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Humility need to recognize God’s voice in others, priest tells pope and Curia during retreat

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Humility is needed in order to recognize the voice of God in others, especially those who are perceived to be weak or subject to prejudice, a Franciscan friar told Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia during their Lenten retreat.

Pope Francis prays during a March 6-11 Lenten retreat in Ariccia, 20 miles southeast of Rome. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis prays during a March 6-11 Lenten retreat in Ariccia, 20 miles southeast of Rome. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

God not only speaks through Jesus, but also speaks to him through Peter, who recognizes Christ as the Messiah “by revelation,” Franciscan Father Giulio Michelini said March 6, according to Vatican Radio.

“Do I have the humility to listen to Peter? Do we have the humility to listen to one another, paying attention to prejudices that we certainly have, but attentive to receive that which God wants to say despite, perhaps, my closures? Do I listen to the voice of others, perhaps weak, or do I only listen to my voice?” he asked.

The pope and top members of the Roman Curia attended their annual Lenten retreat March 5-10 at the Pauline Fathers’ retreat center in Ariccia, 20 miles southeast of Rome.

Father Michelini was chosen by Pope Francis to lead meditations on the Gospel of Matthew’s description of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Franciscan delivered two meditations March 6, with the first reflecting on “Peter’s confession and Jesus’ path toward Jerusalem.”

According to Vatican Radio, Father Michelini called on the 74 people present for the retreat to reflect on the criteria on which they base their discernment and whether “I place myself and my personal benefit before the kingdom of God.”

To listen and act upon God’s will, he said, Christians must have “courage to go into the deep to follow Jesus Christ, taking into account that this involves carrying the cross.”

Jesus, he added, not only proclaimed the joy of the resurrection “but also trial” when he said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

In the afternoon, Father Michelini delivered his second meditation, “Jesus’ last words and the beginning of the Passion.”

He explained that the reading of Christ’s Passion reveals two distinct types of logic: Jesus, an observant Jewish layman preparing to celebrate the Passover, and the high priests, who are concerned with the outward appearance of the feast but, at the same time, “prepare to murder an innocent man.”

The question Christians must ask themselves, he said, is if they are “sacred professionals resorting to compromise in order to save the facade, the institution at the expense of individual rights.”

“This is about an attitude that loses the right perspective, believing they are serving God,’ Father Michelini said.

 

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Ravens hold off Appoquinimink, advance to boys hoops semis for first time

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For The Dialog

 

NEWARK – St. Thomas More has advanced to the DIAA boys basketball tournament semifinal round for the first time after beating a pesky Appoquinimink team, 48-40, on March 5 at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Ravens, 19-3 and seeded second, raced out to a 13-point halftime lead and withstood a Jags rally to advance, where they will meet No. 19 Caravel on Thursday night. Read more »

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Consult the Bible as often as you use a cellphone, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Christians should care about reading God’s messages in the Bible as much as they care about checking messages on their cellphones, Pope Francis said.

As Christ did in the desert when tempted by Satan, men and women can defend themselves from temptation with the word of God if they “read it often, meditate on it and assimilate it” into their lives, he said before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square March 5.

Pope Francis attends the first day of his Lenten retreat at the Pauline Fathers' retreat center in Ariccia, 20 miles southeast of Rome, March 5. The pope and top members of the Roman Curia are on retreat from March 5-10. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis attends the first day of his Lenten retreat at the Pauline Fathers’ retreat center in Ariccia, 20 miles southeast of Rome, March 5. The pope and top members of the Roman Curia are on retreat from March 5-10. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

“What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the messages of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones?” the pope asked the crowd.

The pope’s reflection centered on the day’s Gospel reading (Matthew. 4:1-11) in which Jesus is tempted by the devil while fasting in the desert for 40 days and nights before beginning his ministry.

Satan, he said, attempts to dissuade Jesus from fulfilling his message and to undermine his divinity by tempting him twice to perform miracles like “a magician” and lastly, by adoring “the devil in order to have dominion over the world.”

“Through this triple temptation, Satan wants to divert Jesus from the path of obedience and humiliation, because he knows that through that path evil will be defeated, and take him on the false shortcut of success and glory,” the pope said.

However, Jesus deflects “the poisonous arrows of the devil” not with his own words but “only with the Word of God.”

Christians, the pope continued, are called to follow Jesus’ footsteps and “confront the spiritual combat against the evil one” through the power of God’s word which has the “strength to defeat Satan.”

“The Bible contains the word of God, which is always relevant and effective. Someone once said: What would happen if we treated the Bible like we treated our cellphones? What would happen if we always brought it with us, or at least a small pocket-sized Gospel?” he asked.

While the comparison between the Bible and a cellphone is “paradoxical,” he added, it is something that all Christians are called to reflect on during the Lenten season.

“If we have the Word of God always in our hearts, no temptation could separate us from God and no obstacle would deviate us from the path of good,” the pope said.

After praying the Angelus prayer with the faithful in the square, Pope Francis asked for prayers before departing for a weeklong Lenten retreat with members of the Roman Curia.

Lent, he said, “is the path of the people of God toward Easter, a path of conversion, of fighting evil with the weapons of prayer, fasting and works of charity,” Pope Francis said. “I wish everyone a fruitful Lenten journey,” he said.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Trump visits Catholic school in Florida to show support for school choice

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ORLANDO, Fla. — President Donald Trump visited St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando March 3 to show his support for school choice.

The president was joined by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott in a tour of the school that started with a visit to a fourth-grade class.

U.S. President Donald Trump chats with students from St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Fla., March 3. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also joined the president. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump chats with students from St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Fla., March 3. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also joined the president. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

The visit was called a listening session.

One of the tour guests was Denisha Merriweather, who attended a private high school through Florida’s voucher program, which she credits with turning her life around.

“We want millions more to have the same chance to achieve the great success that you’re achieving,” Trump said. The president also told school administrators that “the love you have for what you do is really fantastic,” The Associated Press reported.

In his address to Congress Feb. 28, Trump said that education was the “civil rights issue of our time” and urged Congress to pass legislation to fund school choice for disadvantaged young people, but he did not offer any details.

St. Andrew Catholic School, which opened in 1962, teaches 350 children from pre-K to eighth grade. On its website it says: “Our goals are simple: college and heaven.”

The school partners with the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, or ACE,  which serves under-resourced Catholic schools.

A March 3 statement from ACE said the president’s visit gave the St. Andrew’s students “a historic opportunity to share their story with the nation.”

“We are acutely aware that the current political climate is among the most polarized in American history,” the statement said. “These divisions have real implications for relationships here in the St. Andrew community.”

It also stressed that “every family has the right to choose the best school for their child” and that “because of the parental choice program in Florida, this school will continue to empower families, form faithful citizens, strengthen the Pine Hills community, and provide children with educational opportunities.”

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Raiders roll to semifinal, face rematch with Sanford

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For The Dialog

 

NEWARK – Top-seeded Ursuline put on a dominating opening half of basketball as they cruised past eighth-seeded Sussex Tech, 55-27, in the quarterfinal round of the DIAA girls basketball tournament March 4 at the Bob Carpenter Center.

The Raiders attacked early and often as coach John Noonan likes to show teams what they represent. Read more »

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Strong second half carries Vikings into girls semifinals

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For The Dialog

 

NEWARK – No. 7 St. Elizabeth put together a strong second half to defeat second-seeded Caesar Rodney, 58-36, on March 4 in the quarterfinal round of the DIAA girls basketball tournament. The tide turned in the third quarter, when the Vikings scored the first 17 points, while the Riders could manage just 14 for the entire half.

“We picked up our defense and we kept up our intensity up,” said Vikings senior Alanna Speaks. “We told each other that we were not going to let our guard down on this team like we did the first time.” Read more »

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Serviam girls have stories to tell

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Dialog reporter

Storytelling class with award-winning Jesse Berdinka will culminate with event in spring

 

NEW CASTLE – The seventh- and eighth-grade students at Serviam Girls Academy have stories to tell. And they have one of the region’s best storytellers around to help them.

Since the fall, the students at the all-girls middle school have met once a month with Jesse Berdinka, a former Marine and movie producer who last year won Philadelphia’s Moth Story Jam GrandSLAM, a premier storytelling contest sponsored by WXPN radio and Reader’s Digest. It is part of teacher Blair Borish’s English language arts class. Read more »

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U.S. bishops have varied stances on offering sanctuary to immigrants facing deportation

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WASHINGTON — The bishop of Sacramento, California, said Catholic churches in the diocese could offer sanctuary to immigrants facing deportation, while the archbishop of Washington cautioned that offering sanctuary does not legally guarantee protection if federal agents come calling.

Victoria Daza, a native of Peru and an immigrants' rights activist, holds her daughter during a rally in support of immigrants in Massapequa Park, N.Y., Feb. 24. The demonstration was held outside Republican Rep. Peter King's district office in an effort to urge the congressman to help protect unauthorized immigrants who currently have reprieve from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Victoria Daza, a native of Peru and an immigrants’ rights activist, holds her daughter during a rally in support of immigrants in Massapequa Park, N.Y., Feb. 24. The demonstration was held outside Republican Rep. Peter King’s district office in an effort to urge the congressman to help protect unauthorized immigrants who currently have reprieve from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento said his concern for immigrants revolved around the possibility of an order for mass deportation from President Donald Trump’s administration. He told The Sacramento Bee March 1 that offering protection to people would be something local parishioners could consider if such an order was issued.

“We have to be ready to respond if and when that happens,” he said.

Bishop Soto also said he hoped that “all the hysteria” in the country over unauthorized immigrants would lead to comprehensive immigration reform, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has advocated for years.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington said in a March 2 interview with editors at The Washington Post that while the Catholic Church’s values mandate opposition to deportation of people already living in the United States, there is no certainty that immigrants staying on church grounds would avoid being arrested and eventually sent to their home country.

“When we use the word sanctuary,” Cardinal Wuerl said, “we have to be very careful that we’re not holding out false hope. We wouldn’t want to say, ‘Stay here, we’ll protect you.’”

Although a parish might offer sanctuary, it does not obligate federal agents to respect church property boundaries, he said.

“With separation of church and state, the church really does not have the right to say, ‘You come in this building and the law doesn’t apply to you.’ But we do want to say we’ll be a voice for you,” the cardinal explained.

Cardinal Wuerl said that providing food and legal representation for immigrants was among the Washington archdiocese’s top priorities.

Elsewhere, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago told priests and school officials in the archdiocese not to allow federal immigration agents onto church property without a warrant in a Feb. 28 letter.

He asked parish and school officials to immediately call diocesan attorneys if agents appear at their door.

At the same time, Cardinal Cupich wrote that he will not declare Catholic churches as sanctuary for immigrants. The letter also restated archdiocesan policy that forbids anyone other than assigned priests to live in a rectory or other church facility without written permission of the appropriate regional vicar.

The situation of immigrants seems to have divided the country’s Catholics. The majority of Catholics voted for Trump, according to polling data. However, bishops and leaders of Catholic nonprofit organizations have decried Trump administration policies regarding the suspension of refugee admissions to the U.S. and stricter enforcement of immigration laws even on people in the country for years.

Bishop Soto in his interview pointed to efforts in the 1980s by Catholic and Protestant churches to provide sanctuary for Guatemalans and Salvadorans who fled civil wars in their homelands for safety in the U.S. despite not being legally allowed in the country.

The Sacramento diocese provides services to immigrants and refugees through its Diocesan Immigrant Support Network, which includes Bishop Soto, Catholic Charities, parishes, legal experts and community organizations.

About 60,000 immigrants who are not authorized to be in the U.S. live in the 20 counties of the diocese, according to a diocesan official.

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Seton parish comes together to assist abused, neglected children

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Dialog reporter

 

Members of the parish youth ministry and younger children from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton gathered Feb. 26 to help others their age who are growing up without the same advantages.

The youngsters spent part of their afternoon filling duffel bags with items for the Kind to Kids Foundation, which serves Delaware children who are victims of abuse, neglect and poverty. Kind to Kids provides them educational programs and support services. The “My Blue Duffel” emergency-care kits are part of that. Read more »

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Diocese’s 150th anniversary: ‘A time of joyful thanks to God’

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Diocese’s plans for its sesquicentennial anniversary year include Eucharistic Congress, pilgrimages

 

The Diocese of Wilmington will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding with a year-long observance that will include Masses and prayer services, pilgrimages, a keepsake publication, a traveling exhibit, and a Eucharistic Congress.

The celebration commemorates the March 3, 1868 establishment of the Diocese of Wilmington by Blessed Pope Pius IX. Read more »

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