Christian Hope

In visit to Kurdistan, Bp. Cantu hears priorities of Iraqi Christians

An Iraqi soldier stood guard during Christmas celebrations at the al-Tahira al-Kubra church in al-Hamdaniya, east of Mosul. Bishop Oscar Cantu, the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said after a visit with Iraqi Christians that he would advocate for a rebuilt Iraq that allows people of many religions and ethnicities to live side by side.

AMMAN, Jordan — After meeting with Church leaders in northern Iraq, a U.S. bishop said he will advocate differently for Iraqi religious minorities.

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., said that the Iraqi Catholic clergy do not want to see a safe corridor set up for Christians, as some in Washington have suggested.

Church teaching about purgatory, funeral rites and the rising of the dead

A word (or two) about purgatory

What is purgatory?

The state of purgatory can be likened to that of a time of cleansing, or purification, before experiencing eternal life in heaven.

The Catholic Church teaches that purgatory is a time of purification for those who "die in God's grace and friendship."

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1030-32), "after death (the faithful) undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven."

Caring for body and soul: Funerals have effect on the living and the dead

Father Nicholas Smith has experienced many special moments: baptisms, weddings, you name it. But there's one he won't soon forget.

In June, Msgr. Joseph Pins passed away from cancer. He was the beloved rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis; Father Smith, director of the Office of Sacred Worship, was friends with Msgr. Pins for years and lived together at the cathedral basilica's rectory for two years.

Mourning an athlete's death

A make-shift memorial for Oscar Taveras was placed outside Busch Stadium last week.

The bad news arrived like a punch to the gut, totally unexpected.

At 7:53 p.m. Oct. 26, Major League Baseball delivered the news on Twitter:

"We mourn the passing of Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras."

A black-and-white photo of Taveras with the dates "1992 - 2014" accompanied the tweet.

Within moments, Twitter was ablaze. Media and fans retweeted the news. St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and owner Bill DeWitt Jr. issued statements. Kolton Wong, Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter and other teammates tweeted disbelief along with condolences.

Until death do us part: Planning ahead for a loved one's funeral, burial

Planning in advance for a funeral and burial can be uncomfortable for some, but it can save on a lot of difficult decision-making in the long run.

About 10 years ago, Bill Henderson contemplated where he and his wife, Gloria, should be buried after they die. He wanted to get the decision-making out of the way, but circumstances prompted him to put the decision on hold.

More recently, Henderson developed health issues, and the thoughts resurfaced.

Catholic mom gives heartfelt advice in book for grieving parents

When Karen Weis lost her son, Nathan, six years ago, she embarked on a personal grief journey that ended up reaching further than she ever could have imagined.

Nathan Weis was 20 when he died in a car accident. Karen Weis and her husband, Dan, were on a weekend trip when they received the devastating news.

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