'We can't meet, but we will gather': Faith leaders adapt to offer services for Passover, Easter

Religion / Religious News /

BALTIMORE -- The Rev. Mark Bialek normally celebrates Easter Mass for thousands of people at St. John Roman Catholic Church in Westminster, Md., and the 4,300-family parish marks the day with what Bialek calls "breathtakingly beautiful" flowers and music.

This year, the 41-year-old priest will conduct the year's most important service from a ...Read more

Spiritual Life: He was running out of money but faith overtook fear

Religion / Religious News /

On a cloudy day in a thick forest near Mount Fuji, I found myself facing a fear beyond anything I had ever experienced. This wasn't just fear for me, it was fear for my family. What had I done to them?

I walked the narrow mountain track, my heart pounding, my stomach in a knot.

At age 33, I had been appointed as a missionary to Japan by a ...Read more

Private prayers and empty funerals: The pandemic is hard on the Middle East faithful

Religion / Religious News /

BEIRUT -- Paying no attention to the tenets of social distancing, the abaya-shrouded women -- no masks or gloves among them -- crowded into the Baghdad square surrounding the shrine to Imam Musa Kadhim.

"I invite China, Italy and Iran," one of the women said to a journalist from a satellite news station. "Those are the three biggest countries ...Read more

A religious school won't close its doors despite repeated requests. Now sheriff's deputies are appealing directly to parents.

Religion / Religious News /

Kane County, Ill., sheriff's deputies spent Monday morning at Northwest Baptist Academy in Elgin, asking parents to keep their children home after school leaders refused to voluntarily shutter the school in accordance with a statewide "stay-at-home" order.

Undersheriff Patrick Gengler said his office had been in talks "all weekend starting ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Leave anxiety behind and be open to today

Religion / Religious News /

"Do not worry, do not be anxious" are messages found repeatedly in Christian scripture. Say that to me and it's like saying "don't think about elephants"! But I've come to realize the difference between concern and worry.

Concern leads me to constructive action. Worry or anxiety is just the hamster wheel. Round and round I go, exhausting myself...Read more

Light Notes: Don't panic! That self-quarantine can be a real gift

Religion / Religious News /

Don't panic! This is good news, although a bit delayed and totally embarrassing.

The other day while in a two-week self-quarantine from travel and coronavirus concerns, I realized that I could either dust or organize Christmas letters and cards ... I can barely say this ... dated 2016-19. Not that I was bored after alphabetizing the spice ...Read more

Catholics are turning to Communion Closets to borrow those white dresses and suits for their kids

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA -- It's First Holy Communion season.

For months, Catholic children across the Philadelphia region have been preparing to receive, for the first time, the Holy Eucharist, traditionally the third of the faith's seven sacraments and usually dispensed in the spring. The day is often filled with family gatherings, parties, and photos of...Read more

Spiritual Life: Thankfulness leaves less room for anxiety

Religion / Religious News /

Do you ever get caught in an inward and endless loop of, "What if?" -- "What if my health ... What if my kids ... What if my parents ... What if my plans ... What if a robber breaks in and ... ?"


Since anxiety sneaks around in human hearts like a common thief seeking to steal joy, we need to guard against its intrusions. But how?

There'...Read more

Australian Cardinal Pell's appeal to overturn conviction underway

Religion / Religious News /

CANBERRA, Australia -- Cardinal George Pell's appeal to overturn his child sex abuse conviction is underway in front of the Australian High Court in Canberra, almost exactly a year after he was sentenced to six years in jail.

Pell, 78, is currently in maximum-security Barwon Prison, near Melbourne, and is not present in court.

Pell's lawyer ...Read more

Court approves $34 million clergy abuse settlement with Minnesota diocese

Religion / Religious News /

NEW ULM, Minn. -- After tearful testimony by several survivors of clergy sexual abuse and a heartfelt apology from Bishop John LeVoir, the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and area churches won approval Tuesday of a $34 million settlement with nearly 100 claimants.

Just as important to the victims: The diocese agreed to adopt 17 protocols designed ...Read more

Amid outbreak of coronavirus, religious institutions tweak practices to avoid spread

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- At St. Frances X. Cabrini Roman Catholic Church in Yucaipa, Calif., the holy water fonts have been left dry. Parishioners must now bring their own water and ask the priest to bless it.

Congregants at the IKAR Jewish synagogue will now get their Saturday communal meals not by preparing their own plates, but courtesy of gloved ...Read more

New archbishop named for Atlanta

Religion / Religious News /

ATLANTA -- Pope Francis named Gregory John Hartmayer of Savannah as the seventh archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Hartmayer, served as the bishop of Savannah and will succeed Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who served as Atlanta's archbishop from January 2005 to May 2019.

On the Diocese of Savannah's Facebook page, Hartmayer posted that ...Read more

Churches stop wine, Muslims told not to go to Mecca. Coronavirus hits religion

Religion / Religious News /

MIAMI -- Lucy Jackson has always enjoyed the camaraderie and the rituals of her Catholic religion. So much so, she regularly goes to two churches near her Kendall, Fla., home: St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church or John Neumann Catholic Church.

"If I want to sleep in longer, I go to St. John at 1," she laughs.

But one cherished ritual has ...Read more

Coronavirus leads Chicago-area Catholic churches to change Mass practices

Religion / Religious News /

CHICAGO -- As hospitals, schools and businesses prepare to deal with the spread of coronavirus, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago released guidelines for parishioners concerned about the potential spread of the disease.

Effective immediately, all priests, deacons, altar servers and ministers in parishes in the archdiocese must wash their ...Read more

Cardinal on new task force: Regaining Catholics' trust begins with 'a profound sense of responsibility'

Religion / Religious News /

CHICAGO -- In their first interview since Pope Francis named them among the leaders of a new worldwide task force on sexual abuse protections, Cardinal Blase Cupich and the Rev. Hans Zollner this week sketched out how they plan to help Catholic leaders across the world comply with new protection guidelines.

The task force was created by Francis...Read more

'No fingers in the cup': Coronavirus prompts church leader to suggest communion changes

Religion / Religious News /

BALTIMORE -- The leader of the Episcopal Church in the diocese of Maryland is asking congregants to alter some of their worship practices to minimize the chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus that was first reported in China in December and has spread to more than 50 countries, including the United ...Read more

Does religion influence your choice of pet?

Religion / Religious News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rev. Allen Kuss is a devout Catholic and the proud owner of a pug dog named Kiku-San.

Kat Swenson is a lapsed Lutheran and loves her cat Tricky.

Their choice of animal companions may reflect something bigger than their pets' sweet faces. Turns out that dogs are more likely to be at home with the very faithful, while cats ...Read more

Lent in the age of the Impossible Burger: Do rules against eating meat on Fridays apply to fake meat?

Religion / Religious News /

CHICAGO -- Meat is forbidden on Fridays during Lent, driving many Catholics and other observant Christians to partake in fish frys, seafood specials and McDonald's Filet-O-Fish during the season.

The explosion of plant-based proteins now offers more options, and a potential conundrum for the faithful: is it OK to indulge in juicy, beef-like ...Read more

Light Notes: Beware of 'snakes' that can distract from God's path

Religion / Religious News /

My childhood friend Johann was fearless, except for snakes.

We lived on neighboring farms, investing golden summer months exploring the banks of the mighty Columbia River and the narrow dirt roads that split vast seas of ripening wheat.

After chores we would sneak off on Johann's Honda Trail 90, riding the river bank until we reached the ...Read more

Light Notes: Oh no! If only we'd have had the instruction manual

Religion / Religious News /

This story goes back a ways when we were travelers held hostage and no one could speak the language.

The tyrants spewed words at us like "goggin," "oohoo" and "nummies." The only vocabulary my husband, Bill, and I recognized was "Gwamma Wuzy" and "Poppa." Back then we knew it was going to be a long week alone with twin toddlers.

Naturally, ...Read more