The Field Hospital for June 29, 2016: Covering parish life

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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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In this post-Orlando era, churches and synagogues are openly welcoming gay and transgender people. Here are examples from New Jersey, including outreach efforts by Catholic parishes.

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso at a public meeting gives parishioners at San Jose Church the bad news: they will not build a new church, after raising more than a million dollars to do so, and instead will be merged with a nearby parish. These sticky issues usually emanate from the Northeast and the Midwest. Bishop Seitz says the diocese doesn't have enough priests to minister to the parish if it stays on its own.

A family shattered by a tragedy at Disney as their child is killed by an alligator receives support from their Nebraska parish.

A Boston archdiocese parish champions the cause of refugees.

Impact on Black Catholics seen as Chicago South Side parish prepares to close its doors.

Also from the Windy City: parishes come together to combat the surge in violence.

Another story about a merged parish: This time, a painter in Minnesota produces a work that helps bind together parishioners at St. Thomas More Church in St. Paul. The parish is the result of the merger of two other churches, and the painting has become a symbol for the new community.

Should parishes or dioceses be held responsible for cases of priest sex abuse? That's the issue being argued in Minnesota.

A deacon ordained for the Los Angeles archdiocese will minister to the deaf. He is hearing impaired himself, expert in sign language, and is also fluent in Spanish.

A Newman Center in Sacramento becomes popular with the local community, bringing in Catholics from all over. Perhaps it was too popular. The bishop wants it to focus on college students and leave other Catholics to neighboring parishes.

A pastor in the Cincinnati archdiocese stole more than a million dollars from his church. He has now sent a letter to parishioners offering an apology but no explanation as to why it happened or where the money went.

In Montreal, priests and parish workers are warned to never be alone with children in new anti-sex abuse rules.

[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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