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Executive order missing? No religious freedom action from Trump yet

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Talk of President Donald Trump possibly signing an executive order on religious freedom, which drew both criticism and praise, has been replaced with discussion about what happened to it and what a final version, if there is one, will look like. Read more »

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U.S. bishops call for solidarity with Middle East victims of violence, refugees

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WASHINGTON — Christians and all people in the Middle East need the solidarity of the U.S. Catholic Church, said the chairmen of three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the head of the Catholic Relief Services board.

The damaged entrance of St. Mary's Church is seen in 2016 in Damascus, Syria. Christians and all people in the Middle East need the solidarity of the U.S. Catholic Church, said the chairmen of three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the head of the Catholic Relief Services board. (CNS photo/Mohammed Badra, EPA)

The damaged entrance of St. Mary’s Church is seen in 2016 in Damascus, Syria. Christians and all people in the Middle East need the solidarity of the U.S. Catholic Church, said the chairmen of three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the head of the Catholic Relief Services board. (CNS photo/Mohammed Badra, EPA)

“A concern for our Christian brethren is inclusive and does not exclude a concern for all the peoples of the region who suffer violence and persecution, both minorities and majorities, both Muslims and Christians,” said a Feb. 10 statement from four bishops.

“To focus attention on the plight of Christians and other minorities is not to ignore the suffering of others,” the statement said. “Rather, by focusing on the most vulnerable members of society, we strengthen the entire fabric of society to protect the rights of all.”

The group included Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration; and Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, New York, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services.

The group pointed to the findings of a recent USCCB delegation to Iraq, which confirmed that Christians, Yezidis, Shiite Muslims and other minorities had experienced genocide at the hands of the Islamic State group.

“It is important for Syrians and Iraqis of all faiths to recognize this as genocide, for that recognition is a way to help everyone come to grips with what is happening and to form future generations that will reject any ideology that leads to genocidal acts and other atrocities,” the bishops said in their statement.

The bishops called on Americans to accept “our nation’s fair share” of vulnerable families, regardless of religion and ethnicity, for resettlement as refugees. They called for special consideration of the victims of genocide and other violence.

They urged the U.S. to encourage the Iraqi government and the regional government in Irbil, Iraq, to “strengthen the rule of law based on equal citizenship and ensure the protection of all.”

U.S. aid should assist local and national efforts to improve policing and the court system and encourage local self-governance, the bishops said. Similar efforts are needed in Syria as well, they said.

The U.S. also can provide “generous” humanitarian and development assistance to refugees, displaced people and Iraqi and Syrian communities as they rebuild, the statement said. Such funding can be directed in part to “trusted faith-based nongovernmental agencies” such as Catholic Relief Services and local Caritas agencies, the bishops said.

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Bishops troubled: Trump retains policy banning bias based on basis of sexual orientation, gender identity

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WASHINGTON — The chairmen of two bishops’ committees expressed disappointment Feb. 1 over President Donald Trump’s decision to retain a 2014 executive order by his predecessor, Barack Obama, that bans federal discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against federal employees and workers for federal government contractors.

Trump’s action is “troubling and disappointing” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput called President Trump's action to retain a 2014 executive order  that bans federal discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against federal employees and workers for federal government contractors. Trump’s “troubling and disappointing  (CNS filePaul Haring)

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput called President Trump’s action to retain a 2014 executive order that bans federal discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against federal employees and workers for federal government contractors “troubling and disappointing.” (CNS filePaul Haring)

The executive order, they said in a joint statement, is “deeply flawed.” In a July 21, 2014, statement, Archbishop Lori and Archbishop Chaput’s predecessor as committee chair, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, labeled the executive order “unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed.”

In the 2014 statement, Archbishop Lori and Bishop Malone said the term “sexual orientation” was “undefined,” and that “gender identity” was “predicated on the false idea that gender is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex.”

They added, “Even contractors that disregard sexual inclination in employment face the possibility of exclusion from federal contracting if their employment policies or practices reflect religious or moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.”

The two prelates urged Obama to include a religious exemption. Fourteen other religious leaders also asked for such an exemption in a letter to Obama so that “protection for one group would not come at the expense of faith communities” who religious beliefs motivate them to serve.

Father Larry Snyder, then Catholic Charities USA president, was one of the 14 leaders who signed a letter to the president. He told Catholic News Service he was among religious leaders who then met with White House staff to discuss the executive order before it was issued. The priest said later the order upheld “already existing religious exemptions, that will allow us to maintain fidelity to our deeply held religious beliefs.”

In their Feb. 1 statement, Archbishops Chaput and Lori said, “The church steadfastly opposes all unjust discrimination, and we need to continue to advance justice and fairness in the workplace,” but the Obama executive order “creates problems rather than solves them,” adding that it instead “creates new forms of discrimination against people of faith.”

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New Baltimore auxiliary bishops offer thanks to clergy and families

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — Following their Jan. 19 episcopal ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, new Auxiliary Bishops Adam J. Parker and Mark E. Brennan of Baltimore recalled the litany of the saints, during which they lay prostrate before the altar.

“I felt a lot of joy and a tremendous hope for what is to come in the future, and for the future of ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Bishop Parker said as he was whisked to the post-Mass reception.

Auxiliary Bishops Mark E. Brennan and Adam J. Parker hold the apostolic mandates naming them bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore during their Jan. 19 ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

Auxiliary Bishops Mark E. Brennan and Adam J. Parker hold the apostolic mandates naming them bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore during their Jan. 19 ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

“I was praying along with the litany,” Bishop Brennan said with a grin while obliging the camera-wielding faithful who had momentarily cornered him and his priest handler. “Lord, have mercy on me. Lord, hear my prayer.”

Close to 2,000 gathered in the cathedral on an unusually sunny and mild January afternoon to witness and take part in the ceremony, led by principal celebrant and consecrator Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori.

The archbishop was joined by co-consecrators Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, where Bishop Brennan served as a parish priest before his elevation to the episcopacy; and Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and former archbishop Baltimore, whom Bishop Parker had served as priest-secretary from 2007 to 2013.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York concelebrated the Mass; he was rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome while Bishop Parker studied there from 1995 to 2001. Bishop Brennan also studied at that college, from 1970 to 1974.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., read the mandates from Pope Francis authorizing the ordinations, and drew laughter from the pews when he opted to begin with “the older one,” Bishop Brennan, who is 69. Bishop Parker is 45.

Archbishop Lori also broached the age topic, referring in his homily to the first reading, which was from Jeremiah and read by Sister Maria Luz Ortiz of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart. In it God steamrolls the young prophet’s fretting: “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.”

“So, Bishop Brennan, let no one take advantage of your youth and inexperience,” the archbishop quipped, adding on a more serious note: “After all, you know, Bishop Brennan and I, we’ve been in priestly ministry a little over 40 years -– we go way back.”

Archbishop Lori shared some insight on the role of bishops.

“The greatest challenge in being a bishop is not administration; it’s not public relations; and it’s not fundraising,” he said. “The greatest challenge is to be always and everywhere an example for God’s people. This is how we become witnesses of hope; this is how we strive to be authentic shepherds.”

He exhorted Bishop Parker and Bishop Brennan to teach the faith “not as words to be followed but as words of spirit and life that transform us from the inside out and make us bearers of the peace of Christ in a world that is broken, a nation that is divided, and in communities that are in need of healing.”

After promising to uphold the faith and fulfill their duties, and after lying prostrate before the altar, Bishop Parker kneeled in reverence as Archbishop Lori laid his hands on his head, a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, followed by Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal O’Brien.

The archbishop and the two co-consecrators did the same for Bishop Brennan; then the other bishops present laid their hands on both men.

Ending the rite of ordination, Archbishop Lori anointed Bishop Parker and Bishop Brennan with holy chrism and presented each with his Book of the Gospels, episcopal ring, crosier and miter.

“This is the day the Lord has made,” Bishop Parker said in his remarks at the end of Mass. “Let us rejoice and be glad.”

He thanked “the Lord for calling me to the priesthood and now giving me its fullness” as well as the people of the Baltimore Archdiocese for their prayers and “profound encouragement.”

He thanked Archbishop Lori for ordaining him and Cardinal O’Brien for his guidance and friendship. “You have changed my priesthood forever,” Bishop Parker told the cardinal.

Finally, he thanked his mother, Maureen Parker, who sat in the front row and was first to receive Communion from the new bishop.

“It was from you and Dad I first heard about Jesus Christ,” Bishop Parker told her, also acknowledging his father, George Parker, who died in 2012. “To you I owe gratitude for my life and my faith.”

Bishop Brennan thanked those who came before him in the succession begun with the Apostles.

“We stand today, all of us here, on the shoulders of giants,” he said.

He also acknowledged his parents, both deceased, who had taken him and his brother, Paul, who was present, to Mass and confession.

“They grounded us in the Catholic faith in a very simple and unpretentious way,” he said.

Bishop Brennan also noted that his elevation to the episcopacy was not the first unexpected change in his ministry. He said in the Washington archdiocese, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, then the archbishop there, “sent me from a nice little parish in Northwest Washington … to a huge, multicultural parish, St. Martin of Tours” in suburban Maryland. “It opened me up ever more to serving people who speak differently and look differently than I do.”

He also delivered remarks in Spanish and French, primary languages of the immigrants he served at St. Martin.

Archbishop Lori reflected on his first time ordaining bishops.

“It was a very moving experience,” he told the Catholic Review, the archdiocesan news outlet. “As the ceremony unfolded, it just took on a life of its own thanks to the Holy Spirit.”

Thinking of all the people in the Baltimore Archdiocese thankful for two new leaders to share the work, he said, “I’m at the top of that list.”

— By Eric Zygmont

Zygmont is on the staff of the Catholic Review, the website and magazine of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. George P. Matysek Jr. contributed to this story.

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Mount St. Mary’s seminarian from Kansas believed drowned after saving a life

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WICHITA, Kan. — Brian Bergkamp, a seminarian from the Diocese of Wichita who was studying at a Maryland seminary, is believed dead after saving the life of a woman who fell into the Arkansas River July 9.

By mid-day July 12, he remained missing. Friends and family members remember were holding vigils to pray for the recovery of his body.

Brian Bergkamp, a seminarian in the Diocese of Wichita, Kan., disappeared into the Arkansas River July 9 while trying to save the life of another. Bergkamp, 24, had been kayaking with four friends, a man and three women, when they hit churning water. Bergkamp is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Catholic Advance)

Brian Bergkamp, a seminarian in the Diocese of Wichita, Kan., disappeared into the Arkansas River July 9 while trying to save the life of another. Bergkamp, 24, had been kayaking with four friends, a man and three women, when they hit churning water. Bergkamp is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Catholic Advance)

Bergkamp, 24, was among five people traveling in separate kayaks when all got caught in turbulent waters. According to The Wichita Eagle newspaper, Bergkamp jumped from his kayak to save the woman before getting pulled under himself. He was not wearing a life jacket. The other kayakers made it to shore.

“I knew Brian to be an exceptional seminarian, well on his way to demonstrating so many of the qualities needed to be a good and faithful priest,” Wichita Bishop Carl A. Kemme wrote in an email to The Catholic Advance, the diocesan newspaper. “I personally looked forward to the day when I might be able to ordain him.”

Bishop Kemme said Bergkamp was quiet, dedicated, diligent in his work and studies, and presented himself always with a sense of decorum and maturity, well beyond his years. “I was looking forward to how God would use him as a priest in the Diocese of Wichita. Now, we must all mourn his much anticipated ministry and the many fruits we all knew would be abundant by his priestly life and ministry.”

Life on this side of heaven is full of mysteries, contradictions and ironies, Bishop Kemme said. “Brian’s untimely death is full of these mysteries, which must wait until heaven to be solved.”

Bergkamp had just finished his second year at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, which is in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He is the son of Ned and Theresa Bergkamp of Garden Plain and would have been ordained to the transitional diaconate at the end of the upcoming school year. His brother, Andy, was ordained to the transitional diaconate in May. He is preparing for the priesthood for the Diocese of Wichita at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois.

“Brian’s death is a great tragedy and a great loss, not only for his family and friends,” said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, “but to all who knew him and to the church he was so generously seeking to serve.”

In an email to the Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan news outlet, Archbishop Lori said Bergkamp’s “heroic and brave actions” speak to the “great character and to the wonderful priest I’m sure he would have become.”

Msgr. Andrew Baker, rector of the seminary, remembered Bergkamp as a “quiet, but very effective leader.”

“He was a thoughtful and prayerful young man,” Msgr. Baker told the Catholic Review. “He was extremely reliable and hardworking.”

Bergkamp had served as a sacristan at Mount St. Mary’s, the priest said.

The circumstances of Bergkamp’s death show that he knew the depth of what it meant to be a Christian and a priest, Msgr. Baker said.

“It was self-giving love,” he said. “He didn’t have to think twice before he acted (to save another’s life).”

Seminarians and the entire Mount St. Mary’s community were taking Bergkamp’s death “very hard,” the priest added.

Derek Thome, a seminarian at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary from Viola, Kansas, said Bergkamp was a man of dedication with a big heart who would do just about anything for anyone, as long as it would help them.

“It didn’t matter what he had going on, his life was spent thinking of others first,” he told The Catholic Advance. “Brian died doing what he went to seminary for, to save souls.”

Bergkamp did so many things around the seminary, Thome said, adding that he was always keeping busy fixing things. “The joke goes that Brian was the only reason the seminary building still stands!”

Bergkamp showed a true priestly quality in his last moments, Bishop Kemme said, apparently saving the life of another while risking his own. “This all took place on the weekend when we heard the parable of the good Samaritan. Brian was living that parable in his last moments. No one could ever hope for or expect a greater homily than this.”

In addition to keeping Bergkamp’s family in prayer, Bishop Kemme asked the faithful to keep all of the diocese’s seminarians and priests in their prayers. “Pray fervently for more seminarians like Brian, so that others will come to take his place. More than likely, Brian’s heavenly service will help to make this happen, according to God’s providence.”

By Christopher M. Riggs

Riggs is editor of The Catholic Advance, newspaper of the Diocese of Wichita. Contributing to this story was George M. Matysek in Baltimore.

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Fortnight for Freedom: Martyrs’ relics linked to today’s threats to religious liberty

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori linked urgent matters of “immigration, marriage and the church’s teaching on sexuality” to a pair of 16th-century martyrs during a June 21 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore that began the fifth annual Fortnight for Freedom.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori offers a history of the sacrifices made by Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher during his June 21 homily at the Fortnight for Freedom opening Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. The relics of the two saints, on loan from Stonyhurst College in England, are on a national tour. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori offers a history of the sacrifices made by Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher during his June 21 homily at the Fortnight for Freedom opening Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. The relics of the two saints, on loan from Stonyhurst College in England, are on a national tour. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

The theme of this year’s fortnight is “Witnesses to Freedom.” It features relics of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, an English layman and bishop, respectively, who were martyred in a 16-day span in 1535, when they refused to accept Parliament’s Act of Supremacy, which had declared that King Henry VIII was head of the church in England.

On display for veneration were St. John Fisher’s ring and a piece of bone of St. Thomas More. According to Jan Graffius, curator of Stonyhurst College in England, which holds the relics, it came from St. Thomas More’s skull, which was rescued by his daughter, Margaret, from a spike on London Bridge.

During a Mass that was televised nationally by the Eternal Word Television Network, Archbishop Lori’s homily connected Thomas More and John Fisher to an array of 21st century struggles, among them the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate that the Little Sisters of the Poor continue to challenge in the nation’s highest courts.

“This night we recognize gratefully the courage of all who are resisting the mandate, especially the Little Sisters of the Poor,” the archbishop said. “They are vigorously defending their freedom and ours –- and they are doing so with a beauty and a joy, borne from the heart of the Gospel.”

Archbishop Lori, who is chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which sponsors the Fortnight for Freedom, also asked for prayers for the victims of June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, and their families.

“We may think that the days of the martyrs have ended,” Archbishop Lori said in his homily, “but as Pope Francis points out, there are more martyrs for the faith in our times than there were during the first centuries of the church.

“We remember with reverence and love those who died for their faith — Jews, Catholics and Protestants -— an ecumenism of blood, as Pope Francis says, during the reign of terror that was Nazism and Communism.

“This night,” he continued, “we draw close to the martyrs of the 21st century in Iraq, Iran, Syria and parts of Africa, those slain for their faith in plain sight of us all with no one to hold their persecutors accountable. Refugees are streaming from the Middle East just as Jews tried to escape from the horrors of Nazism, only to find that they are held suspect and they are unwanted.”

While religious liberty in the U.S. might not seem in such dire straits by comparison, vigilance is required nonetheless.

“We would like to think,” Archbishop Lori continued, “such things could never happen here. … Yet, there are ominous signs that protections for religious freedom have waned as bad laws, court decisions and policies pile up and as the prevailing culture more readily turns away from religious faith.

“Let us be clear that challenges to religious freedom in our nation pale in comparison to those faced by our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world; yet who is served when we fail to take seriously the new and emerging challenges to religious freedom that are before us?

“We may not be called upon to shed our blood,” he continued, “but we are called upon to defend our freedoms, not merely in the abstract, but as embedded in matters such as immigration, marriage and the church’s teaching on sexuality.”

Concelebrants of the Mass included Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley., and dozens of priests from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Other Catholic organizations represented included the Knights of Columbus, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and the Order of Malta. The second reading was given by Dr. Marie-Alberte Boursiquot, president-elect of the Catholic Medical Association and a basilica parishioner.

June 22 is the feast day for both Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More.

The linking of current threats to religious freedom with the relics of the two saints carried particular resonance for one worshipper.

Jim Landers, a parishioner of St. Ignatius, Hickory, was keenly interested in the St. Thomas More relic. He is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, where his great-great-grandfather, Thomas Lawson Moore, was a U.S. senator whose lineage included Thomas More.

The spelling of the name was altered when his ancestors came to the U.S.

“This Mass, and everything it stands for, is extremely important to me,” Landers told the Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan publication. “Beyond that, there’s the family connection. I can’t even describe that. It’s extremely exciting.”

His sentiments are compounded by the fact that Landers was raised Baptist and became a Catholic after attending Mass for years with his wife, Michelle.

– – –

McMullen is managing editor of the Catholic Review, the news website and magazine of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

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Baltimore Mass June 21 to open U.S. bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom

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WASHINGTON — “Witnesses to Freedom” is the theme of the U.S. bishops’ fifth annual Fortnight for Freedom, which opens June 21, the vigil of the feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, and closes on Independence Day, July 4. Read more »

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Catholics join efforts to heal, move forward in Baltimore

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — As the city cleaned up after a night of riots, looting and fires following the funeral of Freddie Gray, Archbishop William E. Lori said the church’s place is to pray, be a voice for peace, and participate in a wider community dialogue to solve the systemic issues that led to the unrest.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori visits a riot-stricken section of  West Baltimore April 28. During a night of unrest that erupted in response to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody the archbishop called pastors to check on their safety and the situation in their neighborhoods. (CNS photo/Olivia Obineme, Catholic Review)

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori visits a riot-stricken section of West Baltimore April 28. During a night of unrest that erupted in response to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody the archbishop called pastors to check on their safety and the situation in their neighborhoods. (CNS photo/Olivia Obineme, Catholic Review)

Gray, 25, died April 19, one week after being arrested on a weapons charge and sustaining a severe spinal cord injury in West Baltimore while in police custody. After his funeral April 27, peaceful protests turned into unrest later in the day, leading to damage of buildings and cars, and looting and fires seen nonstop on national TV news networks.

The next morning, as Archbishop Lori, Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden and other archdiocesan leaders toured the West Baltimore neighborhoods affected, adults and children with brooms and trash bags were as numerous as the rioters the night before.

Ray Kelly stopped outside of St. Peter Claver Church to talk with the archbishop’s group and Josephite Father Ray P. Bomberger, pastor. “We’re going to do a cleanup and bring Sandtown leaders together. We want to make sure that residents are part of this effort.”

Kelly, who said he has lived in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood “forever, 44 years,” said, “They’ve got to start restructuring. Right now. Today.”

He said because he has lived here, he could feel it was going to happen. He and a friend were talking after the weekend unrest April 25, and he wondered if this was the calm after the storm, or the calm before it. He said he knew “there’s more to come.”

Archbishop Lori made stops at St. Peter, St. Gregory the Great and the senior center next door, and at St. Edward, before heading to North Avenue to survey looted buildings and the carcass of a burned car.

He said during the unrest he called as many West Baltimore pastors as he could, and spoke to many of them.

“We will continue to do a lot of work, especially through Bishop Madden and the city pastors, especially on the west side,” he said.

“First of all, let’s pray. … We need to strengthen our communities that they might be a force of peace. We need to participate vigorously in a citywide dialogue on the systemic issues that have really bubbled up to the surface here,” the archbishop said. “It seems that’s our role in this.”

Stephen Scott, who lives just around the corner from St. Gregory the Great, greeted Archbishop Lori when he visited the Harvey and Jeanette Weinberg Sandtown Winchester Senior Center April 28. “It’s sad, so sad when it comes down to this and it hurts everybody,” Scott said of the violence.

Shirley Washington, who works at the center, said she hopes those who participated in the violence will realize what they have done. “When it all settles down, you’ll think about what you did wrong then,” she said.

At St. Bernardine Parish, a previously scheduled three-night revival opened as the violence flared.

“I think we’re all heartbroken over what’s happening, but we’re going to keep our faith in God and keep praying, keep looking for truth and answers, and look for peace as well,” said Msgr. Richard Bozzelli, pastor.

He said the parish planned to go ahead with the youth night portion of the revival April 28 in partnership with St. Frances Academy.

At the opening, Deacon B. Curtis Turner, principal of St. Frances Academy, preached about the hapless disciples, terrified in a boat in a storm, as they witnessed Jesus walking on water, Msgr. Bozzelli said.

“Little did he know when he was preparing that what storm we would be dealing with,” the pastor said.

Deacon Turner described the irony of first learning of the mayhem while in Washington, D.C., on a field trip with his students.

“We were literally standing under the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial when we heard about it,” he said.

“It’s disturbing because the students see (the violence) on TV, and they know that that’s not the majority of Baltimore youths,” Deacon Turner added. “Sadly, that’s what gets all the media coverage.”

Willa and Brendan Walsh of the Baltimore Catholic Worker Viva House, located several blocks from the violence, said they received many phone calls and emails inquiring about their safety. They responded in a statement on what they saw as the roots of the destruction.

“The unrest and anger are the results of decades of unemployment (over 50 percent in our ZIP code), decades of miserable uninhabitable housing, decades of under-funded chaotic schools, decades of the drug trade, and, it goes without saying, centuries of racism,” the Walshes wrote.

“The most violent country in the world has produced citizens, unfortunately another generation of young people, who will believe that violence is the solution to all problems.”

Public schools across the city cancelled classes for April 28. The Archdiocese of Baltimore did the same, closing all schools except for the School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, located in Homeland, north of the violence.

Erik Zygmont also contributed to this story.

 

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Religious liberty ‘continues to be great concern,’ Archbishop Lori says

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — The ongoing work of the U.S. bishops to defend religious freedom will take a slightly different tone in upcoming years, said its committee chairman.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, told the bishops the committee, extended for another three years, planned to focus more on teaching and expanding networks with Catholic lay groups and interfaith and ecumenical partners.

He said the committee would provide a “clearinghouse function” providing resources as religious liberty issues arise.

The archbishop noted that new committee members would include “fewer lawyers” and more experts in the communications field to help get the bishops’ message across. It also would include bishops from relevant committees.

One of the committee’ hallmarks has been the annual Fortnight for Freedom, a 14-day campaign of prayer and special events focusing on religious liberty issues. The 2015 fortnight will emphasize the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council document on religious liberty, “Dignitatis Humanae.” Archbishop Lori said it will provide a “great opportunity to teach about religious liberty and evangelize about it.”

“Stay tuned for details,” he told the bishops, adding that the campaign also will be linked to works of charity and service to people in need.

Regarding challenges to religious liberty, the archbishop said there are “some old and some new.”

He said the committee will continue to monitor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act.

“There are more than 100 cases to watch. It keeps us busy,” he said.

The committee also is looking at laws that redefine marriage and tracking new proposed legislation requiring health insurance coverage of abortion.

“Religious liberty continues to be of great concern to us all,” he said, adding that it might seem that the struggle is a daunting task.

“We approach this as people of faith, as spiritual leaders who love our church, who love our people, who love our country,” he said.

 

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Archbishop Lori of Baltimore will be homilist at annual Red Mass Oct. 6

October 2nd, 2014 Posted in Our Diocese Tags: ,

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Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore will celebrate the 27th annual Red Mass on Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine Church in Greenville.

The St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington organizes the Red Mass each year, a traditional liturgy that invokes the guidance of the Holy Spirit for members of the legal profession. The diocesan society is an ecumenical group of lawyers and other members of the judiciary that promotes the English martyr’s ethical practice of the law.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Bishop Malooly, Father Leonard Klein, chaplain of the society, and other priests of the diocese will concelebrate with Archbishop Lori, who will deliver the homily.

There will be a complimentary dinner following the Red Mass in the parish hall, donated by Morris James LLP.

 

 

 

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