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Church welcomes thousands at ‘mother of all vigils’

WASHINGTON — During what the Roman Missal describes as the "mother of all vigils," the U.S. Catholic Church welcomed thousands of new Catholics at the Easter Vigil April 15 in churches big and small across the country.

About 60 of the nearly 200 dioceses in the United States reported numbers of catechumens and candidates entering the church in 2017 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. The Archdiocese of St. Louis reports numbers later in the year, after parishes submit statistics.

Cdl. Cupich: Church will do everything it can ‘to end scourge of violence’

People carried crosses with names of victims of gun violence as part a march in downtown Chicago to remember those killed in gun violence in 2016. On April 4, Cardinal Blaise J. Cupich announced an initiative to increase the work of current anti-violence programs in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

CHICAGO — Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich April 4 announced an initiative to increase the work of current anti-violence programs in parishes and schools and those run by Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Catholic Charities and Kolbe House, the archdiocese's jail ministry.

The Archdiocese of Chicago also will seek out partnerships to increase programs that will help break the cycle of violence.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Reacting to the mighty deeds of Christ and His Church

The Gospel readings for Catholic Schools Week help us reflect on the mighty deeds of Jesus. He cures the Gerasene demoniac; He heals the woman who touched the tassel of His cloak; He raises the daughter of Jairus from the dead. And the apostles report that they have accomplished everything in His name.

The Church is the mystical body of Christ, and Catholic education is one of the mighty deeds of Jesus in our day. Through Catholic schools — in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and across the country — Jesus brings His teaching mission to our time and place.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Our gifts from the Holy Spirit are to build up the Church

The readings for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time demonstrate for us that God's call of mankind is truly transformative. The first reading begins: "The Lord said to me: you are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory."

Scripture scholars aren't certain of the identity of the servant. It may be Isaiah, or it may be Israel. We know that God has called Isaiah to be His servant, as He also called Israel to be His servant. However, isn't it true that He has called us also to be His servants?

Report commissioned by bishops finds diversity abounds in U.S. Church

St. Pius V Church in south St. Louis hosts an annual Migration Mass to celebrate diversity in the Church in St. Louis. A CARA study commissioned by the U.S. bishops showed that the Catholic Church in the United States is very diverse and parishes and ministries need to adapt and prepare for growing diversity.

BALTIMORE — The Catholic Church is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the United States and Catholic institutions and ministries need to adapt and prepare for growing diversity, said a report presented to the country's bishops Nov. 15.

The report, by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church in 2013 to help identify the size and distribution of ethnic communities in the country.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Suffering for the faith glorifies Jesus and the Church

The first and third readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time tell about the incredible future that awaits beyond our troubled times.

Malachi is a prophet, not a Dale Carnegie. He tells how it is, not how we would like to perceive it. His imagery is frank, direct and even brutal. "Lo the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch."

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