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As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 20, 1971 when parishioners settled on a site for the new St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oxford.
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20160906T1013 4934 CNS POPE FALL SCHEDULE 800Guantanamo Naval Sation, Cuba, is seen in this 2006 file photo. The last three months of the Year of Mercy include celebrations for the imprisoned and for homeless people. (CNS photo/John Riley, EPA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The last three months of the Year of Mercy include jubilee celebrations for the imprisoned and for homeless people.

Releasing a schedule of liturgical celebrations over which Pope Francis will preside, the Vatican included Holy Year Masses for prisoners Nov. 6 and for the homeless Nov. 13.

The schedule, released at the Vatican Sept. 6, also mentions his planned trips to Georgia and Azerbaijan Sept. 30-Oct. 2, and to Sweden Oct. 31-Nov. 1 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

The pope also will preside over Mass with canonizations in St. Peter's Square Oct. 16, World Mission Sunday. The pope will declare six men and one woman saints, including the Argentine "gaucho priest," Blessed Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, and Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, a 14-year-old Mexican boy martyred for refusing to renounce his faith during the Cristero War of the 1920s.

Also on the calendar:

– Sept. 25: Jubilee Mass in St. Peter's Square for catechists.

– Oct. 8: Jubilee Prayer Vigil in St. Peter's Square with delegations from Marian shrines around the world.

– Oct. 9: Jubilee Mass in St. Peter's Square in honor of Mary.

– Nov. 4: Memorial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for bishops and cardinals who have died in the past year.

– Nov. 20: Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the closing of the Holy Year of Mercy.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.