A Song for Benedict

02/15/2013 Comments (1)

Naturally, many tears have been shed in the last few days since Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement from the papacy. These tears are different than the tears of joy shed in April 2005, when he was elected our Holy Father.

Tears of both joy and sorrow come together in a song called Room of Tears.

It was written shortly after Benedict was inaugurated as pope, but now the song looks like it had a bit of the prophetic in its title.

Room of Tears is moving to watch as well as listen to. The visuals that the song’s composer and singer, Russ Rentler, put into the video add poignancy to the song. It’s as if you’re flipping through a family album for a brief moment. Some pictures make...READ MORE

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After Newtown Tragedy, Parents Grieve With Privacy

We Mourn With and Pray for Those Who Mourn

12/19/2012 Comments (2)
via Pinterest

– via Pinterest

There is “a time to weep … a time to mourn …” the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us.

Monday began that time in a private way for families. It was that day the first of the funerals took place for the children and teachers killed so viciously at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Tuesday brought the first of the funerals for the children and families at St. Rose of Lima Church, the town’s one Catholic parish, which has a large number of families.

Up to then, major and minor television stations, press, media from across the United States, Canada, Europe and even from as far away as South Korea had been on the scene, beginning shortly after the tragic event happened on Friday.


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And God Smiled After the Hurricane

Miracles do happen, even in the middle of storms and their aftermath.

11/02/2012 Comments (14)

– Shutterstock

Not all the events and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy deal with devastation. God is with us even in those times, especially if we ask him to be.

Sometimes he even lets us know if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Sometimes the reminder is barely noticeable, but sometimes it’s eye-popping — and then some.

My town in Connecticut, well inland from the coast, lost power in Sandy’s early hours. The super-high winds uprooted stately trees, which in turn took out power lines and even —  for the first time in a hurricane or storm here — made all main roads in this highly traveled area impassable.

My parish of St. Theresa Church on Main Street had no power, but that wasn’t going to stop...READ MORE

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Voting Help Via Apt App and Savvy Slogans

Free Mobile App Explains Moral Positions Catholics Need to Heed, and Items Promote Faith and Family

10/29/2012 Comments (8)

It’s the simplest way anyone can learn in a flash the basic moral principles that must apply in the voting booth.

It’s the new, free, non-partisan "Catholic Voting Guide" app.

On Oct. 9, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy launched its easy-to-use-and-understand app.

“The app gives very clear, concise explanations of the moral principles to be applied when choosing an elected leader,” said Father John Trigilio Jr., president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (CCC).

The app may be downloaded directly from the CCC website. It is available for iPhone, iPod, iPad, as well as Android and Windows smartphones. It may be downloaded from the Google Play store, and the Windows...READ MORE

Filed under 2012 election, catholic conscience, voting

Named After St. Kateri

Kateri Lang Says Being Named After America's New Saint Is an Inspiration for Herself and Others

10/21/2012 Comments (2)
Courtesy of Kateri Lang

– Courtesy of Kateri Lang

Sunday, Oct. 21, is a day to celebrate St. Kateri.

Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk woman who lived in the 1600s, is being canonized in Rome as the first Native-American saint in the United States.

In Steubenville, Ohio, Kateri Lang, who is the same age as her namesake was at her death, 24, is giving thanks for the new saint and delighted to share her name.

Lang is a 2012 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She works for the university and is also the school’s diving coach.

“I’m so excited now she is named a saint,” Lang said with obvious joy.

How did she come to have this name? When her mother was a teenager, she met a little girl named Kateri.

“My mother...READ MORE

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Bishops Call for 'Rosary Novena for Life and Liberty'

10/13/2012 Comments (3)
Joseph Pronechen

– Joseph Pronechen

Sunday, Oct. 14, begins the "Rosary Novena for Life and Liberty" proposed by the U.S. bishops. The novena ends on Monday, Oct. 22.

The Church celebrates October as the month of the holy Rosary, and it is an apt time for Rosary campaigns.

For months, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged a strong prayer effort for religious freedom. The USCCB has said October “seems an appropriate time to ask for Our Lady's intercession for these intentions.”

The novena is jointly offered by the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

In the novena booklet’s introduction, the bishops write:

"This year, believers have faced an...READ MORE

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Kateri Tekakwitha Joins Annual Pilgrimage

17th Annual Fall Pilgrimage Includes New Saint

09/27/2012 Comments (2)
Courtesy of NCCL

Pilgrims follow the footsteps of saints through the Adirondacks on the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs.

– Courtesy of NCCL

The annual walking pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs in Auriesville, N.Y., where Sts. Isaac Jogues, René Goupil and John Lalande became the first North American martyrs 370 years ago, has an added saint this year.

Scheduled Sept. 28-30, it comes shortly before the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, the “Lily of the Mohawks,” who was born on those very grounds. Kateri will be canonized Oct. 21.

Fittingly, this first Native American saint is part of the pilgrimage theme: “Restoring True Devotion to Mary, in the Footsteps of St. Kateri.”

“Kateri is a perfect disciple of Jesus Christ and a perfect imitator of the Blessed Virgin, Christ’s mother and first disciple,”...READ MORE

Filed under auriesville shrine, kateri tekakwitha, our lady of the martyrs shrine, saints

John Paul II Relic Finds Permanent Home in America

National Shrine of The Divine Mercy Welcomes and Enshrines Relic

08/14/2012 Comments (5)
Courtesy of Marians of the Immaculate Conception

Marian Father Kazimierz Chwalek leads a procession to permanently enshrine the relic of John Paul II at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.

– Courtesy of Marians of the Immaculate Conception

 What more appropriate place for a first-class relic of Blessed John Paul II than at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy?

On Sunday, Aug. 12, the relic, a white linen cloth that holds the blood of the great "Mercy Pope," was permanently enshrined at the national shrine in Stockbridge, Mass., during the 3 o’clock hour of Divine Mercy.

With more than 300 priests and people filling the chapel and after singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Father Kazimierz Chwalek, the provincial superior of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, incensed the relic and told pilgrims to pray for Blessed John Paul II’s intercession.

“By coming to our shrine, he came to his spiritual home,” Father...READ MORE

Filed under divine mercy, divine mercy shrine, john paul ii, relics

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About Joseph Pronechen

Joseph Pronechen
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Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared regularly in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds BS and MS degrees and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside in Connecticut.