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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Michigan parishioners build ‘chapel of divine chill’ for icy special Mass

DEARBORN, Mich. — Over 300 parishioners and students gathered around an altar sculpted from ice and snow for a unique Mass at Divine Child Elementary School in Dearborn. Temperatures dipped into the single digits for the Feb. 21 liturgy, but by shuffling side to side and listening attentively to Father David Pellican, associate pastor of Church of the Divine Child, pray the words of consecration, the faithful had the chance to thank God for all of creation, including the ice and snow that has come in abundance this winter. The parish’s “chapel of divine chill” took its inspiration from a similar project at Michigan Tech University in Houghton, where students and clergy annually construct a chapel of ice and snow during the school’s winter carnival. It was the afternoon of Feb. 15, with a snowstorm in the forecast, when Father Pellican began discussing the snow chapel with Father Bob McCabe, pastor. “We built the forms on Tuesday, started work on the chapel itself Wednesday afternoon, and finished it Saturday,” Father Pellican said. We had up to 200 students volunteer to make this happen. It really is all about the manpower.”

If passed, Equality Act will ‘discriminate against people of faith,’ bishops say

WASHINGTON — If the House of Representatives passes the Equality Act, its mandates will “discriminate against people of faith” by adversely affecting charities and their beneficiaries, conscience rights, women’s sports, “and sex-specific facilities,” said the chairmen of five U.S. bishops’ committees. The bill, known as H.R. 5 and recently reintroduced in the House, also will provide for taxpayer funding of abortion and put limits on freedom of speech, the chairmen said in a Feb. 23 letter to all members of Congress. H.R. 5 would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and jury duty. The House was expected to vote on the measure before Feb. 26. “Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith,” they said. “It would also inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans of any faith or none.”

Word change in missal doxology took effect on Ash Wednesday

WASHINGTON — A change in wording to the concluding doxology of orations in the Roman Missal, from “one God, for ever and ever” to “God, for ever and ever,” took effect on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17. A Feb. 4 memo to bishops from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship said the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments wrote to the English-speaking bishops’ conferences in May 2020 to point out the current English translation that concludes “in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever” is “incorrect.” “There is no mention of ‘one’ in the Latin, and ‘Deus’ in the Latin text refers to Christ. Therefore, the correct translation … is simply “in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever,” the memo said, adding that the prefect of the congregation “pointed out the importance of affirming this Christological truth amid the religious pluralism of today’s world.”

WORLD

Holy Land Franciscans again offer virtual Way of the Cross during Lent

JERUSALEM — The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land launched a virtual Way of the Cross project for pilgrims during Lent because the Holy Land is not accessible for a second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Franciscans realized that pilgrimages would not be possible again this year, the Custody wanted to provide a way for the faithful to be able to join in a Way of the Cross that would connect them to the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, said Father Alberto Joan Pari, director of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land communication office. He noted that the Franciscans walk the Via Dolorosa in prayer every Friday and, although pilgrims cannot follow the full Via Dolorosa with them now, they hoped the videos would allow them to take a moment to reflect on each station during Lent and remember the tradition of the friars.

Cardinals Sarah, Comastri retire from Vatican posts

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis accepted the resignations of 75-year-old Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, and 77-year-old Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and vicar for Vatican City State. While a new prefect of the worship congregation was not announced when news of the retirements was made public Feb. 20, the pope did name Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, 55, to be the new archpriest of the basilica and his vicar for Vatican City. Cardinal Gambetti, whom the pope elevated to the College of Cardinals in November, is a Conventual Franciscan who had served as general minister and custos of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis of Assisi since 2013. He has degrees in mechanical engineering, theology and theological anthropology and is among the youngest of the cardinals. Like bishops, cardinals are required to offer the pope their resignations when they turn 75. Cardinals can still vote in a conclave until they are 80.

— Catholic News Service

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