Persons, places and things: between the pages


By Barb Arland-Fye

Pope Francis makes a point about God’s forgiveness that you won’t want to miss in this week’s special edition of The Catholic Messenger. God forgives us abundantly, the Holy Father says, but doesn’t want constant reminders of our sins. We have to be sincere about changing the behaviors that cause us to commit a sin in the first place! Read more about what the pope has to say on the World News page (11).


While you’re on that page, be sure to read about U.S. and European bishops’ concerns about Israeli settlements in places such as Hebron, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. A group of bishops visited those areas earlier this month. Their insights add perspective to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Our coverage of world news this week includes a fascinating story about biodegradable burial pods, and insights on church teaching about life after death. You can also read a synopsis of the letter Pope Francis sent to President Donald Trump after he took the oath of office. Excerpts from the president’s inaugural speech are included in a story that appears on the Messenger’s National News page (6).


On the diocesan front, check out the special section on Catholic schools featuring stories about a student-initiated tutoring club, AP classes as a bridge between high school and college, enrollment stats, and more (pages 7-10). Cute story alert: multiple sets of twins keep one diocesan school guessing who’s who. Other diocesan stories include an update about the diocesan hall under construction at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport and the blessing of a new civil rights marker on the St. Ambrose University campus in Davenport (page 3).

Two young voices highlight the Features page (5): The Catholic Messenger reporter Lindsay Steele writes as a new mom about her change of attitude toward children and their parents. Jenna Ebener reflects on staying positive in a challenging but satisfying career as a social worker at a school for children with profound disabilities. An older voice, columnist Father Ken Doyle, responds to two interesting questions, one involving baptismal names and the other about telling lies.

Father Ron Rolheiser, who inspires readers to think deeply about their faith, reflects this week on the Eucharist as the ultimate healer. Human trafficking, and how to shine a light on this scourge, is the subject of this week’s Catholic Messenger editorial . Also on the Opinions page (12), St. Ambrose University theologian Corinne Winter encourages readers to ask new questions without fear, trusting that their faith is up to the challenge. Bishop Martin Amos tells us about the availability of Advanced Care Planning Consultants to assist people seeking guidance on end-of-life health care decisions aligned with Catholic values.

Jump over to page 14 for another Op-Ed in which national leaders of women and men religious share their letter to President Trump addressing critical needs facing the country and world. The monthly Spanish page also appears this week (page 13), featuring stories and columns about ministry formation, family and marriage and making good use of technology.

If you are a subscriber, we thank you for supporting your diocesan newspaper. If you’re getting this week’s issue as a sample of what we do, we welcome you and hope you’ll consider a one-year subscription.

“Newspapers are the first draft of history,” observes Tim Walch, an archivist and historian who serves on The Catholic Messenger’s Board of Directors. We invite you to be part of the history-making process.

(Barb Arland-Fye, Editor, can be reached at

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