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Posted: Fri., July 31, 2015

When the inaugural Diocesan Mission Team visited Chimbote, Peru, in July 2014, little Diego was being held by a nurse. His legs were in braces and he was barely able to walk.

But when Team 2 visited earlier this month, he ran to them with a smile on his face. The boy is a witness to the love and generosity of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

There were many beautiful — and often emotional — stories related when members of the two teams gathered to reflect on the second trip July 21 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Posted: Fri., July 31, 2015

Found a new papist conspiracy. This one involves Sunday “blue laws,” those hit-and-miss rules and regulations that limit liquor stores, car dealerships and a host of other commercial enterprises from doing business on Sunday. Their enforcement depends on local ordinances, history and prejudice.

One of my favorite examples was a pond at a conservative Christian college. They had a posted sign reading “No fishing on Sunday.”

Posted: Fri., July 31, 2015

Katie Brown could have been experiencing her first year as a college student, spreading her wings and being a typical young adult in that environment.

Instead, she chose to spend the year working for Prisoners Assistance Nepal, a non-governmental organization that advocates for inmates and their families. The work itself would change her life, she said, but it was a harrowing experience that defined her time there.

Posted: Fri., July 31, 2015

Brother Shamus McGrenra is a 68-year-old Franciscan friar who uses his love of cycling to help the poor and needy, and he never lets the fact that he is battling stage 4 colon cancer slow him down. He stopped July 26 at the St. Joseph House of Hospitality in Pittsburgh’s Hill District as part of a two-week fund-raising journey to five centers that serve the homeless.

He presented a $500 donation to Tom Kneier, administrator of St. Joseph House of Hospitality, a residence for low-income men, over the age of 50, who were homeless or at risk for homelessness.

Posted: Fri., July 31, 2015

Members of St. John Vianney Parish in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop neighborhood have responded to proposals to close the parish and church building.

A parish assembly July 26 was attended by 112 parishioners who asked questions and expressed concerns about the potential closing. Members also responded to a survey mailed to homes.

Posted: Fri., July 24, 2015

The following school news items are from the 2014-15 year.

Three St. Joseph High School students were honored in March at the 51st Annual Pennsylvania Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at State College. Each participating student prepared a written report or poster presentation describing original research in science, mathematics or engineering.

Alexandra Loperfito, a junior from Vandergrift, received a second-place award in the Medicine, Health and Behavioral Sciences category.

Posted: Fri., July 24, 2015

The diocesan summer prayer events for On Mission for The Church Alive! culminate in a Festival of Praise with sacred music, Bishop David Zubik presiding, at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.

This third evening of prayer will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, the feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, a lay woman who brought thousands of Parisians back to the faith during the 17th century French revival.

Posted: Fri., July 24, 2015

There was absolutely no mistaking what we saw. Countless times on our mission trip to Chimbote, Peru, we knew for certain we were staring back into the eyes of Jesus himself.

Bishop David Zubik had prepared us for it. Before we left Pittsburgh he reminded us that our mission team would personally encounter Jesus Christ in the barrios of Chimbote. He was so right.

Posted: Fri., July 24, 2015

I’m a history buff. So when people speak of “defending the faith” my mind conjures up images from long ago: the medieval crusader with his sword drawn … the second-century apologist speaking truth to imperial power … the 16th-century bishop choosing to die rather than affirm the king as supreme head of the church.

The phrase “defending the faith” can mean different things in different times and places. What should it mean to you and me? For there can be no doubt that the faith needs defenders today.

Think about it.

Posted: Fri., July 24, 2015

World Youth Day 2016 is still a year away, but fund-raising efforts have been in motion for some time. 

Some 100 pilgrims and 20 seminarians are expected to travel to Krakow, Poland, next July 25-31 for the universal event.

“There’s a lot of sweat, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of effort,” said Gary Roney, director of the Department for Youth and Young Adult Ministry, of the fund-raising activities.

It points to the fact, he noted, that a pilgrimage is more than cutting a check to travel to an exotic location.