A Look at Today (03.12.07)

No events in the diocese today 

Necrology (from 03.11.07)

Rev. Leopold J. Bujnowski (1976)
Deacon Albert Libertore (1977)

Today’s Readings

First Reading: Second Kings 5:1-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4
Gospel: Luke 4:24-30

Today’s News from Catholic News Service

Two Catholic teens among those killed in Southeast tornadoes

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (CNS) — Mourners gathered under the badly damaged roof of St. John Church in Enterprise March 7 for the funeral of Jamie Ann Vidensek, 17. Two days earlier Michael Bowen, 16, was buried after Catholic services at the Main Post Chapel of Fort Rucker, the U.S. Army helicopter training facility outside Enterprise. Vidensek and Bowen were two of the eight students killed March 1 when a tornado struck Enterprise High School, collapsing the roof and walls of a hallway where students and teachers had gathered for shelter. Bowen, who was active in the school band and athletics, had been an altar server at Our Lady of Loretto, the Catholic parish at Fort Rucker. Kitty Buck, a teacher, described Vidensek as “one of those kids you just loved.” Father James E. Dane, St. John’s pastor, told the mourners that “I can’t give you answers” to the tragedy that struck the town. “I can give you promises from God’s word, promises that he will be here for us and guide us,” he said, according to a report on the funeral in the Enterprise Ledger, the southeastern Alabama town’s daily newspaper.

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U.S. gives Vatican’s U.N. mission diplomatic immunity

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In an executive order March 7 President George W. Bush granted diplomatic immunity and privileges to the members of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations. Diplomatic immunity ensures safe passage for diplomats outside their home country. They are not subject to lawsuits or prosecution under the laws of the host country. As host country for U.N. general headquarters in New York, the United States has extended diplomatic immunity and privileges to members of all U.N. member nations’ diplomatic missions in New York. The Holy See is not a member of the United Nations, but its quasi-diplomatic permanent observer status, held since 1964, entitles it to participate in General Assembly debates, have its communications issued and circulated as official documents of the assembly, and co-sponsor draft resolutions and decisions that refer to the Holy See.

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Federal raids on plant cause humanitarian crisis, say advocacy groups

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (CNS) — A short time after federal authorities and local police raided a New Bedford manufacturing plant early March 6, detaining 327 illegal immigrants and arresting the firm’s owner and managers, offers of help for families affected by the raids came from clergy, Catholic Social Services and advocacy groups. The immediate concern was for the children in day care and elementary schools who would return home to find parents missing. Advocacy workers told the media the situation was a “humanitarian crisis.” The majority of those being held were Guatemalans, Mexicans and Hondurans, “with a few Brazilians and some Portuguese and Salvadorans,” reported Ondine Sniffen, a lawyer for the Catholic Social Services office in Fall River. “The church never supports disobeying the law and those who break it — like those who seek to hire only illegal immigrants and those who provided false identification cards — and they should be prosecuted,” said Father John J. Oliveira, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish. “But what’s important here is that the church’s stance supports caring for people hurting and seeing them treated fairly, normally, with due process and their human rights respected and for family unification. To say these illegal immigrants have no rights is wrong,” he said.

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Delicate balance: Church assists Chinese without appearing powerful

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While local government officials in some parts of China arrest Catholics, authorities in other areas of the country are tolerating, or even encouraging, Catholic charitable activity. A growing number of Catholic dioceses on the mainland have established a Caritas organization and are expanding their social service work. Representatives of four Chinese diocesan Caritas organizations were at the Vatican March 6-7 for a discussion about how official church-sponsored charities around the world could support their efforts and assist the Chinese poor in general. Duncan MacLaren, secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic charities’ umbrella organization, said that even though church-state tensions remain, “we cannot ignore the needs of one-fifth of humanity.” And while China’s communist government continues to use its rejection of “foreign interference” as the reason it refuses to allow the Vatican to choose the country’s bishops, the government does not reject aid money and projects from foreign Catholic charities, he said.

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Clerics say Muslims, Catholics must teach other’s faith accurately

ROME (CNS) — Muslims and Catholics in the United States need to develop educational programs that will give all of their faithful an accurate picture of the beliefs of the other, said two clerics experienced in Muslim-Catholic dialogue. Father Francis V. Tiso, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat, president of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland, participated in a March 8 videoconference organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. Officials from the U.S. and Canadian embassies, the Vatican Secretariat of State and religious orders attended the conference in Rome. Imam Arafat told participants that while Catholic and Muslim leaders in the United States had been involved in dialogue for decades, it was not until the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that most Muslims and Catholics began to see the importance of understanding each other. “There were obstacles to overcome, including from within the Muslim community,” he said. “That changed after 9/11 when people realized we needed to reach out.”

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Pope, Catholic media workers strategize on how to best use new media

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Taking advantage of new media to spread the Gospel, the Catholic Church also has an obligation to point out areas where the media has a harmful effect, especially on children, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope called on media operators “to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family.” Meeting March 9 with members of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Pope Benedict spoke of the benefits of greater access to quality entertainment, information and educational opportunities through the media. But he also expressed concern about the “increasing concentration” of the media in the hands of a few multinational conglomerates and said that “much of what is transmitted in various forms to the homes of millions of families around the world is destructive.” Strategies for using new technology to communicate the Gospel message and for counteracting the negative impact of the media dominated the council’s March 5-9 meeting at the Vatican.

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Lebanese bishops say crisis would deepen if Hariri tribunal formed

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNS) — Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic bishops said the country’s political crisis would deepen if a U.N. tribunal is formed to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Resorting to the tribunal “will prove that our small country is divided and unable to handle its affairs on its own,” said the bishops in a March 7 statement. “It will paralyze Lebanon more than it is already paralyzed.” The bishops’ statement was published March 8 in Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper. Many government supporters claim the ongoing Hezbollah-led campaign to topple the country’s Cabinet is a coup attempt, which has been instigated by Hezbollah’s backers in Syria and is aimed at thwarting the tribunal’s creation. Syrian senior officials have been implicated in the killing of Hariri and 22 others in a massive bomb blast in downtown Beirut on Valentine’s Day in 2005. Pro-government leaders have argued that if Lebanon’s paralyzed legislature is unable to ratify plans for the tribunal, the United Nations should do so under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.

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New bishop praises New Orleans faithful for resiliency amid struggles

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — As music regally heralded a procession of priests and bishops to the altar at his episcopal ordination Mass, New Orleans’ new auxiliary bishop wiped a tear while passing his mother and father, Theresa and Luke Fabre, seated in the first pew. “Don’t cry, son,” Theresa Fabre said she told Bishop Shelton J. Fabre as he walked by. “I can’t express the joy in my heart. It brought tears to my eyes.” The former pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Baton Rouge was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of New Orleans Feb. 28 at St. Louis Cathedral. At age 43, he is the youngest U.S. bishop and one of 10 active African-American Catholic bishops serving in the United States. New Orleans Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes was the principal consecrator at the Mass. Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., who is Bishop Fabre’s cousin, and Baton Rouge Bishop Robert W. Muench were co-consecrators. Retired New Orleans Archbishops Philip M. Hannan and Francis B. Schulte, along with other bishops, concelebrated.

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Opposite of a pure heart is hypocrisy, papal preacher tells pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart,” is an appeal for honesty and humility, the preacher of the papal household told Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican officials. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, leading the traditional Friday Lenten reflection at the Vatican March 9, said that only in the 19th century did people begin equating the phrase of Jesus with “do not commit impure acts.” The opposite of purity of heart, he said, is not impurity but hypocrisy. In the teaching of Jesus, purity of heart is not a specific virtue, but rather a quality that must accompany all virtues, he said. It is the quality that ensures a good deed or correct attitude is truly a virtue and not a mask or act put on in order to win praise and adulation, he said.

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Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s first female national officer dies

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — A funeral Mass was celebrated March 6 at St. Louis Abbey Church in Creve Coeur for Rita Porter, retired national executive director of the national council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Porter was the first woman to serve as a national officer for the society. She was national executive director from 1985 to 1999. Prior to that she served as director of the society’s St. Louis Metropolitan Central Council and had served as a caseworker, coordinator of services to conferences and district councils and director of services and community organizations. Porter, 76, died March 2 in St. Louis. Burial was in Bellerive Cemetery in the St. Louis area. She had become familiar with the society’s work for people in need as a volunteer helping the poor with the Daughters of Charity at Guardian Angels Settlement in St. Louis while in high school.


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