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Carlo Acutis comic book: Meet the teenager who loved the Eucharist

A scene from “Digital Disciple: Carlo Acutis and the Eucharist” written by Philip Kosloski, the founder of Voyage Comics & Publishing. / Courtesy of Voyage Comics & Publishing

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 27, 2022 / 09:00 am (CNA).

Carlo Acutis slid his books into his backpack when he heard the parish priest knocking at the door. The hoodie-clad teenager had just finished teaching his first catechism class by himself.

“Father Antonio, I ... I don’t know what to do!” Carlo asked for advice. “These kids don’t love the Mass like I do! How do I help them understand the beauty of the Mass?”

Placing his hand on Carlo’s shoulder, the priest pointed him to a picture of a church hanging on the wall. It was San Francesco in Lanciano, Italy.

“Inside it is a Eucharistic miracle that reminds me why every Mass is a miracle, even when it may seem boring,” the priest explained, referring to a miracle where the Eucharistic host visibly transformed into flesh and blood at Mass.

So begins “Digital Disciple: Carlo Acutis and the Eucharist” — a new comic book that tells the story of Blessed Carlo Acutis, a young millennial who used his knowledge of computers and technology to document the world’s Eucharistic miracles online and draw people closer to God.

“Meet Carlo, an Italian fifteen-year-old computer geek who loved superheroes and video games, but most of all, the Holy Eucharist,” the book’s description reads.

Inspired by that love, Carlo completed a Eucharistic miracle display and website before he died in 2006 from leukemia. He was 15.

The comic book rewinds time to tell the story of a seemingly ordinary teenager with an extraordinary devotion to God. Published by Voyage Comics and the Augustine Institute, the book’s pages burst with color and movement, inviting readers to walk with Carlo. You can purchase the book here for $6.99.

“[I] simply put myself into Carlo's shoes and wrote the comic book through his eyes,” Philip Kosloski, the writer of the new book, told CNA.

The 36-year-old, who currently lives in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, revealed his inspiration for the project.

“When I first heard of him a few years ago, I was fascinated by him and his life,” Kosloski said of Carlo. “He had a deep devotion to the Eucharist as a teenager and was blown away by Eucharistic miracles.”

Carlo had also impacted his life on a more personal level.

“I had a similar experience as a teenager when I learned about Eucharistic miracles and I saw the panels he created that were touring the United States several years ago, though at the time I didn't know they were by him,” he said.

In 2018, Kosloski founded Voyage Comics & Publishing with the mission to create exceptional entertainment, informed by Catholic values, that inspires people to live a heroic life. To prepare for his latest project, Kosloski said that he read every book he could find — and even contacted the Acutis' secretary in Italy. 

“The family had a chance to look over the script and they gave the ‘green light,’” he said.

The comic book depicts Carlo as a relatable teenager: a video game enthusiast, a caretaker of animals and the environment, a soccer player, and an admirer of superheroes. But he also stands out as someone who defends classmates with disabilities against bullies, helps the homeless and the poor, attends daily Mass, and lives by the motto “The Eucharist is my highway to heaven.”

In other words, a superhero worthy of a comic book.

A scene from “Digital Disciple: Carlo Acutis and the Eucharist” written by Philip Kosloski, the  founder of Voyage Comics & Publishing. Courtesy of Voyage Comics & Publishing
A scene from “Digital Disciple: Carlo Acutis and the Eucharist” written by Philip Kosloski, the founder of Voyage Comics & Publishing. Courtesy of Voyage Comics & Publishing

Available for shipping in November, the book took roughly four to five months to produce. Kosloski said he had the help of experienced artists, such as Jay David Ramos. 

He called Ramos, the book’s colorist, “a rising star at Marvel Comics.” 

“He is a devout Catholic, originally from the Philippines, who is living in California and is a full-time comic book artist,” Kosloski said. “He has been part of the Voyage Comics team for the past few years and is always eager to color the lives of ‘superhero’ saints, taking a break from his normal work.”

Kosloski’s favorite scene in the book, he said, is a section that focuses on Acutis’ experience playing video games. 

“It is based off a real event in his life where he saw his friends get overly frustrated with video games,” he said. “He learned that video games need to be moderated and [that] was part of the reason why he limited himself to one hour of video games a week.”

A scene from “Digital Disciple: Carlo Acutis and the Eucharist” written by Philip Kosloski, the  founder of Voyage Comics & Publishing. Courtesy Voyage Comics & Publishing
A scene from “Digital Disciple: Carlo Acutis and the Eucharist” written by Philip Kosloski, the founder of Voyage Comics & Publishing. Courtesy Voyage Comics & Publishing

For his part, Kosloski hoped that the book would speak to both Catholic and non-Catholic readers.

“I hope Catholics will see an enthusiastic teenager in the pursuit of the truth,” he said. “He found the truth behind the Eucharist and couldn’t contain his excitement at what he found. He had to spread his love, hoping the entire world would come to see the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.”

“For non-Catholics, I hope they see a teenager on fire with Christ's love,” he added. “He not only shared his love of the Eucharist but also served the poor and cared for what Pope Francis would call our, ‘common home.’”

He concluded: “His life shows that God can work through anyone, no matter their age.”

‘Violence kills the future’: Pope Francis condemns Israeli-Palestinian conflict after 2 boys die

Pope Francis gives his weekly Angelus address on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Nov 27, 2022 / 08:25 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has spoken out against violence in the Holy Land after one teenager died in a blast in Jerusalem and another teenager died in armed clashes in Palestine last week.

“Violence kills the future, shattering the lives of the young and weakening hopes for peace,” the pope said in an appeal at the end of his Sunday Angelus Nov. 27.

A 16-year-old Israeli boy was killed, and at least 14 people were injured, after two bombs exploded at bus stops on the outskirts of Jerusalem Nov. 23. Israeli authorities said the attacks appear to have been carried out by Palestinian militants, Reuters reported.

Late on Tuesday, Nov. 22, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in the city of Nablus in the Israeli occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian officials.

Pope Francis said he is following with concern the “increase in violence and clashes” between Israel and Palestine, and called the twin blasts in Jerusalem “cowardly attacks.”

“Let us pray for these young men who died and for their families, especially their mothers,” Francis said. “I hope that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities will more readily take to heart the search for dialogue, building mutual trust, without which there will never be a peaceful solution in the Holy Land.”

After the Angelus, the pope also greeted participants of a Nov. 27 march to denounce sexual violence against women.

Sexual violence against women is “unfortunately a general and widespread reality everywhere and also used as a weapon of war,” he said. “Let us not tire of saying no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue, yes to peace.”

Cardinal Sarah: ‘Religious liberty is under threat in the West, too’

Cardinal Robert Sarah / Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Rome Newsroom, Nov 27, 2022 / 08:00 am (CNA).

Christians in the West should not take religious liberty and freedom of worship for granted, Cardinal Robert Sarah said in a recent interview with EWTN News.

“Threats against religious liberty take many forms. Countless martyrs continue to die for the faith around the world,” the 77-year-old Sarah said. “But religious liberty is under threat in the West, too.”

“It is not often an overt threat, or hatred of the faith,” he added, but an “implicit bias against Christianity.”

In the interview, which will air on EWTN’s Vaticano program at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 27, the Guinean cardinal pointed to the Book of Exodus, which tells of the 10 plagues, the departure of the Hebrews, and the destruction of Egypt. Those events took place, he said, “so that God’s people might have the freedom to worship him properly.”

“Religious liberty is not to be taken for granted, or compromised, or neglected.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah holds his latest book, Catechism of the Spiritual Life, during an interview with EWTN News in Rome. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Cardinal Robert Sarah holds his latest book, Catechism of the Spiritual Life, during an interview with EWTN News in Rome. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Cardinal Sarah spoke with EWTN News earlier this month about his latest book, “Catechism of the Spiritual Life,” published by EWTN Publishing in English in October.

The cardinal’s seventh book is an in-depth reflection on the Catholic Church’s seven sacraments and how to make progress in the spiritual life.

One of the book’s central themes is the importance of the Mass and the Eucharist.

“We are to assemble for the Holy Mass and to receive our Lord in the Eucharist,” Cardinal Sarah said in the hourlong interview in Rome.

He criticized what he called the wide acceptance of “draconian restrictions” on Mass attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We cannot forget this: The Eucharist is the source and the summit of a Christian life,” he stressed.

“Adaptation,” he continued, “is necessary at times. We’ll face more pandemics and other emergencies, and there will be debate concerning how best to address this in relation to the celebration of the Eucharist. This is good. Liberal democracy requires debate, but never can the importance of our worship of God be forgotten or neglected in the course of debate. Liberal democracy must not forget God.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Cardinal Robert Sarah. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Cardinal Sarah was prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from November 2014 to February 2021, when Pope Francis accepted his resignation.

The cardinal had submitted his resignation to the pope when he turned 75 in June 2020, as Church norms dictate.

While head of the liturgy department, Sarah was the most senior African prelate at the Vatican, where he had held important posts since 2001.

Sarah said his book places a special focus on the sacraments, prayer, and the cross.

“A Christian life,” he said, “must be built on three pillars: crux, hostia, and virgo. The cross, the host, and the Virgin Mary. These are the three pillars on which you have to build a Christian life.”

The cardinal said being prefect of the Vatican’s divine worship office really drove home for him the importance of the liturgy being a great and unique moment “to encounter God face to face and to be transformed by him as a child of God and as a true worshiper of God.”

“Liturgy,” he added, “must be beautiful, it must be sacred, and it must be silent.”

He warned against turning the Mass into a “spectacle” or just a gathering of friends, taking the focus off of worship of God.

“I will encourage that the liturgy becomes more and more sacred, more and more holy, more and more silent, because God is silent, and we encounter God in silence, in adoration,” he said. “I think that the formation of the people of God to the liturgy is very important. We can show people the beauty, to be reverent, and to keep silent in the liturgy, in which our encounter with Christ is deepened.”

Sarah also praised silent eucharistic adoration as a chance to encounter Christ in a way that can “really change our lives.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Cardinal Robert Sarah. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Commenting on modern society, the cardinal said: “God has been forgotten.”

“We all live as if God doesn’t exist. Confusion reigns everywhere. Too many would reduce our lives, the very meaning of our lives, to absolute individualism and the pursuit of fleeting pleasure.”

Christians, he said, should respond by returning to the basics of the faith.

“We require a retreat from the world, withdrawal into the desert, where we can relearn the fundamentals, the basics: monotheism, the revelation of Jesus Christ, us and God, his word, our sin, our dependence and need of his mercy,” he said.

Sarah said God, through his Church and the sacraments, “guides us into an ever-deeper relationship with him. And we all have a need to reacquaint ourselves with his profound gift, which is his love.”

Faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, he said, is one of the Church’s fundamental beliefs, without which, “she loses the meaning of her existence.”

“The Church is not a social organization to meet the problems of migration or poverty,” he continued. “The Church has a divine purpose: to save the world.”

“If Christ does not dwell within the Church, tangibly, visibly, sacramentally, then what good news do we have to offer to the world? What is the meaning of evangelization?” he said. “When Christians forget why they are Christian, the community must fall into decline. They forget the Gospel and lose sight of their purpose.”

Cardinal Sarah said spiritual warfare is much the same as it has ever been, even if many bishops and priests have ceased to remind Catholics of its reality. Our weapon in this war, he explained, is the word of God.

There is a need “to turn to God every day, not just for consolation amid worldly adversities, but because we depend upon him entirely in the cosmic struggle. We are all at war whether we recognize it or not. It is good that all of us should become aware of that fact, and make sure every day that we fight on the side of God,” he said.

Cardinal Robert Sarah. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Cardinal Robert Sarah. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

The book, “Catechism of the Spiritual Life,” Sarah said, is meant to be a response to the “confusion of this day, outside and even inside the Church.”

“I saw a need for a representation of some reflections on our spiritual progress in our spiritual life: progress in our personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”

He added that he hopes his book answers “a profound need of our time.”

“Every one of us must strive, continuously, to draw closer to Jesus Christ, to return to his Word, and to the simplicity of the faith in his self-revelation. It is the simplicity of the desert, of recognition of our dependence upon God, and encountering him and the gift of his love and his grace, by which he configured us to himself,” he said.

“That is why I decided to write ‘Catechism of the Spiritual Life.’”

Pope Francis: God is present ‘in everyday things’

Pope Francis at the Angelus Nov. 27, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Nov 27, 2022 / 07:20 am (CNA).

It is good to remember that God is present to us even in the small, everyday events of our lives, Pope Francis said on the first Sunday of Advent.

In his Angelus address Nov. 27, the pope said, “Let us bear this in mind: God is hidden in our life, he is always there — he is concealed in the commonest and most ordinary situations in our life.”

God, he continued, “does not come in extraordinary events, but in everyday things.”

“He is there, in our daily work, in a chance encounter, in the face of someone in need, even when we face days that seem grey and monotonous, it is right there that we find the Lord, who calls to us, speaks to us and inspires our actions,” he said.

Francis spoke about the season of Advent, the period of preparation for the Lord’s coming on Christmas, from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. And he presented a question for reflection: “How can we recognize and welcome the Lord?”

It is important, he said, that we are “awake, alert, vigilant.”

The pope also quoted from a sermon of St. Augustine, who said, “I fear the Lord who passes by.”

“That is, I fear that he will pass by and I will not recognize him,” Francis explained.

He pointed out the warning Jesus gave his disciples in the day’s Gospel reading from St. Matthew: Jesus said people in the time of Noah “ate and drank ‘and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away.’”

The people, Pope Francis said, “were absorbed in their own things and did not realize that the flood was about to come.”

“In this time of Advent, let us be shaken out of our torpor and let us awaken from our slumber,” he said. “Let’s try to ask ourselves: am I aware of what I am living, am I alert, am I awake? Do I try to recognize God is present in daily situations, or am I distracted and a little overwhelmed by things?”

“If we are unaware of his coming today, we will also be unprepared when he arrives at the end of times. Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us remain vigilant.”

The ‘Random Catholic Dude’ behind the website chronicling the Catholic hierarchy

David M. Cheney, the creator and manager of Catholic-Hierarchy.org / Credit: David M. Cheney

Rome Newsroom, Nov 27, 2022 / 07:00 am (CNA).

As he describes himself on his now-dormant Twitter account, David M. Cheney is, in some ways, just a “Random Catholic Dude.”

He works a full-time computer support job, loves to travel, opens emails with “howdy,” and belongs to the Church of the Holy Cross in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas.

Cheney is also the person behind the longest-running online database for information about the bishops and dioceses of the global Catholic Church.

Asked why he started Catholic-Hierarchy.org more than 20 years ago, the 56-year-old Kansas native said, “Part of it is just because it’s not available anywhere else.”

The website, which includes both current and historical data for the Church’s hierarchy, had 612,000 visits and 1.3 million page views in a recent 30-day period. In one month this year, the site saw visitors from almost every country in the world.

Screenshot of the homepage of Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
Screenshot of the homepage of Catholic-Hierarchy.org.

Cheney told CNA in a video call from his home this month that the website started out as a simple project to teach himself web design.

“I was working at Texas A&M University running the computers for the economics department and I needed a project to start learning web skills. This was back in the late ’90s,” he said.

“At the time I counted six dioceses around the world that had websites,” Cheney said. “That was it. So basically I started, you know, just playing with it.”

Humble beginnings 

In 1997, Cheney created an experimental Paradox database consisting of three web pages: “Who’s New,” “Open Sees,” and “Age Limit” for current bishops of the United States. At the time, he maintained everything manually.

Things took off from there.

Cheney has a relative — a former abbess of a religious order, who lives in Guatemala — whom he visited. This fact led him to expand the website beyond the United States.

“So I went ahead and added Canada and Mexico and Central America,” he said.

The next addition, Cheney explained, came from Lima, Peru. Someone at ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner founded in 1980, “was kind enough to give me basically an Excel spreadsheet that had all the current bishops of South America.”

At that point, “Why not go all the way?” he thought.

“It always left holes If I didn’t include everything so I just went ahead and expanded it to the world.”

On May 10, 2002, the Catholic-Hierarchy.org web domain was born.

How it works 

Cheney said he reads the news bulletin from the Vatican every day to know what new bishops the pope has nominated, or to get information about bishop retirements or transfers.

He then inputs any new data into the website. Other information, such as bishops’ ages, updates automatically.

Screenshot of the form for Pope Francis, formerly Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Credit: David Cheney
Screenshot of the form for Pope Francis, formerly Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Credit: David Cheney

Besides the Vatican bulletin, Cheney has gotten a lot of historical information on bishops from his collection of the Annuario Pontificio, or pontifical directory. He has acquired copies from the years 1914 to 2022, though he is missing a handful, he said. 

Historical researchers also share information with the webmaster. And he has shared his database with other researchers. Google Books has also been a useful resource, he said.

Cheney described how the website works, acknowledging that it uses an “extremely old and out of date” management system, Paradox.

“It’s what is called a truly relational database,” he said, “and basically what that means is there’s no need to duplicate information ... between the tables. All you do is link them.”

The tables are like spreadsheets, he explained. “There’s one main bishop table, and basically there’s an entry for every person I’ve got on the site.”

There are also related tables for events, such as a bishop’s birth and death, when he was appointed a bishop, who consecrated him, and more.

“So those are all separate tables, and then using the database you can access all those at once, basically interrelate them,” Cheney said.

Through a minimal amount of advertising, the website generates a small revenue, which he said he uses to cover the hosting service, domain name, and other basic costs of the website. “The goal has never been to make money,” he said.

What’s next 

The web designer said he hopes to be able to retire from his day job, computer support for the IRS, in five to seven years. At that time, he will be able to give the website the overhaul it deserves.

“What the website really needs — and this is true of most software projects — you need to start over and start from scratch,” he said.

“I figured that’s probably going to be a yearlong project just by itself.”

When he started out back in 1997, Cheney said, he had no idea how complicated the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was.

“I was of course interested in the Church and, you know, had been involved in my local parishes and stuff, but I did not realize the complexity,” he said.

Now, 25 years later, he said it has been interesting to learn “just how interconnected the Church is” and to see the development of dioceses and Church territories over time.  

The project has also given Cheney a global view of the structures of the Catholic Church.

“There are still areas where we’re very much a missionary presence,” he pointed out.

Meet the Catholic bishop who began a pro-life ministry for pregnant women in need

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City speaks to EWTN Pro-Life Weekly on July 21, 2022. / Screenshot from EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 26, 2022 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

When the U.S. Catholic bishops first launched a nationwide initiative to help pregnant women in need, the chair of their pro-life committee envisioned every parish becoming a pro-life hub.

“Our hope was … that every parish ought to be a place where any woman can come,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City told CNA. “And the parish would be really prepared to connect them with the best resources in the area — and hopefully, we have somebody that would walk with them through that process.”

Today, the bishops’ pro-life parish-based ministry, Walking with Moms in Need, promises to do just that — by encouraging Catholics to support and “walk in the shoes” of local pregnant and parenting women facing difficult situations. 

Naumann oversaw its launch in 2020 when he served as chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Now, two years later, the 73-year-old archbishop sees the ministry only gaining momentum after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a ruling that frees states to decide abortion policy. 

The pro-life issue is a personal one for Naumann. His father was tragically murdered, he disclosed, when he was still in his mother’s womb. She had a difficult pregnancy with him, as she did with his older brother. Growing up, he watched as his mother, who never remarried, worked as a Catholic school teacher and, then, a principal. 

“I could see the struggle that a single mother goes through,” he remembered. 

At the same time, he said, those circumstances “oddly, probably contributed to me becoming a priest.” He pointed to his parish priest, who took an interest in him and his brother because they grew up without a father. 

Naumann was ordained a priest in 1975, two years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. He first took an active role in Catholic pro-life leadership when, in 1984, the archbishop in St. Louis invited him to lead the pro-life apostolate in that archdiocese. 

But, he urged, “It was an issue I always felt strongly about.”

A call to action

Speaking with CNA at the bishops’ fall assembly in Baltimore, Naumann recognized the overturning of Roe as a “significant” decision — and a call to action.

“Those states where they do have protective laws for women and children, that means they need to even have more support for moms and for their children,” he said of states that have restricted abortion. “I think Walking with Moms is very important in those states.”

Naumann also expressed concern about states that remain largely unaffected by the Supreme Court’s decision, including his state of Kansas, where a pro-life amendment on the ballot recently failed. He also worried about states enacting laws “maybe even more horrendous” than Roe v. Wade.

“In those states, it becomes very important too, because the children we can't protect with the law, we can [protect] with love and [by] surrounding the mother and the child with the support system,” he said.

Walking with Moms in Need, in part, began in anticipation of Roe’s reversal, Naumann revealed.

“We saw that that was a possibility,” he said, before adding, “But you know, frankly, I didn't think I would see it in my lifetime.”

“There was in my mind, why, if that happened, are we really prepared to support women — even more women and children,” he said. “And so I'm really glad we took that initiative and the Holy Spirit kind of guided us.”

He described how his own diocese is participating in Walking with Moms in Need: by making parishes aware of the resources available in addition to identifying the gaps where help is needed. 

“I've told our pastors, there's no excuse for any of our parishes not being able to connect women with the help they need and to be prepared to accompany them,” Naumann stressed.

He called the bishops’ pro-life pastoral plan “multifaceted,” with a focus on four areas: prayer; education within and outside the church; pastoral care, and advocacy. While much of the focus on abortion has been on the courts and legislation, Naumann emphasized the importance of building a pro-life culture.

“In the long run, we have to build a consensus within the culture that killing our own children is not the way we want to address difficult pregnancies,” he said.

Detroit bishop calls for penitential Advent after passage of abortion initiative

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit. CNA file photo. / null

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 26, 2022 / 11:00 am (CNA).

The archbishop of Detroit is calling on Michigan Catholics to spend the first two weeks of Advent doing penance following the passage of a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to allow abortion on demand.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron addressed a letter to all parishioners the day after Proposition 3 passed with 56.7% of the vote. 

“Abortion is now legal in Michigan at an unprecedented level, and millions of lives are at stake. We must pray and ask God for his mercy upon us for allowing this evil to happen in our state,” Vigneron wrote.

“For this reason, I want to invite all the faithful to join me in the first two weeks of Advent, from November 27 to December 9, in doing penance, giving alms, praying, and fasting. We must use these spiritual practices to make reparations for the great sin of abortion in our midst,” he said. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Jesus called on his followers to strive for “interior penance,” defined as a “radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed” (No. 1431). Through almsgiving, prayer and fasting, Christians can “express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others” (No. 1434).

This year, as part of the Detroit Archdiocese’s “I AM HERE” campaign, special eucharistic Holy Hours will be offered at 7 p.m. every day of Advent. The campaign was started in June in conjunction with the beginning of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Eucharistic Revival initiative.

The first Holy Hour will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

In his letter, Vigneron also underlined the importance of offering pregnant women in need help during time of crisis.

“We also renew our commitment to accompanying women and families in need, with greater resolve than ever. This work is more critical now, as the unborn have been stripped of their basic right to life and their mothers face the harmful lie that the death of their children is a solution to their struggles. 

“In response to the passing of Proposal 3, we must step forward with no judgment, open arms, and effective resources to help women reject the ‘solution’ of death and empower them to choose life for their children,” Vigneron wrote.

He singled out the Walking with Moms in Need initiative and the Project Rachel as two important ministries that help pregnant women, mothers, and children, and those who have been harmed by abortion.

Christmas 2022: Small Catholic businesses offer meaningful gifts for all

Ideal for babies, toddlers, and young children, Little Saints Stories tell the story of a saint through simple writings and illustrations. / Francesca Pollio Fenton / CNA

Denver, Colo., Nov 26, 2022 / 10:00 am (CNA).

As we approach Christmas, it’s time to pull out the list of all those for whom you need to buy gifts. To help you check off your list, we’ve put together a list of Catholic businesses that offer meaningful gifts for your loved ones.

Litany NYC

Started by two friends with a passion for fashion, Litany strives to design their clothing as a way to draw one’s soul to God. This women’s clothing line caters to the “intentional and unique state of each woman as she blossoms into who she was created to be.” Each item is hand-sewn by a small team in New York, is made-to-measure, and is entirely supplied within the United States. You can find beautiful scarfs, blouses, dresses, purses, and more. One of their newer pieces is the Cana scarf, which was inspired by the Wedding Feast at Cana. The design aims to restore the significance of the vocation of marriage and remind women about the beauty of her vocation in any stage of life.

Telos Art Shop

From clothing to jewelry, Telos Art is a family-owned Catholic company that sells necklaces, rings, and earrings with the intention of pointing the wearer toward a “higher end.” This shop offers the perfect gifts for ladies who love to display their faith through jewelry. Items that can be purchased include stunning crucifix necklaces, Marian medals, saint medals, and more. They also have men’s jewelry!

Little Saint Stories

If you have littles ones on your list, then a book from Little Saint Stories would be the perfect gift. Ideal for babies, toddlers, and young children, these books tell the story of a saint through simple writings and illustrations. They serve as a great way to teach children about the inspiring lives and virtues of the saints from a young age. There are books on St. John Paul II, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Francis of Assisi, and more. In addition to the book, you can also get the accompanying prayer pal. These prayer pals are plush toys of the same saint your book is written about!

Abundantly Yours

With a mission to equip women to “grow deeper with Christ,” Abundantly Yours has the perfect gifts for that young woman in your life who loves her faith. The Remain in Me Journal, inspired by John 15:4, is a great option for anyone who enjoys prayer journaling or writing notes during the homily at Mass. The shop also sells handmade rosaries, plus stickers and magnets with inspiring messages that could serve as stocking stuffers!

The Catholic Woodworker

And for that special man on your list, The Catholic Woodworker is your place to go. This business strives to inspire men to live out their vocations as husbands and fathers through the rosary. You can find wooden rosaries and other devotional items such as crucifixes, home altars, and prayer cards. These handcrafted and masculine pieces are sure to inspire any man to grow in his faith.

Christmas is the perfect time to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas through the gifts we give. By gifting faith-based items to our loved ones, we can remind others that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Vatican says China violated terms of agreement with bishop installation

A worshiper waves the flag of China as Pope Francis leaves following the weekly general audience on June 12, 2019, at St. Peter's square in the Vatican. / Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images

Vatican City, Nov 26, 2022 / 05:40 am (CNA).

The Vatican said on Saturday that Chinese authorities had violated the terms stipulated in its provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops.

A statement released on Nov. 26 said that “the Holy See noted with surprise and regret” that Bishop John Peng Weizhao had been installed as an “auxiliary bishop of Jiangxi,” a diocese that is not recognized by the Vatican.

Peng’s installation ceremony in Nanchang, China “did not occur in accordance with the spirit of dialogue … and what was stipulated in the Provisional Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops, on September 22, 2018,” it said.

The Vatican statement also noted reports that “prolonged and heavy pressure from local authorities” preceded the installation.

“The Holy See hopes that similar episodes will not be repeated, remains awaiting appropriate communications on the matter from the authorities, and reaffirms its full readiness to continue the respectful dialogue concerning all matters of common interest,” it said.

The boundaries of the “Diocese of Jiangxi” were drawn by Chinese authorities without Vatican approval.

Peng, on the other hand, was legitimately appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 and secretly ordained as an underground bishop of Yujiang — something for which he was arrested by Chinese authorities and held in custody for six months, according to Asia News.

The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association publicized on its official website that Peng’s installation ceremony occurred on Nov. 24 with “the consent of the Jiangxi Provincial Catholic Educational Affairs Committee and the approval of the Chinese Catholic bishops’ conference.”

The government-approved Catholic association said Peng swore an oath at the installation ceremony to “guide Catholicism to adapt to socialist society” and contribute to the “dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The installation ceremony of Bishop John Peng Weizhao in Nanchang, China on Nov. 24, 2022. Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association
The installation ceremony of Bishop John Peng Weizhao in Nanchang, China on Nov. 24, 2022. Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association

Bishop John Baptist Suguang Li of Nanching presided over the installation ceremony with about 200 people in attendance. Li serves as the vice president of the Chinese bishops’ conference, a group that has not received public recognition from the Holy See.

The installation ceremony took place one month after the Vatican renewed its deal with Beijing on the appointment of Catholic bishops for an additional two years.

The provisional agreement between the Holy See and China was first signed in September 2018 and renewed for another two years in October 2020. The terms of the deal have not been made public.

Former bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, a vehement critic of the agreement, was convicted by a Hong Kong court and fined HK$4,000 the day following the installation. The Vatican has yet to make a statement on Zen’s conviction.

Pope Francis prays for homeless man who died in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis prays on St. Peter's Square, Oct. 5, 2022 / Daniel Ibáñez / CNA

Vatican City, Nov 26, 2022 / 03:30 am (CNA).

Pope Francis is praying for a homeless man who was found dead near the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square on Friday morning.

Burkhard Scheffler, a 61-year-old man born in Germany, died on a cold night on the street, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Nov. 25.

Like many homeless people in Rome, Scheffler sometimes spent his nights sleeping under the shelter of the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, where he received assistance from the Vatican Dicastery for the Service of Charity.

In the past decade, Pope Francis has established many services near the Vatican for the homeless, including a four-story homeless shelter, a medical clinic, a laundry service, showers, and an ambulance.

“Pope Francis learned with sorrow of the death of Burkhard Scheffler near the colonnade of St. Peter's last night,” Bruni said.

“In his prayer, the pope remembers Burkhard and all those who are forced to live without a home in Rome and around the world and invites the faithful to join him.”

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, entrusted Burkhard to the intercession of St. Francis while on pilgrimage in Assisi.