Thursday, April 25, 2013

Immigration reform, a rise in Catholics and warm wishes for a friend

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh

Been busy this week. We started out with a telephonic media conference on immigration reform Monday with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City. Almost 40 people signed up for it. I saw interesting stories from the presser by Pat Zapor of Catholic News Service, David Gibson of Religion News Service  that was also carried by Washington Post’s On Faith column, which is online, and Huffington Post), Michael Sean Winters of National Catholic Reporter and Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia. 

We’ve got the transcript  and audio online for anyone who missed it. Also online are the survey results from a poll in December that show strong support among Catholics for immigration reform.

Getting ready to release annual report on ordination class next week along with some blog posts by men about to become priests. The survey for the report gathered hard data but also asked respondents to fill in the blank after “People might be surprised to know that ….” There won’t be a media release on the answers but they will be online. Class of 2013 includes widowers, Eagle Scouts, research scientists, converts to Catholicism, a weight lifter, pole vaulter, juggler and professional pilot. It’s a fun read.

Looked over soon to be released stats from the 2013 National Catholic Directory. Data show number of Catholics in the U.S. has increased, as have number of new parishes and permanent deacons. Baptisms, First Communions and marriages are down

In late May, USCCB will release the annual report of the Office for Child and Youth Protection. The significant decline in number of youth who have been abused continues There’s also a decline in reports of older cases. The decades-old cases show that the pain from abuse lasts a lifetime.

We’re conducting a survey of media who covered the papal transition to see what worked and didn’t work. If you’re a member of the media and didn’t get the questionnaire, let me know. What worked, of course, was the election of Pope Francis. His homily at morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the guest house where he lives, has become a must-read. Vatican Radio translates the remarks as quickly as possible. The six-hour time difference between Rome and Washington lets us read the homilyalmost first thing in the morning.

It was an “Oh, Rats!” moment Tuesday when Cathy Grossman, religion reporter at USA Today, called to say she is taking a buyout. Cathy has been a stalwart on the religion beat, a real pro, who went the extra mile and educated herself in areas such as bioethics to bring greater insight into her reporting. We’ll miss her and so will the Religion Newswriters Association where she worked tirelessly as cheerleader and friend to all.

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