A Look at Today: 12.07.06

Today’s Readings

First Reading: Isaiah 26:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27
Gospel: Matthew 7:21, 24-27

Today’s Events, Appearances

     SAN ANGELO – Shannon Hospital – Advent and Christmas Mass at 11 a.m.

Today’s News from Catholic News Service

By Catholic News Service

U.S.

Religious leaders urge weekend of prayer for Darfur

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Religious leaders in the Save Darfur Coalition urged prayer the weekend of Dec. 9-10 to call attention to the ongoing atrocities in the Darfur region of western Sudan. “Nobody knows the exact number” of those killed in the conflict, said David Rubenstein, executive director of the coalition, although he estimated 400,000 have died in the violence. “There are people dying every day, and at risk of death every day,” Rubenstein said during a Dec. 5 conference call with reporters. “They are being burned from their homes and villages.” “Mostly, what they need is security,” said Rubenstein, adding that “3.5 million people in toto have been affected by this conflict, and the systems of survival have shut down.” In a related matter, 78 religious organizations, including five Catholic groups, signed a full-page ad in the Dec. 5 issue of USA Today issuing a “call to your conscience” on Darfur. Catholic signers were the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Pax Christi USA and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.

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Thousands honor Virgin of Guadalupe in Los Angeles procession, Mass

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — To honor the Virgin of Guadalupe on the 475th anniversary of her appearance to St. Juan Diego in Tepeyac, Mexico, close to 30,000 people in Los Angeles Dec. 3 processed a mile from Our Lady of Solitude (La Soledad) Church to a college stadium where a special Mass was celebrated. With the theme “The Mother of All Immigrants,” the event attracted people of all ages and nationalities carrying flags from their home countries. Some dressed in the ethnic clothing of their former homeland to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of the Americas. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was among those who processed through the streets. The 75th annual procession in the Los Angeles Archdiocese was scheduled to coincide with the month when Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego and left her image on his cloak in 1531.

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‘Magi’ study by da Vinci makes brief appearance in U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Blink and you’ll miss it — in more ways than one. A study done around 1481 by Leonardo da Vinci for his painting, “Adoration of the Magi,” left Italy for only a very brief time, arriving at the Library of Congress in Washington for a U.S. exhibition lasting all of two days, Dec. 7-8. The study measures 160 millimeters by 290 millimeters — not much bigger than a reporter’s notebook, which measures 4 inches by 8 inches. Even so, exhibit patrons would benefit by viewing the enlarged detail of da Vinci’s study as shown on big-screen plasma televisions to see the remarkable detail it contains. The drawing is on loan from the Uffizi Gallery in Italy, and Library of Congress spokesman Matt Raymond said Dec. 6 at a press preview that there were a limited number of days it could be outside of Italy. It is the first public showing of the drawing outside of Italy, and its first trip outside of Europe.

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Madison bishop elected chairman of board of visitors for Army school

FORT BENNING, Ga. (CNS) — Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wis., was elected chairman of the board of visitors of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning. He replaces Ambassador Jose S. Sorzano, who has been serving as chairman. His continued board membership was term-limited. The institute, established in 2001 as a successor to the 55-year-old School of the Americas, instructs civilian, military and law enforcement leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere. The election of Bishop Morlino took place at the board’s recent meeting. It was unanimous, with the exception of his own abstention from the vote. The bishop commented that he was surprised at being invited to be a board member in the first place but even more surprised he was nominated for the chairmanship. He was appointed to the board in October 2005 by the U.S. secretary of defense and the U.S. secretary of the Army.

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Catholic Digest partners with National Council of Catholic Women

NEW LONDON, Conn. (CNS) — Catholic Digest and the National Council of Catholic Women have announced a partnership that they hope will both benefit the bottom line for the women’s organization and boost circulation for the magazine. In 2007 and 2008, the more than 50,000 NCCW members have the option to enhance their membership by adding a subscription to Catholic Digest, which currently has a worldwide readership estimated at 2.4 million. “We are eager to give women the opportunity to join with other Catholic women nationwide who strive to live their faith and serve the church,” said Ellen Bachman, NCCW president, “and we are delighted to also offer them the opportunity to enrich this faith by reading Catholic Digest.” Kathleen Stauffer, Catholic Digest president and publisher, said the partnership “is a wonderful opportunity for two established Catholic institutions to further their missions via mutual empowerment.”

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Rainbows program helps youths handle loss of parent in death, divorce

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (CNS) — Gloria Alford was ending a long-term relationship, her second, as a young single mom in the early 1990s when she realized the trauma another breakup was having on her 8-year-old, Matthew. The youngster had become attached to Alford’s longtime boyfriend, and Alford could see the prospect of losing contact with the older male was upsetting her son. “The breakup of the long-term relationship was like a second divorce and exacerbated everything,” she told the St. Augustine Catholic Magazine, a publication of the St. Augustine Diocese. “His schoolwork and pictures were reflecting depressive issues and I was concerned.” On the advice of a parish priest in Orlando, Alford enrolled herself and Matthew in a local chapter of Rainbows, a Chicago-based program that brings together children of similar ages to share a meal and talk about their family situations and their feelings in a confidential setting — under the supervision of trained coordinators. At the same time, parents meet separately in groups to do much the same.

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WORLD

Vox Clara says translation of Mass prayers could be ready in mid-2007

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican could approve the new English translation of the main Mass prayers as early as mid-2007 if the work of its advisory committee proceeds as planned, the committee said. The Vox Clara Committee, which includes a dozen bishops from eight English-speaking countries, met Dec. 4-5 at the Vatican. Over the past year, most of the world’s English-speaking bishops’ conferences have approved a new translation of the Order of the Mass, which includes all the prayers — such as the Gloria, creed and eucharistic prayers — used regularly in daily and Sunday Masses. The Latin-rite bishops of India, among the last to consider the new translation prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, are expected to vote on it during their January plenary meeting. The Vox Clara Committee has been reviewing the translations approved by the bishops’ conferences at the request of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, which must give its permission — or “recognitio” — for the translations to be used.

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Pope says in Turkish mosque he prayed for God to help all believers

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said that as he stood facing Mecca in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque Nov. 30 he prayed that God would help all believers recognize each other as brothers and sisters. Using his Dec. 6 weekly general audience to share reflections about his Nov. 28-Dec. 1 visit to Turkey, the pope said, “Divine providence allowed me to make a gesture that initially was not foreseen, but which, in the end, turned out to be very significant.” Describing what happened at the mosque, the pope said, “pausing a few minutes in recollection in that place of prayer, I turned to the one Lord of heaven and earth, merciful father of all humanity.” He added, “May all believers recognize that they are his creatures and give a witness of true brotherhood.” The pope said the trip was focused on “three concentric circles”: encouraging Turkey’s small Catholic community, strengthening relations with the Orthodox church and reaching out to the Turkish government and its Muslim majority.

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U.N. study spotlights church efforts to curb AIDS in southern Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — Catholic efforts to curb AIDS in southern Africa and care for those affected by the epidemic have been highlighted in a study by UNAIDS, the U.N. agency that coordinates the global campaign against AIDS. The study, “A Faith-Based Response to HIV in Southern Africa: The Choose to Care Initiative,” published Dec. 1, said the Catholic Church “has made its most significant response to the HIV epidemic through its services to care for the sick and dying.” With the help of pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb, the New York-based Catholic Medical Mission Board and other agencies, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference “has leveraged an efficient and effective response to the HIV epidemic as it ravages the poorest and most vulnerable populations,” the study said. Claudia Carthaus, spokeswoman for the mission board, told Catholic News Service in a Nov. 30 e-mail that the Choose to Care Initiative is the best practice “because it is implemented through the diocesan and parish system.”

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After Marine’s rape conviction, nun says justice should prevail

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (CNS) — A Good Shepherd nun who ministers to people involved in rape cases says justice, not military agreements, should hold sway in court decisions. Sister Mary Soledad Perpinan, founder and president of Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women, based in Quezon City, observed that the issue of military agreements between countries “tends to complicate the matter and should not affect the outcome of any crime like rape.” In decades of work with rape victims, she said, she remembers many foreigners who were rapists. Military men or not, they “seek special treatment, especially if the victim is a supposed prostitute,” said Sister Perpinan. She spoke with UCA News, an Asian church news agency, in Quezon City Dec. 5, the day after the Makati Regional Trial Court declared U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith guilty of raping a Filipino woman last year and sentenced him to 40 years’ imprisonment. The three U.S. Marines co-accused with Smith reportedly left the country after they were acquitted on charges of complicity.

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PEOPLE

Pope accepts resignation of Polish Cardinal Glemp, names replacement

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Polish Cardinal Jozef Glemp of Warsaw, who turns 77 Dec. 18, but said the cardinal will retain the personal title of Polish primate until his 80th birthday. Announcing the cardinal’s retirement Dec. 6, the Vatican also announced the pope had named Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Plock to succeed him. Cardinal Glemp has headed the Archdiocese of Warsaw since 1981 and led it through the tumultuous years of Poland’s martial law, underground Solidarity movement and the fall of communism in the late 1980s. The new archbishop of Warsaw, 67, spent 30 years teaching philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin. An expert on medieval philosophy and on the history of philosophy in Poland, he served three terms as the rector of the Lublin university. Pope John Paul II named him bishop of Plock in 1999.

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Pope names Philadelphia theologian to Pontifical Academy for Life

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named John Haas, a moral theologian and president of the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center, to be a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Vatican announced the appointment Dec. 6. Haas, a Philadelphia resident and father of nine children, has taught moral theology at the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington and at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. Pope John Paul II established the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1994 to study problems related to the promotion and defense of human life and dignity.

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Trappists at Mepkin Abbey elect Father Gumula as new abbot

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (CNS) — Trappist Father Stanislaus Gumula has been elected the fourth abbot of Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner. He succeeds Father Francis Kline, who died in August at the age of 57 after a long illness. “Our desire and hope is to continue to show the compassionate face of Christ … and that reconciliation between divergent voices and groups and between human communities and our natural surroundings and ecosystems is always possible,” said Abbot Gumula. Born Stanley Amil Gumula and raised in Philadelphia, the 65-year-old Abbot Gumula entered Mepkin Abbey, a monastery of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as Trappists, in 1959. He made his first profession of vows in 1961 and his final profession in 1980. The monastery’s cellarer — or person in charge of provisions — since 1984, he was ordained to the priesthood in 2003.

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Chinese bishop of Baoding, ordained illicitly in 2000, dies at age 80

HONG KONG (CNS) — Auxiliary Bishop John Su Changshan of Baoding, one of the five bishops ordained on the feast of the Epiphany in 2000 without a papal mandate, died of a heart attack Dec. 4. He was 80. The diocese is now administered by Auxiliary Bishop Francis An Shuxin of Baoding, who “surfaced” recently after being with the underground community for decades. Baoding has been a stronghold of the underground church community in China, which rejects the administrative structures of the government-approved or open church community. Father Yang Yicun, a priest of the Baoding Diocese, told the Asian church news agency UCA News Dec. 5 that Catholics found Bishop Su dead in his room at Our Lady of Donglu Church in Donglu village after he did not appear for morning Mass. Donglu village, a famous pilgrimage site in China, is in Qingyuan County of Hebei province.

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