Local/National Faith Briefs

GriefShare support group offered

For those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one and are journeying toward healing, a GriefShare support group meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the gathering space at Holy Redeemer Church. Contact Dorothy at Dorothy 401-0601 with questions or visit www.holy-redeemer.com.

Peer ministry support group series starts Monday

Beginning Experience of SW MN/Marshall, a peer ministry support group for widowed, separated and divorced people is offering its “Coping With Life Alone” Series for 10 weeks beginning Monday. This series is designed for those wishing to work through the grieving process following the loss of a loved one. The Monday sessions begin at 7 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church on Church and A streets in Marshall.

Registration is the first two Mondays starting at 6 p.m. Registration is then closed for that session. The support group is open to people of all denominations. There is a $75 fee to cover the cost of materials. To register or have other questions, contact:

Laurie W: 507-829-6692 or wall.laurie33@gmail.com

MaryAnn S.: 507-828-2866 or maryannschultz83@gmail.com

Clergy, members of different faiths gather at SD state Capitol

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Clergy and members of several religions gathered Wednesday at the South Dakota Capitol to meet lawmakers and urge them not to denigrate people of faiths different than their own.

The prayer and outreach come after some state lawmakers last year pushed measures targeting refugee resettlement in South Dakota. David Zellmer, bishop of the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said the gathering was about “lifting up” that the freedom of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment is for everyone.

“I really want to remind our folks that we are a people of law,” said Zellmer, who was among more than 50 people who prayed in the Capitol rotunda.

Taneeza Islam, executive director of the nonprofit South Dakota Voices for Peace, said she hopes lawmakers recognize the diversity in the state. She said it’s important they understand the decisions made at the Capitol affect everyone in South Dakota.

“A big issue in our state is that it’s easy to stereotype and vilify someone you don’t have a face, I call it, ‘Face to the name,'” she said. “When you don’t have someone that you can say, ‘Oh, I know Taneeza. She’s an American Muslim. She’s involved in the community. She’s raising a family’.”

Last year, a bill proposed would have required the Legislature’s approval for refugee resettlements in South Dakota; it was eventually changed to simply require private refugee resettlement agencies to provide an annual report to the governor and Legislature. A different resolution from Republican Sen. Neal Tapio would have expressed a lack of confidence in the resettlement program.

Tapio, who is preparing to run for U.S. House, called the interfaith group a “political movement.” Tapio has said he will form an unofficial legislative work group to examine state immigration and refugee resettlement programs in South Dakota.

“We have a domestic threat that’s going on right here in our country,” Tapio said after the prayers. “Refugee resettlements and interfaith dialogue is a part of a war. It’s a silent part. It’s a part about taking away the Christian fabric of our nation. Now, some people are OK with that. That’s their prerogative, but there’s American patriots that want to fight.”

Church hopes shrine to St. John Paul II draws visitors

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — St. John the Baptist Church officially closed in August, ending more than a century as the city’s Polish Catholic parish.

But the church on St. Peter Street has taken on new life as the Saint Paul II Shrine of Divine Mercy, under the control of the Archdiocese of Boston.

According to Catholic tradition, a shrine is a church that attracts pilgrims in part because it possesses an important relic. In a video produced by the archdiocese, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said he will be giving the shrine a reliquary containing the blood of Pope John Paul II, who served as pontiff from 1978 to 2005.

“Shrines in the lives of Catholics are very important institutions,” O’Malley said in the video. “People go in huge numbers. We hope this will be a welcoming place where people can go and be renewed in their faith.”

Church officials announced last summer that St. James Church and Immaculate Conception would merge into one parish, and that St. John the Baptist would be converted to a shrine. The moves were in response to what officials called a financial crisis in the city’s Catholic community.