Parish roundup: Black Elk up for sainthood; World Series win lifts spirits

This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

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Fr. Paul Felix blesses rosaries Oct. 27 outside Houston's Annunciation Catholic Church, which sits across the street from Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2017 World Series. (CNS/Texas Catholic Herald)
Fr. Paul Felix, pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston, blesses Tonya Killian's new rosaries Oct. 27 outside the parish, which sits across the street from Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2017 World Series. (CNS/Texas Catholic Herald/James Ramos)

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."


The sainthood cause of Nicholas Black Elk was officially opened Oct. 21 at Holy Rosary Church in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, where the iconic Lakota Native American religious leader died in 1950. During his homily, Rapid City Bishop Robert Gruss urged Catholics to shun "isolated religious lives" and follow the example of Black Elk's lifelong outreach to others. A primary source of information on Black Elk is Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt, first published in 1932. Only one Native American is on the list of Catholic saints — St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-80), a young Mohawk woman.

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Anthony Federico, a seminarian from the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, is seen outside Theological College in Washington Oct. 25. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)
Anthony Federico, a seminarian from the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, is seen outside Theological College in Washington Oct. 25. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

Who would have thought that being fired after using an ethnic slur in a very bad sports headline would be a steppingstone to studies for the priesthood?

During their annual Campaign for People with Intellectual Disabilities, members of Knights of Columbus Daniel P. Sullivan Council 10208 based at Sacred Heart Parish in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, raised $25,000. The funds will support a half-dozen organizations. The Hot Springs Village Knights' outreach is among dozens of such efforts on behalf of the marginalized featured in the national organization's Columbia magazine "Knights in Action" section.

The World Series win by the Houston Astros has given the Houston area — ravaged by Hurricane Harvey two months ago — an emotional and spiritual lift, and it seems Annunciation Parish near the Astros' ballpark prides itself on a spiritual "partnership" with the team.

Mauricio I. Pérez, a member of St. Monica Parish on Mercer Island, Washington, reflects on a neighbor he had in Mexico who lived in a car — for 20 years.

Recently retired Dr. Romayne Gallagher was honored Oct. 27 for her life's work of "claiming the terminally ill, disabled, and dying members of our society as our own" and "normalizing the process of dying as a part of life instead of distancing ourselves from it and making it something medical." In addition to Gallagher, the Catholic Physicians' Guild in British Columbia, Canada, also recognized the efforts of Susan House, former executive director of the Catholic Health Association of British Columbia.

In Northern California, where wildfires consumed dozens of lives, hundreds of livelihoods, and thousands of homes last month, there is a "deathly quiet" in many neighborhoods such as Coffey Park, a devastated Santa Rosa subdivision. Catholic San Francisco assistant editor Valerie Schmalz reports on parishioner actions and reactions.

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Meanwhile, students of St. Vincent de Paul School in Petaluma and Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield each raised $25,000 in relief funds for their "rival" Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, which was heavily damaged by the Oct. 8 Tubbs Fire.

In conjunction with Northern California wildfire coverage, a moving reflection by Mercy Sr. Toni Lynn Gallagher: "Residents return home: There isn't one."

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

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