Catholic News Headlines for Friday 2/23/2024

An exhibit featuring some 100 sacred relics will be on display at a church in Montclair, New Jersey on Saturday Feb. 24.

A new Dorothy Day Center was dedicated at Manhattan College in The Bronx.

We have new information on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

For two years, war has been raging in Ukraine, and Pope Francis has been praying for peace.

Vandalism Hits Manhattan Church Where a Violent Slasher Struck Weeks Earlier

A Manhattan church once again faced criminal activity and damage after a vandal destroyed a statue of Jesus on President’s Day, just weeks after a church worker was slashed across the face by an unknown attacker.

The statue of Jesus inside Immaculate Conception Church was knocked to the ground following an outburst by an unknown individual, causing damage that will cost an estimated thousands of dollars to repair.

According to the NYPD, the individual entered the East Village church on Monday, Feb. 19, and engaged in criminal mischief after being asked to leave around 10:45 a.m. Since it was a federal holiday, Immaculate Conception closed after the 10 a.m. Mass service.

When the outburst occurred, only a few people were remaining in the building, praying the Rosary. A dispute involving the unknown individual and some parishioners inside the church led to the crime, according to the NYPD..

The individual knocked over a bookshelf after being told he had to leave the church. He then toppled the statue of Jesus — located next to the church’s exit — to the ground. Damage to the right side of the statue, alongside its robes, could be seen days after the attack. The entire left hand of the statue was destroyed as well. Church officials said they plan to replace the damaged statue in the future.

The man was reportedly sleeping in the church when he was told it was closing. No one was harmed in the outburst, and the individual fled on foot. As of Feb. 21, no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing according to the NYPD.

Crime in the 9th Precinct, which encompasses Immaculate Conception, is reportedly decreasing. Police data shows an overall 10.45% decrease in crime since last year. Only felony assaults and robberies have had a slight uptick in occurrence. However, local residents contend violent crimes are becoming increasingly common in that area, with the church only a few feet from the First Avenue subway Station.

Furthermore, this is the second outburst involving the church recently, the first being a slashing attack on church caretaker on Jan. 21.

That victim, John Mach, was cut along his left jaw with a box cutter by an assailant after Mach confronted him about urinating between two nearby parked cars. He sustained 16 stitches from his lower jaw to his ear.

To augment local police presence, Immaculate Conception employs additional security for both the inside the church as well as surrounding it. According to the New York Post, an anonymous parish employee said that police are going to “do a lot of extra walking around on 14th Street” in the wake of the incidents.

Crisis In Haiti: Bishop Caught In Explosion, Being Airlifted To Miami

A close friend of the Diocese of Brooklyn is the latest victim of the crisis in Haiti.

Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas of the diocese of “an-say-vo meerah-gwahn” in Haiti was seriously injured in an explosion last Sunday.

Bishop Dumas, who has visited Brooklyn several times, was visiting the capital of Port-Au-Prince at the time of the blast.

He’s being airlifted Thursday to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital to undergo treatment for severe burns.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of the Archdiocese of Miami says they’ll be receiving Bishop Dumas there.

Police are still investigating the cause of the blast, saying it may have been a gas explosion, but Archbishop Wenski said he’s spoken to a few priests in Haiti who are suspicious, and believe it may have been a targeted attack.

Bishop Dumas is in stable condition.

He will stay in Florida for the remainder of his treatment, after which Bishop Wenski believes he’ll return to Haiti because quote “the church needs him.”

Bishop Dumas has been outspoken about the violence and lawlessness happening in the Caribbean country.

The National Correspondent for The Tablet and Crux, John Lavenburg, joins Currents News to talk more about it.

Be sure to stay with The Tablet and Currents News for continuing coverage of this story.

Catholic News Headlines for Thursday 2/22/2024

Bishop Pierre Andre Dumas was caught in an explosion in the country’s capital of Port-Au-Prince on Sunday.

Police in Manhattan are searching for the vandal who caused $4,000 worth of damage at Immaculate Conception Church.

Alabama’s largest hospital has paused in vitro fertilization treatments.

During this black history month, we’ll have the story of how Brooklyn actually played a critical role in the freeing of America’s slaves.

Bishop Brennan Says Mass at Astoria Church One Week Into Lenten Pilgrimage

We are officially one week into the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Lenten Pilgrimage and Bishop Robert Brennan has been leading every step of the way.

Wednesday’s stop was Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, where Bishop Brennan celebrated Mass. 

He led a group of pilgrims who are trying to attend a majority of the pilgrimage, like Diane Debernardo from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Brooklyn, who has a goal of making at least 20 stops, but wants to attend more.

She told Currents News seeing the familiar faces at all the different stops has been encouraging her in her lenten journey. 

There are still plenty of stops along the Lenten Pilgrimage if you want to join.

The faithful are stopping at 40 churches, 22 in Brooklyn and 18 in Queens, and will travel in almost like a circle.

It began on Ash Wednesday at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, and will go through Brooklyn, into Queens, and eventually wind up in Brooklyn again, and at that end, during the Holy Triduum, parishioners can celebrate at their own parishes.

To see all the stops the pilgrims will make, just download the Lenten Pilgrimage app.

All you have to do is search “Lenten Pilgrimage” on the Apple or Google Play store, and if you can’t be there in person, the app helps you there too.

You can join the prayer community there right from the palm of your hand. 

You can read more about that app in this week’s issue of The Tablet.

See all of its features, including the prayer intentions and a list of all the participating churches, plus, hear from the minds behind the app and this year’s pilgrimage. 

Catholic News Headlines for Wednesday 2/21/2024

Alabama’s State Supreme Court recognizes embryos as human life.

A Haitian bishop is in stable condition after he was caught in an explosion in the country’s capital of Port-Au-Prince this past weekend.

Bishop Robert Brennan joined pilgrims at Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, where the bishop motivated them to continue in their journey.

It was 72 years ago today that Maryknoll Bishop Francis Xavier Ford died in a communist Chinese prison.

Mass Helps Virginia Town Grieve Fallen Firefighter

By Jessica Easthope

The regular Sunday night Mass at Christ Redeemer Catholic Church carried extra weight this night for the folks in Sterling, Virginia.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said one parishioner at the church.

The Mass comes two days after one of their own was killed in the line of duty when a house exploded.

“It seemed very important to give them some space where they could be together and we want to try to make it as informal as impossible,” said Father Joel Jaffe.

As first responders sat inside wearing jackets with the words Sterling Volunteer Fire Company written across their backs — the same words fallen firefighter Trevor Brown wore, too — Pastor Jaffe stressed the need for unity at a time of great loss.

“How important it is during times of tragedy that we don’t isolate, that we come together, and that’s exactly what they did,” Father Jaffe said.

“Naturally it’s a tough time for the company and the community,” said Sterling Volunteer Fire Company Chief David Short.

Chief Short said the past two days had been anything but easy.

“Mr. Brown was a great member of the volunteer fire company. I served with him on my crew for quite a while. His loss is a major one for our company and for the community.”

And even in times of devastation, the job must continue.

“I have a lot of folks still on duty, we’re still maintaining fire protection for the folks in Sterling,” Chief Short said, “So we still have a job to do and a lot of my team is still out there doing the job.”

“He saved lives, and it cost him his life,” Father Jaffe said. “They are in our prayers. We are praying for the families of all the fallen firefighters.”

Funeral services for Trevor Brown have yet to be announced.

Rite of Election Service Held for Both Boroughs

By Katie Vasquez

The pews at Resurrection Ascension Church in Rego Park are not packed with parishioners.

They’re packed with soon to be Catholics, Elojde Berliku.

“It’s very exciting,” said Elojde Berliku. “Like I’m almost there at the finish line.”

Berliku and hundreds of others have been studying the faith in the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Order of Christian Initiation of Adults, or OCIA program.

Sunday marked an important step in their faith journey.

They participated in the Rite of Election, a time-honored ritual marking the church’s election, or choice of those deemed fit to receive the sacraments at the Easter vigil.

“I’m really looking forward to ending my journey with this,” Berliku said. “And then, like, a new journey begins.”

In two services on Sunday, one for Brooklyn and one for Queens, Bishop Robert Brennan welcomed 447 catechumens – or people who have never been baptized.

“These catchumens help to remind us of that gift. And when you see people who weren’t brought up Catholics, maybe brought up in another faith, or maybe with no faith, but to see them freely embracing the faith, choosing to be Catholic,” Bishop Brennan said. “It does something for us. All of a sudden now we realize, Wow, yeah, this is something really important.”

The group of diverse adults represents the Diocese of Immigrants and as such, vicar for evangelization and catechesis, Father Joseph Gibino, said this year’s Rite of Election reflects that.

“We’re doing something for the first time this year,” Father Gibino said. “One of the readings, the first reading will be done in Chinese because we have now such an international community that many of the newly baptized will be from parts of Asia. So it’s really important to recognize the diversity of our diocese.

One such story is Shu Zhen Song, she was born in China and came to the U.S. as a student.

She’s converting so she can marry in the church and has been studying since September.

“I was so excited because my family doesn’t believe doesn’t have this religion and I have no background,” Song said. “But since I learning, I feel, wow, the Catholic is very a new world to me. And then I feel. So this today’s ceremony, I mean, celebration is new to me. I want to have this experience and want to learn and get that step forward.”

While the Diocese of Brooklyn is happy to see the church grow, Bishop Brennan said this day isn’t about the amount of people preparing to be baptized.

“It’s not about numbers,” Bishop Brennan said. “It’s about people who are encountering Jesus Christ and encountering him to the sacramental life of the church. And to see that that’s happening is a source of great hope for us.”

You can read more about Sunday’s Rite of Election by going online to TheTablet.Org.

If you would like to start your own journey to joining the Catholic faith.

All you have to do is head down to your local parish.

To find a church near you go to DioceseofBrooklyn.Org and click on the “Parish Finder” in the upper right hand corner.

Catholic News Headlines for Tuesday 2/20/2024

A diverse group of adults in the Diocese of Brooklyn are preparing for a life-changing moment, becoming Catholic.

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish held its annual lock-in this weekend offering a holy hour, Mass, and talks to a group of young people.

Two days after a funeral Mass for a transgender activist, the rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral has acknowledged that those at the service took part in “scandalous behavior.”

It’s been one year since Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was shot and killed in his Hacienda Heights home.

Catholic News Headlines for Friday 2/16/2024

Watching daily masses on NET TV will soon be a little different after nearly a decade with the same graphics, DeSales Media Group is revamping the look.

Bishop Robert Brennan celebrated Mass yesterday at St. Charles Borromeo in Brooklyn Heights for the second day of the Lenten Pilgrimage.

The East Flatbush Catholic School brought back their step team, which we’re told not only reinforces their faith, but also provides a history lesson.

Students at Midwood Catholic Academy were celebrating Black History month today.