1. Speaker of the House John Boehner on March 13 offered Pope Francis an open invitation to address members of Congress. Were the pope to accept the invite, it would mark a first in U.S. history.
2. Today’s message from USCCB Lenten calendar: “It has been said that the only real regret
lies in not being a saint (L. Bloy); we could also say that there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.” From Pope Francis’ 2014 Lenten message. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/messages/lent/documents/papa-francesco_20131226_messaggio-quaresima2014_en.html
3. Pope Francis inspires renewed spirit of giving among U.S. Catholics, according to a Zogby survey funded by the Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of National Collections. Among findings: one in four (24%) have increased their giving from last year; of those who have increased their giving in the past year, 77% say Pope Francis has inspired their giving; including 42% who say the Pope has had a significant impact on their giving. And, half (50%) say they are motivated to help others because of the Pope’s message of compassion to the poor. Survey was released by FADICA March 13.
4. An exhibit on Irish immigration to the US at the turn of the last century, "The Irish Mission at Watson House," highlights the Archdiocese of New York, that set the gold standard for welcoming immigrants to the United States," said historian Maureen Murphy. This was “a unique phenomenon in Western civilization," said Murphy, in an news story carried by Catholic News Service. It was an emigration of siblings whose families did not "re-form in the United States." The women sent money home to help relatives stay on the land, which distinguished them from other groups, Murphy said. Other emigrants from Western Europe "came out as families, or, as the Italians, the men came out first and then sent for the women." From 1883 to 1908 almost 308,000 Irish "girls," ages 14 to 44, immigrated through the Port of New York. Statistical highlights: Average age of the girls, 19. Ten percent traveled as sisters, and 25 percent were picked up by someone with the same last name. The counties with the greatest representation were Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry and Cork." Noel Kilkenny, Ireland's consul general in New York, told CNS that this is a woman's story as much as a Catholic story “about the church and the role it played as a sanctuary," he said. "The Irish are the only ethnic group of European immigrants where the females outnumbered the males. It's a story of great strength.”
5. God loves you.