September 29, 2015 |
Pope Francis concluded his first visit to the United States Sunday by celebrating a Mass rich with pomp and music for countless thousands filling the Parkway. With hymns, liturgical chants in Latin and readings in different languages, pilgrims from Philadelphia and around the world joined together in an expression of faith that gives meaning to the word communion. In his homily, Francis, his face showing a measure of weariness after 10 days of travel, called for an openness to others, saying Jesus and Moses "both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow.
September 24, 2015 |
Margie Winters was waiting. It had been three months since she was fired as director of religious education at Waldron Mercy Academy because the archdiocese could not stomach her same-sex marriage. Now, Winters was waiting to hear if she - or any other Philadelphia LGBT Catholic - might be granted an audience with Pope Francis, who was just days away from arriving in Philadelphia. Perhaps a small event, a chance for a conversation. Even attending any of the official World Meeting of Families events would do. Winters, and so many openly gay Catholics like her, just wanted to start a dialogue.
September 23, 2015 |
WHEN PHILLY native Michael Bayer heard about the ticketing system for papal events in Philadelphia, he was beside himself knowing that it would be nearly impossible to get 55 tickets for the busload of college students he was bringing from Iowa. So Bayer, director of outreach and education at the University of Iowa's Newman Catholic Student Center, took to traditional media and social media to share his story and to air his concerns. Over the weekend, his prayers were answered when a courier delivered 55 tickets to Bayer for both the Festival of Families and the papal Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
September 18, 2015 |
Philip DiWilliams had mostly kept to himself what happened in a Roman Catholic High School counselor's office in 1969. Years later, when he decided to seek therapy, he told his wife, but did not want to upset his children. Now, as Philadelphia prepares to welcome Pope Francis with all the celebration a papal visit garners, DiWilliams has decided to share his story. "I don't understand why the mind works like it does. Why I can sit here years later and tell myself, 'It wasn't my fault,' but it still bothers you," says DiWilliams, 59, of Roxborough.
September 15, 2015 |
Gabrielle Bowes had a soccer game Sunday morning, but skipped it because the 9-year-old's father insisted the family attend 10:30 Mass at St. Christopher Catholic Church. He suggested everyone dress nicely, since they would be bringing up the gifts during Communion. In the quiet final moments of the Mass, Gabrielle sat in the last pew with her sister Riley, 11, brother Matthew, 12, and parents Bernadette and Richard Bowes. The monsignor asked parishioners to stay for a final announcement.
September 13, 2015 |
The former Archbishop Wood High School basketball coach fired last year for his presence at an attack on a gay couple in Center City filed notice Friday that he will sue the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, alleging slander. The notice of the impending lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court by Francis McGlinn against Archbishop Charles J. Chaput; the archdiocese; and its spokesman, Kenneth A. Gavin. The legal notice to sue does not include the complaint, which would outline the reason for the lawsuit, but it clearly involves statements made by Gavin last September after three graduates of Wood were arrested in the Sept.
September 10, 2015 |
Parents of children attending Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools are now being required to sign a document pledging support for the schools' "Catholic identity" and recognizing that in all questions involving church law, "the final determination rests with the archbishop. " The archdiocese is asking all its schools to include the one-page "Memorandum of Understanding" in entrance applications and school handbooks, said spokesman Ken Gavin. The purpose "is to simply inform parents that we are Catholic schools, that we will teach the doctrine of the church, and have them sign that they understand and are in agreement," he said.
August 30, 2015 |
Black people have been part of what became the Catholic Church since Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry the cross toward Calvary, but Sheena Turner, 22, says she still gets the question: "You're Catholic?" Msgr. Federico A. Britto, pastor of St. Cyprian Church in West Philadelphia, says he gets a different query: "You're black and a priest?" What is to some the confounding juxtaposition of black and Catholic represents a persistent image of the Catholic Church as a white institution, and the assumption that if you're black, you're Protestant, said Deacon William Bradley, director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Black Catholics.
August 28, 2015 |
WHEN STEFAN Johnson was just a kid, he served as an altar boy at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul during a dark period in Philadelphia's history, when murdered cop after murdered cop was laid to rest there between 2007 and 2009. Meanwhile, Stefan's own father, whom he has never met outside of prison walls, was serving a life sentence for abetting in a double murder for hire. A few years later, when Stefan was a college student at Villanova University, he spent many quiet moments alone inside the hallowed walls of the basilica every Sunday night before locking it up. At just 18, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had entrusted Stefan with the security of its mother church - and he never let the church down.
August 21, 2015 |
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia isn't sure if "the Francis effect" explains it, but 20 men of the archdiocese have entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary this year to study for the priesthood - a more than threefold increase from a year ago. "Last year we had six" enroll for the new term, Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of the seminary, told a news conference Wednesday. This is, he said, the largest one-year spike in local vocations in a decade. Between six and 10 men of the archdiocese enter the seminary in a typical year, said Senior, an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, and about half continue to ordination, which takes up to nine years.