Editor's note: "The Field Hospital" blog series covers life in U.S. and Canadian Catholic parishes. The title comes from Pope Francis' words: "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. …"
If you have a story suggestion, send it to Dan Morris-Young (email@example.com) or Peter Feuerherd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Chicago Catholics are preparing for parish closings. This could be huge in scope and impact. Archbishop Blase Cupich says that finances and lack of priestly vocations will force change.
He's a man who ministered in Catholic parishes in and around Los Angeles and earned the title "padre." Problem is, Erwin Mena was never ordained. Now he's behind bars. Allegedly he earned money hawking a music CD and organizing trips to see the pope that never happened.
Why give to charity? Because faith compels it, for both Catholics and Muslims.
The embattled union workers at Atlantic City resorts, threatened by layoffs and casino operators saying they will no longer honor collective bargaining agreements, come together for Mass.
Also in South Jersey: parishioners feel the love of community support after their church is brutally vandalized.
The Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, went through a synod under the direction of Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, installed there two years ago. Parishes are being asked to examine themselves and pinpoint where they can do better. One outgrowth of renewal in the diocese is a new marriage preparation program. The diocese features some of the most affluent suburbs and the poorest urban areas in the country.
A ministry for gay and lesbian Catholics, profiled in an NCR Field Hospital piece last year, is the subject of a video series. For Catholics interested in how their parish can minister to gay Catholics in this Pope Francis era of welcome, it is worth a look.
[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.]