By Carol Zimmermann | Catholic News Service | twitter: @carolmaczim
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices seemed to side with the church in a separation of church and state case argued April 19 about a Missouri Lutheran preschool barred from receiving state funds for playground resurfacing using recycled tires because it is a church property.
In his first minutes before the court, David Cortman, arguing for the church in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, said: "The question is why would someone's religious status matter in the first place to receiving a government benefit?"
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Two figures dressed as Mary and Joseph made their way down the center aisle of Vancouver's Holy Rosary Cathedral. At various points, they stopped and asked a parishioner playing the part of an innkeeper for a place to stay. Invariably the reply was negative. Finally, the two figures reached the foot of the altar and asked the congregation if they had any room for Christ. The congregation said they did have room for Christ, and only then did the entrance procession for the first Simbang Gabi Mass of the year begin.
By Oscar Durand | Catholic News Service | twitter: @oscardurand
ISTANBUL — Sami Dankha, his three brothers and their families used to kick off Christmas celebrations by attending a packed Christmas Eve Mass at St. Thomas Church in Baghdad. Wearing brand new clothes and sporting fresh haircuts, they spent the night chatting, singing and eating pacha, a dish made from sheep's head that Iraqis consider a delicacy and a staple of Christmas.
MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — As Filipinos remembered their departed on All Souls' Day, the country's church leaders called on the faithful to also pray for those who fell victim in the government's all-out war against illegal drugs.
Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the public affairs office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, said that praying for the dead on All Souls' Day is a "Christian obligation."
"More so, for those who died in violent circumstances," the priest added.