles, striking upscale neighborhoods of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, signaling the latest spate of violence targeting northern Iraq. Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed it targeted a spy base for Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, close to the U.S. consulate in Iraq on Jan. 15, a charge refuted by both the region's prime minister and the United States. The strikes killed four, including Kurdish real estate tycoon Peshraw Dizayi and Christian businessman Karam Mikhail, owner of Al-Rayyan Iraq Group, who attended a social gathering at Dizayi's home. On Jan. 17, Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani canceled a meeting with Iran's foreign minister at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland in protest over Iranian missile strikes on the Iraqi Kurdish city of Irbil. Barzani earlier called the attacks "unjustifiable and cowardly." The U.S. condemned the action, with State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller describing it as "Iran's reckless missile strikes." Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Yousif Thomas Mirkis of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniya compared the entire Middle East region to "a volcano." Anything could happen, he said, as a consequence of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, troubles in Syria and Lebanon and the targeting of commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels. — OSV News

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Michael R. Heinlein

Jesuit Father John Michalowski

Go deeply into the prayer Jesus taught us

Learning about Eucharistic desire from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton


y family made a recent visit to the new museum at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland. I’ve always been drawn to St. Elizabeth’s story. I remember how it fascinated me as a child that she was both a mother and a nun, not to mention the first canonized saint born in our land. The newly redesigned museum has much to offer any pilgrim. I went there that day hoping to find something about her life that could inspire our oldest son as he prepares for his first Holy Communion in the spring. And, by God’s grace, something that struck me anew on this visit was the love St. Elizabeth had for the Lord’s real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Something that particularly stuck out to me, thanks to one of the exhibits, was how significant St. Elizabeth’s first Holy Communion was in her life. Digging into this pivotal day in her life a bit more later, I came to learn that St. Elizabeth had so longed for the Lord the night ahead of her first reception of the sacrament that she lay awake “burning” with desire. And she made the two-mile journey to the church that next morning so quickly, she wrote, that it seemed her feet barely touched the ground. Now, this is no hyperbole by a pious biographer but her own written words, preserved at the Maryland museum. These words and experiences left me with ample fodder for prayer and reflection, and still do.


Remarkably, this newfound love for the Eucharist, rooted in her newfound love for the Catholic faith, came about only by providence and through much suffering. At 29, Elizabeth and her oldest child accompanied her husband to Italy in hopes his tubercular lungs might recover there. Those hopes were dashed, though, after the state quarantined them in such harsh conditions that Mr. Seton’s death was hastened. But she was not left in despair. God burst into her life in a most amazing and transformative way. A woman of faith already, raised in the Episcopalian tradition, Elizabeth was dumbstruck by the experiences she had at the Italian estate of her husband’s friends – the Filicchis – where she became acquainted with Catholicism. “(H)ow happy we would be,” she wrote her sister-in-law, “if we believed what these dear souls believe, that they possess God in the sacrament and that He remains in their churches and is carried to them when they are sick.” Her Episcopalian sensibilities maintained no strength against the power of the Eucharist. Witnessing firsthand a Eucharistic procession, Elizabeth would later recall, “I fell on my knees without thinking … and cried in an agony to God to bless me if He was there, that my whole soul desired only Him.”


As I looked at the rosary St. Elizabeth received at her first Holy Communion, I wondered what might come of my son’s first Communion. Then I looked at what she wrote, in her own hand, about that very day: “At last GOD IS MINE and I AM HIS.” This is the beauty of a soul who longed for total union with Christ and found it only by passing through great suffering. But once she did, she couldn’t keep it to herself. She set out to transform the world, nourished and sustained by the fullness of love contained in that tiny host. Standing there, recalling St. Elizabeth’s first Holy Communion, I said a prayer for our son, that he might come to experience just that. And I longed to realize the full power of those words in his life and mine. That we might be so utterly transformed in the Eucharist, as was St. Elizabeth, that we might evermore long to be made worthy to enter His kingdom in her footsteps. MICHAEL R. HEINLEIN is the author of “Glorifying Christ: The Life of Cardinal Francis E. George, O.M.I.” and a promised member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators.

“Grace” a 1918 photograph by Eric Enstrom.


ne of the things St. Ignatius of Loyola challenges us to do is to reflect upon some of the prayers that we have prayed since we were children. These prayers often become rote, and we are called to enter more deeply into them and become more aware of the richness of what we are praying. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he responds with the Our Father. A few weeks ago, I was struck by the third petition and how it relates to the first. We pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Scholars tell us that a rare Greek word is used for what is translated as our “daily bread.” The word may refer not just to the food that nourishes our bodies but also to the spiritual food that nourishes our spirits. Thus, some of the Fathers of the Church saw it as also referring to the Eucharist. As the Gospel tells us, Jesus is “the Bread of Life.”

challenging, and guiding you? What does the Eucharist/Communion mean to you?



We begin by praying “Our Father.” Of course, we speak by analogy, as God is both Father and Mother to us. Just as a mother nourishes her child, first with her own blood when the child is forming in her womb, and then after birth with her milk, so too God nourishes us with his Body and Blood in Communion and with the milk of his Word. Just as a mother both cuddles her child and challenges the child to grow up, so too God’s grace both cuddles us and challenges us. Just as a father guides his child, so too God the Father guides us through the Scriptures and through the Church. Let us reflect on this. Who or what nourishes and challenges you? How do you see God nourishing,


“Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us.” (In India and other lands where English is one of the official languages, the archaic English term “trespasses” is replaced by “sin.”) Whenever we forgive those who sin against us, we are helping God’s kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven.” How have you experienced God’s forgiveness? Being forgiven yourself, does it help you to forgive others? Note how we always begin Mass by acknowledging our sins and recognizing God’s mercy to us. When there is true forgiveness, we fulfill Jesus’ words that “the Kingdom of God is among you.” Reflect on the gift of forgiveness in your life. What forgiveness is needed in our world? “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Of course, God does not lead us into temptation, and some translations from the Greek depict this. The question is: Do I ever lead others into temptation through my words or actions? Do I help deliver others from the evils of discrimination, poverty, loneliness or ignorance? When I do so, am I not doing God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven”? Is it any wonder that this is the prayer that Jesus teaches us? JESUIT FATHER JOHN MICHALOWSKI is the parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish in Charlotte.

January 19, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALDI


Dr. Tod Worner

Martin Luther King Jr.’s radical declaration: ‘I have decided to love’


ears ago, my family visited the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. When we first walked in, at the end of the hallway in front of us a massive wall displayed a photograph of President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Over his shoulder, with unlined brow and the softest of smiles, was the man without whom this legislation would not have happened: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

‘King refused to answer hate with hate . . . The cycle, he insisted, had to end. And if that isn’t rooted in the essence of the teachings of Christ, then nothing is.’ When I considered the gravity of the moment captured in this image, I was stunned. Following the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments (constitutional amendments passed between 1865 and 1870 that abolished slavery, granted citizenship, and secured voting rights), the blight of segregation had crept in. Local legislation (Jim Crow laws) aided by pernicious Supreme Court decisions (Plessy v. Ferguson and others) craftily undermined the amendments. A codified system of racism continued to plague our land for nearly 100 years until this photograph’s moment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which survived a 60-day filibuster led by southern Democrats, offered improved voting rights; desegregation of private businesses, public facilities, and public education; and efforts to mitigate workplace discrimination. It was achieved with legislative threats and enticements, horse-trading, and armtwisting. But it also came in the wake of freedom riders and bus boycotts, churchbombings and burning crosses, lunch counter sit-ins and letters from jail, police dogs and water cannons. The bill was signed into law on July 2, 1964.


What is it that informed the spirit of the long-suffering, hope-haunted King? When addressing the audience in Oslo upon receiving the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, he told us. King paused at the beginning of his speech to ask a rhetorical question: Why should a man (and a movement) engaged in relentless struggle that has not yet

achieved the peace so greatly desired deserve a Nobel Peace Prize? He offered his own answer: “After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” Further on, he added: “I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. ... I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”


King refused to answer hate with hate, vengeance with vengeance, racism with racism. The cycle, he insisted, had to end. And if that isn’t rooted in the essence of the teachings of Christ, then nothing is. Love your enemy. Turn the other cheek. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. And, of course: Have faith in God. He knew full well that Christ himself bore the crushing weight of the sins of mankind and didn’t lash out with vengeful, fiery, and righteous obliteration. Instead, he absorbed the darkness in its entirety and, in turn, emitted sweet, enduring, salvific light. King spoke to the necessity of breaking the cycle when he confessed, “I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.” And this awoke the conscience of the world. We live in an age of rage and resentment where scores, it is insisted, must be settled. But the man with that young face in the picture on the Johnson Library wall – with many battles behind him and only four tumultuous years left to live – begged to differ. The burden is too great, far too great to bear, he told us. “I have decided to love.” DR. TOD WORNER is a practicing internal medicine physician and the managing editor of Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute.

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life. Your ministry as a Christian and mine as a priest will be a meaningless drama if we cannot stand and defend life from the beginning to the end.” “Abortion and its associated antilife practices are terrible scourges on humanity,” he continued. “I therefore call on those in charge of legislation to frame laws which reflect the eternal laws of God.” To all the young people gathered in the square, Father Ekosse said, “I urge and encourage you to stay close to the faith and do not succumb to any of such pressure be it from the state or from your friends. But rather listen to God and His teachings as handed to us by the Church through the deposit of faith.” Another guest speaker was Deanna Tyler Glenn, Miss Huntersville 2023 and president and founder of a single mothers support group at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Glenn discussed the challenges of supporting the sanctity of life given today’s culture. “Life comes first – I’m here to save the next generation,” she said. “It’s important for all of us to show people how you feel about defending life, so they know where you stand. I remember that I lost friends when I first started talking about the pro-life movement. We all need to be crystal clear about our intentions to support

life and how far you’re willing to go to save a life.” Glenn said the diversity of the crowd – which included students, young families and senior citizens – was an important testament to the broad range of people who are willing to speak up for life. That diversity, she said, is a positive sign the future of the pro-life movement. Other speakers included Bill Pincus, president of North Carolina Right to Life, and Hank Chardos, who recently started a Charlotte branch of Birthright, a crisis pregnancy support center. “It’s important to stand up for life at all of its stages, and to understand that if we’re going to be pro-life we need to provide support to both the unborn children and their mothers,” said Doug Cashman, a member of St. Mark Parish in Huntersville. “It’s amazing to see everyone come out on a workday to march for life, to see all of these people in the streets marching and praying,” said Alicia Foreman, a regional coordinator for the Students for Life movement, who moved to Charlotte from Philadelphia six months ago. “I hope this is a way to eventually make Charlotte free of abortion.” Elisabeth and Paul Laskowski, also members of St. Mark Parish, attended with their five children and said they both have been taking part in annual marches for life since before they were married. “By taking part in this, I’m hoping to instill pro-life values in my children and also offer a public witness to the sanctity of all life,” Elisabeth Laskowski said.


En su discurso, el Padre Raymond Ekosse, vicario parroquial de la Parroquia Santo Tomás de Aquino en Charlotte, animó a la gente a testificar públicamente por la vida en todas las etapas, e instar a los legisladores a hacer lo mismo. "El Evangelio de la vida está en el corazón del mensaje de Jesús", dijo el Padre Ekosse. "Debe ser proclamado a la gente de todas las edades, tiempos, naciones, continentes y culturas”. “No podemos predicar el Evangelio de la vida sin ser defensores y amantes de la vida. Su ministerio como cristiano y el mío como sacerdote serán un drama sin sentido si no podemos mantenernos firmes y defender la vida desde el principio hasta el final". "El aborto y sus prácticas anti-vida asociadas son terribles flagelos para la humanidad", continuó. "Por lo tanto, hago un llamado a los encargados de la legislación para que elaboren leyes que reflejen las leyes eternas de Dios". A todos los jóvenes reunidos en la plaza, el Padre Ekosse les dijo: "Les insto y los animo a que permanezcan cerca de la fe y no sucumban a ninguna de esas presiones, ya sea del Estado o de sus amigos. Más bien, escuchen a Dios y sus enseñanzas tal como nos las ha transmitido la Iglesia a través del depósito de la fe". Otra oradora invitada fue Deanna Tyler Glenn, Miss Huntersville 2023 y presidenta y fundadora de un grupo de apoyo para madres solteras en la Universidad de Carolina del Norte en Charlotte. Glenn discutió los desafíos de apoyar la santidad de la vida dada la cultura actual. "La vida es lo primero, estoy aquí para salvar a la próxima generación", dijo. "Es importante que todos mostremos a la gente cómo nos sentimos acerca de defender la vida, para

que sepan cuál es nuestra posición. Recuerdo que perdí amigos cuando empecé a hablar del movimiento pro-vida. Todos debemos tener muy claras nuestras intenciones de apoyar la vida y hasta dónde estamos dispuestos a llegar para salvar una vida". Glenn dijo que la diversidad de la multitud, que incluía estudiantes, familias jóvenes y personas mayores, era un testimonio importante de la amplia gama de personas que están dispuestas a hablar por la vida. Esa diversidad, dijo, es una señal positiva del futuro del movimiento provida. Otros oradores incluyeron a Bill Pincus, presidente de North Carolina Right to Life, y Hank Chardos, quien recientemente abrió una sucursal en Charlotte de Birthright, un centro de apoyo para mujeres embarazadas en crisis. "Es importante defender la vida en todas sus etapas, y entender que si vamos a ser pro-vida necesitamos brindar apoyo tanto a los niños por nacer como a sus madres", dijo Doug Cashman, miembro de la parroquia San Marcos en Huntersville. "Es increíble ver a todo el mundo salir en un día de trabajo a marchar por la vida, ver a todas estas personas en las calles marchando y rezando", dijo Alicia Foreman, coordinadora regional del movimiento Estudiantes por la Vida, quien se mudó a Charlotte desde Filadelfia hace seis meses. "Espero que esta sea una forma de hacer que Charlotte esté libre del aborto". Elisabeth y Paul Laskowski, también miembros de la parroquia San Marcos, asistieron con sus cinco hijos y dijeron que ambos han participado en marchas anuales por la vida desde antes de casarse. "Al participar en esto, espero inculcar valores provida en mis hijos y también ofrecer un testimonio público de la santidad de toda vida", dijo Elisabeth Laskowski.


Charlotte Metro Schools (PK-12) Charlotte Catholic High School, Charlotte Christ the King Catholic High School, Huntersville Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School, Charlotte Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School, Charlotte St. Ann Catholic School, Charlotte St. Gabriel Catholic School, Charlotte St. Mark Catholic School, Huntersville St. Matthew Catholic School, Charlotte St. Michael Catholic School, Gastonia St. Patrick Catholic School, Charlotte

Piedmont Region Schools (PK-12) Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, Kernersville Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School, High Point Our Lady of Grace Catholic School, Greensboro Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School, Winston-Salem Sacred Heart Catholic School, Salisbury St. Leo Catholic School, Winston-Salem St. Pius X Catholic School, Greensboro

Mountain Region Schools (PK-8) Asheville Catholic School, Asheville Immaculata Catholic School, Hendersonville

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