Parishioners come together in riot-scarred Milwaukee

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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 riot-scarred Milwaukee, Catholics come together from 200 parishes to pray and see what they can do. They are told a good place to start is to build friendships.

There's been a flurry of stories about the church in Connecticut, which, according to a recent Pew Study, leads the nation with a 10 percent decline in the numbers of those who consider themselves to be Catholic.

But there are places where church participation is increasing in the Nutmeg State:

Parishes in Danbury, Conn., are rejuvenated by the presence of immigrants. Mass there is offered in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

A parish in Stamford has seen an increase in participation, which the pastor attributes to vibrant outreach.

A Virginia parish is recognized for its green consciousness.

A man, angry over the results of a child custody case, is arrested for allegedly threatening the bishop and parishes in the Knoxville diocese.

St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus, Ind., is celebrating 175 years. In recent years it has established ministries as a twinning parish to one in Haiti; reached out to Latino immigrants; worked with local Muslims after the church was vandalized with Islamic symbols, and worked to abolish the death penalty in Indiana.

Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh says the church needs to boost participation via better homilies and music at Sunday liturgy.

White Christian Americans are said to be on the decline. Is that a good thing? A writer for the American Enterprise Institute responds.

[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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