A Look at Today: 12.06.06

Today’s Readings

First Reading: Isaiah 25:6-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
Gospel: Matthew 15:29-37

Today’s Diocesan Events, Appearances

No events scheduled

Necrology

Rev. Angel Vizcarra, O.P. (died 12.05.2004)

Today’s News from Calic News Service

U.S. Muslims and Catholics involved in many dialogues

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Muslim-Catholic dialogue is a living and growing reality in the United States. “The important thing is to keep the dialogue going because there are so many parts of the world where it isn’t going,” said John Borelli, special assistant to the president and director for interreligious initiatives at Georgetown University in Washington. Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s new Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, called the advancement of the U.S. dialogues “something of a historical imperative” because “if they go in the right direction, they could give a gift of the 21st century to the rest of mankind.” Father Francis Tiso, associate director for interreligious relations at the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said dialogue “is a tremendous opportunity to refine your thinking about the other side.” Borelli, who held Father Tiso’s post from 1987 to 2003, played a major role in the 1990s in getting three official regional dialogues started between Catholic and Muslim leaders and scholars.

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Step up efforts for peace in Lebanon, bishop urges Rice

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The United States and the U.N. Security Council must step up efforts to resolve problems in Lebanon that threaten a tenuous peace agreement, said a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ international policy committee. In the Dec. 1 letter Bishop Wenski said the Nov. 21 assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was a sign of the deepening crisis and instability in Lebanon. He urged a concerted effort by the United States and the international community to ensure the sovereignty and stability of Lebanon. On Dec. 3 there were violent clashes between rival Muslim groups in Beirut, causing one death from gunshot wounds and injuries to 21 others, according to an Associated Press story. Meanwhile, as protesters blared revolutionary and nationalist songs outside, a memorial Mass was said for Gemayel in the office of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who has supporters among the country’s Sunni Muslims. At the same time, a second Mass organized by Michel Aoun, a Christian leader with ties to a Shiite organization, took place at St. George Cathedral, a short distance away.

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Catholic Channel debuts on Sirius Satellite Radio

NEW YORK (CNS) — The Catholic Channel debuted Dec. 4 on Sirius Satellite Radio. Sirius and the Archdiocese of New York worked together to create the channel. Its original Sept. 26 launch date was delayed because of New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan’s recovery from Sept. 6 knee-replacement surgery. It can be found at Channel 159 on Sirius receivers. The Catholic Channel airs programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many of the programs are listener call-in shows, and a dedicated toll-free telephone line has been established to handle calls: (888) 322-8465. Among the Catholic Channel offerings are (times EST): “Ask the Cardinal,” Thursdays, noon-1 p.m. featuring Cardinal Egan speaking directly with Catholics around the nation on Scripture, current events and Vatican news, and “Busted Halo,” weekdays, 7-9 p.m., hosted by Paulist Father Dave Dwyer, who was ordained in his 30s and who aims to reach young adults and teach them that nobody is perfect, hence the name “Busted Halo.”

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Minnesota religious leaders seek action on global warming

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis was one of three Minnesota religious leaders who met Nov. 20 with Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., urging Coleman to help lead efforts to mitigate the threat of global warming. “Global warming is a religious issue,” said a Nov. 20 letter to Coleman signed by Archbishop Flynn and 29 other Minnesota religious leaders. “We need energy policies that guarantee global-warming emissions will decrease, that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, and that tighten fuel economy standards.” Archbishop Flynn said, “I don’t think people in our community realize the catastrophic effect of global warming. This is a problem for all.” The meeting with Coleman came three weeks after a Pax Christi gathering in Eden Prairie, Minn., that drew hundreds who wanted to learn about climate issues from a Catholic perspective.

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Contemplative Good Shepherd Sisters celebrate 175 years of prayer

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — The 569 women who make up the Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and zeal for souls. “The vow of zeal says it all,” said Sister Barbara Beasley, U.S. provincial leader, in a written reflection. “They give their lifeblood to prayer for the ministries of the active (Good Shepherd) sisters and the needs of the world. They are a powerhouse of prayer.” Founded by the then-35-year-old Sister (now St.) Mary Euphrasia Pelletier in France, the Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd marked their 175th anniversary last summer. Members of the order are located in 58 communities in 28 countries, including Australia, South Korea, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, Central American nations, Chile, Paraguay, Canada, United States and Mexico. “We have a gift to give the world,” Sister Barbara said, “and it is our prayer and our lives.”

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WORLD

Chinese spokesman rejects Vatican criticism of illicit ordination

HONG KONG (CNS) — China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs has rejected Vatican criticism of the ordination in Xuzhou of a bishop without papal approval. A spokesman from the administration told the Xinhua news agency Dec. 3 that the criticism makes “no sense.” He said China and the Vatican have no official ties, have not reached a tacit understanding or agreement on the ordination of bishops, and the Vatican never has recognized the government-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China. The Chinese government also informed the Vatican in advance of the selection and ordination, “which showed great sincerity,” the spokesman said. UCA News, an Asian church news agency based in Thailand, reported on the spokesman’s statements Dec. 5. A Dec. 2 Vatican statement said Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened by the Nov. 30 ordination of Father Wang Renlei, 36, as coadjutor bishop of Xuzhou.

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British cardinal tells Blair to combat AIDS with drugs, not condoms

LONDON (CNS) — British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster challenged British Prime Minister Tony Blair to help combat AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa by spending money on medicine rather than condoms. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor made his comments after Blair said it would be better if churches “faced up to the reality” that condoms prevented the transmission of AIDS. Blair told the MTV music channel Dec. 1, which marked World Aids Day, that Britain would be increasing the number of condoms it sent to Africa. The cardinal, speaking on the British Broadcasting Corp. Dec. 3, said he would like to tell Blair that it would be “much better if we used that money to provide more antiretroviral drugs (and) medicines for the millions of children and women who are affected.” He said, “I speak to bishops in Africa, and they told me that their dioceses are flooded with condoms” and that condoms mean “more promiscuity and more AIDS.”

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Ukrainian archbishop denounces recent Lefebvrite ordinations

OXFORD, England (CNS) — A Ukrainian Eastern Catholic archbishop has denounced the recent ordinations of Lefebvrite supporters and said those responsible face excommunication. Archbishop Ihor Vozniak of Lviv told the Ukrainian newspaper Lvivska Gazeta that “none of these new priests and deacons have a right to serve in parishes of the Ukrainian Catholic Church since they were ordained in the Latin rite by an excommunicated bishop. “It looks like a deliberate incitement to enmity within the Ukrainian nation. We await the quick reaction from the Holy Father in Rome,” he said. Two Ukrainian priests and seven deacons were ordained in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 21 as members of the Society of St. Pius X, which rejects reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The followers of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated in 1988, form the society. Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, presided over the ordinations.

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Pope sends his support to Philippine typhoon victims, rescue workers

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (CNS) — As government officials try to assess and address the damage of Typhoon Durian, Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of encouragement to victims and rescue workers in the Philippines. “His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI assures all affected of his closeness in prayer,” said a message from the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Dec. 4. “His Holiness likewise prays for the rescue workers and all involved in providing practical assistance to the victims of this disaster, encouraging them to persevere in their efforts to bring relief and support,” the message said. More than 1.09 million people in 13 provinces were affected by the typhoon that hit the country Nov. 30, reported the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council. Tens of thousands of houses were destroyed, 425 people were listed as dead, 507 injured and 599 missing. Nearly 23,000 people have sought refuge in 129 evacuation centers.

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Chaldean patriarchate announces presumed kidnapping of Iraqi priest

ROME (CNS) — The rector of the Chaldean Catholic seminary in Baghdad, Iraq, which had been closed because of a lack of security in the country, was missing and presumed kidnapped Dec. 4, announced the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Baghdad. Father Samy Al Raiys was taken near his home at the Church of St. George. His car had not been found and no kidnappers had made demands as of the morning of Dec. 5, reported the Rome-based AsiaNews agency. The Chaldean Catholic patriarchate posted a notice on its Web site asking any kidnappers to release the priest unharmed. Offering prayers for the priest’s safety, the notice also asked God to “help us save Iraq from these kidnappings that terrorize everyone, adults and children.” Father Al Raiys recently moved from the closed-down seminary to the Church of St. George, AsiaNews said. The seminary had been scheduled to reopen Dec. 6 for a “trial week,” but the opening was postponed when the rector went missing.

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PEOPLE

Chicago deacons help with rebuilding efforts in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — A group of permanent deacons from Chicago has planned three trips a year to help repair and rebuild post-Katrina New Orleans. Deacon Sal Lema, director of communications for the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary of the Carmelite Fathers and Brothers, enlisted help from fellow deacons in the Chicago Archdiocese after hearing about the needs from a member of his province who was in New Orleans after the August 2005 hurricane to offer help from the larger Carmelite community. “He couldn’t believe what he saw,” Deacon Lema recalled during an October building trip to New Orleans. “When I heard it, my reaction was, ‘We’ve got to do something, and that something had to be a hands-on project.'” The deacons have now organized their efforts as Project Hope. The subtitle, “Hope is on the way,” carried over to their Web address, http://www.hopeisontheway.org. They all wear red T-shirts with “Chicago deacons” on one side and “Project Hope” on the other.

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Father Greeley receives 2006 Campion Award from America magazine

NEW YORK (CNS) — Sociologist and author Father Andrew Greeley received the 2006 Campion Award presented by America magazine during a Nov. 16 ceremony in New York. The award, given on a regular basis to a noted Christian person of letters, is named for St. Edmund Campion, an English Jesuit who was noted for his writings in defense of the faith. He was put to death in London in 1581 and was canonized in 1970. “For his scholarship, priestly service and manifold contributions in a variety of literary categories, we honor Father Andrew Greeley in the name of Edmund Campion — likewise a priest, writer and champion of the faith,” the editorial board of the Jesuit-run magazine said in announcing the award.

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N.J. Catholic honored by GreenFaith environmental coalition

SPARTA, N.J. (CNS) — John Kirk, a longtime parishioner and usher at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Sparta, was honored in November by GreenFaith, New Jersey’s interfaith coalition for the environment. An environmental studies professor at Montclair State University and director of the New Jersey School of Conservation for 37 years, Kirk in 1987 helped establish the Interfaith Partnership for the Environment, which educates religious leaders in North America about serious environmental problems. The organization has evolved into a global network of religious groups and organizations working to bring religious and ecological issues together. “Some people are more interested in the green of money than the green of the forest,” Kirk told The Beacon, newspaper of the Diocese of Paterson, N.J. “We are responsible to God and the earth, this beautiful planet, which we’ve shortchanged.”

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