A Look at Today (01.09.07)

No events in Diocese.

Bishop Pfeifer in Dallas for United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Youth Audit Seminar.

Today’s Readings

 First Reading: Hebrews 2:5-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News Service

Amniotic-fluid stem cells hailed as another alternative to embryo use

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The recent announcement by scientists at Wake Forest and Harvard universities that the amniotic fluid surrounding a child in the womb can be the source of medically useful stem cells is just the latest in a series of studies showing the research value of the byproducts of live birth, according to the deputy director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. Richard M. Doerflinger told Catholic News Service Jan. 8 that various studies have shown that the placenta, cord blood, the umbilical cord itself and other byproducts of birth “may all contain very versatile stem cells, with many of the advantages of embryonic stem cells without the practical disadvantages or moral problems.” “With 4 million live births every year in our country alone, an ample supply of these cells lies readily at hand,” he added. The study was reported Jan. 7 in the online edition of the journal Nature Biotechnology and included research by scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

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March for Life events planned to mark 34th anniversary of Roe

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The annual March for Life will take place Jan. 22 in Washington to mark the 34th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The event will begin with a noon rally on the National Mall followed by a march along Constitution Avenue that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. From there, participants are encouraged to meet with members of Congress to lobby on anti-abortion issues. The theme of this year’s march is “Thou Shalt Protect the Equal Right to Life of Each Innocent Human in Existence at Fertilization. No Exception! No Compromise!” Several other events will take place both in Washington and around the country to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision. The National Prayer Vigil for Life will take place Jan. 21 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington with an 8 p.m. Mass celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

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San Francisco auxiliary bishop to head Salt Lake City Diocese

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Auxiliary Bishop John C. Wester of San Francisco has been named the new head of the Diocese of Salt Lake City by Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, announced the appointment Jan. 8 in Washington. Bishop Wester, 56, is to be installed in Salt Lake City March 14 in ceremonies at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. At a news conference in Salt Lake City, he said, “I look forward to forging friendships with you and all our sisters and brothers in Christ in the years ahead. I am definitely the ‘new kid on the block,'” he added. “I have a lot to learn and I therefore must be an attentive listener to you, the priests and deacons, religious and faithful.” He also addressed the news media briefly in Spanish, noting that many of the Catholics in Utah are Spanish-speaking.

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Collection for church in Latin America takes place Jan. 27-28

WASHINGTON (CNS) — “Forming Disciples, Building One Church” is the theme of the 2007 national Catholic collection for the church in Latin America. In most U.S. dioceses the collection will be taken up at parish Masses the weekend of Jan. 27-28. The collection “enables the local Catholic churches throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to support the formation of disciples of Jesus Christ across generations, cultures and vocations,” said Auxiliary Bishop Jaime Soto of Orange, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Church in Latin America. Last year U.S. Catholics donated $6.5 million to the collection, and the bishops’ Secretariat for the Church in Latin America oversaw the distribution of $7 million to 485 projects. Msgr. Carlos Quintana Puente, executive director of the secretariat, said one project in 2006 was a continent-wide grant of $250,000 to the Latin American bishops’ council, CELAM, to help fund preparations for the fifth-year assembly of Latin American bishops coming up this May.

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Lunchtime Masses in Baltimore give downtown workers a spiritual boost

BALTIMORE (CNS) — On a recent weekday, Tina Tekirian of Frederick slipped out of her laboratory at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in downtown Baltimore, walked the few blocks to the Shrine of St. Jude and settled into a pew shortly before the noon Mass was set to begin. With a workplace identification card dangling in front of her warm purple sweater, the neuroscientist and parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in Frederick was deep in prayer as the priest made his way to the altar. Taking her lunch break to attend the noon Mass is a weekday ritual for Tekirian, who says it’s no sacrifice to skip the meal and eat while she works later in the afternoon. “This is the most important part of my day,” the 34-year-old research associate told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Baltimore Archdiocese. “Prayer is the very center of my life. It’s the part of my rhythm that allows me to focus the rest of the day.”

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Man arrested on arson charge after two-alarm blaze inside church

RICHMOND, Calif. (CNS) — A man was arrested after setting an altar ablaze Jan. 5 at St. Cornelius Church in Richmond in the Oakland Diocese and telling a choir rehearsing there at the time that he would burn down the church. Police arrested Robert Mills, 40, of San Pablo. He was being held on suspicion of arson, said Richmond police Sgt. Shawn Pickett. Police said Mills has a history of violent criminal activity. After the fire was set, parishioners followed Mills to a park, where he jumped a fence into an apartment yard and was apprehended by police. The church, across the street from Richmond’s City Hall, suffered minor fire damage and heavy smoke damage in what developed into a two-alarm blaze, a Richmond Fire Department spokesman said. Firefighters had the flames under control within 17 minutes of the second alarm.

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WORLD

Polish archbishop resigns, says contacts with communists hurt church

OXFORD, England (CNS) — Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw resigned just two days after formally taking office, after admitting that he acted as an informer for Poland’s former communist secret police and that his cooperation harmed the church. Although the press officially learned of his resignation less than two hours before what was to have been Archbishop Wielgus’ installation Mass Jan. 7, the archbishop made the announcement to the congregation just after the start of the ceremony in Warsaw’s St. John Cathedral. The Mass was turned into a service of thanksgiving for the work of his predecessor, Cardinal Jozef Glemp. In a short Jan. 7 statement, the Vatican’s apostolic nunciature in Warsaw said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the archbishop’s resignation under Canon 401, which states, “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.” It added that Cardinal Glemp had been asked to stay on as Warsaw archdiocesan administrator “pending further decisions.”

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Warsaw archbishop’s resignation prompts Vatican embarrassment, relief

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The resignation of Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw has prompted embarrassment and disappointment in the Vatican, along with a sense of relief that Pope Benedict XVI did not allow the awkward drama to continue a single day longer. In an official statement, the Vatican praised the “humility” of Archbishop Wielgus, who resigned Jan. 7, two days after admitting he had once cooperated with the secret police of Poland’s former communist regime. Privately, however, several Vatican officials expressed irritation that the archbishop had apparently not been fully frank about his past from the beginning. They also questioned how the Vatican’s normally exhaustive vetting process broke down in one of Eastern Europe’s most important episcopal appointments. “When Msgr. Wielgus was nominated, we knew nothing about his collaboration with the secret police,” Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, bluntly told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

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Pope baptizes infants, calls sacrament invitation to human freedom

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI closed out the Christmas season at the Vatican with an annual Mass to baptize infants and kept up a tradition of his own — an extemporaneous sermon on the meaning of the sacrament. Baptism is not some “magical” rite of words and water, but a lasting invitation to human freedom to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the pope said Jan. 7, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. As the cries of babies echoed through the Sistine Chapel, the pope poured water from a gilded scoop onto the heads of 13 infants and pronounced the words welcoming them into the church. Most were children of Vatican employees. He held a prepared text in his hand as he gave his homily, but referred to it only sporadically, preferring to ad lib as he did the year before. One by one, he explained the symbols of the sacrament, then spoke about its central meaning.

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Pope to diplomats: Respect for rights, desires is only path to peace

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Condemning continuing bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan, renewed fighting in Somalia and Sri Lanka and the ongoing holding of hostages in Colombia, Pope Benedict XVI said respect for the human rights and legitimate aspirations of peoples is the only path to peace. “The Holy See will never tire of reiterating that armed solutions achieve nothing, as we saw in Lebanon last summer,” the pope said Jan. 8 in his annual address to ambassadors serving at the Vatican. Pope Benedict also condemned increased attacks on human life, particularly through abortion, and attempts to redefine marriage. “It is by respecting the human person that peace can be promoted,” he told the ambassadors and representatives from 175 countries. “Yes, the future can be serene if we work together for humanity,” the pope said. “Man, created in the image of God, has an incomparable dignity; man, who is so worthy of love in the eyes of his creator that God did not hesitate to give his own Son for him.”

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Pope urges today’s Wise Men to shape a world based on Christ

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said the age of globalization is challenging political, scientific and religious leaders to shape a new world order based on spiritual values. This means an encounter with the “light of Christ,” which can reveal the deepest values of all cultures, the pope said. “To all people of our time, I want to repeat today: Do not be afraid of the light of Christ!” he said. The pope made the remarks at a Mass Jan. 6 on the feast of the Epiphany, which marks the manifestation of Jesus as savior to the world. In his sermon, he recalled the New Testament account of the three Wise Men or Magi, guided to Bethlehem by a star, who were the first to come and adore Jesus. The Wise Men were mysterious but important figures as the church began its mission of bringing Christ to the world, he said. Then he posed the question, “Who are the Wise Men of today?” He answered by identifying three classes of leaders: political authorities, people of intellect and science, and the leaders of the world’s faiths.

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PEOPLE

Catholic care center residents form own ministry team

SAN PIERRE, Ind. (CNS) — It started when a Catholic convert at Our Lady of Holy Cross Care Center wanted to join the Gary Diocese’s Catholic lay ministry program to help minister to other residents at the center. Now 13 residents at the 200-bed facility in northwestern Indiana have formed their own ecumenical pastoral care team. “They have formed their own spiritual community and work hard to grow and learn,” said Margie Pixey, the center’s pastoral care director and chaplain. Members of the group serve as extraordinary ministers of Communion, readers, greeters and prayer leaders. With the permission of family and in the absence of a chaplain, they also make spiritual visits to other residents. Residents at Holy Cross, a long-term care facility, may be there because of a stroke, crippling accident or head injury or a debilitating condition such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

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By Vatican decision, priest returned to ministry after leave

CINCINNATI (CNS) — Father James Kiffmeyer, a priest of the Cincinnati Archdiocese, has been returned to active priestly ministry as a result of a recent action by the Vatican. He has been on leave for more than four years. Father Kiffmeyer took personal leave from the priesthood in April 2002 after an allegation of sexual misconduct was made against him. Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk later put him on administrative leave, which meant that he was unable to celebrate the sacraments, wear clerical garb or in any other way function as a priest. There were two allegations of sexual misconduct made against Father Kiffmeyer. Both involved drinking, and both accusations came from students at Fenwick High School who were 18 or older at the time of the alleged events. The first allegation from 1990 was brought to the attention of the archdiocese in 1997. Father Kiffmeyer reached a four-figure settlement with the accuser. The second incident was said to have occurred around 1986 and was brought to the attention of the archdiocese in April 2002.

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Pope calls deceased Congolese cardinal ’eminent son of Africa’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Congolese Cardinal Frederic Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi of Kinshasa, who died Jan. 6 of pneumonia in a Belgian hospital, was an “eminent son of Africa” who devoted his life to preaching the Gospel and serving the African people, Pope Benedict XVI said. The cardinal, 76, had been hospitalized for complications related to diabetes. Pope Benedict sent telegrams of condolence to the Catholics of Kinshasa and to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to which the cardinal had belonged. Cardinal Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi was known as a leading voice for reconciliation in his own war-torn nation, the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, and throughout Africa’s Great Lakes region. A memorial Mass for Cardinal Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi was scheduled for Jan. 9 in Brussels, Belgium. His body was to be flown to Kinshasa Jan. 11 where a memorial Mass was scheduled for Jan. 14 with the funeral Mass and burial to follow Jan. 15.

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Josephite who served in Texas, Louisiana, District of Columbia dies

BALTIMORE (CNS) — A funeral Mass was scheduled for Jan. 10 for Josephite Father Joseph L. Waters, who died Jan. 5 in Baltimore. He was 86. A native of Philadelphia, Father Waters served in Washington, New Orleans and the Galveston-Houston area during his nearly 63 years as a priest. He also earned a doctorate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, later teaching canon law and moral theology at the Josephites’ St. Joseph Seminary in Washington. Within St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart, which is the formal name for the Josephite Fathers and Brothers, Father Waters worked for many years on the revision of the society’s constitution and served many times as an elected consultor to the superior general.

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Dying teen’s CD helps repay producer’s debt to Catholic missionaries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) — Rock guitarist Daniel Feterick may have lost his battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, but his music lives on, thanks to a Nashville record producer who wanted to repay a debt to Catholic missionaries in Guatemala. Father David J. Buckles celebrated a funeral Mass Dec. 30 for Feterick at St. Mary Catholic Church in Frankfort, Ind. The 19-year-old musician died Dec. 27 at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis of acute myelogenous leukemia. But Feterick achieved one of his life’s goals when he recorded the 12-track compact disc “Waiting for the Sun to Find Me,” launched just two months before his death. Record producer Robert Metzgar signed Feterick to the Platinum Plus Universal label in Nashville and produced the CD. “When I was deathly sick as a little boy in the jungles of Guatemala, wonderful Catholic missionaries not only helped me medically, but they flew me home and paid for my medical help so I could recover,” Metzgar said in a news release. “I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Catholic Church and their ministries to people just like Daniel and myself.”

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