Catholic Mass – Obotafumeiro Sat, 25 Sep 2021 04:07:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Catholic Mass – Obotafumeiro 32 32 Rewrite the headlines for the better, with the help of a few Scottish sisters – Catholic Philly Sat, 25 Sep 2021 01:39:29 +0000

Gina Christian

The other day I opened the paper (or rather clicked on my phone) to check the headlines, and I immediately regretted it. From top to bottom, every story was bad news: multiple incidents of gun violence, ongoing pandemic epidemics, natural disasters, squabbling between politicians.

Even a recap of the Jersey Shore summer season was grim, marred by annoyance with rowdy teens, garbage, long lines, and flies – all of which oddly made me feel a little better off. not having visited the beaches in my home state in the past few months.

Among Catholics, the thread is often not much more encouraging. Worshipers are shooting and slamming each other on social media, while too many predict that – after decades of declining Mass attendance – COVID and factionalism will conspire to kill the Bride of Christ, plunging the world in an ungodly abyss from which it cannot be redeemed.

Without in any way minimizing the very real angst caused by the equally real challenges we face, I would say we might want to seek advice from a few predecessors who viewed the intimidating circumstances from an entirely different perspective – a based not on human initiative, but on the divine redemption won for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

About 75 years ago, Peggy and Christine Smith – two elderly sisters with blindness and arthritis respectively – looked around their remote Scottish village and, despite the rugged beauty of the sight, saw dark clouds that threatened.

As the rectory of the Lewis Free Church, the island on which they resided, noted in a public statement, Christianity there was in a “low state of vital religion.” In addition to the “chaotic conditions of international politics, national economy and morality,” the people lacked “the spiritual power of the ordinances of the gospel.” The pews were empty of “increasing neglect of the observance of the Sabbath,” and the oaths and vows were broken so lightly that the sacraments themselves, especially baptism, were “in too many cases an offense to God rather than a means of grace ”.

The prognosis was indeed grim for the island – part of an archipelago known as the Hebrides, located off the west coast of Scotland – as a “spirit of pleasure” had taken “such a hold. on the younger generation who all consider all that is higher (appeared) with very few exceptions, they have been completely taken out of their minds.

And it was all, notice, after not one but two world wars, cosmic-level conflicts, one would have expected to send any reasonable person running to the altar to beg the Almighty for help.

Amid the grave utterance that “these things make it clear that the Most High has a controversy with the nation,” Peggy and Christine, though physically unable to attend church, calmly put their hands together, bowed their heads. and prayed.

Their prayers were heard and answered gloriously.

As they interceded day after day, night after night, the sisters felt compelled to contact their local pastor, who in turn enlisted other parishioners in the prayer effort. Soul by soul, congregation by congregation, a revival spread across the island, one that would come to be known as the Hebridean rebirth.

After visiting Lewis, Presbyterian minister Duncan Campbell said that “while a brother prayed, the very house was shaking.” He himself “could only stand in silence as wave after wave of divine power swept through the house, and a few minutes after this heavenly visit, men and women were face to face in soul distress” repentant and asking God to reshape their hearts.

Instead of partying in the pub, said one youth, “the prayer meeting… and worshiping God in his house on the Sabbath day” has become the “delight” of the island’s young residents.

And while every revival, and indeed the reign of Christ himself, faces a continual attack from the enemy “until all are subject to Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 671), the call to seek the Lord remains constant, as Pope Francis reminds us: “I invite all Christians everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least to an opening them; I ask you all to do it infallibly every day ”(Evangelii Gaudium, 3).

The deadlines of the world are always hollowed out by the Good News of the Gospel: “Every time we take a step towards Jesus, we realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. … With a tenderness that never disappoints, but is always able to restore our joy, he allows us to raise our heads and start afresh ”(Evangelii Gaudium, 3).

We can write a new story worth telling if we are willing to follow the example of some older ladies, long past in eternity, who have humbled themselves before the Lord so that He can them. exalt (Ja 4:10) – and the rest of us too.


Gina Christian is a senior content producer at, host of the Inside podcast and author of the forthcoming book “Stations of the Cross for Sexual Abuse Survivors”. Follow her on Twitter at @GinaJesseReina.

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things are breaking | Commonwealth Magazine Fri, 24 Sep 2021 13:41:40 +0000

How did Bernstein complete the work? In a letter dated May 25, 1971 — just over three months before the September premier—Bernstein wrote poignantly on the problem of how to pass “from this howling anger to the serenity of Communion, that is to say the end? He judged the “No easy job” dilemma. He then referred to some sort of exchange with the Jesuit “Father Dan” Berrigan (who was in prison for his participation in the 1968 Catonsville Nine action): “Father Dan said today: Leave them with the militant mood. Shout at them and turn off the lights. They don’t deserve fellowship. Quote: ‘When they stop the war, then we can commune.’ How’s that for a flamboyant finish? However, Berrigan’s suggestion did not match Bernstein’s personal view, who felt “a little sickly.” “I know there is a glorious solution,” he concluded. “I pray we find him.”

Trope 5: Youth / Re-Found

Bernstein’s prayer was answered when he found this solution by going back to his roots. Just as praise has the last word in the language of lamentation and Kaddish, so the youth lost in MASS gradually found like the soprano boy riffs in tandem with the haunting flute, “Iauda, ​​laude, laudate deum. “(Several years earlier, in the 1965 Chichester Psalms, Bernstein had used this same device with a rising soprano voice to introduce calm after “a happy noise”.) The youngster’s repeated riffs on “praise” one by one rejuvenate his elders (a hint of Mahler’s Second Symphony “Resurrection”) and end up producing a glorious chorus. Although the play openly recalls the initial “Simple Song” with which the celebrant began MASS, it is now reduced to only speech sounds: Iauda, ​​laude, laudate eum– praise (singular imperative), praise (noun), praise (plural imperative) him. (Does Berstein implicitly evoke the 1955-56 story of Karlheinz Stockhausen Song from Youth?) To say anything beyond that, beyond “praise”, would be shamelessness – literally, to say too much.

This latter modesty evokes deep continuities in Bernstein’s vision – for example, the exhilarating concluding chorus in Candid (1956). After a disturbing and tragic journey, Candide and his companions finally see unveiled the arrogant epistemological claims of Dr Pangloss according to which it is the “best of all possible worlds”. The response to this revelation is an injunction to replace presumptuous speculation with humble manual labor: “Grow our gardens. “A decade later, Bernstein concluded his Chichester Psalms (1965) with a similar statement of epistemological modesty, the radical humility and dependence of a child described in Psalm 131 (130): Adonai, / Lo gavah libi (Lord, / My heart is not haughty). While Moynihan had lamented that “we will never be young again”, Bernstein celebrates the youth found. But note that this is a different youth, a youth tempered by the experience of doubt, disillusionment, rage and death. It is perhaps the naivety rediscovered, but it is nevertheless a clearly secondary naivety which has been altered by the critical distance. Although the world is coming back, it is not the same world.

Bernstein arrives at the praise coming from the rejuvenation. Conclude the Kaddish symphony, the President exults:

O my Father, Lord of Light!

Beloved Majesty: my Image, my Self!

We are one, after all, you and me:

Together we suffer, together we exist,

And forever recreate each other.

Recreate yourself, recreate each other!

Suffer and recreate each other!

This confidence boost has deep roots in Bernstein’s own youth. In 1945, at twenty-seven, he had composed music for Hashkiveinu, the liturgical text sung in Hebrew during evening services.

Make us, Lord our God, retire for the evening in peace

and then rise to life again, O our King,

and spread over us Your canopy of peace. . .

Be a shield around us.

Remove all enemies from among us,

plague, sword, violence, famine, hunger and sorrow

… spread over us

the protective canopy of your peace.

Almost thirty years later, Bernstein concluded MASS with an invocation echoing the Hashkiveinu, prayer for a safe haven in the accidental existence of easily broken things.

Almighty Father, incline your ear:

Bless us and all who have gathered here—

Your angel sends us,

Who will defend us all;

And filled with grace

Everyone who lives in this place. Amen.

Mass is over.

Go in peace.

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Share the love of God, don’t just complain about the lack of faith, says the Pope to the bishops Thu, 23 Sep 2021 21:15:00 +0000

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Bishops and other members of the Catholic Church often lament the decline in the number of Christians, but they rarely examine their own behavior and inability to show others how much God loves them, said the Pope Francis to the presidents of European episcopal conferences.

“Consider how many people are no longer hungry and thirsty for God! Not because they are bad, but because there is no one to awaken in them a hunger for faith and to satisfy this thirst of the human heart ”, declared the Pope on September 23, concelebrating the Mass of opening of the plenary assembly of the Council. European Bishops’ Conferences.

“So many people are made to feel only material needs, and not a need of God,” the Pope told his brother bishops during the early evening mass at the pulpit altar in St. Peter’s Basilica .

“Sure, we’re ‘concerned’ about it, but are we really ‘busy’ answering it? Asked Pope Francis.

“It is easy, but ultimately unnecessary, to judge those who disbelieve or to list the reasons for secularization,” the Pope said. Instead, “the word of God challenges us to turn to ourselves. Do we feel concern and compassion for those who have not had the joy of meeting Jesus or who have lost that joy? Are we comfortable because deep down our lives go on as usual, or are we troubled to see so many of our brothers and sisters far from the joy of Jesus?

The plenary session of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences brought together the presidents of 33 national episcopal conferences and a dozen other Eastern and Latin rite bishops from across the continent. The September 23-26 meeting was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the council and review its service to the continent in the light of Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti, on fraternity and social friendship”.

After Mass, the bishops were to renew their profession of faith at the tomb of Saint Peter and pray at the tombs of Saint Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Saint John Paul II – the popes who accompanied the early years the existence of the council.

Using the images of the rebuilding of the houses and the temple in the day’s first reading of the Book of Haggai, Pope Francis said in his homily that just as the ancient Israelites were to “stop being satisfied with a peaceful present. and start working for the future ”. the same goes for the peoples of Europe.

The founders of the European Union “did not seek a fleeting consensus, but dreamed of a future for all,” said the Pope, and only this kind of far-sighted vision can ensure a consolidation of peace, freedom and solidarity on the continent.

“The same goes for the church, the house of God,” he said. “To make it beautiful and welcoming, we must, together, look to the future, not restore the past.”

Of course, said Pope Francis, any idea of ​​“rebuilding” the Church must begin with the founding of the Church, “the living tradition of the Church, which is based on the essential, the Good News, the proximity and testimony ”.

“We must rebuild from its foundations the church of all times and places, from the worship of God and love of neighbor, and not from our own tastes, not from of covenants or agreements that we make to “defend the church” or “defend Christianity,” he said.

In Haggai’s reading, he noted, the verbal form of “reconstruct” is plural – a call to all the people.

“All reconstruction takes place together, in unity, with others,” Pope Francis said. “Visions may differ, but unity must always be preserved. Because if we keep the grace of all, the Lord continues to build, even when we are not up to the task. “

“It is our vocation as pastors: to gather the flock, not to disperse it or to keep it locked up by beautiful fences,” he said. “To rebuild is to become artisans of communion, weavers of unity at all levels: not through stratagems but through the Gospel.

The challenge is enormous, said the Pope, because so many Europeans regard religious faith as “a relic of the past”.

The reason, he says, is that “they have not seen Jesus at work in their own lives”, and “often it is because we, through our lives, have not shown them enough” .

“If Christians, instead of radiating the contagious joy of the Gospel, continue to speak in an outmoded intellectualistic and moralistic religious language, people will not be able to see the Good Shepherd,” the Pope said. “They will not recognize the one who loves each of his sheep, calls them by name and carries them on his shoulders. “

“Jesus is not asking us to make arguments for God, but to show it, the same way the saints did, not with words but with our lives,” Pope Francis said.

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Catholic Church of the Holy Name of Jesus Celebrates 100th Anniversary – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentry Thu, 23 Sep 2021 07:15:52 +0000

Father Kenneth Ugwu, pastor of the Holy Name, enjoys the festivities of the celebration of the 100th anniversary. (Cora J. Fossett / LA Sentinel)

Celebrating a history of worship and community service, members of the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church gathered for the 100e birthday from September 10 to 12.

The three-day celebration was designed to highlight the huge impact the ministry has had on the Jefferson Park district in Los Angeles. The festivities included an alumni blender from the school, a Thanksgiving Mass, and a birthday reception.

Bishop John Ricard, Superior General of the Order of the Josephites, was the chief celebrant of the Mass and Father Greg Chisholm, former pastor of Holy Name, delivered the homily.

The fun day for family and friends was another highlight of the celebratory occasion as local residents joined Holy Name members for food, games, entertainment and camaraderie. The outdoor event, located in the parking lot of the church, attracted nearly 200 people of all ages and ethnicities.

“It was a truly wonderful celebration. I am very happy to be a part of this story, ”said Father Kenneth Ugwu, pastor of Holy Name who was appointed to the church in February 2020.

“When I arrived it was only a month before the closure due to the pandemic, but I was able to do it thanks to the people, who are really beautiful. I love them. It is truly a blessing to be here!

Deacon Douglas Johnson with his wife, Sheree Brown Johnson, who has been a member of Holy Name since childhood. She is also a former student of the Holy Name of Jesus School. (Cora J. Fossett / LA Sentinel)

Holy Name has also proven to be a blessing for the entire community through the operation of a K-8 school and outreach programs to help those less fortunate. Church ministries focus on religious education, helping the infirm, intercessory prayer, and feeding the homeless.

“One of the things that excites me is working with young adult ministry,” said Deacon Douglas Johnson. I work with Deacon Jose Pente and his daughter, Rosa Pente and it is an African American and Latin ministry.

As Rosa Pente explained: “Every Thursday we have a revival, which includes an altar call and people come from all over – Montebello, San Pedro, other parts of Los Angeles – to make it. experience. It is a good way for us to spread the message of God.

Since its founding in 1921, Holy Name has shared the word of God through a strong program of evangelism. While the congregation was originally white, a large influx of African Americans united with the parish during the Great Migration from the Southern States in the 1940s and 1950s.

Rosa Pente, on the left, and Deacon José Pente, on the far right, lead the young adult ministry of the Holy Name. Looking over are two church members. (Cora J. Fossett / LA Sentinel)

Today, the members are predominantly black Americans, but there are also Latino, Belizean and Nigerian devotees. The various groups come together for Mass, available in English and Spanish, and other church sponsored programs.

Recognizing that Holy Name is one of the few predominantly black Catholic parishes in Los Angeles, member Monica Lewis gave credit to the precursors of the church for paving the way for future generations.

“All the parishioners before us laid the foundations. They instilled in us the importance of supporting your church and it really helped to maintain the Holy Name as well as the spiritual dynamism of the pastors that we have had, ”noted Lewis.

She added that these ancestors also highlighted civic engagement, which continues today through Holy Name’s close relationship with elected officials and neighbor organizations.

As we look forward to another century of worship and service, the Holy Name congregation invites the Angelenos to join them on the journey. One of the future goals of the members is “massive evangelical action towards the uncommitted and the strengthening of community unity”.

The Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church is located at 1955 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 734-8888.

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Catholic school calendar 2021-22 for the Archdiocese of Washington – Catholic Standard Wed, 22 Sep 2021 16:09:37 +0000

August 31 – September 8, 2021: Archdiocese of Washington optional first day of school.

September 6, 2021: Labor Day – All schools, central pastoral administration / offices closed.

October 11, 2021: Indigenous Peoples Day (optional holiday for Catholic Schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington) – Central Pastoral Administration / offices closed.

November 1, 2021: Solemnity of All Saints’ Day – All schools, Central pastoral administration / offices closed.

November 11, 2021: Veterans Day (optional holiday for Catholic schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington) – Central Pastoral Administration / offices closed.

November 25 – November 26, 2021: Thanksgiving Holidays – All schools, central pastoral administration / offices are closed.

December 8, 2021: Immaculate Conception of Mary – All schools, Central Pastoral Administration / offices closed.

December 24 – December 31, 2021: Christmas Holidays – All schools, Central Pastoral Administration / offices closed. Check with your school for the start of the Christmas holidays.

January 17, 2022: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day – All central pastoral administration schools / offices are closed.

January 21, 2022: Youth rally and Mass for Life.

January 30 – February 5, 2022: Catholic Schools Week.

February 21, 2022: President’s Day (an optional holiday for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington).

March 2, 2022: Ash Wednesday: beginning of Lent.

April 14, 2022: Maundy Thursday – All schools, central pastoral administration / offices closed.

April 15, 2022: Good Friday – Central pastoral administration / offices closed.

April 18, 2022: Easter Monday – Central pastoral administration / offices closed.

May 30, 2022: Memorial Day – All schools, Central Pastoral Administration / offices closed.

June 2022: Last day optional (contact the local school).

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Robert “Bob” R. Pekkanen – Obituary – Mahoning Valley Tue, 21 Sep 2021 22:17:44 +0000

June 30, 1949 ~ August 25, 2021 (72 years old)

Robert R. Pekkanen, 72, of The Villages, FL., Formerly of Cortland, entered Eternal Rest on August 25, 2021.

Born June 30, 1949 in New Castle, Pennsylvania, the youngest son of the late William and Jennie Marttala Pekkanen, Bob has lived most of his life in Ohio. He is a graduate of Springfield Local High School in Springfield Township, OH and Case Tech University in Cleveland, OH. While in Case, Bob was a member of the Case Rough Riders basketball team as well as the SAE National Fraternity. After graduation Bob moved to Cortland, OH and worked at Delphi Packard Electric in Warren, OH where he retired as General Supervisor in 2002. Bob enjoyed playing golf, supporting his activities. children and spending time with family and friends. Bob and Karen moved to The Villages in 2013 where Bob enjoyed bowling, golfing with friends and most importantly taking advantage of the many opportunities to play Texas Hold’em poker.

Left behind to cherish his memory are his wife Karen Cooney Pekkanen; son Douglas (Mindy) Pekkanen of Marietta, GA; daughter Julie (Bradley) Yanko of Chardon, OH and her granddaughters Allison and Kelly Pekkanen and Cecelia and Sofia Yanko. Bob also leaves his brothers William (Marilyn) Pekkanen and Ronald Pekkanen of Ohio. Preceding Bob in death were his parents and son Geoffrie.

The family will receive guests from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Cortland, Ohio. A Memorial Mass will follow at 11:00 am with Reverend Carl Kish as officiant.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Bob’s honor to the InMotion Parkinson’s Support Group (be or to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center.

Local arrangements have been entrusted to Woods-Rettig Funeral Home, Leetonia, OH.

Family and friends can review this obituary and send their condolences to


September 30, 2021
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Saint-Robert Bellarmin Catholic Church
4659, chemin Niles-Cortland NE
Cortland, OH 44410


September 30, 2021
Saint-Robert Bellarmin Catholic Church
4659, chemin Niles-Cortland NE
Cortland, OH 44410

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Joseph Delmore | Death notice | Tue, 21 Sep 2021 10:00:00 +0000

BOURBONNAIS – Joseph J. Delmore, 65, from Bourbonnais, died on Saturday September 18, 2021 at his home.

He was born December 25, 1955 in Rochester, Minn., The son of James “JP” and Mary Kiffe Delmore.

Joe married Amy Kirsch on September 16, 1983 at the BVM Maternity Catholic Church in Bourbonnais.

From 1984, Joe was a loan officer for Kankakee Federal Savings & Loans. He went on to work for First of America Bank, Homestar Bank, where he spent most of his career, then ended his career at Peoples Bank, retiring in 2020.

Joe had coached several of his son’s baseball teams and enjoyed working in his backyard and spending time in his pool. He was a big fan of the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs. He enjoyed spending time with his family in Lake City, Minnesota. He loved to live life. Joe loved his beagles. He was an old friend to everyone he met.

He was a parishioner of the BVM Catholic Church Maternity in Bourbonnais.

Surviving are his wife, Amy Delmore, of Bourbonnais; one son, Bobby and Kara Delmore, of Chicago; one daughter, Katie Delmore, of Bourbonnais; two sisters, Sue Delmore and Phil Billman, of Rancho Murieta, Calif., and Jane Delmore-Pilotte and John Pilotte, of Libertyville; and one brother, Dan and Darlene Delmore, of Rancho Murieta, California.

His parents preceded him in death; and one brother, Mike Delmore.

Visitations will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22, at the Clancy-Gernon funeral home in Bourbonnais. The funeral will be celebrated at 11 am on Thursday, September 23, at the BVM Maternity of the Catholic Church of Bourbonnais.

The family have asked everyone to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines during visitation and funeral mass.

Cremation rites will be granted after the funeral mass.

Private burial will be at the Maternity of the BVM Catholic Cemetery in Bourbonnais.

Memories can be made at the will of the family.

Please sign their guestbook online at

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America’s largest Catholic parish rises inside California – the Durango Herald Mon, 20 Sep 2021 21:32:40 +0000

Reverend Alex Chavez stands in front of the construction site of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Visalia, Calif. On August 26. Chavez says the large-scale parish – which has lasted for years – is needed to respond to the exploding Catholic population in an area where, like much of the world, there is a severe shortage of priests. (Alejandra Molina / RNS via Associated Press)

Alejandra Molina

VISALIA, Calif .– It is billed as the largest Catholic parish in the United States and is being built about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, in what is often referred to as “the heart of California’s dairy industry. “.

With an estimated price tag of $ 18.5 million, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church will accommodate 3,200 people, cover approximately 33,000 square feet and is expected to open in the spring of 2022. The church is under construction in Visalia, a town in Tulare County, and Catholic leaders hail it as the largest parish in the United States in terms of seating capacity.

The new church – funded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno and private donations – will feature 9-foot-high stained glass windows in its sanctuary, a baptismal font at the entrance to the parish, a Stations of the Cross with 14 devotional posts, and an octagon. dome-shaped accented with antique gold with murals of the four evangelists.

The church, which will reflect “California mission inspired” architecture, will also feature a 48-foot-high devotional painting on canvas depicting portraits of archangels hovering above as saints kneel and worship the Blessed Virgin Mary. Trinity. The painting will pay homage to the region with images of citrus, cattle and green pastures that are synonymous with the agricultural central valley.

Saint Charles Borromeo will be able to accommodate more people than the Cathedral of Christ – formerly the Crystal Cathedral, the mega-church of Robert H. Schuller taken over by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in 2012 – which can accommodate 2,248 faithful. And while St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, may have over 11,000 registered families, it can accommodate approximately 2,100 people. The National Shrine in Washington, DC can accommodate 3,500 people but is not considered a parish church.

For Reverend Alex Chavez, pastor of the Catholic parish of the Good Shepherd in Visalia, the new church is a sign of “divine providence”, especially in the midst of the pandemic when “everything is drab and depressing, here in this small part of California, we’re building this juggernaut.

“It’s the country’s best-kept secret – little Visalia is building the largest parish church in modern US history,” Chavez said.

Visalia, a city of just over 140,000 residents, is squeezed between Fresno and Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley – an area where, according to US Census Bureau figures, Latinos are in the majority in six of its eight counties. The city has experienced population growth over the past decade, with the population increasing from 124,442 in 2010 to 141,384 in 2020, according to census figures.

A sign reads “Building the Kingdom of God” at the construction site of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Visalia, California on August 26. It is billed as the largest Catholic parish in the United States and is being built about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, in what is often referred to as “the heart of California’s dairy industry.” (Alejandra Molina / RNS via Associated Press)

Alejandra Molina

While it may seem shocking that such a massive church is located in a county where, in 2017 Visalia Times Delta The headline read: “There are almost more cows than humans,” Chavez said the large-scale parish – which has been in gestation for years – is needed to cope with the boom in the Catholic population in an area. where, like much of the world, there is a serious shortage of priests.

There has been uneven growth of Catholics in the United States over the past 40 years as the western and southern states have experienced a boom in the Catholic population, said Jonathon Wiggins, director of parish surveys at the Center. for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

In 1980, 16% of all Catholics were in the West, and by 2019 that number had risen to 27%, Wiggins said.

Growth is apparent in the Diocese of Fresno where the number of Catholics, between 1980 and 2019, increased from approximately 307,000 to 972,000.

The interior of the construction site of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Visalia, Calif. On August 26. It is billed as the largest Catholic parish in the United States, and it is being built approximately 200 miles north of Los Angeles, in what is often referred to as “the heart of California’s dairy industry.” (Alejandra Molina / RNS via Associated Press)

Alejandra Molina

Meanwhile, the number of active priests in the diocese has increased from 90 to 67 during the same period, Wiggins said. In 1980, the ratio of Catholics to active priests was 3 411 to 1. In 2019, the ratio was 14 511 to 1.

“In places like the West and the South, you see these bigger churches because you have a lot of Catholics there,” Wiggins said. “You have fewer priests than 40 years ago, while you get more Catholics, so you need bigger places.”

“What you are seeing in California is pretty significant growth,” he added.

To serve the growing Visalia congregations with fewer priests, the city’s three churches were merged in 2016 into what is known as the Catholic Parish of the Good Shepherd. A small congregation near Goshen is also part of this umbrella.

Before the pandemic, Chavez – a former engineer who grew up in the nearby town of Porterville – and two other priests traveled from church to church to celebrate 11 Masses in English and Spanish over the weekend. Now, in the wake of COVID-19, Chavez and another priest are holding a total of five weekend masses on Sunday in a church hall behind the construction of the new church.

“We were running like a headless chicken,” Chavez said, noting that the pandemic allowed them to consolidate masses in one place in the church hall.

Parish consolidation is happening across the country, said Scott Thumma, a sociologist of religion at Hartford Seminary. The shortage of priests is one of the main reasons, but it also varies by region, with their own growth or declining rates.

While the western and southern states have seen an increase in the number of Catholics, some churches in the east and midwest have seen a decline in attendance. Thumma said dioceses in those areas could look at deferred church maintenance and necessary repairs and decide it “makes more sense to consolidate.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced in May that a number of parishes would consolidate amid financial difficulties, declining attendance and a shortage of priests. Years earlier, in 2014, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced the amalgamation of 112 parishes into 55 new parishes as it faced similar circumstances.

The idea for a new and larger church in the area emerged about two decades ago, said Chavez, when then-bishop John Thomas Steinbock envisioned a geographically central location to gather for celebrations, but that the mother church of the diocese, St. John’s Cathedral, could only accommodate 450 people.

The plans for the church began to take shape in 2008, when, according to The business journal, the diocese obtained a conditional use permit from the city to construct a church, parish hall, school and other buildings on a 17-acre plot. The parish hall – where the faithful now gather for Sunday mass – was built, but construction of the church was stalled for lack of money. Efforts to build the church resumed in 2017, but suffered a number of delays during the pandemic.

Once Saint Charles Borromeo is finished, all Sunday Masses in Visalia and major diocesan celebrations, such as priestly ordinations, will take place there. Baptisms, funerals, weddings, confessions and daily masses will continue to be celebrated in the parishes of the district. “That’s how we keep them going all week,” Chavez said.

Across Visalia, the construction of the church is “the talk of the town,” said Chavez. But at first there was some resistance. Some worshipers, Chavez said, feared losing the identity of their neighborhood church and wanted to keep Sunday Mass in the parish where generations of families had attended. St. Mary’s Catholic Church, for example, is over 150 years old.

“They want to keep what they’re used to, the neighborhood church, and that’s where the resistance is,” Chavez said. “This is where the difficulty lies, letting go.

But Chavez said it simply wouldn’t be possible to continue weekend services in each individual church.

“One or two of the parishes would be without a pastor,” he said.

Reverend Alex Chavez, pastor of the Good Shepherd Catholic Parish, stands in the church hall behind the construction site of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Visalia, Calif., August 26. Sunday masses were held in the parish hall during construction. (Alejandra Molina / RNS via Associated Press)

Alejandra Molina

Henry Medina, deacon and director of administration for Good Shepherd Catholic Parish, recognizes that parishioners will move from their small community churches to a mega-church that is not necessarily in their neighborhood. It is also an opportunity to unite the Catholics of the region, he said.

The new church, Medina said, will be a place where Latino, Portuguese, White, Vietnamese and Filipino parishioners as well as farm laborers, farmers and professionals can come together under one roof.

“You are starting to see, now, the mixing of all the different cultures,” he said. “All these parishes now have a new identity and what they had in the past is now historic.

“Now all the Catholics in the city of Visalia are under one roof united under one God,” said Chavez.

This content is written and produced by Religion News Service and distributed by The Associated Press. RNS and AP are joining forces on certain religious news content. RNS is solely responsible for this story.

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St. John’s Boys Football, Catholic Conference, Shane Fonseca, Kwame Adu-Gyamfi, Jorgo Karamelo Mon, 20 Sep 2021 09:00:10 +0000

A year after taking the Catholic Conference by surprise and winning the Pod Championship, St. John’s appears well prepared to handle the rigors of a full season playing arguably Central Mass’s toughest schedule.

The Pioneers will also be an exciting team to watch, with stars leading the attack in the senior captains. Shane Fonseca and Kwame Adu-Gyamfi, and junior captain Jorgo Karamelo, who collected one goal and one assist in the St. John’s Pod Championship 2-1 win over BC High last fall and is the team’s leading scorer this year.

Fonseca, who was named one of Central Mass’s five men’s soccer players. The Telegram & Gazette, which will make an impact this fall, will lead the line in St. John’s 4-4-2 lineup, while Adu-Gyamfi will play in a more creative role alongside him at the top.

“He has carte blanche as a creative midfielder, just because of the creativity and his runs are very deceptive and dangerous,” said the St. John’s coach. Kurt swanbeck noted. “I think that kind of freedom makes it very difficult for the players to defend him.”