Local/National Faith Briefs

GriefShare: Surviving the Death of a Spouse is Jan. 7

Loss of a Spouse seminar is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 7, at the Holy Redeemer gathering area. The seminar is a helpful, nondenominational, encouraging evening. At a Loss of a Spouse event you will learn what to expect in the weeks and months after your spouse’s death, and how to survive the loneliness. All faiths are welcome.

The seminar features practical suggestions and reassurance through video interviews with counselors, grief experts, and other people who have experienced the death of a spouse.

Those who attend the free seminar may purchase a $5 Survival Guide filled with practical tips, encouraging words, journaling ideas and exercises for daily help.

Muslim nonprofit wants ordinance blocking cemetery waived

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Muslim nonprofit is asking a Virginia county to waive an ordinance that essentially blocks a proposed cemetery and has led to a federal investigation into religious discrimination.

Citing the variance request filed Dec. 21, The Free Lance-Star reported that the Stafford County Board of Supervisors approved changes to the county’s cemetery ordinance in 2016, a year after the All Muslim Association of America purchased a 29-acre plot. The ordinance was adopted after neighbors raised concerns about well contamination, and the regulations are stricter than state code.

In September, the Board of Supervisors voted to maintain the ordinance. The group could appeal to the circuit court if the request is denied.

The Department of Justice launched an investigation in April into county zoning law’s treatment of religious uses.

Members fight to re-open small Denver Catholic church

DENVER (AP) — Members of a small Denver Catholic church built by Hispanic families are fighting to re-open their parish over a year after it was closed by the archbishop.

A group of about 50 people gathered outside the locked Our Lady of Visitation Church for a Christmas Eve vigil as a way to keep their community alive and draw attention to their fight with the church hierarchy.

Holding candles on a street, they re-enacted Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem, a tradition known as Las Posadas.

Men moved a wooden door in a frame along the residential street as a young man and woman dressed as Mary and Joseph repeatedly knocked on it and were rejected until they found someone willing to take them in.

They were followed by two men playing guitars and parishioners, who were holding candles, as they sang Christmas carols in Spanish.

Sirens and train horns sounded in the distance in the unincorporated area just north of Denver where the families of many church members settled a century ago after moving from rural areas of Colorado and New Mexico to find work.

The settlers first gathered at an adobe morada, or prayer house, before starting to hold Mass in two donated street cars. Later, parishioners built a one-story cinderblock church, which they later expanded, and a gazebo where they hosted yearly festivals with homemade food to raise money to cover church expenses.

Archbishop Samuel Aquila ordered that the last Mass be held there in April 2017. The archdiocese later offered to hold monthly masses at the church but that offer was rejected.

Church members appealed to the Vatican and, in September, the Congregation of the Clergy upheld Aquila’s decision to merge the church with a larger parish, Holy Trinity. However, it said there must be at least two Masses held at Our Lady of Visitation each year.

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