Christianity

Should Catholic women give up fasting for Lent?

February 26, 2020

When Lent arrives each year, I find myself in conversations about fasting with other Catholic women. We exchange plans for our seasonal food abstinence — small meals and no meat on Fridays, often accompanied by a fast from sweets, or alcohol, or snacking between meals.

Then, inevitably, someone voices what many of us have privately considered: "Hopefully this will help me lose another few pounds."

Such admissions are often accompanied by some self-deprecating acknowledgement that weight loss is not supposed to be the goal of our seasonal penance. Nevertheless,...

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Do religious dating apps like Mutual, Christian Mingle endanger users?

February 24, 2020

When Marla Perrin, now 25, first heard about Mutual, the dating app designed for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she was thrilled.

Perrin had tried dating apps like Tinder in the past, but found the experience fruitless and frustrating: the men she matched with often didn’t share her faith, and her guard was always up, worried that someone would harass or stalk her. 

But Mutual seemed like a dating oasis to Perrin, who was living in Hawaii and looking to find a partner. She thought that the men on...

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Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group finds inspiration in Black Shakers

February 19, 2020

For choreographer Reggie Wilson, who has dedicated decades to researching and illuminating the spiritual and cultural traditions of the African diaspora, Shakers would seem an unusual source of obsession. But when his investigations led to the discovery of a community of Black Shakers in the middle 1800s, he was all in. He’d always felt there was nothing “any whiter than a New England Shaker,” he admits with a chuckle. “Finding such a thing as a Black Shaker didn’t fit easily into my model of reality. I wanted to understand ... how that existed and what that might have looked like.” That...

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Father Josh: A married Catholic priest in a celibate world

February 17, 2020

The priest wakes up at 4 a.m. on the days he celebrates the early Mass, sipping coffee and enjoying the quiet while his young children sleep in rooms awash in stuffed animals and Sesame Street dolls and pictures of saints. Then he kisses his wife goodbye and drives through the empty suburban streets of north Dallas to the church he oversees.

In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy have flared from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is that rarest of things: A married Catholic priest.

Source:...

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Rabbis’ perspectives vary when it comes to co-officiating at interfaith funerals

February 14, 2020

With the rise of interfaith marriage, it is no surprise that families are seeking ways to meld the traditions of various faiths. From weddings performed jointly by clergy representing different religions, to the December holiday mashup “Christmakkah,” cultures and customs are being blended in ways unimaginable a century ago.

Interfaith funerals, co-officiated by a rabbi and a non-Jewish clergy member, while not yet ubiquitous, now can also be added to that canon. 

Rabbi Chuck Diamond, spiritual leader of Pittsburgh’s Kehillah La La, recently co-officiated a...

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Judge rules in favor of Boston in flag-raising fight with Christian group

February 12, 2020

Boston doesn’t have to raise a Christian flag in place of the city’s flag at City Hall Plaza, a judge ruled Tuesday in a federal suit brought by a religious group claiming discrimination by the city’s initial rejection.

An order by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper denied a summary judgment for Harold Shurtleff and his Camp Constitution organization, who filed a federal suit in 2018 after the city denied their request to fly the...

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Moving faith: Mexican town’s saint feast lives in Minnesota

February 4, 2020

In Midwestern boots or bare feet in sandals, the faithful walked in procession down a snow-covered street here, keeping the rhythm of festive music and carrying paintings of St. Paul, the patron saint of their hometown of Axochipan, Mexico.

For the thousands of migrants from the south Mexico town 2,200 miles away who have built new lives in Minnesota over the last two decades, throwing a wild, two-day bash for St. Paul’s Catholic feast day in January is a crucial way to celebrate their roots and feel a bit more at home, closer to the families they left behind...

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Christianity in Boston

Christianity, a global religion with three major branches–Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant–traces its roots back to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Since 1630, Christianity has been a vital part of Boston’s history, continually evolving as new waves of immigrants incorporate their own Christian traditions into the life of the city. Recent immigration from Asia, Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean is creating an increasingly vibrant and diverse Christian community in Boston. Among the trends that will shape the future of Christianity in Greater Boston are...

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U.S. churchgoers satisfied with sermons, though content varies by religious tradition

January 28, 2020

Sermons are a major part of many churchgoers’ religious experiences. But there are differences by religious tradition in how satisfied churchgoers are with what they hear from the pulpit – as well as in the length and content of those sermons, according to two recent Pew Research Center studies.

An opinion survey of 6,364 U.S. adults conducted in 2019 found that 90% of...

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How young women religious are changing the church

January 23, 2020

At 32, novice Maria Anna Dela Paz is the youngest sister in her congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, by about 20 years. She was drawn to the community’s Franciscan charisma and its emphasis on human rights and social justice advocacy, but she says, “I didn’t ever think there were people like me who were discerning.”

She’s not alone. According to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 90 percent of Catholic sisters alive today are over the age of 60; most are closer to 80. The majority are white. Many younger religious...

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Iowa pastor says running for office is a test of faith

January 22, 2020

Loving your enemies isn’t an easy thing to do on the campaign trail.

Even if the candidate is a pastor.

“(Faith) pushes us in ways that are not always comfortable, which means sacrificing yourself and caring for people that you wouldn’t want to care for normally, like loving your neighbor or loving your enemies,” said the Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott.

Source: Iowa pastor says running for office is a test of faith – Religion News Service...

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Multiracial churches growing, but challenging for clergy of color

January 17, 2020

For four hours at a megachurch outside of Dallas, pastors of color shared their personal stories of leading a multiethnic church.

One, a lead pastor of a Southern Baptist congregation in Salt Lake City, recalled the “honest conversations” he had with his 10-member leadership team before it agreed that he would present “both sides” of the controversy over quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests at NFL games.

A founding elder of a fledgling Cincinnati congregation expressed satisfaction with her “phenomenal church,” but said “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — a...

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Love of baking and prayer make religious brother a winner

January 15, 2020

The oven timer dings, alerting Capuchin Franciscan Brother Andrew Corriente the chocolate layer cake he is baking needs to be checked.

A quick test with a toothpick tells him the cake needs about five more minutes in the oven, more than enough time for him to soften the butter that will eventually become the buttercream icing that will top the confection.

The enticing aromas in the kitchen at Capuchin College in Washington signal that Brother Andrew is busy creating another treat for the men who call the friary home.

Source: ...

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How Filipinos celebrate their faith during Santo Nino festival season

January 14, 2020

While festivals after Epiphany are often known for Mardi Gras, a popular Filipino celebration of the Christ Child comes to several parishes throughout the U.S. in January.

The Festival of Santo Nino de Cebu — rooted in the deep faith of the Filipino people and originating in the Philippines’ Cebu province — finds special Masses, dances and processions taking place in which participants carry a statue of the infant Jesus marking the 16th-century arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

Source: ...

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