Parish roundup: Politics preached at the pulpit

This story appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

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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Catholics throughout the country this election season heard the Vote for Trump message from many pulpits.

A parish-based effort in the Archdiocese of Chicago to address domestic violence has gone national. Highlighted in a story by NCR's Heidi Schlumpf in June, Dominican Fr. Charles Dahm has now spoken to 90 parishes about domestic violence. With the support of the archdiocese, the goal is to pierce the silence that often surrounds the topic. The Domestic Violence Outreach project has a website which posts talks on the topic by Dahm in both English and Spanish. A workshop offered at the Catholic University of America for priests in the Archdiocese of Washington attracted 31 clergy and a national conference this summer in Washington drew 350 representatives from 50 dioceses. "Things are moving," reports Dahm. "The church is getting more energized."

It's a familiar story: a Protestant megachurch filled with congregants on a Sunday. But there's a twist in Nashville: the megachurch has been bought by the local Catholic diocese, and now attracts thousands for Sunday Mass. Their prayers and songs are in Spanish.

St. Ann's Parish in Marietta, Georgia, well-schooled in emergency relief, assists a Savannah parish hit by a hurricane. St. Ann's efforts in assisting those hit by natural disasters was recently highlighted in this space (and here, too).

When the U.S. bishops gather for Mass at their annual meeting, it will be at St. Peter Claver Church, Baltimore's historic African American Church, known for its civil rights activism.

In the Erie diocese, more parish mergers and closures. Note the photo accompanying this story, illustrating the empty pews that forced the move.

If you've ever driven around Milwaukee and seen the outside of Catholic churches around the city, it can seem unimpressive. But inside is another story.

Inspired by Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia, a parish in the Diocese of Rochester offers support for newly-married couples.

In the Boston archdiocese, a group of parishioners lose a court battle to save their parish church. So they are starting their own.

A Florida pastor is under investigation for allegedly taking financial advantage of a parishioner with dementia.

[Peter Feuerherd is a correspondent for NCR's Field Hospital series on parish life and a professor of journalism at St. John's University, New York.]

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