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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Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug 24, 2019 / 03:38 pm (CNA).- Despite efforts by abortion advocates to expand the number of abortion clinics in South Africa, doctors in the country are largely unwilling to perform the procedure.
Under the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996, abortions are legal in South Africa up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. In cases of rape, incest, and financial hardship, abortions are legal up to 20 weeks.
Kgaladi Mphahlele, manager of Doctors Without Borders’ Choice of Termination of Pregnancy in Rustenburg, said it is hard to find clinics willing to perform abortions or doctors willing to give referrals.
Mphahlele said access to abortion clinics is necessary to prevent women from seeking unsafe abortion methods, according to Health-E News.
Guttmacher-Lancet Commission in Johannesburg issued a report last year finding that out of the 8000 medical clinics in South Africa, about 7% performed abortions, Health-E News reported.
Judiac Ranape, a nurse who trains doctors on abortions, argued that conscientious objection is a problem.
“You’ll find an operations manager who says, ‘We won’t perform it [an abortion] because it’s against my religious beliefs’,” Ranape said, calling for restrictions on conscientious objection.
However, surveys show that the general population in the country is strongly opposed to abortion.
The South African Social Attitudes Survey, conducted 2003-2006, found that 9 of out 10 adults in South Africa believed abortion to be wrong in times of financial dilemma, and three-quarters said abortion was still immoral if the child was to be born with a disability.
Church leaders have called for efforts to provide women facing difficult pregnancies with alternatives to abortion. Catholic Mater Homes, a pro-life group in the Archdiocese of Cape Town, is one such organization. It works to provide shelter for women during a crisis pregnancy.
“The establishment of Mater Domini was was born out of the need that existed within Archdiocese of Cape Town to create an alternative to abortion for women who might have felt forced into making such a decision out of desperation,” the organization's Facebook page reads.
“When we talk about the nameless, faceless and voiceless victims of abortion, we have to include the mothers, who so often find themselves in helpless circumstances, with little other alternative but to make the difficult choice to end the life of their unborn child.”
Frankfort, Ky., Aug 24, 2019 / 07:00 am (CNA).- The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Friday in the case of a Christian business owner who is facing punishment for declining to print shirts for a LGBT Pride festival because of his faith.
“The right to decide which ideas to express is core to human freedom. The Commission violated that freedom by ordering Blaine Adamson to print messages that violate his religious beliefs,” Jim Campbell, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom who argued the case before the Kentucky Supreme Court, stated after oral arguments in the case on Friday.
Blaine Adamson, owner of the Lexington, Kentucky-based print shop Hands On Originals, was sued for declining to print T-shirts promoting a Lexington Pride festival in 2012. His business had been requested by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, but Adamson declined to print the shirts because he believed that to do so would violate his Christian faith. He did refer the group to other companies.
In 2014, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission ruled that Adamson violated an anti-discrimination ordinance, and ordered him to print the shirts and undergo diversity training.
Adamson challenged the decision and won in a Kentucky court in 2017; the case has since been appealed to the state supreme court, and oral arguments before the court were heard Aug. 23.
Speaking to reporters and supporters after oral arguments, Adamson said that “I will work with any person, no matter who they are, and no matter what their belief systems are. But when I’m presented with a message that conflicts with my faith, that’s just something I cannot print.”
“I don’t walk into my business every morning and leave my faith at the door,” he said. “For the last seven years, the government has tried to punish me for declining to print a message that went against my conscience.”
In oral arguments, Campbell emphasized to the court that Adamson’s company Hands On Originals “serves everyone,” but reserves the right not to print certain messages it deems inappropriate or that would otherwise conflict with Adamson’s Christian faith.
Campbell said that Adamson, in his initial conversation with representatives of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization who were looking for a shirt promoting the Lexington Pride Festival, only declined to print the shirts after he asked and learned what would be printed on the shirt.
Campbell argued that this constituted a “substantial burden” on Adamson’s religious beliefs, as defined by the Supreme Court in Holt v. Hobbs.
The Commission required Mr. Adamson to violate his religious beliefs, and its mandate that he attend diversity training says that it’s “wrong” for him to operate his business according to his religious beliefs, Campbell argued.
Opposing Adamson, and representing the Commission, attorney Edward Dove said that Hands On Originals “practices censorship” according to Campbell’s admission.
“That’s why we have a public accommodation ordinance,” he said, to protect against people enduring discrimination as they seek to enjoy goods.
“They can do anything they want in the name of religion and censor any message they don’t like, which would affect the free speech argument in the country,” he said of Hands On.
Campbell was asked by Justice Michelle Keller how far the government could go to mandate that the shirts for the Pride festival be printed, asking if a disclaimer could be put on shirts saying the messages do not reflect the views of Hands On.
Adamson and other business owners have a constitutionally-protected “individual freedom of mind,” Campbell said, with an “individual dignity” to protect free expression.
Washington D.C., Aug 23, 2019 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- Medical professionals do not give up their right to conscience protections upon accepting a job, Catholic healthcare organizations have argued in support of new rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
In legal briefs filed Aug. 21 on behalf of four non-profit organizations, including the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Catholic Medical Association, the groups argue that medical professionals should not be forced to perform procedures or refer patients for procedures to which they are morally opposed.
The cases concern the Conscience Rights in Health Care Rule, first announced in May. The rule mandates that institutions receiving federal money be certified that they comply with more than two dozen laws protecting conscience and religious freedom rights, including a doctor’s right to refuse to participate in abortion or so-called gender reassignment surgery.
Several suits were filed by state attorneys general against the rule, with California AG Xavier Becerra calling it dangerous to American lives and part of “a war being waged on access to health care across our country.”
Herrera wrote that “hospitals are no place to put personal beliefs above patient care,” and that “refusing treatment to vulnerable patients should not leave anyone with a clear conscience.”
After the “significant litigation,” HHS announced last month that the rule would not come into effect until November 22.
Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, said in a statement last July that the rule is simply an enforcement mechanism for policies that have existed for years.
“The rule gives life and enforcement tools to conscience protection laws that have been on the books for decades,” he said in a statement provided to CNA.
“Protecting conscience and religious freedom fosters greater diversity in the healthcare space. We will defend the rule vigorously.”
The briefs were filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the four organizations in the cases City and County of San Francisco v. Azar, and State of New York v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Conscience rights are not limited based on one’s professional status. The argument that too many health care workers’ consciences would be protected under the HHS Conscience Rule shows a misunderstanding of the fundamental rights we have historically protected—beginning with the guarantees of the First Amendment,” the submissions argue.
These conscience rights are “paramount,” they said, no matter what a person’s job may be, and that “decades of Supreme Court caselaw teach that complicity in an act creates an unconstitutional conscience burden.”
Removing conscience rights from medical professionals would force them to sacrifice their “core convictions,” said ADF Legal Counsel Denise Harle.
“That’s why protecting the freedom to live and work consistent with one’s conscience is critical: It is at the heart of what motivates many who enter the medical field, a profession full of individuals who dedicate their lives to healing and doing no harm,” she said.
Harle said she believes the rule is “constitutionally sound” as well as “consistent with related federal laws.”
ADF also observed that Congress has passed multiple laws, with the support of both major political parties, that protect health care professionals from being forced to violate their consciences. These protections, however, are not often supported on the state level--as evidenced by the lawsuits and how 13 state attorneys general previously denounced conscience protection regulations.
Kevin Theriot, vice president of the ADF Center for Life, said in a statement that the rule was “commonsense” and simply worked to enforce existing conscience protections.
“Despite clear constitutional principles assuring respect for conscience, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and health care providers have faced discrimination and even have lost their jobs because of their commitment to saving life,” said Theriot.
“The government may not pick and choose which views deserve protection.”
Karala, India, Aug 23, 2019 / 05:02 pm (CNA).- Just a year after devastating floods swept through Kerala, India, the state is again facing devastating flooding.
Indian officials said that heavy rains this month have resulted in landslides and flash floods. According to ucanews, 100 people in Kerala have been killed and 1,115 homes have been destroyed.
According to the Indian Express, over 150,000 people have been relocated to one of the 1,221 relief camps in Kerala.
Father George Vettikattil, secretary of the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council, said 300 church institutions are being used as relief camps for about 45,000 people. Like last year, he said, Catholic fishing communities are also using their boats for rescue missions.
“We have opened all our institutions to accommodate needy people in temporary and safe accommodation,” he told Vatican News.
Vettikattill told ucanews that “the destruction is less than last year.” In 2018, the monsoon season was the worst Kerala had seen in nearly a century. The natural disaster took over 400 lives and damaged 75,000 homes.
Families are still working to rebuild after last year’s floods.
Vettikattill said many people have offered money and volunteer work to help rebuilt the community. Caritas India alone has carried out $4 million worth of rebuilding efforts, including a loan program to help families buy goats, which can then be used to sell milk. In three years, the families are expected to repay the diocese with a baby lamb.
The loans help, but they are not enough, according to Kunjumol and Velayudhan, one couple participating in the program. They said the income from the goat’s milk will not be enough to rebuild their damaged home. They believe the government must do more to assist.
“The government has almost abandoned us,” he said, according to ucanews. “Some officials came and asked us questions but we got none of the benefits the government promised in the media.”
Wheeling, W.V., Aug 23, 2019 / 04:43 pm (CNA).- After nearly a year without a bishop, due to the scandal-ridden former Bishop Michael Bransfield, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia has a new shepherd, who was installed at a Mass yesterday on the feast of the Queenship of Mary.
Hundreds of Catholics, hopeful for a fresh start, came from throughout the diocese to fill the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling for the 2+ hour Mass and glimpse their new leader, Bishop Mark Brennan. Thousands more tuned in to the event via a Facebook live stream posted by the diocese.
“It's a new beginning. We hope it's a new beginning,” Joe Herrick, a Catholic who attended the Mass, told a local Fox News affiliate.
“We're very hopeful for the future. I'm really praying Bishop Brennan will be able to lead us and mend the flock together so we can be one.”
Brennan, who gave the homily, did not hesitate to address the tumultuous year that both the diocese and the universal Church have experienced.
“My friends, the ‘people walked in darkness’ and ‘dwelt in the land of gloom’. Those words of Isaiah, referring to enemy armies oppressing the kingdom of Israel, are an apt description for how many Catholics in this country have felt over the past year and how many West Virginia Catholics have felt for even longer,” Brennan said on Thursday, Aug. 22 at his installation Mass.
While he did not specifically name Bransfield, Brennan spoke of the diocese’s “painful past” and the “crisis” it now faces as a result of the scandals.
“The scandals we have learned about have caused painful disappointment, confusion, anger and distrust of Church leaders,” he said.
In September 2018, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston while an investigation was launched regarding allegations of financial and sexual misconduct against him. Archbishop William E. Lori was appointed apostolic administrator of the diocese in the interim.
Bransfield, who had been bishop of the diocese since 2004, reportedly sexually harassed, assaulted and coerced seminarians, priests, and other adults during his time there. He is also reported to have used diocesan funds to make large financial gifts to other bishops and to pay for personal luxuries. According to a report from the Washington Post, concerns about Bransfield’s finances were raised as early as 2012 and were evidently ignored for years by some bishops who were the recipients of these gifts.
In July 2019, after assessing the investigation into Bransfield by Lori, the Vatican announced sanctions against Bransfield, including that he is no longer allowed to participate in public Masses or to live within his former diocese. He is also expected to “make personal amends” for his wrongs, Pope Francis said in a communique.
“Behavior has consequences, and there are consequences to bad behavior in the past that will have to be dealt with,” Brennan said in his homily. “That is one of my responsibilities and I assure you that I will meet it.”
But still, there is hope, the new bishop added. “...Isaiah’s message to an oppressed people does not end in the darkness. Hear it again: ‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone,’” he said.
“My friends, it takes no humility on my part to admit that I am not the light,” Brennan said, provoking laughter from the congregation. Instead, he said, it is the light of Christ that will lead the diocese out of these “dark times” and into a future of hope.
“The light of Christ beckons us to move now from the painful past toward him, not in denial but in confidence that the Lord will supply us with the wisdom and strength to do things better, to live our faith with greater integrity and to reflect more brightly, as far as our human weakness and limitations will permit, his own enduring light,” he said.
Brennan acknowledged numerous groups of people whom he said have already been lights in the darkness, including parents who continue to catechize their children, Catholic school and religious education teachers who do the same, parish priests who faithfully administer the sacraments, as well as diocesan chancery workers and faithful young people.
“Christ’s light has been shining in the darkness through all of them and, as St. John says in his Gospel, the darkness has not overcome it. I thank God for these faithful West Virginia Catholics,” he said.
The scandals may also have driven some people away from the Church, Brennan said, but he encouraged Catholics in the diocese to look to their roots circa the Civil War - when West Virginia seceded from Virginia in order to remain in the Union - for inspiration to remain united in faith.
“When the dark clouds of secession were rolling over the State of Virginia in the spring of 1861, the people of these western mountains chose to remain in the United States of America. They would not break their unity with Ohio and Pennsylvania, Michigan and Kentucky. They petitioned Congress to admit them as the State of West Virginia, which Congress did in 1863,” he said.
“Many of their sons—the ancestors of some here present — fought to maintain the integrity of the Union.”
He urged Catholics of today to fight for that same unity in the Church.
“Unity with one another and with God is what the Lord wants for us— and what, in our hearts, we truly desire,” he said.
“One man told me not long ago that he stopped going to Mass in his parish because of the recent scandals but then he asked himself: who was he helping by doing that? No one. Who was he hurting? Himself. He has since returned to Mass, still eager to see the Church address its failings and bring about lasting reform but conscious that walking away doesn’t help,” he added.
“As Simon Peter said to the Lord when some disciples were leaving Jesus because of hard teachings, ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.’” The Blessed Virgin Mary is another example of someone who said “yes” to the Lord despite difficult circumstances, Brennan said.
“...like Mary, we can let God fulfill his purpose in us and not let the darkness return to cover the earth. We can right the wrongs of the past and move on to make Christ known, helping our neighbor in need and remaining united in faith and love,” he said.
“West Virginia Catholics: cherish your faith and the holy Church that has nurtured it,” he added.
“Make Mary’s ‘yes’ to God your own and work with me and your brothers and sisters to let the light of Christ be a light brightly visible in the mountains and valleys, the city streets and country roads of this beautiful part of God’s creation: West Virginia.”