prayers

Tennessee bishops asks for prayers, relief help for victims of wildfires

Smoke plumes from wildfires were seen Nov. 29 along the Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tenn. Raging wildfires fueled by high winds claimed the lives of at least three people, forced the evacuation of thousands and damaged hundreds of buildings in the popular resort town.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Catholic parishioners in the Diocese of Knoxville are among those who have lost homes and businesses in the wildfires that ravaged tourist areas in the Great Smoky Mountains region, said Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville.

Midday Nov. 30, the diocese was still awaiting word on the condition of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Gatlinburg, he said in a statement posted on the diocesan website. Earlier, the diocese reported that the pastor, Father Antony Punnackal, had to evacuate but was safe.

DEAR FATHER | Offer prayers for deceased loved ones through the person of Christ

May I pray for a family member who has died to intercede for me, or may I only ask canonized saints? 

Fundamentalists tend to disagree with Catholics on praying to the dead at all, even to the saints. They cite Biblical texts such as Deuteronomy 18:10-11, in which the Lord prohibits any oracles, or communication, with the dead.

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.

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