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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There's a number of stewardship prayers making the rounds. Dr. Joseph Keffer, a Field Hospital reader, says this one in particular, which he came across in South Carolina, is particularly poignant because it emphasizes that Catholics, both lay and clerical, are all responsible for building up the church:
My church is composed of people like me. I help make it what it is. It will be friendly, if I am. Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them. It will do great work, if I work. It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver. It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them. It will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a church with a noble spirit, if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these same things. Therefore, with the help of God, I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all the things that I want my church to be.
So ends the warm and fuzzy portion of today's blog. In Philadelphia, things are, per usual, a bit more contentious. Archbishop Charles Chaput, in a move seen by some as a pushback against Pope Francis' welcoming to all, lays down the law about divorced, remarried and gay Catholics receiving Communion. It's moved to the civic arena as Mayor Jim Kenney brands the archbishop's directive as "not Christian." Into the fray comes Catholic League culture warrior William Donohue.
Prayers for healing from sex abuse in Kansas City, Mo. The local newspaper sees it as a step forward.
A historic Chicago church will close for worship, but the structure may continue as a concert hall. That's a good solution, says a Chicago Tribune editorial. Churches are generally exempt from preservation laws, but ways should be found to maintain their history, says the Tribune.
From her home base in Ohio, a Catholic teen wants to serve Mass in all 50 states. She's well on her way.
[Peter Feuerherd is a professor of communications and journalism at St. John's University in New York and contributor to NCR's Field Hospital blog.]
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