Parish roundup: First mission church for Rother; Mexico earthquake; 'Share the Journey' of migrants

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

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Blessed Stanley Rother Church
Bishop Anthony Taylor, center, stands between Tim Muldoon, director of mission education for Catholic Extension Society, and Fr. Salvador Marquez-Munoz, and parishioners of Blessed Stanley Rother Church in Decatur, Arkansas, Sept. 24. Taylor dedicated the Catholic community as a mission, the first in the world named for Rother. (Arkansas Catholic/Travis McAfee)

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."

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Masses and interfaith prayer services have been taken place extensively in and around Las Vegas following the Oct. 1 mass shooting there that left at least 58 dead and approximately 500 wounded, according to the Clark County coroner's office and news sources. Many sought solace at the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer just off the Las Vegas Strip.

During an emotional Oct. 2 interfaith service at Las Vegas' Guardian Angel Cathedral, Las Vegas Bishop Joseph A. Pepe exhorted those filling the church to "stand together because we cannot let hate and violence have the last word."

On the day after the beatification of Fr. Stanley Rother in Oklahoma, the first mission church in the world named for him was dedicated in northwest Arkansas. The U.S.-born martyr was murdered in 1981 in his rectory at Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala where he had ministered since 1968. Located in Decatur, fittingly the new Blessed Stanley Rother Mission is a Spanish-speaking congregation. Its approximately 80 parishioners are immigrants primarily from Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

Little Rock, Arkansas Bishop Anthony B. Taylor preached at the Sept. 24 dedication. A native of Oklahoma as was Blessed Rother, Taylor was involved in the sainthood cause.

Devotion to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of seemingly impossible causes, has deepened for many in Mexico after two major earthquakes struck the country last month, leaving more than 400 persons dead.

Hailed as a sign of hope for families of that nation as those quakes struck, was the birth of Adolfo Iñaki on a bench outside the Sanatorio Durango Hospital in Roma Norte, one of the most badly impacted neighborhoods in Mexico City.

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Las Vegas memorial
Women weep during a candlelight vigil Oct. 3 in memory of the victims of a mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip that killed 58 people and injured at least 500. (CNS/Reuters/ Lucy Nicholson)

The question of transgender persons becoming Catholic godparents is being discussed in Canada. The same question has been debated elsewhere.

Members of Salt Lake City area parishes as well as representatives of Catholic agencies involved in refugee and immigration work were among hundreds attending a Sept. 16 rally outside the Utah state capitol advocating restoration of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or permanent legislation to replace it.

The large gathering took place11days prior to Pope Francis' announcement of a two-year program focusing on the massive global migration and refugee challenges. "Share the Journey" will coalesce assets and expertise of some 165 Catholic development, relief and social service agencies worldwide.

In keeping with that effort, Catholic News Service — an agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — recently released for sale a primer on church teaching on welcoming the stranger and an exhortation "to action with several suggestions that every parish, indeed every Catholic family, can consider doing as a corporal work of mercy," stated a CNS release.

The brochure ties into the "Share the Journey" campaign in the United States, the release added, noting that campaign participants include Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, Caritas Internationalis, and U.S. bishops' conference office of Migration and Refugees Services.

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

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