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!
St Regis Feast Day
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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Washington D.C., Jun 17, 2019 / 06:00 pm (CNA).- While the spring meeting of the U.S. bishops’ conference has only just concluded, some bishops are already looking to the election of new conference officers at their November meeting. While the elections are still five months away, bishops are already discussing their options - particularly in light of the scandal the Church in the U.S. has faced in the last year.
It is widely expected that Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the bishops’ conference vice president, will be elected to succeed Cardinal Daniel DiNardo as conference president. Gomez has several factors working in his favor. Most notably is the sheer force of custom: With only one recent exception, the conference vice president has been elected president as a matter of course. That Gomez has served in the second slot for the last three years is likely sufficient by itself for him to secure the votes of most bishops.
Within the conference, Gomez is perceived to cut across traditional ideological and social lines. He was ordained a priest of Opus Dei, and he has a long history of leadership on pro-life and marriage issues. But, an immigrant himself, he is also among the most outspoken advocates for the conference’s call for just immigration reform and advocacy for the poor. He is, in short, difficult to pigeonhole into a partisan camp, and at a time when the Church is increasingly segmented by politics, many bishops see that as an important advantage.
Some bishops have also mentioned to CNA the symbolic significance of electing a Hispanic archbishop, a Mexican-American immigrant, in advance of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. While the bishops have a working relationship with the Trump administration on issues pertaining to abortion, marriage, and religious liberty, they remain strongly opposed to the president’s immigration policies, and if Trump wins a second term, they will likely be at odds with him over that issue throughout. Gomez is seen to be the right voice to lead advocacy on behalf of their immigration agenda.
If a Democrat wins the presidency in 2020, Gomez’ well-known advocacy on immigration could make it easier for him to gain a hearing from a Democratic administration, especially during the battles over religious liberty on gender and sexuality that would be sure to come.
Because Gomez, who leads the largest U.S. diocese, has not been made a cardinal, it is sometimes speculated that he might have a difficult working relationship with Pope Francis, or that the Holy Father might consider him to be too conservative.
This speculation seems to be grounded in particularly American misunderstandings of both men: caricatures of Gomez as a doctrinaire conservative and Francis as a freewheeling progressive work only if the frame of reference is the U.S. left-right divide. Those with experience in Latin and South America are far more likely to see the common threads running through the thought of both: especially a common concern for solidarity with the powerless and the marginalized, including both the unborn and the immigrant.
Ultimately, that Gomez is not yet a cardinal could reflect more about the hermeneutics of the Congregation for Bishops than about any actual division between Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Los Angeles.
Whatever the reason that Gomez is not a cardinal, the archbishop is not perceived to be ineffective in engagement with Rome. Gomez is seen to have successfully manned the point position in negotiating with the Holy See an approach to establishing sexual abuse policies that would be acceptable in both Rome and the U.S. The archbishop became an especially active figure in deliberations after the breakdown in communications that led to the cancelled votes at the bishops’ November meetings.
He does not seem most comfortable at a podium, presiding over the full assembly of bishops, though his aptitude in that role has grown over the course of recent meetings. While DiNardo leads the room with a poise that seems at once fraternal and efficient, Gomez is more reserved in a large public setting. But if this is seen as a liability by some bishops, it is unlikely to overcome both the archbishop’s personal reputation and the force of precedent.
Of course, in recent history, custom has been overcome in conference elections. In 2010, Cardinal Timothy Dolan was unexpectedly elected conference president ahead of Bishop Gerald Kicanas, who was then vice president. Dolan was elected through the work of a cadre of bishops who thought a Kicanas presidency would be out of step with the leadership and emphases of Pope Benedict XVI.
It is possible that Gomez could face a credible and organized opponent in November 2019. Most frequently discussed at the conference, and mentioned to CNA by a few bishops, is the idea that the newly-installed Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC, could challenge Gomez for the presidency.
As it stands, though, electing Gregory seems a very remote possibility. In the first place is, again, the sheer force of custom. For Gregory’s supporters to overcome that force would require a great deal of organization, and a good amount of time spent convincing bishops to make a change.
Making their task especially difficult is that Gregory was conference president from 2001 to 2004, and presided over the bishops’ conference response to the sex abuse crisis of 2002. Gregory was the bishop who ushered into being the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” and the accompanying “Essential Norms.”
While the Charter is widely thought to have changed ecclesial culture for the better with regard to child and youth protection, it has been panned during the last year because it is understood to pertain to priests and deacons only, using language that explicitly delineates the exclusion of bishops from some norms.
The shortcomings of the “Dallas Charter,” are not Gregory’s fault, but bishops who want to convey that the Church is moving on from “business as usual” may be reticent to elect as president someone so directly connected to the Charter.
There is also Gregory’s task in Washington. The archbishop is 71, and is largely understood to have only a four-year mandate to begin the process of restoring trust among Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington, which has been the epicenter of the McCarrick affair, through which Gregory’s predecessor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, lost a great deal of trust among his priests, and among ordinary Washington Catholics. This task, Gregory is known to understand, will require a considerable investment of personal and pastoral time, and for that reason, the archbishop may not find the prospect of running the bishops’ conference a temptation.
But if he does want the job, there is at least one thing Gregory could do to improve his chances of being elected: He could release from the Archdiocese of Washington’s files on Theodore McCarrick as many records as possible, and encourage other diocesan bishops to do the same. Gregory has the opportunity in Washington to establish a new paradigm of transparency in Church governance – a paradigm much discussed but not yet much demonstrated – by releasing as much as possible on McCarrick, his finances, his friends and protectors, and then encouraging the other dioceses where McCarrick served to do the same.
While Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark told CNA this week that he is precluded from issuing a full report on McCarrick by an attorney general’s investigation in the state, Gregory has not indicated that he is under any similar restriction. A comprehensive release of information from his archdiocese would do a great deal to restore confidence in Church leadership among practicing Catholics, and it would likely raise esteem for him considerably among the younger bishops in the conference, who have been calling for just such a release from Rome.
If that does happen, Gomez could face more of a challenge for election as conference president than expected.
Who will be elected vice president?
Some bishops have mentioned to CNA that Tobin could be a natural candidate for the position.
The Archbishop of Newark is affable and friendly to other bishops, well-known, and articulate. He has the experience of leading his own religious community, the Redemptorists, of a senior leadership position at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life at the Vatican, and has led archdiocesan sees in both the Midwest and on the East Coast. As chairman of the USCCB Committee on Consecrated Life, Clergy, and Vocations, Tobin has played a prominent role in the Church’s response to the McCarrick crisis, and he presented one of the major policy documents on sexual abuse approved by the bishops at their November meeting.
The cardinal, in short, has considerable experience and qualifications that seem relevant to a leadership position at the conference.
But even if he were nominated as a candidate, Tobin might not accept the nomination. The cardinal withdrew from participating in the October 2018 synod on youth, which came just a few months after the McCarrick scandal began. At the time, Tobin recognized the havoc wrought by the McCarrick revelations on his archdiocese, which McCarrick led for more than a decade, and he explained the priority he placed on being present to the people of his own archdiocese, and especially to his priests.
Tobin is a cardinal, which means that he already has responsibilities taking him to Rome with regularity. Given his clear aversion to becoming an “airport bishop,” the cardinal might decline the possibility of adding even more frequent trips to Washington, DC to his schedule, especially as his archdiocese will soon grapple with fallout from the New Jersey attorney general’s investigation, and from the eventual release of Rome’s report on McCarrick.
If he were to stand for election, Tobin would face both episcopal support and criticism for his endorsement of “Building a Bridge”, a 2017 book by Fr. James Martin, SJ, who is a frequent writer and speaker on the topic of Church engagement with those who identify themselves as LGBT or LGBT activists. Bishops are divided on how best to approach that kind of engagement, and Martin’s work is at the center of that divide, because some bishops say that Martin’s work is not faithful to the teachings of the Church, while others actively promote it. While some bishops might be reticent to support a Tobin candidacy because of this, others would take Tobin’s position as a positive sign in the conference.
Tobin’s work on the U.S. implementation of Vos estis lux mundi is appreciated by bishops, as is his work on revisions to the national directory for deacons. But during the last year, Tobin has been the subject of rumors and questions about his personal life from some blogs and websites. The cardinal has denied rumors of misconduct, and scant evidence has turned up to support conjectures made about him. It is unlikely that Tobin would allow such rumors to keep him from serving the Church in whatever way he thinks himself to be called, but there are likely some members of the bishops’ conference who, given the sensitivities surrounding McCarrick and the Archdiocese of Newark, might judge this an inopportune time for the cardinal to stand for election.
Another frequently named possibility for conference vice president is Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City. Coakley has been a bishop for 15 years, and served a term as chairman of Catholic Relief Services, the bishops’ international humanitarian aid apostolate.
In his role at CRS, he is generally regarded as having addressed lingering issues pertaining to the Catholic identity of the institution and its partners, in part by bringing together a coalition of moral theologians and international development experts to work through thorny issues. Coakley is also thought to have capably overseen leadership transitions amid a complex period of expansion during his term as CRS board chairman.
Bishops also noted to CNA that Coakley’s archdiocese, Oklahoma City, is perceived to have handled safe-environment related matters well, and that Coakley is perceived to have prioritized recruiting lay collaborators for the administration of his archdiocese.
Though he has a relatively low public profile, some bishops told CNA that Coakley has a moderating voice, is calm under pressure, a clear teacher and an organized administrator. And Coakley is already set to begin in November 2019 a term as chair of the bishops' influential Domestic Justice and Human Development committee.
While some bishops might prefer a bishop with more name recognition beyond the conference, others told CNA that because he is not seen to carry any “baggage” into the election, the choice of Coakley for vice president could be exactly the right move after the bishops’ year of scandal.
Other names that have been mentioned as candidates for conference vice president are Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Archbishop Allen Vigneron, and Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul-Minneapolis, who is well regarded for his work to heal an archdiocese deeply wounded by grave clerical abuse scandals.
Of course, none of these figures have yet been nominated to the slate. Nomination requires that diocesan bishops propose the names of the candidates they would like to see considered for the post; a process that will take place over the next few months. But bishops have already begun talking about the needs of the Church, and the needs of their conference. The results of their discussion will be clear in November.
Berlin, Germany, Jun 17, 2019 / 05:29 pm (CNA).- Two German doctors were fined Friday for abortion advertisements which described how the procedure is carried out.
The Berlin district court ruled June 14 that advertisements may only promote abortion services and not go into descriptions about the procedure.
The decision followed a legal revision earlier this year which removed a complete ban on abortion advertisements.
“Doctors should in principle only indicate that they carry out abortions," the court said, according to France 24.
The gynecologists, Bettina Gaber and Verena Weyer, were fined 2,000 euro ($2,240) each for posting detailed advertisements for their joint practice in Berlin. The original fine was more than $8,000.
On their website, the advertisement included the words "anesthesia-free" and “drug induced,” according to the New York Times.
The doctors have said they will file an appeal to the court decision. They said the recent ruling restricts their freedoms of occupation and opinion.
In January, the German government relaxed a 1933 act that outlawed abortion advertisements, allowing doctors and hospitals to advertise abortion services.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, wanted the ban to stay, while the Social Democratic Party of Germany, a junior partner in the coalition government, favored a complete removal of the law.
Hong Kong, China, Jun 17, 2019 / 04:17 pm (CNA).- Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong are continuing to demonstrate against the government's plans to allow extraditions to mainland China— a plan which as of Saturday has been indefinitely suspended.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, had introduced a bill that would allow for secret arrests and extraditions to mainland China, where Communist courts would try alleged criminals.
The legislation drew widespread protest and was placed on hold, but protests have continued, calling for Lam’s resignation.
Catholic leaders are speaking out in support of the protestors and calling for peace and dialogue.
“They are protesting an issue about an extradition rule promoted by the government,” Cardinal John Tong Hon, Apostolic Administrator of Hong Kong, told Vatican Radio.
“This is our concern too...we ask our Catholics to pray for this situation.”
A group of six religious leaders in Hong Kong have formed a coalition to appeal for an end to violent protests— the largest anti-government demonstrations since 2003— on the island.
The cardinal is part of the interreligious coalition, which includes leaders of Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Islam, Vatican Radio reported.
The coalition, on a visit to the Vatican this week, called for the individual rights of the protestors to be respected; distanced themselves from the violent tactics of some; and urged the government and the protestors to sit down together to engage in dialogue.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, held a Mass and prayer service on Sunday to pray for “the future of [Hong Kong].” He also posted a photo to Facebook of himself on stage with several protestors, with the caption “Hong Kong people, come on! Courage and force... Hong Kongers #withdrawextradictionbill.”
In addition, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing of Hong Kong took part in a continuous ecumenical prayer meeting outside the Legislative Council building with thousands of Christians overnight after the latest rally on Sunday, The Union of Catholic Asian News reported.
The issue of extradition has been a contentious one in the region for a number of years, as Hong Kong has no formal extradition deal with Taiwan, Macao and mainland China, potentially creating legal loopholes in some circumstances.
Lam announced June 15 that she was putting the proposed legislation on indefinite hold, and she issued an apology via a government spokesperson. Despite this, protestors showed up June 16 in even greater numbers than the June 9 demonstrations, during which police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, injuring 72 members of the crowd; 21 police officers were also injured.
Many of the island’s Christians have been involved in the protests. Large groups of protestors have even adopted the hymn “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” as an unofficial anthem for the movement.
“Regrettably the ‘Extradition Bill’ dispute has now come to a violence and bloodshed stage,” the diocese of Hong Kong said in a June 12 statement.
“Therefore, once more we make an urgent appeal, that the SAR Government and the general public exercise restraint and seek a solution to the current dilemma through peaceful, rational channels.”
The Civil Human Rights Front, a political group that organized the protests, reported that nearly 2 million people had taken to the streets in the most recent protest, held June 16. Police said they counted 338,000 people along the original procession route.
Last week the organizers said a little over 1 million participated, while police put their estimate at 240,000.
As a special administrative region, Hong Kong has a large degree of autonomy from mainland China, with its own political and economic system. The territory was a British colony from 1842 until 1997.
There are some 581,000 Catholics in Hong Kong, or about eight percent of the population.
Hong Kong also has a separate legal system from the mainland. Britain ceded sovereignty of the island to China in 1997; the agreement giving Hong Kong special rights and freedoms under Chinese rule ends in 2047.
Hong Kong, China, Jun 17, 2019 / 03:52 pm (CNA).- Though a proposed change to extradition laws in Hong Kong is on hold for now, Christian leaders and advocacy groups are continuing to speak out, warning that under the proposal those in Hong Kong who support Chinese Christians could be unjustly brought to mainland China for trial.
“If the extradition law is passed, it is a death sentence for Hong Kong,” Lam Wing-kee, a bookseller imprisoned for eight months by the Chinese for selling books critical of the government, told ucanews.com.
“Beijing will use this law to control Hong Kong completely. Freedom of speech will be lost. In the past, the regime kidnapped its critics, like me, illegally. With this law, they will abduct their critics legally,” Lam continued.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, had introduced a bill that would allow for secret arrests and extraditions to mainland China, where communist courts would try alleged criminals.
The bill was suspended June 15.
The issue of extradition has been a contentious one in the region for a number of years, as Hong Kong has no formal extradition deal with Taiwan, Macao, and mainland China, potentially creating legal loopholes in some circumstances.
Still, advocacy groups expressed worry that the law could endanger the freedom that Christians in Hong Kong currently enjoy.
“If the latest legislation was successful, those seeking refuge and freedom of conscience in Hong Kong could face extradition back to the mainland,” International Christian Concern (ICC), an advocacy group for persecuted Christians, said June 17.
ICC cited Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who expressed concern that the bill could be used to persecute Christians that the Chinese government considers dissidents.
Although the proposed law says that alleged criminals would not be handed over for religious reasons, Ying said this is a practice which the Chinese government has a track record of doing by accusing “dissidents” of economic crimes.
Hongkongers currently have significantly more freedoms than Chinese living on the mainland, including access to uncensored internet. Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997, and it was returned to China under a “one country, two systems” principle, allowing it its own legislature and economic system.
The Church in mainland China has been divided for some 60 years between the underground Church, which is persecuted and whose episcopal appointments are frequently not acknowledged by Chinese authorities, and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, a government-sanctioned organization.
If the extradition law took effect, any Hong Kong Christian in support of underground Churches could be accused of committing economic crimes, ICC states.
Not all Christian groups oppose the legislation, however; Peter Douglas Koon, the Anglican provincial secretary-general of Hong Kong, supports the change, and the Anglican Church in Hong Kong has stated its position as being that offenders must be brought to justice by whatever means necessary, LaCroix International reports.
Edwin Chow, acting president of The Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students, echoed the ICC’s fear that the legal change could be used to bring Christians to China on economic or business charges.
“There have been cases when Hong Kong people were charged with smuggling when they transferred Bibles to mainland China. I am afraid it will affect the communication between the churches on both sides. That’s why I am against the amendment,” Chow told ucanews.com.
Catholic leaders are speaking out in support of the protestors and calling for peace and dialogue. Hundreds of thousands of protestors are still out in force as of yesterday.
“They are protesting an issue about an extradition rule promoted by the government,” Cardinal John Tong Hon, Apostolic Administrator of Hong Kong, told Vatican Radio.
“This is our concern too...we ask our Catholics to pray for this situation.”
Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, held a Mass and prayer service on Sunday to pray for “the future of [Hong Kong].” He also posted a photo to Facebook yesterday of himself on stage with several protestors, with the caption “Hong Kong people, come on! Courage and force... Hong Kongers #withdrawextradictionbill.”
In addition, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing of Hong Kong took part in an ecumenical prayer meeting outside the Legislative Council building with thousands of Christians overnight after the latest rally on Sunday, The Union of Catholic Asian News reported.
Paris, France, Jun 17, 2019 / 03:10 pm (CNA).- During Saturday's Mass in a side chapel of Notre-Dame de Paris, the cathedral's first since its April fire, Archbishop Michel Aupetit emphasized that the church is no mere cultural heritage of France, but is meant for the worship of God.
The June 15 Mass anticipated the June 16 feast of the dedication of Notre-Dame.
“Dedication comes from dedicatio which means consecration. The dedication is the consecration of a church to divine worship. What we celebrate by the dedication each year, is the profound reason why Notre-Dame cathedral was built: to manifest man's inner impulse toward God,” Archbishop Aupetit said during his homily June 15.
About 30 people assisted in the Mass, including canons of the cathedral and other priests, wearing hard hats for safety. The Mass was said Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs, a side chapel that housed the crown of thorns.
“The cathedral was born of the faith of our ancestors,” the archbishop said. “It shows trust in the goodness of Christ, his love greater than hate, his life stronger than death as well as the tenderness of our forebears for the Virgin Mary, his mother, whom he entrusted to us as his most precious good just before dying on the cross.”
“This cathedral was born of the Christian hope which perceives well beyond a small, self-centered personal life to enter into a magnificent project at the service of all, in projecting itself well beyond a single generation.”
"It was also born of charity, since open to all, it is the refuge of the poor and excluded who find their protection there,” he added.
Alluding to reactions to the cathedral's fire, Aupetit asked: “Are we ashamed of the faith of our ancestors? Are we ashamed of Christ?”
He affirmed that Notre-Dame “is a place of worship, this is its sole and proper end. There are no tourists at Notre Dame, because this term is often pejorative and doesn't do right to the mystery which impels humanity to come to search for something beyond itself. This cultural good, this spiritual wealth, cannot be reduced to a patrimonial good. This cathedral, a communal work in the service of all, is but a reflection of the living stones that are all those who enter it.”
“Can one truly by ignorance or by ideology separate culture and cult? The etymology itself shows the strong link that exists between the two. I strongly emphasize: a culture without cult becomes a non-culture,” he stated.
“You only have to look at the abysmal religious ignorance of our contemporaries because of the exclusion of the divine notion of the very Name of God in the public sphere by invoking a laïcité which excludes any visible spiritual dimension.”
Notre-Dame's cornerstone is Christ, he emphasized. “If we were to remove this stone, this cathedral would collapse. It would be an empty shell, a case without jewels, a skeleton without life, a body without a soul.”
While the cathedral, as “the fruit of human genius,” is “man's masterpiece,” he said that “the human person is the fruit of the divine genius. It is God's masterpiece.”
“When the two are joined together in the person of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, the Covenant between the transcendent and the immanent (Heaven and earth) is truly accomplished. It is here and now in this cathedral at each one of the Eucharists that we celebrate, that this Covenant is realized, when the body of Christ shared by all, opens us to eternal life.”
Aupetit concluded: “We can't say enough that we are happy to celebrate this Mass to render to God what is God's and to Man his sublime vocation.”
A fire broke out in Notre-Dame April 15. The roof and the spire, which dated to the 19th century, were destroyed. The major religious and artistic treasures of the cathedral were removed as the fire began, including a relic of the crown of thorns.
Originally built between the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, the landmark cathedral in the French capital is one of the most recognizable churches in the world.
The cathedral was undergoing some restorative work at the time the fire broke out, though it is unknown if the fire originated in the area of the work.
Last month the French Senate passed a bill mandating that Notre-Dame be rebuilt as it was before the fire. President Emmanuel Macron had called for “an inventive reconstruction” of the cathedral.
Since the adoption of the 1905 law on separation of church and state, which formalized laïcité (a strict form of public secularism), religious buildings in France have been property of the state.