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New Wyoming law restricts girls’ sports to biological girls

null / Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Mar 21, 2023 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

Beginning on July 1, only biological girls will be allowed to participate in seventh- through 12th-grade girls’ athletic competitions in Wyoming, per a new law adopted in the state.

The legislation requires schools that participate in interscholastic sports competitions to clearly designate programs as male, female, or coed. Those designations will be based on a student’s biological sex, even if the student identifies as a different gender. The law defines sex as “the biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.”

When the legislation goes into effect, biological male students who identify as girls will not be allowed to participate in female-designated athletic competitions. Biological males will only be allowed to participate in male-designated or coed athletics. Biological girls will not have the same restrictions put on them and will be able to participate in any athletic competition.

“A student of the male sex shall not compete, and a public school shall not allow a student of the male sex to compete, in an athletic activity or team designated for students of the female sex,” the legislation reads.

The bill overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Legislature, which are heavily controlled by Republicans. The bill passed the House 51-10 and the Senate 27-3. All five House Democrats and five House Republicans opposed the bill. Both Senate Democrats and one Senate Republican also opposed the bill.

Although Republican Gov. Mark Gordon allowed the legislation to become law, he did so without signing the bill. Despite objecting to the bill, the Legislature would have likely had the votes to override a veto if the governor had decided to go against it.

In a letter to Secretary of State Chuck Gray, the governor said he believed the bill was “well-meaning as a way to protect the integrity and fairness of women’s sports,” but thought it would have been better handled on a case-by-case basis because of how seldom this affects athletics in the state.

“With only four known transgender students competing in school athletics out of 91,000 students total, this seems to call for individualized considerations, where families, students, teams, and others can thoughtfully address specific circumstances rather than such a punitive, ostracizing broad-brush approach,” Gordon said in the letter.

Wyoming will be the 19th state to restrict female athletics competitions to only biologically female athletes.

New Wyoming law restricts girls’ sports to biological girls

null / Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Mar 21, 2023 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

Beginning on July 1, only biological girls will be allowed to participate in seventh- through 12th-grade girls’ athletic competitions in Wyoming, per a new law adopted in the state.

The legislation requires schools that participate in interscholastic sports competitions to clearly designate programs as male, female, or coed. Those designations will be based on a student’s biological sex, even if the student identifies as a different gender. The law defines sex as “the biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.”

When the legislation goes into effect, biological male students who identify as girls will not be allowed to participate in female-designated athletic competitions. Biological males will only be allowed to participate in male-designated or coed athletics. Biological girls will not have the same restrictions put on them and will be able to participate in any athletic competition.

“A student of the male sex shall not compete, and a public school shall not allow a student of the male sex to compete, in an athletic activity or team designated for students of the female sex,” the legislation reads.

The bill overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Legislature, which are heavily controlled by Republicans. The bill passed the House 51-10 and the Senate 27-3. All five House Democrats and five House Republicans opposed the bill. Both Senate Democrats and one Senate Republican also opposed the bill.

Although Republican Gov. Mark Gordon allowed the legislation to become law, he did so without signing the bill. Despite objecting to the bill, the Legislature would have likely had the votes to override a veto if the governor had decided to go against it.

In a letter to Secretary of State Chuck Gray, the governor said he believed the bill was “well-meaning as a way to protect the integrity and fairness of women’s sports,” but thought it would have been better handled on a case-by-case basis because of how seldom this affects athletics in the state.

“With only four known transgender students competing in school athletics out of 91,000 students total, this seems to call for individualized considerations, where families, students, teams, and others can thoughtfully address specific circumstances rather than such a punitive, ostracizing broad-brush approach,” Gordon said in the letter.

Wyoming will be the 19th state to restrict female athletics competitions to only biologically female athletes.

Benedict’s personal secretary searches for five cousins who are heirs of the late pontiff

Archbishop Georg Gänswein was the personal secretary of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. / Credit: ACI Press

Rome, Italy, Mar 21, 2023 / 14:30 pm (CNA).

Five German cousins of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI are the direct heirs to his personal property, the pope’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, told Italian media after a Mass celebrated in Rome on Sunday at Santa Maria Consolatrice parish, Cardinal Ratzinger’s titular church.

Benedict XVI died Dec. 31, 2022.

The archbishop explained that he thought there were two direct heirs. However, he was surprised to learn that there are three more, hitherto unknown. “This has been very interesting for me. I thought he had two relatives, two cousins, but there are five cousins in total,” he said.

“By law I have to write to the cousins who are the closest relatives, and also by law I have to ask them: ‘Do you accept the inheritance or do you not accept it?’” he told various Italian national media.

In addition, in a statement to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, Gänswein noted that “other personal items, from watches to pens, from paintings to liturgical items, were included in a list meticulously drawn up by Benedict XVI before he died.”

He recounted that part of these personal items have been delivered to people close to him: “He hasn’t forgotten anyone; collaborators, secretaries, seminarians, students, drivers, parish priests, friends.”

Gänswein also explained that the rights to his books will remain with the Vatican and a portion of them will go to the Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation.

Personal documents destroyed

As for the most personal documents of the pope emeritus, such as letters and notes, his former secretary confirmed that according to the will of Benedict XVI, they have been destroyed.

Gänswein clarified that there are no longer any unpublished writings of the pope emeritus and that Benedict XVI’s last book is “What Is Christianity?” published posthumously in January.

“A shame? Yes, I told him that, too, but he gave me this instruction, there is no going back. There are no unpublished writings left,” Gänswein affirmed.

Finally, he spoke about his future and noted that “the Catholic Church is vast geographically, but also culturally.”

“Pope Francis has not yet given me any responsibilities. He must reflect and then he will tell me. I am available for the Church, and I am loyal and faithful,” he concluded.

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

Beautiful new film on Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is a ‘perfect Lenten meditation’

"Santiago: The Camino Within" is being released for one day only on March 28, 2023. / YouTube/Fathom Events

Boston, Mass., Mar 21, 2023 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

A new film that takes moviegoers along on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain is being released in theaters for one day only on March 28.

The Camino de Santiago, also known as “The Way of St. James,” is a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage route through Spain that leads to the Cathedral of Santiago located in the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The cathedral is traditionally held to be the burial place of St. James the Apostle.

Today thousands of pilgrims continue to make the pilgrimage, sometimes traversing hundreds of miles on their way to Santiago. 

Produced by Ahava Productions, “Santiago: The Camino Within” is narrated by Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, who leads pilgrims on the physically arduous journey. Distributed by Fathom Events, the film is meant to inspire the viewer to embark on their own journey with God.

“Of course, this narration is ultimately about God and the human quest for him but lavishly shows how delightfully varied that universal search actually is,” Hying said in a February press release. 

Additionally, the pilgrims in the film share with the viewer their spiritual journeys while on the trail. The beauty of the scenery is captured in the film and can be seen in the trailer below. 

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, who has traveled the route three times, said that the movie is “the best film on the Camino I have seen to date.”

“It is a perfect Lenten meditation,” Conley said. 

“The film is beautifully done. The music, the cinematography, the spirituality, and the Catholicity is second to none,” Conley said in a follow-up video. 

“It will inspire you to know more about this ancient pilgrimage and even to make it yourself if you feel up to it,” he added. “It’s very well done, and I encourage everyone to go see it,” he said.

The film is being shown in both English and Spanish in 763 theaters across the country. 

For locations and showtimes, visit Fathom Events’ website

Beautiful new film on Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is a ‘perfect Lenten meditation’

"Santiago: The Camino Within" is being released for one day only on March 28, 2023. / YouTube/Fathom Events

Boston, Mass., Mar 21, 2023 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

A new film that takes moviegoers along on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain is being released in theaters for one day only on March 28.

The Camino de Santiago, also known as “The Way of St. James,” is a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage route through Spain that leads to the Cathedral of Santiago located in the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The cathedral is traditionally held to be the burial place of St. James the Apostle.

Today thousands of pilgrims continue to make the pilgrimage, sometimes traversing hundreds of miles on their way to Santiago. 

Produced by Ahava Productions, “Santiago: The Camino Within” is narrated by Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, who leads pilgrims on the physically arduous journey. Distributed by Fathom Events, the film is meant to inspire the viewer to embark on their own journey with God.

“Of course, this narration is ultimately about God and the human quest for him but lavishly shows how delightfully varied that universal search actually is,” Hying said in a February press release. 

Additionally, the pilgrims in the film share with the viewer their spiritual journeys while on the trail. The beauty of the scenery is captured in the film and can be seen in the trailer below. 

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, who has traveled the route three times, said that the movie is “the best film on the Camino I have seen to date.”

“It is a perfect Lenten meditation,” Conley said. 

“The film is beautifully done. The music, the cinematography, the spirituality, and the Catholicity is second to none,” Conley said in a follow-up video. 

“It will inspire you to know more about this ancient pilgrimage and even to make it yourself if you feel up to it,” he added. “It’s very well done, and I encourage everyone to go see it,” he said.

The film is being shown in both English and Spanish in 763 theaters across the country. 

For locations and showtimes, visit Fathom Events’ website

Disney doc features Pope Francis’ talk with Gen Z on LGBTQ issues, abortion, and more

"The Pope Answers" airs on Hulu on April 5, 2023. / Hulu

Washington D.C., Mar 21, 2023 / 13:30 pm (CNA).

Disney will release a new documentary April 5 titled “The Pope Answers,” airing an extended conversation between Pope Francis and 10 members of Generation Z, discussing the Church’s stance on LGBTQ+ issues, abortion, clergy abuse, feminism, and more.

Shot in Rome and directed by left-leaning Spanish filmmakers Jordi Évole and Marius Sanchez, the documentary is entirely in Spanish and will be released exclusively on Hulu in the U.S.

Évole’s production company Producciones del Barrio (Neighborhood Productions) is known for such documentaries as “Mr. Trump, Pardon the Interruption,” investigating the impact of Trump’s border policies on Hispanic communities, and “What You Give Me,” which explores the meaning of life with the late Spanish musician Pau Dones.

Évole is also known for hosting, directing, and producing the Spanish news show “Salvados” (“Saved,” 2008-2019), which sparked controversy for its criticism and satiric humor directed at the Catholic Church. In one episode, Évole visited Opus Dei’s Torreciudad Shrine and was filmed serving as an altar boy at Mass.

The trailer for “The Pope Answers,” which you can watch here, shows an informal conversation between Francis and a small group of young people discussing some of the Church’s most controversial positions and some of society’s most difficult problems.

Among the questions fielded by the pope:

“Do you know what a nonbinary person is?” 

“If I weren’t a feminist, would being a Christian be better?” 

“What do we do with these women [who have had abortions], in the Church, as an institution?”

At the end of the conversation, Francis says: “I’ve learned a lot from you, it’s done me a lot of good and I thank you for what you’ve done.”

In a joint statement published March 15, directors Évole and Sanchez said the documentary presented “a unique opportunity to bring together two worlds that normally do not touch, to see one of the most influential people in the world have a dialogue with a group of young adults whose lives sometimes clash head-on with the postulates of the Church.”

This is not the first time Évole has worked with Francis. Some of the pope’s most well-known statements have been from interviews with Évole.

In a 2019 interview on Évole’s “Salvados” show, Francis clarified the Church’s position that homosexual “tendencies are not sin … sin is acting, of thought, word, and deed, with freedom.”

Speaking on Évole’s pandemic-era show “The Évole Thing” in 2020, the pope likened the coronavirus to nature “giving us a jolt to take charge of taking care of nature.”

“There’s a saying that you surely know: God always forgives, we forgive now and then, nature never forgives, fires, floods, earthquakes,” he said.

In an extended one-on-one interview with Évole in 2019, Francis stood firm on his position that abortion can never be acceptable at any point, even in the cases of rape. 

Francis told Évole he could understand the desperation the woman in such a scenario might feel, but that “it is not lawful to eliminate a human life to solve a problem.”

“Is it permissible to eliminate a human life to solve a problem? Is it permissible to hire someone to eliminate [the child]?” Pope Francis asked.

Oakland Diocese considers filing for bankruptcy with 330 abuse lawsuits pending

null / Minerva Studio/Shutterstock

Denver, Colo., Mar 21, 2023 / 08:56 am (CNA).

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland is considering filing for bankruptcy as it prepares to respond to hundreds of lawsuits concerning decades-old sex abuse incidents in what the local bishop called a “monumental challenge.”

“Since the closing of the filing window on Dec. 31, 2022, we have been informed there may be approximately 330 lawsuits filed against our diocese,” Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, said in a March 16 letter to parishioners and friends of the Diocese of Oakland. “As the court continues to process the lawsuits, the total magnitude will become clearer. However, it is increasingly evident we face a monumental challenge.”

“I want to let you know the diocese is giving strong consideration to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” the bishop said. “After much prayer and thoughtful advice, I believe bankruptcy can provide a way to support all survivors in their journey toward healing in an equitable and comprehensive way. It will also allow the diocese to reorganize our financial affairs so we may continue to fulfill the sacred mission entrusted to us by Christ and the Church.”

The state of California passed legislation that grants a three-year exemption to the statute of limitations on sexual abuse lawsuits. The legal window began Jan. 1, 2020, and ended Jan. 2, 2023.

Though the diocese believes there may be about 330 lawsuits pending, only three of the filed lawsuits concern incidents alleged to have taken place in the last two decades, the Oakland Diocese said on its website.

“Most claims are about abuse that allegedly occurred in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s,” the Oakland Diocese said on its website. “Almost every case relates to abuse alleged to have occurred prior to 2003.”

The late Bishop Floyd Begin, who became the first bishop of the Diocese of Oakland in 1962, is among the newly accused, NBC Bay Area reported in February. A December 2022 lawsuit accuses him of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl once in 1968. Begin, a former auxiliary bishop of Cleveland, died in 1977 at the age of 75.

“While these are ‘old’ cases, for some survivors of abuse, the pain of abuse does not subside and can be as immediate as when the abuse occurred. They are not at fault,” the diocese said. “Those individuals who perpetrated these grievous sins and crimes brought us to where we are today.”

The Oakland Diocese website lists 65 “credibly accused” priests, deacons, and vowed religious. It lists 21 Oakland Diocese priests, 36 priests and deacons from other dioceses or from religious orders, and eight religious brothers who lived in the diocese.

The recent lawsuits contain accusations against more than 30 members of the clergy who are not on the list, according to NBC Bay Area News. Some alleged abusers in the lawsuits are lay church employees, including teachers and coaches, and a handful of nuns.

Barber said he has been working with the diocese’s College of Consultors, its finance council, and other staff and advisers to “discern the best way to support compassionate and equitable compensation for survivors and ensure the continuation of vibrant, Christ-centered parishes to serve our faithful.”

He noted that the lawsuits will directly impact the diocese’s reorganization effort, called the Mission Alignment Process, which aims to respond to declining Mass attendance, baptisms, vocations to the priesthood, and other changes.

Barber characterized the possible bankruptcy decision as “an important moment in our journey toward rebuilding Christ’s Church.” He asked parishioners and friends of the Oakland Diocese for their support.

“In this Lenten season, let us pray for one another, that we may embrace God’s redemptive love. Mindful that he has promised to remain with his Church forever, we seek his divine mercy and take comfort in the sure promise of Christ’s resurrection.”

The diocese said it is likely that it does not have enough funds to address all the legal claims and legal costs. It has limited cash reserves and insurance could cover the costs of some claims, as could the sale of underused, noncritical assets.

There is no deadline for a bankruptcy decision. If the diocese files for bankruptcy, most daily operations of the diocese, its parishes, and its schools will not change.

The diocese rejected the idea that bankruptcy is a way to minimize its responsibilities to abuse survivors. A Chapter 11 filing will allow all claimants “equal access and an equitable share in the assets available to pay claims,” working through a court-sanctioned, public, and transparent process.

The Diocese of Oakland stressed its efforts to safeguard children and vulnerable adults through education, prevention training, and screening of clergy, employees, and volunteers.

California’s window for sex abuse lawsuits has affected other Catholic dioceses. In February, Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego announced that his diocese could have to resort to a declaration of bankruptcy in 2023 to manage the cost of hundreds of new abuse claims.

Earlier this month California’s smallest diocese, the Diocese of Santa Rosa, said it intends to file for bankruptcy. The diocese said at least 160 claims had been filed against it, with more than 200 possible. More than 115 cases concern incidents dating back more than 30 years, and some more than 60 years ago.

More than two dozen U.S. dioceses, including two in U.S. overseas territories, have entered into bankruptcy proceedings, the vast majority in the past decade. California’s Diocese of Stockton went through a three-year bankruptcy period from 2014 to 2017.

Maryland Senate passes bill to end statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits

Maryland state capital building, Annapolis. Via Shutterstock. / null

Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

Legislation that would end the statute of limitations for lawsuits against entities that are accused of negligence involving incidents of child sexual abuse overwhelmingly passed the Maryland Senate last week. 

The bill, sponsored by Sen. William C. Smith, D-Montgomery, passed the Senate in a 42-5 vote. The proposed legislation was sent to the House of Delegates, where it has been referred to the Judiciary Committee. The House has already passed a version of the same bill.

The Maryland Catholic Conference criticized the bill for its unequal treatment of private groups, Crux reported. The legislation creates a different set of rules for public entities than it does for private entities.

The legislation would fully eliminate the statute of limitations for a victim to file a lawsuit related to child sexual abuse against private and public entities. The proposed bill would cap the amount of money that victims could receive but at different levels, depending on whether the lawsuit is filed against a private or a public entity. 

A victim who sues a public entity, such as a public school, could be awarded up to $890,000, according to the proposed legislation. However, a victim who sues a private entity, such as a Catholic Church, could be awarded up to $1.5 million, which is nearly 70% more than public entities.

The legislation would also be retroactive, which means victims could file lawsuits against entities even if the current statute of limitations has already passed. The current statute of limitations for suing entities is seven years from the day before the victim’s 18th birthday. For lawsuits against direct offenders, the statute of limitations is 20 years after the person turns 18. 

“These bills treat public and private institutions differently by setting a lower ceiling on how much a public school board, for example, could be sued compared to a private institution such as a parish or nonpublic school,” the Maryland Catholic Conference told Crux. “This creates two classes of survivors and greatly increases the financial harm to the Church and its ministries.”

In the email to the news outlet, the conference also criticized the unlimited window. 

“The draconian provision of an unlimited window for currently time-barred civil cases to be filed, regardless of when they occurred, is nearly unprecedented among similar laws passed in other states,” the email read.

Similar rules in other states have financially damaged dioceses throughout the country over abuse allegations that span a half of a century or more. Last week, the Diocese of Albany filed for bankruptcy after settling more than 50 lawsuits, some of which date back to the 1970s. The Diocese of Oakland may need to declare bankruptcy for similar reasons. 

And last week a Maryland judge approved the release of the attorney general’s sexual abuse investigation into the Diocese of Baltimore. This investigation spans 80 years. 

U.S. bishops: Catholic health care providers shouldn’t perform ‘gender transition’ procedures

null / Image credit: ADragan/Shutterstock

CNA Newsroom, Mar 20, 2023 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The U.S. Catholic bishops released a statement Monday offering moral guidance for Catholic health care institutions, reiterating that “gender transition” interventions are not to be performed because they do not respect the fact that God has created each person as a unity of body and soul. 

“The body is not an object, a mere tool at the disposal of the soul, one that each person may dispose of according to his or her own will, but it is a constitutive part of the human subject, a gift to be received, respected, and cared for as something intrinsic to the person,” the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine wrote.

“As the range of what we can do expands, we must ask what we should or should not do. An indispensable criterion in making such determinations is the fundamental order of the created world. Our use of technology must respect that order.”

To that end, the bishops wrote, “Catholic health care services must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures.”

“They must employ all appropriate resources to mitigate the suffering of those who struggle with gender incongruence, but the means used must respect the fundamental order of the human body. Only by using morally appropriate means do health care providers show full respect for the dignity of each human person.”

The March 20 statement, titled “Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body,” is intended, the bishops say, to provide moral criteria for Catholic health care institutions for discerning which medical interventions promote the authentic good of the human person and which are injurious. The bishops said they developed the statement in consultation with medical ethicists, physicians, psychologists, and moral theologians. 

The bishops note that modern technology offers chemical, surgical, and genetic interventions for the functioning of the human body as well as for modifying its appearance. There are two scenarios, they said, whereby “technological interventions” can be morally justified: when they are aimed at repairing a defect in the body or sacrificing a part of the body for the sake of the whole, such as with amputation. These kinds of interventions “respect the fundamental order and finality inherent in the human person.”

However, gender transition surgeries “regards this order as unsatisfactory in some way and proposes a more desirable order, a redesigned order,” and thus are not morally permissible.

“These technological interventions are not morally justified either as attempts to repair a defect in the body or as attempts to sacrifice a part of the body for the sake of the whole,” the bishops asserted. 

The bishops said one of the reasons for this moral calculus is that the “transitioning” person’s organs, which undergo mutilation and reconstruction during the gender transition process, are not disordered but are healthy. Moreover, “when a part of the body is legitimately sacrificed for the sake of the whole body, whether by the entire removal or substantial reconfiguration of a bodily organ, the removal or reconfiguring of the bodily organ is reluctantly tolerated as the only way to address a serious threat to the body. Here, by contrast, the removal or reconfiguring is itself the desired result.”

Discussing the proliferation of “gender transition” medical interventions, the bishops noted that Catholic health care institutions are not to take part in these interventions because they do not respect the “fundamental order of the human body” as being “sexually differentiated.”

“Such interventions, thus, do not respect the fundamental order of the human person as an intrinsic unity of body and soul, with a body that is sexually differentiated,” the bishops continued. 

“The soul does not come into existence on its own and somehow happen to be in this body, as if it could just as well be in a different body. A soul can never be in another body, much less be in the wrong body,” the bishops wrote. 

“Because of this order and finality, neither patients nor physicians nor researchers nor any other persons have unlimited rights over the body; they must respect the order and finality inscribed in the embodied person.”

The bishops quoted Pope Francis, who wrote in his encyclical ​​Laudato Si’: “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”

Relying on medical interventions that do not respect the body-soul unity is a “mistake,” they wrote. 

“An approach that does not respect the fundamental order will never truly solve the problem in view; in the end, it will only create further problems. The Hippocratic tradition in medicine calls upon all health care providers first and foremost to ‘do no harm.’ Any technological intervention that does not accord with the fundamental order of the human person as a unity of body and soul, including the sexual difference inscribed in the body, ultimately does not help but, rather, harms the human person.”

Encounter Jesus in the Mass this Easter with this 7-week series offered by the Eucharistic Revival

null / Credit: Francesco Cantone/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 15:36 pm (CNA).

This Easter season the U.S. bishops are inviting old and new Catholics to discover the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Mass through a brand-new reflection series releasing every Thursday from Divine Mercy Sunday to Pentecost, April 13 through May 25.

Titled “Beautiful Light: A Paschal Mystagogy” and part of the bishop’s National Eucharistic Revival campaign, the series will feature powerful weekly reflections from some of the nation’s leading Catholic speakers and theologians on the divine mystery of the Mass.

“At every age and stage of life, Jesus invites us to discover the joy of friendship with him,” said National Eucharistic Revival spokesperson Sister Alicia Torres, FE, in a Monday press release. “For Catholics, this happens in a most special way during Mass — the source and summit of the Christian life.’”

“Many of us haven’t had the chance to really explore the beauty and mystery God invites us into at Mass. That is the goal of [this series], to give every Catholic a chance to go deeper this Easter season,” Torres said.

Over the seven weeks of the series, seven different Catholic thinkers will write reflections on different rites of the Mass: 

  1. Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis will kick off the series by writing on sacrifice. 

  2. Sister Maria Miguel Wright of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, will follow by reflecting on praise and thanksgiving. 

  3. Next, renowned biblical scholar Jeff Cavins will write on the universal call to holiness.

  4. Archbishop James Peter Sartain of Seattle will reflect on Jesus as Lord and lover of souls. 

  5. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops President Archbishop Timothy Broglio will write about the joy of trinitarian adoration. 

  6. Theologian and podcaster Father Harrison Ayre will write on the communal character of the Church as the body of Christ. 

  7. Archdiocese of Washington adult formation and Hispanic catechesis coordinator Kately Javier will finish off the series by reflecting on the paschal mystery.

“Whether you are just joining the Church at Easter Vigil this year or have been Catholic your entire life, this series is for you,” Torres said.

Torres told CNA that her “primary hope is that this series will help us open our hearts to a new and deeper encounter with Jesus in the Mass that impels us to go on mission with Jesus — especially in the ordinary, everyday moments of our lives.” 

“What does it look like to go on mission with Jesus? Jesus told us to love one another as he has loved us (Jn 13:34). Loving this way — the way Jesus loves — this is what it means to go on mission with him. When we are on mission with Jesus, we are living eucharistic lives,” Torres said.

The paschal mystagogy theme calls for an Easter rediscovery of the Mass. The word “paschal” refers to the Easter season while mystagogy refers to “liturgical catechesis to initiate people in the mysteries of Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1075).

In a 2019 address, Pope Francis said “mystagogy means discovering the new life we have received in the people of God through the sacraments, and continually rediscovering the beauty of renewing it.”

To access the Easter reflections, subscribe here

For more information on the National Eucharistic Revival, click here