June 6, 2023 // National

News Briefs: June 11, 2023

Nationals Pitcher, Dodgers Players Join Chorus Criticizing LA Team for Plan to Honor ‘Sisters’ Drag Group

LOS ANGELES (OSV News) — Washington Nationals starting pitcher Trevor Williams, known for his devout Catholic faith and prominent tattoos, expressed his disappointment with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to re-invite and honor a controversial group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Dodgers’ announcement came after the franchise initially rescinded their invitation due to backlash from political and religious leaders across the nation. Taking to his social media accounts while the Nationals were in Los Angeles on May 29, Williams voiced his concerns about the Dodgers’ decision, sparking widespread attention. His viral tweet quickly gained millions of views and was shared by tens of thousands of people, illustrating the growing outrage from both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Williams stated, “To invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of more than 4 million people in Los Angeles County alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization.” He asked the Dodgers to reconsider. Two Dodgers players, starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw and reliever Blake Treinen, became the latest on the team to criticize their team’s decision. Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t agree with making fun of other people’s religions.” Treinen, in a lengthy tweet, said honoring the Sisters’ group “disenfranchises a large community and promotes hate of Christians and people of faith.”

New Head of Bishops’ Anti-racism Committee Praises Investigations into Racist Histories, Champions Black Catholic Saint Causes

CHICAGO (OSV News) — Ahead of the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 14-16, Bishop Joseph N. Perry said that new investigations by church institutions into their involvement with slavery and Indian boarding schools are “very healthy” and aid a collective examination of conscience. Bishop Perry was named Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism on May 10. An auxiliary bishop of Chicago, he succeeded Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre of Louisville, Kentucky, who served two terms as the committee’s chairman. While society fights racism through the courts and public policy, the bishops’ work has emphasized racism as a sin and the need for personal conversion, he said. “The whole push for this ad hoc committee is evangelization — evangelization toward a deeper understanding and empathy with human dignity, broadly across the board,” he said.

Second Graders at Nashville Catholic School Make, Sell Bracelets to Buy Therapy Dog for Peers at School Where Mass Shooting Occurred

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (OSV News) — Two second-grade students at Overbrook Catholic School in Nashville have been “busy bees” the last month, making 2,500 beaded bracelets, and it’s for one very special reason — to raise $17,000 to purchase a therapy dog for the students of The Covenant School, where an assailant killed six people including three 9-year-old students on March 27. “We knew they’ve been through a lot and thought it would just be nice to do something for them,” said Evelyn Thallemer. Thallemer and her best friend since kindergarten, Matilda Crosswy, have been making beaded bracelets together for many years with the help of their moms. After creating promotional videos for social media to promote the bracelets, the orders soon came pouring in as the posts began to go viral, and even caught the attention of “Good Morning Nashville” on WKRN News Channel 2. Within just a few weeks, the girls not only met their $17,000 goal, but nearly doubled it, earning approximately $30,500. As a result of all their hard work, a golden retriever puppy, provided by Comfort Connections, was delivered to The Covenant School on May 23 and will go through training over the summer months.

St. Peter’s Basilica Opens Exhibit on Marian Coronations

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In 1636, the Vatican began supporting, and regulating, Marian coronations. The local community, typically a church or Marian shrine, was required to write to the Vatican confirming that the image was of “continuous and ancient devotion, used for religious purposes, and generated an increase in Marian devotion,” said Pietro Zander, Curator of a Vatican exhibit, titled “Crowned Madonnas,” during a tour of the Marian imagery in St. Peter’s Basilica on May 30. Once the image was crowned, the community was obliged to send a letter to the Vatican guaranteeing that the act of coronation followed the prescribed rules along with a painting of the coronated image. “These images started arriving — these paintings, since there wasn’t photography at the time — are beautiful since they were commissioned by artists,” said Zander. Often, text at the bottom of the painting explained the community’s devotion and told of the coronation event. Hundreds are still preserved in the Vatican and, beginning on the feast of the Visitation of Mary on May 31, 15 of them from throughout Italy went on display in St. Peter’s Basilica. Each image comes from a different region in Italy and is accompanied by the story of a community’s source of devotion.

Archbishop: Months Leading to Synod Is a Time for Faithful to Live Response to Divine Grace ‘More Intensely’

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) — The months leading up to the October world Synod of Bishops in Rome offer an opportunity for the faithful “to live more intensely our response to divine grace,” the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said on May 31. The time of preparation for the synod “reminds us the unique experience of Christ in the sacraments is a gift to be shared,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, the Conference President. “The knowledge of God obtained in our study, our prayerful attentive listening to the Word of God, and the voices of others … is not self-serving, but pushes us forward,” Archbishop Broglio said in his homily at a Mass offered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. for the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory was the principal celebrant of the Mass. The feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary commemorates Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, who in her advanced age was pregnant with John the Baptist. Pope Francis requested that on this feast day, special Masses be offered at Marian shrines throughout the world for the synod.

Priest Is Among Heroes Fighting Flames in Canadian Wildfires

CHATEH, Alberta (OSV News) — While Canada is fighting wildfires from western Alberta province to eastern Nova Scotia, at least one priest is on the frontlines of the battle in firefighter uniform. Father Gerald Mendoza, Pastor at Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Chateh and St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Rainbow Lake, both located in Alberta province, is also a volunteer firefighter. He assisted in the putting out of blazes in both of his communities — and he helps out around the fire hall. Though mindful of not appearing to be “showy,” Father Mendoza said he tries to bring a “priestly presence” to the fire hall by praying the rosary in his firefighting gear. Around 16,400 people had to evacuate their homes near Halifax, Nova Scotia’s largest city, on May 29. Drier than normal weather conditions have already caused nearly 550 wildfires in the province — more than 100 more wildfires than in 2022. The blaze led officials to declare a local state of emergency in Halifax late on May 28, according to the BBC. Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister tweeted on May 29 that “the wildfire situation in Nova Scotia is incredibly serious,” adding that he is “keeping everyone affected in our thoughts, and we’re thanking those who are working hard to keep people safe.”

A clergyman elevates a monstrance in a Eucharistic procession through the Manhattan borough of New York City to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a Pentecost Vigil May 27, 2023. The Charismatic Renewal event in Spanish attracted close to 2,700 people. (OSV News photo/Jeffrey Bruno)

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