Proclaim! E-News - November 18, 2020
November 18, 2020
Diocesan Education Leaders Working
Around the Clock to Keep Students Safe
By Tony DeGol
Behind Jo-Ann Semko’s desk is stenciling that says
“Thankful, Grateful, and truly Blessed.” As a woman
of faith and prayer, her belief in that motto is stronger
than ever these days, which is no small accomplishment
considering the monumental decisions she is facing.
Semko is the Director of Education for the Diocese of
Altoona-Johnstown. With Executive Program Assistant
Peggy Beck at her side, the two are immersed in
addressing the impact of the coronavirus in
Catholic schools throughout our region.
HEADLINES AND HAPPENINGS
Bishop Announces Directives for Advent Reconciliation and Christmas Masses
By Tony DeGol
To help keep crowds within the limits demanded by physical distancing, Bishop Mark has announced that pastors and administrators may celebrate a vigil Mass as early as 2:00 p.m. on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, December 24. Typically, vigil Masses are not scheduled before 4:00 p.m.
Zoom Retreats Unite Confirmation Candidates, Sponsors, and Parents
By Tony DeGol
Pope Francis once said, "The Holy Spirit is a great worker, and He works in us, always." Appropriately enough, the grace of the Spirit seems to be working in young people preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation amid a pandemic.
What Comes After the Election Season?
A Reflection from Bishop Mark
"Since Election Day, I have received a few comments and concerns about Catholic Church leaders who have communicated with Joseph Biden. The focus of these concerns are political and religious."
Bishop's Appointments & Announcements
Reverend Andrew Stanko (1945-2020)
The diocese is mourning the passing of a Senior Priest. Father Andrew Stanko passed earlier this month. He was most recently the Pastor of Saint John Vianney Parish in Mundys Corner before his retirement in 2017.
Sister Charmaine Grilliot, C.PP.S. (1932-2020)
Precious Blood Sister Charmaine Grilliot, former Director of Education for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, passed earlier this week.
Together, Apart for the Holidays
Column by Maureen Pratt
(CNS) "Holiday time is synonymous with togetherness, the fellowship that reflects and fosters the love God has for us and the precious gift of his son Jesus Christ that is the focus of our faith. Looking past our disappointment at being apart, there are creative ways that we can foster togetherness despite geographic distance — even ones that do not rely on high tech talent!"
Working Group Formed to Deal with Conflicts Between Biden Policies, Church Teaching
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit will head up a special working group of the U.S. bishops to address issues surrounding the election of a Catholic president and policies that may come about that would be in conflict with Catholic teaching and the bishops’ priorities.
Pandemic Opens the Way to New Possibilities of Evangelization, Bishops Say
CLEVELAND (CNS) — The coronavirus pandemic may have led to debilitating isolation among Catholics, but it has not lessened people’s hunger for the Eucharist, bishops across the country said. In a 45-minute online discussion Nov. 17, bishops described an unwavering thirst for the Eucharist, detailing some of the extraordinary measures people have taken to worship before the Blessed Sacrament.
Hope Can Overcome the Most Painful Experiences, Msgr. Bransfield Tells USCCB
CLEVELAND (CNS) — Suffering, physical or otherwise, “never cancels hope” no matter the circumstances, Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield told the bishops gathered online for the second day of their fall general assembly. Msgr. Bransfield, who ended his five-year term as general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the assembly concluded Nov. 17, credited his childhood parish priest in his native Philadelphia, who later became a beloved seminary professor, with teaching him about hope.
Mary Shows How to Turn Fear into Invitation to Hear God’s Call, Pope Says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — There is no better way to pray than like Mary, who opened her heart to God with humility and trust, Pope Francis said. “It is putting our life in the Lord’s hands, that he be the one who guides us. We can all pray like this, almost without words,” the pope said Nov. 18 during his weekly general audience, which was live-streamed from the library of the Apostolic Palace.
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