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Cardinal Stafford urges a rediscovery of the Liturgy of the Hours

Cardinal James Francis Stafford, Major Penitentiary Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary, in December 2021. / Sandra Miley

Denver, Colo., May 16, 2022 / 11:00 am (CNA).

What does it mean to pray “ceaselessly”?

For Cardinal James Francis Stafford, Major Penitentiary Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the answer to that question is the key to an “unspeakable joy.”

“We have to rediscover the fruits of the Holy Spirit. One of those fruits is joy,” Stafford said.  “And that is the joy of being children of God.”

Stafford is set to deliver a free online lecture on the Liturgy of the Hours on May 21. 

The Liturgy of the Hours, also referred to as the Divine Office or breviary, has been a fixture of Catholic prayer for centuries. Clerics and religious pray the full Liturgy of the Hours every day, and Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the liturgy, encouraged the laity to recite it as well. Sacrosanctum Concilium also said pastors “should see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts.”

Stafford described the Liturgy of the Hours to CNA as “the prayer book of the Church,” saying praying it can help Catholics avoid making “idols” out of daily tasks and routines, and instead making time for God throughout the day. 

How difficult it is, he reflected, to “move from the idols of each hour, and to give worship to the only One that is worthy of us.” Stafford said in his view, a renewed understanding of the meaning of time is necessary, so that “we don't make idols of what we're doing in time.”

“I'm so engaged in the course of a day in my daily activities…not just engaged, but I'm committed to it. I'm kind of overwhelmed by it. They almost become idols for me. In fact they do become idols,” Stafford said. 

“So, the Liturgy of the Hours is a call, for me at least, to give priority to numero uno — to God the Father through Jesus.” 

Stafford noted that in the course of the day, “we are urged sursum corda, to lift up our hearts” to God, repeatedly. He encouraged families, in particular, to learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and to do so together. 

“The Liturgy of the Hours is central to the spiritual life of the family...for the already baptized, it engages them in the gift that the Church gives them,” Stafford said. 

You can RSVP for Stafford’s livestreamed lecture on the Liturgy of the Hours, presented by the Lay Division at Denver's St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and set to begin at 10 am Mountain Time on May 21, here

Roe v. Wade: No decision today in Dobbs abortion case

U.S. Capitol viewed through the columns of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. / Shutterstock

Washington D.C., May 16, 2022 / 09:46 am (CNA).

The Supreme Court’s first “opinion issuance day” since the leak of a draft opinion suggesting justices will overturn Roe v. Wade came and went Monday without a decision in a closely watched Mississippi abortion case.

The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, remains one of 35 the court still must rule on before its summer recess.

The court announced last week that it would release one or more opinions Monday. It issued two shortly after 10 a.m. EDT: Patel v. Garland, an immigration case, and Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, which concerns a federal campaign finance law. 

While the court traditionally waits to issue decisions in bigger, more controversial cases like Dobbs until the end of the court’s term in late June or early July, the leak of the draft opinion, written by Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., threw into question that expectation.

In the wake of the bombshell leak, first published by Politico on May 2, abortion activists protested outside of justices’ private homes and attacked Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers. At the same time, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. stressed that the “work of the Court will not be affected in any way” by the leaked draft, which the Supreme Court confirmed is authentic. 

While the draft opinion signals that the court will overturn Roe v. Wade, and send the issue of abortion back to the states, the Supreme Court urged that the document “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

Pro-life legal experts previously outlined multiple possibilities regarding the timing of the Supreme Court’s decision in the case to CNA.

The next opinion issuance day has not yet been scheduled on the Supreme Court’s calendar.

‘Warriors to Lourdes’ pilgrimage brings comfort to wounded souls

The 8th annual Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage on May 10-16, 2022. / Tamino Petelinsek/KofC.

Lourdes, France, May 16, 2022 / 07:30 am (CNA).

More than 175 U.S. active-duty personnel and veterans are taking part in a pilgrimage sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

Catholic bishop questions lack of EU support as Poland aids millions of Ukrainian refugees

Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko, chairman of the Polish bishops’ council for migration, tourism, and pilgrimages. / Episkopat News.

Koszalin, Poland, May 16, 2022 / 05:08 am (CNA).

More than three million people have fled from Ukraine to Poland since Feb. 24.

Statement of USCCB on Shootings in Buffalo and Laguna Woods

WASHINGTON - In response to the shootings in Buffalo, NY and Laguna Woods, CA over the weekend, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offered the following statement from its spokesperson, Chieko Noguchi, director of public affairs.

“The U.S. bishops join with others throughout the country in offering prayers for the support and healing of the families, friends, and communities of those impacted by these violent incidents. We pray especially for those who were injured and particularly for those who lost their lives. We pray also for those on the front lines who risk their lives in responding to the calls for help, and to those in the medical fields who minister to those who have been harmed.

“The bishops again call for an honest dialogue rooted in Christ in addressing the persistent evil of racism in our country. The Catholic Church has been a consistent voice for rational yet effective forms of regulation of dangerous weapons, and the USCCB continues to advocate for an end to violence, and for the respect and dignity of all lives.

“We pray for and support the healing of the communities impacted and for all the victims of violence and that Christ’s peace be upon all affected.”

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Media Contact:
USCCB Public Affairs
202-541-3200

Annual Collection Supports Catholic Communications Efforts Locally and Globally

WASHINGTON - Catholics in many dioceses throughout the United States will have the opportunity to give to support the Catholic Church’s communications efforts on May 28-29. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) works to spread the Gospel through the media in all its forms. Its work is funded by an annual collection through which the faithful can support their local diocesan communications efforts, while also supporting national and international initiatives. #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds for the collection, which gives an option to those who wish to contribute to this work but are unable to give at Mass.

“Communicating the Gospel message is at the heart of evangelization. Through your gift, the Church is able to spread the faith, hope, and love of Jesus Christ, and of his Church, both here at home and abroad to people and places where the word of God is needed most,” said Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv., of Atlanta, chairman of the USCCB Communication Committee’s Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign.

When you give at your parish, half of the gift one makes to the Catholic Communication Campaign collection remains in the donor’s diocese to support local communications projects. Such local projects often include support for diocesan newspapers or magazines, website updates and outreach campaigns, or Mass and television programs to reach the faithful and share the Good News. The other half goes to the USCCB to be awarded in the form of national and international grants. In 2021, the Catholic Communication Campaign awarded more than $3 million.

The CCC also awarded a grant to support the communications efforts related to a gathering in Chicago in June 2022 for “Journeying Together: A National Intercultural Encounter for Ministries with Youth and Young Adults.” This event supporting the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church combines synodal listening and discernment to hear the voices and perspectives of Catholics from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Other initiatives supported include evangelization, creating digital resources that help the faithful better understand the richness of Catholic teaching, producing documentaries and videos on the lives of exemplary modern-day Catholics on the path to beatification, and preserving Church history.

“The Catholic Communication Campaign not only shares the Good News in mainstream America, but it also reaches people on the furthest peripheries,” Archbishop Hartmayer said. Some examples of what the Catholic Communication Campaign has assisted with internationally include initiatives to keep mariners and seafarers connected to the faith, radio communications, and television ministry.

For instance, mariners may spend months far from home and family. An app that the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America developed years ago to help seafarers maintain a spiritual life and find pastoral care in port is now technologically obsolete. Gifts to the campaign will allow the app to be redesigned and add a new feature to help cruise ship passengers locate a Catholic chaplain.

In Bolivia, the CCC supports Radio Pio XII, which since 1959 has championed the rights of indigenous people when they have been under violent attack. Gifts from this collection will replace its failing 20-year-old transmitter with a far more powerful one.

With help from this collection, Ukrainian war refugees are receiving messages of hope and pastoral support through LOGOS TV, a Catholic media ministry in Eastern Europe. Typical recent segments offered spiritual encouragement and showed a Slovak archbishop greeting refugees in a Catholic youth center.

Resources for dioceses and parishes to use in promoting the collection on social media in weekly bulletins can be found here: https://www.usccb.org/committees/catholic-communication-campaign/catholic-communication-campaign-resources. For more information about the Catholic Communication Campaign and those who benefit from it, visit www.usccb.org/ccc.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Bishop condemns 'abhorrently evil' slaying of 10 at Buffalo supermarket

olice on scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. According to reports, at least 10 people were killed after a mass shooting at the store with the shooter in police custody. / John Normile/Getty Images

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 15, 2022 / 06:16 am (CNA).

Ten people were killed and three others injured Saturday when a teenage gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

Authorities are calling the mass shooting a racially motivated hate crime and say the gunman specifically targeted the store because it is located in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Eleven of those shot were Black, while the other two victims were white, authorities said.

The gunman, identified as Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York, livestreamed the attack. He surrendered to police at the scene.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher of the Diocese of Buffalo issued a statement on Twitter after the shootings.

Fisher said that “what unfortunately has become an all too common occurrence in this country has now shown its abhorrently evil face in Buffalo as we have now learned that 10 innocent souls have lost their lives here.

“On behalf of the Diocese of Buffalo, I, in the strongest of terms, condemn this utterly senseless act and pray for the victims and all those impacted by this act of cowardice,” Fisher said.

“May the Good Lord guide us as we pray that our society regain respect for life and for an end to this tragic and despicable act in this beautiful city of ours. I encourage all Catholics and all people of faith to come together in prayer for the victims and for peace.”

The statement concluded: “The scourge of senseless gun violence that has taken the lives of so many across our nation and changed the lives of countless innocent men, women and children must come to an end.”

After driving some 200 miles to Buffalo, Gendron parked outside the Tops Friendly Market around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, authorities said. He began shooting in the parking lot, where he killed three people and injured another person, authorities said. He then moved inside the store, where he exchanged fire with a retired Buffalo police officer working as a security guard, killing him, authorities said.

The guard shot Gendron but the gunman’s tactical gear prevented him from being seriously injured, authorities said. Gendron proceeded to shoot more people inside the store before police arriving at the scene talked him into surrendering.

The gunman is believed to have posted a manifesto online in which he expresses racist, anti-immigrant views and claims that white Americans were at risk of being replaced by people of color, the New York Times reported.

He was arraigned on first-degree murder charges and appeared in court Saturday evening wearing a bandage over his shoulder, USA Today reported.

The White House issued a statement from President Biden on the shootings Saturday evening.

“Tonight, we grieve for the families of ten people whose lives were senselessly taken and everyone who is suffering the physical and emotional wounds of this horrific shooting. We are grateful for the bravery of members of law enforcement and other first responders who took immediate action to try to protect and save lives. The First Lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and hearts all across this country are with the people of Buffalo,” Biden said.

“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does its work, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation,” Biden continued. 

“Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism.”

Arrest made in Texas church theft, though tabernacle remains missing

The tabernacle belonging to St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church in Katy, Texas, was stolen May 8, 2022. / Screenshot from YouTube video

Houston, Texas, May 14, 2022 / 15:03 pm (CNA).

A suspect has been charged with burglary in connection with the theft of a tabernacle from a parish church in Greater Houston, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced Friday.

The tabernacle had been stolen from St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church in Katy, Texas, May 8.

“Thanks to the Katy Police Department's diligent efforts and skill, a suspect has been apprehended and charged with burglary. It is our understanding the theft was not motivated by last week's release of the draft Supreme Court opinion involving Roe v Wade,” the Galveston-Houston archdiocese announced May 13.

“Sadly, the tabernacle has not yet been recovered, though efforts by the Katy police are ongoing. In any case, such a theft beyond material price is immeasurably hurtful to us and speaking theologically, is sacrilegious.”

The suspect was identified by the Houston Chronicle as Christian James Meritt.

The archdiocese stated: “We offer our profound gratitude to the Katy Police for their hard work in the investigation.”

“We ask all to continue praying with us for the parish and all those involved in this matter,” it added.

Catholic University awards honorary degree to imprisoned human rights advocate Jimmy Lai

Hong Kong media tycoon and Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai. / Napa Institute.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 14, 2022 / 09:00 am (CNA).

The Catholic University of America on Saturday awarded an honorary degree to imprisoned Hong Kong human rights advocate Jimmy Lai. His adult son, Sebastien Lai, accepted the award on his father’s behalf.

The younger Lai spoke about the university’s recognition of his father in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo earlier this week.

“It really means a lot to have the support of all these great people,” he said on “The World Over” May 12.

“I’m sure he’ll be very happy to receive this award, and I’m sure knowing that all these people are praying for him, and knowing that all these people have the same thoughts towards freedom and freedom of religion, freedom of expression, will make him incredibly happy," he added. You can watch the full interview in the video below.


A devout Catholic and media magnate, Jimmy Lai, 74, has been arrested numerous times for his pro-democracy activism and is awaiting trial on sedition charges related to the stringent national security law the China’s communist government imposed on Hong Kong in July 2020.

Most recently he was sentenced in December 2021 to 13 months in prison on a charge of unlawful assembly, stemming from his participation in an annual vigil commemorating the 1989 crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Authorities in Hong Kong also have shuttered Lai’s influential Hong Kong newspaper, Apple Daily.

Under the new security law, a person who is convicted of secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces will receive a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence.

In a video interview produced by the Napa Institute prior to his imprisonment, Lai spoke about his Catholic faith and the role it played in his outspoken defense of human rights for the past 30 years, citing "the Lord's teaching that your life is not about yourself."

"When you lift yourself above your own self-interest, you find the meaning of life. You find you're doing the right thing, which is so wonderful. It changed my life into a different thing," Jimmy Lai said of his conversion to Catholicism in 1997.

"The way I look at it, if I suffer for the right cause, it only defines the person I am becoming. It can only be good for me to become a better person. If you believe in the Lord, if you believe that all suffering has a reason, and the Lord is suffering with me … I'm at peace with it."

Bestowed during The Catholic University of America’s commencement in Washington, D.C. Saturday, the honorary degree comes just days after Cardinal Joseph Zen, the 90-year-old archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong and outspoken advocate for human rights and religious freedom in China, was detained by Hong Kong’s national security forces. Zen baptized Jimmy Lai in 1997.

In his interview with Arroyo, Sebastien Lai spoke about Zen as a close friend of his family and said his detention was a “strong act” by Hong Kong authorities.

The younger Lai observed that “Hong Kong used to be this island off the coast of China that had its own legal system and freedoms and it just seems that these ideals keep getting degraded every single news cycle.”

He said he is able to correspond with his father, who he said draws a picture of Jesus on the back of each letter he sends.

The Catholic University of America’s Class of 2022 has 1,496 graduates. Dominican Father Joseph White, O.P., rector of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, delivered this year’s commencement speech.

TLM altar boys implore cardinal: Consider our love for Latin Mass

Altar boys swing incense in a procession in Cologne, Germany. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 14, 2022 / 06:00 am (CNA).

Six Latin Mass altar servers in a Washington, D.C. parish have written an impassioned letter to the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, imploring him to consider their positive experiences in the Traditional Latin Mass when implementing the Vatican’s new guidance on the Extraordinary Form.

“For us, the Latin Mass is a refuge,” the May 4 letter, posted on the parish's Facebook page, says. “A refuge where the evils of the world and the struggles of life cannot penetrate. We believe it is the closest thing to heaven on earth and we would love to see it continue.”

Pope Francis issued a motu proprio in July 2021 called Traditionis custodes that includes new guidance and restrictions on when and where the Roman Missal of 1962, typically referred to as the Traditional Latin Mass, may be used. The document, which gives local bishops increased authority on the celebration of the Extraordinary Form, was received with much pain and confusion among Catholics who participate in the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Although many bishops issued temporary guidance for their dioceses, there have been few reports of permanent guidance issued. The Archdiocese of Washington has yet to issue permanent guidance.

Altar boys serving at a Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary Mother of God parish in Washington, D.C. Screenshot of Facebook livestream video
Altar boys serving at a Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary Mother of God parish in Washington, D.C. Screenshot of Facebook livestream video

The letter, written by altar boys from St. Mary Mother of God parish in the nation’s capital, says that if the Latin Mass were no longer allowed at St. Mary’s, it would feel like “losing something precious, something of ourselves, nearly comparable to losing a loved one.”

The altar boys wrote that they wish to “partake in the mystery of the Eucharist” through the Latin Mass and added that “hopefully, one or more of us will be called to serve Our Lord as a priest.”

The altar boys remain unnamed. The letter is signed, simply, “St. Mary’s Altar Boys.”

“We have been going to the Latin Mass at St. Mary's since we were born and have loved it since we were old enough to understand the beauty of it,” the letter says.

The altar boys wrote that they drive an hour to get to the church to serve Mass.

“The experience of serving the Mass is amazing and we also find great joy in teaching the young boys how to serve the Mass and leading them through the motions and prayers,” the letter says.

The letter continues: “From the Gloria on Holy Thursday to the Procession with the Infant at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and the sad but beautiful liturgy of Good Friday we enjoy every bit of partaking in the great work of Christ. Our siblings have been baptized into the Church at St. Mary's and our families have received first Holy Communions there and been reconciled with God in our first Confessions at St. Mary's.”

The letter concludes: “We ask that you consider these words when you make your decision about the continuing of this beautiful form of Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross.”

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington was not immediately available for comment Saturday.