A Look at Today (02.07.07)

No diocesan-wide events today.

Today’s Readings

First Reading: Genesis 2:5-9, 15-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 104:1-2, 27-28, 29-30
Gospel: Mark 7:14-23

Today’s Headlnes from Catholic News Service

U.S.

Religious called to imagine new future

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Present trends suggest a declining future for many communities of men and women religious, but religious are called to imagine a different future, Sister Doris Gottemoeller said Feb. 3. Sister Gottemoeller, former president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Father Canice Connors, a former provincial minister of the Conventual Franciscans and former president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, were the main speakers at Washington Theological Union’s annual Religious Life Symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Re-Imagining Religious Life in the 21st Century.” Sister Gottemoeller addressed the overall theme, while Father Connors described a specific effort by a community of Conventual Franciscans in Syracuse, N.Y., to create a new center of Conventual life and ministry.

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Catholic Charities volunteers respond to Florida storms’ destruction

ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) — After tornadoes killed 20 people and left hundreds homeless in Florida’s Lake County and the surrounding area, some 200 Catholic Charities volunteers were distributing care packages and checking with farmworker contacts to see how the storm affected them. Catholic Charities was one of 11 faith-based and community partners helping with the relief effort after the storms during the overnight hours Feb. 1-2, according to the state’s Emergency Support Functions division. “This is going to be a long-term process, trying to help families rebuild,” said Brenda K. Loyal, marketing and development director of Catholic Charities in Orlando. “Right now, it’s day by day.” Catholic Charities of Central Florida, based in Orlando, dispatched a truck Feb. 3 to St. Vincent de Paul Parish in South Wildwood, St. Timothy Parish in Lady Lake and Northlake Presbyterian Church shelter in Lake County. Donations may be sent to: Catholic Charities, 1771 N. Semoran Blvd., Orlando, FL 32804, or made online at: http://www.ccorlando.org. Donors should specify: “Storms 2007.”

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Bishop urges ecumenists not to give up on quest for Christian unity

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, Va., urged a national gathering of ecumenical leaders not to give up on the quest for Christian unity, despite obstacles that might discourage them. Bishop Loverde gave the homily at a Mass Jan. 30 at Georgetown University in Washington for participants in the National Workshop on Christian Unity. The workshop was held Jan. 29-Feb. 1 in Arlington, just across the Potomac River from Washington. Bishop Loverde said that among the obstacles to Christian unity are pride, self-importance, pretension and indifference, as well as what Pope Benedict XVI has called a “convenient deafness” to non-Catholic Christians. “Added to those is that almost paralyzing indifference from the members of our own household of faith — an indifference which so many of us are encountering in these days,” he said. “As you are aware, there are some people who describe this indifference in very somber terms.” He said such indifference runs counter to the ecumenical task. He quoted Pope Benedict: “The attainment of union is the concern of the whole church, faithful and shepherds alike. … This concern extends to everyone.”

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Maryland’s new governor hosts Catholic educators in Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CNS) — Standing inside the governor’s mansion he has occupied only since his inauguration Jan. 17, Maryland Gov. Martin J. O’Malley told a group of Catholic educators he never would have pursued a career in public service were it not for his own Catholic education. Glancing at some 30 Catholic schoolteachers and administrators who included Franciscan Sister Columbkill O’Connor, his sixth-grade teacher from Our Lady of Lourdes School in Bethesda, O’Malley expressed his gratitude for their service. “I was lucky to have holy women like Sister Columbkill who were terrific to me and to my family and who helped me learn some of the most important lessons in life — the corporal works of mercy, the spiritual works of mercy, the things you remember to try to live every day of life more fully,” said O’Malley, who hosted the guests Feb. 1 to honor national Catholic Schools Week Jan. 28-Feb. 3. The governor, who also attended Gonzaga College High School and The Catholic University of America in Washington, called Catholic education “very important” to Marylanders.

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Combined years of service total 915 for retiring USCCB employees

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Thirty-one employees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops whose combined years of service total 915 will retire by July 1 as part of the USCCB restructuring. Those who are leaving include the executive directors of the USCCB departments of Hispanic Affairs, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Migration and Refugee Services, Management Information Systems and Government Liaison. The employees “constitute a group of talented and dedicated persons who have given great service to the bishops and to the church throughout many years,” Msgr. David J. Malloy, USCCB general secretary, said in a statement released Feb. 6. “While their departures will present many challenges to the work of the conference, I am confident that the current staff will be able to continue its record of excellence in service to the bishops and the church,” he said.

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New directory of lay movements, organizations available

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth has published the 2007-2009 Directory of Lay Movements, Organizations and Professional Associations. The directory contains information about more than 100 groups that are national or international in scope and that have laity as a significant part of their leadership and membership. The groups listed include: lay movements, which have a specific apostolic or pastoral purpose; professional associations, whose membership is drawn from a profession or a particular church ministry; and other lay organizations that provide services related to church ministry. Copies of the directory are available for $6 each, including postage, and may be ordered by sending a check made out to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and mailed to: Lay Directory, USCCB Committee on the Laity, 3211 Fourth St. N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194.

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WORLD

Church, others lead march protesting violence in northern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church teamed up with six other religions to lead thousands in a silent march to protest a recent wave of killings and kidnappings in northern Mexico. Wearing white and bearing banners saying “In Favor of Peace,” an estimated 4,000 residents of Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city, were led by local heads of the Catholic, evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, Anglican, Latter-day Saints and Buddhist religions Feb. 4. “We are asking for peace, which is so necessary for the well-being and harmony of Nuevo Leon,” Auxiliary Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega of Monterrey said at the march. The state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located, has seen a spike in organized crime-related activities over the last year. Local press reported that in 2006 55 people were killed. As of early February this year, at least 10 people — including six police officers — had been killed. An increase in kidnappings also has been reported. Authorities have said the murders likely were the result of drug smugglers settling scores and fighting over turf.

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Vatican official: Peace means closing economic gap, ending conflicts

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Achieving peace implies closing the gap between the rich and poor as well as stopping terrorism and armed conflict, said a Vatican official. It also implies “stopping a revived arms race and the proliferation of a variety of weapons (and) rejecting the glorification of violence in the media,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Vatican representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva. The archbishop spoke to representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist faiths at an interreligious prayer service in Geneva Jan. 30. Catholic News Service obtained a copy of his text. The archbishop reminded participants that millions of people are affected by current wars and, in many cases, a total disregard for humanitarian law. He said there should be no surrender to the “culture of conflict” or acceptance of the idea that clashes are unavoidable and war is natural. Archbishop Tomasi said the search for peace is an orderly process that starts with tolerance, moves toward respect and justice, and culminates in the discovery that the highest vocation of every person is love.

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PEOPLE

Scalia: Constitution is not a living document for justices to rewrite

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CNS) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Constitution is not a living document and should not be rewritten each year by the unelected justices of the Supreme Court. Scalia delivered an address titled “On Interpreting the Constitution” at Iona College in New Rochelle, where he is the Jack Rudin and John G. Driscoll distinguished visiting professor for the spring semester. The Jan. 23 lecture was attended by 700 students, faculty and alumni, as well as officials from New Rochelle and Westchester County. Scalia, a Catholic, described himself as an “originalist,” someone who sees the Constitution as a democratically adopted legal document that does not change. “It is that rock to which the republic is anchored,” he said. “The Constitution says some things and doesn’t say others. If the Constitution does not speak to a matter, it’s for the democratic process to provide an answer,” he said. “If you want something, you persuade your fellow citizens that it’s a good idea and pass a law.”

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Journalist says he tries to convey Palestinian tensions in novel

JERUSALEM (CNS) — Journalist Matt Beynon Rees was interviewing the family of a Palestinian gunman killed by an Israeli sniper in a West Bank cabbage patch when his idea of a Bethlehem-based detective novel was conceived. “It was so dramatic,” Rees said, recalling the start of the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, in 2000. “I was seeing so much of how people react dramatically in that situation, but I knew it would all end up being just a colorful first paragraph in my story. I thought I really needed to do something with this,” he said. “That is when I began to develop Omar Yussef as a character.” Yussef is the main character in “The Collaborator of Bethlehem,” the first of Rees’ three-part mystery series. The book was released in the U.S. Feb. 1 by Soho Press Inc. Yussef, a Muslim, is a married, middle-aged history teacher at the Dehiyshe refugee camp. He is pulled into a dangerous attempt to exonerate a former Christian student accused of collaborating with Israel.

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Retired priest recalls small ‘club’ of priests in Congress

GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) — The Jan. 28 death of the most prominent Catholic priest to have served in Congress, Jesuit Father Robert F. Drinan, leaves but one other in the small group of political alumni, Norbertine Father Robert Cornell. Father Cornell, now 87, represented Wisconsin’s 8th District from 1975 to 1979, becoming the only Democrat to serve more than one term in that seat. He lost his 1978 bid for re-election. Father Drinan represented Massachusetts’ 3rd District from 1971 to 1981. He withdrew from the race for a sixth term after his Jesuit superiors asked him to step down, in keeping with Pope John Paul II’s insistence that priests should not hold elected public office. Father Cornell, who was seeking to regain his seat in the 1980 election, also withdrew from the race at that time. In a Feb. 1 phone interview with The Compass, newspaper of the Green Bay Diocese, Father Cornell recalled Father Drinan as “a great advocate of human rights and social justice.” “I think he’ll always be remembered for his statements in regard to issues of that nature,” said the priest, who lives at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere.

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