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News Roundup, April 9

News Roundup, April 9

‘Nobody like you!’ (CNS)

How did the pope respond when a man in the crowd shouted to him that there was no one like him? Watch >>


Pope honors Jesuit priest killed in Syria with plea for end to violence (CNS)

Pope Francis says the killing of a 75-year-old Dutch priest in Syria who was loved and esteemed by Christians and Muslims alike and stayed in the war-torn country to help the poor and homeless “filled me with deep sadness.” Read more >> 

Love coffee? Thank a 16th century pope (Catholic Exchange)

A columnist for Catholic Exchange writes that while coffee is an Islamic invention, Pope Clement VIII’s blessing paved the way for it to become a favorite in Christian Europe and beyond. Read more >> 

Pope Francis begins new catechesis series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit (CNS)

In his general audience today, Pope Francis began a series of talks on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, beginning with the gift of wisdom: “seeing the world, situations, circumstances and problems with God’s eyes.” Read story >> Full text >>

News Roundup: April 8

Here are some of the things making headlines in the church and the world today today.

House, Senate agree on minimum wage increase (Duluth News Tribune)

Under new legislation the minimum wage in the state of Minnesota would get a major hike, up to $9.50/hr for large businesses by 2016. Read more ....

Pope: Cross isn’t an ornament, Christianity isn’t a do-gooder’s guide (CNS)

The cross ... “isn’t an ornament” that is just placed in churches and on altars, and “it’s not a symbol” of identification, Pope Francis said.

“The cross is the mystery, the mystery of God’s love, who lowers himself, who makes himself ‘nothing’” and takes on humanity’s sins, he said. Read more ....

Supreme Court declines to hear religious freedom photography case (CNA)

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a case involving a small New Mexico photography business that was sued over refusing to work a same-sex commitment ceremony in 2006. This allows to stand a lower-court decision that said compromising one’s religious beliefs is “the price of citizenship.” Read more ....

March for Marriage set for June 19 (USCCB)

The second March for Marriage, organized by the National Organization for Marriage to defend marriage between a man and a woman, will be held in Washington, D.C., on June 19. Read more ....

On Holy Thursday, pope will wash feet of elderly and disabled (Zenit)

Last year on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis washed the feet of prisoners in a juvenile prison in Rome. Today it was announced that he will wash the feet of the elderly and disabled in the same part of the city. Read more ....

Logo for papal visit, Credit: Archdiocese of Seoul, South Korea

Vatican announces logo, motto for papal trip to Korea (CNA)

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit South Korea in August — the first time a pope has visited the country in 25 years — and the Holy See has released the logo and motto for the trip. Read more ....


Bishop Paul Sirba: It’s been one busy Lent in our diocese

By Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

I was just getting used to the snow and now it is melting. I look forward to spring, but I remain much more hopeful about the Lord’s Resurrection.

We are blest in the Northland because nature itself reflects the glories of the Risen Lord — buds bursting, birds singing and all that comes with new life. This issue of The Northern Cross comes just before Holy Week, and I pray that this has been a fruitful Lent for you.

I know I am grateful to God for a number of diocesan gatherings this past month. Our third annual Men’s Conference with Chris Padgett was a great success. At over 430 strong, the men of the diocese prayed together, listened to Chris’ dynamic presentations and resolved to take what they had learned and be men of faith, brothers in Christ.

Our second annual Women’s Conference was likewise a blessing for the diocese. I’m not sure who had the better lunch (they were both quite good!), but the women enthusiastically gathered at Queen of Peace in Cloquet for a day of prayer and reflection. The speaker was Pat Gohn, who spoke on the themes from her book, “Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood.”

We celebrated the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent. Men and women from around our diocese, along with their sponsors, catechists and family members, gathered in our Cathedral for this beautiful ceremony. Please continue to hold the elect and the candidates in your prayers and make them feel welcome as fully initiated Catholics!

Thank you to our pastors, principals and school families, as well as those concerned about social justice issues, who joined the bishops at the State Capital for our annual “Day on the Hill.” We exercised our religious liberty and advocated our Catholic positions on non-public school choice, against payday lending and human trafficking, and on a broad range of issues. We are called to be gracious but firm in promoting laws which uphold the dignity of the human person, the right to life and religious liberty.

Welcomed at many parishes

I have had the privilege of celebrating the Lenten Sundays visiting parishes I have not been to for a few years. My travels took me to St. Luke’s in Sandstone, Holy Cross in Orr, Sacred Heart in Hackensack, St. Charles in Cass Lake, Our Lady of Fatima in Garrison, Holy Family in Hillman, All Saints in Baxter and St. Emily’s in Emily.

I thank the parishioners for their warm welcome and the pastors for adjusting their schedules and plans.

One pastor, who will go unnamed, but he shares my last name, was kind enough to share a written copy of the homily he would have given to his parishioners had I not come.

Made a confession yet?

Our preparations for Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum would not be complete without the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. It is a sheer grace of Almighty God that His mercy is so extravagantly manifest in confession. There is still time to make a good confession before Easter. Check you parish bulletin for confession times.

I encourage every member of the diocese to partake of the liturgies of Holy Week. These are the holiest days of the church year.

All of us should try our best to celebrate Palm Sunday, the Chrism Mass on Monday of Holy Week at our Cathedral, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Make the high holy days a priority in your life!

News Roundup, April 7, 2014

Here are some of the things making headlines across the Catholic world.

Pope Francis: God's mercy lovingly heals the wounds of sin

Pope Francis’ homily on Monday drew on the Gospel account of the woman caught in adultery. “How many of us,” the pope said, “should perhaps go to hell? And the condemnation would be just … but He forgives and goes beyond. How? With this mercy!”

Pope, at Angelus, reminds faithful of Jesus’ promise that ‘whoever lives and believes in me will never die’

“Our resurrection begins here: when we decide to obey this command of Jesus, going out into the light, into life; when the masks fall from our face — often we are masked by sin, the masks must fall! — and we rediscover the courage of our true face, created in the image and likeness of God.”

Church helping Rwanda heal, 20 years after genocide

Twenty years after the African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart by genocide, the church is still involved in efforts to bring peace and reconciliation. Perpetrators say that apologizing and receiving forgiveness has lifted a burden from their heart and allowed them to rest, while victims say that granting forgiveness allows them to heal and move forward with their lives.

Blessed John Paul II saw prayer as first duty of pope

 Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who worked closely with Blessed John Paul II, says the late pontiff saw praying for the church and the world was his main duty as pope.

Mozilla head's resignation over marriage stance sparks outcry

Brendan Eich, inventor of JavaScript and co-founder of Mozilla, the organization that makes the Firefox Web browser, resigned after a brief term as CEO of the organization due to pressure from groups upset he donated money for California’s Prop 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.


Pope, Britain's Queen Elizabeth have informal meeting at Vatican

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In their first overseas trip in three years, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, met April 3 with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

The 30-minute visit of the 87-year-old queen and her 92-year-old husband demonstrates "the importance that she places on this relationship with the Holy See and on getting to know Pope Francis," said Nigel Baker, the British ambassador to the Holy See.

Read more ...