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10 inspiring Catholic quotes about fatherhood

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CNA Staff, Jun 15, 2024 / 13:30 pm (CNA).

Every Father’s Day, we recognize and give thanks for the fathers in our lives. It’s a day to honor all men who love and sacrifice for others and to remember the love each of us receives from God the Father. Whether you’re writing out a Father’s Day card or pondering the great vocation of being a father, here are 10 quotes from Catholic figures and writings about fatherhood:

Pope Francis:

“Every family needs a father — a father who shares in his family’s joy and pain, hands down wisdom to his children, and offers them firm guidance and love.” 

St. John Paul II:

“In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God, a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family.”

Pope Benedict XVI:

“God is a father who never abandons his children, a loving father who supports, helps, welcomes, forgives, saves, with a fidelity that immensely surpasses that of men, opening up to an eternal dimension.”

Pope Francis:

“A good father knows how to wait and knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart. Certainly, he also knows how to correct with firmness: He is not a weak father, submissive and sentimental. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself.”

G.K. Chesterton:

“God chooses ordinary men for fatherhood to accomplish his extraordinary plan.”

Father Lawrence Lovasik: 

“Fatherhood is a vocation in God’s service to be not held lightly or frivolously, but with the serious determination of serious men.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2214:

“The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood; this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents.”

St. John Paul II:

“Love for his wife as mother of their children and love for the children themselves are for the man the natural way of understanding and fulfilling his own fatherhood.”

St. Vincent de Paul:

“A man of prayer is capable of everything.” 

Servant of God Father John Hardon:

“St. Joseph is the divinely revealed model of human fatherhood.”

Priest says schismatic Spanish nuns are in state of ‘paranoia’ according to own thesis

Calle de Bailén Almudena Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. / Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Madrid, Spain, Jun 15, 2024 / 08:00 am (CNA).

Father Jesús Silva of the Archdiocese of Madrid explained in a video posted on his YouTube channel the reason why the schismatic Poor Clares of the Belorado Monastery are experiencing “paranoia” according to their own thesis by which the religious vows they took would not even be valid.

The Spanish nuns announced May 13 that their community “is leaving the conciliar Church to which it belonged to become part of the Catholic Church.” They complained that in recent years “contradictions, double and confusing language, ambiguity, and loopholes in clear doctrine have been coming from the chair of Peter.” These Poor Clares also claimed that “H.H. Pius XII was the last valid supreme pontiff,” thus leaving the papal office vacant since then.

According to an analysis Silva made of the Catholic Manifesto the nuns made public a month ago, the sisters, who risk looming excommunication for schism, are in a situation that, according to their own reasoning, “everything they themselves have done is invalid, because since they have been nuns under Vatican II, they are not real nuns.”

Ten of the 16 nuns who comprise the Poor Clares community of Belorado and Orduña in Spain have adhered to the referenced manifesto. Of the other six, one of them left the community “in order to not belong to this sect” and five elderly nuns have not spoken.

Silva pointed out that the nuns would have to repeat all the sacraments they received after Vatican II using the formulas and rituals of the pre-Vatican II Roman rite conferred by a priest ordained under that rite and they even “have to repeat their vows, because according to them their own vows are invalid.” 

According to the Madrid priest, “they have fallen into this paranoia in which at this point they have placed themselves outside the Catholic Church and, finally, according to them, they have found the truth” under the protection of the excommunicated bishop Pablo de Rojas.

Rebuttal of three points

Silva analyzed three of the postulates of the sedevacantist and schismatic manifesto: that the Catholic Church is the only true church, the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist, and changes made to the rite of ordination for priests and bishops.

Regarding the first question, Silva explained that unity “is already achieved in the true Catholic Church,” which doesn’t mean there’s no work to be done “so that this unity becomes broader” so that “the rest of the Christian communities that are not Catholic would join the Catholic Church. That’s called ecumenism.”

The priest refuted the nuns’ allegation that the Second Vatican Council denied the sacrificial character of the Eucharist.

“It’s true that the Church has changed, because it has that power to adapt the formulas, the forms, the language of the liturgical books to the more current mentality of the present. But she has not changed the essence. The Church has the power to change [those things], because the Church has been established by Christ to safeguard the faith and the sacraments. And of course the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist is maintained, as can be perfectly seen in the Eucharistic prayers that speak of the Eucharist as a victim of propitiation for the sins of the entire world,” the priest pointed out.

Silva added that “the Church has the power to reform the liturgical books and to change the rites for the ordination of priests, deacons, and bishops. And therefore, this reform made by John XXIII, Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council, is perfectly valid. Since they were not heretics, they did not incur in excommunication.”

Confusion in doctrinal matters

The priest of the Archdiocese of Madrid explained that a possible remote origin of the schismatic positions of the Poor Clares of Belorado can be found in that “there have been many doctrinal issues lately, quite confusing, that have made many people say: ‘Listen, you have to be a little more critical sometimes of the things that are said or how they are said, because they are not expressed well and maybe you have to qualify things.’”

However, Silva emphasized, “going from there, to deny the unity of the Church and to leave it, is a very major step.”

The priest of the Archdiocese of Madrid took the opportunity in his video to remind his viewers that “we must pray a lot for them so that they reconsider” that “the true Catholic Church is that of Christ, which is in communion with the Holy Father in the Vatican, who is currently Pope Francis, and that what has changed in its structure and in its documents is perfectly licit and perfectly valid.”

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

Priest and martyr of communism Father Michał Rapacz beatified in Krakow

The beatification Mass of Father Michał Rapacz at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki, Poland, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. / Credit: Episkopat News

Rome Newsroom, Jun 15, 2024 / 07:35 am (CNA).

A 20th-century Polish Catholic priest killed by communist authorities was beatified on Saturday at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki, Poland.

Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of Father Michał Rapacz in January. The 41-year-old priest was shot twice by communist authorities on the night of May 10-11, 1946, after being taken from his village parish in the south of Poland to a nearby woods.

A memorial graces the spot where Father Michał Rapacz was killed by communist authorities in Płoki, Poland, on the night of May 10-11, 1946. Credit: Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kraków
A memorial graces the spot where Father Michał Rapacz was killed by communist authorities in Płoki, Poland, on the night of May 10-11, 1946. Credit: Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kraków

“From the celebration of the Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, [Rapacz] drew inner strength and energy, capable of transforming life and the world, everyday life and history,” Cardinal Marcello Semeraro said in his homily at the beatification Mass on June 15.

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro at the beatification Mass of Father Michał Rapacz at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki, Poland, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. Credit: Episkopat News
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro at the beatification Mass of Father Michał Rapacz at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki, Poland, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. Credit: Episkopat News

Semeraro, prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, traveled from Rome to celebrate the beatification in Krakow. He pronounced the formula of beatification before a packed shrine of approximately 1,800 people, including Rapacz’s great-great niece and nephew, Karolina Basista and Michał Pietrzak.

The Mass also marked the end of a Eucharistic congress in the Archdiocese of Krakow. 

According to Semeraro, for the new blessed, “spreading love for Christ present in the consecrated bread was the only effective remedy against atheism, materialism, and all those worldviews that threaten human dignity.”

From the Eucharist, the cardinal added, Rapacz drew a love that “does not remain paralyzed in the face of hatred, violence, and everything that causes fear.”

Rapacz was recognized as a martyr, according to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, because of his refusal to leave his parish or to abandon his pastoral ministry, despite a ban on the celebration of Catholic liturgies and activities under the occupations of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

During one of his homilies, the priest, who was being harassed by communist authorities for his zealous service to parishioners, said: “Though I should fall dead, I will not stop preaching this Gospel and will not renounce my own cross.”

In his homily, Semeraro drew attention to the new blessed’s deep spirituality, including his habit of praying every evening before the tabernacle in his church with a cross and his parish directory.

“A list of parishioners became his prayer book, through which he commended to God one by one the individual families and individuals of his community,” the cardinal said.

Nonprofit announces largest single investment in Catholic school education history

Students from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. / Credit: Big Shoulders Fund

CNA Staff, Jun 15, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

The Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation, announced June 12 that it will be donating $150 million over the next 10 years to the Big Shoulders Fund, which will invest the funds in initiatives that aim to improve the quality, accessibility, and sustainability of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gary, Indiana.

This is the largest single investment in pre-K–12 Catholic education in history.

Driven by its founder’s vision, the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation supports “catalytic community projects and self-sustaining initiatives that cultivate a strong quality of life in Northwest Indiana and statewide,” according to its website.

The Big Shoulders Fund was founded in 1986 to ensure that children in Chicago’s most under-resourced areas could have access to quality, values-based education. In 2019, it was invited by civic leaders and philanthropic funding to replicate their work in Northwest Indiana by sharing its model with Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gary.

A student from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund
A student from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund

Bill Hanna, executive director of the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, told CNA that their hope is to “provide every student access to a high-quality, values-based education that creates strong academic and career outcomes.”

He added: “The primary focus of the investment will be on serving students and communities with the greatest amount of economic and educational need. We hope that this investment will develop the nation’s most effective network of outcomes-based Catholic schools.”

Bishop Robert J. McClory of the Diocese of Gary in a press release called the donation “a historic and transformative commitment from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, the largest single investment ever given for pre-K–12 Catholic education.”

“On behalf of all families who will benefit from this commitment, we are thankful and filled with great hope for the future. This is an enormous vote of confidence for Catholic education and the value of our individual schools,” he said. “I am honored by the continued commitment of the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, Big Shoulders Fund, and our community. This gift creates an opportunity for the Diocese of Gary to fulfill our mission even more vibrantly to support families and enhance our schools to become an extraordinary model of Catholic school education.” 

“We are eager to go forward and experience the impact this commitment and collaboration will have on the lives of our students, their families, our teachers, and our communities.”

McClory wrote in an email to CNA that this donation will give the diocese the “opportunity to help every student in our schools to excel” and hopes it will “inspire others to consider how they can support Catholic schools in their own communities and nationwide.”

Students and teachers from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund
Students and teachers from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund

In addition to serving students and communities with the greatest amount of economic and educational need in Northwest Indiana,  the investment will support initiatives that focus on curriculum development, teacher training, leadership development, infrastructure improvements, and student support services as well as new governance models, management structures, and assistance with enrollment and tuition management.

Colleen Brewer, Diocese of Gary superintendent of Catholic schools, told CNA: “A gift of this magnitude gives the Diocese of Gary the opportunity to open our doors to more students, serve our families in a deeper way, and be able to elevate our current success.” 

“Too often, finances are a barrier in doing what you want to do in a school,” she added. “Now we can identify the needs we are presented with and have the partners and resources to directly address those problems for the benefit of the students. This type of gift is a symbol of trust.”

Thanks to the resources and funding provided through this investment, Big Shoulders Fund will be able to provide accessible and transformative pre-K–12 education to at least 20 schools across four counties in the Diocese of Gary Catholic school network.

Additionally, the Diocese of Gary announced that it will establish an independent endowment with The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana, a nonprofit organization, by the end of the year. The hope is to have the invested endowment funds grow up to $50 million over the next 15 years and be used for the retention and compensation of principals, teachers, and staff within diocesan schools.

Nonprofit announces largest single investment in Catholic school education history

Students from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. / Credit: Big Shoulders Fund

CNA Staff, Jun 15, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

The Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation, announced June 12 that it will be donating $150 million over the next 10 years to the Big Shoulders Fund, which will invest the funds in initiatives that aim to improve the quality, accessibility, and sustainability of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gary, Indiana.

This is the largest single investment in pre-K–12 Catholic education in history.

Driven by its founder’s vision, the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation supports “catalytic community projects and self-sustaining initiatives that cultivate a strong quality of life in Northwest Indiana and statewide,” according to its website.

The Big Shoulders Fund was founded in 1986 to ensure that children in Chicago’s most under-resourced areas could have access to quality, values-based education. In 2019, it was invited by civic leaders and philanthropic funding to replicate their work in Northwest Indiana by sharing its model with Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gary.

A student from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund
A student from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund

Bill Hanna, executive director of the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, told CNA that their hope is to “provide every student access to a high-quality, values-based education that creates strong academic and career outcomes.”

He added: “The primary focus of the investment will be on serving students and communities with the greatest amount of economic and educational need. We hope that this investment will develop the nation’s most effective network of outcomes-based Catholic schools.”

Bishop Robert J. McClory of the Diocese of Gary in a press release called the donation “a historic and transformative commitment from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, the largest single investment ever given for pre-K–12 Catholic education.”

“On behalf of all families who will benefit from this commitment, we are thankful and filled with great hope for the future. This is an enormous vote of confidence for Catholic education and the value of our individual schools,” he said. “I am honored by the continued commitment of the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, Big Shoulders Fund, and our community. This gift creates an opportunity for the Diocese of Gary to fulfill our mission even more vibrantly to support families and enhance our schools to become an extraordinary model of Catholic school education.” 

“We are eager to go forward and experience the impact this commitment and collaboration will have on the lives of our students, their families, our teachers, and our communities.”

McClory wrote in an email to CNA that this donation will give the diocese the “opportunity to help every student in our schools to excel” and hopes it will “inspire others to consider how they can support Catholic schools in their own communities and nationwide.”

Students and teachers from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund
Students and teachers from the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools. Credit: Big Shoulders Fund

In addition to serving students and communities with the greatest amount of economic and educational need in Northwest Indiana,  the investment will support initiatives that focus on curriculum development, teacher training, leadership development, infrastructure improvements, and student support services as well as new governance models, management structures, and assistance with enrollment and tuition management.

Colleen Brewer, Diocese of Gary superintendent of Catholic schools, told CNA: “A gift of this magnitude gives the Diocese of Gary the opportunity to open our doors to more students, serve our families in a deeper way, and be able to elevate our current success.” 

“Too often, finances are a barrier in doing what you want to do in a school,” she added. “Now we can identify the needs we are presented with and have the partners and resources to directly address those problems for the benefit of the students. This type of gift is a symbol of trust.”

Thanks to the resources and funding provided through this investment, Big Shoulders Fund will be able to provide accessible and transformative pre-K–12 education to at least 20 schools across four counties in the Diocese of Gary Catholic school network.

Additionally, the Diocese of Gary announced that it will establish an independent endowment with The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana, a nonprofit organization, by the end of the year. The hope is to have the invested endowment funds grow up to $50 million over the next 15 years and be used for the retention and compensation of principals, teachers, and staff within diocesan schools.

Through a pilgrim’s eyes: The Byzantine Divine Liturgy on the Eucharistic Pilgrimage route

Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. / Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Denver, Colo., Jun 15, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

About halfway through the western route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, the Perpetual Pilgrims took a quiet respite from the road on Saturday, June 8, to attend an age-old Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy in Denver.

Day-to-day, the perpetual pilgrims make their way across the U.S. by walking and driving, sometimes in a procession of cars, with the monstrance holding the Eucharistic Lord in the mobile chapel. 

In addition to their frequent stops at parishes, processions, and service activities, the pilgrims spend much of their time in adoration as the van drives across the country. The Junipero Serra Route began on the coast of California on May 18 and is set to reach Indianapolis in mid-July. 

When they reached Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church, the pilgrims stood with other parishioners and attendees on the rugs laid across the wood floors of the small church, listening to the chant and song.

Unassuming on the outside, the humble but beautiful interior is covered with golden icons and blanketed with detailed rugs for parishioners to stand on and sit during the homily. 

The pilgrimage so far

Jack Krebs, one of the Perpetual Pilgrims, said he joined the pilgrimage because he wanted to share Jesus in the Eucharist.

When asked what his daily life looks like as a pilgrim, he said it varies a lot, depending on the day, the parish, and the diocese. 

“But generally, it will be Mass in the morning and then a quick procession, and then we’ll drive, and we’ll have a driving procession,” he said. “Sometimes it’s with cars following. Other times it’s just having adoration in the van.”

Jack Krebs (right) and other perpetual pilgrims in the Communion line at a Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Jack Krebs (right) and other perpetual pilgrims in the Communion line at a Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Krebs said it can be difficult to stay focused depending on where they are driving. 

“Through the mountains and through the very beautiful areas, it’s easy to make that your prayer as you’re driving through and reading some of the Psalms,” he said. “It’s really easy to reflect in that way.”

“But there’s other times where you’re just driving through a city and there’s just so much distraction and ads and all this stuff,” he continued. “But it’s also unique because Jesus gets to just bless that place as you go.”

“If he’s really present here, then he will impact all these people,” Krebs continued. “I almost see it as Jesus walking around in Galilee, just laying his hands on people’s heads and blessing them whenever they encounter him.”

During the pilgrimage, Krebs said he has been taking inspiration from both the Psalms and the Gospels.

“The Gospel [stories] of Jesus walking around have been very profound because we’re living that — just walking around with Jesus,” he said. “Some people look on and are very struck. Some people think it’s weird.”

Father Joel Barstad, pastor at Holy Protection in Denver, processes with the Gospels before the Gospel reading during the Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Father Joel Barstad, pastor at Holy Protection in Denver, processes with the Gospels before the Gospel reading during the Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

“I feel like I’m in a way filling that role similar to what the Apostles did, of just walking along and bringing Jesus to the people,” he explained.

“I think the other thing is Jesus has reminded me that it’s not on me as a pilgrim to fix people. It’s not on me to carry this movement,” Krebs said. “It’s just on me to bring the people to him and bring him to the people and just let him do the heavy lifting, and let him take care of it.”

Father Joel Barstad processes from the altar through the church, a small room, with the gifts of bread and wine before the consecration during Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Father Joel Barstad processes from the altar through the church, a small room, with the gifts of bread and wine before the consecration during Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

The pilgrims not only spend a lot of time with Jesus but also with each other. Krebs said they are being more intentional about one-on-one time to help form deeper friendships.

Byzantine liturgy

Attending a Byzantine Catholic liturgy for the first time is very different from the Roman Catholic Mass, starting with the lack of pews.

Attendees stand reverently throughout most of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Attendees stand reverently throughout most of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

“I think [of] what Father said in the very beginning of the sacred liturgy, ‘If this is new to you, just let it wash over you,’” Krebs recalled. “I really like that he said that because it gave me a context in which to approach this.”

The Mass, called a Divine Liturgy, involves multiple processions around the crowded room with incense. Many parishioners will make the sign of the cross and a low bow, sometimes touching the floor. The Eucharist is given via intinction, where the small cubes of consecrated, leavened bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon.

Attendees of the  Byzantine Divine Liturgy sit on the floor during the homily at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Attendees of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy sit on the floor during the homily at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Young kids are invited to stand in the front while the priest reads the Gospel, and during the homily attendees sit crisscrossed on the ground while pews line the walls for those who need them.

Jack Krebs receives the Eucharist during a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. The Eucharist is given via “intinction,” where the small cubes of consecrated, leaven bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Jack Krebs receives the Eucharist during a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. The Eucharist is given via “intinction,” where the small cubes of consecrated, leaven bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

“I sat there and let the beauty of it wash over me and tried to be present to the beauty of the icons and the church architecture,” Krebs said. 

Nature and God 

Krebs, originally from Wisconsin, studied environmental science at the University of Nebraska. He went on the national pilgrimage after first hearing about it from a friend. 

“I think it just made my prayer become a lot more relational,” he said of the Eucharistic Revival. “I’ve been coming to know the gift of the Eucharist is a lot deeper.”

After the pilgrimage, Krebs will be working at Annunciation Heights, a program that runs outdoor Catholic camps for youths, families, and students in Estes Park, a town in the Colorado Rockies.

“I studied environmental science and water science in college, so praying or being close to the Lord in creation, or coming to know our Creator through that has been powerful,” he said.

Krebs mentioned taking inspiration from Psalms 121 and 122, which are the psalms that people would pray when making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. 

“[We’re] driving through the mountains and one of the Psalms uses the imagery, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so God’s love surrounds you,” he recalled. “And we’re driving through this canyon, and I’m thinking, if these mountains, if these rocks are God’s love, I’m just so safe here. Nothing can hurt me down here. It’s just so beautiful and you feel safe.”

Krebs shared another reflection that the pilgrimage has inspired, noting that images from the Psalms help convict him “of the deeper truth of God’s love, or his care for us, or his mystery, his grandeur, his smallness — all of it.”

“Because even as I’m driving by and I see this one little flower in the middle of the pasture, God knows that that flower is there, and he willed that that flower was there, and that flower is just glorifying him in its smallness,” he continued. “It’s going to live for a year, and then it’s going to die, and no one’s going to know about it — but God cares so much about the small things.” 

“And then I think also going through the cities where there’s more people, I think the image is Jesus is able to look on all these people and see them and bless them,” he continued. “Not that he doesn’t see them [already], but he’s being made physically present here because in such a real way.”

Through a pilgrim’s eyes: The Byzantine Divine Liturgy on the Eucharistic Pilgrimage route

Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. / Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Denver, Colo., Jun 15, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

About halfway through the western route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, the Perpetual Pilgrims took a quiet respite from the road on Saturday, June 8, to attend an age-old Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy in Denver.

Day-to-day, the perpetual pilgrims make their way across the U.S. by walking and driving, sometimes in a procession of cars, with the monstrance holding the Eucharistic Lord in the mobile chapel. 

In addition to their frequent stops at parishes, processions, and service activities, the pilgrims spend much of their time in adoration as the van drives across the country. The Junipero Serra Route began on the coast of California on May 18 and is set to reach Indianapolis in mid-July. 

When they reached Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church, the pilgrims stood with other parishioners and attendees on the rugs laid across the wood floors of the small church, listening to the chant and song.

Unassuming on the outside, the humble but beautiful interior is covered with golden icons and blanketed with detailed rugs for parishioners to stand on and sit during the homily. 

The pilgrimage so far

Jack Krebs, one of the Perpetual Pilgrims, said he joined the pilgrimage because he wanted to share Jesus in the Eucharist.

When asked what his daily life looks like as a pilgrim, he said it varies a lot, depending on the day, the parish, and the diocese. 

“But generally, it will be Mass in the morning and then a quick procession, and then we’ll drive, and we’ll have a driving procession,” he said. “Sometimes it’s with cars following. Other times it’s just having adoration in the van.”

Jack Krebs (right) and other perpetual pilgrims in the Communion line at a Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Jack Krebs (right) and other perpetual pilgrims in the Communion line at a Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Krebs said it can be difficult to stay focused depending on where they are driving. 

“Through the mountains and through the very beautiful areas, it’s easy to make that your prayer as you’re driving through and reading some of the Psalms,” he said. “It’s really easy to reflect in that way.”

“But there’s other times where you’re just driving through a city and there’s just so much distraction and ads and all this stuff,” he continued. “But it’s also unique because Jesus gets to just bless that place as you go.”

“If he’s really present here, then he will impact all these people,” Krebs continued. “I almost see it as Jesus walking around in Galilee, just laying his hands on people’s heads and blessing them whenever they encounter him.”

During the pilgrimage, Krebs said he has been taking inspiration from both the Psalms and the Gospels.

“The Gospel [stories] of Jesus walking around have been very profound because we’re living that — just walking around with Jesus,” he said. “Some people look on and are very struck. Some people think it’s weird.”

Father Joel Barstad, pastor at Holy Protection in Denver, processes with the Gospels before the Gospel reading during the Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Father Joel Barstad, pastor at Holy Protection in Denver, processes with the Gospels before the Gospel reading during the Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

“I feel like I’m in a way filling that role similar to what the Apostles did, of just walking along and bringing Jesus to the people,” he explained.

“I think the other thing is Jesus has reminded me that it’s not on me as a pilgrim to fix people. It’s not on me to carry this movement,” Krebs said. “It’s just on me to bring the people to him and bring him to the people and just let him do the heavy lifting, and let him take care of it.”

Father Joel Barstad processes from the altar through the church, a small room, with the gifts of bread and wine before the consecration during Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Father Joel Barstad processes from the altar through the church, a small room, with the gifts of bread and wine before the consecration during Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

The pilgrims not only spend a lot of time with Jesus but also with each other. Krebs said they are being more intentional about one-on-one time to help form deeper friendships.

Byzantine liturgy

Attending a Byzantine Catholic liturgy for the first time is very different from the Roman Catholic Mass, starting with the lack of pews.

Attendees stand reverently throughout most of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Attendees stand reverently throughout most of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

“I think [of] what Father said in the very beginning of the sacred liturgy, ‘If this is new to you, just let it wash over you,’” Krebs recalled. “I really like that he said that because it gave me a context in which to approach this.”

The Mass, called a Divine Liturgy, involves multiple processions around the crowded room with incense. Many parishioners will make the sign of the cross and a low bow, sometimes touching the floor. The Eucharist is given via intinction, where the small cubes of consecrated, leavened bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon.

Attendees of the  Byzantine Divine Liturgy sit on the floor during the homily at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Attendees of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy sit on the floor during the homily at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Young kids are invited to stand in the front while the priest reads the Gospel, and during the homily attendees sit crisscrossed on the ground while pews line the walls for those who need them.

Jack Krebs receives the Eucharist during a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. The Eucharist is given via “intinction,” where the small cubes of consecrated, leaven bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Jack Krebs receives the Eucharist during a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. The Eucharist is given via “intinction,” where the small cubes of consecrated, leaven bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

“I sat there and let the beauty of it wash over me and tried to be present to the beauty of the icons and the church architecture,” Krebs said. 

Nature and God 

Krebs, originally from Wisconsin, studied environmental science at the University of Nebraska. He went on the national pilgrimage after first hearing about it from a friend. 

“I think it just made my prayer become a lot more relational,” he said of the Eucharistic Revival. “I’ve been coming to know the gift of the Eucharist is a lot deeper.”

After the pilgrimage, Krebs will be working at Annunciation Heights, a program that runs outdoor Catholic camps for youths, families, and students in Estes Park, a town in the Colorado Rockies.

“I studied environmental science and water science in college, so praying or being close to the Lord in creation, or coming to know our Creator through that has been powerful,” he said.

Krebs mentioned taking inspiration from Psalms 121 and 122, which are the psalms that people would pray when making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. 

“[We’re] driving through the mountains and one of the Psalms uses the imagery, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so God’s love surrounds you,” he recalled. “And we’re driving through this canyon, and I’m thinking, if these mountains, if these rocks are God’s love, I’m just so safe here. Nothing can hurt me down here. It’s just so beautiful and you feel safe.”

Krebs shared another reflection that the pilgrimage has inspired, noting that images from the Psalms help convict him “of the deeper truth of God’s love, or his care for us, or his mystery, his grandeur, his smallness — all of it.”

“Because even as I’m driving by and I see this one little flower in the middle of the pasture, God knows that that flower is there, and he willed that that flower was there, and that flower is just glorifying him in its smallness,” he continued. “It’s going to live for a year, and then it’s going to die, and no one’s going to know about it — but God cares so much about the small things.” 

“And then I think also going through the cities where there’s more people, I think the image is Jesus is able to look on all these people and see them and bless them,” he continued. “Not that he doesn’t see them [already], but he’s being made physically present here because in such a real way.”

Joe Biden meets with Pope Francis at G7 Summit to discuss foreign policy, climate change

Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. / Credit: Vatican Media

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 14, 2024 / 17:55 pm (CNA).

President Joe Biden privately met with Pope Francis early Friday evening in Apulia, Italy, at the Group of Seven (G7) Summit to discuss foreign policy and climate change.

Francis is the first pope to address the G7 summit, which is an annual meeting of government leaders from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy. The European Union also participates but is not an official member.

Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media
Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media

In a statement following the meeting, the White House said both leaders “emphasized the urgent need for an immediate cease-fire and a hostage deal” in Gaza and the need to “address the critical humanitarian crisis.”

The statement added that “Biden thanked Pope Francis for the Vatican’s work to address the humanitarian impacts of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, including his efforts to help return kidnapped Ukrainian children to their families.”

“President Biden also reaffirmed his deep appreciation for the pope’s tireless advocacy for the poor and those suffering from persecution, the effects of climate change, and conflict around the world,” according to the statement.

In the morning, prior to the meeting, a senior Biden administration official said during a press teleconference that Biden planned to discuss issues in the Middle East and Ukraine with the pontiff. On Ukraine, the official said “the Holy See has been actively engaged” on this issue. 

“Cardinal [Matteo] Zuppi, in particular, has been an envoy working to return Ukrainian children who have been forcibly deported across the border, separated from their families,” the official added. “Of course, it’s one of the huge tragedies of this war. And the Holy See has also been engaged in trying to promote a peace agreement.”

The official said Biden would also discuss climate change, “which is an issue that is near and dear to both leaders.”

“Of course, the president’s plan for adaptation and resilience, which was launched in November of 2021, is an important effort to deal with climate change, as is the multilateral Loss and Damage Fund to which the United States has contributed $17.5 million, an important effort to mitigate some of the effects of climate change,” the official said.

Before the scheduled meeting, Biden and other leaders briefly greeted Francis when he arrived at the summit to address officials about concerns related to artificial intelligence (AI). The pontiff, who has called for global regulations on AI, expressed apprehensions about AI becoming a tool for war and cautioned against relying too much on AI without human input during his address. Francis has promoted global regulations to ensure AI is used to advance the common good.

The senior administration official said during the teleconference that Biden would also likely discuss AI with Francis — an issue that has been important to the pontiff over the past year. 

“I’ll just say on AI, I think we are both interested in responsible use of artificial intelligence, preserving human dignity and human rights,” the official said. “And so they’ll have a chance to get into that.”

The White House statement following the meeting, however, did not mention AI. 

Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media
Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media

Biden previously met with Francis in October 2021 for about 75 minutes to discuss poverty, climate change, and other issues. That was Biden’s first in-person meeting with the pontiff as president, but the two leaders also spoke on the phone shortly after the presidential election. Biden and Francis also spoke on the phone in October 2023 to discuss the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Biden had met Francis three times before becoming president.

The president claimed in 2021 after the two met in person that Francis told him he “was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion.” The Vatican declined to comment on whether Francis made those comments. However, in July 2022, Francis criticized Biden for the president’s support of abortion, saying that it is an “incoherence” for a Catholic to be in favor of legal abortion.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been at odds with the Biden administration over issues related to abortion and gender ideology. The bishops also criticized the president’s recent border security measures.

Joe Biden meets with Pope Francis at G7 Summit to discuss foreign policy, climate change

Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. / Credit: Vatican Media

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 14, 2024 / 17:55 pm (CNA).

President Joe Biden privately met with Pope Francis early Friday evening in Apulia, Italy, at the Group of Seven (G7) Summit to discuss foreign policy and climate change.

Francis is the first pope to address the G7 summit, which is an annual meeting of government leaders from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy. The European Union also participates but is not an official member.

Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media
Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media

In a statement following the meeting, the White House said both leaders “emphasized the urgent need for an immediate cease-fire and a hostage deal” in Gaza and the need to “address the critical humanitarian crisis.”

The statement added that “Biden thanked Pope Francis for the Vatican’s work to address the humanitarian impacts of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, including his efforts to help return kidnapped Ukrainian children to their families.”

“President Biden also reaffirmed his deep appreciation for the pope’s tireless advocacy for the poor and those suffering from persecution, the effects of climate change, and conflict around the world,” according to the statement.

In the morning, prior to the meeting, a senior Biden administration official said during a press teleconference that Biden planned to discuss issues in the Middle East and Ukraine with the pontiff. On Ukraine, the official said “the Holy See has been actively engaged” on this issue. 

“Cardinal [Matteo] Zuppi, in particular, has been an envoy working to return Ukrainian children who have been forcibly deported across the border, separated from their families,” the official added. “Of course, it’s one of the huge tragedies of this war. And the Holy See has also been engaged in trying to promote a peace agreement.”

The official said Biden would also discuss climate change, “which is an issue that is near and dear to both leaders.”

“Of course, the president’s plan for adaptation and resilience, which was launched in November of 2021, is an important effort to deal with climate change, as is the multilateral Loss and Damage Fund to which the United States has contributed $17.5 million, an important effort to mitigate some of the effects of climate change,” the official said.

Before the scheduled meeting, Biden and other leaders briefly greeted Francis when he arrived at the summit to address officials about concerns related to artificial intelligence (AI). The pontiff, who has called for global regulations on AI, expressed apprehensions about AI becoming a tool for war and cautioned against relying too much on AI without human input during his address. Francis has promoted global regulations to ensure AI is used to advance the common good.

The senior administration official said during the teleconference that Biden would also likely discuss AI with Francis — an issue that has been important to the pontiff over the past year. 

“I’ll just say on AI, I think we are both interested in responsible use of artificial intelligence, preserving human dignity and human rights,” the official said. “And so they’ll have a chance to get into that.”

The White House statement following the meeting, however, did not mention AI. 

Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media
Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, June 14, 2024, after a session at the G7 summit, which is being held June 13–15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Credit: Vatican Media

Biden previously met with Francis in October 2021 for about 75 minutes to discuss poverty, climate change, and other issues. That was Biden’s first in-person meeting with the pontiff as president, but the two leaders also spoke on the phone shortly after the presidential election. Biden and Francis also spoke on the phone in October 2023 to discuss the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Biden had met Francis three times before becoming president.

The president claimed in 2021 after the two met in person that Francis told him he “was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion.” The Vatican declined to comment on whether Francis made those comments. However, in July 2022, Francis criticized Biden for the president’s support of abortion, saying that it is an “incoherence” for a Catholic to be in favor of legal abortion.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been at odds with the Biden administration over issues related to abortion and gender ideology. The bishops also criticized the president’s recent border security measures.

U.S. bishops vote to take first steps to declare Adele Brise a saint

Adele Brise. / Credit: National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion

Louisville, Ky., Jun 14, 2024 / 17:35 pm (CNA).

The U.S. Catholic bishops voted on Friday to begin the process of officially declaring Adele Brise a saint. Brise, an immigrant from Belgium living in northern Wisconsin, witnessed the first and only approved Marian apparition in the United States in 1859.

In a unanimous voice vote at their spring general assembly held in Louisville, Kentucky, the bishops gave their approval to advancing on the local level the cause of beatification and canonization of Brise.

In 2022, the Vatican gave its formal stamp of approval to the apparitions Brise witnessed, recognizing the newly named National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion in Champion, Wisconsin, as an approved apparition site. 

Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, who initiated the formal investigation into the apparitions, told CNA the number of pilgrims traveling to the shrine has increased from 10,000 a year to over 200,000 a year today since the apparitions were approved. 

“The Blessed Mother is calling people to come to the shrine to experience the peace there, the simplicity, the basics of the Gospel, the catechism are exposed there,” Ricken said.

Our Lady of Champion is the patroness of the Northern Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. The pilgrimage will be stopping at the shrine on June 16 on its way to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.

A saint for our times

On Oct. 9, 1859, the Belgian-born Brise reported seeing the first of three apparitions of the Virgin Mary while walking in the woods in Champion, Wisconsin. 

Brise, who was 28 at the time, saw a woman dressed in white and wearing a crown of gold stars who asked her to pray for the conversion of sinners and teach children about the faith.

Brise immediately set out to visit families within a 50-mile radius of her home to share the Gospel with them and teach them the catechism. They were Belgian immigrants like herself, but unlike Brise, they had lost their faith since coming to America.

“She’s really current for now because we’re facing the same problems. People not knowing the faith, people having fallen away from the Church. She’s a model for us of what it means to be an evangelizing catechist. She’s very pertinent for today as well,” Ricken said.

“From the moment of the apparitions, Adele furiously traveled the wild country of northeast Wisconsin, teaching children. She would go so far as to do the household chores for the families in exchange for simply having some time to instruct the children,” Ricken said.

Brise went on to gather other women to help her with her mission and establish a school house and convent. Brise’s father built a chapel at the site of the apparitions, which eventually became a shrine to Our Lady of Good Help. The name was taken from the words the Blessed Mother said to Brise: “I will help you.”

What did the Blessed Mother say to Brise?

After Brise reported seeing the first apparition, her parish priest advised that if she were to appear again she should ask: “In God’s name, who are you and what do you want of me?”

“I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received holy Communion this morning and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them,” the apparition said.

According to the shrine’s website, the apparition “gazed kindly” upon Brise and her companions (who could not see her) and said: “Blessed are they that believe without seeing.” Then, looking toward Brise, the Queen of Heaven asked: “What are you doing here in idleness while your companions are working in the vineyard of my Son?”

“What more can I do, dear Lady?” Brise asked, weeping.

“Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.”

“But how shall I teach them who know so little myself?” Brise said.

“Teach them their catechism,” the woman in white replied, “how to sign themselves with the sign of the cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing; I will help you.”

Possible miracles

In his address to his fellow bishops, Ricken shared the testimonies of people who said they had received healing thanks to the intercession of Brise.

Candidates for beatification and canonization normally require two miracles attributed to their intercession as well as evidence that they were holy and virtuous.

“As we examine Adele’s life more closely and gather testimonies of people who attest to the life of the growing virtue and possession of Adele, two stories of healing speak out to the most,” Ricken said.

He recounted the story of a woman named Sharon, who while hospitalized for depression saw a vision of a woman she believed to be Brise who gave her the will to live a joyful life of faith.

The second person to testify, a man named John, was diagnosed in 2018 with colorectal cancer, which had metastasized to his lungs. He received what he believes to be a miraculous cure after he prayed for Brise’s intercession.  

“As of January 2022, I was declared with no evidence of disease, and I have been without cancer detected through my last scans all the way through April 2024,” Ricken quoted the man’s testimony. 

“I pray every day, and I’m convinced that my visit to the Champion Shrine, my deepening relationship with Mary through Adele, has really blessed me,” the bishop quoted John as saying.