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TV series on Catholic sisters worldwide

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Tuesday 25, July 2017 Categories: Consecrated Life,Mission & Evangelization
Salt and Light TV series on Catholic Sisters

Sisterhood, a special, seven-part series produced by Canadian Salt + Light TV in collaboration with Loyola University New Orleans, gives viewers an exclusive look into the daily lives of sisters from around the world. As Salt and Light decribes the focus of the series: "Day in and day out, in every country, religious sisters provide an enormous service to the Church, giving life to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Without their prayer, their wisdom or their charity, the Church could scarcely begin to achieve its mission. Yet, the number of sisters in North America and in other countries is dwindling, and at a time when the world desperately needs their charisms."

The series, which already aired in Canada, is available for streaming  at  Salt + Light.



Pope: A life not shared belongs in a museum

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Wednesday 14, June 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Catholic culture,Pope Francis,Mission & Evangelization
Pope and youth
Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peters Square, May 31, 2017. Photo by Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Pope Francis said that a life which isn't shared with others "belongs in the museum," according to Inés San Martín reporting for Crux. In a Google hangout with youth from around the world, the Pope urged young people not to succumb to an "elitist education" but to be agents of a "human globalization." 

“To educate is not to know things," said Francis, but to be "capable of using the three languages, that of the hands, the heart and the mind. Education is to include.”

New Denver Carmelites urge discerners to answer the call they hear

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy 🕔 Friday 21, April 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life
Carmelite sisters
Discalced Carmelites of the Holy Trinity now serving in the archdiocese of Denver.


“If you feel that call, answer it!” Sister Imelda Cardona of the Carmelites of the Holy Trinity says in a general message to young Catholics. “God loves you, so you should answer.”

Sister Cardona is one of six Allied Discalced Carmelites, who have come to the U.S. from Mexico to open a convent in Denver and care for the archdiocese's Holy Trinity Center.  

The community, whose charism is to know and to make known the glory of the Holy Trinity, has arrived to Denver to care for the archdiocese’s Holy Trinity Center. 

Founded by Sister Martha Maria Ramirez-Mora on July 16, 1986, the order has 200-plus nuns serving in various apostolates – ranging from assisting at nursing homes to retreat centers – in Mexico, Italy, Rome, Argentina and Chile.

“It is by the grace of God,” Mother Martha Patricia Malacara, superior of the community, told the Denver Catholic that the sisters have made their way to the U.S.

Although they will be helping out in the archbishop's residency and caring for the sacristies on the John Paul II center campus, prayer is the primary ministry of this semi-cloistered, comtemplative community: “We want to let people know that we are praying for them.” Mother Malacara says. “Prayer is our main charism.”

Prayer requests may be emailed to Carmelites@archden.org or mailed to Allied Discalced Carmelites of the Holy Trinity, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver, CO 80210. Be sure to tell them VISION Vocation Network sent you!

 
   

Friars lead Muslim-Catholic prayer at airport in wake of travel ban

Posted by: Carol Schuck Scheiber 🕔 Friday 10, February 2017 Categories: Clergy,Consecrated Life,Prayer and Spirituality,Mission & Evangelization
Carmelite brothers Kevin Keller, Matthew Gummess, and Mikhail Woodruff joined Imam Yahya Hendi in prayer at Dulles International Airport on the day the U.S. travel ban was instituted.

Carmelite friars conducted a “ministry of presence” at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 29, the day that protests erupted around the country over President Trump’s travel ban targeting seven majority-Muslim countries. The friars’ action segued into a spontaneous interfaith prayer service with a Muslim imam.

Brothers Matthew Gummess, Mikhail Woodruff, and Kevin Keller "wandered through the crowd to hear stories, share hope, and offer a friendly prayerful presence,” reports the Order of Carmelites blog. “Brother Mikhail was a voice of kindness and impartiality in conversation with reporters. Brother Matthew offered moral support and chocolates to travelers, airport staff, security, lawyers, and anybody who might need a little boost.”

After they met Imam Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, who was also at the airport, the four agreed to hold an immediate joint prayer service.

“Together with the Imam, those present were called to prayer by Brother Matthew with some verses of 'Amazing Grace.' Brother Mikhail invoked the presence of God in a warm and hospitable prayer. Then Imam Hendi passionately prayed on behalf of the gathering—roughly 50 people from diverse faiths—offering words of peace, justice, and integrity,” the Carmelites report.


Nun among the roles of the late Mary Tyler Moore

Posted by: Carol Schuck Scheiber 🕔 Thursday 26, January 2017 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Catholic culture
The 1969 Mary Tyler Moore-starrer "Change of Habit" is one of many Hollywood films about Catholic sisters.

The late actress Mary Tyler Moore (1937-2017), who died this month, once played a nun on screen. Among Moore's long list of film and TV credits, she starred in "Change of Habit," a 1969 film in which she depicted a Catholic sister who was, as the movie's trailer pronounces,  "dedicated to her calling but at heart a woman."  That is, she was yet another woman of her era who had a crush on Elvis.

The movie is one of many Hollywood films about Catholic sisters. From Julie Andrews as a rambunctious novice in "The Sound of Music" to Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen Prejean in "Dead Man Walking," films have frequently turned a lens on life as a sister. Catholic sisters themselves take issue with inaccuracies, but pop culture curiosity about religious life seems to live on.

Sisters bring supplies to Standing Rock

Posted by: Carol Schuck Scheiber 🕔 Thursday 15, December 2016 Categories: Mission & Evangelization
Sisters at Standing Rock
Presentation Sisters Joanna Bruno (left) and Liz Remily pack a jeep with firewood and sleeping bags to give to protesters at Standing Rock Reservation.

To show support for indigenous rights and environmental concerns, two Presentation Sisters spent their Thanksgiving weekend bringing firewood and sleeping bags to the protesters at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.

Sister Liz Remily, P.B.V.M., from Aberdeen, South Dakota and Sister Joanna Bruno, P.B.V.M., from San Francisco worked with other members of their community to gather supplies and then made a 450-mile drive to the reservation to deliver goods.

“It was encouraging and inspiring to see so many young and courageous people standing up for the earth and indigenous rights,” Bruno and Remily report. They were also impressed by the size and the spirit of the protest: “Along with the Lakota and Yankton Sioux were thousands ... representing over 200 tribes from North and Central America along with environmentalists.”

Explaining their rationale, the sisters say: “We can go to the moon and return safely to earth. How can we not figure out a way to move oil from point A to point B without sacrificing sacred lands and contaminating drinking water? If we are willing to rape indigenous sacred lands then we would be willing someday to run a pipeline through the main aisle of Notre Dame Cathedral.”

Photographer documents nun's first years in monastery

Posted by: Carol Schuck Scheiber 🕔 Monday 12, December 2016 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life

Sister Maria Teresa of the Sacred Heart
The photobook 'Radical Love' follows the transformative journey by which a young woman named Lauren became Sister Maria Teresa of the Sacred Heart.

Photographer Toni Greaves spent seven years documenting the transformation of "Lauren" into "Sister Maria Teresa of the Sacred Heart," and her sensitive, beautifully rendered images reveal much about the usually hidden world of cloistered religious life.

Three weeks after Lauren joined the Dominican Nuns of Summit, New Jersey, Greaves began taking photos. They show her entry into a world very distinct from her full life as a college student who played sports, had a boyfriend, and once dreamed of marriage and children.  

"This story is a window into her early love of God," writes Greaves in the resulting photobook Radical Love. "The story also reveals her daily life over the years and her interactions living within a small community of nuns who are themselves in various stages of their own spiritual paths."

A Nun's Life Ministry hits the road for vocations

Posted by: Carol Schuck Scheiber 🕔 Wednesday 12, October 2016 Categories: Vocation and Discernment,Consecrated Life
A Nun's Life Ministry
Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M. (left) and Sister Maxine Kollasch, I.H.M. of A Nun’s Life Ministry. 

A Nun’s Life Ministry—an online initiative to help people discover and grow in their vocations—is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a cross-country trip Oct. 15-22. 

The trip begins at A Nun’s Life headquarters in Toledo, Ohio and will end in Silicon Valley, a nod to the ministry’s use of technology, including anunslife.org and social media outlets ranging from Facebook to Snapchat.  

During the trip, the staff of A Nun’s Life will interact with its global online community and will sponsor two live-streamed public podcasts:

●  “Praying with the Sisters” will be broadcast from New Mexico on Monday, Oct. 17, at 5 pm ET. Viewers can join the sisters online for prayer and for conversation in the chat room.

●   An “Ask Sister - Motherhouse Road Trip” podcast will be broadcast from California on Friday, Oct. 21, at 5 pm ET. The podcast will feature guests Sisters Cynthia Canning and Sally Gunn of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

The trip’s major stops will be in Chicago, Albuquerque, and three California cities: Cupertino, Campbell, and San Rafael.

Sister Maxine Kollasch, I.H.M., who co-founded A Nun’s Life with Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M. in 2006, explained why they are undertaking the trip:  “We want to celebrate the 10th anniversary by sharing the joy, adventure, and innovative spirit that’s at the heart of A Nun’s Life.”

The October journey continues a tradition of outreach through travel for A Nun’s Life Ministry, which sponsored a series of “Motherhouse Roadtrips” starting in 2013 that involved broadcasts from convents around the country.

VISION Vocation Guide featured the ministry’s founders in 2015: "Online door never closes on discerners".


New leader to guide next phase for Maryknoll Lay Missioners

Posted by: Jennifer Tomshack 🕔 Wednesday 13, July 2016 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Vocation and Discernment
Maryknoll Lay Missioners
Throughout its 40-year history, more than 700 single people, married couples, and families from the United States Catholic Church have served as Maryknoll Lay Missioners.

Maryknoll Lay Missioners—a Catholic organization that supports laity living and working in poor communities in Africa, Asia, and North America—has named a new executive director, Matthew Boyle.

Boyle, who has been with the organization since 2014, says, “I am humbled by being selected to help lead this amazing organization into our next phase of growth and service in Christ’s image.”

Maryknoll Lay Missioners is an independent organization but works closely with Maryknoll fathers, brothers, sisters and affiliates in responding to basic needs of the poor and helping to create a more just and compassionate world.

“Pope Francis calls us all to come back to our missioner roots," Boyle says. "There are so many people in this beautiful world that God created for us, who need our assistance and love.”

Motivated by a profound tradition of Catholic Social Teachings and grounded in the history and spirit of the Maryknoll mission family, Maryknoll Lay Missioners recruits new missioners; helps potential missioners through a discernment process; trains new missioners with an intensive 10-week orientation; provides ongoing mission education, including language and cultural experiential learning; and helps match missioners’ talents with the needs of the population they will serve.

Learn more at www.mklm.org.

Learn more about Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and Maryknoll Sisters.

 

 

Hearing- and sight-impaired Redemptorist priest advocates for special-needs catechesis

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso 🕔 Tuesday 14, June 2016 Categories: Sacraments,Clergy,Vocation and Discernment
Redemptorist Father Cyril Axelrod
Redemptorist Father Cyril Axelrod, who cannot see or hear, uses sign language and tactile sign language to minister and evangelize.
Redemptorist Father Cyril Axelrod, who was born unable to hear and who lost his sight 16 years ago, travels the world to minister and advocate for catechesis "for all people of all ages and all abilities."

Originally from South Africa and a Jewish convert, Axelrod shares with Catholic News Service that he was called by God to spread the gospel to all and that his vocation as a Catholic priest "is to help deaf people open their hearts to see how powerful God is in their lives.” Through his ministry, he encourages parishes and parents of hearing-impaired children to learn advanced sign language so they can help kids grow and express their understanding of faith in a deeper way. He says that sign language, tactile sign language, and body language are "gifts of the Holy Spirit."

Read more here.

Pope Francis canonizes two founders of religious orders

Posted by: Katie Loftus 🕔 Sunday 12, June 2016 Categories: Mary and the Saints
Vision 2016 Loftus 1 Pope Francis announced the canonization of Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad and Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski
Pope Francis announced the canonization of Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad and Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski.

Pope Francis announced the canonization of Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, a Swedish-born Lutheran convert who established the Bridgettine order, and Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski, who founded the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Making the announcement in St. Peter's Square, the pope explained that members of the faithful should use these newly canonized saints as examples for living a life rooted in Christ, even during times of struggle. 

Saint Mary Elizabeth (1870-1957) worked as a nurse in New York, which led her to reflect on her spiritual life. Guided by a Jesuit, she studied Catholic doctrine and was baptized. In 1904 she moved to Rome and with special permission from Pope Saint Pius X, she took the religious habit of Saint Bridget in the residence where the saint had lived, which was then occupied by Carmelites. Led by the Holy Spirit, she refounded the order of Saint Bridget in 1911. She has been honored by Israel for her efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust during World War II.

Saint Stanislaus (1631-1701) was born in Poland to poor and devout Catholic parents. In 1670, he founded the Institute of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. The three goals of this institute were: 1) to promote devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, 2) to offer prayers and sacrifices for the dead, especially those who were not prepared to die, and 3) to minister to the poor and the marginalized. Stanislaus dedicated himself with apostolic zeal to these charitable purposes until the end of his life.

Cloistered Catholic nun receives Ph.D. in aerospace engineering

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso 🕔 Thursday 09, June 2016 Categories: Consecrated Life,Vocation and Discernment
Sister Benedicta
Sister Benedicta was given special permission to go outside her cloistered Carmelite convent to receive her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.

Holy Face cloistered nun Sister Benedicta was recently awarded a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from India’s Defence Institute of Advanced Technology.

She previously earned an undergraduate degree at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Pune University. It was during her doctoral studies that she heard her calling to religious life, according to Crux. 

Sister Benedicta joined the cloistered Carmelite convent in Pune in 2015. Sister Benedicta's graduation was the very first time she had stepped outside the convent since entering.

The Carmelite provincial, based in Bangalore, emailed Sister Benedicta and the entire Carmelite community, saying: “You have made the order proud,” and “God bless you!”

Read more here.


Film on Mother Teresa highlights religious communities

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso 🕔 Thursday 09, June 2016 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Consecrated Life,Vocation and Discernment,Mary and the Saints
Mother Teresa film The Letters
Mother Teresa began her religious life as a cloistered nun before hearing "a call within a call" to serve as a missionary on the streets of Calcutta, India, where she later established a new religious order.

The Letters, a film about the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), portrays an intimate struggle with hope and despair by one of the most famous religious humanitarians of the 20th century. The story follows Mother Teresa's life as told through her revealing letters to her spiritual director Father Celeste van Exem. The reviews of the film were mixed, but the movie interestingly delves into many aspects of religious life and different types of religious communities.  

The film begins with Mother Teresa's first congregation, Loreto Sisters of Dublin, who served in Darjeeling, India, as cloistered teachers of girls. After 15 years of service teaching geography and history, Mother Teresa experienced "a call within a call." She desired to work with the poor, sick, and dying on the streets of Calcutta.

The movie highlights the challenges she faced to establish a new religious community, the Missionaries of Charity, that was fully recognized by the Vatican. Despite her desire to give dignity to those most vulnerable, Mother Teresa experienced deep spiritual darkness at times, which is well-depicted.

The Letters is available on DVD and Netflix. Mother Teresa's canonization ceremony will be Sept. 4, 2016.

A dictionary for discerners is a great reference resource to help understand parts of the film.

61 cloistered nuns visit Chilean prison for Year of Mercy

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso 🕔 Thursday 02, June 2016 Categories: Prayer and Spirituality,Liturgy,Consecrated Life
Contemplative cloistered nuns
Cloistered nuns requested meeting with inmates at a women's prison in Santiago, Chile, to "contemplate the face of God ... in the face of people who are suffering". 

In May, 61 cloistered nuns from six monasteries in Santiago, Chile, spent time with inmates at a local women's prison and attended Mass with them, as part of this Year of Mercy. Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, who celebrated the Mass, shared with Catholic News Agency that the nuns requested the joint visit, “so the sisters who contemplate the face of God every day in prayer could contemplate him in the face of people who are suffering, going through a hard time in their lives.”

The nuns, who lead a traditional enclosed monastic life, sang a Chilean song and four even danced after they all celebrated Mass. "[It was] a grace to share with them, to really feel like a sister with them, to feel their sorrow, their joy and to become one with them,” said Sister Maria Rosa of the Discalced Carmelites from the San José monastery.

Read more here.

The Year of Mercy runs through November 2016.

Military priest commemorates Memorial Day

Posted by: Katie Loftus 🕔 Monday 30, May 2016 Categories: Clergy
Vision 2016 Loftus 1 Father Samuel Giese, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, standing alongside an armored personnel carrier during his 2005 deployment to Iraq as a combat area chaplain with the Army National Guard.
Father Samuel Giese, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, stands alongside an armored personnel carrier during his 2005 deployment to Iraq as a combat area chaplain with the Army National Guard.

As reported by Crux, Father Samuel Giese is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington who serves as a senior Army chaplain for the D.C. National Guard, with the rank of colonel. During the Memorial Day weekend, he honors veterans who’ve given their lives for their country during Mass. 

Father Giese has a special relationship with those who serve in the armed forces. He served in Iraq with the 155th Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi National Guard, during a time when those soldiers not only faced the anxiety of war in that country but also worries about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in their communities back home.

“I think as Catholics, particularly as priests, we often talk about sacrifice. In situations like war, you have the opportunity to see people sacrifice for others, so it puts a lot of things in perspective, including Jesus’s sacrifice,” Giese said.

School Sisters of Notre Dame participate in UN conference

Posted by: Katie Loftus 🕔 Monday 30, May 2016 Categories: Consecrated Life
Vision 2016 Loftus 1 Sister Eileen Reilly at UNNGO in 2014
Sister Eileen Reilly at the United Nations Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations in 2014.

A delegation from the School Sisters of Notre Dame attended the 66th annual United Nations Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from May 30 to June 1 in Korea. The theme of the conference was “Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together".

Sister Eileen Reilly, director of the SSND UN-NGO office, said, “We are hoping that our participation in this conference with more than 1,800 delegates from around the world will give us a deeper understanding of what it means to educate for global citizenship in our divided world.”

Along with Sister Reilly, Sister Gloria Hirai, of Japan, and Sister Lourdes Pangelinan, of Guam, also attended the conference and worked with diplomats, United Nations officials, policy experts, scientists, educators, businesses, trade unions, parliamentarians, and local authorities.

Throughout the conference, the sisters and their colleagues sought to promote change that empowers women, the young, and the poor and marginalized and addresses systems of poverty and injustice.

Read more here.


Sisters credited with helping Vatican map the stars

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso 🕔 Thursday 26, May 2016 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Consecrated Life
Sisters of the Holy Child Mary, Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi and Luigia Panceri
Sisters of the Holy Child Mary used special microscopes to help map and catalog half a million stars for the Vatican Observatory's section of an international survey of the heavens.

Father Sabino Maffeo, S.J., assistant to the director of the Vatican Observatory, recently discovered the names of four Sisters of the Holy Child who helped map a section of the night sky that was assigned, as part of an international project, to the Vatican Observatory in 1887. Italian Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi, and Luigia Panceri helped catalog nearly half a million stars. Using photographic plates, the Vatican Observatory, along with 19 other countries, mapped the entire sky.

In 1920 Pope Benedict XV received the sisters in a private audience and gave them a gold chalice. Pope Pius XI also received the "measuring nuns" eight years later, awarding them a silver medal.

Read the full Catholic News Service story here and the Smithsonian Magazine article here.

"Friars on Foot" pilgrimage in U.S. to promote vocations

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso 🕔 Tuesday 24, May 2016 Categories: Clergy,Vocation and Discernment
Dominicans pilgrimage map from New Orleans to Memphis
Dominican Fathers Francis Orozco and Thomas Shaefgen will set out on their 478-mile pilgrimage from New Orleans to Memphis at the end of May to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Order of Preachers.

Inspired by the movie, "The Way," starring Martin Sheen, about a man who completes the 450-mile Camino de Santiago, the "Way of St. James," pilgrimage, Dominican Fathers Francis Orozco and Thomas Shaefgen decided to do their own "Friars on Foot" pilgrimage in the United States to promote vocations while commemorating the 800th anniversary of their congregation.

According to Catholic News Service, the 478-mile pilgrimage will begin May 29 in New Orleans and end on June 29 in Memphis. Orozco and Shaefgen will average 16 miles per day and encourage people to join them on the walk for an hour or two that roughly follows Highway 51 north to Memphis.

"We will not carry any money and we will sort of beg. We hope people will provide us with apples and granola bars. We don't plan to use any money. We will carry ID cards and medical insurance cards in case that's needed. We've compromised with our superior that we will have somebody update the website every time we reach a destination," Father Orozco said.

The Dominicans plan to stay overnight with Catholic families and churches, celebrate Mass, and give vocation talks about the Order of Preachers, whose earliest members were itinerant.

Learn more about the Order of Preachers here.

Benedictine monks in Italy tap U.S. craft beer market

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso 🕔 Tuesday 24, May 2016 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Consecrated Life
Father Benedict Nivakoff O.S.B.
Benedictine monks in Norcia, Italy, brought their beer to the U.S. market. 

Over the centuries, there have been many monasteries that have made and sold wine and beer. In recent years, with craft breweries becoming all the rage in the United States, some beer-brewing monks are tapping into the trend, according to the Los Angeles Timesnamely the American monks who produce a beer line called Birra Nursia at the Monastero di San Benedetto in central Italy.

“I knew the difference between craft beer and run-of-the-mill factory beer,” says Father Benedict Nivakoff, originally from Connecticut, who is proud of Birra Nursia’s two beers, a blond ale and a Belgian strong ale that hit the U.S. market in April. “Our life is mostly centered around prayer,” he says, “so we get up at 3:30 in the morning, we pray seven times a day, we’re in and out of the church every hour—there isn’t a lot else we can do, besides the brewery.”

Another popular beer brewed by monks is Ovila Abbey Saison—this one in the United States. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. brews the Ovila Abbey Ales series in collaboration with the Trappist monks of Abbey of New Clairvaux. These Cistercian brothers harvest fruit for the beer from their orchards in Vina, California, where they also tend vineyards for wine-making.

Read more: "Raise a glass to the brewing monks!".

Priest celebrates sacraments under the big top

Posted by: Katie Loftus 🕔 Monday 23, May 2016 Categories: Catholic culture,Mission & Evangelization
Vision 2016 Loftus 1 Fr. George "Jerry" Hogan, baptizes Bianca Marinelli during Catholic mass and sacraments of initiation at Circus Vargas in Burbank, CA.
Father George "Jerry" Hogan speaks with Ariyana Rivera, who was confirmed at a Catholic Mass at Circus Vargas in Burbank, California.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Father George "Jerry" Hogan is celebrating the sacraments with circus performers, allowing them to work around busy performance schedules and make time for their faith. Recently, 11 members from the Circus Vargas troupe—mainly the children of performers—took their next steps into the Catholic faith with Confirmation.  

Father Hogan understands that for many of the performers there is not much free time outside of practice and performing. He said, "They do three shows on Saturday and three shows on Sunday, so it's impossible for them to go to church." He has been ministering to circus performers for more than 22 years, and he even has circus vestments.

He is not alone in his suprising ministry. Sisters Dorothy Frabritze and Mary Seibert help to prepare performers and their children for the sacraments while on the road, and transform the center ring into a space suitable for Mass by adding an area for Baptism and an altar.

The performers are grateful to have Father Hogan to minister to them. Josue Marinelli, who received his First Communion and was confirmed by Hogan a few years ago, said, "My older daughter was also baptized by Father Jerry. It's kind of like a family tradition, which is hard, working in the circus because we're always traveling around. Luckily, we have Father Jerry to help us out."

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