Today in the Diocese
Chrism Mass, 11 a.m., Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Angelo
First Reading: Genesis 17:3-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel: John 8:51-59
Today’s CNS Headlines
U.S.Cardinal says Chavez still inspires commitment to immigration reform
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Cesar Chavez’s commitment to justice for the most vulnerable members of society continues to influence Catholics today who are fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, said Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles during the annual Mass honoring the legendary labor leader. “We have this Mass every year near his birthday, because we want to keep alive the spirit of his spirituality and his deep commitment to the protection of all in a nonviolent way,” said Cardinal Mahony at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels March 25. “We are, this moment, hoping and working so that we will get a just and fair comprehensive immigration law passed and signed before the August recess of this Congress,” he added. The cardinal said “just immigration reform” must offer a path to legal residency for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants already in the country and not just for those who come in the future. More information on immigration reform is available on the Web at: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.com. Donations to assist California farmworkers hurt by the January citrus freeze may be made online at: http://www.chavezfoundation.org.
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Episcopal bishops request meeting over same-sex union issues
NAVASOTA, Texas (CNS) — The bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church have requested a meeting with the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion to discuss ways of avoiding a rupture with other Anglican churches over the ordination of an openly gay bishop and the blessing of same-sex unions. The issues have divided the U.S. church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and alienated the U.S. church leadership from the bishops of many other Anglican churches. The meeting request was sent to Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, England, the titular head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Episcopal officials said that as of March 27 the archbishop had not responded to the request. A March 20 resolution by the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops expressed a desire to remain part of the Anglican Communion but said that the bishops cannot accept Anglican calls to end the same-sex blessings or to adopt a policy of not electing openly gay people as bishops. “There is an urgent need for us to meet face to face with the archbishop of Canterbury” and his top advisers, said a resolution approved at the House of Bishops’ meeting in Navasota.
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Ethnically diverse crowd shows solidarity to honor Archbishop Romero
BALTIMORE (CNS) — The moist air failed to dampen the spirits of the candle-holding faithful as they paid tribute to slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of San Salvador in a Baltimore procession March 24 that illuminated the streets and enlightened onlookers. Patti Ferguson of the nearby Canton section of the city hadn’t heard of Archbishop Romero before seeing the convoy led by Redemptorist Father Robert F. Wojtck, pastor of the Catholic Community of St. Michael and St. Patrick in Baltimore, march through downtown Baltimore streets on the 27th anniversary of the outspoken religious leader’s assassination while celebrating Mass in El Salvador. Ferguson approached one of the participants to learn more about the martyred archbishop. She was told the 61-year-old archbishop of San Salvador railed against the government’s persecution of his fellow Salvadorans and ultimately sacrificed his reputation and safety. “What an amazing thing to run into,” Ferguson said as she followed the procession from St. Michael’s to St. Patrick’s. “Now I want to know more.”
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Military bishop rededicates historic Catholic site at Camp Pendleton
SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Standing on the site of a way station established between two of California’s original 21 missions — Mission San Diego de Alcala and Mission San Juan Capistrano — Auxiliary Bishop Joseph W. Estabrook of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services rededicated the historic Las Flores Asistencia in memory of men and women of faith “on whose shoulders we stand today.” Las Flores Asistencia, once home to the southernmost Shoshone tribe, is located on the western edge of what is today Camp Pendleton, a Marine base north of San Diego. “We stand on holy ground,” said Bishop Estabrook in his dedication prayer March 24, “to bless this place and our faith,” standing in the presence of those who came first, following the Lord’s commandment to “go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Bishop Estabrook, one of two auxiliary bishops for the military archdiocese, was visiting Camp Pendleton to confirm 27 adults and teens on the base that evening.
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Israel delays negotiating session on church’s legal, financial status
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Israel postponed a major negotiating session with Vatican officials on questions regarding the church’s legal and financial status in the Holy Land. The Vatican expressed disappointment at yet another delay in the on-again, off-again talks, which began 15 years ago. The meeting of the joint commission on church-state issues had been scheduled for March 29 at the Vatican and would have been the first plenary session of the commission since 2002. On March 26, Israel told the Vatican the meeting would have to be delayed because it coincided with important developments in the Middle East. The Israeli officials cited the March 28-29 Arab League summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s trip through the region. Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican, Oded Ben-Hur, told Catholic News Service that the postponement was for technical reasons only, and that a new meeting would be arranged as soon as possible. In a statement made public March 28, the Vatican said it understood the reasons for Israel’s decision, but expressed its regret at the delay and said the meeting should be rescheduled quickly.
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Pope says unity with pope guarantees faith is the one taught by Jesus
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The teaching of the bishops and unity with the pope guarantee that one’s faith truly is the faith taught by Jesus to his apostles, Pope Benedict XVI said. “The true Gospel is that imparted by the bishops, who have received it in an uninterrupted chain from the apostles,” the pope said March 28 at his weekly general audience. The pope’s audience talk focused on the ministry and writings of St. Irenaeus of Lyon, who died in the very first years of the third century. “Irenaeus is most of all a man of faith and a pastor,” the pope said. “As a writer he had a double aim: to defend true doctrine against the attacks of the heretics and to explain the truths of the faith with clarity.” The main targets of his admonitions were the gnostics, who taught a secret, “often strange and extravagant” version of Christianity, which only the most intellectually advanced could understand, he said.
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Italian bishops: Rights for gay, unmarried couples at odds with faith
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Supporting legislation that gives legal rights to gay or heterosexual couples who are not married is a position that is not consistent with the Catholic faith, said members of the permanent council of the Italian bishops’ conference. “The faithful Christian is obliged to form his conscience” in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church, the bishops said in a statement released March 28 as Italian politicians continued to debate legislative proposals recognizing unions formed by unmarried couples, including homosexuals. The bishops’ statement quoted the 2002 statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on “The Participation of Catholics in Political Life.” The Vatican document, signed by the future Pope Benedict XVI, said Catholic politicians “cannot appeal to the principle of pluralism or to the autonomy of lay involvement in political life to support policies affecting the common good which compromise or undermine fundamental ethical requirements.”
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Nuns share difficulties, joys with patients at Jerusalem hospice
JERUSALEM (CNS) — When Sister Monika Dullmann first came as a volunteer to Saint-Louis Hospital as a young theologian, the most difficult task she faced was watching terminally ill patients suffer. Sister Monika, now the hospital director, said 20 years of experience has taught her that she may never be able to relieve all pain, but she can help patients during their last and most difficult moments. Sister Monika noted that Jesus spent his last night in the Garden of Gethsemane alone. What she can offer, she said, is her simple presence, so that those in her care will not be alone in their final hours of suffering. “I realized that the last thing I can do for someone who is suffering is … not to run away,” said Sister Monika, 42, originally from Germany and a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition who run the hospital. Located just outside the New Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City, not far from the sites where Jesus spent his last days, Saint-Louis Hospital provides hospice and geriatric care for Jerusalem residents regardless of their race, religion or nationality. Today the staff of 60, which includes doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, support staff and 25 volunteers, provides care for some 50 patients.
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28,000 pages later, Origins founder to try life without deadlines
WASHINGTON (CNS) — When David Gibson was asked to start a new version of a Catholic Church documentary service, the idea of providing texts of papal documents, bishops’ speeches and scholarly papers with historical and news context was a bit radical. Thirty-six years later, Origins has evolved into a must-have service for bishops, scholars and parish staff who want to keep up with who’s saying what in and about the church. And as Gibson, 65, heads into retirement after a career as the editor of Origins, he still talks with a sense of wonderment about what his baby has become. Days before he officially never had to worry again about the perpetual deadlines of the last 36 years, Gibson managed to take an interview that was supposed to be about himself and turn the discussion back to his pride about what Origins has become. “It is amazing to have that kind of legacy,” he said, noting that about 28,000 pages of text have appeared under the Origins logo since 1971. “How many people have the reward of leaving something like that behind?”
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Notre Dame trustee awarded university’s Laetare Medal for 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) — The University of Notre Dame has awarded its oldest and most prestigious honor, the Laetare Medal, to the outgoing chairman of its board of trustees, Patrick F. McCartan. A senior partner at the international law firm Jones Day, McCartan will receive the award at the university’s commencement ceremony May 20. “Notre Dame’s auspicious institutional position as it enters a new era owes much to Pat McCartan’s strong and sure leadership,” said Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, university president, in a news release on the award. “We hope to convey with this, our highest honor, the gratitude Notre Dame owes him as well.” McCartan is a 1956 graduate of Notre Dame and earned his law degree from its Law School in 1959. He has served on the university’s board of trustees since 1989, and was elected board chairman and university fellow in 2000. The university established the Laetare Medal in 1883 as an annual honor for a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”