South African church readies for World Cup

Are you a soccer fan? If you are then you know that the World Cup — soccer’s Super Bowl — is set to begin in just 14 days. For the first time in football history, Africa will play host. It’s a great showcase for South Africa, where the games will take place, and the South African church plans to be a big part of the celebration. Check out the video, “Church on the Ball,” produced by the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference. It’s a terrific look at the work of the church in the southern tip of the continent and the people of  the nation that is rolling out its red carpet to the world. If you can’t get there for the big event, the South African church’s website is almost the next best thing.

Shout out for high school chaplains

Father John Muir, chaplain at Xavier College Preparatory School in Phoenix, celebrates a final liturgy with the senior class May 3. Photo by Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN

A recent story in The Catholic Sun, Phoenix’s diocesan newspaper, drives home the point that priests are needed on high school campuses.

Graduating seniors at Phoenix-area Catholic high schools praised school chaplains for celebrating school Masses and being available to talk to students and give advice about school, relationships and future choices. They appreciated cultural references priests used in homilies and liked seeing them at basketball games and school plays. They also were keenly aware that priests were there for them during tough times such as praying with them after a student at a nearby school was killed in a car crash.

One high school student described his high school chaplain this way: “A lot of the kids see him as a guide, as a mediator between our faith and our daily lives.”  

Father Will Schmid, chaplain at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler, says his role is a basic one.

“I just try to show them that the Catholic Church isn’t as crazy as the world makes it out to be, that the teachings make sense and that the faith is worthwhile and it matters,” he said.

And based on the students’ responses, he has done his job.

Eucharistic adoration at the Vatican in reparation for abuse

(CNS photo/Michael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is hosting two hours of eucharistic adoration “in reparation for abuses committed by priests and for the healing of this wound within the church.”

The service in St. Peter’s Basilica this Saturday will feature an hour of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour of prayer and meditation, and a solemn blessing at the end.

The unusual initiative was organized by Catholic university students in Rome. Sources said the event was originally planned for the small Church of St. Anne inside Vatican City, but that it was moved to St. Peter’s at the suggestion of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who is archpriest of the basilica.

So far, however, the Vatican has not publicized the event. Invitations have been forwarded by email and spread by word-of-mouth.

The hour of prayer and meditation will be led by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who deals directly with cases of priests accused of abuse of minors.

In several recent statements, Pope Benedict has said the response to the sex abuse crisis in the church will require openness, adoption of new measures to protect children and spiritual reparation.

In a letter to Irish Catholics earlier this year, he asked that eucharistic adoration be set up in every diocese, so that “through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm.”