Insights: Supreme Court Allows Church Services to Resume

The U.S. Supreme Court rules church services can resume; Kathleen Domingo named new CCC Executive Director; supporting COVID relief bill; National Marriage Week, and Lenten resources in this week’s Insights.

Kathleen Domingo Named New Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference

Bishop Robert McElroy has announced that Kathleen Domingo will be the new executive director of the California Catholic Conference.  Currently Senior Director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Mrs. Domingo will be the first woman executive director in the Conference’s history.

“From immigration to legislative advocacy to advising other arch/diocesan leaders around the United States, Mrs. Domingo has provided outstanding leadership and creativity in her role in the archdiocese,” said Bishop McElroy of San Diego and president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops. 

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Welcome Back: Supreme Court Allows Church Services to Resume in California

The Supreme Court of the United States removed some restrictions on indoor worship in California when it issued an emergency ruling (February 5).  While the Court said that California could not prohibit indoor church services, the state could place a restriction of 25 percent of occupancy capacity.  California had been the only state in the Union to not allow indoor worship.

For much of the past year, Californians have been forced to worship outdoors.  With the onset of winter, that became more and more difficult.  At the same time, parishes and churches around the United States and the world had demonstrated that worship could be conducted inside safely – using social distancing and mask requirements that have become accepted practice during the pandemics.  Registration for contact tracing and frequent disinfection of pews, door handles, etc. helped make the worship safe.

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Lenten Resources

The 2021 Lenten season begins this coming Wednesday, and it will look and feel different than most.

During this year’s celebration of Ash Wednesday on February 17, the Vatican has recommended a modified method for distributing ashes: sprinkling them on the top of people’s heads rather than using them to make a cross on people’s foreheads. The practice is common in most of the world but rarely seen in the United States.  Parishioners should check with their parish for distribution times and locations and any other changes that may be taking place as a result of COVID-19.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has published a calendar of daily reflections and other resources to enrich the Lenten experience this year. This year’s USCCB Lenten theme is: Reflect. Repent. Restore. The USCCB has also published a short video of three ways to draw closer to God during this Lenten season.


National Marriage Week

National Marriage Week is being celebrated February 7-14, 2021. This annual observance is a great prompt for everyone to reflect on the gift marriage is to our Church as well as an opportunity for couples to build up their own marriages.

This year’s there is: To Have, To Hold, To Honor. The USCCB has released a seven-day at-home retreat (available in pdf in English and Spanish) focused on marriage. There are also flyers available in English and Spanish, a Social Media Kit in English and Spanish and homily helps (also available in Spanish).

Worldwide Marriage Encounter, an experience millions of Catholic couples have found beneficial, also designates the second Sunday of February as World Marriage Day.  This year it happens to coincide with St. Valentine’s Day.  Let’s pray for all married couples around the world this coming Sunday.


Ask Congress to Pass Additional COVID-19 Relief

As the American people remain resolute in mitigating the impact of COVID-19, the pandemic continues to devastate our nation’s health and economic well-being. We must do more to ensure that no one is left behind and that everyone is given a chance to overcome COVID-19. 

In solidarity with the USCCB, please take a moment to send a letter to your members of Congress asking them to move forward with the COVID-19 relief bill and to include ensure stable immigration status and stimulus payments for refugees and migrants who are providing economic and recovery assistance to our country, as well as no-cost testing and vaccination for all.


U.S. Bishops’ Education Chairman Applauds Bipartisan Legislation Honoring Contributions of Catholic Schools

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education applauded Representative Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) for introducing H. Res. 66 and S. Res. 33, “Supporting the Contributions of Catholic Schools.” 

“Catholic schools are a unique gift to the nation. We honor the dignity of every child through an integral formation that includes academic excellence, but with an equal focus on heart, mind, and soul. This is a preparation not only for college and career, but for heaven itself. This commitment was on full display in the past year as Catholic schools excelled during the COVID pandemic. Amidst this national crisis, Catholic schools rapidly transitioned to online learning in the spring of 2020, and our Catholic school leaders worked all summer to prepare buildings for in-person learning. In the fall of 2020, eighty percent of Catholic schools offered some degree of in-person learning.”

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February 12, 2021
Vol. 14, No. 6

En Español

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