This weekend in the Diocese
MIDLAND — Youth 2000 Event. Learn here …
Saturday — Bishop Pfeifer at First Methodist Church, San Angelo, for prayer service for the city of San Angelo, 11 a.m.
Saturday-Sunday — Bishop Pfeifer at Youth 2000 event, St. Stpehen’s Midland
Jan. 26 — Deacon D. J. Goetz (2003)
Jan. 26 — Deacon Jack Peterson (1987)
This Weekend’s Readings
First Reading: Hebrews 10:32-39
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
Gospel: Mark 4:26-34
First Reading: Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
Responsorial Psalm: Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
Gospel: Mark 4:35-41
First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17
Second Reading: First Corinthians 12:31–13:13 or 13:4-13
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30
Today’s Catholic Headlines from CNS
Public advocacy part of church work with immigrants, says cardinal
ST. PAUL (CNS) — The church must supplement its ministerial programs with political advocacy if it is to meet the needs of the growing immigrant population in the United States, said Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony. Some people question the church’s role in politics or challenge the church’s position on immigration reform, but the church’s mission is not limited to people’s spiritual well-being, the cardinal said. “Our concern is with the whole person and his or her human development,” he said Jan. 18 at an immigration conference at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. The Jan. 18-19 conference was sponsored by the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Catholics should form their opinions on immigration by considering the capacity of the United States to accept immigrants and the benefits immigrant workers provide to the nation’s economy, the cardinal said.
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Virginia priest indicted for stealing church funds
RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) — Father Rodney L. Rodis, 50, a recently retired priest of the Richmond Diocese, has been indicted and arrested on charges that he embezzled at least $600,000 and possibly more than $1 million from St. Jude Parish in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Parish in Buckner. He became administrator of the two central Virginia parishes in 1993 and was their pastor from 1994 until he took early retirement for health reasons last May. When he was arrested parishioners were surprised to learn that since the mid-1990s he had been living with a woman and three children in a house in Fredericksburg, which is in the neighboring Diocese of Arlington. Neighbors in Fredericksburg told the Richmond Times-Dispatch daily newspaper that they did not know he was a priest and that he had referred to the woman as his wife for the past decade. The Times-Dispatch said the property’s deed of trust lists Rodney Rodis and Joyce F. Sillador-Rodis as husband and wife.
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Cardinal says his committee’s work is to be faithful defender of life
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — The priorities of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities today are “the priorities we’ve had for years, along with new challenges to life, ” said Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who is now chairman of the committee. “We are simply trying to be faithful defenders of life at this juncture in the history of the U.S. and the world,” said the cardinal. Cardinal Rigali was chosen chairman-elect of the pro-life committee during the bishops’ November 2005 general meeting, and took over as chairman at the end of the bishops’ fall meeting in 2006, succeeding Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore. “Whatever wounds, weakens or destroys life anywhere is something that is to be banned from the world,” the cardinal told The Catholic Standard & Times, his archdiocesan newspaper. “But we must start by showing respect to each and every human being, recognizing the right to life of each human being from conception to natural death.”
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Franciscan University announces new international business program
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (CNS) — Franciscan University of Steubenville will launch a new concentration in international business next fall, to help students respond to the increasingly global nature of the business world. Program requirements will include four semesters of a foreign language and nine courses in international business, eight of which will be taken during the junior year abroad in Gaming, Austria. Don Materniak, chairman of the department of accounting, business administration and economics at Franciscan University, said in a statement that the new global economy “requires business leaders equipped to communicate, manage and make decisions across national and cultural barriers.”
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Religious leaders urge renewed Israel-Palestine peace initiative
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Several Catholics were among nearly 40 U.S. religious leaders who called on President George W. Bush to launch a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative. “We ask that you make Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace initiative, an urgent priority for your administration,” the leaders said in a letter delivered to the White House Jan. 23 and to all members of Congress Jan. 25. Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the international policy committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was among the five chief signatories on the letter. Among 34 other signers joining in were eight representatives of Catholic organizations. “The United States and the world will become safer as confidence grows that the U.S. is willing to take leadership and work cooperatively with the United Nations and other nations to resolve this conflict,” the letter said.
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Chinese government, Catholics welcome outcome of Vatican meeting
HONG KONG (CNS) — The Chinese government said it appreciates the Vatican’s willingness to have “constructive dialogue” with China, as expressed in a statement issued after a Vatican meeting to discuss the status of the Catholic community in mainland China. Catholics in China also welcomed the idea of a Vatican commission to monitor the church on the mainland. Responding to reporters’ questions on the Jan. 19-20 Vatican meeting and subsequent statement, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said China always has regarded improvement of ties with the Vatican as important and has made unremitting efforts in this regard. In a regular press conference Jan. 23, he said China appreciates the Vatican’s willingness to dialogue so as to normalize bilateral relations, reported UCA News, an Asian church news agency.
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Pope says he hopes 2008 synod helps Catholics note value of Bible
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped the preparation for and celebration of the 2008 world Synod of Bishops would help Catholics realize how important the Bible is in their lives and the life of the church. The synod, to be held Oct. 5-26, 2008, will focus on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” Pope Benedict met Jan. 25 with the synod’s preparatory council at the end of a meeting to draft an outline that will be sent to bishops’ conferences around the world for comment. The pope said it was important for the church to focus on the Scriptures because the life and mission of the church are based on the word of God.
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Aid official says Iraqi refugees seek out Catholic Church in Jordan
JERUSALEM (CNS) — The Catholic Church is the first point of reference for Christian Iraqi refugees when they arrive in Jordan, said the director of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine in the Jordanian capital, Amman. “Usually the first thing they do is come to the church. It is the first contact they have with other people and with relatives,” said Ra’ed Bahou. “Then they learn about the projects we are doing.” About 5 percent of the estimated 1 million Iraqis who have sought refuge in Jordan over the past two years are Christian, he said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service. Between 1,000 and 2,000 Iraqis have crossed the border into Jordan over the past six months, he added. The Pontifical Mission is an emergency relief agency under the direction of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a New York-based humanitarian and support group founded by Pope Pius XI.
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London Opus Dei head complains to BBC over depiction on TV show
LONDON (CNS) — The director of Opus Dei in London has formally complained to the British Broadcasting Corp. over an alleged “defamatory portrayal” of the organization in a television police drama. The director, Jack Valero, said two episodes of “Waking the Dead,” shown on the BBC One channel Jan. 21-22, depicted Opus Dei members as violent and hypocrites. “In these programs Opus Dei was portrayed as an organization of murderers, thieves and adulterers who justify and cover up evil actions while hiding behind a veneer of hypocritical piety and penitential rituals of self-flagellation,” Valero said in a Jan.23 letter to the BBC. Valero told the BBC it was wrong to name Opus Dei and then attribute fictional characteristics to its members. He said it would have been more fair to invent an imaginary organization for the storyline.
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Pope urges Christians to end divisions in face of global problems
ROME (CNS) — In the face of global instances of racism, poverty and conflict, Christians need more than ever to end their divisions and proclaim the Gospel with one voice, Pope Benedict XVI said. He made the comments at a Jan. 25 ecumenical prayer service, the liturgy that closed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in the Rome Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. After entering the brightly lit basilica, the pope was joined on the altar by representatives of Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches. Below the main altar was a recent architectural opening that allows visitors to glimpse what church officials have identified as the tomb of St. Paul. The pope said he was happy that the tomb is now visible to pilgrims and called St. Paul a “tireless builder of unity” in the early church. After the service, the pope walked into the crypt area and peered through the opening to see the saint’s burial place.
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Pope hosts Vietnamese prime minister in move toward normal relations
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Signaling continued improvement in Vatican-Vietnamese relations, Pope Benedict XVI hosted the first ever visit of a prime minister from Vietnam’s communist government. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and a nine-member government delegation, including the head of the government Commission for Religious Affairs, arrived at the Vatican Jan. 25. The Vatican said the meeting marked “a new and important step toward the normalization of bilateral relations,” which have improved in recent years along with “greater spaces of religious freedom for the Catholic Church in Vietnam.” The pope, prime minister and religious affairs director, Ngo Yen Thi, spent more than 25 minutes speaking privately before the entire Vietnamese delegation was introduced to the pope.
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Guatemala’s ‘angel of the garbage dump’ dies in car crash
GUATEMALA CITY (CNS) — Hanley Denning, known in Guatemala as “the angel of the garbage dump” because she helped poor children escape garbage picking as a livelihood, died in a car crash in Guatemala. Five days after her Jan. 18 death at age 36, a documentary featuring Denning was nominated for an Oscar. Denning died from injuries suffered when the car she was in collided with a bus on a mountain road outside of Guatemala City. She was a native of Yarmouth, Maine. With help from a $10,000 grant from the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton, Ohio, Denning founded Safe Passage in 1999, an educational reinforcement program for children whose parents take them daily to Guatemala City’s garbage dump to look for recyclable articles that could be sold. On Jan. 23, “Recycled Life,” a documentary in which Denning commented on the lives of garbage pickers was nominated for an Oscar in the category for best documentary short by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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Reaching out to youths seen as key to increasing vocations
ERIE, Pa. (CNS) — On a recent snowy Thursday, the athletic center of Mercyhurst College in Erie, was packed with students walking through canyons of displays from prospective employers and others at a career fair. Many were attired in smart business outfits as they perused information on careers in the medical field, computers, finance and even the furniture business. Near the center’s entrance, Sisters Sheila Stevenson and Kathleen Wayne offered another career choice: religious life. The two are vocation ministers for the emerging Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community. They strategically positioned themselves in front of a colorful display and table laden with information. A few young women took up the sisters’ invitation to spend a few moments with them. The duo was right where they needed to be: with the young.