Parish roundup: Missing compliance reports; Campaign against James Martin

by Peter Feuerherd

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Ever had to fill in forms asking about criminal history to work as a volunteer in your parish? That process has become a part of parish life across the country, in response to the norms established by the U.S. bishops to combat sex abuse. A report indicates that parishes in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, have not always been vigilant in doing the required paperwork.

Jesuit Fr. James Martin (CNS/Courtesy of America)

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni discusses why Jesuit Fr. James Martin was disinivited from speaking at a New Jersey parish. Seems that the popular author is the target of a hate campaign orchestrated online by traditionalists objecting to Fr. Martin's call to welcome LGBT Catholics.

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, will conduct a listening tour of parishes in western Massachusetts.

Bishop John Barres of Rockville Centre, New York, reflects upon an active first year as head of the Long Island diocese. He has promoted vocations and urged increased Mass attendance, and says that Long Island parishes — a number of whom have large Central American communities — will support immigrants but cannot be designated "sanctuary" church communities.

A pastor is brutally attacked in the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota. The apprehended suspect makes an ugly accusation.

Upset that your parish will be closed? A Rhode Island priest says don't blame the local bishop, look at your fellow Catholics who no longer attend Mass in the numbers they used to.

Fr. Peter Colapietro, a New York character known as the saloon priest who was as comfortable in taverns as he was in church, died at age 69. Colapietro was the long-time pastor of Holy Cross Church, across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in the Times Square area, a crossroads for the desperate, the famous and commuters. He was said to have talked the actor Mickey Rourke out of suicide and was a regular at Elaine's, the watering hole for celebrities.

Our Lady of Visitation Church near Denver is now officially closed. Parishioners fought for months to keep the church open. It is a community founded to serve Mexican Americans. 

Parishioners mourn the closing of a small Latino mission in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas.

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

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