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Sister Mary Ann Walsh
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Sister Mary Ann Walsh is director of media relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She is a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Northeast Community. She is an award-winning writer and has been published in several periodicals including The Washington Post, USA Today, America, and Editor & Publisher and is editor of three books: Pope John Paul II: A Light for the World, From John Paul II to Benedict XVI: An Inside Look at the End of an Era, the Beginning of a New One and the Future of the Church, and Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy.

Entries by Sister Mary Ann Walsh

Holy Saturday, Holy Christians, Holy Spirit

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 9:49 AM

On Holy Saturday, April 19, most of the 18,000 parishes nationwide will welcome new members into the Catholic community. Some are catechumens, to be baptized for the first time. Others will come into full communion with the church, having already been baptized but now receiving the other two sacraments of...

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Pope Francis and Healing Love

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 10:43 AM

Ever visit an historic church after it's been refurbished? With smoky grime washed away, colors become vibrant. Sunlight brightens once hidden corners. Mosaics shimmer and ancient statues convey a new life. You see the church as never before. It's an old church, but suddenly it seems new, even awesome.


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The United Nations: Caring for Children or Caring for Culture Warriors

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 4:50 PM

Sexual abuse of a minor is a sin and a crime and no organization can become complacent about addressing it. The Catholic Church has certainly done more than any other international organization to face the problem and it will continue to lead in doing so.

In the United States, the...

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Says Pope Francis: Toughen up, People!

(2) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 4:28 PM

Toughen up, people! That seems to be one theme from Pope Francis in his annual Message for World Communications Day, which will be observed June 1, 2014.

Pope Francis repeats his call that Christians must be out on the streets, even if they get dirty. He wants his leaders to...

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USA Today Gets Religious Freedom Right

(37) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 2:34 PM

With its recent editorial "Obamacare overreach tramples Little Sisters of the Poor," USA Today joins the Chicago Tribune among the mainstream print outlets to "get it" when it comes to religious freedom.

The newspaper has no fight with artificial contraception and sterilization, while the Catholic Church does. However,...

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Thanks for Pope Francis

(8) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 3:12 PM

It's the time of year to think about what to be thankful for.

Top of my list is Pope Francis, who has brought new life to the Catholic Church. It seems like we're in a bit of a renaissance. People who had written off the church are taking time to...

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Catholic Schools for Immigrants: A Second Bloodless Social Revolution

(14) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 6:40 PM

As the immigration debate continues, one question haunts me: What can we do to educate immigrants' children? The question eats at me because I and millions of others are children of immigrants. We grew up when it was expected that we would go to Catholic schools. As a result, children...

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Smell Like the Sheep -- Make God Your Escape Key

(12) Comments | Posted August 1, 2013 | 3:11 PM

Pope Francis has a knack for metaphorical speech. So far his best may be noting that shepherds should get so close to the ewes and rams that they "smell like the sheep." One archbishop told me he was trying to work that into advice for new priests in his homily...

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When Your Phone Becomes Your Prayer Book

(19) Comments | Posted July 23, 2013 | 6:29 PM

Many media snickered when the Vatican announced that people who followed the World Youth Day pilgrimage via social media could derive the same spiritual benefits earned by those present in Rio de Janeiro for the international church event. Were they worried that it made a spiritual effort too easy?

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John XXIII and John Paul II: New Models for Holiness

(14) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 2:56 PM

This morning's stories about Lumen Fidei, the first encyclical from Pope Francis, quickly yielded top news report to the Vatican announcement that Pope Francis will declare Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II saints. The Vatican spokesman suggests it could happen within the year.

Saints show us how...

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Church Reaching Them All

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 2:13 PM

You never know what you'll find at the other end of a phone call. Take yesterday.

A man called saying he was from a daily newspaper and asked in expletive-strewn language how I would answer to God for the Church's position that marriage is between a...

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World Youth Day: Twenty Years Ago

(3) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 6:42 PM

Twenty years ago this August Denver hosted World Youth Day, the first time the world event took place in the U.S. As WYD director of communications, I was on a core team from Washington with Father Dennis Schnurr, WYD executive director and now archbishop of Cincinnati, and Paul Henderson, WYD...

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Pope Francis' Late Night Appeal

(11) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 5:19 PM

Pope Francis has become source materials for late night comics. This may mean evangelization through Stephen Colbert and Conan O'Brien. The comics find the pope intriguing. Perhaps it's because they can understand him. The most recent catch by the comics were the pope's words about atheists and salvation. Colbert said...

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Gosnell: Doing Massive Harm

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 11:43 AM

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the former Philadelphia abortionist, has avoided the death penalty with a promise not to appeal his May 13 murder convictions in a Philadelphia courtroom. That's good. The violence of the death penalty is not a way to end violence, even in dealing with the gruesome murders of...

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Only Sin Is Not to Be Kind

(71) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 1:27 PM

An old Italian woman once told me the only sin is not to be kind. It's a wise summary of the greatest commandment: to love the Lord with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Catholicism can be as easy as that. Over the years as a...

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Reach out to Estranged Children on Mother's Day

(2) Comments | Posted April 30, 2013 | 3:00 PM

A priest once told me one of his worst experiences as a celebrant was walking down the aisle to celebrate Mass and seeing all the mothers wearing corsages. It was only then that he realized it was Mother's Day. He had prepared his homily based on the readings of the...

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When Sheep Are Sick

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2013 | 1:06 PM

Last Sunday the pastor told of three shepherds and a visitor who asked how the shepherd knew whose sheep were whose. The visitor saw one shepherd stand, call his sheep to follow and a group of them did. Then a second shepherd did the same with the same results. Then...

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Media Challenge Their Own

(1) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 4:54 PM

Kirsten Powers, a USA Today opinion writer, and Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer at The Atlantic, proved their journalistic chops last week. The two writers challenged fellow journalists to give appropriate coverage to the horrific details of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in the City of Brotherly Love. The...

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May Dreamworks Get It Right

(8) Comments | Posted April 10, 2013 | 11:50 AM

Word is that Dreamworks, a sub-studio of Disney, is about to make a movie on the Boston Globe's January 2002 investigative report on pedophilia and the Archdiocese of Boston. The series marked a tipping point in the Catholic Church's dealing with the problem of clergy sexual abuse of minors. The...

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The Catholic Church On Gays and Gay Marriage

(146) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 11:04 PM

It amazes me when basic church teaching is received as if it were somethig brand new. This morning's New York Times brought the latest example with the headline: "Dolan Says the Catholic Church Should Be More Welcoming to Gay People." A glance at other media outlets finds similar news accounts....

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