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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

St Regis Feast Day

St Regis

Please consider joining the Memorial Committee in observance of St. John Francis Regis Sainthood and remembrance of deceased parishioners and parishioner's loved one's who are deceased and join us at the celebration of Mass at 4:30pm on June 15, 2019 and 8:30 am and 10:30 am on June 16,2019 at St. Regis Church.

A lighting display will be available at all masses of deceased parishioners in the last 12 months.

Following Mass, there will be Refreshments and Beverages for a social hour in our Parish Gathering Space.

We look forward to you and your family members attendance on this special occasion to also celebrate our Patron Saint, St. John Francis Regis Sainthood date. 

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First Friday Adoration

August 2, 2019 - 9:00am
Adoration Chapel
First Fridays we have 12 hour Adoration in the Adoration Chapel from 9:00am to 9:00pmRead more

First Friday Adoration

September 6, 2019 - 9:00am
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First Fridays we have 12 hour Adoration in the Adoration Chapel from 9:00am to 9:00pmRead more

First Friday Adoration

October 4, 2019 - 9:00am
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First Fridays we have 12 hour Adoration in the Adoration Chapel from 9:00am to 9:00pmRead more

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Catholic News

July 23, 2019 - 4:01am

Vatican City, Jul 23, 2019 / 03:01 am (CNA).- The cause for canonization of Servant of God Edward Flanagan, the priest who founded Nebraska's Boys Town community for orphans and other boys, advanced Monday with the presentation of a summary of records on his life.

The positio, which summarizes the records collected by the Archdiocese of Omaha, was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints July 22, along with a letter of support from Archbishop George Lucas.

The positio argues that Flanagan demonstrated heroic virtue.

“It has been a privilege to offer my support for the cause of Father Edward Flanagan at each stage of this process,” Archbishop Lucas said. “I was able to share with Cardinal Becciu the encouragement offered to all of us in the Church during this challenging time by the virtuous life and work of Father Flanagan.”

The Omaha archbishop had met with Cardinal Becciu, the prefect of the congregation, in January.

Father Flanagan helped at least 10,000 boys at Boys Town in his lifetime, and his influence extended around the world.

The priest was born in Ireland’s County Roscommon July 13, 1886. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 and was ordained a priest in 1912. He was assigned to what was then the Diocese of Omaha.

After working with homeless men in Omaha, he founded a boarding house for all boys, regardless of their race or religion. He soon moved his work to Overlook Farm on the outskirts of Omaha, where he cared for hundreds.

The home became known as the Village of Boys Town, growing to include a school, dormitories, and administration buildings. The boys elected their own government to run the community, which became an official village in the state of Nebraska in 1936.

Father Flanagan’s work inspired 80 other Boys Towns around the world. The original Boys Town now serves about 80,000 kids and families each year.

After World War II, the priest helped care for orphans and displaced children in Japan, Germany, and Austria at the request of US president Harry Truman.

Flanagan also worked to reform the criminal justice system’s treatment of minor offenders.

The priest rose to national and international prominence for his work. Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his portrayal of Fr. Flanagan in the 1938 movie “Boys Town.”

Father Flanagan died in Berlin of a heart attack May 15, 1948. His corpse is interred in a memorial chapel at Boys Town.

Flanagan's cause was opened in the Archdiocese of Omaha in 2012, and the diocesan phase was concluded in June 2015.

At that time, documents produced by the diocesan tribunal were signed and sealed, and then sent to the Vatican.

An official of the Omaha archdiocese told CNA that since 2015, the local Church has continue to investigate Flanagan's life, and possible miracles attributed to his intercession.

In January 2017, the then-prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Angelo Amato, signed a decree affirming the validity of the diocesan phase of Flanagan's cause.

The positio will now be reviewed by historical consultants at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, then theological consultants, and finally the members of the congregation.

If all three groups agree, the congregation would then recommend that Pope Francis declare Flanagan “Venerable”, the next stage in the process of canonization.

Omar Gutierrez, who served as notary for the tribunal that investigated Flanagan's life, told CNA in 2015 that the priest “was a man driven by his love for Jesus Christ to care for children who were forgotten and abused. He is a great model for the priesthood and for what Catholic social teaching looks like in the real world.”

Steven Wolf, president of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion and vice-postulator of his cause, said he thinks there is abundant evidence of the priest’s heroic virtue.

“He completely immersed his life in the gospel, and lived it,” Wolf told CNA. “He completely poured his life into saving these kids nobody else wanted to deal with.”

Father Flanagan integrated young boys, “built a society around them, and put love, God’s love, in the middle of their circumstances and helped them to become whole and complete people.”

“He could see the face of Christ in every child, and he wanted to help every child, not just be successful citizens, but also be saints.”

Wolf added, “We need people to look into this man’s life, look into this man’s motivation, and look at his example and live that example. Pray that we can make our culture a better place through the way that he lived the gospel in his life.”

In 2015, Gutierrez said that two alleged miracles attributed to Flanagan's intercession were being investigated.

July 22, 2019 - 8:00pm

Vatican City, Jul 22, 2019 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- The search for the remains of missing 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi took another twist as Vatican officials discovered “thousands” of human bones in a previously unknown ossuary on Saturday. It is unclear if any of the bones belong to Orlandi, or how old they are.

On July 11, the Vatican opened two tombs belonging to Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Duchess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who both died in the mid-19th century. The tombs, located in the cemetery of the Teutonic College, adjacent to the Vatican City State, were found to be completely empty of any human remains. Scientists were initially puzzled by this unforeseen development.

Afterwards, Vatican officials realized that restoration and structural work done in the 1960s and 1970s likely resulted in remains being moved. This led to the discovery of two ossuaries underneath the Teutonic College, which held containers of bones. Ossuaries are container, or even rooms, used to store skeletal remains after the rest of the body has decomposed. They are common in areas where underground burial space is limited.

Members of Orlandi’s family, as well as their lawyer and a forensic expert, were present at the opening of the containers.

Orlandi’s sister, Frederica, described the opening as an “emotional experience” and thinks that Emanuela’s remains are possibly in the ossuary.

Her brother, Pietro, described the discovery as “a large number of diverse bones,” and noted the need to identify and date the remains. Giorgio Portera, a forensic expert working with the family, estimated the total number of bones found indicated “the presence of the remains of a few dozen people.”

“There are long bones, small bones, many are fragmented,” said Portera. He explained they were not sorted, and were mixed together “all piled up inside a cavity.”

There are 206 bones in an adult body, meaning that the partial remains of a handful of people could easily number over 1,000 bones.

According to Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, there will be “an in-depth morphological analysis” of the bones within the next week. Gisotti said that international protocols were followed during the initial examination of the bones.

Orlandi disappeared in Rome on June 22, 1983, and has not been seen or heard from since--although there have been several unconfirmed sightings. Prior to her disappearance, Orlandi called her sister and told her that she was approached by a man in a BMW who offered her a job selling Avon cosmetics. This man has never been identified. Orlandi’s father worked in the Vatican, and she and her family are citizens of Vatican City State. The Vatican denies having any role in her disappearance, but conspiracy theories regarding her disappearance have run rampant in Italy since she first vanished.

Almost two weeks after she disappeared, St. Pope John Paul II mentioned her in the Angelus, and asked for her those responsible for her disappearance to come forward. Shortly after this, her family began receiving telephone calls from people claiming to be associated with Turkish nationalist groups, claiming to have kidnapped Orlandi as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Mehmet Ali Ağca.

Ağca, who attempted to assassinate St. Pope John Paul II in 1981, said in an interview with Italian television that he believed Orlandi was alive and well and living in a convent. In 2006 he again stated that Orlandi is living in a cloistered convent somewhere in Europe. This has never been confirmed.

Others speculate that the Italian mafia was involved in her disappearance, or that she was kidnapped on the order of a cleric to send a message to her father.

Physical remains can be dated using carbon testing, which tests for the half-life of carbon. An older bone would have less carbon than a newer bone, which can provide a ballpark estimate for how old something may be.

 

July 22, 2019 - 7:01pm

London, England, Jul 22, 2019 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- The High Court has agreed to hear in September a bid from the parents of Tafida Raqeeb to take her to Italy for treatment. The five-year-old girl has been comatose since February, and UK doctors want to remove her life-sustaining treatment.

The UK doctors have barred Raqeeb's parents from taking her abroad for treatment.

Two doctors from the Gaslini Children’s Hospital in Genoa examined Raqeeb via video link earlier this month, and they agreed to care for her in Italy. They said they did not believe her to be brain dead.

Bishop John Sherrington, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster and the English and Welsh bishops' representative on life issues, said July 18 that “Difficult dilemmas have to be faced. In that process, I hope that all due weight will be given to the wishes of her parents, while also respecting the clinical judgement of the doctors caring for her. Those of us not in possession of all the relevant information might best be reserved in our judgement.”

Raqeeb's parents, Mohammed Raqeeb and Shelina Begum, asked the High Court in London July 16 to allow her to leave the country; its decision to hear the case was made July 22.

The court will hold a week-long hearing on Raqeeb's case. They will also review the refusal of Royal London Hospital to allow her to be removed and taken to Italy.

Raqeeb suffered an arteriovenous malformation which resulted in a burst blood vessel in her brain, and has been in a coma since Feb. 9.

The AVM triggered cardiac and respiratory arrest, as well as a traumatic brain injury. Doctors at the Royal London Hospital say there is no chance she will recover from her coma, and declared any further medical treatment futile.

Bishop Sherrington wrote that “I trust that the doctors from the Gaslini Children’s Hospital in Genoa will be given time and opportunity to come to a well-informed view and to share their prognosis with their colleagues here in London.”

“Such international cooperation is essential good practice in the care of tragically difficult lives.”

The bishop also offer prayers for strength for Raqeeb and her parents.

“The tragic illness and circumstances of little Tafida Raqeeb will touch everyone who hears of it. I hope it will also move them to pray, as it does me.”

He said: “I pray for this little girl that she and her parents are strengthened by the presence of God, by the mercy of God and by the support of all who know and love her.”

An online petition supported by the family requesting that Royal London Hospital allow Raqeeb to be transferred to Gaslini Children’s Hospital insists that the child should remain on life support.

“Following extensive brain surgery at King’s College hospital, doctors informed her parents that she was brain dead and to consider making preparations for her funeral,” reads the petition.

“A brain stem test indicated that Tafida did not meet the qualification of ‘brain death’ as she made gasping movements and therefore could not be removed from the ventilator.”

Since then, Raqeeb has remained on a ventilator at Royal London Hospital. According to the family, a neurologist has declared her to be in a “deep coma,” from which she is beginning to emerge. Her parents say she is able to open her eyes and move her limbs, as well as being able to swallow and react to pain.

Begum has said that doctors initially proposed giving her a tracheostomy and allowing her to return home, to continue recovery.

“The medical team have now changed their mind and want to withdraw ventilation to end her life,” Begum wrote as part of a separate online petition organized by the family.

Begum had said she wants to “exercise her rights as a parent.”

Raqeeb's family is being represented by Yogi Amin, a human rights lawyer, who said that “The heartbroken family do not want to be caught in a situation where the state overrules the parents' good intentions to arrange [...] treatment in a hospital of their choosing for their disabled daughter.”

He added that “There is no evidence that Tafida will be harmed during transit or abroad and her loving parents should have a legal right to elect to transfer their daughter to another hospital for private medical care.”

Tafida's case follows similar campaigns by parents in the cases of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans, who were both terminally ill children in NHS care. In 2017, doctors sought to remove Charlie Gard from his ventilator, despite his parents’ wishes to transfer him to a hospital in New York City. He died in hospice at the age of 11 months, after life support was removed.

Less than a year later, the parents of Alfie Evans also objected to NHS attempts to remove his ventilator, saying they wished to move him to a hospital in Italy. Evans' life support was eventually removed, and he survived for five days breathing on his own before dying just short of his second birthday.

July 22, 2019 - 6:00pm

Xinjiang, China, Jul 22, 2019 / 05:00 pm (CNA).- Chinese government officials denied mistreating the country’s ethnic Uighur population and said there is “no evidence” that the country is hostile to the minority group’s religion or culture, adding that the U.S. Secretary of State is spreading lies.

According to a letter posted online July 19 by the Xinjiang government, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should “stop fabricating lies and slander about Xinjiang.” The letter is signed by Chinese scholars and religious officials. Xinjiang is a region of northwest China, where most of the Uighur population lives.

At least one million Uighur Muslims are thought to be held in what the country has termed “vocational centers” or “re-education camps,” which have been described by outside observers as concentration camps or internment camps. The camps have operated since 2014, but their use ramped up in 2016, following the arrival of a new leader in Xinjiang.

An editorial published in the People’s Daily on Saturday, July 20, claims that China actually respects religious rights, and said that the United States has an “ulterior motive” to criticize China’s treatment of religious minorities.

“They even use so-called freedom of religious belief as an excuse to undermine China’s national harmony and interfere in China’s internal affairs,” the editorial said.

People’s Daily is published by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The editorial further claimed that the camps were necessary to prevent terrorism.

On Sunday, the Chinese State Council Information Office released a white paper that claimed, among other things, that Xinjiand is a region where religious freedom is respected, and that the Uighur population did not choose to become Muslim.

Xinjiang “respects citizens’ freedom to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion,” the paper said.

In 2017, Xinjiang’s government banned the wearing of long beards and face veils, and outlawed Uighur naming customs.

The white paper also claimed that Islam came to the Uighurs as a result of slavery and war, and was “neither an indigenous nor the sole belief system of the Uighur people.”

"The Uyghur conversion to Islam was not a voluntary choice made by the common people, but a result of religious wars and imposition by the ruling class," said the paper.

The Pentagon estimates that the internment camps hold up to three million ethnic and religious minorities, primarily Uighurs. If these numbers are accurate, it would mean that about a quarter of the total Uighur population in China is imprisoned.

 

July 22, 2019 - 5:25pm

Washington D.C., Jul 22, 2019 / 04:25 pm (CNA).- The leader of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus is asking President Trump to refuse any attempts to undermine or strip pro-life measures from future spending bills.

“As you work with Congress on a deal to set discretionary spending caps for the next two fiscal years, we wish to express our support for your efforts to secure a commitment from Democratic Leaders to reject anti-life poison pill riders in the House-passed appropriations bills,” states a letter currently being circulated by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), for signatures by fellow members.

Sen. Daines chairs the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, formed this year. He circulated the letter amidst negotiations between the White House and Democratic leaders on setting discretionary spending caps and the debt ceiling, Roll Call reported. Daines is insisting that any deal must not include pro-abortion riders.

Some of the pro-life protections mentioned in Daines’ letter include the long-standing Hyde Amendment, a bipartisan policy that bars federal Medicaid funding of elective abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is at stake. The amendment has passed Congress every year as part of spending legislation since 1976; the rape and incest exceptions for abortion funding were added in 1994.

In June, several Democrats led by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) attempted to include an amendment reversing Hyde in an appropriations package, but the amendment was pulled amidst concerns that it would affect final passage of the legislation through the Senate.

Other “poison pill riders” that Sen. Daines’ letter warns Trump against include attempts to undo pro-life policies such as the Dornan Amendment that prohibits the District of Columbia from using local funds for elective abortions, as well as any reversal of the Trump administration’s “Title X Protect Life Rule” and its “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy, an expansion of the Mexico Policy.

The Mexico City Policy was implemented by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush and barred funding of abortions in $600 million of U.S. foreign aid. Trump’s expansion applied the abortion funding ban to over $8.8 billion in U.S. foreign aid for global health assistance.

The “Title X Protect Life Rule” instituted pro-life protections into federal Title X family planning grant policy; grant recipients could not refer for abortions, nor could they “co-locate” with abortion clinics.

In January of 2019, President Trump wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), promising to “veto any legislation that weakens current pro-life Federal policies and laws, or that encourages the destruction of innocent human life at any stage.”

Sen. Daines pressed President Trump to honor that commitment in spending caps negotiations, and pledged to fight against any pro-abortion riders in legislation.

“As members of the pro-life majority in the United States Senate, we will strongly oppose each of these anti-life poison pill riders and will work to ensure they are not inserted into any appropriations bill before the Senate, either in committee or on the floor,” the letter stated.

 

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Saint of the day

July 19, 2019 - 12:00am
St. Arsenius, an Anchorite, was born in 354 at Rome and died in 450 at Troe, in Egypt. Theodosius the Great, having requested the Emperor Gratian and Pope Damasus to find him in the West a tutor for his son Arcadius, decided on Arsenius, a man well read in Greek literature, a member of a noble Roman family, and said to have been a deacon of the Roman Church. Upon receving the request to become the tutor of young Arcadius, he left and reached Constantinople in 383, and continued as tutor in the imperial family for eleven years, during the last three of which he also had charge of his pupil's brother Honorius. Coming one day to see his children at their studies, Theodosius found them sitting while Arsenius talked to them standing. This he would not tolerate, and he ordered the teacher to sit while the pupils to stood. Upon his arrival at court, Arsenius had been given a splendid establishment, and probably because the Emperor so desired, he lived a very great lifestyle, but all the time felt a growing inclination to renounce the world. After praying for a long time to be enlightened as to what he should do, he heard a voice saying "Arsenius, flee the company of men, and thou shalt be saved." Thereupon he embarked secretly for Alexandria, and hastening to the desert of Scetis, asked to be admitted among the solitaries who dwelt there. St. John the Dwarf, to whose cell he was conducted, though previously warned of the quality of his visitor, took no notice of him and left him standing by himself while he invited the rest to sit down at table. When the John was half finished with his meal, he threw down some bread before Arsenius, bidding him with an air of indifference to eat if he would. Arsenius meekly picked up the bread and ate, sitting on the ground. Satisfied with this proof of humility, St. John kept him under his direction. The new solitary was from the beginning most exemplary, yet unwittingly retained some of his old habits, such as sitting cross-legged or laying one foot over the other. Noticing this, the abbot requested some one to imitate Arsenius's posture at the next gathering of the brethren, and upon his doing so, forthwith rebuked him publicly. Arsenius took the hint and corrected himself. During the fifty-five years of his solitary life he was always the most meanly clad of all, thus punishing himself for his former seeming vanity in the world. In like manner, to atone for having used perfumes at court, he never changed the water in which he moistened the palm leaves of which he made mats, but only poured in fresh water upon it as it wasted, thus letting it become stenchy in the extreme. Even while engaged in manual labour he never relaxed in his application to prayer. At all times copious tears of devotion fell from his eyes. But what distinguished him the most was his disinclination to all that might interrupt his union with God. When, after a long period of searching, his place of retreat was discovered, he not only refused to return to court and act as adviser to his former pupil the Emperor Arcadius, but he would not even be his almoner to the poor and the monasteries of the neighbourhood. He invariably denied himself to visitors, no matter what their rank and condition and left to his disciples the care of entertaining them. His contemporaries so greatly admired him because of this, that they gave him the surname "the Great".
July 4, 2019 - 12:00am
July 4 marks the feast day of Pier Giorgio Frassati, a well-known young blessed of modern times. Born on April 6, 1901 in Turin to a wealthy agnostic family, he early in life found himself drawn to the faith and serving Christ in the poor. He was particularly known for his prayer and his great love of the outdoors.Pier Giorgio’s friends described him as “an explosion of joy.� His sister Luciana in her biography of her brother says that “He represented the finest in Christian youth: pure, happy, enthusiastic about everything that is good and beautiful.� He loved sharing his faith and praying with his many friends.At a young age after starting at a Jesuit school, Pier Giorgio received permission to receive communion daily, which was rare at the time. He also joined the Marian Sodality and Apostleship of Prayer. Often, he would spend hours of the night in an adoration chapel. He was also known as an avid sportsman and loved the outdoors, particularly mountain climbing. He cultivated a deep appreciation for theater, opera, museums, and poetry, loving to quote Dante.Pier Giorgio was deeply devoted to Catholic social teaching and serving the poor. He joined the People’s Party, based on the principles of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum, and was known to go to serve the poor in the slums, even giving away his bus fare money and running home to be on time for meals. As his sister said, “Catholic social teaching could never remain simply a theory with [Pier Giorgio].� He would forgo vacations as the family summer home because “If everybody leaves Turin, who will take care of the poor?�He desired to become a mining engineer, studying at the Royal Polytechnic University of Turin, because he desired to “serve Christ better among the miners.� He was also politically active, both against the communist as well as fascist causes in early 20th-century Italy. He stood up to police harassing a Church-sponsored protest in Rome once, grabbing a fallen banner and using it to rally his fellow students. His love for balancing contemplation and action naturally led him to a love for the Dominican order, particularly after reading the sermons of Girolamo Savonarola and writings of St. Catherine of Siena. In 1922, he joined the Lay Dominicans, taking the name Girolamo after the fierce Renaissance preacher.Pier Giorgio contracted polio shortly before he was to receive his degree, and doctors believed this was due to his tending to the sick in the slums. But even on his last night of life, his concern remained for the poor, using his paralyzed hand to scrawl a note asking a friend to take medicine to a poor man Converso.Thousands turned out for his funeral. Many of the poor and needy who he had served for the past seven years came, and it was through their presence that his parents learned of his service. Just as his parents were surprised at the multitude of destitute and needy, those their son had served were surprised to learn that their friend was the heir to the wealthy and famous Frassati family.In 1981, his remains were found to be incorrupt, and his body was transferred from the family tomb to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin. At his beatification in 1990, St. John Paul II referred to him as the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes,� and recalled fondly that “I wanted to pay homage to a young man who was able to witness to Christ with singular effectiveness in this century of ours. When I was a young man, I, too, felt the beneficial influence of his example and, as a student, I was impressed by the force of his testimony.�Photo: Saint Joseph via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
June 18, 2019 - 12:00am
St. Osanna was a Dominican tertiary, who spent her adult life serving the poor and the sick and offering spiritual direction to many. However, she was also a mystic and a visionary, eventually bearing the pain and red marks of the stigmata, though not the bleeding.She was born in 1449 to a noble Italian family. Her visions, first of angels and of the Trinity, began at the young age of five. She felt a call to religious life and became a tertiary at 17, having already rejected a marriage arranged by her father.Her visions continued into her adult life, and she often fell into ecstasies. She was also a strong critic of the lack of morality of her day. She died in 1505.
June 3, 2019 - 12:00am
St. Charles and many other martyrs for the faith died between November 15, 1885 – January 27, 1887 in Namugongo, Uganda. St. Charles and his companions were beatified in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.In 1879 Catholicism began spreading in Uganda when the White Fathers, a congregation of priests founded by Cardinal Lavigerie were peacefully received by King Mutesa of Uganda.The priests soon began preparing catechumens for baptism and before long a number of the young pages in the king’s court had become Catholics.However, on the death of Mutesa, his son Mwanga, a corrupt man who ritually engaged in pedophilic practices with the younger pages, took the throne.When King Mwanga had a visiting Anglican Bishop murdered, his chief page, Joseph Mukasa, a Catholic who went to great length to protect the younger boys from the king’s lust, denounced the king’s actions and was beheaded on November 15, 1885.The 25 year old Charles Lwanga, a man wholly dedicated to the Christian instruction of the younger boys, became the chief page, and just as forcibly protected them from the kings advances.On the night of the martyrdom of Joseph Mukasa, realizing that their own lives were in danger, Lwanga and some of the other pages went to the White Fathers to receive baptism. Another 100 catechumens were baptized in the week following Joseph Mukasa’s death.The following May, King Mwanga learned that one of the boys was learning catechism. He was furious and ordered all the pages to be questioned to separate the Christians from the others.  The Christians, 15 in all, between the ages of 13 and 25, stepped forward. The King asked them if they were willing to keep their faith. They answered in unison, “Until death!�They were bound together and taken on a two day walk to Namugongo where they were to be burned at the stake.  On the way, Matthias Kalemba, one of the eldest boys, exclaimed, “God will rescue me. But you will not see how he does it, because he will take my soul and leave you only my body.�  They executioners cut him to pieces and left him to die alone on the road.When they reached the site where they were to be burned, they were kept tied together for seven days while the executioners prepared the wood for the fire.On June 3, 1886, the Feast of the Ascension, Charles Lwanga was separated from the others and burned at the stake. The executioners slowly burnt his feet until only the charred remained. Still alive, they promised him that they would let him go if he renounced his faith. He refused saying, “You are burning me, but it is as if you are pouring water over my body.�  He then continued to pray silently as they set him on fire. Just before the flames reached his heart, he looked up and said in a loud voice, “Katonda! – My God!,� and died.His companions were all burned together the same day all the while praying and singing hymns until they died.There were 22 protomartyrs in all. The last of the protomartyrs, a young man named John Mary, was beheaded by King Mwanga on January 27, 1887.The persecutions spread during the reign of Mwanga, with 100 Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, being tortured and killed.St. Charles Lwanga is the patron saint of African Catholic Youth Action.
May 31, 2019 - 12:00am
Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place around the time of the vernal equinox, Mary left Nazareth at the end of March and went over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to wait upon her cousin Elizabeth. Because Mary's presence, and even more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John, Christ's Forerunner. (Lk1:39-57). Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped for joy in the womb of his mother; at that moment he was cleansed from original sin and filled with the grace of God. Our Lady now, for the first time, exercised the office which belonged to the Mother of God made man: that He might, by her mediation, sanctify and glorify us. St. Joseph probably accompanied Mary, returned to Nazareth, and when, after three months, he came again to Hebron to take his wife home, the apparition of the angel, mentioned in Mt 1:19-25, may have taken place to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity.The earliest evidence of the existence of the feast is its adoption by the Franciscan Chapter in 1263, upon the advice of St. Bonaventure. The list of feasts in the "Statuta Synodalia eccl. Cenomanensis", according to which this feast was kept July 2 at Le Mans in 1247, may not be genuine. With the Franciscan Breviary this feast spread to many churches, but was celebrated at various dates-at Prague and Ratisbon, April 28, in Paris June 27, and at Reims and Geneva, on July 8. It was extended to the entire Church by Urban VI on April 6, 1389 (Decree published by Boniface IX, 9 Nov., 1389), with the hope that Christ and His Mother would visit the Church and put an end to the Great Schism which rent the seamless garment of Christ. The feast, with a vigil and an octave, was assigned to July 2, the day after the octave of St. John, about the time when Mary returned to Nazareth. The Office was drawn up by an Englishman, Adam Cardinal Easton, Benedictine monk and Bishop of Lincoln. Dreves has published this rhythmical office with nine other offices for the same feast, found in the Breviaries of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Since, during the Schism, many bishops of the opposing obedience would not adopt the new feast, it was confirmed by the Council of Basle, in 1441. Pius V abolished the rhythmical office, the vigil, and the octave. The present office was compiled by order of Clement VIII by the Minorite Ruiz. Pius IX, on May 13, 1850, raised the feast to the rank of a double of the second class. Many religious orders -- the Carmelites, Dominicans, Cistercians, Mercedarians, Servites, and others -- as well as Siena, Pisa, Loreto, Vercelli, Cologne, and other dioceses have retained the octave. In Bohemia the feast is kept on the first Sunday of July as a double of the first class with an octave.
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