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Health & Spirit

Pope Francis' visit to South America shifts to troubled Amazon

Religion / Religious News /

PUERTO MALDONADO, Peru -- Pope Francis' South America visit shifts focus Friday to one of the world's most challenging but critical environments -- the Amazon rain forest -- where both the land and native peoples face threats from illegal logging, illicit mining and other activities.

On the fifth day of his swing through Chile and Peru, Francis...Read more

In Chile, Pope Francis calls for greater compassion toward immigrants

Religion / Religious News /

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Pope Francis began the fourth day of his South American trip in northern Chile exhorting the faithful to be more tolerant of immigrants before flying on to Peru for the second leg of his journey, where his pastoral focus is expected to be on the environment and the rights of the indigenous.

He celebrated a Mass in Lobito ...Read more

More violence reported as Pope Francis visits homeland of Mapuche indigenous group in Chile

Religion / Religious News /

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Wednesday in the homeland of Chile's Mapuche indigenous community, paying tribute to a group that has been engaged in a sometimes violent struggle to bolster autonomy and reclaim lost ancestral lands.

In the third day of his swing through Chile and Peru, Francis flew to the city of Temuco, 420 ...Read more

The long fight of the Mapuche people at times has turned violent. Pope Francis is about to get involved

Religion / Religious News /

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Pope Francis will step into the middle of one of South America's longest-running conflicts Wednesday when he visits the largely indigenous Araucania region of Chile.

In the century and a half since they were conquered by Chile's military, the Mapuche people have continued to resist, demanding greater autonomy, legal ...Read more

Pope Francis, in Chile, apologizes for sexual abuse by priests

Religion / Religious News /

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Pope Francis on Tuesday opened his weeklong visit to Chile and Peru with a somber apology for sexual abuse by priests, a scandal that has roiled the Catholic Church.

"I cannot help but express the pain and shame, shame that I feel over the irreparable harm caused to children by church ministers," Francis said at the La Moneda...Read more

Pope Francis arrives in Chile, honors 'bishop of poor'

Religion / Religious News /

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Pope Francis arrived here in the Chilean capital Monday evening to start a weeklong swing through Chile and Peru in which he is expected to highlight the plight of indigenous peoples, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the precarious status of immigrants and the poor.

In an eleventh-hour schedule shift, Francis ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Loving others shows Christ-like servanthood

Religion / Religious News /

America, not so very long ago, practiced what was known as "full service."

There were full-service gas stations -- store employees would carry your groceries to your car and the milk man would deliver milk right to your doorstep. Today, however, we are more familiar with "self-serve" or "self service."

Self-serve. It's an interesting play on ...Read more

High praise: Pot churches proliferate as states ease access to marijuana

Religion / Religious News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Services at the Coachella Valley Church begin and end with the Lord's Prayer.

In between, there is the sacrament.

"Breathe deep and blow harder," intoned Pastor Grant Atwell after distributing small marijuana joints to 20 worshippers on a recent Sunday afternoon. "Nail the insight down, whether you get it from marijuana or ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Allow God to 'repot' your life in new fertile soil

Religion / Religious News /

My spouse's solution to most indoor plant problems is to repot. I am in no way qualified to critique her approach to plant growth and vitality -- because it works.

When the need arises, I grab the requisite larger pot, some rich potting soil and a water container and meet her outside. Together, we gently ease the plant out of the now ...Read more

Light Notes: A cry for help transforms drug-addicted mom

Religion / Religious News /

Hopeless by anyone's standards: Three felonies, hooked on meth, countless hours of jail time and enough mug shots to wallpaper one of her kid's bedroom door.

With a rap sheet that reads like a hardened criminal, Alisha hit bottom in life -- at thirty. But her impassioned cry for help after 14 years of methamphetamine addiction didn't go ...Read more

When your faith is bigger than your fear, miracles happen

Religion / Religious News /

For three years, Becky Davis made plans to leave her corporate job at an optical retailer, but each time her exit date arrived, she struggled to take the leap.

Next year, she'd tell herself.

Then as 2011 faded into the new year, Davis found herself flat on her back in a hospital. Days after undergoing surgery to remove fibroid tumors, she ...Read more

A pastor drives 1,000 miles to get to his small church, and the people who need him

Religion / Religious News /

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Like many pastors, Joey Gilbert felt called to serve.

But that call ended up being long-distance.

Gilbert has been pastor at a small church in the Bayside community -- which has an average Sunday attendance of 40 -- for about 17 months.

Children rush up to give him a hug, even though they might be bashful about talking...Read more

Jessica Hahn, woman at center of televangelist's fall 30 years ago, confronts her past

Religion / Religious News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's been three decades since the world found out about the 15 minutes she spent in a Florida hotel room with televangelist Jim Bakker. But Jessica Hahn says it's only been in the last two years that she's finally confronted her anger about what happened, and how it's affected the rest of her life.

She says she's angry at ...Read more

11 killed in traffic accident during pilgrimage in Mexico

Religion / Religious News /

MEXICO CITY -- Eleven Catholic pilgrims died in a traffic accident on Tuesday as they were returning from one of the world's largest annual Catholic celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Mexico City.

A truck transporting the pilgrims collided with another vehicle, which hit it from the back on a road linking the capital with the city of ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Message brings transforming joy

Religion / Religious News /

Dave Barry is a funny -- and at times insightful -- writer. In his piece "Important Things it Took Me 50 Years to Learn," he states, "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance."

Speaking of dancing, how long has it been since you let yourself jump up and down for joy?

Maybe it was at an athletic event. Even the most subdued ...Read more

Light Notes: Hark! The silent 'angel' suddenly sings, and a family rejoices

Religion / Religious News /

The old-fashioned Christmas carol began to fill the living room as the pianist caressed the familiar keys. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," was one she loved, and that holiday season it seemed angels hovered nearby.

"We look back on that as one of our most spiritual Christmases," Susan Darrington said, remembering her 94-year-old mother-in-law's...Read more

Light Notes: Gabriel the cat brings comfort and joy

Religion / Religious News /

Most likely, you've heard of Gabriel the angel. But have you ever heard of Gabriel the cat?

One was a biblical messenger from heaven and the other ... well, it's a story that may give pause for thought.

It was Christmastime 2010 when a roaring fireplace could barely quell the chill of an Iowa winter -- or warm the emptiness in a mother's heart...Read more

Spiritual Life: Use your voice to be a light in the world

Religion / Religious News /

A popular television show called "The Voice" features singers who blind audition in front of four expert coaches. These judges then must decide whom to choose -- or not choose -- based solely on the singer's voice. If the coach hears and responds to the voice, he or she hits a button, swinging their chair around to face the singer.

In essence, ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Learn how to let go

Religion / Religious News /

Given the myriad self-storage units around our community, you might agree that we have a problem letting go of things. In drawers, closets, garages, shops, sheds and the above-mentioned units we keep, collect, hoard and store far more stuff than we will ever need or use.

It's not just stuff we can't release, but experiences, memories and life ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Have courage in the face of fear, intimidation and obstacles

Religion / Religious News /

When Jesus walked this Earth, he hardly ever asked people where they had been. He was much more interested in where they were going, and how they would finish their race.

It's the finish line that matters most to God.

In the Old Testament book of Joshua we read about Caleb, an 85-year-old patriarch who finished life well. Caleb wanted a piece ...Read more