Parish roundup: New app for the hearing impaired, faith in running for office, welcoming with pie

apple pie

Tom Coffey receives a pie and a church bulletin Sept. 27 from Christopher Speece and his daughters Monica and Clare, parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monona, Wisconsin. The family is among "Apple Pie Ambassadors," welcoming new families to the parish neighborhood. (CNS/ Catholic Herald/Kevin Wondrash)

by Dan Morris-Young

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Editor's note: The Field Hospital blog reports on parish and other grassroots efforts across the U.S. and Canada to accompany those on the margins. Pope Francis said he sees the church as a "field hospital" that labors "from the ground up" to "heal wounds."

A mobile communication device app to help teach prayers and enhance the prayer lives of the hearing impaired, "Religious Signs for Families," is scheduled to be available from the iTunes store and Google Play in early November. Spearheaded by Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Kathleen Schipani, the app will employ American Sign Language and include devotions as well as prayers of blessing, love, thanks and praise.

"When I think about being Christian, I think we have to be aware of the issues that affect people's lives. To be a Christian without being close to the realities of life is to be disconnected. We cannot live in a bubble," says 57-year-old Pierre Montreuil of Trois-Rivieres, a city in Quebec, Canada. Montreuil is one of a trio of Quebec Catholics who shared how their faith played a role in their decisions to run for public office.

The "Apple Pie Ambassadors" of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish of Monona, Wisconsin, have welcomed new arrivals to its area of the south-central Wisconsin town since May. Visits are typically done in pairs on Saturdays when people are likely to be home. Parishioners' children sometimes go along, too, said program leader Sharon Coffey. "We're coming in contact with all different kinds of people," she added, including people of varying ages, marital status and religion.

In acknowledgment of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and support for recent years' efforts at unity by Lutheran and Catholics, an expansive prayer service was held Oct. 8 for the greater Salt Lake City area at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. Salt Lake City's Roman Catholic Bishop Oscar Solis and Bishop Jim Gonia of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's Rocky Mountain Synod presided. The English-Spanish bilingual rite also included prayers in Malagasy, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, and Portuguese.


Clergy and choir members who participated in an Oct. 8 ecumenical prayer service at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Salt Lake City gather for a photograph. In the center are Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City and Bishop Jim Gonia of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's Rocky Mountain Synod. (CNS/ Intermountain Catholic/Marie Mischel)

A battle to save Brooklyn's century-old Our Lady of Loreto Church has ended with the historical structure's demolition to allow construction of low-income housing under the auspices of Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders gathered at the University of Southern California on Oct. 18 for a roundtable discussion aimed at developing new ideas and a united approach to responding to homelessness.

The story of 20-year-old Mexican beauty pageant winner Esmeralda Solís Gonzáles joining the Poor Clare Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament has gone viral.

Updates on response and help needed in the wake of the wildfires that devastated much of Sonoma County and other areas of the Santa Rosa Diocese can be found the diocesan website and Facebook page. Pope Francis communicated support.

[Dan Morris-Young is NCR's West Coast correspondent. His email is]

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