Welcome!

If you have never been to a Catholic church, or if you are new to our area of Kansas City, welcome!

If you and your family have been away from the Catholic Church for some time, welcome back! If you are an active member of our family at St. John Francis Regis, welcome! In short, we are glad you are here.

Come and join us for Holy Mass and be transformed by God’s grace. Participate, go out “into the deep”— get involved. We are truly blessed to have such a Christ-centered, faith-filled community. We invite you to join us and experience this great gift of God. Learn ways you can get involved at St. John Francis Regis by browsing our site, our bulletin, or our Facebook page. Take advantage of the various links and videos and contemplate anew the splendor of our faith alive in our age.

I invite you to consider becoming a registered member of our parish so you can grow in abundant love of God and neighbor. We look forward to seeing you, and may God richly bless you!

In Christ,
Fr. McCaffery

Upcoming Events

First Friday Adoration

May 4, 2018 - 9:00am
Adoration Chapel
First Fridays we have 12 hour Adoration in the Adoration Chapel from 9:00am to 9:00pmRead more

Knights of Columbus General Membership Meeting

KofC
May 9, 2018 - 7:00pm
Rosary at 7:00pm, Meeting starts immediately after the RosaryRead more

Knights of Columbus Officers Meeting

KofC
May 23, 2018 - 7:00pm
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Lent

Preparing for Lent

Saint of the day

April 25, 2018 - 12:00am
St. Mark, the Evangelist, is the author of the second Gospel and the patron saint of notaries. He wrote the Gospel in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition says the Romans asked St. Mark to record the teachings of St. Peter about Jesus.St. Mark is also said to have traveled with St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who was Mark's cousin, on their missionary journey through Cyprus. Mark is said to have founded the Church in Alexandria.St. Mark is sometimes called John Mark in the New Testament. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians.
April 24, 2018 - 12:00am
A former lawyer who left his profession to become a Capuchin Franciscan priest, Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen has his liturgical memorial on April 24.Fidelis' life bridged the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a time of religious conflict in Western Europe. He died at the hands of a mob while preaching in Switzerland, where he had gone to combat the Calvinist heresy.The future “Fidelis� received the name of Mark Rey at the time of his birth, during 1577 in present-day Germany. Mark studied at the University of Freiburg, and worked for a time as a private tutor. Eventually he went back to the university and earned his law degree around 1611.Though he had already shown signs of devotion to God and studied canon law alongside civil law, Mark opted for a secular career as an attorney. Within a year he was known as “the poor man’s lawyer� because of his concern for the needy. Just as quickly, he became disgusted with the corrupt ways of his chosen field .Leaving his legal practice behind, Mark decided to give his life directly to the service of Christ and the Church. In short order he received ordination as a priest, and joined the Capuchin Franciscans in Freiburg.With his entry into the order he received the name “Fidelis,� meaning “faithful� -- after the words of Jesus Christ in the Book of Revelation, “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.� As he embraced radical poverty and simplicity, the attorney-turned-Franciscan left his inheritance to a scholarship fund for poor seminarians, who also received his books.Fidelis showed his love for God through prayer and fasting, while caring for his neighbors through preaching, writing, and the celebration of the sacraments. He showed particular care for the poor and sick, and was especially revered for his work among Austrian soldiers who were suffering from a plague epidemic.During 1614 a Swiss Catholic bishop had sought help from the Capuchins, to restore the faith and counteract the spread of Calvinist Protestantism. In 1621, Fidelis was sent on the mission. He brought just four items: a Bible, a prayer book, a crucifix and a copy of the Capuchin rule.The winter of 1621-22 was a busy period of preaching, instruction and theological disputation for the Franciscan priest. He preached not only in the pulpits of Catholic churches, but also in public places, and even in the meeting-places of the Calvinists themselves. Some Swiss Protestants responded with hostility, but many others were also brought back to the Church.Like many cases of religious persecution during this time, Fidelis’ treatment at the hands of the Calvinists did not stem exclusively from doctrinal disagreement. National and cultural tensions also contributed, with many Swiss Protestants suspecting that the Catholic mission was part of an Austrian plot against their nation.This volatile situation boiled over on April 24, 1622, when Fidelis’ preaching provoked a riot at a church in the village of Seewis. Some Austrian soldiers were killed in the uproar, and a would-be assassin shot at the priest.After declining an offer of help from a Protestant, Fidelis was confronted outside the church by a mob, and told to choose between his Catholic beliefs and his life. Fidelis was defiant: “The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages. I fear not death.�St. Fidelis was beaten and stabbed to death. The sight of his martyrdom, however, is said to have converted one of the Protestant preachers who led the mob. A succession of attested miracles led to his canonization in 1746.
April 23, 2018 - 12:00am
Originally given the name of Wojtech, the boy who would be known as St. Adalbert was born to a family of nobility in the Central European region of Bohemia during the mid-900s. When Wojtech became seriously ill during his childhood, his parents resolved that they would offer their son to God as a priest if their prayers for his survival were granted.  Wojtech survived the illness, and his parents sent him to study with Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg, a Benedictine missionary who would later be canonized in his own right. The archbishop gave the young student his own name at confirmation, setting an example that the boy would follow in his own life as a bishop, missionary and monk.  The young Adalbert was 25 when his mentor died in 981. He returned to his native Bohemia, where Bishop Deitmar of Prague ordained him a priest two years later. However, the end of Bishop Deitmar’s life provided the young priest with a cautionary example that would remain with him until the end of his life. During his last illness, the bishop became terrified of his impending judgment, confessing that he had neglected his spiritual duties in favor of wealth, honors and pleasure. After watching his bishop die on the verge of despair, Adalbert immediately resolved to live his own life in a more penitential spirit than before. He began wearing a hair-shirt and distributing his money to the poor. Soon, he would be chosen to replace the bishop whose agonizing death had shown him the gravity of spiritual leadership.  Adalbert was consecrated as the Bishop of Prague just months after becoming a priest. “It is an easy thing to wear the mitre and a cross,â€� Adalbert reflected, “but it is a most dreadful circumstance to have an account to give of a bishopric to the judge of the living and the dead.â€�  The bishop took steps to reform the finances of his diocese, ensuring that his own expenses made up only a small portion of the budget. Meanwhile, he slept on the floor, fasted regularly, gave sermons almost daily, and visited poor neighborhoods and prisons.  But in six years of constant prayer, fasting, and preaching, Bishop Adalbert made little headway among the Bohemians. The low point came when he unsuccessfully attempted to shield a woman convicted of adultery from a mob that sought to kill her. He responded by excommunicating the murderers, but the public seemed to favor them rather than the bishop.Frustrated and dejected, Adalbert journeyed to Rome and asked Pope John XV for permission to retire from his diocese in 989. He joined a Roman monastery and purposely took on its most undesirable tasks of work and maintenance.  Five years after Adalbert’s departure, the Archbishop of Mentz – who had consecrated him as a bishop – asked the Pope to send him back to the diocese of Prague. Pope John did so, but made it clear that Adalbert was free to leave if the residents of his diocese continued to resist him. When their former bishop returned, the residents of Prague welcomed him warmly and promised to change their ways. Sadly, however, this promise proved false, and Adalbert came to fear that he might be driven to despair by the rebellious locals. In keeping with the Pope’s provision, he left and became a missionary to the Hungarians.  In the course of his Hungarian missions, Adalbert taught – among many others – King Stephen I, who would later be canonized as St. Stephen of Hungary. Afterward, he returned to the Roman monastery of St. Boniface, where he served in the office of prior. But Adalbert’s consecrator remained insistent that he should return to Prague yet again. Pope Gregory V finally ordered Adalbert to resume his duties as the Bishop of Prague. This time, however, the citizens defied him openly. A Bohemian prince named Boleslaus went so far as to kill several of Adalbert's relatives and burn their homes, to make it clear how unwelcome his presence would be. Nonetheless, Adalbert attempted to obey the Pope’s charge, and sent a message asking whether the other residents of Prague might allow him to return. The response he received indicated he should not come back, and would be in danger if he chose to do so.Rejected by his own people, Adalbert decided to begin a mission to the pagan tribes in Poland and northeastern Germany. He successfully converted many of them, but eventually encountered the same hostility that had driven him from his diocese. This was partly because he denounced the native practices of tree-worship and human sacrifice, but also because he was suspected of being a Polish spy.A pagan priest eventually captured Adalbert and his two companions, binding them and taking them hostage while they slept. Adalbert prayed aloud, offering his own life to God and begging forgiveness for his attackers.“You had it always in your mouth that it was your desire to die for Christ,â€� he heard the pagan priest say, as he stabbed Adalbert in the chest with a lance. Six others proceeded to stab him, and he died of his wounds on April 23, 997.A Polish prince ransomed back St. Adalbert's body from the pagans, exchanging his remains for their weight in gold. His relics were transferred to the Polish city of Gniezno, and kept in the church known as Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Adalbert.
April 22, 2018 - 12:00am
Cauis and Soter, Popes of the early Church, are both venerated in tradition as martyrs, though no reliable account of their martyrdom survives today.St. Soter was born in Fundi, in Italy. The date of his birth is unknown but we know that he was Pope for eight years from 166 until his death in 174.Soter´s papacy was an example of what seems to have been the remarkable tradition of generosity exercised by the bishop of Rome. This tradition and Soter´s personal charity and paternal love for his universal flock can be evidenced from a letter to Pope Soter by Bishop St. Dionysus of Corinth, quoted in the 4th century “Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius�: “This has been your custom from the beginning, to do good in manifold ways to all Christians, and to send contributions to the many churches in every city, in some places relieving the poverty of the needy and ministering to the Christians in the mines, by the contribution which you have sent from the beginning, preserving the ancestral custom of the Romans, true Romans as you are. Your blessed bishop Soter has not only carried on the habit but has even increased it, by administering the bounty distributed to the saints and by exhorting with his blessed words the brethren who come to Rome, as a loving father would his children." (IV, xxiii, 9- 15)In the same letter of Dionysus we learn that Pope Soter had written a letter to the Corinthians which was read in the Church alongside the epistle of St. Clement and was held in high esteem.Though his kindness extended to all persons, he was a fierce opponent of heresy, having been said to have written an encyclical against Montanism – the teachings of a heretical sect which believed that a Christian who had sinned gravely could never be redeemed.Pope St. Caius reigned for 13 years from 283 until his death in 296 just before the Diocletian persecution. He was a relative of the Emperor Diocletian – instigator of one of the last great persecution of Christians in the early years of the Church. Early in his papacy Caius decreed that a man must be a priest before he could be ordained a bishop.He is said to have been driven into hiding in the catacombs for eight years whence he died a confessor, however the source from which this information is gleaned is considered unreliable by most historians.Both St. Soter and St. Caius are buried in the cemetery of St. Calixtus and are venerated on the date of the death of Pope St. Caius.
April 21, 2018 - 12:00am
On April 21, the Catholic Church honors Saint Anselm, the 11th and 12th-century Benedictine monk and archbishop best known for his writings on Christ's atonement and the existence of God.In a general audience given on Sept. 23, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI remembered St. Anselm as “a monk with an intense spiritual life, an excellent teacher of the young, a theologian with an extraordinary capacity for speculation, a wise man of governance and an intransigent defender of the Church's freedom.� St. Anselm, the Pope said, stands out as “one of the eminent figures of the Middle Ages who was able to harmonize all these qualities, thanks to the profound mystical experience that always guided his thought and his action.�Anselm was born in Aosta, part of the Piedmont region of present-day Italy, around 1033. While his father provided little in the way of moral or religious influence, his mother was a notably devout woman and chose to send Anselm to a school run by the Benedictine order. The boy felt a profound religious calling during these years, spurred in part by a dream in which he met and conversed with God. His father, however, prevented him from becoming a monk at age 15. This disappointment was followed by a period of severe illness, as well as his mother's early death. Unable to join the monks, and tired of mistreatment by his father, Anselm left home and wandered throughout parts of France and Italy for three years. His life regained its direction in Normandy, where he met the Benedictine prior Lanfranc of Pavia and became his disciple.Lanfranc recognized his pupil's intellectual gifts and encouraged his vocation to religious life. Accepted into the order and ordained a priest at age 27, Anselm succeeded his teacher as prior in1063 when Lanfranc was called to become abbot of another monastery.Anselm became abbot of his own monastery in1079. During the previous decade the Normans had conquered England, and they sought to bring monks from Normandy to influence the Church in the country. Lanfranc became Archbishop of Canterbury, and asked Anselm to come and assist him.The period after Lanfranc's death, in the late 1080s, was a difficult time for the English Church. As part of his general mistreatment of the Church, King William Rufus refused to allow the appointment of a new archbishop. Anselm had gone back to his monastery, and did not want to return to England. In 1092, however, he was persuaded to do so. The following year, the king changed his mind and allowed Anselm to become Archbishop of Canterbury. But the monk was extremely reluctant to accept the charge, which would involve him in further struggles with the English crown in subsequent years.For a three-year period in the early 12th century, Anselm's insistence on the self-government of the Church – against the claims of the state to its administration and property – caused him to be exiled from England. But he was successful in his struggle, and returned to his archdiocese in 1106.In his last years, Anselm worked to reform the Church and continued his theological investigations – following the motto of “faith seeking understanding.� After his death in 1109, his influence on the subsequent course of theology led Pope Clement XI to name him a Doctor of the Church in 1720.
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Daily Readings

April 25, 2018 - 1:00am
5 Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.
7 Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.
8 Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.
9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.
11 To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12 By Silva'nus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God; stand fast in it.
13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark.
14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you that are in Christ.
April 25, 2018 - 1:00am
1 I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations.
2 For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens.
5 Let the heavens praise thy wonders, O LORD, thy faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance,
16 who exult in thy name all the day, and extol thy righteousness.
April 25, 2018 - 1:00am
15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.
April 24, 2018 - 1:00am
7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: `The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.
8 "`I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
10 Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.
11 I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
12 He who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
April 24, 2018 - 1:00am
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel,
9 the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered.
10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.
11 The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him;
12 if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful -- for he cannot deny himself.
10 Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,
11 my persecutions, my sufferings, what befell me at Antioch, at Ico'nium, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
12 Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
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Catholic News

April 25, 2018 - 7:02pm

Washington D.C., Apr 25, 2018 / 06:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A federal judge ruled on Tuesday evening that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program must be re-opened to new applicants, and the following day the USCCB announced support for the “Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act of 2018,” which would codify DACA into law.

DACA is an Obama-era federal program that protects people who were brought to the United States illegally as children from being deported and also provides for work permits. DACA recipients, who are commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” must renew their DACA status each year.

President Donald Trump has sought to end DACA, saying that the initial program was only an executive order that went beyond the scope of presidential powers.

While other court decisions have ordered that the federal government begin to accept DACA renewals, the April 24 decision by Judge John Bates was different in that it re-opened the program for new applicants. Bates said that he did not believe the Trump administration provided a strong enough case for why the program should end.

Trump has urged Congress to pass a law that would combine some of DACA’s provisions along with immigration reform, but so far these efforts have not been successful.

Bates’ decision will go into effect in 90 days, unless the Trump Administration issues new reason as for why it is ending DACA.

The USCCB’s Committee on Migration issued a letter of support April 24 for H.R. 4796, dubbed the “Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act of 2018.”

The bill would shield “Dreamers” from deportation and would provide for a path to citizenship for certain qualified persons. Additionally, the USA Act of 2018 would increase border security and would seek to address corruption in Central America – a major cause of “irregular migration.”

The bill was introduced by Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA), and is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of representatives.

The letter is signed by Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, who is chairman of the USCCB’s committee on migration.

“While a larger solution is still needed to fix our broken immigration system, we urge Congress to first focus on passing H.R. 4796, as written, or similar bipartisan and narrowly-tailored legislation,” said the letter.

“Any legislation passed should provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, not undermine our family-based immigration system or terminate existing protections for vulnerable migrants, and ensure that border security measures are just, proportionate, and humane.”

Vasquez said it was a “moral duty” to protect Dreamers, and that they are “valuable members of our communities.”

April 25, 2018 - 6:09pm

Armagh, Northern Ireland, Apr 25, 2018 / 05:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two Catholic churches in Northern Ireland have been targeted with graffiti bearing a message opposed to abortion, ahead of a key referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Between the late hours of April 22 and the early morning of April 23, a vandal painted on St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh a slogan “Save the 8th. Save Ireland.” The Eighth Amendment protects unborn children under the republic’s constitution and could be repealed in a May 25 vote.

Another slogan was tagged on St. Columcille’s Church in Carrickmore in County Tyrone sometime between April 23 and April 24. It appeared to say the traditionally Protestant Democratic Unionist Party’s stand against abortion would benefit the unborn who will play in the Gaelic Athletics Association and those who will speak the Irish language, the promotion of which is a subject of controversy among DUP members.

“Only DUP speaks for Irish unborn to speak Irish and play GAA vote DUP,” the slogan said, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Police are investigating criminal damage at both churches.

Sinn Fein, a nationalist party with significant Catholic support, has endorsed the repeal effort in the Republic of Ireland, which would legalize abortion up to 12 weeks into pregnancy. Its party has endorsed legalized abortion in cases of rape, fetal abnormality, and where a woman’s mental or physical health faces serious threat, the Irish Times reports.

Garath Keating, a Sinn Fein counselor, said he was “absolutely horrified” at the graffiti in Armagh. He suggested that anyone who objected to Sinn Fein’s stance on the abortion referendum should “protest at our office or in a public forum, not write it on a church wall.”

“I can’t comprehend how anybody could think this is a useful way to convey their point of view,” Keating continued. “There is plenty of opportunity and forums for public discussion in respect of any of the matters, but to take to spreading your message by writing on a place of worship is horrifying and despicable.”

Thomas Buchanan, a DUP member of the Legislative Assembly, said, “there are strong feelings among members of the community about Sinn Fein's policy on abortion, however that does not excuse anyone engaging in criminal damage.”

“It is totally wrong and inappropriate to smear a place of worship, or any public building, with graffiti to make any sort of political point,” he said, according to BBC News.

Another Sinn Fein candidate, Órfhlaith Begley, said the incident was “blatant sectarian vandalism” and a “sectarian hate crime.”

Pro-abortion rights campaigners have also acted at churches. In the grotto of the Mary Immaculate Church in Inchicore, Dublin, some activists placed upon the altar a sweater bearing the phrase “Repeal.” They took a photo and shared it on social media.

Abortion advocacy is also underway in Northern Ireland, which has its own laws. The Department of Health on April 25 released a new report advocating abortion in cases where the unborn child has physical abnormalities.

“Women and babies in Northern Ireland do not need abortion. What women really need is access to holistic, life-affirming and compassionate healthcare that cares for both lives when faced with a difficult prenatal diagnosis,” said Bernadette Smyth, spokesperson for Northern Ireland's leading pro-life group, Precious Life.

April 25, 2018 - 5:01pm

Manila, Philippines, Apr 25, 2018 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- An Australian Catholic nun who has been working as a missionary in the Philippines for nearly 30 years has been ordered to leave the country on the grounds of allegedly joining protest rallies.

Sister Patricia Fox, 71, will be deported within 30 days, after the immigration bureau revoked her missionary visa. Her deportation order stated that she was “found to have engaged in activities that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa,” according to Reuters.

“She has not participated in any partisan activity. She is a nun,” said Jobert Pahilga, one of Fox’s lawyers, in a report from Reuters.

“We will file a motion for reconsideration on this order,” Pahilga continued.

While her missionary visa was cancelled on Monday, Fox will still be able to enter the Philippines as a tourist, but not as a missionary.

Fox’s deportation comes only a week after she was arrested at her convent and detained for 22 hours by authorities. She was later released after “no probable cause” was found for her arrest.

Fox has been a legally documented alien in the country with a missionary visa, who has served as the Philippine superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion. Her primary focus has been working with the rural poor for the past 27 years.

Allegations brought against Fox have included participating in political rallies, which according to Philippines immigration law, would violate her right to stay in the country. However, Pahilga has denied these claims, saying she “has done nothing wrong or illegal,” that would warrant her deportation.

Fox did travel to Tagum City in an effort to gather data on human rights violations against farmers within the region. Fox noted that she stood in solidarity with the farmers during a rally in an effort to promote human rights – not politics.

“I would call it religious because we are called to stand beside the poor,” Fox said, according to CBCP news, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ news outlet.

“I haven’t joined partisan political rallies but I have been active in human rights issues,” she continued.  

CBCP also reported that they were told Fox was primarily arrested for being an “undesirable alien” within the country because she participated in the farmer rally protests.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines originally ordered an investigation into Fox for “disorderly conduct” and brought claims against her for involvement in political activity reaching beyond the scope of her missionary work.

“It’s a violation of sovereignty,” Duterte recently said, noting that Fox does “not have that right to criticize us. Do not insult my country.”

Duterte’s administration has recently barred several human rights activists from re-entering the Philippines in a campaign to limit foreigners in the nation. The president has also made headlines with his crusade against drugs within the nation, which has caused international controversy and left thousands of apparent users and dealers dead.  

One activist group, Bayan (Nation), spoke out against Fox’s deportation, calling it “despicable and utterly shameful.”

“The Duterte regime is paranoid and afraid of an elderly nun working for human rights and social justice for the poor,” said Renato Reyes, a leader of the group, according to Reuters.

Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila also recently said that the actions brought against Fox were a “form of persecution and harassment.””

“This is political,” Pabillo said. “The government is trying to intimidate individuals and groups who are in pursuit of social justice for the oppressed and the poor.”

Fox has 30 days to leave the Philippines upon receipt of the immigration order.

April 25, 2018 - 3:27pm

Steubenville, Ohio, Apr 25, 2018 / 02:27 pm (CNA).- Franciscan University in Steubenville has said it is committed to reporting and investigating all allegations of abuse in alignment with Title IX requirements and the school’s Catholic identity, following claims that it has mishandled abuse cases in the past.

“While many schools provide Title IX training that meets requirements, here, we hold our students to a higher standard,” David Schmiesing, vice president of Student Life, told CNA in email comments.

“We frame our Title IX training within the context of a Catholic understanding of human sexuality and the dignity of the human person. For example, during Orientation Weekend for all new students and parents, we provide a talk on the truth and beauty of human sexuality that sets the stage for our online training on the specifics of our sexual misconduct policy,” Schmiesing said.

Schools that receive federal funding are obliged to comply with Title IX, a federal law that requires schools to have appropriate reporting procedures in place for allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.

Franciscan University came under fire in an April 16 article in the National Catholic Reporter, which included claims from some alumni of the University, who alleged that some instances of past sexual harassment or assault were mishandled by the school.

The article's publication was supported by a grant from The Media Consortium, which has partnered with Bitch Media to produce the “DIShonor Roll,” a series of stories on the handling of sexual assault at college campuses following the #MeToo campaign.

Jenn Morson, the freelance journalist who authored the Reporter article, told CNA that she was only made aware of the grant after she had filed her story.

The Media Consortium is a 501c3 non-profit “dedicated to values-driven journalism. Founded in 2006, the Media Consortium's mission is to support and grow the impact of the independent and community news sector.”

Its leadership includes Julie Falk, Executive Director of Bitch Media, and Caitlin Hendel, CEO of the National Catholic Reporter. The Media Consortium has reportedly been the recipient of several grants from the Open Society Foundation, funded by progressive billionaire George Soros.

According to the description on Media Consortium’s website, the DIShonor Roll project, launched in February, seeks “to solve the problem of sexual violence on campus” with “consistent, powerful storytelling that puts a human face on campus sexual violence.”

“To that end, the Media Consortium, partnering with Bitch Media, is launching #DishonorRoll. Twice a month, a wide consortium of news outlets, working with project editors at Bitch Media, will publish stories on different aspects of campus sexual assault.”

Grants of $500 are available through Media Consortium to any media outlets or journalists who want to participate in the project. Other articles in the project include “Is Campus Rape Activism Accessible?”, “I Kissed Consent Goodbye: Purity Culture and Sexual Violence on Evangelical Christian Campuses” and “Everything Scold is New Again”, published on Bitch Media, and “Christendom College alumni call for Title IX response to sexual assaults” published by the National Catholic Reporter.

According to its 2016 tax filings, the mission of Bitch Media is “to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream and popular culture.”

Morson's article detailed several alleged stories of mishandled sexual assault or harassment incidents at Franciscan on an alumni Facebook page.

According to the Reporter, Annie, a Franciscan alumna whose name had been changed, shared in the Facebook group that when she was raped in the spring of 2007, she was encouraged by a priest at Franciscan to seek counseling, but not encouraged to contact the authorities.

Another student, Jennifer, claimed that in 2008, Franciscan’s then-Director of Student Life, Catherine Heck violated her privacy by forcing her to call her parents after an incident of sexual assault, and by sharing the story with other RAs at the time.

Another student, Margaret, claimed a mishandling of a 2005 sexual assault incident.

"I had to tell my story several times to different faculty members and a review board made up entirely of men," Margaret said. "They asked me why I was drinking in the first place, what my dress looked like, and if I had any other encounters with [the male student] before this happened."

According to Margaret, the review board took no action against the male student after they believed there was no proof that the incident was not consensual.

The Reporter also discussed a current graduate student, identified as Mary, who said she and other women were harassed by "a man in their department," and filed a complaint with the university. They said they were not interviewed about their allegations, but were subsuently notified that the university had concluded there was no "reasonable cause to believe" the man had violated misconduct policies.

Franciscan officials told CNA that in order to protect the privacy of those involved, it could not speak about specific cases in the past or present involving sexual abuse.

“We can say that if a case involves criminal actions, we strictly follow our policy and encourage students to report alleged criminal sexual misconduct to law enforcement agencies,” Brenan Pergi, vice president of Human Resources and deputy Title IX/EEO coordinator, told CNA.

Since 2011, Franciscan has also reviewed and improved existing policies and procedures in reporting sexual misconduct, John Pizzuti, Franciscan’s Title IX/EEO coordinator and director of Campus Safety and Compliance, told Franciscan Magazine. The school has also established Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Steubenville Police Department and sexual victims advocate group Alive Inc., outlining the terms and details of handling cases of sexual misconduct.

“In total, since 2011, almost two dozen new programs, designed to ensure the safety of all students, have gone into effect at Franciscan. Key staff members have received comprehensive training in helping victims of sexual misconduct. And the entire process of reviewing complaints - from reporting to adjudicating and appealing decisions—has been strengthened and clarified,” Emily Stimpson Chapman wrote in Franciscan Magazine.

Some sources in the Reporter article also claimed that the emphasis in Title IX training at Franciscan was Church teaching on sexuality and the prevention of being in situations that could lead to sexual assault, rather than on reporting incidents.

"Everything at (Franciscan University) is talked about with a religious lens. Even the way they discuss sexual assault and harassment focuses on what the church teaches on premarital sex, modesty and avoiding situations that lead to sexual assault, as opposed to taking the report for what it is," said Marisa Bortz, who worked as a sexual assault advocate and prevention educator for ALIVE, Inc., in the same county as Franciscan.

Catherine Heck, assistant vice president of Student Life and deputy Title IX/EEO coordinator, noted that “FUS encourages both prevention and reporting. Like most colleges and universities we work hard to prevent the tragedy of sexual misconduct from occurring in the first place. Equally important is our immediate support and action if a complaint is made. If we receive a report of sexual misconduct, we investigate and resolve the complaint in a timely manner.”

“All University employees (with the exception of counselors and certain pastoral staff) are obligated to promptly report actual or suspected discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct to our Title IX coordinator or deputy,” Pergi added. “Franciscan University encourages students and staff members to immediately report any and all cases of sexual misconduct. When a report is made, the University seeks to provide ongoing support to the student or staff member making the report.”

Furthermore, Franciscan officials said that their policies reflect the Catholic culture and identity of the school, when it comes to such topics as the Title IX issue of “consent.”

“We carefully and thoroughly describe the concept of ‘consent’ for students and emphasize that non-consensual sexual activity is a violation of our policy and an attack on human dignity,” Heck said. “We also make it clear that all sexual contact outside of the covenant of marriage is inconsistent with Catholic teaching and the University’s expectations for our students - consent is certainly necessary, but it is not sufficient.”

The full list of policies and procedures can be found on the University’s website, and are “based on our respect for the dignity of the human person as expressed in Church teaching as well as being guided by federal, state, and local statutes,” Pergi noted.

“We seek to respect the rights of everyone involved, while creating a safe and positive learning environment for students, staff, and faculty members,” he said.

Editor's note: Subsequent to the publication of this story, CNA was contacted by Jenn Morson, referenced above. The article was updated for clarity.

April 25, 2018 - 2:56pm

Rome, Italy, Apr 25, 2018 / 01:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- According to one exorcist working in Italy, the average time needed for a person to be freed from demonic influence in an exorcism is taking much longer than it did in even the recent past.

Whereas before it was common for a person to be liberated in one session, even if the blessing lasted several hours, now on average sessions are growing longer and multiple meetings are required for a person to be completely freed from the devil's grasp.

Fr. Francois Dermine, O.P., an exorcist of nearly 25 years, told CNA he believes the prolongation can be attributed to a few basic elements: the high diffusion of atheistic attitudes in society at large; the reduction of the understanding of faith as merely an intellectual concept; and a growing lack of belief within the Church, even among priests and bishops, in the devil and his actions.

Though there are no set rules for how long it should take for someone to be liberated from demonic obsession or possession, Fr. Dermine said that “some people can be liberated with very few blessings, though many require months.”

Others, if they are serious cases of possession, “can take a year.” However, longer sessions like this did not really happen until recently, after the 1960s, he said.

“One blessing was enough – a blessing of one hour, two hours, three hours, six hours, but one blessing was enough to liberate one person of a possession. But now it's different. It's becoming very long.”

“I think the reason for that is our society is becoming more and more atheistic, people are going away from prayer and the sacraments … so there are fewer defenses against the devil.”

Another important, but “abnormal” factor, he said, is a lack of faith within the Church itself, because during an exorcism, “the exorcist prays in the name of the Church.”

“If, within the Church, you have the clergy and also a certain number of bishops who do not believe in the devil or his actions, then the exorcist is deprived of the power of the prayer of the Church.”

Because of this, “the exorcist is liberating [people] more slowly. Before it was not the case.”

Fr. Dermine was ordained a priest in 1979 and has been an exorcist since 1994, He currently serves as the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Ancona-Osimo, and was one of the speakers presenting at an April 16-21 course on exorcism offered by the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome.

In his comments to CNA, Fr. Dermine said there is a general lack of formation on exorcism and the actions of the devil in the Church today.

Noting how this year's course on exorcism had 295 students most of whom are priests studying at pontifical universities, enroll, Fr. Dermine said the high number can be attributed at least in part to the fact that courses on exorcism and the devil are not included in theological curricula.

“There is a void,” he said, “so they want to learn what is not taught to them but should be taught.”

In the past, it was common for a theological curriculum to include courses on angels, demons, and their influence. “It was very important for moral theology and also for the theology of exorcism, but now it does not exist anymore,” Dermine said.

“So it's a sign that within the Church faith in these things is not as strong as it was before.”

However, the exorcist said that while it is crucial that priests be instructed on the topic, it is important not to dwell on the devil too much, in order to avoid superstition.

Fr. Dermine also voiced concern that the practice of the faith is becoming more intellectual, but less spiritual, and is therefore at times being reduced to a sort of “moralism” void of actual belief.

“Our faith is becoming more and more intellectual. We have to inform the person, we have to instruct the person with catechism, it's very important. I myself am a Dominican, I am a moral theologian, I teach theology, I believe in formation,” he said, while emphasizing that “problems cannot be solved only through information.”

Faith, he said, is above all “a mystery of salvation; we have to be saved from something, from someone, and this someone is also the devil.”

Because of this, simply changing our behavior is not enough, because “this is a sort of moralism; but our faith is not a moralism.”

Moral principles are important, but they are not the full picture, he said, explaining that Christ came to save men from sin and death, and from the actions of the devil, and because of this, it is important to know the devil and how to fight him.

Speaking of the qualities needed in an exorcist, Fr. Dermine said he believes being an exorcist is a “vocation within a vocation,” and as such, is not something priests should strive for, because it is a call from God.

Rather, he said exorcists ought to be appointed by their bishop, without trying to pursue the job themselves.

A strong personal prayer life is also something essential for an exorcist, he said, and stressed that someone called to this role is not a “super priest”, but is “a person named by the Church, and that's all.”

Fr. Dermine said the majority of exorcisms he performs are not full on possessions, but are rather blessings or prayers of liberation for people who have opened the door to the devil through actions such as fortune telling or the reading of tarot cards, or who have been attacked by the devil or cursed in some way.

He pointed to a growing superstitious and “magical” mentality in global society, saying dappling in spiritualism and occult practices can open the door to demonic activity, and make it easier for the devil to take hold of a person or influence their life.

It is important for exorcists to know the difference between someone with a genuine charism who receives spiritual gifts from God, and a medium, who is a person that may have the ability to predict or foretell past or present events, but whose abilities do not come from God.

In the case of mediums, many “think it's normal to have these phenomena, but it's not normal,” he said, adding that “many times these people have a lot of problems, but they don't understand why they have these problems,” so they come to an exorcist for help.

For those who have opened the door to the devil through occult activities, “we must try to convince these people to renounce these phenomena, which is not always easy because many of these people feel important because they have these paranormal phenomena, but they pay a very heavy price for these faculties.”

“They must renounce them because they are not moved by God,” Fr. Dermine said, explaining that every true charism that comes from God is meant to produce a spiritual or salvific effect.

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