This Weekend in the Diocese
Today — ABILENE, Holy Family, Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday — MIDLAND, St. Ann – Confirmation at 5:30 p.m.
Sunday — FT. STOCKTON, St. Joseph/ St.Agnes – Confirmation at 11:30 a.m.
This Weekend’s Readings
Headlines from Catholic News Service
Study finds U.S. Hispanics drawn to charismatic churches
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The church familiar to and preferred by Hispanic Catholics in the United States is a livelier, more charismatic place than the one most American Catholics are used to, finds a new survey on Latinos and religion. A detailed survey by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released April 25 says about a third of U.S. Catholics are Latinos and that they are bringing a more evangelical style of faith into the broader church as their numbers grow. Despite an overall drop in the percentage of U.S. Hispanics who are Catholic — due largely to those who joined evangelical and Pentecostal churches — Latinos will continue to represent an ever-larger share of the U.S. Catholic population because of immigration and high birthrates, it said. About 68 percent of U.S. Hispanics say they are Catholics. The study is titled “Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion.”
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Yearbook says U.S. Christian church membership rising
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Total membership in U.S. Christian churches continued to rise in 2005, despite ongoing declines in some of the country’s largest mainline Protestant churches, according to the 2007 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. Total recorded inclusive membership in 2005 was 165,878,323, up more than 2.4 million from the previous year, the yearbook said. The 439-page yearbook is an annual publication of the New York-based National Council of Churches. This year’s book is the council’s 75th edition. It lists U.S. and Canadian church bodies, with a brief description of each and its national headquarters, officers, periodicals and major agencies or boards. It also includes directories of U.S. and Canadian seminaries, religious periodicals, ecumenical organizations, cooperative religious organizations, institutions engaged in religious research and a selective directory of non-Christian religious organizations.
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Catholic presidential candidates share views on faith, policy
NEWTON, Mass. (CNS) — Two Catholic senators and presidential candidates shared their views on their faith and how it affects their public policy decisions April 23 at Boston College’s Conte Forum in Newton. “My faith has had a huge influence on me,” particularly the teaching of Catholic social justice, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., told the crowd of nearly 4,000. However, he underscored that “faith informs my decisions. It doesn’t define my decisions.” Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., also said his faith is “a big part of the decision-making process,” but he noted that most of his views predate his joining the Catholic Church four years ago. Both senators agreed that all too often the concept of the separation of church and state has stymied the discussion of faith in regard to public policy. “I think we’ve made a huge mistake” not talking about faith in the public sector, said Dodd. “People confuse the notion of having faith-based policy and replacing policy with faith beliefs.” The separation of church and state is necessary, Brownback said, but it “shouldn’t be a wall so high that we can’t meet to talk.”
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Catholic school students raise money for public school academic team
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CNS) — For many parishes and schools, funds are raised and camaraderie is shared over plates of spaghetti in a school cafeteria or church hall. For members of Waukesha West High School’s academic decathlon team, the spaghetti dinner held April 23 meant the difference between competing at the national level and staying home. And there would have been no chance of competing had it not been for the National Honor Society students at Messmer Catholic High School in Milwaukee. After reading a newspaper article about the state champion academic decathlon team at West not being able to afford the $10,000 trip to compete at nationals in Honolulu, students in Messmer’s National Honor Society wanted to help. Messmer’s volunteer business teacher Bob Monday suggested raising funds for the team. “From the students’ viewpoint, they saw it as students helping students,” said Monday. He estimated that more than 900 meals were served and more than $5,000 was raised from the dinner alone.
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Church official: Swazi government does not intend to make reforms
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — The government in Swaziland has no intention of making democratic reforms, a church official said after the king’s representatives canceled their seventh appointment to meet with church and civil leaders. “At least we are now seen to be truthful when we say our government is not committed to dialogue, despite its assurances to the contrary,” said Father Pius Magagula, an official of the Manzini Diocese’s justice and peace commission. Father Magagula is one of two Catholic representatives to the National Constitutional Assembly — a coalition of churches, labor movements and opposition parties — which was to discuss change in southern Africa’s only absolute monarchy with members of the king’s hand-picked Cabinet in mid-April in the capital, Mbabane. “There was a lot of anger” and disappointment at the last-minute cancellation, Father Magagula told Catholic News Service April 19 in a telephone interview from Manzini.
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Jesuit: Canadians complicit if they hand over prisoners for torture
OTTAWA (CNS) — If Canadian soldiers hand over Taliban captives knowing that Afghan authorities will torture them, the soldiers, their commanding officers and the Canadian government are complicit and morally compromised, said a Jesuit author. Jesuit Father John Perry, author of “Torture: Religious Ethics and National Security,” said even the suspicion that the prisoners will be tortured should be enough to change the soldiers’ actions. “We can’t smugly say ‘they promised us they won’t do this, and we believe them,'” he said in an April 23 telephone interview from Winnipeg, where he teaches at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba. Father Perry noted that there is plenty of evidence that the Afghan prison system applies torture as routinely as North American police take DNA samples — “just in case someone knows something.” Church teaching is clear: Torture is never permissible, even for the gravest reasons, he said. Allegations that Afghan officials are torturing Taliban captives have dogged Canadian officials for months. In an April 23 report based on interviews with 30 prisoners, The Globe and Mail newspaper said they claimed to have been beaten, starved and otherwise mistreated.
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Despite Catholic opposition, Mexico City passes abortion initiative
MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Despite an intense opposition campaign by the Catholic Church, the Mexico City Assembly has approved an initiative legalizing abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Following a heated session April 24, the legislature voted in favor of the new law, which will allow hospitals run by the city government to provide abortions. The initiative, passed 46-19 with one abstention, goes into effect April 27, and all city hospitals must begin offering abortions within 60 days. City health officials announced April 26 that only women who provide proof of residence in Mexico City are permitted to have an abortion there. Only a small portion of Mexico City’s hospitals are run by the local government, and abortions will not be offered at federal hospitals.
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New bishop installed for Lake Charles Diocese
LAKE CHARLES, La. (CNS) — Bishop Glen J. Provost was ordained and installed as the third bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles April 23 before a standing-room-only crowd in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The new bishop was consecrated by Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans with retired Bishop Jude Speyrer of Lake Charles, and Bishop Michael Jarrell of Lafayette as co-consecrators. Once his miter was placed on his head and he received his crosier, Bishop Provost was escorted to take his seat on the cathedra, or bishop’s chair, which brought the crowd to its feet to acknowledge their new shepherd after more than a two-year vacancy. He has taken as his motto “Pro Turis Serit” (“He plants for those who are to come”). “I wish to plant the seed of gratitude at the conclusion of this ceremony,” he said. Noting his love for all things related to the Middle Ages, he revived the custom of giving gifts of bread and wine to the ordaining bishop, presenting two casks of wine, two loaves of bread and two candles symbolizing the “light of Christ” to Archbishop Hughes.
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Kissinger to participate in Vatican meeting on charity, justice
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was to participate in a Vatican meeting on charity and justice and was to stay at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where the cardinals stayed during the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. Mary Ann Glendon, a U.S. law professor and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, invited Kissinger to speak at the academy’s April 27-May 1 plenary session. The academy, which advises the Vatican on social issues, was to focus on “Charity and Justice in the Relations Among Peoples and Nations.” The meeting was to be the last in a series — held over the past 13 years — focusing on economic, social and legal issues tied to the theme of globalization. Glendon told reporters that Kissinger was invited after he was included on an academy members’ list of “experts, some with scholarly expertise, some with practical experience with the problems” the academy faces.
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U.S. seminarian runs in Holy Land not to win, but to promote peace
JERUSALEM (CNS) — After having run the 26-mile Rome Marathon in March, seminarian Philip Smith said he was not daunted by the prospect of running the 6.2-mile Pope John Paul II Marathon for Peace. But, he said, those six miles were more than just a marker of distance. Running with a group of 150 Palestinian and Israeli athletes from Manger Square in Bethlehem to the Western Wall in Jerusalem provided a symbolic bridge between the two populations and promoted peace in a region so much in need of it, he said. Smith said the group of athletes ran together the entire route so there was no sense of competition among them. “It was a very moving experience, not competitive at all. We moved at a very slow pace so we could all stay together,” he said, adding that he now has a better idea of the situation in the Holy Land. Smith spoke with Catholic News Service April 24 and following the April 25 run.