Gay marriage impacts North Carolina Catholic churches, local interfaith service

From the Charlotte Observer:  One Catholic Church in Charlotte fired music director Steav Bates-Congdon after he married his longtime male partner. Now another has pulled out of hosting the city’s largest interfaith service rather than allow Bates-Congdon to be part of the team planning the annual event. Mecklenburg Ministries’ 38th annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service is [Read More…]

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After membership declines, Catholic church sold to Muslims

Details from the Sunday Express: St Peter’s Catholic church in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, has now closed its doors to the shrinking congregation following the sale. Church leaders have reassured Christians the local parish, Cobridge, will continue to exist and money from the St Peter’s sell-off will be used to benefit parishioners. The identity of the buyers has not been [Read More…]

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Man steals monstrance containing Eucharist from New Mexico church

Details: It was a brazen, and blasphemous crime. A Catholic community in northern New Mexico is beside itself after a man burst into the adoration chapel at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, and stole something very precious to them. The priest at Sacred Heart told News 13 this is the highest form of desecration [Read More…]

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Horror: suicide attempt at Catholic church in Florida

Details:  A parish employee shot himself twice inside St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church early Thursday in an attempt to kill himself, prompting officials to close an adjacent K-12 private school for a police investigation. The employee, who was not identified, shot himself in the face and in his chest sometime after 6 a.m., according to Altamonte [Read More…]

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Shock: vandals decapitate statues at New Jersey Catholic church

From the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia:  Members of St. Mary’s Malaga are in disbelief after vandals smashed the heads off of statues of Virgin Mary and Jesus. In all, nine statues were damaged including three statues that are about five-feet-tall – Sacred Heart of Jesus, Virgin Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima. “For a statue [Read More…]

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Report suggests holy water may be hazardous to your health

Details:  When getting blessed, you might also be getting sick. Researchers say holy water could actually be harmful to your health, as some of it contains fecal matter. “Austrian scientists tested water from more than three dozen holy springs and church fonts and found that none, not one of them were safe to drink.” (Via WPVI) Researchers [Read More…]

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“What is a parish?”: a homily for September 15, 2013

Today, traditionally the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, is also my parish’s feast day. Late yesterday, the parish administrator said, “You wanna throw together a few words for the 11:30 Mass?”  Okay, I said.  Here they are.  Yesterday, as I do every month, I met with families to schedule baptisms. And I’m always surprised [Read More…]

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Conversion story: making the Crystal Cathedral Catholic

Photo: Mark Boster/LA Times A fascinating piece on what’s involved in the transformation, from the Los Angeles Times: The name has already been changed to the Christ Cathedral. But the work of liturgical consultants, priests and architects to transform a temple so closely identified as a symbol of Schuller’s sunny, uniquely Southern Californian theology into one that [Read More…]

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“Wardrobe malfunction” foils robbery attempt at Florida shrine

You can’t make this stuff up:  Orange County deputies said a man accused of trying to rob the gift shop at the Catholic Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe didn’t get far, thanks to a wardrobe malfunction. Deputies said Anthony Garcia, 31, walked into the gift shop at the shrine, [Read More…]

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Restoration: bringing back a pipe organ in Brooklyn

Left, the Rev. Michael A. Perry, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge, sat at the organ with Joseph A. Vitacco III, the mastermind of the restoration. Photo by Bryan Thomas for the New York Times Here’s a great story from the In My Backyard Desk, courtesy the New York Times:  Joseph A. Vitacco III remembers [Read More…]

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