American worship in the time of pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

The number of people searching for "prayer" on Google in March was higher than at any time in the last five years. As deaths from COVID-19 mounted and places of worship closed across the globe, the intensity of searches grew right along with the fear.

The findings from a Danish researcher are a poignant reminder that the social distancing ...Read more

Light Notes: Spring has sprung, so let the light in

Religion / Religious News /

Even with the world on hold, spring hasn't broken tradition at our house.

Outside there are yellow daffodils, tender blades of grass greeting the fence, and the air is pristine. But inside our home it's a different story -- a tale I saw clearly this week in the middle of the "stay at home" mandate.

It seems dust "bunnies" have been happily ...Read more

Australian High Court acquits Cardinal Pell of child sex offenses

Religion / Religious News /

CANBERRA, Australia -- Cardinal George Pell, who is serving a six-year jail sentence for child sex abuse, has been successful in his bid to overturn his conviction in the Australian High Court.

Pell, 78, will be released immediately Tuesday after more than 400 days behind bars.

The judgment was handed down by Chief Justice Susan Kiefel in a ...Read more

Virtual seders and kosher prep tutorials. How coronavirus crisis has altered Passover

Religion / Religious News /

MIAMI -- The Passover Seder table at the Luri house is usually festooned with Kosher wine, matzoh and bitter herbs.

The most important part of their holiday dinner: About 30 family and friends.

But the Luris -- along with Jewish families in South Florida and around the world -- are rethinking how to celebrate the springtime holiday that ...Read more

As Trump watches amid coronavirus, SoCal megachurch pastor tells worshipers to stay home

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- Amid stories that several megachurch pastors in recent weeks have defied calls to cancel gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump tweeted this weekend that he would be "tuning in" Sunday to listen to Greg Laurie, a Southern California megachurch pastor, online.

And so, from his empty Riverside campus at Harvest...Read more

Florida governor exempts worshiping from rules; many religious leaders say, 'Stay home'

Religion / Religious News /

MIAMI -- The archbishop of the largest Catholic archdiocese in Florida has told parishioners there will be no services during Holy Week. Leaders in Orthodox Jewish communities across the state have pleaded with their communities to not allow relatives to travel to Florida for Passover. The pastor of a Hillsborough County mega-church who was ...Read more

'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