Wednesday, July 30, 2014





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The Rockford Register Star

For Steven Sabo, an all-access church is all-access to spiritual health

A decision to leave St. Peter Catholic Church open to the public 24/7 may be questionable to many, but the Rev. Steven Sabo is confident that it is the right thing to do.

The building, 620 Blackhawk Blvd. in South Beloit, will serve as a "spiritual ER clinic."

"I want people to get to Jesus when they need him the most. When you have a crisis, you go straight to the King."

As for the potential of theft and vandalism, "we trust in the holy angels to protect us, and we have exterior cameras on the church. We'll know who is entering and leaving."

Other changes include making the church handicapped-accessible in hopes of drawing senior citizens back to the church.

"I want them know St. Peter is their home, and I want them to feel comfortable here."

Sabo, pastor of St. Peter and of Church of the Holy Spirit in Roscoe, is a former Rockford police and fire chaplain, a job he reluctantly gave up because of time constraints. The chaplain's primary function is to provide support and assistance to police officers, firefighters, other city employees and their families during a crisis.

They also assist first responders in helping victims and the victims' families during calls for service involving a death or serious injury.

"I love chaplain work. It's near and dear to my heart. It's a civic duty to assist police officers and firefighters. I have a brother in law enforcement and an uncle who is a Canadian Mountie.

Sabo said chaplain work is a reminder to pray daily for those who put themselves in harm's way and who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect others.

-- Chris Green

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Report: Pope Francis to visit Philadelphia

Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia next year, according to a report in the Catholic News Service.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said the pope has accepted his invitation to attend the World Meeting of Families when he visits the United States next year.

The news serivice said the archbishop made the announcement Thursday at a conference in Fargo, North Dakota.

"Pope Francis has told me that he is coming," Chaput was quited as saying, referring to the Sept. 22-27, 2015, meeting in Philly. "The pope will be with us the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of that week."

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Petition to reinstate fired KC pantry director met by security guards

group of about 30 people carried a copy of an online petition with more than 32,000 signatures asking that Bishop Finn apologize to Colleen Simon -- a woman dismissed from her parish position after her same-sex marriage was inadvertently made public by a local newspaper -- and to give her job back.

The group made their way into the first set of doors at the chancery before two security guards for the building blocked them from entering farther.

According to Georgia Walker, organizer of the Faithful America petition, the group prayed and sang in the lobby as they waited for a representative from the diocese to receive the petition. After calling several offices, she said a summer intern came to collect the petition. Walker said in an email to NCR that as she left police arrived, reportedly at the diocese’s request, to break up an “unauthorized protest.”

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ex-Milwaukee archbishop told he can't spend final days at St. Vincent Archabbey


By Richard Gazarik

Thursday, July 24, 2014, 1:42 a.m.
Updated 22 hours ago

Retired Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who fell from grace in the Roman Catholic Church amid a sex and financial scandal, had hoped to return to St. Vincent Archabbey on Sept. 1 to live out his final days.

But the archabbey has withdrawn its invitation to the elderly cleric, he said.

Weakland, 87, said Archabbot Douglas Nowicki broke the news during a phone call last month, despite his ties to the Benedictine monastery for more than seven decades.

“He asked me to postpone indefinitely my coming,” Weakland told the Tribune-Review in a phone interview. “You don't want to interfere in the house, so I'm going to stay here. I did want to spend my final days there.”

Kim Metzgar, director of public relations at the archabbey in Westmoreland County, declined to comment.

Once a leading and influential voice in the Catholic Church on theological and social issues, Weakland was toppled in the church hierarchy in 2002 by a disclosure that he paid $450,000 in diocesan funds to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was the archbishop's lover.

In his book, “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop,” Weakland revealed he is gay.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Woman in same-sex marriage sues Missouri diocese following dismissal from parish position

A Missouri woman who is civilly married to a female Lutheran minister has sued Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph after she was dismissed from her position as her parish’s coordinator of social ministry.

Colleen Simon said that she told both the current and former pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church, a Jesuit parish in Kansas City, that she was part of a same-sex marriage, and neither objected. After her relationship was discussed in a local newsmagazine, she was dismissed, the Kansas City Star reported.

Simon, whose same-sex marriage ceremony took place in Iowa, is a convert from Catholicism to Lutheranism.

“As needed, we will defend our constitutional freedom to practice our faith and uphold the integrity of our mission and public witness,” the diocese said in a statement.

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