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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Peter Feuerherd (email@example.com).
Here is a peace on earth, good will to men kind of story. Voice of the Faithful praises the Archdiocese of Boston for implementing best practices in accounting for parish collections.
But not all is calm this Christmas season. Parishioners in the Diocese of Pittsburgh continue their fight to save their church, this time appealing to the highest Vatican levels. Repeating a theme, urban and mill town parishes in the diocese are struggling.
The Diocese of Springfield, Mass., is designating various churches as pilgrimage sites for Pope Francis' Year of Mercy. This is a development taking place in scores of dioceses around the country. Local angle: Springfield is the home of a famous mercy shrine in the historic village of Stockbridge.
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A Detroit same-sex couple describe what it's like to be Catholic parishioners while being part of a gay marriage.
[Regular Catholic press contributor Peter Feuerherd writes from Queens, N.Y.]