covid pandemic – Catholics Come Home Boston http://catholicscomehomeboston.org/ Sun, 06 Mar 2022 21:02:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-05T154232.929.png covid pandemic – Catholics Come Home Boston http://catholicscomehomeboston.org/ 32 32 Men’s golf to host ninth annual Colleton River Collegiate https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/mens-golf-to-host-ninth-annual-colleton-river-collegiate/ Sun, 06 Mar 2022 18:07:10 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/mens-golf-to-host-ninth-annual-colleton-river-collegiate/ History links East Lansing, Michigan – The Spartan Men’s Golf Team will host the ninth annual Colleton River Collegiate Monday and Tuesday in Bluffton, South Carolina. Michigan State has won two of Colleton River Collegiate’s last four titles. The tournament did not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The […]]]>

East Lansing, Michigan – The Spartan Men’s Golf Team will host the ninth annual Colleton River Collegiate Monday and Tuesday in Bluffton, South Carolina. Michigan State has won two of Colleton River Collegiate’s last four titles. The tournament did not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 15-team tournament kicks off Monday with 36 holes of continuous play.

COLLETON RIVER COLLEGE
Appointment: From Monday March 7 to Tuesday March 8
Course: Colleton River Club, Pete Dye Course
By/yardage: 72/7,167
Format: Stroke play, 54 holes / Play five, count four
Live statistics: golfstat
Program:

Monday – 36 holes of continuous play starting with an 8:15 a.m. tee shot
Tuesday – 18 holes with tee times starting at 8 a.m.

MSU RANGE
No. 1 – James Piot (Sr., Canton, Michigan/Detroit Catholic Central)
No. 2 – Ashton McCulloch (Fr., Kingston, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic)
No. 3 – August Meekhof (So., Coopersville, Mich./Allendale)
No. 4 – Troy Taylor (Sr., Westerville, Ohio/South Westerville)
No. 5 – Brad Smithson (Jr., Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Eastern)



COLLETON RIVER CLUB
Located along the Atlantic Ocean in Bluffton, Colleton River Plantation Club is a member-owned golf community surrounded by water on three sides. The only one of its kind in the Southeastern United States, the Colleton River Pete Dye Course, which opened in 1998, is a superb links-style course that offers breathtaking views of Port Royal Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. from 11 of its 18 holes. Stretching over 7,300 yards, it plays through dense Lowcountry forest as well as scenic open wetlands – and common to many Dye designs, it features small undulating greens that are well protected by stone bunkers. pot. The course was restored during the summer of 2016.



HISTORY OF COLLETON RIVER COLLEGE
The Spartans have won two of Colleton River Collegiate’s last four titles, including in 2019 at 12-under 852 (282-281-289) — six strokes ahead of Iowa State. Donnie Trosper took the individual crown at 10-under 206 (69-67-70) for his first career win as a Spartan. In 2017, the Spartans entered the final round two shots from the lead, but shot a 292 of 4 over par in the third round to win the tournament with an 884 of 20 over par (293-299-292) to win the tournament by three strokes. The Spartans have finished in the tournament’s top four in six of the past seven seasons.



THE COURT (Golfstat ranking)
Bowling Green (202), Cincinnati (77), Eastern Michigan (166), Georgia Southern (71), Indiana (41), Iowa State (85), Kansas State (79), Memphis (72), Miami University (143 ), Michigan State (28), Minnesota (145), Ohio State (36), Penn State (80), Rutgers (120), South Florida (26).



THE LESSON
The Grand Reserve Country Club in Rio Grande plays 7,042 yards on the PGA Tour-tested par-72 golf course.

RESULTS
Live scoring from the event is available via Golfstat.

https://results.golfstat.com//public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=23906

LAST TIME OUT
Michigan State lost a double game to Cincinnati on Friday, 288-299. In MSU’s last tournament, the Spartans finished in fifth place among 13 teams with a program best score of 41 under par 823 at the 29th Puerto Rico Classic at the Grand Reserve Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The Spartans posted the best 18-hole score in program history on Monday with a par 269 19-under and followed with a par 273 15-under in Tuesday’s final round, tying the second-best round in program history. program.

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Tensions over vaccination mandates creep into the church https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/tensions-over-vaccination-mandates-creep-into-the-church/ Thu, 17 Feb 2022 19:28:38 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/tensions-over-vaccination-mandates-creep-into-the-church/ A parishioner at a church in Western Australia captured the moment police interrupted mass to demand that five people who were not wearing face masks comply with the law. The woman who photographed the raid at St Bernadette’s Church in suburban Perth posted the photo on Facebook. It was featured in a Feb. 4 report […]]]>

A parishioner at a church in Western Australia captured the moment police interrupted mass to demand that five people who were not wearing face masks comply with the law.

The woman who photographed the raid at St Bernadette’s Church in suburban Perth posted the photo on Facebook. It was featured in a Feb. 4 report by 7News.com, an Australian broadcaster, and it was viewed all over the world.

The scene resembled the moment London police halted a Good Friday service in 2021 after a complaint that COVID-19 regulations were not being followed, telling more than 130 worshipers the gathering was “unlawful” and the threatening fines and arrest if they did not return home.

Since then, the situation has changed dramatically in England with the last remaining pandemic restrictions – including social distancing and the compulsory wearing of masks in indoor public places – due to be removed by the end of February. There will be a full return to work, a free mix of children in schools without face masks, freedom to travel, no vaccination passports, no vaccination mandates and no requirement to self-isolate after a test positive for COVID-19.

The English bishops, in their latest guidance, have suggested that face masks ‘may continue’ to be worn by people in churches, if they wish, but the practice must continue in Wales and Scotland due of different government restrictions there.

Such progress has been possible in part due to the surge of the relatively mild but more infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 supplanting earlier, more deadly variants, and also due to the success of a mass vaccination program.

A woman not wearing a protective mask stands in prayer during mass in the San Lorenzo in Lucina church in Rome on April 4, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Remo Casilli, Reuters)

The idea that vaccination is the way out of the pandemic opens up new loopholes everywhere and in particular on the question of vaccination mandates, the obligation to be vaccinated to continue working or to access other freedoms.

It is the issue of coercion, rather than the morality of vaccines, that tends to be the main source of tension between those seeking greater restrictions and those seeking greater freedom, and Catholics appear to be divided as than societies in general.

The extent of Catholic support for the mandates has been demonstrated in particular by the Vatican, which declared on December 23 that all employees must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or show proof that they have recovered. It was a policy already in effect in some U.S. dioceses, such as Chicago, where in August Cardinal Blase J. Cupich introduced vaccination mandates for all archdiocesan employees and clergy, but not the laity.

When the omicron variant arrived in Europe, the bishops of Austria agreed to the imposition of a vaccination mandate if used “as a last resort”, and from February 1 the government made vaccination compulsory for all citizens over the age of 18.

In neighboring Germany, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, in neighboring Germany, also said he was not opposed to the idea of ​​compulsory vaccination, saying it “can be an important step” in the fight against the coronavirus.

In Australia, agencies such as Catholic Health Australia have gone further, leading calls for mandatory vaccination of health and residential care workers, while in New Zealand bishops have said they “believe that, on the whole, the introduction of vaccination mandates for certain sectors, as well as the use of vaccination certificates, are justified for the time being.

Churches in Australia are not among the public places where a vaccination passport – proof of vaccination – is required before a person can attend, and New Zealand operates a complex “traffic light” system, removing the freedoms of vaccinated and unvaccinated people to different extents depending on the severity and prevalence of a COVID-19 outbreak.

But in Canada, the Quebec government in February imposed a requirement for vaccine passports in churches, prompting bishops to say they were “deeply indisposed” by the measure and “deeply upset” by it, but would consent to it.

While agreeing with “the many believers” who believe that the vaccine passport is “an intolerable discrimination which deprives unvaccinated people of their right to religious freedom”, the bishops recalled that “Catholics have a duty to partner with all members of society to ensure the safety and health of all.

Singapore’s Catholic pastors have also been harmed by a government mandate requiring all people without a medical exemption over the age of 12 to be vaccinated before they can attend church. Some have called on authorities to make concessions to allow parishioners to worship in public regardless of their vaccination status.

In the United States, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Thomas More Society petitioned the Supreme Court in mid-February to block New York’s coronavirus vaccination mandate for healthcare workers and allow religious exemptions to the vaccination mandate.

Some Catholics oppose the use of COVID-19 vaccines because animal-phase testing for some vaccines used stem cells from aborted fetuses 50 years ago. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared all vaccines morally licit in December 2020, and the Vatican recently updated its rules to require all its employees to be vaccinated against the virus or prove that they have recently recovered from the disease.

Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI have each received vaccinations, with Pope Francis urging Catholics to accept a shot as an “act of love”.

Church teaching, however, does not authorize coercive medication. In its 2020 document, the doctrinal congregation noted that a vaccine “is not, as a general rule, a moral obligation…and must be voluntary.”

David Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, an institute serving the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland, told Catholic News Service on February 15 that it was unethical to try to impose a vaccination to someone who does not wish to have it.

“The need for informed consent is a fundamental principle of medical ethics,” he said. “There are Catholics of good conscience who argue that in the extreme circumstances of a pandemic it is legitimate to force people to get vaccinated. However, the view of the Anscombe Bioethics Center is that vaccination mandates are coercive and unfair.

“Mandates are also divisive,” he said. “Mandates undermine the sense of shared solidarity and can be counterproductive. They lead to resentment and can lead to other harms such as staff shortages.

Divisions within the Catholic Church are now beginning to express themselves in action, for example in the protests in Italy led by Father Emanuele Personeni, who began an anti-mandate pilgrimage across the country on February 11.

Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo, his bishop, disapproved of his stance and suspended him, citing vaccination as a “moral obligation” and a “legal obligation” and banning parishes from hosting any of his speeches.

The mayor of Bergamo, a city ravaged by the pandemic, also urged Bishop Beschi to suspend Fathers Alessandro Nava and Andrea Testa, who joined Father Personeni in writing a brochure against forced vaccination last year.

Read more coronavirus news

Copyright © 2022 Catholic News Service/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Baltimore’s bank branch closure rate is the second highest in the nation https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/baltimores-bank-branch-closure-rate-is-the-second-highest-in-the-nation/ Thu, 17 Feb 2022 19:03:57 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/baltimores-bank-branch-closure-rate-is-the-second-highest-in-the-nation/ Physical banks have been disappearing in the United States for years, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, banks have doubled the rate of branch closures, according to new data from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). And Baltimore’s branch closure rate, the group reports, is nearly the worst in the country, with the Baltimore metro area […]]]>

Physical banks have been disappearing in the United States for years, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, banks have doubled the rate of branch closures, according to new data from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC).

And Baltimore’s branch closure rate, the group reports, is nearly the worst in the country, with the Baltimore metro area losing 14% of its bank branches between 2017 and 2021.

Only the Portland, Oregon metro area had a higher rate of closures, with nearly 20% of its bank branches closed during that five-year period.

Hartford, Connecticut tied Baltimore with a 14% loss.

Even with the global movement of the industry online, the report’s authors say that storefront banks remain a vital financial services lifeline for many.

“Small businesses still rely on in-person banking despite the proliferation of online alternatives,” they wrote in “The Great Bank Consolidation and Accelerating Branch Closings Across America,” published today. .

“And shrinking branch networks threaten local economic activity that is essential to creating wealth in marginalized communities,” they noted.

Apps may be the future, but there are some things they can’t do.

“In communities that have historically faced higher hurdles to banking and struggled to build wealth, the personal relationship between local business owners and local branch bankers can be key to securing a credit or renegotiate loan terms,” ​​said NCRC senior director Jason Richardson. research and one of the authors of the study.

Consolidation and Covid

Mergers and acquisitions have led to most branch closures, as well as a shift to Internet transactions.

According to the report, two-thirds of banking establishments have disappeared since the early 1980s, falling from nearly 18,000 in 1984 to less than 5,000 in 2021.

Between 2017 and 2021, 9% of all branches in the United States closed, representing a loss of approximately 7,500 physical locations.

The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the trend, the authors found.

Banks have closed more than 4,000 branches since March 2020. This doubled the rate of closures in the 10 years before the pandemic.

“Underbanked”

As for the impact of this trend, it falls hardest, unsurprisingly, on minorities and the less well off.

A third of branches closed from 2017 to 2021 were in low-to-moderate and/or minority income neighborhoods, where access to branches is crucial to ending inequity in access to financial services, according to the report.

Without nearby branches, people are more likely to be ‘unbanked’ or ‘underbanked’.

And that means turning to alternative financial providers that step in to fill the void — unregulated players like payday lenders, car loan title lenders, or check-cashing places that charge exorbitant fees.

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Around the districts: Aghinagh, Ballyhea, Boherbue, Castlemagner and Kilcorney-Dromtariffe https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/around-the-districts-aghinagh-ballyhea-boherbue-castlemagner-and-kilcorney-dromtariffe/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 08:20:00 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/around-the-districts-aghinagh-ballyhea-boherbue-castlemagner-and-kilcorney-dromtariffe/ AGHINAG .AA Lotto Results There were no Jackpot winners: €50 jackie Spillane, Moulnahorna; €20 Ger Healy, Kilnamartyra; €20 Billy and Lynda Wiseman, Mashanaglass; €20 Henry Browne, Macroom; €20 Paddy and Kathleen McSweeney, Kilbarry. Next week’s jackpot €5,550 Ballinagree Village Lights Michael Creedon of Community Alert approached the Council about the very poor lighting in Ballinagree […]]]>

AGHINAG

.AA Lotto Results

There were no Jackpot winners: €50 jackie Spillane, Moulnahorna; €20 Ger Healy, Kilnamartyra; €20 Billy and Lynda Wiseman, Mashanaglass; €20 Henry Browne, Macroom; €20 Paddy and Kathleen McSweeney, Kilbarry. Next week’s jackpot €5,550

Ballinagree Village Lights

Michael Creedon of Community Alert approached the Council about the very poor lighting in Ballinagree village and they had no problem agreeing to his request so that the village is now lit up as it should be.

Ballinagree ICA

Ballinagree ICA was formed over 50 years ago and is still going strong There will be a meeting next Thursday evening at the usual 8.30 am New members are welcome. If you’re not sure where, ask one of the members the next day or so.

The Singers Club

The Macroom Singers Club which held their singing sessions in the Auld Triangle every Sunday evening have now changed location to The Bell Inn in Clondrohid. If you are interested in old songs or newly composed or even modern songs, please come every other Sunday evening, the last session was last Sunday evening January 23rd, so the next one will be Sunday February 6th from 8 am still a very pleasant night.

Throwback music at Laine Bar Ballinagree

The music will return to Laine Bar Ballinagree on Saturday evening February 12 with Jerry McCarthy. Happy days are back.

BALLYHEA

Church Notes

Confessions are heard after Mass. Exposition and blessing after Thursday Mass

The Rosary is recited before daily Mass and after Sunday Mass at 8:30 a.m.

Opinion on contribution envelopes – A big thank you to everyone who sent their envelopes for 2021. Please return the remaining envelopes to the sacristy or the parish house as soon as possible, in order to finalize the claim to be made with the Revenue Commission for 2021.

Receiving Holy CommunionFor the moment, and in order to avoid unnecessary travel, you are asked not to bring children with you to Holy Communion. Only those who wish to receive should approach the altar. When coming to Holy Communion, please do so seat by seat in order to maintain social distancing.

Electronic payments – Easter offers, dues and weekly offers can now be made using a credit card or PayPal. For this facility, please go to the parish website: ballyheaparish.com Go to the ‘Donate’ button and follow the instructions.

Collections from the church portal – No church door collection at St Mary’s Church, Ballyhea is approved by the parish. Any group or organization intending to collect outside the church gates is asked to present copies of their permits in the sacristy, as well as copies of authorization letters from those collecting on their behalf. This should be done before collection begins.

GAA Club Ratings

Lotto – The numbers drawn on January 22 were 19, 32, 38. There was no winner of the €6,600 Jackpot. Winners of the €30 Lucky Dip each: Pat O’Shaughnessy c/o Mike Morrissey, Bernie Daly c/o Bernie Daly, Elaine Buicke c/o Costcutters Ballyhea.

The next draw will take place on Saturday January 29 for a jackpot of €6,700. Get your tickets by 5pm on Saturday from Costcutters Ballyhea or one of the ticket vendors or they can be purchased online at play.clubforce.com/play_newa.asp?ll_id=199#Anchor Thank you for your support continued.

Due to the ongoing Covid 19 situation and to ensure the transparency and integrity of the draw, the club has decided to hold the draw on Saturday evening. The first three numbers in the National Lottery main draw will be the jackpot numbers. If a number above 42 is drawn in the first three, the draw will continue with the next number drawn below 42.

The club appreciates the support of lottery players and fans during these difficult times and is very grateful for your continued support. Protect yourself and good luck in the draw.

Munster Champions – Congratulations to Ballygiblin on winning the all-Irish junior semi-final last weekend. Good luck now in the quest for the elusive All Ireland final title.

Online shop – The club’s online store is proving very popular. All the latest club gear can be purchased from the O’Neill website. Check it out at oneills.com/shop-by-team/GAA/ireland/ballyhea-GAA.html

Instagram- The club can now be followed on Instagram. To see the latest photos of the club, visit ballyheagaaclub.

Ballyhea National School

Registration forms are now available for September 2022. Please contact the office for more information on 063 81086 or email ballyhea.ias@gmail.com.

Community Alert

Ballyhea Community Alert has successfully implemented a network of text alerts to immediately alert our community when an incident occurs. Prompt information to and from Gardaí deters criminal activity. If you would like to become a member of our SMS Alerts Network, please call any of the following for information and to register – Phil Ryan 087 2937465, Pat Daly 086 1220114, James Horgan 087 2572271, Willie Meaney 087 1936842, Con Walsh 086 8570355. The charge for this service is €10 per year.

Ballyhea Response Group

Ballyhea has set up a support group who will run errands, collect a prescription from a doctor or pharmacy and offer support to anyone who may be feeling vulnerable, isolated, alone or worried in the midst of this crisis. sanitary.

Ballyhea Response Group has already spoken to some shops and pharmacies and strict hygiene protocols will be followed (eg use of disposable gloves, a shopping bag and a pledge to never enter your home). Please have your doctor’s number on hold with your Eircode. If you don’t know your Eircode, you can tell one of the following people and they will get it for you.

Here are the emergency contact details: The national Covid-19 helpline number is 1850 24 1850. The senior line can be contacted on 1800 80 45 91. ALONE also offers Corona virus advice on 0818 222 024. Numbers emergency 112/999. Buyers telephone numbers – Mike Morrissey 087 205 14 36, Jim Codd 087 922 39 39, Helen O’Sullivan 086 326 33 59, Ger O’Shea 087 823 76 97.

BOHERBUE

February

As time passes, already in February and with the covid pandemic fading or do we just get used to it and don’t take so much attention, the year opens and the next to the agenda is the long weekend which coincides with St. Patrick’s Day.

It is something that is looked forward to as much as Christmas, the date is fixed and one can plan ahead.

In Boherbue, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take center stage and will be led by Grand Marshal Pat Courtney, one can already imagine his big smile as he greets the people of his homeland, a region he cherishes deeply.

The flag bearers and the Cullen Pipe Band will follow, adding a real sense of victory to the celebration.

Businesses, schools, clubs and organizations are urged to make a big push this year.

It’s a special occasion for all age groups and we should all be proud of our heritage.

The festival committee will decorate the street with banners and flags and, as usual, shamrocks will be available free of charge in the church yard before mass that day.

GAA Club GA

The Boherbue GAA Club is holding its annual general meeting in the club rooms this Friday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. All members have requested to attend.

Lotto

The numbers drawn were 2, 12, 17 and 18. Lucky shot €50 Mag Flynn, Derratubrid. €20 each Joe O’Sullivan, Derrinagree; Betsy Anne O’Connor, Ruhillmore; Mary Courtney, Kanturk. Online €20 Kevin Murphy, Beaumont, Cork. Seller price post office.

youth club

The Boherbue Juvenile Club officers elected for 2022 were: President, Rena Murphy. Secretary, Tina Dunston. Assistant Secretary, Suzanne Hegarty. Treasurer, Eileen Aherne.

CHATEAUMAGNER

Sinsir Club

‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven’

With a season of upward change in the air since the much-awaited news of the government ‘opening up’, Castlemagner Sinsir Club feels a sense of renewal and relief. We are aware that such a change brings mixed emotions for all of us.

There may be mixed feelings such as apprehension, relief, confusion, positivity, excitement, fear. However, we still see a great year ahead. The Sinsir club chooses to take the opportunity to celebrate the chance to be together again as a community; to bring back the values ​​of friendliness and conviviality. On the horizon we see a bright new dawn and as we step back into the light we live in hope of vacations together, day trips, shopping, music, learning opportunities and a renewal of our weekly gatherings with a sense of unity and celebration.

For starters, we’re hoping to arrange a bus tour to Cork Opera House to see Ireland’s greatest voices, the Three Tenors, who return for their annual Mother’s Day special, a must-see concert of classic hits made famous by artists like Sinatra, The Dubliners and Pavarotti. This is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, February 19, 2022. Listen to all the special songs you love, performed with passion! Caledonia, Grace, The Green Fields of France, The Parting Glass, My Way, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Oh Sole Mio.

The group includes Ireland’s favorite trio, Kenneth from Cork, Paul and Kevin, providing the ‘feel-good factor’ promising a fabulous evening to remember. Featuring an exciting Celtic-style program with a twist, this thrilling concert is a classic mix filled with the finest contemporary and uplifting songs with something for everyone! Their remarkable friendliness and connection with their audience make this a uniquely personal concert. There are currently standing ovations at every concert! This is the one not to be missed.

The organization of this evening is subject to the level of interest within the community. As soon as we have enough names, the reservation will be made. To register your interest, contact Kathleen as soon as possible on 086 8521808 to allow time to block-book tickets and the bus. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

KILCORNEY-DROM RATE

bowling notes

Denis Horgan Bowling Club Winter competitionsNed Kelleher 27 points. Maurice Cashman 33 points. Danny Murphy 26 points. Sam Ahern 20 points. Eugene or Sullivan 10 points. John Breen 24 points. Joanne Murphy 2 points. Kieran Duggan 1 point. Dean Sexton 10 points. Mikie McAuliffe 3 points. Mikie Murphy 4 points. Scott McNulty 1 point. Kevin Flynn 15 points. Denis O’Sullivan 5 points.

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Using payday loans during the COVID-19 pandemic https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/using-payday-loans-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/ Mon, 24 Jan 2022 15:39:59 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/using-payday-loans-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/ On a day-to-day basis, paying bills can be a real challenge for most individuals and households. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial situation has worsened, highlighting the need for most people to obtain emergency cash. Payday loans give you access to short-term funds, but usually at a higher interest rate. Most payday loans are […]]]>

On a day-to-day basis, paying bills can be a real challenge for most individuals and households. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial situation has worsened, highlighting the need for most people to obtain emergency cash.

Payday loans give you access to short-term funds, but usually at a higher interest rate. Most payday loans are usually between $500 and $1,500 or less. In addition, your personal loan is due when you receive your monthly salary.

One could easily imagine that the pandemic will be helpful to the business of payday lenders. However, quite the opposite happened, as fewer people took out payday loans. This can be attributed to a number of factors.

First, at the height of the pandemic, most states made it easier for households to access cheaper loans. In reality, small business administration (SBA) has undertaken a Paycheck Protection Program to ensure businesses can access loans to stay afloat and keep employees working.

Also, with the federal relief and child tax credit available to many people along with other social benefits, the need for payday loans has diminished. Nevertheless, many finance experts believe that there could be an increase in demand for payday loans very soon. Although there are fewer lockdowns and restrictions, COVID-19 is still in full swing. So the pandemic lending rules may apply to most payday lenders.

Either way, here’s how to navigate getting and using a payday loan during the pandemic. In this article, you’ll also learn about the pros and cons of payday loans in these circumstances and whether it’s the best cash advance option for you.

How to get a payday loan during the pandemic

For starters, payday loans aren’t as popular as they were a few years ago. Only about 31 states allow payday loans while the rest have banned the loan structure at varying levels. So, you may need to check with your state loan policies to see if payday loans are allowed.

If so, you can visit payday loan stores near you or access a lender app from your mobile device. Applying for a payday loan can be done through an application form with the lender. Since payday loans are unsecured, you don’t have to worry about collateral when applying for a loan.

Applying for a payday loan during the pandemic, or at any time, requires that you have a current job. You will need to submit your payment stub and authorize your lender to transfer the amount electronically or you can write a post-dated check for this amount.

Common payday loan terms

Payday loans are a special form of financing because they differ from most conventional loans. Here are the common loan terms you should expect when taking out a payday loan during this pandemic.

  • A short payment period: Most people refer to payday loans as a two-week performance loan. Indeed, the time window for reimbursement is very short, generally not exceeding two weeks.
  • High interest rate: It is best to calculate the interest rate for payday loans using the annual percentage rate (APR). Most loans have an average APR of 400% or more, which makes them very expensive.
  • Single payment: Unlike most loans, you cannot repay your personal loan in installments. All payments are usually made in one installment on the next payday.

What happens if you can’t repay your payday loan?

Most of the time, borrowers are unable to complete the repayment of their payday loan. Usually, the lender tries to cash the check or make an electronic transfer. If you have an insufficient balance, your bank will charge you an overdraft as often as it happens.

If you continue to default, lenders may call endlessly, contact relatives, or hand you over to collection agencies. To avoid this, you can contact the lender to offer extended payment plans if you think you won’t be able to meet the payment due date. Most lenders are generally open to this feature. You can also take out a debt consolidation loan or declare bankruptcy if you are truly unable to repay the loan.

In extreme cases, after a long period of default, the lender may seek a settlement requiring the borrower to pay less than agreed. Since the interest is usually exorbitant, the lenders end up losing nothing. However, this can ruin your credit score.

Alternatives to payday loans

If you decide that payday loans aren’t the ideal pandemic option for you, there are several alternatives you can try. Here are some other types of emergency loans without the drawbacks of payday loans.

  • Bad Credit Loans: These loans are ideal for times of emergency, especially if you have a low credit rating. They are secured unlike payday loans and they have lower interest rates.
  • Cash Advance Apps: Cash Advance apps are mobile software that can offer loans in anticipation of future income. Although they also charge by APR, they are cheaper and won’t put you in a debt cycle.
  • Lending Circles: Instead of getting payday loans with ridiculous repayment terms, you can pool resources from family or friends with little or no interest.
  • Pawnbroker: This type of loan requires you to provide collateral in exchange for a loan. If you pay as agreed, your property will be returned to you. This process is less expensive than payday loans.

Final Thoughts on Payday Loans

While payday loans are undeniably useful for emergency financing, they leave you with more than just debt to settle. This is why many financial experts advise borrowers to avoid loans. If you’re already in this one and the pandemic is affecting your ability to pay, you can follow one of the recommended steps in this article. Otherwise, you better look for other emergency loan options.

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HTI launches new program with $7.3 million grant https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/hti-launches-new-program-with-7-3-million-grant/ Thu, 20 Jan 2022 22:02:28 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/hti-launches-new-program-with-7-3-million-grant/ PRINCETON, NJ – The Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) is proud to announce that a $7.3 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will support the creation of a new program to help master’s students discern and navigate their way to doctoral studies. The grant, awarded to Princeton Theological Seminary, one of the HTI Consortium member schools […]]]>

PRINCETON, NJ – The Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) is proud to announce that a $7.3 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will support the creation of a new program to help master’s students discern and navigate their way to doctoral studies. The grant, awarded to Princeton Theological Seminary, one of the HTI Consortium member schools and its housing institution, also allows HTI to provide scholarships for pre-thesis doctoral students, create more collaborative internships with non-profit organizations nonprofit in the ecology of theological and religious education. , and more. HTI’s program, titled “In conjunction! Strengthening the Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation of Latinx Masters and Doctoral Students,” will outline a five-year scholarship programming and support plan to reinforce HTI’s mission and vision of supporting doctoral students, Latinx graduates and mid-level teachers. the academy, the church and the world.

“We are thrilled to receive this substantial grant as HTI enters 2022,” said HTI Executive Director, Reverend Joanne Rodríguez. “This grant honors HTI in conjunction working with its founders, mentors, faculty, editors, staff, partner institutions, and 24 consortium chairs and deans. It is a testament to the innovative work and collaborative value of the HTI Consortium and its growing legacy. The grant creates more spaces for HTI to advance its holistic approach to nurturing and preparing Latinx doctors to serve in this new pandemic time and post-pandemic world.

“This grant complements the vital work that HTI has done over a quarter of a century. The HTI community and I could not be more grateful to Lilly Endowment for their insightful and visionary leadership,” said Reverend Rodríguez. HTI’s proposal was born out of many conversations with many partners, and in response to identified needs in conjunction with all 64 HTI Fellows at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. During this time, HTI also shifted its programming to virtual formats. Programming and in-person events are expected to gradually return with safety measures in place.

“HTI’s commitment to ensuring the graduation of Latinx scholars (93% and average time to graduation of 5.5 years) and helping them thrive as scholars, church leaders, and nonprofit administrators are needed more than ever. Institutions are working to realign their operational structures and educational vision to prepare a diverse cohort of agile, collaborative, and justice-focused leaders. These Latinx leaders will continue to transform the academy, the church, and the world. HTI has the experience, cumulative knowledge and community connections to walk alongside partner institutions as we shape diverse futures in conjunctionsaid Reverend Rodríguez.

“Princeton Theological Seminary’s doctoral program has benefited from the high caliber of Hispanic Theological Initiative programming and support for decades,” said Mr. Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary. “With this grant, HTI will continue its vital work to support early-career scholars and encourage gifted students to embark on their studies with the financial support and mentorship that will allow them to thrive. Princeton Theological Seminary is proud to be a partner in HTI’s work, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities that will arise from this investment in HTI’s mission.

In a testimonial on HTI’s 25and anniversary, celebrated last year, Dr. Frank Yamada, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), said, “HTI responds to a current and future critical missionary need for theological schools. This is a growing need in ATS schools because what we know from our ATS enrollment data is that the only places where there is growth among students and students newly enrolled students are among students of color. Additionally, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, Professor and Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Theology, shared that “HTI is needed. The predominantly white theological schools were not able to do this alone. They needed the kind of intensity, support, vision, embrace that HTI gave its scholars, and the kinds of relationships that HTI helped build across the Americas.

In its first 25 years, HTI has helped 150 Latinx scholars earn doctoral degrees and provided professional development and scholarships to several master’s students and postdoctoral fellows. HTI graduates serve in seminaries and universities as teachers and administrators across the United States and in six other countries, as well as in ministerial and nonprofit leadership positions. In conjunction with institutional partners and individual investors, HTI looks forward to advancing its impact in the larger ecology of theological and religious education.

About the Hispanic Theological Initiative
The Hispanic Theological Initiative is a unique partnership with 24 doctoral granting institutions whose mission is to cultivate Latinx doctoral degrees for leadership positions in academia, the church, and the world. With the support of the 24 consortium member institutions, HTI seeks to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of Latinx doctoral students across the country; increase the presence of Latinx leaders and teachers—especially tenured professors in seminaries, theological schools, and universities; and provide a forum for the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices to engage the contributions of Latinx faculty and students and amplify diverse voices and perspectives within the Latinx community and beyond. . Established in 1996, HTI is a mentorship, networking, and fellowship program that addresses the critical issue of advancing Latinx research and leadership in the theological and religious landscape for the betterment of academic and church communities across the world. Learn more at www.htiprogram.org.

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Contact:
Rev. Joanne Rodriguez
Hispanic Theological Initiative
609-252-1736
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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The Court of Appeal deals a new blow to the contractor’s vaccine mandate https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/the-court-of-appeal-deals-a-new-blow-to-the-contractors-vaccine-mandate/ Thu, 06 Jan 2022 12:33:43 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/the-court-of-appeal-deals-a-new-blow-to-the-contractors-vaccine-mandate/ The Biden administration received another judicial reprimand on Wednesday for its attempt to enforce a COVID vaccine warrant for employees of federal contractors. The Sixth United States Court of Appeals, which was the first federal appellate court to consider whether the contractor’s tenure is legal, expressed a firm belief that it is not. On the […]]]>


The Biden administration received another judicial reprimand on Wednesday for its attempt to enforce a COVID vaccine warrant for employees of federal contractors. The Sixth United States Court of Appeals, which was the first federal appellate court to consider whether the contractor’s tenure is legal, expressed a firm belief that it is not.

On the key question of whether the president has the legal authority to use government procurement law to mandate vaccines for contract labor, the three-judge panel voted 2-1 to confirm a ruling by a Kentucky federal judge who found the Biden administration was overstepping its bounds.

In that November ruling, Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove concluded that the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, a law that gives the President the power to promote “economy and efficiency” in federal contracts, could not be used to justify a vaccine requirement. . In that decision, the lower court blocked warrants in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Although this decision was the first preliminary injunction on the contractor’s tenure, similar cases are pending in the court system in other districts and appellate courts. So far, none have sided with the Biden administration.

Lawyers for the administration argued that the law gives presidents wide latitude to set procurement policies and that the vaccine mandate is justified because it would prevent disease among contractors the government depends on.

Wednesday’s majority generally agreed with the Kentucky court, saying the procurement law couldn’t be used to implement public health measures.

“If the president can order medical interventions in the name of reducing absenteeism, what is the logical stopping point of that power?” the court asked in Wednesday’s notice. “Even vaccinated employees can contract the flu (or COVID-19) at family gatherings, concerts, sporting events, etc. … Such behavior outside of work may very well threaten to cause absenteeism in the workplace. job. So why, if the government’s interpretation is correct, doesn’t property law give de facto policing power to the president to dictate the terms and conditions of one-fifth of the life of our workforce? ‘work ? The government has never considered the implications of its position or proposed any limiting principle to allay our concerns. “

Dissenting Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr., however, agreed with the government’s position that government procurement law authorized the warrant. He said he would have approved the Biden administration’s request to stay Judge Tatenhove’s injunction and let the warrant run.

“The health and safety of the government workforce in the midst of a worsening global pandemic has direct and tangible effects on the economy and, by extension, on the government’s ability to procure and to provide services, ”he wrote. “The federal government has clearly demonstrated irreparable harm in the form of significant productivity losses not only due to time off and health care costs for workers who are sick, quarantined and unable to work due to COVID-19, but also scheduling delays and reduced performance quality. – according to his estimate, about $ 2 billion per month that the injunction is in place. “

But even if the government had won its case in the Sixth Circuit, such a move probably wouldn’t have had much of an impact in the short term.

That’s because a separate federal district court decision, made by a Georgia judge, temporarily blocked the contractor’s vaccine mandate nationwide. This opinion also concluded that the president had exceeded his limits under the law on public procurement. The government also appealed the decision, and the case is now before the 11e Circuit Court of Appeal.

This appeals court last month rejected an emergency justice ministry request to immediately overturn the national injunction. But the judges also agreed to a “fast-track” decision-making process once they considered the full written submissions and oral arguments of the government and the plaintiffs.

These parties include elected officials from the state of Georgia and six other states, as well as a professional construction association, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). There, the district court ruled that a nationwide injunction was warranted because ABC has members across the country, and the temporary mandate freeze in all 50 states was the only way to address the issue. what he considered to be an “extreme economic burden” for these sellers.

The attempt to use the supply system to increase vaccination rates is just one of many vaccination warrants the Biden administration has issued.

On Friday, the Supreme Court plans to hear arguments in several cases that have challenged the administration’s orders, via the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to require vaccinations at workplaces and private sector health facilities. The lower courts also found these warrants to be legally invalid.

So far, the administration has fared better in defending its vaccine mandates for federal civilian employees and members of the military.

The courts have generally sided with the government in carrying out these warrants. An Oklahoma judge, for example, ruled last week that the state’s lawsuit to exempt its National Guard members from the military vaccine warrant was “baseless.”

In this case, Judge Stephen Friot urged the Department of Defense to give members of the Oklahoma National Guard more time to be vaccinated, but only because they had received, in his opinion, advice extremely poor on the part of heads of state on whether they could legally avoid the DoD. mandate.

“The court strongly urges the defendants to take everything into consideration to provide a brief grace period to facilitate rapid compliance with the vaccination mandate before taking any action directly or indirectly that would end the military career of any member of Oklahoma Guard, ”he wrote.

Although no court has completely struck down federal employee warrants, earlier this week a federal judge banned the Navy from enforcing it against 35 sailors in the special operations community, all of whom have asked for religious exemptions. .

Justice Reed O’Connor said the Navy’s process for reviewing these exemptions was pure “theater,” designed from the outset to deny anyone who requested it. Because of this, he found the Navy’s process to be a violation of their rights under the constitution and the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act.

“The Navy has not granted religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory. It just stamps every refusal, ”he wrote. “Members of the Navy in this case seek to defend the very freedoms for which they have sacrificed so much to protect. The COVID-19 pandemic does not give the government any license to abrogate these freedoms. There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment. There is no military exclusion from our constitution.


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Opinion: My confession of Catholic doubt and keep the door open to Jesus https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/opinion-my-confession-of-catholic-doubt-and-keep-the-door-open-to-jesus/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 06:05:00 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/opinion-my-confession-of-catholic-doubt-and-keep-the-door-open-to-jesus/ A parishioner prays during mass at a synod in San Diego in 2016, his first in 40 years. Photo by Chris Stone Do not be afraid, O Zion, do not be discouraged! The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty Savior (Zeph. 3: 16-17) “It is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and […]]]>


A parishioner prays during mass at a synod in San Diego in 2016, his first in 40 years. Photo by Chris Stone

Do not be afraid, O Zion, do not be discouraged! The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty Savior (Zeph. 3: 16-17)

“It is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the closing of the Year of Saint Joseph,” my roommate told me when she invited me to attend mass with her.

In the Diocese of San Diego, the bishop has lifted the general dispensation for the obligation of Sunday and Holy Day Mass, put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic on July 1. Early reports indicated that Bishop Robert McElroy intended to quit this dispensation. in place for his diocese until the first Sunday of Advent.

But in June, weeks after the dispensation was lifted in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, of which San Diego is a suffragan diocese, McElroy (cough) clearly changed his mind (cough) and moved the date back to fall further into line with Los Angeles.

I was indeed disappointed by this turn of events for several reasons. I hadn’t attended mass regularly for a few years before the pandemic, confessing for missing mass more often than I went.

It may seem strange: how can she go to confession without attending mass? At the time, however, I was employed at Catholic Answers and confession was just a walk down the hall to the chaplain’s office. As severe as the pandemic was, the only bright spot was that the waiver meant I wasn’t tortured by religious qualms / symptoms of OCD whenever I chose not to go to mass on Sunday and on holy days.

My reasons for not attending Mass originally had nothing to do with introversion. By the time I left my job as a professional apologist, I was pretty much exhausted being Catholic. Then there was the fact that the isolation and fear imposed by the pandemic turned my deep social anxiety into mild to moderate agoraphobia.

And it certainly hasn’t helped that all of the Catholics calling for the opening of churches and the lifting of mass restrictions are the very people largely responsible for keeping the pandemic going. I had no desire to spend the peace with unmasked and unvaccinated Catholics, who I believe share some responsibility for the high death toll from COVID-19.

So I was relieved when a priest friend, who exercises his ministry in my diocese, sent me a letter that Bishop McElroy had distributed to his priests. The bishop left a lot of leeway in place for individuals to continue to be automatically exempt from the Sunday / holiday obligation (meaning they did not need their pastor to approve an exemption).

Among the grounds for individual exemptions were “illness, other physical vulnerabilities, apprehensions about safety and fears of social interaction”. It seemed to me that McElroy was basically saying, “If you decide you have to stay home after Mass, go ahead” – without going out right away and saying that directly.

Which would have been cool without the scruples / OCD. With the general dispensation, it was easy to believe that I had just one reason not to attend mass. Once it was up to me to determine my feelings about going to Mass, doubts began to set in.

“Is it really the fear of social interactions, Michelle, or do you just don’t want to go to mass?” I started torturing myself with that question again, and once again I started to confess to confess that I didn’t go to Mass more often than I did. Now that I can no longer walk down the hall to the chaplain’s office, I cannot even comfort myself with the assurance that my reluctance is not to go to church.

I’ve been to mass maybe two or three times this year, usually because of Catholic guilt. Once it was for the birthday of the Holy Spirit (otherwise known as Pentecost). And last week I went for the Immaculate Conception.

Sitting in mass, mask in place, surrounded by lots of unmasked people, I tried to assess how I felt.

I realized that I didn’t feel anything. I whispered some of the answers behind my mask. I ignored the homily, listened to a story in my head that I was working on, stood up when I was supposed to, otherwise I ignored the debates.

It was not good. I started to wonder if I still believed in all this Catholic stuff. If I didn’t, what was I doing here?

The hour of communion has arrived. I went up to receive the Eucharist for the first time in six months. I wish I could say that I felt something then. Instead, I just noted apathetically that I had grown used to receiving Communion in the hand. For almost 25 years, I had almost always communicated on the tongue. Now, since the pandemic, allowing an EMHC to put the host on my tongue just seemed disgusting to me. I didn’t bother to check how the others were receiving. I accepted the host in my hand, put it in my mouth, and continued.

I did some pro forma thanksgiving prayers on the bench, but decided to go to the bathroom before the closing announcements. As I opened the glass door to the church foyer, I noticed an EMHC walking towards me with a ciborium in its hands. She was returning from distributing Communion to the choir in the attic.

Without even thinking about it, I held the door open for him, my eyes riveted on the ciborium in his hands. She thanked me as she passed, her hands firm on the ciborium. I didn’t want her to have to change her grip to open the door with one hand. Not because she wasn’t quite able to open the door for herself….

I held the door open for Jesus.

When I understood this, something took hold of me. I want to remain Catholic. I want to believe. All the guilt of knowing how often I go to Mass, all the anger and anxiety of interacting with other Catholics – people I wouldn’t share s’mores with around a campfire but which must meet every Sunday and holy day. Guilt and misanthropy were what kept me away from the Church.

Jesus was still there. Jesus needed me, even briefly, to keep the door open for him. Knowing this meant that I still believed that Jesus was present in the Eucharist, that I could meet him when I went to mass.

I may not yet be ready to return to mass regularly. But I have hope that when I’m ready, I’ll find Jesus there with the door open for me.

From 2003 to 2020, Michelle Arnold served as a staff apologist for Catholic Answers in the Diocese of San Diego, answering questions about the Catholic faith. She has a blog on the Catholic channel Patheos. A portfolio of his published essays is at Authory. This essay was originally published on December 9 – ahead of recent diocesan advice on masking – on Patheos.com under the title “Devotional: Holding the Door for Jesus”. Arnold attended Mass on December 8 at Santa Sophia in Spring Valley. She did not attend Christmas Mass, but did attend Mass on December 26 at Mission San Diego de Alcala.







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The Ministry of Religious Affairs postpones the departure of Umrah until early 2022 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/the-ministry-of-religious-affairs-postpones-the-departure-of-umrah-until-early-2022/ Sun, 19 Dec 2021 04:15:02 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/the-ministry-of-religious-affairs-postpones-the-departure-of-umrah-until-early-2022/ TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The departure of the Indonesians Umrah pilgrims will be postponed to 2022 after President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) called on the Indonesian people to avoid traveling abroad. Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has also advised people to postpone their travel plans abroad. The Director General of Hajj and Umrah at the […]]]>


TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The departure of the Indonesians Umrah pilgrims will be postponed to 2022 after President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) called on the Indonesian people to avoid traveling abroad.

Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has also advised people to postpone their travel plans abroad.

The Director General of Hajj and Umrah at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Hilman Latief, noted that the decision was taken after his team held a meeting with the Association of Umrah Travel Organizers (PPIU).

“We are prioritizing the protection of Umrah pilgrims amid the COVID-19 pandemic, especially after the emergence of the new variant called Omicron. For this reason, the departure of Umrah pilgrims will be postponed until early 2022. We hope the situation will improve soon, “Latief noted in a written statement on Saturday.

Related News: Umrah pilgrims with full dose of Sinovac to be quarantined

Latief added that the PPIU also supported the government’s decision to postpone Umrah. He admitted to feeling disappointment over the prolonged delay in Umrah’s plan, but all parties understood that the pandemic was not over yet and that a new variant had also emerged.

“There is still hope for the departure of Umrah, although the number has decreased. In general, the PPIU association understands and respects government regulations to postpone travel abroad,” he said. he points out.

Latief expressed optimism that this call would apply to all overseas flight plans and not just Umrah.

Latief said the Ministry of Religious Affairs, as regulator and supervisor of the implementation of the Umrah pilgrimage, continues to coordinate with all parties involved to ensure a healthy and safe Umrah.

He noted that the implementation of Umrah during the pandemic was also a pilot for the implementation of the Hajj pilgrimage in AH 1443 / AD 2022.

“Of course, this postponement is a bitter decision. However, it is done for the common good. We are optimistic that all parties would understand, and we hope that lessons will be learned from this decision,” added Latief.

Read: The association of Hajj organizers requests 3 quarantine options for Umrah pilgrims

ANTARA


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Dreams of Mary: Prepare the way to the Lord https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/dreams-of-mary-prepare-the-way-to-the-lord/ Tue, 14 Dec 2021 00:21:29 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/dreams-of-mary-prepare-the-way-to-the-lord/ As we begin a new liturgical year with the season of Advent, we are encouraged to: “Prepare the way of the Lord “ and to “Make one’s paths straight. ‘ Part of my role as a mission support and outreach agent has been to provide opportunities to prepare the way of the Lord in the […]]]>


As we begin a new liturgical year with the season of Advent, we are encouraged to: “Prepare the way of the Lord “ and to “Make one’s paths straight. ‘

Part of my role as a mission support and outreach agent has been to provide opportunities to prepare the way of the Lord in the lives of our young people across the diocese and to help young leaders to do so. the same. Although youth ministry may seem like a colossal task in these modern times, where many activities and events constantly compete for our attention, I have had the great privilege of walking with the youth of our diocese for over two years. and to witness how their faith has grown and flourished amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This time has been full of anxiety, uncertainty, and unforeseen challenges, but many have been able to stay cheerful in the midst of it all and look forward to uncertain times with hope.

Last week I participated in a mystagogical reflection with a group of young people from the pastoral placement program. It is a process they have become accustomed to, introduced by Sr. Louise Gannon. It was inspiring to witness how the word of God comes to life through this process and speaks directly to their hearts. Their reflections were a reminder of how the ancient word of God can speak the truth today, and how an authentic encounter with Christ can be facilitated by the Holy Spirit through their engagement with the scriptures. The scripture reflection was taken from Luke 3: 1-6

… ‘A voice cries out in the wilderness;

Prepare a way for the Lord,

make its paths straight.

Each valley will be filled,

let every mountain and hill be cast down,

the winding paths will be straightened

and rough roads made smooth.

And all mankind will see God’s salvation. ‘

As we were brought to focus on the above quote (Luke 3: 4-6), the “desert” theme spoke of a “spiritual wilderness” that we had all experienced over the past two years. That of isolation, loneliness, setbacks and even despair. The passage then continues to ensure that “… All mankind will see God’s salvation. It was indeed a comfort to reflect on the shared experience that through moments of doubt and isolation, we had the objective of seeing hope in the presence of Christ, who walks with us, like the Lord. one of us. Staying connected to Christ, and to each other, was a real gift during times of confinement. The group was inspired to examine their lives, bring them to the light of Christ, and change what needed to be changed to experience the fullness of life in relation to and in imitation of Jesus.

As Christmas approaches, as we reflect on the nativity, we can draw a parallel with Mary and Joseph’s arduous journey to Bethlehem for the Roman census. The discomfort and fear that Mary and Joseph experienced as they approached the time to give birth to Jesus must have been very difficult. The flip side of being told there was “no room at the inn” and the mere offer of a stable for the birth of Jesus, the king of kings, could not have made sense. The holy family was not spared from a desert experience and yet nothing could prepare it for what was to follow: the birth of the Savior of the world.

Trusting when the odds are stacked against us, and hoping when you may not be able to see the way forward, is a gift. The gift is faith. The birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God instills hope and offers us all salvation at all times. It is also an invitation to invite others to this experience and this deep relationship for which we were created.

Our late Bishop Bill provided inspiring words of wisdom and encouragement when he led Sacred @ Seven around the same time last year (an hour of music, writing and worship; an initiative of the Diocesan Council for youth ministry, DCMYP). He challenged us as young people to be courageous and invited us to consider how we could be like John the Baptist and bear witness to people. He asked us how we could walk among the people outside the walls of the church…

The question I am asked the most in my role as a Mission Support and Outreach Officer is: where are the young people?

In truth, young people are everywhere! They are in our schools, universities, TAFE, workplaces, athletic fields, pubs, music festivals, virtual communities, volunteering with organizations that promote social justice and in our homes. One of the most wonderful aspects of working with the young people of our diocese is the arrival of new people in our community. Preparing the way for the Lord is sometimes as simple as an invitation. Make someone feel welcome to join us and allow God to do the rest.

The Catholic Society of Newcastle University needed a treasurer and Asher Jintoorkar bravely agreed, not realizing that his life was going to change forever. Asher responded to another invitation for a weekly mass on campus and felt comfortable enough to stay behind to chat with the students and chaplains. Asher was eventually asked if he would like to become a Catholic, and he began the preparation necessary to become a full member of the Church; the RCIA process. He chose Father Camille, the university chaplain to be his godfather and continues to grow in the faith. On Faith’s relevance today, Asher shares:

“Faith is relevant because so much in the world changes, but the Christian faith does not. There is a lack of serious conviction among people where people tend to go with the crowd… It is important in today’s world to have a conviction regarding the moral issue because it is our moral compass which we should try not to go against.

In March of this year, Morgan Owens responded to a social media post on Facebook to attend “Pints ​​with a Purpose.” This event organized by DCMYP is a guest speaker conference that takes place in a pub. The idea is that many people would not feel comfortable going to a church to listen to a speaker, but could listen to the same speaker in a casual setting. Guest speaker Tinah Tohi explained how her faith has helped her cope with her son’s terminal illness. It was also a story of how the Catholic faith helped her son cope with his illness. At the time, Morgan was mourning the death of her eldest daughter, Eden, and needed something, she just wasn’t sure what it was. As a mother, she felt drawn to Mother Mary, which is why she responded to this conference. It was this encounter that made Morgan realize that it was God that she needed and she immediately began the path to becoming a Catholic. Following this event, Morgan attended the Women’s Ministry of the Full of Grace collective founded by pastoral care worker Natalee Bonomini, whom Morgan chose as sponsor. Here she was surrounded by young women full of faith who were able to walk with her as she grew in faith and fervor. She could see how Mary led her to Jesus by being with other young mothers who shared the faith and prayed the Rosary together. Father James Odoh was able to accompany Morgan through the RCIA process and she was able to celebrate several sacraments in one day, including her and her daughter’s baptism, confirmation, first communion, and validation of her marriage as a Catholic sacrament. She also celebrated Eden’s first birthday. There was not a dry eye in the Church that day and I felt privileged to attend.

These stories are just two of the many inspiring stories of hope that have occurred during this year. They show what can happen as we prepare the way for the Lord, even if it is as simple as an invitation to welcome. Asher and Morgan are now witnesses of Jesus and examples as we serve a God who continues to pursue us.

I challenge you, as Bishop Bill did, to be courageous and to be a living witness to Christ. We have something amazing to offer the world, and that is Jesus. In this Advent season, let us unite to joyfully await Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus in our hearts and in our world.

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