Notre Dame pilgrims spend Easter at Vatican

first_imgROME – This Easter, more than 100 Notre Dame students studying in various locations throughout Europe went on pilgrimage to Rome for a weekend of sightseeing, prayer and reflection organized by Campus Ministry. John Paul Lichon, campus minister and retreats director, met the pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square on Saturday afternoon to distribute tickets for the Easter Sunday Mass. Students from programs all over Europe – including in Greece, Spain, England, Ireland and Italy – reunited by the obelisk in the middle of the piazza, hugging, laughing and sharing stories from their travels. The pilgrimage is an annual event coordinated by Campus Ministry, which includes tours of Rome’s churches, admittance to the Easter Sunday Mass led by Pope Francis and the opportunity to reflect in the presence of Rome’s most precious relics, Lichon said. Easter is the most important feast of the year for the Church, Lichon said, but the pilgrimage will take on special significance this year. “We’ve been doing the pilgrimage for a long time, but it just turned out this year it was with the new pope, so that has been exciting,” Lichon said. “The main focus is truly to be on pilgrimage for Easter, to truly enter into Triduum.” Lichon said Campus Ministry offered two pilgrimage “tracks.” The full track includes three days of sightseeing and guided reflection, while the Easter Sunday track admits students only for the Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, Lichon said. “It’s been fantastic. There’re about 40 students doing the full track with us, and we did the whole Triduum service together. We did a bunch of churches together on Friday, we did Saint Peter’s [Saturday] morning and we’re going to do the Vatican Museum,” he said. “Then about 110 students are coming just for the Easter Sunday Mass.” Though the tours and photo opportunities excite the participants, Lichon said the goal of the pilgrimage was to engage in prayer. “Rome at this time is just crazy, and we wanted to create a space that was prayerful and reflective and truly enter into Triduum,” he said. “I think that’s what this week is really about.” Junior Caity Bobber, who is studying abroad in London, participated in all of the pilgrimage’s planned events. “We began [Friday] with morning prayer at the Coliseum, and we saw the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, where the skulls of Saints Peter and Paul are,” Bobber said. “It’s actually where the bishop of Rome is, so that’s the cathedral of Rome.” Each day of the pilgrimage is scheduled from 7 a.m. until late at night, while some days stretch past midnight, Bobber said. “Last night, the Stations of the Cross began at 9:15 p.m., but we met at 6:45 p.m. to wait for our spot,” Bobber said. “It was a jam-packed day.” Mary Coghlin, a junior studying abroad in London, said visiting the Holy Stairs held special religious significance for her. “I would say we were all surprised by that,” Coghlin said. “It’s 28 stairs taken from the office of Pontius Pilate, so when Jesus was walking to his condemnation, he was walking down those stairs.” Coghlin said Saint Helen, Constantine’s mother, moved the stairs and other elements of Christ’s crucifixion back to Rome. “It’s the original marble, and now they’re covered in another wood, and pilgrims go up each of these 28 steps on their knees while praying. It’s about a 25-minute ordeal,” she said. “It’s way more moving than you would expect. People did specific prayers, acts of contrition. Some people received indulgences.” The students also attended the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross ceremony, held at the Coliseum on Friday night, Coghlin said. “It was candlelit and we were close to Papa Francesco and it was beautiful,” Coughlin said. “[In the ceremony] there was Italian and a lot of Latin, which was nice because you were able to say the Our Father in that. There were also a lot of Notre Dame people there, and it was a great day.” The group’s intense touring schedule didn’t leave the pilgrims much free time, but Lichon said the group purposefully walked a fine line between seeing Rome as tourists and visiting the churches as worshippers. “You visit the churches for a purpose, you don’t just walk in and take a picture,” he said. “You [try to] understand what this church brings to you in a special way. You ask, how is God trying to speak to you through this place?” Contact Meghan Thomassen at mthomass@nd.edulast_img read more

Viewpoints Raw Judicial Politics On Health Law Texas Abortion Trial Suicide And

first_imgThe New York Times: By Any Means Necessary The Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — has endured so many near-death experiences that digging into the details of still another effort to demolish it is admittedly not an inviting prospect. (My own reaction, I confess, to hearing some months back about the latest legal challenge — this one aimed at the supposed effect of a single word in the 900-page statute — was something along the lines of “wake me when it’s over.”) But stay with me, because this latest round, catapulted onto the Supreme Court’s docket earlier this month by the same forces that brought us the failed Commerce Clause attack two years ago, opens a window on raw judicial politics so extreme that the saga so far would be funny if the potential consequences weren’t so serious (Linda Greenhouse, 8/20). Bloomberg: Republicans Won’t Have Obamacare Forever [Arkansas Sen. Mark] Pryor doesn’t say that he helped pass “Obamacare,” or even that he helped pass the “Affordable Care Act.” Instead, he simply touts provisions of the law that almost certainly sound good to most people, saying that he “helped pass a law that prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick, or deny coverage for preexisting conditions.” The wrong way to think about this is to imagine that the ACA is getting more popular. It isn’t …. But what this does get to is that individual provisions of the law (especially, naturally, the benefits) have always polled well, and the Republican solution — repeal — is even more unpopular than the law itself (Jonathan Bernstein, 8/20). The New York Times: Quackery And Abortion Rights The deception behind the wave of state-level abortion restrictions now threatening women’s access to safe and legal abortions was strikingly revealed during a trial that ended last week in Texas (8/20). The New York Times’ Room For Debate: When Do Doctors Have The Right To Speak? Two federal appellate court decisions, one allowing Florida to prevent doctors from discussing gun safety with patients, the other letting California ban “gay-conversion” therapy, raise questions about health professionals’ First Amendment rights. Do occupational-licensing laws trump the First Amendment? What limits, if any, does the First Amendment impose on government’s ability to restrict advice? (8/20). The Wall Street Journal: The Golden Age Of Neuroscience Has Arrived More than a billion people were amazed this summer when a 29-year-old paraplegic man from Brazil raised his right leg and kicked a soccer ball to ceremonially begin the World Cup. The sight of a paralyzed person whose brain directly controlled a robotic exoskeleton (designed at Duke University) was thrilling. We are now entering the golden age of neuroscience. We have learned more about the thinking brain in the last 10-15 years than in all of previous human history (Michio Kaku, 8/20). The Wall Street Journal: FedEx’s ‘Money Laundering’ Scheme According to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag’s revised indictment, FedEx engaged in a “conspiracy to launder” more than $630,000 in payments from shipping drugs sold illegally by online pharmacies. Justice accuses FedEx of conspiring to launder money because it “requested payment for providing shipping services” to such fly-by-night pharmacies via wire transfers, checks, direct debits, credit card charges and telephone. But as we wrote last week, FedEx had no way of knowing which pharmacies were violating the law by filling orders without valid prescriptions, and Justice hasn’t provided FedEx with a list. Even if employees ripped open packages, they wouldn’t be able to finger the contraband (8/20). Bloomberg: Why Do More Men Commit Suicide? Robin Williams’s death has brought welcome attention to the very real problem of suicide in the U.S. From 2000 to 2011, suicides increased to 12.3 per 100,000 people from 10.4. Deaths by suicide now exceed those from motor-vehicle accidents. This is not, as you might think, a problem occurring disproportionately among teenagers or the very old. The people most prone to taking their own lives are those 45 to 59 years old …. What puzzles researchers even more is that men commit suicide more often than women do — about four times as often — even though most studies find that women are twice as likely to be depressed and also more likely to have suicidal thoughts (Peter R. Orszag, 8/20). The New England Journal Of Medicine: The Impact And Evolution Of Medicare Part DMany ACA provisions position Medicare for major payment and delivery-system changes that are designed to improve quality and reduce spending growth. These reforms include altering provider reimbursement to encourage efficiency and improving care coordination among providers. In some ways, the Part D program, which is run by stand-alone plans that don’t carry risk for total medical spending and have no financial relationships with providers, is out of sync with such changes. … [T]he long-term success of payment and delivery-system reforms will depend in part on integrating Part D policy with broader reforms (Julie M. Donohue, 8/21).The New England Journal Of Medicine: Did Hospital Engagement Networks Actually Improve Care?Everyone with a role in health care wants to improve the quality and safety of our delivery system. Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released results of its Partnership for Patients Program (PPP) and celebrated large improvements in patient outcomes. But the PPP’s weak study design and methods, combined with a lack of transparency and rigor in evaluation, make it difficult to determine whether the program improved care. … [T]he failure to generate valid, reliable information hampers our ability to improve future interventions, because we are no closer to understanding how to improve care than we were before the PPP (Drs. Peter Pronovost and Ashish K. Jha, 8/21). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Viewpoints: ‘Raw Judicial Politics’ On Health Law; Texas Abortion Trial; Suicide And Genderlast_img read more