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  • Holy See responds to High Court's acquittal of Cardinal Pell

    Vatican City, Apr 7, 2020 CNA.- The Vaticanhas welcomed the Australian High Court’s decision to quash Cardinal George Pell’s sexual abuse conviction. A statement from the Holy See press office, issued April 7, said: "The Holy See, which has always expressed confidence in the Australian judicial authority, welcomes the High Court’s unanimous decision concerning Cardinal George Pell, acquitting him of the accusations of abuse of minors and overturning his sentence.”

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  • Catholic schools, Little Sisters among Supreme Court's postponed cases

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court, much like the rest of the country, is putting some of its work on hold amid the restrictions of the COVID-19 health crisis. The court, which had already postponed oral arguments from mid-March to mid-April, announced April 3 that it also was postponing the rest of the April argument session scheduled through April 29.

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  • Photographing Palm Sunday where the pope usually celebrates funerals

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis celebrated a somber Palm Sunday Mass in a location he goes to most frequently for the funerals of deceased cardinals. With a staggering coronavirus death toll in Italy, the normally joyous Palm Sunday liturgy was moved both physically and spiritually to another place. Instead of being celebrated under the open sky in St. Peter's Square, it was moved to the Altar of the Chair inside St. Peter's Basilica.

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  • Pope establishes coronavirus emergency fund for mission territories

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis established an emergency fund to help communities in the Catholic Church's mission territories affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The pope has given an initial contribution of $750,000 and asked church organizations to contribute to the fund, which will be managed by the pontifical mission societies, according to a statement published April 6 by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

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  • Pandemic's economic toll just starting to show for both nation, church

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After 11 years of U.S. economic growth, the statistics are staggering. First-time applications for unemployment benefits, which had been hovering in the low 200,000s from week to week, soared to 3.3 million in the March 26 report, then nearly doubled to 6.58 million in the April 2 report. Those two weeks by themselves topped all unemployment benefit filings for the first six months of the "Great Recession" of 2008.

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  • Catholic Church responded to plagues with penance, prayers

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Although the coronavirus pandemic brings to mind plagues from centuries ago, both with quarantines, fast-spreading diseases and deaths, there is one big difference on the spiritual side: Today's pandemic is not, save but a lone voice or two, described as God's punishment on humanity.

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  • Pope's favorability ratings move up from their 2018 low

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis' favorability ratings among Americans of virtually all stripes are up from their low in 2018, according to a report released April 3 by the Pew Research Center. Among Catholics themselves, 77% have a "very" or "mostly" favorable opinion of the pope, based on responses by 270 Catholics during Pew telephone surveying in January.

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  • Cardinal Parolin says he hopes closed churches will reopen soon

    Vatican City, Apr 3, 2020 CNA.- The Vatican Secretary of State said Friday that he hoped churches closed because of the coronavirus crisis would be reopened “as soon as possible.” In an interview published on the Vatican News website April 3, Cardinal Pietro Parolin also said he was disturbed by reports of Catholics dying without the Sacrament of the Sick and expressed concern about the disease’s impact on impoverished countries.

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  • Googling 'prayer' has skyrocketed with coronavirus spread, expert says

    ROME (CNS) -- Google searches for "prayer" have surged worldwide in step with the surge of emerging cases of COVID-19, according to a European researcher. The rising interest in seeking information about "prayer" on Google "skyrocketed during the month of March 2020 when COVID-19 went global," wrote Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and executive director of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics and Culture.

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  • Pope encourages Catholics to contemplate 'seven sorrows' of Mary

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On the Friday before Holy Week, Pope Francis asked people to keep a long tradition of Catholic piety by focusing on "the suffering and sorrows of Our Lady." "Honor Our Lady and say, 'This is my mother,' because she is mother. This is the title that she received from Jesus precisely there, at the cross," the pope said at Mass April 3. Jesus "did not make her prime minister or give her 'functional' titles. Only 'mother.'"

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  • New system allows parish giving while Masses are suspended

    BRAINTREE -- The desire to take care of one another during the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and the inability to join together at local Catholic churches for Masses has inspired a grassroots movement for parishioners to rally around their local parishes. ''90 Days Now -- For Your Parish" is a newly launched three-month campaign spearheaded by a member of the laity to help support parishes while churches are temporarily closed but while the need for parish services continues.

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  • Holy Week liturgies to go on without faithful present

    BRAINTREE -- Despite the continuing suspension of public Masses and services, the liturgies of the Easter Triduum -- the pinnacle of the Christian year -- will go on at parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, though this year the faithful will be asked to participate from afar.

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  • Father Peter Gori cleared of abuse allegation, reinstated

    The Archdiocese of Boston announced March 30 that Augustinian Father Peter Gori has been cleared of an allegation of abuse and that Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has returned him to active ministry. Father Gori has also been reinstated as pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Andover and will return to the parish by Palm Sunday.

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  • Eight Boston priests test positive for COVID-19

    Six retired priests and two parish priests have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, archdiocesan spokesman Terrence Donilon said in an April 1 statement. According to Donilon, the two parish priests have already recovered and have already completed their quarantine period.

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  • Boston Province transitions to nation-wide abuse reporting system

    BRAINTREE -- In response to Pope Francis' May 2019 apostolic letter "Vos Estes Lux Mundi," ("You are the Light of the World"), a new independent third-party reporting system has been put in place to receive allegations of sexual misconduct by U.S. bishops. The Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, or CBAR, went live on March 16 and is now available for individuals who wish to file an allegation of misconduct involving a bishop or cardinal.

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  • Hospital chaplains adapt ministry to serve patients

    BRAINTREE -- In times of crisis, chaplains provide spiritual support to people experiencing overwhelming anxiety and grief. But in recent weeks, hospital chaplains have found themselves having to adapt the way they minister to patients, families, and health care professionals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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  • Priesthood ordination rescheduled for Aug. 1

    BRAINTREE -- Faced with uncertainty about when social distancing restrictions will be lifted, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has decided to postpone the priesthood ordination in the Archdiocese of Boston until Aug. 1.

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  • Spring fundraisers impacted by pandemic

    BRAINTREE -- In the face of the social restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic schools, charities, and other organizations have found themselves having to alter plans for fundraising galas that were scheduled to be held this spring.

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  • Cardinal allows meat on Fridays for remainder of Lent

    BRAINTREE -- As the people of Massachusetts find themselves under a stay-at-home advisory and are being urged limits trips outside -- even to the grocery store -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has lifted the obligation for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston to abstain from meat on Fridays for the remainder of Lent.

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  • From Cardinal Seán's blog

    Recently, Father Paul Soper and Father Eric Cadin suggested that I might prepare a Virtual Lenten Retreat to present on CatholicTV as well as online. I'm very grateful to Ann Gennaro of our Secretariat of Evangelization and Discipleship, who has been very helpful throughout this process.

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  • Maintain routine, stay connected and rely on prayer, counselor advises

    ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- With the rapid changes brought on by COVID-19, there is an incredible level of stress for everyone in the country. We have worries about our families, our work, finances and loved ones living in areas that may be experiencing an even greater impact than in the Diocese of Arlington.

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  • Coronavirus draws prayers to saints who cared for plague victims

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Saints can get a bad rap because sometimes people assume they lived in deep piety removed from the burdens of everyday life. But a quick look at the saints known for their ministry to the poor and outcast, the sick and dying, particularly during times of plagues, casts these men and women in a different light. The Catholic Church has numerous saints that fall under this category and a few particularly stand out now during this time of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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  • During plague, Catholic Church called on saints for help, healing

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic Church has had a long tradition of calling on saints and praying for their intercession in sickness and difficult times. This plea for saintly help for protection from disease and healing was particularly evident when the bubonic plague, or Black Death, spread throughout Europe in the 14th century killing one-third of the population.

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  • Pope moves Good Friday collection for Holy Land to September

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With Holy Week celebrations closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis postponed the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land to September. The Vatican announced April 2 that the pope approved a proposal to hold the collection in churches worldwide Sept. 13.

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  • Remembering: St. John Paul was world's conscience, modern-day apostle

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- St. John Paul II, who died April 2, 2005, at age 84, was a voice of conscience for the world and a modern-day apostle for his church. He had a philosopher's intellect, a pilgrim's spiritual intensity and an actor's flair for the dramatic, making him one of the most forceful moral leaders of the modern age.

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  • Vermont high school students create virtual Spirit Week to promote unity

    BURLINGTON, Vt. (CNS) -- A Vermont Catholic high school student and two of her hometown friends are showing school spirit during mandatory school closings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sydney Adreon, 15, a freshman at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, and her friends, Jasmine, 15, and Kaitlyn Little, 16, a freshman and sophomore, respectively, at Vergennes Union High School, have been quarantining together and are hoping to create unity across Vermont and beyond.

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  • Prelate advises cellphones can't be used to administer sacraments

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Administering the sacrament of reconciliation via cellphone is impermissible under church teaching, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship. In a March 27 memo to his fellow bishops, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut, said he was informed by Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship at the Vatican, that using a cellphone for the sacrament poses a threat against the seal of confession.

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