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‘Service in life, hope in death’: archbishop of Canterbury preaches at queen’s funeral

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gives a reading during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Sept.19, 2022, in London. / Photo by Ben Stansall — WPA Pool/Getty Images

Birmingham, England, Sep 19, 2022 / 09:19 am (CNA).

In his sermon at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II today, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the Christian faith and example of the late monarch.

Catholic prayers for Queen Elizabeth II — and the new king

King Charles III walks alongside the coffin carrying Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top as it departs Westminster Abbey during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 19, 2022, in London. Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Sept. 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. / Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

CNA Newsroom, Sep 19, 2022 / 07:24 am (CNA).

While millions bid final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II today, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have commented on the death of Her Majesty.

Poland’s March for Life and Family draws 10,000 people

March for Life and Family in Warsaw, Poland, Sept. 19, 2022. / Sr. Amata Nowaszewska

Warsaw, Poland, Sep 19, 2022 / 05:06 am (CNA).

An estimated 10,000 people walked through the streets of Poland’s capital on Sunday to take part in the National March for Life and Family.

Blood of St. Januarius liquefies in Naples on feast day

null / Screenshot from Chiesa di Napoli YouTube channel.

Rome Newsroom, Sep 19, 2022 / 04:46 am (CNA).

The blood of St. Januarius liquefied on Monday at a Mass in Naples, where the archbishop sharply condemned the city’s “cancerous mafia culture.”

Life-size Stations of the Cross to be ‘tool for evangelization’ at Disney World

A detail of Timothy P. Schmalz's fourth station: Jesus meets his mother. / Courtesy of Timothy P. Schmalz

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 18, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Catholic artist Timothy P. Schmalz sought to find and bring to life the most important subject matter an artist could ever express.

“I wanted to create a sculpture project that would be the heart of Christianity,” the Canadian sculptor said.

He settled on Christ’s crucifixion and death. 

His new creation, once finished, will be a life-size set of the 14 Stations of the Cross — scenes depicting Christ’s journey from being condemned to death to his burial — placed right next to Disney World. The faithful will be able to encounter the 12-foot-tall, 11-foot-wide sculptures at the Basilica of Our Lady Queen of the Universe in Orlando, Florida.

“I hope to rival Universal Studios, Walt Disney, and every other feature in Orlando by creating what has never been done before, and that is one of the biggest, most complex Stations of the Cross,” Schmalz said.

Once completed, visitors will encounter the 12-foot-tall, 11-foot-wide sculptures at the Basilica of Our Lady Queen of the Universe in Orlando, Florida. “It's right in the center of a place that desperately needs a spiritual Catholic oasis,” sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz says. Courtesy of Timothy P. Schmalz
Once completed, visitors will encounter the 12-foot-tall, 11-foot-wide sculptures at the Basilica of Our Lady Queen of the Universe in Orlando, Florida. “It's right in the center of a place that desperately needs a spiritual Catholic oasis,” sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz says. Courtesy of Timothy P. Schmalz

Schmalz is not new to sculpting. The experienced artist’s work can be found worldwide, from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican to Washington, D.C. He is perhaps best known for his “Homeless Jesus” sculpture and the “Angels Unaware” statue. 

His new Stations of the Cross, he hopes, will serve as a tool for evangelization and conversion for the roughly 50 million people that visit Disney each year. 

“It’s right in the center of a place that desperately needs a spiritual Catholic oasis,” he said, adding that bringing the Stations of the Cross to Orlando is “bringing the Gospels [to] where the people are, in a sense.”

The stations — which combine mural painting and sculpture — will offer visitors “visual doorways into a Catholic-Christian experience,” he said.

So far, he has completed the first four stations: Jesus is condemned to death, Jesus carries his cross, Jesus falls for the first time, and Jesus meets his mother.  

It will take another year, he says, before all 14 are done. On his YouTube channel, Schmalz walks viewers through the process of creating each station, from sketching them on paper to sculpting them in bronze.

Each scene, made of bronze, bursts with symbolism, movement, and emotion. The foreground shows Jesus’ passion. In the background, Schmalz plans to include every single parable found in the New Testament.

“When you see Jesus in the front, you’re going to see … a raw, hardcore scene from the passion,” he said. “But in the distance, you’re going to see the parables that he taught us. So it might be in the distance, you’ll see a camel trying to get through a little hole in the wall or the eye of the needle.”

While he works in his studio located in St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada, he listens to an audio recording of the New Testament, he said. 

“Things are pulled out and things describe themselves as I create,” he explained, comparing his role to a “passenger” or “director.”

The stations are getting funded by various donors, he said, as he works on them. As they progress from one to 14, each station will become “more and more intense.”

“The passion now has become my passion,” he said. 

He hopes that viewers will feel like they are a part of the stations.

“We know there’s a lot of kids going to Walt Disney in Orlando every year,” he said, giving one example. “I’m putting a lot of children within them so they can see themselves in the scene.”

The 53-year-old artist also sees himself in them.

“It’s fascinating because you really become a part of the subject matter as you’re working on it,” he said. “It evolves and it grows as you’re working on it, and it’s almost like it tells you what to do in a sense where I don’t necessarily know exactly how the piece will end up.”

He called the project mentally, spiritually, and physically taxing. He might dedicate one entire day to creating a little corner of one of the stations, he said, and another day just focusing on the face of Jesus.

But, he added, the work is worth it. These stations allow him, as an artist, to “get to the absolute essence of Christianity” in the hope that “it will be one of the greatest tools to convert and inspire Christianity.”

“I hope to rival Universal Studios, Walt Disney, and every other feature in Orlando by creating what has never been done before, and that is one of the biggest, most complex Stations of the Cross,” says Timothy P. Schmalz, shown here in his studio looking at the fourth station. Courtesy of Timothy P. Schmalz
“I hope to rival Universal Studios, Walt Disney, and every other feature in Orlando by creating what has never been done before, and that is one of the biggest, most complex Stations of the Cross,” says Timothy P. Schmalz, shown here in his studio looking at the fourth station. Courtesy of Timothy P. Schmalz

“I want [people] to come back from Orlando and, sure, talk about the rides, talk about Mickey Mouse. But I want them to say that the most exciting and most interesting and most moving thing with their vacation was this Stations of the Cross project,” he said. “And if I can do that with this piece of artwork, I have succeeded.”

At a time when many people are attacking Christianity and Christian symbols, Schmalz’s response is to create new, stronger symbols. “Sculptures that are bold, sculptures that celebrate and glorify Christ, but also encourage people to walk through that doorway and see Christ in focus,” he said.

“As they try to make us invisible, we have to sharpen,” he concluded. “And me, as an artist, that is my job, to sharpen our identity with these symbols and art.”

Pope Francis’ representative in Ukraine shot at while delivering aid

Papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski. / lvivadm via Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0).

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 17, 2022 / 16:19 pm (CNA).

The incident happened while Cardinal Konrad Krajewski was bringing food and other supplies to people stuck in a “no-man’s land” on the front lines.

Single mom credits maternity home with saving her life 

Amid recent attacks against pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes from pro-abortion protesters, Danielle Nicholson told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly on Sept. 15, 2022, that she owes her life to one. / EWTN Pro-Life Weekly/screen shot

Denver, Colo., Sep 17, 2022 / 11:00 am (CNA).

Amid recent attacks against pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes by pro-abortion activists, one mother says she owes her life to one. 

Danielle Nicholson found herself in a crisis pregnancy when she was 20 years old and turned to the Paul Stefan Foundation in Locust Grove, Virginia, for aid. Welcomed with open arms by the founders of the center, Randy and Evelyn James, she is now the mother of a 9-year-old daughter and has made a career as a foster care social worker. She credits her success to the fresh start and help she received during her stay at the maternity home.

In an interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly on Sept. 15, she reflected: “At the time my situation was pretty dire in that I wasn’t working towards any future goals for myself. I wasn’t living a very good life. I was just trying to get by, but the moment I found out that I was pregnant completely changed the trajectory for my life.”

“I realized I now had a little baby that I needed to live for and so I immediately changed my mindset,” she said. 

Nicholson began living a sober life, went back to school, and started to organize her life so she could take care of her baby. During this time, she came across the Paul Stefan Home. During her five-year stay, the home provided her with “the most perfect opportunity to accomplish all the goals that I had for myself.”

Not only was she given resources to pursue a professional life but she was also shown love, which Nicholson says she was still very much in need of during that time.

“I still needed a lot of love and support from adults and parents myself,” she said. “Randy and Evelyn just immediately started to shower me with so much love and support, kindness, patience.”

“They taught me some really significant life lessons — what it meant to be a professional, what it meant to be respectful, what it meant to have integrity, what it meant to be ambitious,” Nicholson added. “And Evelyn taught me the best way to be the best mother. She walked me through every step of motherhood.”

In her work today as a foster care social worker, Nicholson strives to use her story to encourage others to overcome their struggles. 

“I try my very very best to make an impact on anyone’s life that I have to work with,” she said, “[some who have] experienced abuse, experienced trauma, experienced neglect, because my background has all of that and I made a way to get through it.”

Nicholson continued: “I just present it as it’s a process that requires a lot of dedication and work, but it is possible and if those people are willing to walk through that, I offer for myself to walk that through with them to support them.”

In light of recent attacks on pregnancy centers and maternity homes, Nicholson shared her heartfelt message about her experience with these resources for pregnant women.

“They’re completely voluntary. There is absolutely nothing about these places that mandate a woman to choose either way, regarding life for their baby, regarding adoption, regarding parenthood,” she explained. “It’s just a resource to give a woman the ability and the opportunity to just take a breath, to learn what her options are, what her resources are.”

“It’s completely conditional on what that woman wants for her life and for her baby and all women are met right where they’re at when they walk in the door regarding what they want for themselves, what they want for their babies.”

“Ultimately, these clinics and these resources are just an added layer of support to help a woman follow through with the choice that she’s made,” Nicholson concluded.

Watch the full interview with Nicholson below.

Follow in the footsteps of St. Robert Bellarmine: scholarships for scholars

Applications are open for the new scholarship program established by the Bellarmine Fund. / Shutterstock.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 17, 2022 / 09:00 am (CNA).

A new scholarship program aims to support future members of the workforce with an “authentically Catholic” education, thanks to a recent initiative started by three young men who are still in college themselves.

“We want to produce missionaries because we’re a missionary Church,” said Andres Donovan, vice president of outreach for The St. Robert Bellarmine Fund and a junior at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

“We want Catholic employees to go out and help work on the culture from the workforce,” he told the Register, and “an authentically Catholic university” can help them “see their work, see their education from the Church perspective.”

Applications are open for the new scholarship program established by the Bellarmine Fund, which was founded by three young men who met at a Jesuit high school in Tampa, Florida — Donovan, Justin Bailey, and Matthew Uzdavinis — as they recognized a need for scholarships for students committed to a Catholic education.

High-school seniors of the 2023 and 2024 graduating classes are eligible to apply for one of 10 available scholarships for each respective year, organizers told the Register.

Requirements to apply for the scholarships, for $8,000 per year and renewable for up to four years, include an essay speaking to a desire for Catholic formation, the family’s financial situation, and a GPA that demonstrates a commitment to education. Those interested should apply by Jan. 31, 2023.

Most of the schools accepted by the Bellarmine Fund scholarship fall under “The Newman Guide” of Catholic higher education institutions that have been assessed by the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization whose stated mission is “to promote and defend faithful Catholic education.”

“‘The Newman Guide’ is trusted to provide authentic analysis of Catholic universities to help parents and students figure out where the universities are authentically Catholic,” Donovan said.

Bailey, president of outreach for the Bellarmine Fund who is currently attending the University of Florida, told the Register, “We just thought that this is a great way to kind of combat the really bad education that has been happening with regard to philosophy and theology at most institutions.”

“We really wanted to reward the faithful Catholics who wanted to pursue the truth,” who “wanted to pursue Our Lord at these universities that are also faithful to tradition,” continued Bailey.

Bailey is a family member of the Bailey Family Foundation, an organization that provides university-level scholarships and through which the Bellarmine Fund has been made possible.

The other co-founder, Matthew Uzdavinis, is currently attending Ave Maria University.

Challenging Cultural Climate

In speaking to the benefit of a Catholic college degree, Kelly Salomon, director of family and parish programs for the Cardinal Newman Society, highlighted the challenges faced by young Catholics in today’s cultural climate.

“How does a young Catholic navigate today’s dangerous culture without a faithful Catholic education, without truly knowing the faith, understanding how it relates to every area of knowledge and life, and being able to defend it?” Salomon told the Register.

“We see most young adults not attending Mass, and most don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist — they actually think the Church teaches it’s just a symbol,” she added. “But the renewal of faithful Catholic education will bring a renewal of faith and culture.”

“Catholic education is critical for the souls of young people and the future of the Church. At faithful Catholic colleges, students are formed for their careers and vocations,” Salomon said.

Donovan, a marketing major, stressed the importance of integrating Catholic formation and workplace education.

“Business and theology go hand in hand,” he said. “They cannot be separated.”

“I could go to any other university, and succeed and do well, and get my marketing degree, and learn how to make the best sales pitch ever, and have a sales record of 100%, and do anything to get the sale.” However, if one allows a client to walk away without “feeling the love of Christ,” Donovan said, “all of it would have been for nothing.”

A higher education institution not listed in “The Newman Guide,” which is still eligible for the scholarship, is a school named for St. Joseph the Worker in Steubenville, Ohio, expected to open in 2023.

“Christ belongs in the workplace,” Donovan said. “We want to make sure people know how to bring him into the workplace by going to Catholic universities that are authentically Catholic.”

The Register also recommends its own list of higher educational institutions that prioritize solid Church teaching in their curricula in its annual “Catholic Identity College Guide.” The list includes schools in “The Newman Guide” as well as others not included in the Bellarmine Fund scholarship, but the fund organizers recognize it “as a reliable means of attaining a competent and faithful Catholic education,” according to Uzdavinis.

“We basically take a look at the whole person,” Donovan said.

“While we are currently focusing directly on those schools accredited by the Cardinal Newman Society,” Uzdavinis told the Register, “our fund hopes to soon be able to provide financial assistance to every faithfully Catholic higher education institution in the country.”

In part, the aim of the fund is to help counter the “radical ideology and wokeism” that “have pervaded higher education, perhaps even in Catholic institutions,” Uzdavinis added.

“Attending a university in which students are exposed to divine truth and provided ample opportunities to receive divine grace is of grave importance. Our fund aims to make that possible for the many students throughout the country who thirst for such an experience.”

“The St. Robert Bellarmine Fund has the capacity to reach so many Catholic students in a way that we hope inspires them to pursue Catholic truth and helps them to attain that,” he continued.

“Our goal is to become a reliable means for countless families to allow students to concentrate more on the goodness they receive in their studies and less about how they’ll manage to pay for it.”

Increase your eucharistic devotion by doing these 7 things, Maronite bishop says

null / Photo credit: Sidney de Almeida/Shutterstock

Boston, Mass., Sep 17, 2022 / 08:00 am (CNA).

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called for a eucharistic revival over the next three years, but many Catholics aren’t aware that the revival also includes the Eastern Catholic Churches within the United States.

The purpose of the revival, launched June 19, is to “renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist,” according to the initiative’s website. The initiative ends in July 2024 with the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. More can be read about the revival here.

In a letter to the faithful of his eparchy titled “Eucharistic Amazement,” Bishop Gregory Mansour of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn — one of the only two Maronite dioceses within the United States — asks each of his parishes, missions, and institutions “to enter even more fully into the joy and spirit of this time and to deepen our amazement, love, and devotion to our Eucharistic Lord.”

Here are seven ways the bishop is asking the faithful of his eparchy to increase their devotion to the Holy Eucharist — methods anyone who wants to pursue a deeper understanding of the sacrament can use.

1. Prepare for the eucharistic sacrifice.

Preparing oneself for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should include reflections on the liturgical readings, careful preparation of the liturgical music, and observation of the one-hour fasting rule, Mansour wrote.

According to Code of Canon Law: “One who is to receive the most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion” (Can. 919 §1).

This one-hour fast is not required for those who are elderly or ill. In addition, Mansour wrote that the liturgy deserves its “appropriate dignity” and “careful observance,” which includes abiding by the canonical norms and the guidance the Church offers on the liturgy.

2. Examine your conscience.

Examining one’s conscience consists of “reflecting prayerfully on one’s thoughts, words, and deeds in order to identify any sins,” according to the USCCB.

There are various ways one can do this, according to Mansour. It should be done before one receives Holy Communion, he said.

Those various practices include receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, partaking in spiritual reading, participating in spiritual direction, going on retreats, praying a rosary each day, reading Scripture, and practicing other devotions the Church offers, he said.

3. Think about Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist.

“Discern the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, as all Catholic and Orthodox Christians have done over the ages,” Mansour wrote, “and live this reverence appropriately with respect for our Lord’s abiding presence with us.”

The USCCB released a document called “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” in November 2021 during its general meeting. The document contains deep reflections and commentary on the Real Presence from various popes, saints, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Code of Canon Law.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston — who is leading the eucharistic revival in his capacity as the U.S. bishops’ conference chair on evangelization and catechesis — also teaches a free, prerecorded, online course on the document. That course can be accessed here.

4. Pray and work for unity in the Church.

Mansour implored the faithful to “pray and work for Church unity, especially praying that the Holy Father, and his Petrine ministry, may bring all Christians closer to one Eucharistic sharing.”

5. Find some silence.

Mansour wrote that some quiet time adoring Jesus Christ either in eucharistic adoration or in front of the tabernacle is important. He said that this should occur outside of Mass.

6. Mandate eucharistic adoration for particular petitions.

Mansour wrote that every parish, mission, and institution within the eparchy “is to foster Eucharistic Adoration at least once a month for vocations, and for the needs of the Church and the world, and properly prepare for and celebrate the nine-day Christmas Novena with renewed reverence and respect for the Eucharistic Lord present with us at the altar.”

The Maronite Christmas Novena begins on Dec. 15 each year and includes eucharistic adoration, use of incense, prayers, and hymns. A copy of the novena can be found here.

7. Honor your family and unite your suffering to Christ’s.

Mansour instructed the faithful to honor their families and “see our work as an extension of the Eucharistic call to service.”

He also implored the faithful to unite their sufferings and anxieties to the sufferings of Jesus Christ and to embrace morality by following the Catholic Church’s teachings.

Mansour wrote that by accomplishing these seven requests, “we will have entered more deeply into the spirit of this Eucharist amazement.”

His full letter can be read here.

Mansour, who has led the eparchy since 2004, spoke about the history of the Maronite Church and geopolitical issues in the region of Lebanon, where many Maronites are located, with EWTN News In-Depth’s Montse Alvarado in October 2021.

The Maronite Catholic Church, which is strongly represented in Lebanon, is the largest of the Eastern Churches in the Middle East, according to the USCCB. However, the Church has a presence in countries across the Middle East and the world.

The Church is called “Maronite” because it traces its history back to St. Maron, a fourth-century monk. The Maronite Church is Catholic but expresses itself differently than the Latin rite.

According to the Eparchy of Saint Maron in Canada, the liturgy is celebrated in ancient Syro-Aramaic, Arabic, and in the local vernacular during different parts.

Preoccupation with money distances us from God, Spanish bishop warns

null / ElenaR/Shutterstock

Cordoba, Spain, Sep 17, 2022 / 07:00 am (CNA).

In his weekly pastoral letter on Sept. 15, Bishop Demetrio Fernández González of Córdoba said that the desire for money “takes us away from God, dulls our soul.”