Texas parish thrilled to have pope as surprise guest at ABC town hall

MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) — At Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, members of the community, most of them volunteers at a respite center for immigrants at Sacred Heart parish hall, were invited to a special event by ABC News, but were not informed in advance of just how special that event would be. People started arriving…

To Mass by boat, plane or whatever means necessary at Alaska parish

KLAWOCK, Alaska (CNS) — The challenges of managing most parishes don’t usually extend to needing to travel by airplane and boats to celebrate Mass. But when your Delaware-sized parish is part of a diocese that itself is larger than 22 U.S states, the standard ways of operating really don’t apply. Catholic News Service reporters visited…

Pope holds ‘virtual town hall’ with ABC and Catholics in 3 cities

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis held a “virtual town hall” with Catholics in Chicago, Los Angeles and McAllen, Texas, in advance of his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States. The town hall was arranged by ABC News, which was to air portions of the meeting during its “World News Tonight” program Aug. 31, with…

Christian spouses: Teachers and witnesses of the truth

The following is part of a series focusing on the 10 themes of the preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families Sept. 22-27 in Philadelphia. By Amanda Zurface For The Visitor Close your eyes and envision St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and insert your family into the scene inside the piazza. Do you…

Pope Francis to speak from lectern Lincoln used for Gettysburg Address

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — As lecterns go, it is strictly utilitarian, a simple walnut stand with none of the ornamentation commonly found in mid-19th-century furnishings. Yet it has a distinguished past and is about to have a distinguished future. At a news conference Aug. 7 at the Union League of Philadelphia, Robert Ciaruffoli, president of the…

Philadelphia officials discuss transportation details for papal visit

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and other officials Aug. 5 described road closures, traffic restrictions and other transportation details for Pope Francis’ September visit to the city. The pope will be in Philadelphia the weekend of Sept. 26-27, which will conclude the Sept. 22-25 World Meeting of Families. An area described as…

Light in a dark world

The following is the sixth in a 10-part series focusing on the 10 themes of the preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families Sept. 22-27 in Philadelphia. By Jean Stolpestad For The Visitor Recently, I read an article that began, “Marriage is not for you!” I have to admit that the first line really…