A Look at The Weekend (02.02-04.07)

THIS WEEKEND — Diocesan Conference Day, San Angelo Convention Center, Saturday. Details in following post.

This Weekend’s Readings


First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 24:7, 8, 9, 10
Second Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40 or 2:22-32


First Reading: Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
Gospel: Mark 6:30-34


First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8
Second Reading: First Corinthians 15:1-11 or 15:3-8, 11
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News Service


At prayer breakfast Bush cites efforts of Pennsylvania Catholic teen

WASHINGTON (CNS) — At the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 1, President George W. Bush cited a Pennsylvania Catholic teenager who started an outreach to poor and homeless people in memory of her favorite priest, the late Franciscan Father Mychal Judge. In remarks Bush said that prayer “makes us a more compassionate and giving people” willing to listen to God’s call “to love our neighbors as we would like to be loved.” “We answer that call by reaching out to feed the hungry and clothe the poor and aid the widow and the orphan,” he said, and by helping people in need “we find our own faith strengthened and we receive the grace to lead lives of dignity and purpose.” That grace, he said, can be seen in the life of Shannon Hickey, a 16-year-old junior at Lancaster (Pa.) Catholic High School who founded a nonprofit organization called Mychal’s Message in 2002. She named it in honor of a longtime family friend, Father Judge, the New York fire chaplain who died ministering to victims in the rubble of the World Trade Center’s twin towers Sept. 11, 2001.

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Vatican ecumenist says ecumenical advances must enter church life

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) — One of the chief ecumenical concerns of the Vatican today is to see that the advances achieved at the national and international levels enter fully into the life of the entire church, a top Vatican official told U.S. Catholic ecumenists Jan. 30. Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, addressed more than 150 Catholic ecumenists attending the National Christian Unity Workshop in Arlington Jan. 29-Feb. 1. He spoke at the luncheon of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers, which is held every year during the workshop. He said one of the top priorities being discussed by the council these days is the issue of what theologians call “reception” — how Catholic teachings, policies and understandings developed as a result of more than 40 years of ecumenical dialogue get down into the local dioceses, parishes and pews, and how they are received as an integral part of the lived faith of pastors, teachers and people.

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New Monterey bishop asks faithful to work, minister, ‘build with me’

MONTEREY, Calif. (CNS) — Asking Catholics of California’s central coast to “work with me, minister with me, collaborate with me, build with me and love with me,” Bishop Richard J. Garcia was installed as the fourth bishop of Monterey during a multilingual Mass Jan. 30. More than 1,700 people gathered in the Monterey Conference Center to welcome their new shepherd and participate in a festive liturgy radiant with color and multicultural tradition. The ceremony included a choir of more than 100 people with trumpets blaring, liturgical dancers carrying incense in procession, and prayers of the faithful offered in seven different languages. Bishop Garcia, 59, was a Sacramento auxiliary from 1997 until December, when he was named to replace Monterey Bishop Sylvester D. Ryan, 76, who retired after 14 years as head of the diocese. He will lead some 200,000 Catholics in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties. He is one of 25 active Hispanic Catholic bishops in the United States.

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Center offers a forum where homeless discuss issues affecting them

BALTIMORE (CNS) — While finding shelter is a priority for Aaron Wiggins, who is homeless, so is discussing current events. Wiggins is among the six to 10 individuals who come weekly to a Catholic-run outreach center in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood, ready to discuss the issues of the day. “A lot of the missions and shelters in the city don’t want you to be near their building until they are ready to let you in for the night, because the neighbors don’t want to look at us,” Wiggins told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Baltimore Archdiocese. “At least here, … at this group, I don’t feel like I’m invisible. I feel like what I have to say matters.” On a recent weekday, he and nine other men discussed laws regulating food and shelter for the homeless. It was a chance for them to engage in intellectual dialogue while venting frustrations with a system many believe strips them of their dignity. Providing the homeless with a dignified forum was one of the main reasons St. Vincent de Paul’s Beans & Bread Outreach Center started the group last April, said Kathleen Spain, director of the outreach center.

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Dubuque Catholic school honored for its ‘green’ efforts

DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNS) — The “green” efforts of students, teachers and staff at Resurrection Elementary School in Dubuque have paid off. It is the first parochial school to receive the Green Vision Education Award from the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency. It was honored for a recycling program. During ceremonies Jan. 29 in the gym, members of the solid waste agency presented the school with the Green Vision flag to hang outside the school, and a banner to display inside the building. The Green Vision program is a cooperative effort supported by the agency, the city of Dubuque, the Dubuque County Conservation Board and Down to Earth Solutions. Initiated by the community last spring, the program recognizes schools for their efforts in sustainable natural resource management and pollution prevention in the school and community environment. Classroom practices, buildings and grounds maintenance and curriculum are all evaluated and suggestions are then made by the Green Vision team for advancing environmental stewardship.

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Pope says Jews, Christians, Muslims are called to develop bonds

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — By reading each other’s sacred texts, Jews, Christians and Muslims will become more aware of the divine wisdom and values they all hold true, Pope Benedict XVI said. “We are called — Jews, Christians and Muslims — to recognize and develop the bonds that unite us,” he said Feb. 1, welcoming his former fellow board members from the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict was one of the founding members of the Geneva-based organization, established in 1999 by Jordanian Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Orthodox leaders, the then-chief rabbi of France and others. “The first project we adopted in creating this foundation,” the pope said, was to begin work on publishing together the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Quran in their original languages. At the Feb. 1 Vatican audience, the foundation members presented a copy of the three-volume set to Pope Benedict.

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Pope prays that Christians continue to live in Middle East

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI prayed that the Christians of the Middle East would draw strength from the example of their churches’ martyrs and would continue to live in the region. “The difficult situation which individuals and Christian communities face in the region is a cause of deep concern for all of us,” the pope told representatives of the Oriental Orthodox churches Feb. 1. The representatives were in Rome for a meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Participants in the dialogue come from the Armenian Apostolic Church, Coptic Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Eritrean Orthodox Church. Pope Benedict told the representatives he understood why so many Christians find it difficult to remain in the Middle East rather than emigrate, but they should “be courageous and steadfast” to ensure a continued Christian witness in the region, which has been plagued by violence.

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Vatican publishing house defends choice of Doubleday for papal book

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican publishing house defended the choice of Doubleday as the English-language publisher of Pope Benedict XVI’s new book on Jesus. The book, “Jesus of Nazareth: From His Baptism to His Transfiguration,” is scheduled to be released March 27 in North America. Citing Doubleday’s “respectful editorial curriculum,” the Vatican publishing house said that when it contracted with the Italian publisher Rizzoli to handle the international translation and publication of the book, it expected Rizzoli to negotiate individual language rights with “the most important world publishing houses.” The Vatican statement, issued Jan. 30, came in response to a front-page article in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale saying the English rights to the pope’s new book will be in the hands of the same publisher responsible for “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. Il Giornale said the assignment of rights to Doubleday, a division of Random House, which published Brown’s book, occurred despite Vatican officials’ recent complaints about how some publishers seem to enjoy making money from books that attack the church and the Christian faith.

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China’s underground Catholics hope pope will clarify church relations

HONG KONG (CNS) — Underground Catholics in China say they hope a letter Pope Benedict XVI plans to send them will not only strengthen their faith but also clearly explain how their fractured community in the mainland can be healed. “The Holy See wants us to reconcile but does not tell us how to proceed or give us any clear instructions,” underground Bishop Joseph Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar told UCA News, an Asian church news agency. The bishop noted that past Vatican directives instructed Catholics to avoid sacramental Communion with the government-approved or open church community, “but now we need clarification on where those directives stand, so as to eliminate mistrust and misunderstanding” among Catholics in both groups. On Jan. 20, at the end of a high-level meeting at the Vatican to discuss the church in China, a Vatican statement said Pope Benedict would write to Catholics in China, but it did not indicate when. China’s Catholic Church has been split into underground and open communities for decades, although in recent years there has been increasing interaction between the two.

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Theologian says Catholic-Orthodox relations improving in Russia

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — A Catholic representative to Catholic-Orthodox talks in Russia said the atmosphere between the two churches is improving. The improved atmosphere allows members “to face the problems and seek solutions,” said Jean-Francois Thiry, a Catholic representative at the Jan. 26 talks in Moscow. “We agreed we should go to see the situation of churches in other cities and regions, while encouraging people at the local level to follow our example.” The Belgian theologian was part of the working group for problems between the Moscow Patriarchate and Catholic Church, set up in February 2004 by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. A Jan. 26 joint statement said the working group, which convened in the Moscow Patriarchate’s Pilgrim Center, had discussed Catholic-Orthodox mixed marriages, the education of children at Catholic-run orphanages and the role of Catholic “vicarial and social structures” in Russia.

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Protesters burn effigies of cardinal, political leaders in India

RANCHI, India (CNS) — Activists affiliated with radical Hindu groups burned effigies of a Catholic cardinal and political leaders during a rally protesting an Indian state’s removal of a religious identification requirement on caste certificates. The Hindu tribal prayer council, Adivasi Prarthana Sabha, and others protested the Jharkhand state decision during late-January rallies in Ranchi and Chanho, 25 miles west of Ranchi, reported UCA News, an Asian church news agency. Caste certificates are required for benefits such as free education and government jobs. The Indian Constitution guarantees the benefits to tribal people and members of the former untouchable caste. Critics of the decision argue that Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi, the first tribal or indigenous cardinal from India, forced the state government to remove the religion identification, inserted in 2003 by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

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Cardinal Keeler honored for ecumenical, interreligious efforts

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) — The Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers honored Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore Jan. 30 for his extensive contributions to ecumenical and interreligious relations. No living bishop has done more for the ecumenical movement, said Msgr. Dennis L. Mikulanis, association vice president, in presenting the cardinal with the association’s James Fitzgerald Award. “He has served on numerous dialogues, 12 (three-year) terms on the bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He has been a leader in promoting ecumenical relations as a significant aspect of his ministry as bishop,” Msgr. Mikulanis said. “Our honoree leaves a deep personal imprint on and an unmatched legacy for Catholic involvement in ecumenism as well as in relations with Jews and in interreligious relations in the United States,” he added.

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Spanish cardinal who issued rules permitting altar girls dies

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Spanish Cardinal Antonio Javierre Ortas, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, died Feb. 1 in his apartment near the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI, who was to preside at Cardinal Javierre’s funeral Feb. 2 in St. Peter’s Basilica, said the cardinal’s life and actions always were motivated by “his love for Christ and his fidelity to the successor of Peter.” Cardinal Javierre’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 184 members, of whom 110 are under age 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. The cardinal, who would have celebrated his 86th birthday Feb. 21, was a member of the Salesians and had served as rector of the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome, as secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education and as Vatican archivist before heading the worship congregation from 1992 to 1996. As head of the congregation, in 1994 Cardinal Javierre issued the rules officially stating that local bishops could allow women and girls to be altar servers.

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African bishops express sadness over death of anti-apartheid activist

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference said it is greatly saddened by the death of Adelaide Tambo, the widow of anti-apartheid hero Oliver Tambo. She “was a woman whose life knew great sacrifice” for her family and South Africa, “both of which she loved with a passion,” said the bishops in a statement Feb. 1. Adelaide Tambo died Jan. 31 in Johannesburg at the age of 77. Tambo, who was a leading member of the African National Congress, spent nearly 30 years in exile in London while the congress was banned in white-ruled South Africa. The congress was led at one time by her husband who went into exile in Zambia in 1960. When the ban was lifted in 1990, the couple returned to South Africa, where Oliver Tambo died in 1993. She became a member of Parliament when the congress party, then led by Nelson Mandela, won the country’s first all-race elections in 1994. Her work for the aged and vulnerable in South Africa “took place away from the glare of publicity” but was “deeply appreciated,” the bishops said.



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