Parish roundup: Prayers after campus shooting; hospice amid '80s AIDS crisis

Fr. Patrick Winslow, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, leads a prayer service May 1 for the victims of an April 30 shooting on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte that killed two students and wounded four others. The church is located across the street from the campus and the Catholic Campus Ministry program is based there. (CNS/SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald)

by Dan Morris-Young

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Joe Seidel, left, a parishioner of SS. John and Paul Parish in Washington Township, Michigan, fixes a bicycle for one of the homeless guests staying at the parish as part of the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team in December. (Photo courtesy of SS. John and Paul Parish)

Located across the street from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, St. Thomas Aquinas Church serves the campus' Catholic community and played an important role following the April 30 campus shooting during which two students were killed and four wounded.

SS. John and Paul Parish in Washington Township, Michigan, has been helping the homeless get back onto their feet for decades, but recently bumped up their game even more to include helping those clients hop onto wheels via bicycle repair.

In 1985 when an HIV-AIDS diagnosis was tantamount to a death sentence, one of the first U.S. hospice facilities for the victims was established at a former Benedictine convent next to New Orleans' now-closed Holy Trinity Church. Co-founder of Project Lazarus, Fr. Paul Desrosiers, now pastor of Transfiguration of the Lord Parish in New Orleans, recalls the overwhelming ministry to the terminally ill, their families and friends when HIV-AIDS carried a heavy cultural and moral stigma.

Desrosiers will be presented with the Project Lazarus Lifetime Achievement Award at a May 10 gala.

Fr. Paul Desrosiers, a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, co-founded one of the first Catholic hospice facilities in the U.S. for HIV-AIDS patients in 1985. He visits recently with a resident of Project Lazarus which still serves as a transitional residence for those with the disease. (CNS/Frank J. Methe, Clarion Herald)

More scams aimed at Catholic parishes: The FBI has confirmed that St. Ambrose Parish in Brunswick, Ohio, was robbed of roughly $1.75 million through a fraudulent wire transfer scheme.

Might wearing a scapular, a yarmulke, or a hijab land a public employee of Quebec in hot water

Police and fire officials are investigating if the fiery destruction of St. Joseph Catholic Church in northeast Phoenix, Arizona, might be related to two nearby vandalisms the same night of the May 1 blaze.

Teresa Pitt Green, an abuse survivor, speaks to bishops in the chapel during a day of prayer Nov. 12, 2018, at the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Spirit Fire, founded by clergy sexual abuse survivors Luis Torres Jr. and Teresa Pitt Green, applies principles of Christian restorative justice at the grassroots as well as church structural levels to seek "an effective path to lasting wellness in lives and parishes, and to reconciliation where relationships are broken," states its website. The site links to The Healing Voices, which offers suggestions for parish-based programs addressing sexual abuse.

"We are focused on encountering the person and encountering God in each one of us," Torres, an attorney, told Catholic News Service. Torres and Green addressed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' gathering in November 2018. Green spoke at the recent concluding segment of a four-part series on the church sex abuse crisis held at the Catholic University of America.

[Dan Morris-Young is NCR West Coast correspondent.]

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