Today: 11.28.06

Today’s Readings

First Reading: Revelation 14:14-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 96:10, 11-12, 13
Gospel: Luke 21:5-11

Today in the Diocese

No events, appearances scheduled

Necrology

Rev. Nicholas Femenia, C.M. (died this date, 1999)

Catholic News Headlines

By Catholic News Service

U.S.

Bishop takes counseling in lieu of charge for late reporting of abuse

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Bishop Daniel F. Walsh of Santa Rosa, Calif., agreed Nov. 20 to enroll in a diversion counseling program in lieu of facing possible criminal charges for his delay in reporting allegations that one of his priests sexually abused a minor. Bishop Walsh publicly apologized for failing to report the alleged abuse to authorities immediately and said he would accept “whatever punishment is imposed.” In other recent developments concerning clergy sex abuse: Ohio’s nine dioceses have joined to set up a $3 million fund for independent counseling for victims of childhood abuse at the hands of Ohio church personnel; the Pittsburgh Diocese announced a new spiritual outreach program for abuse victims; the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., released the names of 20 priests believed to have abused children; a defrocked Denver priest facing numerous abuse allegations died while vacationing in Mexico; and a suspended priest of the Diocese of Allentown, Pa., who was convicted of embezzlement and sexual abuse of minors, was put back in prison for violating the terms of his probation.

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Resources help parishes observe World AIDS Day

CHICAGO (CNS) — The annual observance of World AIDS Day Dec. 1 gives everyone — from national and international AIDS organizations to community groups, parishes and individuals — an opportunity to recommit themselves to the fight against AIDS, said Dan Lunney, executive director of the Chicago-based National Catholic AIDS Network. An estimated 38.6 million people are thought to be living with AIDS or HIV, the virus that causes it. According to UNAIDS, 4.1 million people were newly infected in 2006. “This is an opportunity for us to focus on the important opportunities we have to improve our ministry to our brothers and sisters living with, and affected by, HIV/AIDS,” said Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George in a recent conference call aimed at raising awareness about the disease and sharing resources for Catholic parishes to use to observe World AIDS Day. “It is also an opportunity for us to recognize and to thank those in the church who so actively work to prevent the spread of AIDS and to take care of those living with the virus,” he added.

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Wedding at residence for people with HIV/AIDS viewed as sign of hope

TULSA, Okla. (CNS) — The tiny chapel was packed, and nearly 50 people were wall-to-wall in the living room next door watching on live video as two residents of St. Joseph Residence celebrated the sacrament of marriage at the home operated by Catholic Charities for people with HIV/AIDS. Karla Tejada became the wife of Wayman Chadwick Nov. 17, an occasion that celebrant Father David Medina said brought great joy to him and all the people present. “I am excited because finally this day has arrived, after all the planning and exciting moments,” he said. “This is an honor for me to be here witnessing the love you will exchange from now on.” The couple moved into an apartment of their own that night. Tejada had lived at St. Joseph for the past four years, and she met her future husband when Chadwick moved in a year ago.

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Presbyterian minister works to bring healing, peace in war-torn Sudan

SAN ANTONIO (CNS) — Even as the fate of Darfur in western Sudan hangs in the balance, the churches of violence-ravaged Sudan continue in their joint efforts to bring about grass-roots healing in a land where warfare has been a way of life for decades. During a recent speaking tour of the United States on behalf of the New Sudan Council of Churches, the Rev. Debbie Braaksma, a Presbyterian missionary, spoke about the work she and her husband, Del, have been doing with the people of southern Sudan through the Resource Center for Civil Leadership. The New Sudan Council of Churches, co-founded by Catholic Bishop Paride Taban of Torit, is a fellowship of Christian churches working to promote peace and understanding among different communities living in the region. At a recent stop in San Antonio, Rev. Braaksma expressed hope that if enough outside pressure can be brought to bear on the government of Sudan to sustain peace, the churches’ workshops will continue to bear fruit in the healing of a people traumatized by years of brutality.

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WORLD

Pope seeks prayers for trip; Turkish security to be unprecedented

ANKARA, Turkey (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI asked for prayers for his pilgrimage to Turkey, as the Turkish government announced unprecedented security measures to protect the pontiff and the Vatican confirmed the pope would visit a mosque during his trip. A demonstration against the visit in Istanbul, meanwhile, drew a smaller-than-expected crowd of anti-pope protesters. In Ankara, where the pope was scheduled to arrive Nov. 28, government officials played down tensions and predicted the papal visit would help advance Christian-Islamic dialogue. In a last-minute addition to the papal schedule, the Vatican said the pope would stop briefly Nov. 30 at Istanbul’s renowned Blue Mosque as a sign of respect toward Muslims. He will become the second pope in history to enter a Muslim place of worship; Pope John Paul II visited a mosque in Syria in 2001. The Vatican also confirmed that the pope would meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan upon arriving at the Ankara airport, just before Erdogan leaves the country for a NATO summit.

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Pope urges international community to increase efforts to cure AIDS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI called on the international community to increase efforts to find a cure for HIV/AIDS and to protect people infected by the virus from discrimination. The pope made the appeal at the end of his Nov. 26 Angelus in St. Peter’s Square to mark World AIDS Day Dec. 1. Nearly 40 million adults and children are living with HIV, and new infections are on the rise in many countries, according to a recent report by the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization. This year 4.3 million people have contracted the virus and 2.9 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses, the report said. Pope Benedict said he hoped World AIDS Day would promote a greater sense of “responsibility in curing the disease as well as in the commitment to avoid all discrimination against those who have been hit” by the virus that causes the disease. In a separate address, the pope called for all people struggling with infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, to be treated with love and respect.

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Pope, Anglican leader pledge friendship while recognizing differences

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The “journey of friendship” between Roman Catholics and Anglicans will continue even though the path toward full unity seems to be blocked, said Pope Benedict XVI and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury. The two leaders spent 25 minutes speaking privately Nov. 23 at the Vatican before giving speeches that candidly recognized the divisions within the Anglican Communion and between Roman Catholics and Anglicans over the ordination of women and over homosexuality. After their private meeting, the pope and the Anglican leader processed side by side into the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel for midday prayer before eating lunch together. Archbishop Williams’ visit marked the 40th anniversary of the visit made by a predecessor, Archbishop Michael Ramsey, to Pope Paul VI. The 1966 meeting marked the launch of the official Anglican-Roman Catholic theological dialogue.

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Archbishop: Thousands of Zimbabweans starve, die weekly from disease

LONDON (CNS) — More people are dying from starvation and disease in Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe than are killed in the war in Iraq or the conflict in Darfur, said an African archbishop. Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, said about 3,500 people are dying each week in his country from a “unique convergence of malnutrition, poverty and AIDS.” He said the world has forgotten about the plight of Zimbabweans although “hunger, illness and desperation stalk our land.” “Cemeteries are filling up throughout the country, but no blood is being spilt,” he told a private meeting of politicians and church leaders in London Nov. 22. “People are just fading away, dying quietly and being buried quietly with no fanfare, and so there is little media attention.” As many people die prematurely in Zimbabwe in one week as in one month in Iraq when the violence is at its worst, he said. In October, 3,700 people died in Iraq.

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Pope cites importance of diocesan newspapers

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Diocesan newspapers are important because they strengthen local communities and give them a voice they will not find in national publications, Pope Benedict XVI said. Meeting Nov. 25 with the Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies, the pope said the papers underline “facts and realities where the Gospel is lived, where good and truth triumph” and where individuals commit their time and creativity to building real communities. The primary task of a diocesan newspaper, he said, is to “serve the truth with courage, helping the public see, understand and live reality with the eyes of God.” The challenges of modern life and the diversity of people within a diocese also must find a reflection in the diocesan paper, he said.

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Tensions, tight security: Papal visits to Turkey have parallels

ANKARA, Turkey (CNS) — The scenario was oddly familiar. The pope was making his first visit to a Muslim country, and the climate in Turkey was anything but festive. Against a backdrop of rising Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey and upheaval in the Muslim world, the Turkish government was less than happy about the visit and was keeping the diplomatic side of the trip very low-key. Threats against the pope’s life were taken seriously, and authorities mobilized thousands of heavily armed policemen in Ankara and Istanbul, where the pope would hold his main events. Among the minority Christian community in Turkey, leaders were hoping the pope would say a word on behalf of their struggle for religious rights in a theoretically secular state. Asked on the plane to Turkey why he was traveling in light of the apparent risks and general Muslim unease, the pope cited the trip’s ecumenical importance and added: “Love is stronger than danger.” This was not, however, Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. It was Pope John Paul II in 1979. The two papal trips have some instructive parallels — and a few key differences.

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Vatican Museums testify to greatness of God, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The holdings of the Vatican Museums are a “theology in images” testifying to the beauty and greatness of God, Pope Benedict XVI said. Meeting Nov. 23 with employees of the museums and their family members, Pope Benedict encouraged the workers to help visitors feel the attraction of Christianity by ensuring they receive a warm and friendly welcome. The papal audience, held in the evening after closing time, was part of the museums’ 500th anniversary celebration. The pope noted that 3.8 million people visited the museums in 2005 and that the number of visitors for 2006 already had exceeded 4 million. “Most are not Catholics, many are not Christians and perhaps not even believers,” the pope said. While a lot of them also visit St. Peter’s Basilica while at the Vatican, a good portion of the visitors see only the museums, he said. The museums are a “sanctuary of art and faith,” he said, and they have a “great responsibility” to communicate the Christian message.

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Caritas to provide supplies to Ugandan rebels assembling in Sudan

KAMPALA, Uganda (CNS) — Caritas Uganda is to provide food, sanitation facilities, medicine and other nonfood items to the guerrilla Lord’s Resistance Army when it assembles in southern Sudan under the terms of a recent peace agreement. The rebels are to assemble at two designated points in southern Sudan, according to the Aug. 26 peace agreement they signed with the Ugandan government. In early November, the Ugandan government set a Dec. 1 deadline for the rebels to assemble at the designated points or the government would withdraw from the ongoing peace talks in Juba, Sudan. Vincent Sebukyu, deputy director of Caritas Uganda, told Catholic News Service the role of Caritas Uganda will be to assist in speeding up the peace process by providing supplies to the assembling rebels. Sebukyu said distributing the resources at the right places at the right time and securing appropriate funding would be a challenge.

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PEOPLE

San Francisco prelate named to Vatican communications council

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco to be a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; he joins Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles as U.S. members of the council. The Vatican announced five-year appointments to the council Nov. 25 and formally confirmed a list of new consultants, some of whom had been announced earlier. U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley, a Philadelphia native, is president of the council, which explains Catholic teaching regarding the use of all forms of media and offers guidance to Catholics in the fields of cinema, television, radio and the press. Archbishop Niederauer will take over the membership position previously held by Bishop Joseph A. Galante of Camden, N.J.

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New director named for National Catholic Office for the Deaf

LANDOVER HILLS, Md. (CNS) — Consuelo Martinez Wild, who has 25 years of experience in services and ministries to those who are deaf, began her appointment in October as executive director of the National Catholic Office for the Deaf in the Washington suburb of Landover Hills. From 1995 until just recently, she was director of the Department of Deaf Ministry for the Diocese of Orange, Calif. Wild was born with a progressive hearing loss and became deaf as an adult. Prior to her work in the Orange Diocese, she worked in various outreach programs for the deaf. She also worked in the clinical and research area of deaf services and established parent support groups, family camps and summer work programs. During that time she was also on the advisory board and a catechist for the Catholic Deaf Center in Orange County.

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Two plead guilty to setting 2000 fire at Seton Hall University dorm

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (CNS) — Msgr. Robert Sheeran, president of Seton Hall University, said he was relieved that two former students accused of setting a dormitory fire on campus nearly seven years ago have “accepted personal and legal responsibility” for their actions. Former students Joseph Lepore and Sean Michael Ryan, both 26, pleaded guilty Nov. 15 to arson and witness tampering surrounding the January 2000 fire in the freshman dormitory that killed three students and injured more than 50 others. The charges carry five-year prison terms. Lepore, reading a signed agreement in a Newark courtroom, said he and Ryan set fire to a banner that had been draped on a sofa in the third-floor lounge of Boland Hall Jan. 19. “I did not intend to injure anyone,” Lepore said. “It was a prank that got out of hand.” In a Nov. 15 statement, Msgr. Sheeran said he was praying for continued healing “for the families who have lost their sons” and for those who were injured. He also said he hoped the two men who pleaded guilty will “be able to rebuild their lives” and in time “might help and heal others.”

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Argentine priest who helped found Wallenberg Foundation dies

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNS) — Father Horacio Moreno, an Argentine priest who championed interfaith dialogue and helped found the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, died of natural causes in Buenos Aires Nov. 16. He was 88. Father Moreno, who previously suffered from a lung problem, was buried Nov. 17. “He leaves a legacy of education, of values, of teaching and of work. He founded the Argentine House in Israel … the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, schools, churches, theaters. He was a very active man,” the foundation’s executive director, Gustavo Jalife, told Catholic News Service. The foundation exists to honor the work of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis during World War II before being arrested by the Soviet army and disappearing in 1945. It also works to promote the values of solidarity and civic courage shown by Holocaust survivors.

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