Woven in the collective memory of this nation is the tragic terror African Americans have long endured. One hundred and sixty years ago, more than four million blacks were slaves in America. One hundred and twenty years ago, more than a thousand blacks were lynched, hanged from a tree for daring to vote or speak to racial injustice. Fifty-five years ago, black leaders were assassinated in cold blood with their killers never facing justice, as witnesses did not dare speak the truth for fear of retribution. To be a just man, it would seem fitting that truthfully remembering history means not just celebrating the light, but also not forgetting the darkness.
The Diocese of Harrisburg, at the direction of Bishop Gainer, has requested that all parishes and institutions temporarily suspend the distribution of the Precious Blood by way of the Chalice and omit the exchange of peace, effective immediately. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to the serious nature of the influenza virus this season and due to public concerns regarding the Coronavirus. The Diocese often asks parishes to suspend the sign of peace and distribution of the Precious Blood during serious flu seasons. This temporary suspension will be lifted once medical professionals indicate the high risk has passed.
Tramping the muddy upturned earth at the groundbreaking ceremony for their new school, students from St. Anne’s in Lancaster had reason to cheer on Feb. 2.
It wasn’t because of Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring that day, or even the burst of flurries from a snow squall as they pitched shovels into the ground. Rather, the excitement centered on the promise of a new chapter in St. Anne’s history.
Each February 11, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, commemorating the Blessed Mother’s appearances to young Bernadette in 1858 in Lourdes, France, today a pilgrimage site where people find healing in the holy waters that flow from the grotto where Mary appeared.
In one of her 18 apparitions to Bernadette, who suffered from asthma, Our Lady encouraged that the faithful unite their suffering with the sufferings of Christ.
Grit requires longevity to prove it true. When you drive over Chickies Hill and descend the long funneling way into Columbia, Lancaster County, what strikes you as you peer down upon the industrial town along the Susquehanna River is the tenacity it houses. In a very good way, Columbia is gritty, and it is quite easy to have respect for that kind of discernable toughness.
Coach Lamar Kauffman is Columbia – born and raised – where he learned how to compete and excel in sports. He played basketball at Columbia High School in the 1950s and then was an assistant at the school under Coach Elmer Kreiser. There coaching for the Crimson Tide, Coach Kauffman learned the lessons of playing hard all 32 minutes, and it’s where his trademark full-court trapping defenses were born.
Fulfilling his promise to involve more lay member in Diocesan operations, Bishop Ronald Gainer hosted the first meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral Council in early February. This board includes nearly 30 lay members, two religious sisters, two permanent deacons and two priests.
The Council is a consultative board that assists Bishop Gainer by providing advice, presenting his questions to the faithful whom the council members represent, and assisting with researching and coordinating Diocesan programs and activities. This Council also assists the faithful by presenting their concerns to Bishop Gainer, serving as a constructive means of communication between the faithful and Bishop Gainer.
One of the pictures I treasure from my childhood is of me when I was probably two years old. I was dressed in a bright pink frilly dress and my thin blond hair was a mass of wispy, unruly ringlets. My sister, who was ten at the time, stood holding me, dressed in the same dress as me. We were both next to a spindly cherry tree in full bloom with pink blossoms.
As the tree and I both grew, I discovered that I found a sacred place under its boughs. You see, the root system of this tree grew very close to the surface. Within its twists and turns, I found a spot that perfectly supported not only my back but also my neck and head. Under this tree, I learned how to read, how to sew invisible stitches on a hem and how to play chess. Under its boughs, I felt God’s protective love because, nestled within its root system, I discovered a safe space.
Catholic Schools Week is a spirited time for students, and the celebration was heightened even more so for students at St. Margaret Mary School in Harrisburg, who welcomed Bishop Ronald Gainer on Jan. 29.
The bishop celebrated Mass in the school gym, and visited classrooms to interact with the students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
Seminarian Aaron Lynch and St. Charles Classmates Blessed by Encounter with Pope Francis during Pilgrimage to Italy
A planned pilgrimage led to an unexpected encounter with Pope Francis for about a dozen seminarians from St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia last month.
Aaron Lynch, a seminarian of the Diocese of Harrisburg, and his Theology III classmates were in Italy on pilgrimage as part of a formation program made possible by an endowment from the late Auxiliary Bishop Louis DeSimone of Philadelphia, who died in October of 2018.
Challenging and supporting students to do good works for the benefit of others, Our Lady of the Angels School in Columbia has adopted the theme, “Apostles Assemble” this school year.
Stemming from the popular Marvel and DC comics, the “Apostles Assemble” motto is a motivator for students to contribute and volunteer, complete with student t-shirts and a logo.