Local Roman Catholics plan prayer vigils for nuns on Tuesday and May 29 outside Omaha's St. Cecilia Cathedral in the wake of a recent Vatican call for changes in an umbrella organization for U.S. Catholic sisters.
The vigil will be held in conjunction with similar “Support the Sisters” events at about 20 cathedrals nationwide. It is meant to show support for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
In April, the Vatican announced a major change for the group “to ensure the fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women's ordination and homosexuality,” according to a Catholic News Service report.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, based in Maryland, represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 Catholic sisters in the United States.
Liberal and reformist Catholic organizations around the nation are organizing the vigils. The Leadership Conference has reserved comment, except for a statement saying it was stunned and asking for prayers.
Mary Ruth Stegman, an organizer of the Omaha event, said the event is not a protest or a fight with Catholic bishops.
“It's to pray for the sisters, that this mandate be removed by the Vatican,” said Stegman, a retired epidemiologist who belongs to Call to Action. “We'll be saying prayers, and there will be a call to the microphone where people come up and talk about a sister who has been influential in their lives, and what sisters have done for the church.”
The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. May 29 on the west steps of St. Cecilia Cathedral, 40th and Burt Streets.
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