The Field Hospital: Covering parish life throughout America

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by Peter Feuerherd

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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. …"

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"Be My Witness" is a new evangelization program by New Jersey-based RENEW. The pilot is being rolled out for the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas.

A Catholic parish in Michigan tries out a program modeled on Alpha, popular in the Episcopal Church, focusing on basic catechesis. A question for "Field Hospital" enthusiasts: what parish renewal programs that you encountered would you recommend? Which ones would you not? We'll explore this issue in a future edition.

Some creative suggestions for Chicago's hard-pressed parishes.

In Bible Belt Arkansas, more than 600 await rites to enter the Catholic church this Lenten season. Also, more than 1,300 are making the leap in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C.

Where do all those church items go when a parish closes? The Diocese of Camden has a place.

From St. Monica's near Los Angeles to Old St. Patrick's in New York, the hip young and single are finding that church is the best place to meet that special someone. There's somewhat of a snarky tone to this article, but what better place is there to form lasting relationships? Good for those parishes.

[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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