A Look at Today (02.15.07)

SAN ANGELO — Personnel Board Meeting, Diocesan Pastoral Center, 12:30 p.m.

NECROLOGY — Rev. Frank Colacicco (2005)

Today’s Readings

First Reading: Genesis 9:1-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 102:16-18, 19-21, 29, 22-23
Gospel: Mark 8:27-33

Today’s Headlines from CNS

U.S. praised for funding of programs fighting HIV/AIDS abroad

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic social ministry leaders got an unusual message Feb. 12 as they were preparing for a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill: Thank your legislators for supporting the funding of a massive program to combat the spread of the global AIDS/HIV pandemic. On many issues that Catholic social activists bring up with their senators and representatives, they are challenging current legislation or seeking politically unpopular legislative reforms. On the Presidential Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, however, “every year the president has asked for a certain amount of money Congress has always given more,” said Oblate Father Andrew Small of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace. A briefing on the program, commonly referred to as PEPFAR, was one of numerous sessions on specific legislative issues that participants at the annual Catholic Social Ministries Gathering attended to prepare for meetings with their legislators in Washington. “Say, ‘Thanks for your support for this, but we don’t want you to think in any way that this is over,'” Father Small said.

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U.S. farm bill said to have effect on international trade

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Across the street from the Capitol Hill hotel where the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering was being conducted, a group of Koreans was protesting an impending free-trade deal with South Korea. The protest was complete with chanting and drums. Inside the hotel, Oblate Father Andrew Small, a policy adviser for the U.S. bishops who focuses on international economic development, shushed his audience at a Feb. 12 briefing on the 2007 U.S. farm bill. “Can you hear them?” he asked. People could. “Why are they protesting? Trade? Free trade,” Father Small said. Noting that some in attendance at the briefing come from rice-growing states, he continued: “They’re worried about your rice. (Is it) because it’s good rice?” While some would argue that that’s so, Father Small said it more likely was “because it’s subsidized.” Subsidies for rice, corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton production, and federal price supports for dairy products and sugar, are a significant part of the farm bill, which is reauthorized every five or six years. The last bill was passed in 2002.

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Pope says church could not have grown without women’s contributions

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Highlighting the fidelity and responsibility of women in the early Christian community, Pope Benedict XVI said the church could not have grown and developed as it has without the contribution of women. “The history of Christianity would have had a very different development if it had not been for the generous support of many women,” he said Feb. 14 at his weekly general audience. Pope Benedict said that as he neared the end of his audience series on the apostles and early church leaders, he wanted to focus on “the many female figures who played an effective and precious role in spreading the Gospel. Their witness cannot be forgotten.” The pope said the women who helped spread the Gospel and ensure the growth of Christianity — such as Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, Joanna, Susanna, Priscilla and Phoebe — should be known, honored and remembered. Going through New Testament references to women in the life of Jesus and the early Christian community, Pope Benedict did not get into questions such as the ordination of women to the priesthood and diaconate.

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U.S.-born priest named auxiliary bishop for Puerto Rican archdiocese

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named a U.S.-born priest who is a pastor in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to be a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Bishop-designate Daniel Fernandez Torres, 42, was born in Chicago. He studied engineering at the University of Puerto Rico before beginning his seminary studies in Pamplona, Spain. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 for the Diocese of Arecibo.

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