Pope sends off missionaries of mercy to help people open hearts to God

February 10, 2016 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis marked the beginning of the church’s Lenten journey by sending off several hundred religious and diocesan priests on their own special path as “missionaries of mercy” in local parishes. “Look upon your servants, Lord, that we are sending as messengers of mercy, salvation and peace. Guide…

Open God’s heart with prayer, pope tells Padre Pio Prayer Groups

February 7, 2016 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Praying is not like taking an aspirin, something one does just to feel a little better, Pope Francis told thousands of members of Padre Pio Prayer Groups from around the world. Prayer is not a business negotiation with God, either, the pope told more than 60,000 people gathered…

Death penalty limbo: Supreme Court, states give laws another look

February 7, 2016 WASHINGTON (CNS) — The death penalty in the United States is repeatedly getting hit by the pause button — which doesn’t mean it is going away anytime soon, but at the very least it is getting a second look by state legislatures, courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. This year, several states…

Carolina Panthers linebacker says faith impacts his outlook on life

February 2, 2016 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) — Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers, the team going up against the Denver Broncos in the Feb. 7 Super Bowl, credits his parents and his Catholic faith for making a positive impact on his NFL career and his outlook on life. “I went to a Catholic…

Priests find comfort that in studying the universe, they come closer to God

January 27, 2016 TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) — For a long time, Father Timothy Martinez felt alone. Not so much in his priesthood and his responsibilities as pastor of Risen Savior Parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but because of his passion for astronomy and his concern about the media-driven divide between religion and science. He wondered…

Pope: Patch up family feuds, forgive, let go of painful past

January 27, 2016 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Let the Year of Mercy be the time to end all family feuds, to forgive each other and let bygones be bygones, Pope Francis said. “I think about so many brothers and sisters who are estranged from their families; they don’t speak to each other,” he said during…

Iowa priest goes viral for celebrating Mass for snow-bound group

January 27, 2016 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) — Father Patrick Behm of Le Mars confessed to being overwhelmed by all the attention. “I’m just happy being a simple priest,” he insisted. That “simple priest” went viral on social media for celebrating Mass Jan. 23 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Read more in The Visitor…

Catholic agency on front lines helping Flint residents with water crisis

January 26, 2016 FLINT, Mich. (CNS) — Following the discovery of lead in the city of Flint’s drinking water, relief organizations have been working day and night to provide safe water to those living and working in the community. Standing at the front of the battle is Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties in…