Massive tribute to the Virgin of the Forsaken
On the occasion of the centennial of the canonical coronation of the Virgin of the Forsaken, twelve thousand people filled the Plaza de Toros in Valencia, Spain, in a historic celebration.
The Great Diocesan Vigil was led by the Metropolitan Archbishop, Most Rev. Enrique Benavent Vidal, and included moments of prayer, testimonies, meditation, hymns, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and a floral offering to the Mare de Déu. After two hours of homage, the processional statue of the Virgin Mary was paraded before the crowds and then carried to her basilica amid the acclamations and hymns of the faithful.
University offers scholarship to those giving up their “smartphone”
The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, considered one of the most Catholic universities in the US, has launched an innovative financial aid project for students who give up their smartphones while enrolled: the Unplugged scholarship.
The project, which this semester benefited thirty students with five thousand dollars for academic expenses, has resonated favourably among students, encouraging many others to embrace this change, even without receiving the benefit. According to the young people’s testimonials, spending a semester without using their devices has improved their concentration and productivity, and helped them to find time for prayer, reading and talking with friends, in a world beyond the screens of their smartphones.
Last German-speaking Trappist monastery will be closed
The last four monks of the Austrian Trappist monastery of Stift Engelszell have announced the forthcoming closure of the monastery, founded in 1925. Despite the community’s attempts to maintain religious life there, the lack of vocations and the advanced age of its members weighed in favour of the decision.
Thanking the monks for their work in the region, the Bishop of Linz, Manfred Scheuer, lamented this painful but foreseeable outcome and announced that he was in negotiations with the leadership of the Order to accompany the closure of the monastery and the most adequate transfer of the religious.
Young French people promote liturgical chant
More than 500 young people gathered for the sixth edition of the Catholic Liturgical Chant Encounter, Ecclesia Cantic, held in Toulouse, France, May 6-8. The initiative, which aims to “delve further into the repertoire of polyphonic chant to better serve the Liturgy,” is considered by organizers to be a good opportunity to “lead to God through beauty,” and an occasion to discover new talents.
In addition to participating in conferences and technical and spiritual seminars, the young people contributed to liturgical celebrations in different parishes and concluded the meeting with a large open concert in the Halle aux Grains in Toulouse.
Eucharistic Revival in the United States
To prepare the faithful for the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is promoting a two-month Eucharistic pilgrimage across the country, from Pentecost Sunday, May 19, until July 16, which is the opening day of the Congress. Divided into four different routes, the pilgrimage will cover about ten thousand kilometres and will visit sixty-five dioceses, where the faithful will be able to participate in Eucharistic celebrations, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and lectures on this august Sacrament, among other activities and devotions.
In the same spirit, the Catholic Information Center (CIC) of the Archdiocese of Washington organized on May 20 a Eucharistic procession through the main streets of the capital city, including the surroundings of the White House. According to Fr. Charles Trullols, director of the CIC, the procession expresses the belief of Catholics in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ and is a public witness of veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Sisters of Charity leave New York
The Sisters of Charity of New York, the first female religious congregation established on American soil, will leave the city more than two hundred years after its foundation by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1809. The community, once very strong in the United States, has not received any new vocations for the last twenty years, which has led the directors to make the difficult decision to begin the “road to closure” of the institute.
Although satisfied with the evangelizing work done in the country’s schools and hospitals over the past two centuries, the sisters recognize that the community’s demise will leave a deep void in the entire New York area.
Canada removes religious symbols from royal crown
Canadian authorities have effected a change in the emblems of the Canadian royal crown, which was implemented starting May 6, date of the coronation of Charles III. While maintaining the original shape of the Tudor crown, the leaders decided to remove the cross and orb adorning the top, replacing them with a snowflake. In addition, the emblematic heraldic crosses with fleur-de-lis gave way to Canadian maple leaves.
Although the gesture ultimately negates the nation’s centuries of Christian history and tradition, Canada’s Governor General, Mary Simon, believes the new crown devoid of religious symbols reflects a “desire to evolve to meet the needs and circumstances of the country.”
Incorrupt body of US nun exhumed
The remains of Sr. Wilhelmina Lancaster, OSB, who died in 2019 at the age of ninety-five, were found apparently incorrupt when the exhumation to transfer them to another location was carried out on May 18. Despite the deterioration of the wooden coffin and the thick layer of mould that covered the body, the latter is in good condition, and the habit covering it is remarkably preserved. The news spread through social media, bringing thousands of visitors to the Abbey of Our Lady of Ephesus eager to see the body and ask for the intercession of the deceased nun.
Sr. Wilhelmina founded the Congregation of Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles in Gower, Missouri, in 1995. Her life of deep Marian piety and love for religious life made a strong impression on the community and is still a source of inspiration for the nuns today.
Another Chapel of Perpetual Adoration
The city of Girona, Catalonia, Spain, has inaugurated a new chapel of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Additionally, sixty-nine other Adoration chapels have been opened in Spain, a number that has grown considerably in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new chapel in Girona aims to make reparation for the offences against the Eucharistic Jesus and to implore graces for the conversion of the world and the establishment of the Reign of Christ on earth. It is estimated that four hundred enlisted adorers are needed to cover the twenty-four-hour adoration schedule.