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Knights of Columbus release St Joseph documentary online

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Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 8, 2021 / 06:01 am (CNA).

Inspired by Pope Francis’ declaration of the Year of St. Joseph, the Knights of Columbus have released a documentary on the Head of the Holy Family, which can now be accessed for free on their website

The 60-minute documentary “St. Joseph: Our Spiritual Father,” which premiered Oct. 10 for a six-week run on ABC-affiliated stations across the country, features reenactments, interviews with scholars, and testimonies of people with a devotion to St. Joseph.

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, with more than 2 million members in over 16,000 councils worldwide. 

A statement from the Knights of Columbus said that the documentary is meant to help the faithful in deepening their devotion to St. Joseph. 

“Since its launch,” the statement said, “the film has received raving reviews and is rich in inspiring testimonials, including these powerful words from Most Rev. James Wall, Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico.”

Wall said, “If you have a devotion to St. Joseph, strengthen that devotion. If you don't, you should have one.” The release of the now-free documentary on Dec. 8 coincides with the conclusion of the Year of St. Joseph that lasted from Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021.

CNA spoke to the film’s director, David Naglieri, about the film in October. 

Naglieri, the director of film and digital media for the Knights of Columbus, told CNA that the film highlights devotion to St. Joseph through six stories. 

One of the stories focuses on the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, where many Catholic priests became prisoners.

Fearing for their survival, the priests prayed a novena to St. Joseph for protection. The people in the camp were liberated at the culmination of their novena, and discovered that the day of their liberation was originally the day of their scheduled execution, Naglieri said.

Naglieri told CNA that Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly’s strong devotion to St. Joseph is what initiated the creation of the film. Kelly asked him to consider producing a documentary film to highlight St. Joseph’s life and his importance as a role model for modern times, according to Naglieri.

In the statement Kelly said that “the example of St. Joseph teaches us that we really find ourselves when we live for others.”  

Kelly was installed as the head of the organization in June, and consecrated his new administration to St. Joseph. 

At the state deputies’ semi-annual meeting on Nov. 6 and 7 in Nashville, Tennessee, Kelly introduced the order’s new pilgrim icon prayer program, which features an icon, made by Elizabeth Bergeron and based on a drawing by Alexandre Sobolev, of St. Joseph holding the child Jesus from St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Canada.

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church leaders want a uniform liturgy. Why are they facing resistance?

A St. Thomas Christian cross at the installation of Mar Joseph Srampickal at Preston North End stadium, England, on Oct. 9, 2016. / Mazur/

London, England, Dec 8, 2021 / 03:10 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has intervened in the decades-long dispute.

Did you know the Immaculate Conception is patroness of the United States?

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Denver Newsroom, Dec 8, 2021 / 03:00 am (CNA).

Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, has been patroness of the United States since the mid-19th century. But her protection of the nation dates back to its earliest history. 

One of the first Catholic churches in what is now the United States was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in 1584: the now-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in Jacksonville, Fla. 

John Carroll, the first bishop in the United States, had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1792, he placed the diocese of Baltimore— which encompassed the thirteen colonies of the young republic— under her protection.

Over the next fifty years, seven more dioceses were created, including New Orleans, Boston, Chicago and Oregon City.

“The colonies were now the USA, and Baltimore was not the only diocese – so, the American hierarchy felt a need for a national protectress for this new republic,” said Dr. Geraldine M. Rohling, archivist-curator emerita for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

U.S. bishops unanimously named Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the nation in 1846, during the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore. 

“We take this occasion, brethren, to communicate to you the determination, unanimously adopted by us, to place ourselves, and all entrusted to our charge throughout the United States, under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God, whose immaculate conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic church.... To her, then, we commend you, in the confidence that ... she will obtain for us grace and salvation,” the bishops wrote in a letter at the time.

Bl. Pius IX approved the declaration in 1847.

The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary being conceived without original sin. Today, it is a dogma of the Catholic Church. But back in 1846, it was not. B. Pius IX would promulgate the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, and many believe the U.S. bishops’ declaration may have influenced the pope’s decision. 

The largest Marian shrine in the United States is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception— the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. The first public Mass for the National Shrine was celebrated on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1917, though the shrine was not yet constructed. 

The Immaculate Conception is also patroness of several other countries, including Spain, South Korea, Brazil, and the Philippines. 

The feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated Dec. 8, nine months before the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. It is a Holy Day of Obligation in some places, including the United States, Ireland, and the Philippines.

Canadian Indigenous leaders' trip to Vatican delayed by Omicron variant concerns

Amemorial in Ottawa, Canada, in tribute to 215 indigenous children whose remains were found in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, June 1, 2021. / meandering images/Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 7, 2021 / 15:32 pm (CNA).

The scheduled meeting between Pope Francis and a delegation from Canada has been delayed to 2022, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami announced in a joint statement on Tuesday, Dec. 7. 

PHOTOS: Los Angeles, San Diego pay tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe with processions, Masses after year hiatus

This year's procession honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe in Los Angeles was well attended after a limited, cars-only procession in 2020 during the pandemic. / Víctor Aleman/Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Denver Newsroom, Dec 7, 2021 / 14:36 pm (CNA).

On Sunday, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles held its 90th annual procession and outdoor Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. The celebration, which is the oldest religious procession in Los Angeles, was established by Catholics who fled persecution by the Mexican government during the Cristero War in 1931.

“It’s a joy to be reunited this year to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe,” said Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez in a release.

This year’s event is part of the archdiocese’s Jubilee Year, “Forward in Mission,” which celebrates 250 years of Catholic faith in the region.

“We are gathered here with the desire to go ‘always forward and united in mission and hope,’ which is  the theme of our procession this year, and as you know, it’s a historic year,” Gomez said. 

Five East L.A. students from Bishop Mora Salesian High School kicked off the procession with a 6-mile relay run and the carrying of the Guadalupano torch from Mission San Gabriel to East Los Angeles College Stadium, where the Mass was held. 

The procession included musicians, Aztec dancers, and many colorful floats honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, who has been a symbol of “hope, compassion, unity, and love” during a difficult year, Gomez said.

“Her image has been a symbol of unity, peace, compassion, and hope for people  around the world,” said the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in a statement.  

The procession and Mass commemorated the 490th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and marked the culmination of a months-long pilgrimage of the images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego throughout Los Angeles. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is an exact digital reproduction of the original image in Mexico City’s Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and was blessed by Pope St. John Paul II. 

“Whenever I am in the presence of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I feel like a child who is loved,” said Archbishop José Gomez on Twitter in preparation for the event. “When you are in her presence, you can feel the warmth of her tender eyes gazing down upon you. It is a powerful feeling—a beautiful sense of being protected.”

Last year, a limited number of participants were able to participate in the procession by car only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gomez offered his prayers for the end of the pandemic during this year’s event. 

“Today, especially, we elevate our prayers for the end of the pandemic,” said Gomez in Spanish during the bilingual celebration. “We dedicate special prayers for the eternal rest of those who have died and also for those who are sick and for those who assist them.”

During the homily, Gomez called the faithful to keep following Jesus. 

“We need to increase more and more in  our love for Jesus, in our understanding of what God wants in our lives, in our desire to do his will,” he  said. 


The Diocese of San Diego also celebrated Our Lady of Guadalupe with a procession and Mass on Sunday. Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano participated in the procession and celebrated the bilingual Mass, which was held in the gym at St. Augustine High School. 

“We estimate that around 1,000 faithful participated in our procession, and nearly 2,000 attended the Mass, one of the largest turnouts in recent years,” said Aida Bustos, director of the Office of Media for the Diocese of San Diego.

Last year, the San Diego Mass was held outside with limited attendance due to the pandemic, and no procession took place. According to one report, this year, the San Diego celebration had floats from 32 Catholic organizations and parishes in the area, along with mariachi bands and dancers. 

Following the Mass, the diocese held a tribute to former Auxiliary Bishop Gilbert Chavez, who died in March of 2020. Chavez was the second Mexican-American to be appointed auxiliary bishop in the United States, and advocated for Latinos in his ministry.  

WATCH: Students at Catholic college target pro-life talk with obscenity-laced protest

Pro-choice protesters at the University of San Diego on Nov. 11, 2021. / Screenshot of Students for Life in America video

Boston, Mass., Dec 7, 2021 / 12:10 pm (CNA).

The University of San Diego will not say if any students who shouted obscenities and displayed vulgar signs during a recent pro-choice demonstration on the Catholic college’s campus will be disciplined.

The students were protesting a talk by a pro-life speaker hosted by a student College Republicans club. 

“The protest got absolutely out of control, and it was an embarrassment for the university,” senior Jack Uribe, the club’s secretary, told CNA. 

Prior to the Nov. 11 event, an administrator informed the club that the pro-choice demonstration was supposed to be a “silent event” held at the Plaza de San Diego, a screenshot of an email shows. 

Instead, dozens of students assembled outside Maher Hall, adjacent to the plaza, where pro-life speaker Kristen Hawkins was giving a talk. Demonstrators held signs that said, “Thank God for abortion,” “Hoes before embryos,” and “Public Cervix announcement, F--- You,” and shouted obscenities.

A video clip Uribe shot during the demonstration captured one female protester using a bull horn shouting, “You can't dictate what we do with our “f------- bodies.”  

Uribe said the demonstrators also chanted a sexually explicit insult at an 84-year-old deacon and his wife as they were leaving the event.

“It was the loudest silence I ever heard,” Uribe said. “It was so silent that it could be heard from the apartment complex a 10th of a mile away.” 

The protest was organized by the Gender Equity and Sex Positive Collective. The group is not affiliated with the University of San Diego but is run by students at the school. The group did not respond to CNA’s email requesting comment on Dec. 6.

The university issued a statement to CNA on Nov. 24 about the incident.

“The event was focused on an issue of significant import that continues to be discussed and debated in our country and within our campus community,” the statement said. 

“A university is exactly the kind of place where such discussion and debate should occur. As a Catholic institution, the University of San Diego supports Pro-Life tenets. As an academic institution, we also support the rights of students of all viewpoints to peacefully assemble for the purpose of exercising free speech or dissension,” the statement said.

The statement said the university does not support hate speech, intolerance, or targeting “of members of our community or any other group.” 

“The actions of a few protesters at the event were antithetical to our values of inclusion, respect and acceptance of all,” the statement said.

“We in no way condone actions that denigrate others, and we have a student code of conduct by which we address policy violations. We do not share with the media details of policy violations by members of our campus community.”

Hostility prior to event

In the weeks leading up to the event, posters advertising the event were torn down and A-Frame structures holding the posters were damaged. 

Mary-Logan Miske, president of the College Republicans club, and Alyssa Jackson, the club's human dignity chair, took turns monitoring advertisements for the event. In one incident, they say they caught a student on camera tearing down their posters.

“I'm sitting down on the ground in the hallway waiting with my video camera in a kind of awkward, low key, hidden spot, and there's this girl who goes by the posters and she tears it down right in front of me,” Miske told CNA.

Miske asked the woman if she knew ripping down the posters was vandalism of USD property. The woman responded, “‘Yeah, I did actually know that,’ and then she tears down another one, rips them up and throws them at me,” Miske said.

An anonymous student told a student news program that she tore down some of the signs because she was upset that the speech was happening on campus.

“I was using my own voice in retaliation to something that I thought was disturbing on my campus,” said the student, whose appearance on camera was distorted to protect her identity. “I just wanted them down.” You can watch the segment in the video below, beginning at the 2:26 mark.

In the interview, the student accused the university’s administration of only paying lip service to promoting free discourse on campus.

“I think USD likes to do a really good job of pretending like they air both sides of things,” she said. “Like they pretend that we’re allowed to have this all this discourse and woke conversations, if you will, about things like sex ed, or healthy sex, or healthy relationships, and they really don’t.”

But the pro-life students who spoke to CNA say they feel that views in support of Catholic teaching on abortion and other issues are the ones being marginalized on campus.

Miske believes the university is more focused on promoting diversity than Catholic teaching.

“I think a big problem is shown in what we've seen this past week that there are people who truly believe you can be pro-choice and Catholic,” Miske said. “I don't know how you can think that way, I truly don’t.”

Pro-life speaker responds

The invited speaker, Kristan Hawkins, president of the national pro-life organization Students for Life of America, went ahead with her speech. She also attempted to engage protesters in discussion outside the auditorium.

Hawkins told CNA that the USD opposition is not the first time she has experienced hostility at one of her events.

“We've had staff who have been struck, items stolen, signs defaced and even set on fire inside of school buildings, and even a bomb scare,” Hawkins said. “While we always hope for a real conversation, we often meet harsh opposition. But we believe in using our free speech rights and will not be stopped from passionately advocating for the preborn, whose humanity is being ignored in abortion.”

Hawkins, a Catholic, said that she believes it is important “to remind our Catholic schools, institutions, and leaders that we need a strong defense of Church teaching so that we can pass on our values to future generations who must be taught that we need to care for the least of these.”

Hawkins said the event in San Diego was a success and fostered “real conversations,” noting that more than 8,000 people watched the conversation online.

“Even though some events are harder than others, it's worth it to share the truth that we can love them both, women and preborn children, and that many of us stand ready to help,” she said.

Report: Pro-life pregnancy centers in Latin America unfairly attacked by Spanish newspaper

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Madrid, Spain, Dec 7, 2021 / 11:50 am (CNA).

Pro-life pregnancy centers in Latin America were unfairly and inaccurately portrayed in a recent article published by a Spanish newspaper, an investigation by ACI Prensa has found.

1 million Afghan children could starve this winter. This humanitarian group desperately needs your help

Afghan refugees in Kabul, Afghanistan, after the collapse of the country in August 2021. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 7, 2021 / 09:38 am (CNA).

A new initiative is asking Americans for donations this Christmas to help save Christians who risk death in Afghanistan during the brutal winter. Its goal is to provide a “safe winter” for the men, women, and children located there.

“Without our help these Christian families are going to die,” Jason Jones, founder of the Safe Winter initiative by The Vulnerable People Project, said in a Dec. 6 press release. “They are starving and freezing to death.”

The Vulnerable People Project, run by the Human Rights Education and Relief Organization (H.E.R.O.) and led by Jones, began the new initiative after the United States withdrew its military from Afghanistan in August. 

Jones, a U.S. Army veteran, Catholic filmmaker, and humanitarian, called on Americans to help Afghans who rely on his organization for shelter, food, wood, coal and propane. His project estimates that it costs $2,000 per month for each safe house and $250 per month to provide a family of five with food and heat through the winter.

“We know that the American people want to be involved and we want to show them how to support this urgent humanitarian initiative,” he said. “We have already helped to support safe houses in the region and because of our work, these vulnerable families are coming to us for shelter, food and heat.”

The United Nations warned in September that 1 million Afghan children could die as winter begins. Jones hoped to change that number.

“We will not stand by and let these people die,” he said. “During this Christmas season, there is nothing more admirable or noble than to reach out and provide a home and safety to those in peril of death — a little of our treasured resources will go a long way and will give the gift of life.”

He added, “Please stand with us as we stand with our friends, brothers and sisters in Afghanistan.”

Mustasfa Assady, project manager for the Safe Winter initiative, emphasized the stress placed on families.

“People are desperate for food and when they have multiple kids they want to make sure to feed at least some of them, and they think by selling them they will guarantee food for that child as well as the remaining family members,” Assady said.

Jones’ organization has been helping those in Afghanistan since August, and they plan to continue their work — with Americans’ help.

“Since August we have been helping evacuate people, provide visas and we have brought much needed basic services to these people whose lives hang in the balance,” he said. “This is urgent. We need to help these people now.”

The Vulnerable People Project’s website highlights Catholic social teaching on the dignity of the human person and quotes Pope St. John Paul II.

“What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life,” the former pontiff said. “All together, we must build a new culture of life.”

New report finds freedom of conscience under threat in France, Spain, and Sweden

null / Rob Wilson via Shutterstock.

Rome Newsroom, Dec 7, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).

The report said further developments could lead to ‘complete exclusion of Christians from certain professions.’

Austria’s Catholic bishops: ‘Temporary’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate permissible as last resort

null / CDC/Unsplash (CC0).

Rome Newsroom, Dec 7, 2021 / 06:00 am (CNA).

Unvaccinated Austrians could face fines of up to $675 every three months.