No events in the diocese today.
Today’s Catholic Headlines from CNS
Physician-assisted suicide bill dies in Vermont House
MONTPELIER, Vt. (CNS) — The Vermont House of Representatives March 21 defeated a bill that would have allowed a terminally ill patient with a prognosis of six months or less to live to ask a physician for a prescription that would end his or her life. The medication would have been administered by the patient. The bill, known as H. 44, was defeated 82-63. “It was a pleasure to learn of (the) vote on H. 44 that defeated resoundingly the proposal,” Father Jay C. Haskin, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church in Colchester, told The Vermont Catholic Tribune, newspaper of the Diocese of Burlington. He had testified against the measure. “This action upholds life and human dignity. All of Vermont can be pleased with this ethical vote,” said the priest. Burlington Bishop Salvatore R. Matano and many Catholics were among the most ardent opponents of the bill. Supporters of the bill said it would have allowed “death with dignity.”
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Archbishop explains why he barred Mass at meeting on homosexuality
ST. PAUL. Minn. (CNS) — Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis said he barred celebration of Mass at a national meeting on homosexuality and Catholicism because the sponsoring organization dissents from aspects of church teaching. People with homosexual orientation “are children of God, not outcasts,” but the truths of the Catholic Church need to be respected, he said in a March 19 statement given to The Catholic Spirit, archdiocesan newspaper. The statement came after the March 16-18 National Symposium on Catholicism and Homosexuality in Minneapolis sponsored by New Ways Ministry. “Although I recognize the sincerity of the efforts made by New Ways Ministry to serve lesbian and gay persons, on many occasions this group has openly contested aspects of the fullness of Catholic teaching in this area,” he said. Given the organization’s history and the titles of the presentations planned for the meeting, “it did not seem unrealistic to assume that presentations made at the symposium would reflect teachings which were contrary to that of the Catholic Church,” said the archbishop. Allowing Mass at the meeting “would appear to give tacit approval to such teaching, and would lead inevitably to scandal and confusion among the faithful,” he said.
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Response to ICE raids ongoing in Indiana, Massachusetts communities
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has conducted raids in recent weeks at workplaces across the U.S. to round up workers who are in the country illegally. In two communities where raids took place March 6 — South Bend, Ind., and New Bedford, Mass. — members of the Catholic community and the wider community continue to help families torn apart by the federal action, especially children left in limbo. A majority of the detainees in both places were women, many of them single parents with babies or toddlers. In South Bend, 36 candles at a prayer vigil and information session March 6 at St. Adalbert Church commemorated 36 members of the parish’s Hispanic community who were detained in the raid on Janco Composites, a Mishawaka plant that makes fiberglass products for a variety of industries. In Massachusetts, Bishop George W. Coleman of Fall River asked parishes in the diocese to take up a collection to assist Catholic Social Services in serving the immigrant community in New Bedford. Deportation is likely for many of the 361 illegal immigrants jailed following the March 6 raid at a manufacturing plant there, but freeing the jailed mothers with young children as well as providing for the immediate basic needs for affected families has become an around-the-clock battle for Catholic and other agencies.
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Guam archbishop calls visit of World Youth Day cross, icon a blessing
TUMON, Guam (CNS) — Thousands of Catholic youths and young adults opened their arms to welcome the World Youth Day cross and a Marian icon to Guam March 8-11. Guam was the first stop in the Mariana Islands for the symbols of the world’s largest youth event which have traveled tens of thousands of miles around the world. The symbols will travel through 20 nations in Asia and Oceania and then through 28 Australian dioceses before they arrive at the World Youth Day opening Mass July 15, 2008, in Sydney. In Guam, at Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Church in Tumon, Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana hailed the arrival of the cross and icon as a great blessing for the island. They were brought to the church directly from the airport. It was fitting their first stop was Blessed Diego Church, named for the Jesuit martyr who established the Catholic Church on Guam about 400 years ago. “Welcome to this blessed ground which our forefather Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores paved for us here on our island,” Archbishop Apuron said.
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Chinese Catholics begin plans for religious needs of Olympic athletes
BEIJING (CNS) — Catholic leaders in China are making arrangements to meet the religious needs of foreign Christian athletes and visitors during the 2008 Olympic Games in China. Anthony Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, recently urged the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference to “provide English-language Bibles in hotels.” Liu is a member of the consultative congress, the top advisory body of China’s central government. On March 21, he told UCA News, an Asian church news agency, that his proposal aims to meet “the religious needs of foreign athletes,” since many of these visitors are Christians. The 2008 Olympic Games are scheduled Aug. 8-24, 2008. Most venues will be in Beijing. However Qingdao, a port city, will host sailing events, and Hong Kong will host equestrian events. Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao will host preliminary rounds of soccer.
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Catholic-Jewish commission says freedom must reflect divine will
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Human freedom must be exercised in accordance with God’s law, including the obligation to protect human life, said members of a dialogue commission representing the Vatican and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. “Freedom of choice is derived from God and therefore is not absolute, but must reflect divine will and law,” said members of the Catholic-Jewish commission at the end of their mid-March meeting in Jerusalem. Members of the dialogue commission discussed their communities’ teaching on freedom of religion and conscience and limits on that freedom, said the statement published by the Vatican. The human capacity to make choices is a reflection of the divine image in which men and women are made, but freedom also carries with it responsibilities, participants said. “The idea of moral relativism is antithetical to this religious world view and poses a serious threat to humanity,” they said.
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Harvard to return collection of historic bells to Russian Orthodox
MOSCOW (CNS) — Harvard University will return a collection of historic bells to the Russian Orthodox Church more than seven decades after they were seized and sold by the regime of Josef Stalin. “These bells are not only a witness, but also a victim of history, a symbol of the independence, greatness and identity of the people,” Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow said March 21. “I’m happy our guests from Harvard University could feel this part of the Russian soul, conveyed through the tolling of church bells.” Orthodox and Harvard representatives signed an agreement to return the 18 bells to Moscow’s Danilov Monastery, which has housed the Moscow Patriarchate since being reopened in 1988. Charles Crane, a U.S. diplomat, purchased the 17th-century bells, embossed with icons and verses, for about $17,700 in 1930, when most of Moscow’s estimated 5,000 church bells had been confiscated and melted down. He donated them to Harvard University.
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Pope says theology is valuable guide to life
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Theology is not a specialized discipline earmarked for a few — it is a valuable guide to life and can answer humanity’s deepest questions, said Pope Benedict XVI. Theology, or the study of the nature of God and religious truth, is a great endeavor, he told a group of theology professors from the University of Tubingen, Germany, during a March 21 private audience at the Vatican. While the text of the pope’s improvised remarks in German was not immediately made available, Vatican Radio gave a summary of his talk later that day. Pope Benedict taught dogmatic theology at Tubingen from 1966 to 1969. At the special audience, he told the 18-person delegation that their meeting reminded him of those earlier times and made him feel young again. The pope said he had always felt teaching was his vocation. “However, the will of God wanted something else,” he said. But, he said, he saw that teaching theology and his own pastoral duties as pope are linked.
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Pope: Christians called to offer medical care in imitation of Jesus
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians are called to offer medical care to the sick in imitation of Jesus, who chose physical healings as the way to demonstrate “the nearness of God and his merciful love,” Pope Benedict XVI said. The dignity of the human person, who has a right to health and medical assistance, “is confirmed and strengthened by the commandment of love, the center of the Christian message,” the pope told members of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. Pope Benedict met the members March 22 during their plenary assembly at the Vatican. The pope said Catholic health care is an “exquisitely evangelical” field of work and ministry because it is modeled on the ministry of Jesus. “When he passed through the villages of Palestine preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, his preaching always was accompanied by the signs he worked for the sick, healing all those who were prisoners of every kind of illness and infirmity,” the pope said.
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Pope names Ontario bishop as new archbishop of Edmonton
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Richard Smith of Pembroke, Ontario, as the new archbishop of Edmonton, Alberta. The Vatican announced the appointment March 22. Archbishop Smith, 47, has served as president of the Ontario bishops’ conference since 2004. He succeeds Archbishop Thomas Collins, who was named to Toronto in December. Archbishop Smith was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he served as a priest after his ordination in 1987. He earned a master’s degree in divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, and from 1991 to 1995 he studied theology at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, earning a licentiate and a doctorate there. After returning to continue his pastoral duties in Halifax, the new archbishop also served as chaplain of the city’s hearing-impaired community. He was vicar general of the Archdiocese of Halifax before he was named bishop of Pembroke in 2002.
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Divine inspiration: Ohio man gives fellow travelers signs from God
CLEVELAND (CNS) — On the road of life, there’s nothing more comforting than getting a sign from God. Sometimes that sign is a feeling. Other times it’s through Scripture. Sometimes it’s a 30-foot-high billboard depicting Jesus. Lately, getting a sign from God has become easier thanks to the efforts of 82-year-old Joe Cannon. Cannon, a lifelong parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood, is the man behind the billboards around the Cleveland Diocese showing a large image of Christ as the Divine Mercy with the words “Jesus, I trust in you.” He also has put up hundreds of billboards in other states. “It’s a ‘wow’ thing,” Cannon told the Catholic Universe Bulletin, the diocesan newspaper. “It shakes you up. People don’t expect to see it.” He puts his name and a toll-free number on the signs for people to call. And they do. He claims to have received nearly 1,000 calls from people across the country since he started putting up billboards five years ago.
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Father Fessio dismissed as provost of Ave Maria University
NAPLES, Fla. (CNS) — Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio was dismissed March 21 as provost of Ave Maria University “as a result of irreconcilable differences over administrative policies and practices,” the university said. Father Fessio, 66, has served as chancellor or provost of the Catholic university in Florida since its founding was announced in 2002. He also has continued to serve as editor of Ignatius Press, a San Francisco-based Catholic publishing company he founded in 1978. A message Father Fessio sent to faculty and students at the university March 21 said, “I have been asked to resign my position as provost and leave the campus immediately. I will miss Ave Maria and the many of you whom I hold dear.” The university’s statement said, “There has never been any difference in our commitment to our mission or to the magisterium of the church. Nor is there any diminishment of our commitment to maintaining the highest quality of scholarship.” It went on to say the university is grateful for Father Fessio’s contributions “especially to the liturgical and intellectual development of the institution” and that “we look forward to him serving the university in an advisory capacity in the future.”