Social justice activists from around the country gathered recently in Philadelphia to launch "A Year of Encounter with Pope Francis." When they departed, the 270 participants from 21 states and 46 dioceses had in hand a book of "lesson plans" tailored for use in Catholic parishes.
Perhaps a foreshadowing of the upcoming encyclical?: The powerful of the earth will face God's judgment and will be asked to account for how they cared for the poor and how they cared for the environment so that it could produce food for all, Pope Francis said.
Writing about Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev's sentencing, Global Sisters Report's Dawn Cherie Araujo asks: "Is there a Sr. Helen Prejean effect?"
Religious life: International gathering puts numbers in perspective. Religious life is as vital as ever.
Robert Mickens warns that "merciless zealots" are out to undermine Francis' emphasis on mercy. "And since the little group of which they are a part has become loud and well-organized, one might mistakenly think they represent the majority of all our deacons, priests and bishops," he writes.
Voice of America reports: The powerful Roman Catholic Church in Burundi has given President Pierre Nkurunziza until Sunday, May 17 to postpone the June 26 election and allow independent radio and television stations to resume broadcasting or it will ask church members on the electoral commission to leave.
Looking for a little inspiration to begin your day? NCR's sister publication, Celebration, gives you two options, both based on the Scripture readings of the day:
Pencil Preaching is blog in which Celebration editor Pat Marrin combines Scripture and sketching to reflect on the Word.
Daily Bread is a series of short reflections written by four authors who meet regularly to share the readings. Daily Bread is intended to help daily preachers and others who pray from the assigned Scriptures each day to orient themselves to the Living Word addressed to the church in the world. It's a great way to begin the day.