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NEWS
September 26, 2015 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Searching their souls with visible pain and some discord, more than 750 attendees at the World Meeting of Families listened Thursday to a candid discussion on the collision of homosexuality and Catholic doctrine. They came to hear Ron Belgau, a celibate gay Catholic who teaches ethics at St. Louis University, and his mother, Beverley, who spoke intimately about the impact of her son's coming out at age 21 in 1992. Highlighting the challenges the church faces at a time of same-sex marriage, Ron Belgau quoted from an online post by a 17-year-old Catholic who recently realized he was gay. To the standing-room-only crowd at the Convention Center, Belgau read the words aloud: "The church has a lot to say about what I'm not supposed to do," the teen wrote.
NEWS
September 25, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
WAS THAT really Michelle Obama on the phone? When Patricia Hale picked up the phone a few years ago, a familiar voice asked for Loreather Lytle, Patricia's mother. When her mother picked up the phone, a lively conversation ensued, interspersed with a few laughs. "I often wondered if it was a recording, but my mother insisted it really was Michelle and I wasn't going to argue with her," Patricia said. Her mother had been a regular contributor to the campaigns of President Obama over the years, nothing big, $20 here and there, so maybe it was the president's wife.
NEWS
September 25, 2015 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
WHEN WEST Philly native Jerry Davis was a 22-year-old officer in the U.S. Marine Corps serving in Okinawa, Japan, in 1963, he couldn't go off base with his white comrades. "Basically, when you went off base, you might as well have been in the deep South because that side of town was for whites only," Davis said. "So I had to go to the other side of town, which was for people of color. " The discrimination left Davis feeling "very, very alone," so instead of going out with his fellow officers, he volunteered at a Christian orphanage and spent his free time at a Catholic church.
NEWS
September 25, 2015
WHO BETTER TO talk to Catholics about divorce than a three-time divorcee who describes herself as a devout Catholic? Lately, anyway. Speaker Rose Sweet's story proves there's no "sell by date" for redemption and forgiveness by the church. She was assigned the topic, "I Am with You: Struggling with Divorce," by the World Meeting of Families. The "I" in the title refers to God. I chose to sit in on this talk because, like Sweet, I am a three-time marital loser. Divorce is a catastrophic event in the lives of most who have had one, but possibly more so for Catholics, whose faith prohibits it. Before the question period, which kicked some sand into the gears, Sweet gave some road-tested advice on how you can help someone else get through it. She offered four steps: listen, lead, love and let go. Listen means listen to the person, hear the pain.
NEWS
September 24, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
HOLIDAYS WERE special to Jean Carolyn Ford. She not only got a chance to flex her remarkable culinary skills, but enjoyed the sometimes rollicking engagement with family and friends. Known to all as "First," because she was the first lady of her church, she "looked forward to the holidays when she enjoyed those intimate moments, laughing, playing Skip-bo, Phase 10" - both card games - "or just randomly bursting out with a song," her family said. "She was blessed with an infectious and beautiful smile that was both mesmerizing and captivating, and therefore will leave an indelible mark in the lives of everyone who knew her. " Jean Carolyn Ford, an active devotee of the apostolic faith who became the first lady of Ford Memorial Temple of Germantown when her husband became pastor, an exuberant gospel singer, outstanding cook in the Southern tradition, and devoted family matriarch, died Sept.
NEWS
September 22, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
HAVANA - With three symbolic visits, Pope Francis on Sunday seemed to hint at an agenda for his journey to this officially secular island nation: an enhanced role for the Catholic Church after the Castro brothers depart the scene. "What kind of hope does a young Cuban have at this moment of history?" he asked a gathering of young people during an evening visit to a cultural center here. This was not just any cultural center, however. It is dedicated to Felix Varela, a 19th-century advocate of Cuban independence and a hero in modern, Castro-era Cuba.
NEWS
September 22, 2015 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
A bustling crew of volunteers stuffed scores of items into plastic backpacks called "pilgrim packages" Sunday, preparing for the record-setting crowd expected to attend the World Meeting of Families Congress at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. T-shirts, hats, water bottles, and rain ponchos were among the 67 items loaded, assembly-line style, into the plastic backpacks for the nearly 20,000 people expected to begin registering Monday for the international gathering, which is held every three years by the Roman Catholic Church.
NEWS
September 21, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
For someone whose very title - Roman Catholic Womanpriest - triggered her excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, Eileen DiFranco has much in common with Pope Francis. "I think he has said just marvelous things about poverty and Catholic social justice," DiFranco said of the pontiff. Their views, however, diverge sharply on the role of women in the church. That is: DiFranco, a retired school nurse who lives in Mount Airy, believes that women can and must be ordained as priests, as she was in 2006 in a ceremony declared invalid by the church.
NEWS
September 19, 2015 | By Khalil Williams, Inquirer Staff Writer
Even on a gray and rainy morning last week, the big history behind the small Hosanna A.U.M.P. Church is distinctive. There is the tiny secret chamber beneath a restroom floor that hid runaway slaves. There is the cemetery that holds the graves of Civil War soldiers and that era's social elite. And there is the church itself, on Baltimore Avenue, just seven miles above the former Mason-Dixon Line, in Oxford, Chester County. Standing at the entrance to Lincoln University, the one-room, one-story chapel with wooden steps and a wraparound porch is the last standing remnant of Hinsonville, a historic free black farming community.
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