Catholic campuses home to 11 of world’s most beautiful college chapels, churches

This work depicting Mary and the Christ Child, by Chicago artist Melville Steinfels, hangs in the Madonna della Strada (Our Lady of the Way) Chapel on the grounds of Loyola University Chicago. (CNS photo/Bart Harris, courtesy of Loyola University Chicago)

This work depicting Mary and the Christ Child, by Chicago artist Melville Steinfels, hangs in the Madonna della Strada (Our Lady of the Way) Chapel on the grounds of Loyola University Chicago. (CNS photo/Bart Harris, courtesy of Loyola University Chicago)

This month Best College Reviews released a ranked list of what it says are the 30 most beautiful college chapels and cathedrals in the world. Of the Catholic worship spaces, six are in the U.S. and five are located on international campuses. Now beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but all of these are real stunners. They range from the relatively small Baughman Center at the secular University of Florida to the very modern and critically acclaimed Christ Chapel of Lutheran’s Gustavus Adolphus College, and from All Saints’ Chapel at the Episcopal Church’s University of the South in Tennessee  to the incomparable Primate Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo in Spain, a World Heritage Site. Some serve strictly as college chapels, some are parish churches, and some are bona fide cathedrals.

In the United States, the chapels on Catholic campuses in the ranking are the Madonna Della Strada Chapel of Loyola University in Chicago, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Immaculata Parish of the University of San Diego, Saint Ignatius Church of the University of San Francisco; St. Mary’s Chapel of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and St. Thomas of Villanova Church of Villanova University in Philadelphia.

The international churches and cathedral ranked are Cathedral of Santiago de Compestela in Galicia, Spain; the Chapelle de la Sorbonne in Paris; the Church of Saint Yves at La Sapienza in Rome; the Sanctuary of Arantzazu in Onati, Spain; and the Toledo Cathedral.

There are many other beautiful campus chapels in the U.S. and around the world that didn’t make the ranking but are works of art in themselves. Seattle University’s Chapel of St. Ignatius is an architectural masterpiece, so is the abbey church of St. John’s University in Minnesota designed by the great Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. Notre Dame Chapel of Trinity University in Washington is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and was visited by Pope John Paul II. Perhaps one of the most dramatic college places of worship in America is the Chapel of St. Basil of the University of St. Thomas in Houston. It was designed by one of the greatest U.S. architects, the late Philip Johnson.

You can see photos of all the Best College Reviews ranked churches and read a brief description of each one by visiting the website linked above.

Chaldean Catholic bishops electing new patriarch in Rome

ROME – The 15 bishops of the Iraq-based Chaldean Catholic Church began meeting in Rome yesterday to elect a new patriarch to succeed 85-year-old Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad.

According to Vatican Radio, the first day of their synod was devoted to prayer and spiritual reflection. Today they are scheduled to listen to reports about their communities in a still-struggling Iraq and about the immigrant Chaldean Catholic communities around the world. They are scheduled to begin voting for a patriarch tomorrow.

Two of the bishops participating in the synod guide Chaldean communities in the United States: Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo of the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle of San Diego and Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, who heads the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit.

The Michigan Catholic, newspaper of the Latin-rite Archdiocese of Detroit, ran a story on Bishop Ibrahim a couple weeks ago.

And both of the U.S. Chaldean Catholic bishops spoke to CNS’s Carol Glatz last spring when they were making their “ad limina” visits to Rome.

Bishop Ibrahim, fourth from left, and Bishop Jammo, first on the right, met Pope Benedict last May with other U.S. bishops from the Eastern Catholic churches.

Bishop Ibrahim, fourth from left, and Bishop Jammo, first on the right, met Pope Benedict last May with other U.S. bishops from the Eastern Catholic churches. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

Bombay Archdiocese launches campaign to stop violence against women

Violence against women in India has been going on for centuries, but recently it seems as if it has reached a tipping point with the news of the terrible gang rapes of several young women. People and institutions across India are taking up the cause and trying to end this national shame.

The Women’s Commission of the Archdiocese of Bombay (Mumbai) is one of the lead lights in this fight with its new campaign, “37 Million Diyas: Say Yes to Love, Say No to Violence.” The number is the difference between the male and female population of the country, one of the biggest factors in the violence, and the result of the widespread practice of aborting female children.

Yesterday, parishes across the archdiocese held a an hour of prayer and remembrance for women victims of violence  — killing, rape, domestic violence and human trafficking of girls. Cardinal Oswald Gracias has vowed prayer and work on behalf of women and “it will continue for as long as it takes  for you and me to bring about change.”

Watch this striking video produced by the archdiocese. It is provided by our sister news agency UCANews, the Asian Catholic news service based in Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Almost Midnight Mass every weekend at St. Malachy’s on Broadway

There are a lot of things you can do on Broadway after the curtain falls at the end of a performance. You can catch a late dinner, join some friends for a drink, or go out dancing. Or you can go to 11 p.m. Mass at St. Malachy’s — The Actors’ Chapel. And that is just what hundreds of Catholic (and some non-Catholic) actors, producers, and stage hands and stunt men have been doing for decades.

Father Richard Baker, pastor of New York's St. Malachy's Church - The Actors' Chapel, is shown in New York's Times Square in 2010. St. Malachy's is located down the block from Broadway and serves people in the theater district. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Father Richard Baker, pastor of New York’s St. Malachy’s Church – The Actors’ Chapel, is shown in New York’s Times Square in 2010. St. Malachy’s is located down the block from Broadway and serves people in the theater district. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Father Richard Baker, the peripatetic pastor of St. Malachy’s, has just the rights chops to be pastor of this terrific parish with its colorful cast of characters. He’s a musician, and he’s a rousing preacher. Check out this great profile of the parish and some of its members in a report from NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, “Where Broadway’s finest go to pray.”

In the interest of full disclosure, St. Malachy’s is also home to the media review office of Catholic News Service. Not only does CNS review chief John Mulderig hang his hat there Monday-Friday, he is a parishioner and teaches religious education.

Cardinal O’Malley calls for new emphasis on holding up adoption as a better alternative to abortion

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley called upon Catholics to take steps to change society’s negative perception of adoption so that it is seen as a better option than abortion for women facing a crisis pregnancy.

Delivering the homily during the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception tonight, Cardinal O’Malley called for a widespread effort to change women’s perception of adoption as a “bad choice.”

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley delivers the homily during the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life last night. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley delivers the homily during the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life last night. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

He also urged the thousands in attendance to find ways to educate Americans that abortion is not a necessary evil, especially when a woman faces the prospect of raising a child as a single parent with little financial or social support.

Citing the important work done by staff and volunteers at pregnancy centers and programs that support single mothers, Cardinal O’Malley called for a broadening of such efforts so that women turn away from abortion.

Work also must continue on the legislative and judicial fronts so that legalized abortion comes to an end, he said.

At the same time, he added, Catholics must work more than ever “to change people’s hearts, to help Americans understand that abortion is evil and it is unnecessary.”

“It’s not just the lucidity of our arguments, but about the effect our words have on others,” the cardinal said. “Our task is to present the truth with civility, empathy and clarity. Being compassionate about the Gospel of life is about building a new civilization with love.”

CNS will have a full report on the vigil and those in attendance tomorrow.

UPDATE: Here’s the story.

The pope has a new App-titude

ImageVATICAN CITY — The Vatican launched a new “Pope App” on the eve of the release of the pope’s World Communications Day message, which will be dedicated to social networks as important spaces for evangelization.

The new app provides live streaming of papal events and video feeds from the Vatican’s six webcams. It sends out alerts and links to top stories coming out of the Vatican’s many news outlets as well as posts images and quotes from Pope Benedict XVI. The app is still in the 1.0 stage so as updated versions come out, there will be a search function for archived media, and links will eventually be shareable online.

“The Pope App” went live today for iPhone and iPad, while an Android version should be out by the end of February. It’s currently available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian.

The Vatican has been stepping up its digital presence in recent years — for itself and the pope — the latest initiative being the papal Twitter feed @Pontifex, which now has more than 2 million followers in nine languages.

ImageThe new app will allow people to follow live broadcasts of papal events — like the Sunday Angelus, Wednesday general audience and other important events — as well as access images and other media from any mobile device or smartphone.

The new “Pope App” will alert users when an event is about to begin and the mobile device will receive the live feed directly from the Vatican Television Center.

The app also will give users views from any one of the Vatican’s six live webcams. Two webcams are located on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica: one looking at St. Peter’s Square and the other at the Vatican governor’s office. Another is situated high on the colonnade around St. Peter’s Square looking at the basilica and papal apartments. One is directed at Blessed John Paul II’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica, another is high on the Vatican hill pointing toward the dome of the basilica and the last is aimed at the gardens of the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo.

“The Pope App,” was launched the day before the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron of journalists, and day the Vatican traditionally releases the pope’s message for World Communications Day.

The theme of this year’s message, “Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelization,” is in the context of the Year of Faith and fresh calls for a new evangelization.

Marquette’s ‘Tolkieniana’ collection includes manuscripts, drawings

Marquette archivist William Fliss looks over material related to Tolkien collection. (Catholic Herald photo by Juan C. Medina)

Marquette archivist William Fliss looks over materials related to Tolkien collection held by university. (Catholic Herald photo by Juan C. Medina)

The buzz about “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” preceded the film’s release by months and since the movie opened Dec. 14, it has grossed more than $600 million in box office receipts around the world — and still counting. But as Tom Jozwik writes in a story for the Catholic Herald in Milwaukee, the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien on which the film is based and his other works and papers have been “hot topics around Marquette University for some time.”

The Jesuit-run university has a Tolkien collection — “Tolkienana” — that contains 10,000 pages of the author’s book manuscripts, typescripts and drawings.

As the Catholic News Service review of “The Hobbit” notes, that Tolkien novel was first published in 1937 and “has proved so popular in the decades since that it has never gone out of print.” Almost two decades later, Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was published. His work has been described as Catholic in both the general sense of “universal” and in the Catholic sense of a deeply sacramental understanding of reality. Tolkien also was a good friend of C.S. Lewis, whose work is finding renewed popularity and whose exploration of Christian faith is inspiring a new generation as we reported earlier this month.

The Catholic Church in McLuhan’s “global village”

By Robert Duncan
Catholic News Service

Thursday the Vatican will release Pope Benedict’s message for World Communications Day 2013. The topic is “Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith.”

The weekend may be a good time to return to the thought of the man Life Magazine called “the Oracle of the Electronic Age,” and reflect on the value his observations have for us today.

Herbert Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian Catholic philosopher of communication who owed part of his conversion to Catholicism to the writings of G. K. Chesterton. His insights about media sparked debates that continue to resonate.

In 1965, appearing on Canadian television, McLuhan predicted the coming of telephone commerce and “world connectivity.”

“The sort of dialogue among all the elements of our world that is going on actually and without benefit of bureaucratic blessing, or an official blessing, the kind of exchanges and interchanges of imagery and awareness of peoples of the world, this is the pattern that education will tend to resort to more and more,” McLuhan predicted.

In the video below, McLuhan outlines his theory of “the global village,” saying, “These new media have made our world into a single unit. The world is now like a continually sounding tribal drum, where everybody gets the message all the time. A princess gets married in England and — boom boom boom! — we all hear about it; an earthquake in North Africa; a Hollywood star gets drunk — away go the drums again.”

If the late Catholic media theorist had this much to say about television and the sciences of his day, what might he think of the world of Facebook and Twitter?

Marshall McLuhan: the global village

Robert Duncan is a multimedia journalist in the Catholic News Service Rome bureau.

Catholic Charities directors head to Holy Land to strengthen understanding of faith-based service

Jerusalem will be the base for a group of diocesan directors of Catholic Charities during a two-week visit to the Holy Land. (CNS photo/Reuters)

Jerusalem will be the base for a group of diocesan directors of Catholic Charities during a two-week visit to the Holy Land. (CNS photo/Reuters)

Diocesan Catholic Charities directors, through Catholic Charities USA, will explore the roots of faith-based service during a two-week trip to the Middle East.

With stops throughout the Holy Land, the West Bank and Jordan, the directors will see biblical sites as well as several vital projects supported by Caritas Jerusalem and Catholic Relief Services. Participants will have the chance to study Scripture, history and theology as well after their arrival Jan. 19.

Kathy Brown, senior director for mission and Catholic identity for Catholic Charities USA, said the immersion trip is the agency’s first to the Middle East in the three years of its O’Grady Institute program.

Named in honor of Msgr. John O’Grady, the second executive secretary of what was formerly the National Conference of Catholic Charities, the institute was developed in 2009 to aid diocesan directors in what Father Larry Snyder, current Catholic Charities USA president, calls “formation of the heart.”

The institute is designed to build upon Pope Benedict XVI’s 2005 encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (“God is Love”). Father Snyder envisions that it will help participants strengthen the Catholic identity of their work, Brown explained.

The Holy Land visit is the first for the institute. Traditionally, the visits have encompassed visits to Freiburg, Germany, and Rome. The institute returns to those locales May 24-June 8.

Father Don Senior, a Scripture scholar and president of the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, is accompanying the group to offer insight into the significance of the sacred sites on the trek.

Participants in the projects will be able to discuss the economic and social realities of the region with people benefiting from the church-run projects.

“As Father Larry has said, it’s a living seminar about the Bible and about people who are living the Gospel in a sometimes difficult holy land,” Brown said.

Hoofin’ it to the Vatican: barnyard critters get special blessing

A donkey waits for a special blessing in front of St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, patron saint of animals. (CNS photo/Carol Glatz).

VATICAN CITY — Luckily, on this cold and rainy winter day, many of today’s special guests at the Vatican came with their own thick fur coat, except the three little pigs, who just hunkered down and snuggled up tight.

The critters, large and small, have been coming every year the past six years for the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, patron saint of animals. The initiative, called “The farm under heaven,” is sponsored by an Italian association of farmers and ranchers.

This year the temporary tent-stalls housed cows, an ox, a mule, a donkey, a handful of horses and several goats and sheep. A bunny, geese and other fowl were scratching for fallen kibbles in the mounds of soft sawdust in their cages.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, celebrated Mass in the basilica for the association’s members and then later blessed the livestock outside the square. Image

Roman residents were invited to bring their pets for the blessing and get a free check-up from local veterinarians.

If you’d like to see more pictures from today’s blessing and equestrian parade up the main boulevard to the Vatican, please click here.

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