Joyce Coronel

Joyce Coronel is a regular contributor to The Catholic Sun and author of “A Martyr’s Crown.”

The Diocese of Phoenix will again celebrate a Eucharistic Congress Feb. 16-19, but this time, there will be tracks aimed at teen-aged and adult Catholics.

With a Mass that began with candlelight procession from the courtyard east of St. Mary’s Basilica to inside the church, the Year of Consecrated Life drew to a close in the Diocese of Phoenix Feb. 1.

Christ crucified, a Texas bishop told Arizona legislators, attorneys and judges, “looks at us and says, ‘Will you respond to Me as your brother?’

In a world with more than 33,000 Christian denominations, it’s rare to see leaders of several of them gathered in one place to pray for unity. Yet that’s exactly what happened Jan. 20 at St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale. Leaders of the Arizona Faith Network and members of local congregations gathered for a prayer service during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an international Christian ecumenical event held annually since 1908.

Exactly one month into the calendar year marks the formal closing liturgy at the local level for the Year of Consecrated Life.

Driving through a neighborhood once years ago, I remember thinking that behind every door was a person with a story that ought to be told. I suppose part of that comes from being a pro-lifer: each human life is beloved by God who spilled His precious blood for all humanity — the rich and powerful, the poor and frail, the Hollywood starlet and the beggar on the corner. Each person’s life is unique and worthy of the Father’s love. Each person’s life tells a story.

Patty Chesebrough gazes inside the darkened church and stares up at a portrait of the late Fr. John Hanley, the priest who showed her God’s mercy in her darkest hour. It was 1990 and Chesebrough’s husband was pressuring her to have an abortion. She called her parish, St. Theresa at the time, and asked to speak with a priest.

At a time when the gift of human sexuality is often misunderstood, there’s a place in the Diocese of Phoenix that shines a bright light in the darkness.

The annual liturgy draws lawyers, judges, lawmakers and elected officials into prayer. Attorneys in attendance renew their oath of admission to the Arizona State Bar at the conclusion of the liturgy.

St. Charbel, a humble Lebanese monk from the 19th century, has been credited with thousands of miracles since his death in 1898. Catholics from throughout the Valley descended on St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church to venerate this saint’s relics Jan. 15-17.


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