Editor's note: "The Field Hospital" is NCRonline's newest blog series, covering life in Catholic parishes across the United States. 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 NCRonline.org 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 (email@example.com) or Peter Feuerherd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A group of Manhattan Catholics is challenging the New York Archdiocese to open shuttered churches for the homeless this Christmas season.
Parishioners in Pittsburgh reach out to the poor, via Meals on Wheels and scholarships for needy Catholic school students.
A bishop offers advice on how consolidating dioceses should address the merger of schools and parishes.
Want to enroll your child in Catholic school? You better go to Sunday Mass, says a policy from the Springfield, Ill., Diocese. The bishop there recently issued a clarification.
One theme that has emerged during the brief history of this blog are situations submitted by our readers involving problems in parishes, often about pastors placed in situations they seem ill-equipped to handle. One reader from a large northeastern city commented, "I believe that this series on the Field Hospital needs to address the weaknesses in every parish as well as the upside of exceptional parishes. As Andrew Greeley said, the local church is the Church for the majority of Catholics."
We couldn't agree more. Watch this space.
[Regular Catholic press contributor Peter Feuerherd writes from Queens, N.Y.]