More than 12,000 Catholic churches in the U.S. applied for PPP Loans
and 9,000 received them (Christina Capatides, CBS News)
As suffering small businesses around the country clamor for much-needed loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, news of prominent national chains receiving millions of dollars sparked an outcry among owners of smaller businesses who have been shut out. Now, many will likely be surprised to learn that between 12,000 and 13,000 of the 17,000 Catholic churches in the U.S. also applied for those coveted PPP loans.
"The PPP isn't about the federal government assisting houses of worship or churches," Pat Markey, executive director of the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference, tells CBS News. "PPP is about keeping people on payrolls and a large segment of our society is the not for profit world. And a large segment of that society are churches and houses of worship. And they have people on payrolls too. So, if what this is about is keeping people on payrolls, then we all should have availability to do that."
Given that they do qualify, U.S. houses of worship have likely been moved to apply for federal assistance because of the drop they are experiencing in donations from the faithful as people stay home. According to the survey of Protestant churches conducted by LifeWay, 40% of pastors report that giving has decreased compared to earlier this year. More than half of pastors say giving has decreased more than 25%, and 18% of pastors report that it is currently down 50% or more.
"During this time of concern and precaution, the National Shrine is a place to find a little sanctuary of solitude for individual prayer and comforting quiet. (*Preserving 6-ft. "social distancing" separation).
The National Shrine is always grateful for the donations that support its life and its ministries.
we appeal to you to donate generously to the support of the Shrine in this most challenging time."
ORDINATION MASS TO THE SACRED ORDER OF THE DIACONATE
BR. VICTOR TAGLIANETTI, OFM Cap.
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of the Diocese of Oakland
St. Joseph the Worker Church, Berkeley, CA May 9, 2020
A PATH well worn:
Pilgrims walking in the footsteps of St. Francis
Message from the Shrine Rector
Years ago, while on pilgrimage to various parts of Europe, I had the opportunity to visit a large Basilica in Burgos, Spain. This huge edifice was almost overwhelming in its scope of size and grandeur of art and architecture. However, in the midst of great religious paintings, statuary and gold covered Altars, I came away most impressed and edified by a well-worn path of ancient stone steps leading to a crypt chapel dedicated to Our Lady. What impressed me was not so much the massive scale nor the engineering of the steps but the pronounce slope worn into the center of each step leading to the Marian chapel. A Docent would note that the worn slope in the steps was caused by the endless flow of Pilgrims who throughout the centuries made their way to the shrine from various parts of Spain and greater Europe.
Along our California coast it is common to see great boulders of rocky cliff that have been reshaped and worn smooth by constant flow of water. The stone steps of the Basilica, were not worn down by a mighty rush of water but by the steady stream of Pilgrims, guided and inspired by faith and devotion. Christians, undeterred by the plight of life, but spurred on by a lively hope and a firm faith in God - they kept coming, persevering, one step at a time.
Today, at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, I can attest to the lively "stream" of pilgrims and searchers who make their way increasingly to the Shrine of the humble poor man of Assisi. Like the pilgrims of centuries past, those who cross the threshold of the Shrine's mighty wooden doors come for many varied reasons. Many times, I witness the seemingly "happen chance" of some who "stumble" upon the Shrine on their walk, or those who come in, perhaps, "only to admire the stained glass windows". Yet soon enough, it becomes evident that a stirring of the Spirit has occurred to reveal a moment of providential design and grace that touches the life and faith of the visitor with the love and mercy of God. My personal encounters and observations of those who come to the Shrine attest to the rich qualities of faith, hope, charity, and humble devotion that draw the pilgrims to the Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.
It is common to encounter those who seek out the sanctuary of the church for expressing gratitude and thankful praise to God for what is good and secure in their lives. Some come humbled and tired with the weight of sorrow or trial yet spurred on by hope in a compassionate Christ and a merciful God. There are those who come searching for peace or direction in their lives amidst a sometimes impersonal world. Others come seeking and searching for any reason for hope when so much else in their lives weighs heavy with anxiety or even despair. My sisters and brothers, there is a very evident spiritual hunger in our world for what heals and enriches. There is a yearning for greater peace, and relief from what burdens. The Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi seeks to be a safe harbor - a sanctuary, of personal encounter and sincere welcome for all who come. We joyfully commit to embrace, support, and sojourn along the pilgrim way of those drawn by the humble witness of St. Francis - as a "channel of God's peace".
Increasingly, many come, to the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, from not only our city and state but also from across our country and many parts of the world. As the path to our Shrine becomes ever more popular and well-trod, there arises new demands and challenges as we seek to welcome, serve, and accommodate the Pilgrim groups coming to be spiritually fed.
We are in need of your support to continue our ministry to the growing stream faithful. The Shrine is graced by the beauty and historicity of its St. Francis church *(built in 1849) and its stunning Porziuncola Nuova chapel, but as a consequence, proper maintenance and repair are on-going and improvements are essential to their preservation. Your financial support is also the "life blood" of our capacity to offer new programs in our ministry to pilgrims and to broaden the scope of our outreach to the poor and needy.
It is my hope that you may be generous in your financial support of our endeavors, and to appreciate how your support creates a bond of collaboration between you and all the work we do, at the Shrine, in the spirit of St. Francis and in the love of God.
The Capuchin Franciscan friars and the staff of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi include our supporters in our daily prayers and Masses. Please, if you would keep the Shrine in your prayers. May our Easter celebrations of Jesus' victory over sin and death, deepen your knowledge and confidence of His love poured out for us, and enkindle a mighty flame of love in your heart for your neighbor and the greater world.
May our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our resurrection and our life, continue to bless you with His peace. Peace and good,
Fr. John De La Riva, O.F.M. Cap., Shrine Rector
COVID-19: POPE COMPOSES PRAYER TO VIRGIN MARY FOR PROTECTION
(Devin Watkins, Vatican News) ROME - The Pope offered a prayer to the Virgin Mary on March 11, in a video message to mark the Diocese of Rome's day of prayer and fasting for the coronavirus emergency. Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, said Tuesday that the Pope wanted to entrust the city of Rome, all of Italy, and "the entire world to the protection of the Mother of God, as a sign of salvation and hope" during the ongoing coronavirus emergency.
O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick. At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus' pain, with steadfast faith. You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need. We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father's will and to do what Jesus tells us: He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen. We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas — we who are put to the test — and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Francis of Assisi
Hail, O Lady, Holy Queen,
Mary, holy Mother of God:
you are the virgin made church
and the one chosen by the most holy Father in heaven
whom He consecrated with His most holy beloved Son
and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
in whom there was and is
all the fullness of grace and every good.
Hail, His Palace!
Hail, His Tabernacle!
Hail, His Home!
Hail, His Robe!
Hail, His Servant!
Hail, His Mother!
And, hail all you holy virtues
which through the grace and light of the Holy Spirit are poured into the hearts of the faithful so that from their faithless state you may make them faithful to God.