The Field Hospital: Covering parish life throughout America

This story appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

by Peter Feuerherd

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Editor's note: NCRonline's blog series "The Field Hospital" covers life in Catholic parishes across the United States and Canada. The title comes from the words of Pope Francis: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. ... And you have to start from the ground up."

"The Field Hospital" blog will run twice weekly on along with feature stories and news reports about parish life in the U.S. If you have a story suggestion, send it to Dan Morris Young ( or Peter Feuerherd ( Please note that we welcome story suggestions from Canada as well.

From a British perspective: A Catholic priest argues in favor of smaller parish communities threatened by closure. Look beyond the economics and you will find vibrant little communities where faith thrives, he says.

Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock wants parishes in Arkansas to help resettle Syrian refugees -- by pairing up with parishes in Lebanon.

Pastors come out as gay. What's the impact on their flocks?

A parish in Erlanger, Ky., near Cincinnati, goes with an app to connect its people.

The teachings of Pope Francis are the theme of a Lenten retreat planned for parishes in Superior, Wis.

A question: Why doesn't the church do more for women who have experienced miscarriages?

Bishop Robert Morlino of the diocese of Madison, Wis., is now on board with Pope Francis. That diocese will now allow women to have their feet washed at the annual Holy Thursday rite. Previously, it had resisted this practice. While university town Madison is well known for its liberal tendencies, Morlino has long embraced traditionalism.

Meanwhile, the bishop has ordered parishes to move the Tabernacle to the center of each church in the diocese.

[Peter Feuerherd is a professor of communications and journalism at St. John's University in New York and contributor to NCR's Field Hospital blog.]

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