Two junior students at Allentown Central Catholic High School have danced their way to the 2017 World Irish Dancing Championships in Dublin, Ireland. Megan Dano and Shannon O’Neill, parishioners of Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown and dancers at O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance, Allentown, placed in the top 15 at the regional competition, earning spots at the international competition April 9-16.
Benedictine Sister Christopher (OSB), the former Jen McLarin, took a major step in walking the path of her religious vocation Dec. 8, 2016, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as she celebrated her Entrance into the Novitiate and Reception of the Habit at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethlehem, Connecticut.
With Bishop John Barres installed as the bishop of Rockville Centre, New York, the Diocese of Allentown is in a time of “sede vacante,” as the seat of the diocese is vacant until a new bishop is appointed and installed.
It’s often said there is no such thing as coincidence – rather, it is the hand of God at work. That certainly seems to be the case with two sons of the Diocese of Allentown who met for the first time due to their military deployment, and followed their faith to become extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.
“We establish a bridge between this world and the next. That’s what we do,” said Father Paul Scalia, priest for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia and the son of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, during a Day of Sanctification for Priests. Father Scalia was the main presenter for an estimated 100 priests for the Diocese of Allentown, who gathered to reflect on the privilege of serving Christ and renewed their commitment to grow in the likeness of Christ, March 8 at DeSales University, Center Valley
“The diocese can be very proud of what has been accomplished – not only in the diocese but worldwide. Through the program millions of dollars have been provided to people in need of the basic necessities of life,” said Msgr. John Murphy, director of Operation Rice Bowl in the Allentown Diocese and director of the diocesan Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.
The Notre Dame of Bethlehem parish community is commemorating the centennial anniversary of Our Blessed Mother’s appearance at Fatima in a very prayerful way by promoting a “100,000 Rosary Challenge” that began Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary, and the Mother of God. Organizers are seeking 100,000 rosaries to be prayed during 2017.
Another voice for life is being heard in the Lehigh Valley in the form of Pro-Life Future, a young adult ecumenical group with many Catholic young adults active in its pro-life work. The group recently won the 2017 Chapter of the Year of 16 Pro-Life Future chapters nationally. Pro-Life Future is a spinoff from Students for Life, which was a pro-life organization on college campuses. Young adults found after graduation that it was difficult to continue the momentum; many parishes either had no formal pro-life group that was active or, if active, comprised mostly of older adults.
If Catholic items are on your gift-giving list this Christmas, choices abound in various areas of the Diocese of Allentown. Stores to dash to include Abundant Graces, Bethlehem; Hackman’s Bible Book Store, Whitehall; The Way to Emmaus, Emmaus; and Holy Infancy Gift Shop, Bethlehem. Two retreat centers in the diocese also have gift shops worth perusing for Catholics on your list: McGlinn Conference and Spirituality Center, Reading; and St. Francis Retreat Center, Easton.
"I don't ever remember not praying. Bedtime prayers, the rosary, praying for friends, relatives, for the sick and for those who had died. It was a natural part of our lives," she told writer Rita E. Piro, who interviewed the popular actress in August. The story appears in the January 2017 issue of the magazine, published by Cincinnati-based Franciscan Media.