RNS photo by Frances Micklow/The Star-Ledger

Artists painstakingly transfer sacred stained glass windows

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) For nearly a century, the stained glass portrait of St. Patrick looked down on parishioners — as if from the heavens — from the massive nave of the sacred Heart church in this city's Vailsburg neighborhood.

RNS photo by Michele Chabin

Passover prep takes spring cleaning to a whole new level

JERUSALEM (RNS) While Passover cleaning has been around since the Israelites fled from bondage in Egypt, some say the lengths to which many modern Jewish families go to avoid the smallest piece of leavened material has turned the “festival of freedom” into a season of domestic slavery. By Michele Chabin.

Religious leaders press Village Voice on sex ads

(RNS) Faith leaders delivered more than 230,000 signatures to the office of Village Voice Media, demanding they shut down the adult advertising section on their website, Backpage.com, where advertisements for sex with underage minors have appeared. By Annalisa Musarra.

ThursdayâÂ?Â?s Religion News Roundup: Dalai LamaâÂ?Â?s Templeton; Pope & Fidel; Trayvon & churches

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel laureate, can add the Templeton Prize – and $1.7 million – to his résumé. He’s actually not the sort to indulge himself with the cash, and he didn’t disappoint in his winsome reaction to today’s announcement: “I am a simple Buddhist monk, no less, no more, after receiving this award,” said the 14th Dalai Lama, a.k.a., Tenzin Gyatso, exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhists. “Of course more people may pay some attention about my talks, my thoughts, so in that sense, I think, very very helpful.” Meanwhile in Cuba, a couple of other old guys were yukking it up. “What does a pope do?” 85-year-old Fidel Castro asked 84-year-old Pope Benedict XVI when the two met shortly before the pontiff returned to Rome after his visit to Mexico and Cuba. One thing the pope will do when he gets back is send the retired leader of the communist revolution in Cuba a book “to help him reflect,” as per Castro’s request.

RNS photo/public domain.

COMMENTARY: Pride goeth before a sail

(RNS) Before we get swept up in romanticized versions of the tragedy of the Titanic 100 years ago, we need to remember what really happened and recall the biblical words of Proverbs: “Pride goes before destruction.” By A. James Rudin.

RNS photo by Joe Fruchy

One Psalm, two causes, two meanings

(RNS) For decades, Psalm 139 has been a byword of the anti-abortion movement that has used its line about being “knit together in my mother's womb.” Now, its other verse about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” has been embraced by gay and lesbian Christians. By David Van Biema

Food pantry’s prayers violate federal rules

SEYMOUR, Ind. (RNS) After a court ruled that prayers at a food pantry violate federal guidelines, a food pantry here is faced with a Solomon-like choice: Stop the prayers or give up truckloads of free food provided through the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program. By Tim Evans.

Pope meets with Fidel Castro, urges more freedom

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI called for more religious freedom for the Catholic Church on his last day in communist Cuba. Around 300,000 people turned up for a papal Mass in Revolution Square in Havana, just before an unscheduled but much-anticipated meeting with Fidel Castro. By Alessandro Speciale.