Saturday, October 8, 2016

When the Anglican church can’t follow its own code

From Australia-

Most Australians are as unsurprised by skullduggery in the church as by double-dealing in government. It's almost like they expect it. Yet even that low bar has stumped the church of late.

Screws in tyres? Disappearing pets? Trolls? Threats? Cover-ups? To those who despise Christianity but claim to live by its values, I say, terrific. Never have we needed truth and compassion more. But what if the church itself forsakes those values? Can a moral code survive without its core players? What if the Pharisees are back in charge?

The Pharisees, you recall, were a bunch of domineering, hypocritical and intensely tribal priests who prioritised appearance over truth, corporate advantage over noble deeds and stifled all dissent. "Blind guides," Jesus called them, polishing the cup's exterior while ignoring its putrid contents. In short, they pretty much epitomise the Australian view of authority.

It's not just the ongoing nightmare of institutionalised child-sex abuse and the decades-long connivance that implies. Nor even the antediluvian opposition to women preachers and same-sex marriage. Exacerbating all that is an increasingly aggressive stamping out of dissent.

More here-

Have some compassion and break that rule, please

From The Boston Globe-

This happened nine years ago in a Roman Catholic church in a little town in the Canadian Rockies.

I should have shaken it by now. But the memory rears its ugly head at random times. Prejudice is like that. Or maybe the correct word is contempt.

I had been to this church, all stone and stained glass, built at the bottom of a mountain, a few times before. I loved its community. And its warmth. But this time I was in Canada not with my husband, but with my friend Anne, and I suggested that we go together.

Anne is an Episcopalian, not Catholic. Episcopalians have many of the rituals of the Catholic church but not all of its rules. One example: Anne’s husband was an Episcopal priest. Catholic priests can’t marry. Another: Anne’s bishop at the time was Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man to be ordained a bishop. Catholic priests cannot be openly gay.

More here-

Religious leaders decry move to reinstate death penalty in New Mexico

From New Mexico-

Religious leaders in New Mexico are slamming the governor and House Republicans for voting to reinstate the death penalty during an all-night special session, leaving little opportunity for a debate.

While the efforts were made futile after the Senate refused to consider the bill, the condemnation is indicative of the conflict the issue is sure to draw when the Legislation reconvenes in January, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.


The Rev. Michael L. Vono, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, said Martinez and Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, who co-sponsored the bill, “lack moral and ethical leadership and should be ashamed of themselves. . One can only hope and pray that the upcoming elections will provide us with more responsible leaders in this state.”

More here-

Episcopalians mark 40 years of women being priests and bishops

From Massachusetts-

As Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign touts putting “the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” Episcopalians are marking the 40th anniversary of officially “breaking the stained-glass ceiling” that barred women from being priests and bishops.

“We are delighted to be celebrating 40 years of officialdom, but a lot of us feel like it is really 42,” said the Rev. Meredyth Ward, urban missioner in Worcester’s Main South. “It’s a wonderful celebration, nevertheless.”

In July 1974, 11 female deacons in Philadelphia were elevated to priests in the Episcopal Church. Four more were ordained on Sept. 7, 1975, in Washington, DC. The unsanctioned ordinations were deemed by the church to be invalid and remained so until official rule changes by the church’s General Convention on Sept. 16, 1976.

More here-

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Very Small Eulogy for an Archbishop

From Patheos-

William Laud was born on this day in 1573. The Anglican communion dedicates the 10th of January, the date of his death (by beheading), as a feast.

William Laud eventually rose to the rank of Archbishop of Canterbury and was the close advisor to King Charles the first. What makes him important to remember is how he was central in the establishment of what would become the High Church party in the Church of England, and eventually the Anglo-Catholic movement. He is known for many things, additionally, including as a relentless enforcer of his reforms of the reformed church. This included active persecution of the Puritans, which stained his memory. Along the way he made more than his share of enemies, and as the Civil War was warming up was imprisoned on trumped up charges by the Long Parliament. Finally, in the midst of the Civil War, he was executed.

More here-

Nobel laureate Tutu celebrates 85th birthday, giving thanks

From AP-

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu shed tears of gratitude on his 85th birthday on Friday in South Africa, where he presided over a cathedral Mass despite his poor health. Separately, in a newspaper column, the former archbishop said he would like to have the option of a "dignified assisted death" when the time comes.

Tutu was brought into St. George's Cathedral in a wheelchair but was later helped to his feet in church robes, a crucifix around his neck, for the Anglican ceremony. He wiped away tears and gave thanks at the sight of friends and well-wishers in the congregation.

More here-

AB Welby on "renewed momentum" in Anglican-Catholic relations

From Vatican Radio (with Audio)-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says Anglicans and Catholics “have found renewed impetus and momentum” in how they “work and walk together”.

The leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion spoke to Vatican Radio following a papal audience at the conclusion of a two day visit to Rome marking half a century of Anglican-Catholic dialogue.

Archbishop Welby has spent two days in Rome, accompanied by 17 other leaders of Anglican Provinces worldwide and by pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops who’ve been discussing ways of forging closer partnerships in mission.

At the audience in the Vatican on Thursday the Pope said it was “a beautiful sign of fraternity” to see the Primates of so many Anglican Provinces celebrating the fruits of the first meeting 50 years ago between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey.

More here-

Statement issued as 19 pairs of Anglican, Roman Catholic bishops sent out on mission

From ENS-

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby have said that they are “undeterred” by the “serious obstacles” to full unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

In a Common Declaration, issued in Rome Oct. 5, the two say that the differences “cannot prevent us from recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ by reason of our common baptism. Nor should they ever hold us back from discovering and rejoicing in the deep Christian faith and holiness we find within each other’s traditions.”

The Common Declaration was made at a service of Vespers in the Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill in Rome, from where, in 595AD, Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the Anglo-Saxon people. Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury in 597.

More here-

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Henri Nouwen's Intimate Letters Shed Light on His 'Theology of the Heart'

From Sojourners-

As one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent Christian spiritual voices, the Catholic priest and missionary Henri Nouwen touched millions of people worldwide with his moving lectures and 39 published books.

Revered as saintly by Catholics and Protestants alike, Nouwen eschewed dogma and judgment in favor of a personal, confessional style that affirmed a theology of the heart.

In the two decades since his death from a heart attack at age 64, Nouwen’s popularity and influence have spawned at least five biographies. His reflections on faith, loneliness, vulnerability, love, prayer, social justice, and sexuality have won over modern audiences.

More here-

Anglican church speaks with two tongues on same-sex unions

From The Mail and Guardian-

The Anglican church of Southern Africa believes same-sex unions are “very unnatural” and that the issue is not up for democratic debate.

That, at least, is according to the second-most powerful person in the church, Sitembele Mzamane, the Bishop of Mthatha, who gave voice to the majority from the church’s provincial synod, which last week voted against blessing same-sex civil marriages.

His comments fly in the face of those made earlier this week by the head of the church in Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba who, in announcing the church’s decision, said: “There are no winners or losers in the kingdom of God, and we recognised that, whichever way the vote went, there was going to be pain.”

The Anglican church of Southern Africa represents Anglicans in South Africa, Swaziland, Angola, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique and the island of Saint Helena.

More here-

Pope, Anglican leader call for unity in mission and service

From Crux-

Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury together charged 19 pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops to return to their home countries and work together to promote joint prayer, joint proclamation of the Gospel and, especially, joint works of charity and justice. 

“Today we rejoice to commission them and send them forth in pairs as the Lord sent out the 72 disciples,” the pope and archbishop said in a common declaration signed Oct. 5 at the end of an evening prayer service.

The 38 bishops, who are part of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission, included: for the United States, Episcopalian Bishop John Bauerschmidt of Tennessee and Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden of Baltimore; for Canada, Anglican Bishop Dennis Drainville of Quebec and Catholic Bishop Gary Gordon of Victoria, British Columbia; and for Australia, Anglican Bishop John Parkes of Wangaratta and Catholic Archbishop Christopher Prowse of Canberra-Goulburn.

More here-

Ferguson church shelters music outreach program

From St. Louis-

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ferguson received a $2,500 grant from the Missouri Humanities Council  to support its Strings Attached project. The project connects youth, ages 5 to 17, with music education using American roots music. They learn to play instruments such as guitar, ukulele, dobro, banjitar and mandolin

It all goes back to Ray Charles.

Project founder Steve Housewright, a St. Louis native, began working in an after-school program in Los Angeles in 1999, as Terry Perkins reported for The Beacon. This was a program sponsored by Ray Charles called the Sir Charles Blues Lab. When Housewright moved back to the St. Louis area, he founded a similar program in 2009 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church with the support of Father Steve Lawler, who had started community outreach programs under the umbrella name “The Vine.” They started with guitars, hence the name “Strings Attached."

More here-

Episcopal church in Breckenridge does weekly prayer against gun violence

From Colorado-

Every Wednesday until Nov. 2, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Breckenridge will fill the air with the crisp peal of 49 rings from its church bells.

St. John is joining several congregations from the Diocese of Colorado in the project, which is meant to draw people’s attention to gun violence happening throughout the United States and across the world. Each of the 49 rings are meant to symbolize one person who died in the June 12 attack at a nightclub in Orlando.

Rev. Robert Franken from St. John said that traditionally the bells have drawn attention to important things happening within the community. The bells ring at 1 p.m. The church chose that time in the hopes that people would hear it on the way back from lunch hour.

More here-

Episcopal bishops call for 'period of intense prayer' before Election Day

From Western Massachusetts-

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, is among the state's Episcopal bishops calling for "a vigil period of intense prayer from noon on All Saints Sunday, Nov. 6 through noon on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8."

The diocese has scheduled a prayer vigil Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the court yard of Christ Church Cathedral. Others are being planned, including in Worcester and in Pittsfield, and will be posted on the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts website.

"We must pray that all those elected on that day be moved, strengthened and guided by the Spirit, to lead us through fractious and dangerous times," the statement reads in part.

More here-

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

‘God Is Dead, And We (Boomers) Have Killed Him’

From The American Conservative-

A reader sends in this WSJ book review by D.G. Hart, of veteran religion journalist Kenneth Woodward’s latest book, Getting Religion, tracing the evolution of American religion in the postwar era. Excerpts:

In the 1950s, he writes, “Catholics inhabited a parallel culture that, by virtue of their numbers, ethnic diversity, wide geographical distribution, and complex of institutions mirrored the outside ‘public’ culture yet was manifestly different.” As Mr. Woodward sees it, Catholics were surrounded by a membrane that intermediated between the worlds of American society and the church. The “powerful sense of community” nurtured within this membrane has virtually disappeared. Now Americans “journey toward adulthood” not through relationships formed by families, neighbors, teachers, pastors and community organizations but through the effort of discovering “an inwardly derived, original, and authentic self,” one autonomous from “institutionally structured relationships.”

How this change happened is the subject of the book, and Mr. Woodward’s reporting put him on the front lines of the transformation.

More here-

When Canterbury and Rome meet in a common mission

From Crux-

In the history of this pontificate, October 2016 may come to be seen as the focal point of Christian unity initiatives - beginning with the Orthodox and ending with the Protestants, with the Anglicans (appropriately) sandwiched between the two.

The Pope began the month with a landmark visit to Georgia - where the Orthodox Church is at its most conservative and suspicious of Rome - not long after the news that a document has come to an agreed Catholic-Orthodox position on the vexed questions of “synodality and primacy” during the first millennium.

Given that differences on the synodal structure of the Church and the primacy of the Pope are two of the greatest obstacles to unity between Catholics and Orthodox believers, the document - which has not yet been published - will help to deepen the ties Francis has established with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba in February and Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II.

More here-

Anglican-Catholic Events in Rome This Week Raise False Hopes of Unity

From The National Catholic Register-

As part of a week of festivities marking half a century of Anglican-Catholic dialogue, nineteen pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops from around the world will be commissioned tomorrow to embark on a joint mission to spread the Gospel.

The initiative will be launched at an ecumenical vespers service in Rome’s San Gregorio al Cielo church, attended by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby.

The joint mission is the fruit of dialogue undertaken by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission. The commission’s Catholic bishops and their Anglican counterparts have been taking part in a summit that began in Canterbury on Sept. 30 and concludes in Rome on Friday.

Also being celebrated this week is the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Center in Rome which was opened in 1966 after the historic meeting in Rome between the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, and Pope Paul VI. The center is aimed at helping to foster unity.

More here-

Episcopal Church ordains nine new deacons

From Alabama-

Bishop John McKee Sloan ordained nine new deacons for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama on Oct. 1 in a service at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham.

They are: Dave Lambert, St. Francis Assisi, Indian Springs; Judy Neil, St. Alban's Church, Birmingham; Andrea Peacock, St. James, Alexander City; Jennie Randall, St. Thomas, Huntsville; Bob Serio, Church of the Nativity, Huntsville; Pearl Slay, Trinity, Demopolis; Susan Southwick, Holy Cross, Trussville; John Stewart, St. Matthias, Tuscaloosa; and Charlie Venable, St. Mary's on-the-Highlands, Birmingham.

They make up the fourth class of deacons to be ordained since the permanent diaconate was restored in the diocese in 1999. With Saturday's ordination there are now 36 deacons actively serving parishes in the diocese, 10 retired deacons, and 1 deacon living out of state.

More here-

Grace Episcopal Church readies expansion in Tampa Palms

From Tampa-

Grace Episcopal Church will soon expand its Tampa Palms location to include a Gothic sanctuary building and an event venue.

The church recently presented its plan, titled the Amazing Grace Project, which aims to create a property more beneficial to the community.

Grace Episcopal opened in 1996 to serve the developing area of Tampa Palms.

The church began services in its worship hall with plans to build a sanctuary, but financial strains delayed the construction.

Today, after selling a corner of its property for $4 million as part of a Bruce B. Downs Boulevard expansion, the church is debt free.

More here-

An ‘Evolving’ Episcopal Church Invites Back a Controversial Sculpture

From The New York Times-

Edwina Sandys had seen this before: the 250-pound bronze statue of a bare-breasted woman on a translucent acrylic cross being installed in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

This time around, however, she does not expect to see something else she had seen before: the statue being packed up after a call from a ranking church official telling her it had to go.

That happened the first time “Christa,” Ms. Sandys’s sculpture of a crucified woman, was shown at the cathedral in Manhattan during Holy Week in 1984.

More here-

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Families, churches & crime

From The Tribune Review-

Politicians often argue that the solution to reducing crime is more government programs and bigger jails. Yet government cannot adequately address the underlying problems that cause criminal behavior or fill the holes in people's lives.

What families need more than government programs are married fathers and mothers in the home and churches on the corner. Within families, children learn how to govern their lives. Churches help reinforce basic principles and strengthen the family in its role. When these institutions are weak or absent from peoples' lives, society becomes increasingly dependent on government to impose restraint.

The evidence is overwhelming: Having a mother and father as mutually supporting authority figures is vitally important for a child in many ways. Researchers find, for example, that:

More here-

A Suffering Saint Francis of Assisi's shadow side

From Commonweal-

 The fact that Francis of Assisi hated to be put on a pedestal does not stop us from doing so as his annual feast arrives today. He is fondly remembered for his love of animals and nature, and for his generous spirit -- all of which deserve to be honored. But, as is often the case with saints, we would do well to take Francis down from his pedestal and get to know him as the man he was rather than through his pious image. Before I began researching a book about Francis, I’d had the idea that, given his powerful sense of God’s presence, he was always carefree and happy.

The truth is more complicated: Francis’s life was encumbered by dark shadows, to the point that he experienced long periods of anguishing separation from God.

His psychological trauma began with his military service in Assisi’s war against its more powerful neighbor, Perugia. He saw men he knew since childhood torn limb from limb in a devastating battle, and was taken prisoner for a year, thrown in a dark, damp hole in the ground.

More here-

Southern Africa Rejects Blessings for Same-Sex Marriages

From All Africa-

The provincial synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has voted against the introduction of blessing services for same-sex marriages. The motion, from the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, required a simple majority in all three houses of the synod (laity, clergy and bishops) along with an overall two-thirds majority of the whole synod. But it was rejected in all three houses and failed to get anywhere near the two-thirds overall majority.

"From those figures you will see the strongest support, albeit a minority, came from the laity, and the least strong from the bishops," the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said afterwards "We live in a democracy, our Church has strongly advocated democracy, and people on all sides of the debate have to accept the result.

More here-

For the first time in nearly 500 years, the Pope and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury will join in public prayers

From Brietbart-

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the beginning of official dialogue between the two faiths, Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby will together pray vespers, or evening prayer, in the ancient church of San Gregorio al Celio in the Italian capital.

The church of St. Gregory holds special significance for the meeting since the first Archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Augustine, served as prior there before being sent by Pope Gregory the Great to evangelize England in 597.

The encounter will mark the first time a Roman pontiff has joined an Archbishop of Canterbury in joint public prayer since King Henry VIII broke with Rome in 1534, declaring himself the head of the Church of England.

More here-

South Sudanese bishop to advise Archbishop of Canterbury on Anglican Communion Affairs

From ACNS-

The Bishop of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, is to become the Archbishop of Canterbury’s new adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs, Lambeth Palace announced today. Bishop Anthony will succeed Bishop Precious Omuku, who retired in April after holding the post for two years. Bishop Anthony will move to London with his wife Jane and youngest daughter Joy at the end of October.

“I am absolutely delighted that Bishop Anthony is joining the team at Lambeth,” Archbishop Justin Welby said. “He brings the experience of his ministry in one of the most challenging provinces in the Anglican Communion where he has faithfully served the church as a pastor and teacher. Throughout his ministry he has engaged with the profound issues we face in many parts of the Communion, where famine, war, and violent ethnic tensions destabilise society and leave whole communities living in poverty.

More here-

Anglican, Catholic bishops seeking closer partnership in mission

From Vatican Radio-

Closer practical cooperation between Anglicans and Catholics in countries across the globe: that’s the primary goal of a two day visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to Rome this week. The Anglican leader arrives on Wednesday and is scheduled to join Pope Francis for Vespers at the church of San Gregorio al Celio in the afternoon. Also present will be pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops from around the world who’ll be symbolically sent out on mission together.

On Thursday morning the leader of the Anglican Communion will have an audience with the Pope in the Vatican, together with the heads of about half of the world’s 38 Anglican provinces. The two day programme  of events, which includes a colloquium on Anglican-Catholic dialogue at the Pontifical Gregorian University, is marking the 50th anniversary of the first official contacts between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey, followed by the setting up of Rome’s Anglican Centre. 

More here-,_catholics_seeking_closer_partnership_in_mission/1260032

Tribes invoke sacred reasons in opposing Dakota pipeline

 From Virginia-

One of the most challenging arguments regarding energy generally and pipelines specifically is not addressed by secular law. McAuliffe left out the theological implications, to no one’s great surprise.

A tense pipeline debate is occurring in the Dakotas, too. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation opposes the Dakota Access Pipeline, which it says would violate sacred tribal grounds.  It also would threaten the water supply, protesters believe.

The Episcopal Church enjoys a strong presence among the tribes. Michael Curry, the church’s presiding bishop, has visited the region to encourage the Standing Rock Sioux. He cited biblical precedent for Standing Rock’s claim.

Each pipeline must be judged on its merits. Domestic natural gas serves as a welcome alternative to imported fuels.

More here-

Monday, October 3, 2016

Toronto archbishop to bless gay marriages in defiance of vote by Anglican Church of Canada

From Canada-

Toronto's Archbishop joined several other prominent clergymen who say they will bless same-sex marriages in defiance of a narrow vote by the Anglican Church of Canada not to authorize gay unions.

More than 200 delegates attending the six-day General Synod 2016 narrowly rejected the resolution Monday night after hearing from more than 60 speakers, most of them in favor of gay marriage.

Archbishop Colin Johnson said on Sunday that he wanted his gay and lesbian colleagues "to share the joy."

Johnson said blessing same-sex marriages ”at the discretion of the bishop and with agreement of local clergy” a logical step in the evolution of the church that he said he would be considering in the coming weeks.

More here-

One nominee added to Los Angeles bishop coadjutor slate

From Los Angeles-

The Rev. Canon John Taylor, vicar of St. John Chrysostom Church and School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, has been nominated by petition as a candidate for bishop coadjutor in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Taylor’s nomination was approved by the diocesan Standing Committee in keeping with procedures set by the Bishop Coadjutor Search Committee.

Taylor is the sixth nominee, joining previously announced candidates the Rev. Paul Fromberg, rector of St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, San Francisco; the Rev. Rachel Nyback, rector of St. Cross Church, Hermosa Beach; the Rev. Anna Olson, rector of St. Mary’s Church (Mariposa Avenue), Los Angeles; the Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, bishop of the Paris-based Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe; and the Rev. Mauricio Wilson, rector of St. Paul’s, Oakland, California. More about the candidates is here.

More here-

Emotional Handover As Bishop Katoneene Ends Troubled Era

From Uganda-

Yesterday, October 2, 2016, a day scheduled for consecration of the new Bishop of West Ankole Diocese, did not live up to its billing but nonetheless marked the end of Rt. Rev. Bishop Yona Mwesigwa Katoneene's troubled 10-year episcopal tenure.

It was a mixed moment of joy, memories and emotions on Sunday morning as the diocese bid farewell to the retiring Katoneene and his wife, Ms Ellyvaida Nshemeire, after 10 years at the helm of pastoral administration in the diocese established in 1975.

Christians, one by one braved the morning downpour and streamed to St. Peter's Cathedral Bweranyangi, the headquarters of West Ankole Diocese, in Bushenyi Town.

More here-

When a final resting place isn’t so final

From Boston-

The cemetery in the forest is sacred ground for Christopher Woodcock, who lost his father when he was 11. When he visits this quiet glade behind his family’s old church, he talks with his dad and his mother, whose ashes were interred beside her husband’s a decade ago. He stops at the nearby markers for his parents’ friends, murmuring bits of news about their kids and grandkids.

So Woodcock, 65, was astonished when he received an e-mail from a leader of his former congregation in February. The Church of the Holy Spirit had voted to close. The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts had sold the property. And it had promised the buyer that it would dig up all the cremated remains in the burial ground, along with the granite slabs marking each plot, and move them elsewhere.

More here-

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Church steeples and mill chimneys

From Pittsburgh-

When I was growing up as a kid in Ambridge, two kinds of towers embraced our town: church steeples and mill chimneys.

For us Catholics, they were intertwined. When strong arms and backs were needed to stoke fires, ladle molten ore or mend pipes, the steel mills sought workers from Central and Eastern Europe. Many were Catholic. As they settled around the mills, the mines and the railroads, they built churches in which to thank God for their lives and livelihood, and to seek His strength as they raised families. My Dzedo (my Slovak grandfather) and my uncles were among them.

Religious communities of Sisters and Brothers stepped up to the plate to care for these often-disregarded immigrants. They opened schools, built hospitals and even started one of the first major health insurance systems. Our priests stood at the forefront of advocacy for workers’ rights.

More here-