Amanda Murphy

Amanda Murphy writes for Religion News Service.

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Questions and Answers About Ash Wednesday

by Amanda Murphy 03-04-2014

Rev. John G. Vlasny, archbishop of Portland, performs the Ash Wednesday ceremony. Photo by Michael Lloyd. Via RNS

This Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. For Christians, Lent is a 40-day season of fasting, reflection, and penance culminating in Holy Week and the Easter Sunday commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection.

The Rev. Arne Panula, director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., said his experience is that more people go to church on Ash Wednesday than any other holiday, including Christmas and Easter.

Here are a few basics on the Ash Wednesday tradition.

84-year-old Nun Gets 35 Months for Breaking into Nuclear Facility

by Amanda Murphy 02-19-2014

Transform Now Plowshares activist Sister Megan Rice. Photo: Michael Patrick, courtesy Knoxville News Sentinel/RNS

An 84-year-old nun was sentenced to nearly three years in prison on Tuesday for breaking into a Tennessee nuclear facility in July 2012.

Sister Megan Rice and two other anti-nuclear activists were convicted last May of breaking into a federal complex that stores enriched uranium.

“Please have no leniency on me. To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honor you could give me,” Rice told the federal judge at her sentencing hearing, according to USA Today.

Conference of Hispanic Christians Endorses Common Core

by Amanda Murphy 02-06-2014

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. Photo courtesy McClure/Muntsinger Public Relations. Via RNS

Common Core, a set of educational standards that has faced criticism from religious groups, has found an ally in the largest organization of Hispanic Christians in the U.S.

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s endorsement of the program Wednesday buoys the Common Core initiative, which has drawn criticism from conservative Christians who say it reflects liberal values.

Some prominent religious leaders, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have expressed support for the program, but the conference’s endorsement marks the first time a large Christian group has embraced the initiative, adopted by all but five states.

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