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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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20171025T0957 0027 CNS POPE MASSES POOR CHRISTMAS 800Aid is delivered to a rural couple in Vasad, Hungary, Dec. 19, 2016. Pope Francis will celebrate a special Mass with the poor and people who assist them Nov. 19, the first World Day of the Poor. (CNS photo/Szilard Koszticsag, EPA)VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will celebrate a special Mass with the poor and people who assist them Nov. 19, the first World Day of the Poor.

After the 2015-16 Year of Mercy, the pope established the day to encourage new initiatives fostering encounter, friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance to the poor. Pope Francis is scheduled to offer a luncheon to 500 people attending the Mass, and the Vatican said it hoped parishes would do something similar.

The World Day of the Poor celebration was just one item on a list of papal liturgies for November through January. Other items on the list published Oct. 24 include:

— Nov. 2, feast of All Souls, afternoon Mass at the American military cemetery in Nettuno, south of Rome.

— Nov. 3, annual memorial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for cardinals and bishops who died in the past year.

— Nov. 19, World Day of the Poor, Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

— Nov. 26-Dec. 2, papal visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

— Dec. 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, prayer at the foot of a Marian statue near Rome's Spanish Steps.

— Dec. 12, feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, evening Mass for Latin America in St. Peter's Basilica.

— Dec. 24, Christmas Mass at 9:30 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica.

— Dec. 25, Christmas blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) at noon from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

— Dec. 31, evening prayer and "Te Deum" in St. Peter's Basilica in thanksgiving for the year past.

— Jan. 1, Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the feast of Mary, mother of God, and World Peace Day.

— Jan. 6, feast of the Epiphany, Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

— Jan. 7, feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Mass in the Sistine Chapel with the baptism of several infants.

— Jan. 15-22, papal trip to Chile and Peru.

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.