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Legacy of Irish teenager who inspired a nation lives on 10 years after his death

Only a few weeks before he died, 16-year-old Donal Walsh went on national television in Ireland to remind people of the value of life. He passed away on May 12, 2013. Today the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation continues to promote life. / Credit: EWTN News

Denver, Colo., Jun 10, 2023 / 06:00 am (CNA).

Donal Walsh was tired of seeing young people end their lives while he was fighting each day for his.

Born and raised in County Kerry, Ireland, Walsh was diagnosed with bone cancer in his tibia at the age of 12. He endured nine months of chemotherapy and an operation to give him a prosthetic knee. After two years the cancer returned, this time to his lung. The young boy underwent surgery again to have half of his lung removed and endured more chemotherapy.

In October 2012, Walsh was diagnosed for a third — and final — time with tumors in five different locations in his body.

During his final months, Walsh took to writing about his battle with cancer and how his faith allowed him to persevere in what he called “climbing God’s mountains.” He also wrote about his frustration at seeing a rise in teenage suicide.

It was then that he decided to go on national television to encourage young people to value life.

With only a few weeks left to live, Walsh went on the Irish talk show “The Saturday Night Show” with Brendan O’Connor hoping to emphasize the value of life by sharing his own story.

“If I’m meant to be a symbol for people to appreciate life — it might not be just suicide — but just to appreciate life more in general, then I’d be happy to die if that’s what I’m dying for,” Walsh said during his television appearance.

Walsh passed away four weeks later on May 12, 2013, at the age of 16.

He spoke for 19 minutes, and those 19 minutes inspired a country. Months later, the coroner of County Kerry reported a decrease in suicides after Walsh spoke out.

Ten years later, his legacy lives on.

On May 11 of this year, more than 2,000 Irish students gathered at the Knock Basilica and Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, to honor Walsh’s memory. The students listened to several speakers who spoke about different issues that affect the world today, especially mental health.

On May 11, 2023, more than 2,000 Irish students gathered at the Knock Basilica and Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, to honor Donal Walsh’s memory. The students listened to several speakers who spoke about different issues that affect the world today, especially mental health. Credit: EWTN News
On May 11, 2023, more than 2,000 Irish students gathered at the Knock Basilica and Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, to honor Donal Walsh’s memory. The students listened to several speakers who spoke about different issues that affect the world today, especially mental health. Credit: EWTN News

Walsh’s parents, Elma and Fionnbar, were also in attendance.

“When we were told he was terminal, we turned around and started to say, ‘Why us?’ And he [Donal] changed his question to, ‘Why not me?’” Fionnbar Walsh recalled in an interview at the event with EWTN News In Depth, which aired June 2. 

“Donal was very upset for the first few days, but it only lasted a few days,” Elma Walsh added. “And he decided he wasn’t going to let cancer dictate. Whatever was left of his life, he wanted to do something.”

His mother shared that he had a “remarkable” faith. He loved to pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Walsh asked his mother to ensure he received holy Communion every day and that he die with a “clean spirit.”

“It [his faith] was kind of innate to him. It was just in him … It’s hard to explain. It was just in him. It was just part of Donal,” she explained.

On May 11 of this year, more than 2,000 Irish students gathered at the Knock Basilica and Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, to honor Donal Walsh’s memory. Credit: EWTN News
On May 11 of this year, more than 2,000 Irish students gathered at the Knock Basilica and Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, to honor Donal Walsh’s memory. Credit: EWTN News

After Walsh’s death, his parents started the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation, which has raised more than half a million euros to date for various charities, all of which promote life. And once a year, students meet at the Basilica of Knock to celebrate Mass, to be inspired and encouraged by guest speakers, and to be reminded of the value of life.

“I think a lot of people would be very afraid of the idea of terminal illness, but his bravery — he was able to endure through so much hardship and still have faith, and that’s inspiring to people,” said Adam Walsh (no relation), a student in attendance.

Another student, Anastasia Mullen, added: “I think that it is very inspirational. He really creates this beacon of hope for the youth — just keeps hope alive.”

Elma Walsh shared that she hopes the students in attendance will leave knowing “that they’re loved. To know that their lives are precious and delicate and nobody knows what tomorrow will bring but just to appreciate things they have in life.”

Watch the full EWTN News In Depth segment below.

Pope Francis will not pray public Angelus from hospital on Sunday

Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Jun 10, 2023 / 05:05 am (CNA).

At the recommendation of his doctors, Pope Francis will not pray the Sunday Angelus in public, the Vatican said Saturday.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said at a press conference June 10 the pope would pray the Angelus in private at 12:00 p.m. from within his hospital room.

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the pope’s surgeon, said he and the other medical professionals, for “prudence,” had advised the pope against giving a public Angelus address from the window of his hospital room, as he has done in the past, to avoid unnecessary strain to his abdominal muscles.

In July 2021, Pope Francis prayed the Angelus from a balcony of Gemelli Hospital one week after intestinal surgery, while June 11 he will only be four days’ postoperative, the surgeon said.

Bruni added that Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, may read an Angelus message from the pope on Sunday.

The surgeon Alfieri said Pope Francis “is well” and his recovery is proceeding normally. He recalled that since the day prior, the pope is no longer connected to IVs, and from Saturday, he had moved from an all-liquid to a semi-liquid diet.

Post-operative blood tests and x-ray of the abdomen were “absolutely normal,” he added, noting that they would encourage Francis to remain in the hospital through next week.

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the lead surgeon for Pope Francis' abdominal surgery, speaks at a press conference at Gemelli Hospital on June 7, 2023. Andreas Thonhauser/EWTN
Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the lead surgeon for Pope Francis' abdominal surgery, speaks at a press conference at Gemelli Hospital on June 7, 2023. Andreas Thonhauser/EWTN

Alfieri also clarified, in response to questions from journalists, that Pope Francis does not currently have, nor has ever had, cardiac problems.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, told journalists on the morning of June 10 that Pope Francis was already expressing a desire to get back to work “and this is a good sign.”

Francis underwent a three-hour surgery for an incisional hernia on June 7. A team of surgeons removed scar tissue and operated on a hernia in the pope’s abdominal wall at the site of a previous surgical incision.

The Vatican said June 9 the pope was “steadily improving” two days after the surgery.

“The medical team reports that the clinical picture is steadily improving and the postoperative progress is normal,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a brief statement.

In another June 9 update on the pope, the Vatican said “Pope Francis is touched by the many messages he continues to receive in these hours; in particular, he intends to address his thoughts and thanks to the children currently hospitalized, for the affection and love received through their drawings and messages. To them, as well as to the medical staff, nurses, social-health workers and spiritual assistants who daily touch pain with their hands, relieving its burden, he expresses his gratitude for their closeness and prayer.“

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the pope’s main surgeon, said at a press conference shortly after the operation that Francis had been experiencing increasing pain for several months due to the hernia and decided on June 6 to undergo the surgery to correct it.

It was the 86-year-old Francis’ fifth operation, the second as pope. The first took place in 1957, and involved the removal of a part of his right lung, which had developed cysts following an illness. He also had an appendectomy in the past, according to Alfieri.

The second surgery, on the pope’s abdomen in 1980, removed his gallbladder, according to Vatican News, which referenced the 2021 book “La Salute dei Papi” (“The Health of the Popes”) by Nelson Castro.

The surgeon Alfieri said June 7 that Pope Francis’ incisional hernia was likely from the incision of the 1980 abdominal surgery to remove his gallbladder, not his July 2021 intestinal surgery.

The gallbladder surgery involved an incision from the upper abdomen to the groin, according to the doctor who performed it. He found a gallbladder stone embedded in a cystic duct, which had caused Pope Francis — then Jesuit provincial superior — to have a gangrenous gallbladder.

This is Pope Francis’ third hospitalization in the past two years.

He was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and had part of his large intestine removed in July 2021 due to diverticulitis.

New guide to novenas aims to inspire Catholics to rediscover this traditional form of prayer

The new “Pocket Guide to Novenas” book is written by Annie and John-Paul Deddens of / Photos courtesy of Ascension

Denver, Colo., Jun 10, 2023 / 05:00 am (CNA).

A new book from Ascension is inspiring Catholics to experience the power of novenas with a pocket guide to dive deeper into this traditional form of prayer. 

“Pocket Guide to Novenas” by Annie and John-Paul Deddens offers readers a look into where these 9-day prayers came from, how to pray them, and what to expect when praying them.

The new pocket guide includes 20 novenas, 14 of which are newly written, an introduction to each novena, sacred art, inspirational stories from Catholics who have had their prayers answered through a novena, and a schedule for when to pray these particular novenas throughout the year.

First-time authors and married couple Annie and John-Paul Deddens spoke with CNA about their personal experiences seeing the power of novenas at work in their marriage and daily lives. A novena even played a part in bringing the two together.

Annie explained that the novena to St. Anne – the name given to the Virgin Mary’s mother in the Catholic tradition – was the first novena she ever prayed. She heard several women say they met their fiances after praying for St. Anne’s intercession for a spouse. This moved Annie to find a novena to the saint. She began to pray it every morning at a local chapel.

“While I left that chapel every morning, I remember noticing a guy praying in one of the last pews in the back, and I thought to myself, "I'd like to meet someone like him, who is also starting his day in prayer," she recalled.

“Very shortly after finishing the St. Anne Novena, I met John-Paul, and it turned out that he was the guy I had been seeing all along in the very back of the chapel while praying the novena,” she added. “So we attribute St. Anne's intercession to us meeting one another.”

In addition to being authors, the Deddens’ are also the creators of the popular website and social media platform PrayMoreNovenas, an online ministry that helps people rediscover the beauty of praying novenas and sends daily emails to participants so that they can stay up-to-date on their chosen novena.

John-Paul shared how the site came to fruition saying, “While we were dating, Annie asked me to pray a novena with her. I turned her down. You see, my experience with novenas wasn't great. I started several but I had never finished one!”

“I realized that I was constantly checking my email throughout the day and that if I had the prayers right there in front of me that I would probably finally finish a novena,” he said. “I created the website to help others who had the same difficulty and we've since received thousands of messages from people who finally finished their first novena using Pray More Novenas!”

Now, they hope to continue to encourage Catholics around the world to spend more time in prayer through their “Pocket Guide to Novenas.”

“Helping people pray novenas has been the heart of our ministry…for many years,” Annie said. “We wrote the [the book] to further help people pray novenas and hopefully grow closer to the Lord through each prayer. We love novenas and we hope they will become a beloved devotion for others in their prayer lives.”

She continued, “While novenas aren't a required devotion in the Faith, they're a simple and beautiful way to spend just a little more time in prayer each day. The daily novena prayer might take just a couple of minutes a day, and it can help us to reflect on the lives of the saints or the life of Christ or our Blessed Mother, and to ask for their intercession in our lives.”

Some of the new novenas included in the book are the Novena to St. John Paul II, the Novena to St. Louis and Zelie Martin, the Novena to Christ the King, as well as several traditional novenas including the Divine Mercy Novena and the Surrender Novena.

John-Paul added that he hopes their book “will bring people closer to Christ, leading them in conversation and relationship with the Lord.”

Priest calls to conversion criminals who shot up church in Mexico

Sacred images that were damaged by bullets in the church in Santa Anita were placed at the foot of the altar of the cathedral in Guachochi. / Guachochi Cathedral Facebook

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 9, 2023 / 16:10 pm (CNA).

The pastor of a church riddled with bullets in an armed confrontation between crime gangs in the border state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico called on the criminals involved to listen to “the voice of God” and to “turn their weapons into plows to till the earth, into instruments to sing and rejoice.”

In a letter shared with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Father Enrique Urzúa, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral in Guachochi in the Diocese of Tarahumara, addressed the criminals who had clashed on June 5 in the small settlement of Santa Anita, “causing suffering and death.”

“Brothers, listen to the voice of God! I am sure that the vast majority of you are baptized; we are brothers, and even though you are within the ranks of death, our Father and your Father offers you life,” he said.

“We have you in our hearts, yesterday, Wednesday, we prayed for you, for the conversion of your hearts. Turn your weapons into plows to till the land, into instruments to sing and rejoice,” he said.

“How sad to see you among the mountains looking after everything and suffering from hunger and cold. The Lord offers you freedom. My embrace and my prayer for you,” he added.

The confrontation caused destruction both outside and inside the church, with images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and St. Anne damaged by bullets. Outside the church, authorities found the body of a decapitated man.

Urzúa was able to rescue three abandoned children from the place after the shooting. The youngest is only 1 year old.

The Mass was attended by the victim’s mother, whom the priest identified as a woman from the Rarámuri indigenous community, also known as the Tarahumara.

They damaged ‘the most sacred’

Urzúa also pointed out that, by shooting up the church with bullets, the criminals damaged “what is most sacred to a people that is deeply religious” as well as “the community meeting place, the place where a community lives its history, its depth of life.”

The priest later lamented that “these events are among many others that have not been made public but that have these communities in fear, so we cannot say that this is an isolated event.”

“I ask for help to guarantee peace and freedom for these peoples,” he said.

After thanking people for “their expressions of solidarity” that the Church in the region has received, the Mexican priest asked the faithful to continue “praying for the peace that we so long for; it’s everyone’s duty to find ways that lead us to live in freedom.”

‘When will we be able to return to our homes?’

The priest also recounted the pain manifested by the residents who had to flee Santa Anita fearing for their lives.

“With tears in their eyes and their voices cracking they told me: Father, I have no words to express so much pain; they have hurt us, they have destroyed our towns, our houses; Father, our animals are going to starve, when will we be able to [return to] our homes?” he shared.

Urzúa also prayed to God on the day (June 8) when the Catholic Church celebrates Corpus Christi, for the “civil authorities, so that the Lord may grant them the necessary wisdom in their security strategies.”

Mexico is experiencing the most violent period in its modern history, and the homicide figures for the current six-year term of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have surpassed those of his predecessors, totaling more than 156,136 by the end of May 2023.

López Obrador acknowledged the historic record in his morning press conference on June 1 but attributed it to “a poor security legacy” from previous governments.

Up to April of this year in the state of Chihuahua, 567 first-degree murders were recorded.

From Jan. 1 to June 7 of this year, 11,637 homicides have been recorded throughout Mexico.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Jesuits in Spain hire law firm to address alleged sexual abuse of minors in schools

Cross in the square of the church of San Martín, in Callosa de Segura, Spain. / Credit: Citizen Platform in Defense of the Cross

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 9, 2023 / 15:40 pm (CNA).

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) has announced it has hired a law firm and a specialized association to clarify the alleged cases of abuse that occurred in its schools in Catalonia, Spain, and to accompany the complainants.

The Jesuit delegate in Catalonia, Enric Puiggròs, has announced that the congregation has taken action in relation to the alleged cases of sexual abuse that may have been perpetrated in schools.

In order to clarify the allegations, determine how they were handled, and identify those responsible for what reportedly took place, the Roca Junyent law firm has been hired.

For the pastoral care and accompaniment of the alleged victims, the Jesuits have turned to the Association for Mediation, Encounter, and Listening (AMEE), an organization that specializes in this area and that facilitates restorative justice processes.

In a statement, the Jesuits noted that “with this initiative we want to respond to all those victims for whom it is difficult to turn to the institution where they suffered these abuses.”

The Society of Jesus has also made itself available to the region’s Ombudsman for Grievances to “verify this process and the planned actions and explore ways of collaboration.”

The congregation founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola has faced various complaints of abuse in Catalonia since 2018.

“The appearance of new complaints and the fact that not all the victims turn to the institution shows that the steps taken are not enough, which is why these new external actions are now being undertaken” related to these cases, the order explained.

The Jesuits also pointed to the work that has been carried out for years in the schools of their network in Catalonia, which proceed “in accordance with the action protocols” of the regional government.

“All these actions are included in the program called Safe Environment in which we have the collaboration and advice of the Vicki Bernadet Foundation,” the Jesuits said in a statement.

‘To shed light’

Last week the Spanish Bishops’ Conference presented the report “To shed light,” which compiled 927 complaints of alleged sexual abuse of minors under 18 years of age or vulnerable people reportedly committed in Spain between 1945 and 2022.

The report does not include situations involving abuse of conscience and power or committed against adults.

Those responsible for the study stress that there may be duplicate cases and that their inclusion in the report is done “without presuming or proving innocence or guilt.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Catholic pilgrim goes viral as ‘backpack hero’ after stopping mass stabbing in France

Paris, France / Pedro Lastra / Unsplash (CC0)

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 9, 2023 / 15:10 pm (CNA).

A 24-year-old Catholic Frenchman named Henri went viral Thursday as the “backpack hero” after he stopped a potentially deadly knife attack at a playground in southeastern France by chasing away the attacker with a backpack.

French newspaper 20 Minutes reported on Henri’s heroic response to the shocking attack.

The perpetrator, only partially identified by French authorities as Abdalmasih H., is a 31-year-old Syrian refugee. On June 8 he unleashed a sudden stabbing attack on children and adults at a playground in the town of Annecy.

Two adults, men over 70, and four children, all 3 years old and younger, were seriously injured and later hospitalized due to the attack.

Henri, who did not give his last name to the media, told reporters he was in the town of Annecy as part of a nine-month pilgrimage to visit France’s cathedrals on foot.

When he saw the attack begin to unfold, Henri sprung into action.

“That’s when your brain turns off and you act like an animal, by instinct,” Henri told reporters. “I didn’t even think.”

Video taken by bystanders during the attack shows Henri repeatedly swinging his backpack and running after Abdalmasih, which prompts the attacker to flee the scene. 

“You try to act as you can, with what you have available to you,” Henri said. 

According to the New York Times, Henri told reporters that a city employee with a shovel joined his efforts and assisted him in drawing the attacker away from the children. 

Abdalmasih was subsequently arrested by French authorities.

Henri has since been widely hailed as a hero for disregarding his own safety in his attempt to stop the attacker. French media believes he most likely prevented the injury or even deaths of many more children and adults at the park.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited the victims in the hospital, called the attack on the children “the most barbaric act possible” and expressed his “gratitude and pride” to those who responded, including Henri.

A tweet by French journalist Hugo Clement praises Henri for risking his life to protect the children, concluding: “You are a hero and the whole of France says to you: THANK YOU.” 

Henri stayed at the park after the attack to pray for the victims, according to the New York Times.

20 Minutes reported Henri humbly saying that he “acted like any Frenchman would have done.”

Maryland to stockpile $1.3 million in abortion drugs

null / ivanko80/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 9, 2023 / 14:40 pm (CNA).

The Maryland Board of Public Works approved nearly $1.3 million in emergency spending to pay for a stockpile of two abortion drugs in response to a lawsuit that could take one of the drugs off the market.

Most of the spending will support two contracts to purchase 30,000 doses of mifepristone, which can kill an unborn child up to 10 weeks’ gestation.

Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine challenged the Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of the drug and subsequent deregulation in court, claiming that the agency failed to follow proper protocol and ignored potential health risks.

A Texas judge suspended the FDA’s approval of the drug, but the agency appealed the ruling. The Supreme Court ruled that the drug will remain on the market, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Just over $10,000 of Maryland’s emergency funding plan will support one contract to purchase 5,000 doses of misoprostol, which is commonly taken with mifepristone to induce the chemical abortion. This drug is not a subject of the lawsuit.

“Reproductive freedom is nonnegotiable,” Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, who serves on the three-member board, said during the meeting. “My administration will continue to defend and protect women’s reproductive freedom and access to essential health care here in the state of Maryland.”

The Maryland Department of Health initially entered into all three contracts in mid-April after the Texas judge suspended the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. In late April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the drug can stay on the market while the FDA appeals that ruling.

The department filed its report and its request for the funding approval late “due to insufficient procurement staff,” according to an explanation published in the meeting’s agenda.

Moore said the department needed to move quickly to secure mifepristone because the Texas ruling created an “unnecessary and misguided crisis.” He said the ruling “jeopardized access to this critical drug for women and families here and across the nation” despite being available for decades.

Laura Bogley, the executive director of Maryland Right to Life, told CNA that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for abortion drugs.

“By stockpiling this dangerous drug and forcing taxpayers to subsidize abortion drug manufacturers, Gov. Moore is reducing Maryland to a mere drug pusher for the abortion industry,” Bogley said. “Tragically, we will see many more injuries and deaths in Maryland due to the politicization of the FDA and the statehouse.”

At this time, mifepristone is still available when prescribed and a person can receive the drug in person or through the mail. A woman who plans to use the drug does not need to see a doctor in person before receiving it.

Several Catholic and pro-life organizations have voiced their support for the lawsuit, which could take the drug completely off the market.

Eucharistic processions to be held across the country for Corpus Christi this weekend

A few hundred Catholics marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., to publicly pray and adore the body of Christ during a eucharistic procession on Saturday, May 20, 2023. / Credit: Joe Portolano/CNA

Boston, Mass., Jun 9, 2023 / 14:10 pm (CNA).

Eucharist processions are being planned across the country this weekend in celebration of the solemnity of Corpus Christi, a more than 700-year-old feast day that commemorates the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The processions occur as the Church in America enters its second phase of the U.S. bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative by the prelates to inspire belief in the Eucharist following a 2019 Pew Research study that suggested only about one-third of U.S. Catholics believe the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

The second phase of the revival, the Year of Parish Revival, is meant to foster eucharistic devotion at the parish level.

Below is a sampling of locations across the nation where eucharistic processions are being held in honor of the solemnity this weekend. Check your archdiocese/diocese or local parish website for processions near you.

In the Archdiocese of Boston on Sunday, June 11, a collaborative of three parishes in Brockton will be hosting at eucharistic procession at St. Edith Stein Parish Church following the 10:30 a.m. Mass.

In the Archdiocese of New York, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Espaillat will be leading a large eucharistic procession along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, heading southbound starting at 202nd Street and ending at 151st Street. The pastors of the West Bronx parishes will join him in leading the procession, which starts at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The procession will include English and Spanish prayers and songs. Espaillat recently led a eucharistic procession through the heart of Manhattan.

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan will be leading a eucharistic procession in St. Patrick’s Cathedral following the 10:15 a.m. Mass on Sunday. That procession will take place inside the cathedral due to an unrelated parade taking place outside.

In the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, several processions are taking place on Sunday. Another procession at the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit begins at 4:30 p.m.

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen is hosting a Corpus Christi celebration Saturday, June 10, beginning with eucharistic adoration from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. A eucharistic procession will follow the 5 p.m. Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Adam Parker.

In the Archdiocese of Washington, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., is hosting a procession Sunday beginning at 2:30 p.m. The procession will end with benediction at Immaculate Conception Church on 8th Street about a mile away.

The Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, is inviting the faithful to participate in its eucharistic procession at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville. The procession will take place following the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Sunday. 

In the Archdiocese St. Louis, a candlelight eucharistic procession will take place on Saturday beginning at St. Francis Xavier College Church in midtown St. Louis. Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski will lead that eucharistic procession from the church to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and finish with benediction at 8:30 p.m.

In the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas, a eucharistic procession will be held at St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church following the Saturday 5 p.m. Mass. The church, in Katy, is expecting more than 250 people to join. St. Bartholomew had its tabernacle stolen in May of last year. An arrest was made, but the tabernacle was not recovered. 

Also on Saturday, there will be a eucharistic procession from St. Joseph Catholic Church to St. Stephen Catholic Church in Houston following a 9 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph’s.

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Christ the King Parish in Hollywood, California, is hosting a Sunday eucharistic procession following both its English Mass at 10:30 a.m. and its Spanish Mass at 12:30 p.m. The procession will go around the local streets.

In the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, there will be a procession on Sunday following the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. 

The Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, is holding a procession on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. from Sacred Heart Cathedral to Immaculate Conception Church. 

In the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii, Bishop Larry Silva is leading a eucharistic procession on Sunday following the 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, in Honolulu, with adoration and benediction to follow.

Here’s what the bishops are saying about the Dodgers honoring an anti-Catholic group

The Los Angeles Dodgers are giving an award to a group of gay and transgender drag performers who mock the Catholic faith. / YouTube/Los Angeles Dodgers June 4, 2022, YouTube/60 Second Docs Dec. 27, 2021

Washington D.C., Jun 9, 2023 / 13:38 pm (CNA).

Prominent Catholics and other Christians, including baseball players and bishops, continue to denounce the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to honor an anti-Catholic drag group called the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” at a game on June 16.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are a national drag queen group that impersonates nuns and uses Catholic religious imagery and themes in protests and sexualized performances to raise awareness and money for LGBTQ+ causes. The performers call themselves nuns and regularly use the images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and women religious.

The Dodgers will be honoring the L.A. chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with a “Community Hero Award” before a game against the San Francisco Giants.

Here is what some of the country’s leading bishops are saying about the decision.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York City

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, blasted the Dodgers’ decision to honor the drag group in an episode of his talk show “The Good Newsroom” on June 2.

Dolan pointed out that beloved former Dodgers who were devoutly religious such as Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, and Vin Scully would be outraged today.

“Sandy Koufax, a great Dodger, there was a guy that loved religion so much he wouldn’t pitch on Yom Kippur,” Dolan said. “Now the Dodgers … are honoring this viciously anti-Catholic group.”

“We here in New York are well aware of them,” Dolan said of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “These are the ones that spit on Cardinal John O’Connor, these are the ones that threatened to desecrate the holy Eucharist, these are the ones who exposed themselves in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We’re well aware of their antics. This isn’t some benevolent, humorous group.”

“You shouldn’t do this to any group,” Dolan added. “Why is the only group that they feel free to attack Catholics?”

Archbishop Jose Gomez, Los Angeles

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the archbishop of the city in which the anti-Catholic group is being honored, called on Catholics and people of goodwill to “stand against hate in any form” in a May 23 tweet.

“The decision to honor a group that clearly mocks the Catholic faith and makes light of the sincere and holy vocations of our women religious who are an integral part of our Church is what has caused disappointment, concern, anger, and dismay from our Catholic community,” the archdiocesan statement said.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, San Francisco

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the city whose team the Dodgers will compete against on June 16, stated that “we now know what gods the Dodger admin worships.”

“Our Catholic sisters devote themselves to serving others selflessly. Decent people would not mock & blaspheme them,” Cordileone said in a tweet on May 23. “So we now know what gods the Dodger admin worships. Open desecration & anti-Catholicism is not disqualifying. Disappointing but not surprising. Gird your loins.”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas City

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, called on the Kansas City Royals’ ownership to “communicate their disapproval to the Dodgers’ management for their actions that show disrespect for the Catholic faith,” in a May 31 statement.

Naumann also called on Major League Baseball to “not allow baseball to be used to advance ideologies that are offensive to many of their customers” so that fans could enjoy games “without having to be subjected to blasphemy and the mockery of the deeply held religious beliefs of many of its players and fans.”

“I am appalled and disgusted by the Dodgers honoring a group that calls themselves the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” Naumann added. “This group openly mocks Catholic beliefs, and their actions are nothing less than blasphemous.”

Naumann pointed out that former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was a supporter of women religious.

“When Tommy was managing the Dodgers,” Naumann said, “he would always give some of his complimentary tickets to Catholic religious sisters. The real heroines for the care of HIV-positive patients are groups like Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, who operated AIDS hospice care facilities.”

“Tommy Lasorda would be appalled by the Dodgers’ actions,” Naumann said.

Archbishop Paul Coakley, Oklahoma City

“There are more than 4 million Catholics in Los Angeles,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said in a June 2 tweet. “The decision by the Dodgers to invite a group that seeks to openly disparage them and the millions of Catholics around the world is abhorrent and should be rescinded.” 

“This group specifically mocks the witness of religious sisters around the world who dedicate their lives to serving the poor and those in need,” Coakley added. “Would they allow mockery of other faiths — our Jewish or Muslim brothers and sisters? Of course not.”

Coakley also shared that during this month of the Sacred Heart, he would be praying for “the conversion of hearts” and called on Catholics and people of goodwill to join him in condemning “the vile mockery of any faith.”

Bishop Kevin Vann, Orange, California 

Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange, California, released a statement on May 22 condemning the Anaheim mayor’s decision to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at a June 7 Anaheim Angels game.

“The decision to openly embrace a group whose demeaning behavior is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian is misguided and disrespectful to the sisters of the Catholic Church who minister in Orange County and selflessly dedicate their lives to God’s underserved people,” the diocesan statement said. 

In a later tweet on June 7 the diocese said the mayor’s decision was “deeply offensive and divisive” and that “embracing this group provokes division in our community instead of fostering a unifying spirit.”

Bishop Robert Barron, Winona-Rochester, Minnesota

Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester called for a boycott against the Dodgers in a video he tweeted on May 25. 

“Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice in America, and we shouldn’t tolerate it,” Barron said in a tweet. “I’m a big baseball fan. I’ve even thrown out the first pitch at a Dodgers game. But I’d encourage my friends in L.A. to boycott the Dodgers. Let’s not just pray but make our voices heard in defense of our Catholic faith.” 

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Arlington, Virginia

“This is totally unacceptable and it’s so sad,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, said in a June 5 episode of his “Walk Humbly Podcast.”

“This is not going to change until we stop supporting organizations like that. So, if I was a Dodgers season ticket holder I’d cancel my season tickets,” Burbidge added. “We have to be a strong voice and we cannot back down to this kind of discrimination.”

“They mock the Catholic faith, and why is it, it seems, that the only ones that can be subjected to this kind of public mockery and agitation and discrimination are Christians? It’s not tolerated with any other group,” Burbidge pointed out. “It’s deeply, deeply concerning.”

“I’m a baseball fan and I just hate seeing this kind of division coming into sports because sports is supposed to be a time when you can bring your family, you can relax, you can enjoy the game, you’re not dealing with all this political agenda,” Burbidge said.

Bishop James Conley, Lincoln, Nebraska

In a June 1 tweet, Nebraska’s Bishop James Conley said that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence group “is slanderous toward our religious sisters and all women.”

The Dodgers’ decision to honor a group “that mocks Catholicism and all of Christianity,” Conley said, “is unwise and disappointing.”

“The Dodgers and MLB need to correct this decision,” Conley concluded.

Bishop Donald Hying, Madison, Wisconsin

In a May 26 tweet, Bishop Donald Hying of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, said: “Let’s call this out for what it is: anti-Catholic bigotry and blasphemy against God.”

Bishop Joseph Strickland, Tyler, Texas

Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, urged his followers to “please speak against this evil being promoted at Dodger Stadium,” in a May 24 tweet. 

Strickland will be leading a “prayerful procession” at Dodger Stadium the day of the game, June 16, according a June 5 report by LifeSite News. The event is being organized by a group called “Catholics for Catholics.” 

In another tweet on May 30, Strickland said: “Target, Kohl’s, Dodgers, the list grows. As for me and my house we will serve & honor Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and oppose any group that denigrates His Sacred Name and Truth.”

Oklahoma Women’s College World Series champions say they find their joy in Christ

University of Oklahoma's Women's Softball Team after winning the 2023 Women's College World Series. / OU Athletics

Denver Newsroom, Jun 9, 2023 / 13:15 pm (CNA).

The University of Oklahoma’s women’s softball team made history June 8 by becoming the second team to ever win three national titles in a row when they defeated Florida State 3-1 in the Women’s College World Series at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Head Coach Patty Gasso and several of the players are devoted Christians who boldly praise God and share their faith. Gasso has shared that she credits God in shifting her mindset from focusing on winning games to instead focusing on winning souls.

During a press conference on June 6 ahead of the three-game series against Florida State, several of the OU softball players told journalists that their joy is found in Christ.

Team captain Grace Lyons was asked by an ESPN reporter how the women handle pressure and maintain their joy.

She responded: “The only way that you can have a joy that doesn’t fade away is from the Lord. Any other type of joy is actually happiness that comes from circumstances and outcomes.”

“Joy from the Lord is really the only thing that can keep you motivated — just in a good mindset no matter the outcomes,” she added. 

Teammate Jayda Coleman said she agreed “1,000%” and shared how after winning the Women’s College World Series her freshman year she was happy but didn’t feel joy.

“I didn’t know what to do the next day. I didn’t know what to do that following week. I didn’t feel fulfilled and I had to find Christ,” Coleman said. 

She continued: “I think that is what makes our team so strong is that we’re not afraid to lose because it’s not the end of the world if we do lose — obviously we’ve worked our butts off to be here and we want to win — but it’s not the end of the world because our life is in Christ and that’s all that matters.”

Infielder Alyssa Brito explained the team’s “eye’s up” gesture they can be seen doing during games, which, she said, is the team’s way of “fixing our eyes on Christ.”

“You can’t find fulfillment in an outcome, whether it’s good or bad. And I think that’s why we’re so steady in what we do, and our love for each other, and our love for the game, because we know this game is giving us the opportunity to glorify God,” she added.

Brito was baptized in 2022 by two of her fellow teammates and said that once she turned to Jesus, and had her outlook on life changed by her relationship with Christ, she understood that she was living to “exemplify the Kingdom.”

“No matter the outcome, whether we get a trophy or not, this isn’t our home and I think that’s what’s amazing about it — we have so much more. We have an eternity of joy with our Father,” she said.

“No matter what, my sisters in Christ will be there with me in the end when we’re with our king,” Brito concluded.