No events in diocese.
Monday, May 28 — Rev. Francis Hynes, C.M. (1996)
Psalm 50:5-8, 14, 23
Today’s Catholic Headlines from CNS
The challenge: Does seven days on food stamps make one weak?
WASHINGTON (CNS) — It’s one thing to walk in somebody else’s shoes. It’s another thing to live in somebody else’s pantry — for an entire week. Yet that’s just what four members of Congress did in mid-May. Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and JoAnn Emerson, R-Mo., co-chairs of the Congressional Hunger Caucus, issued the “Food Stamp Challenge” to their colleagues in both the House and the Senate to do what millions of Americans are expected to do each week: live off the groceries purchased with food stamps. For a single person, that comes to $21 — one dollar for each meal, each day. Only two members in the House, Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., took up the challenge; McGovern and Emerson, having issued the challenge, did so as well. The challenge showed how far $21 of groceries go today. The answer: Not very. For Ryan, a Catholic, “the real lesson is not that you can’t get food or not enough food, but it’s the kind of food you eat,” he told Catholic News Service. Ryan’s menu for the week consisted largely of angel-hair pasta, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter and jelly, wheat bread, cornmeal and cottage cheese.
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Voice of the Faithful facing financial, membership crises
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CNS) — Voice of the Faithful, the church reform movement begun in 2002 in reaction to the nationwide clergy abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, is now in a financial and organizational crisis, according to a report recently posted on its Web site. Twenty-two people, including officers of Voice of the Faithful and members of its National Representative Council from across the United States, met in the Boston area April 27-29 for its semi-annual gathering. Among the attendees were Bill Casey, who chairs the organization’s board of trustees, and Mark Mullaney, interim executive director. According to an account of the meeting posted on the organization’s Web site at http://www.votf.org, “Both Bill Casey and Mark Mullaney described the financial shortfall VOTF will face in the coming months. Although the number of individual contributors has increased, in the past year or so the number of major donors has declined. VOTF must reverse this trend to erase a projected $100,000 deficit in the next fiscal year.”
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National shrine in Washington to build Italian chapel
WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) — The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington contains chapels representing many Catholic ethnic groups in the United States — with one big exception. “Where is the Italian chapel?” Wilmington Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli has often asked. That very omission is why he, a cardinal and three other bishops of Italian descent are leading a campaign to build an Italian chapel in honor of Our Lady of Pompeii. Italian-Americans are “as strong as any other ethnic community,” Bishop Saltarelli said, noting that the lack of an Italian chapel at the national shrine seemed curious at first to a group of bishops including Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, retired archbishop of Philadelphia; Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, Va.; Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio; and New York Auxiliary Bishop Robert A. Brucato. The Italian chapel in the Washington shrine, designed by the Rambusch Decorating Co., will be located in the basilica’s west foyer. The chapel will be completed in fall 2008. Contributions marked “Italian Chapel” may be sent to: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. N.E., Washington, DC 20017.
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Report, summit on children’s welfare highlight familiar problem
WASHINGTON (CNS) — When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hosted a national summit on child welfare, she shined a light on a problem that is all too familiar to officials of Catholic Charities USA. “The numbers are moving in the wrong direction,” said Desmond Brown, director of health and welfare policy at Catholic Charities USA, about a new report released by the National Center for Children in Poverty to coincide with the summit. The report said 42 percent of U.S. children under the age of 6 — roughly 10 million — are vulnerable to poor health and substandard education, largely as a result of poverty and economic hardships. “We have gathered today to begin what will be a long-term conversation, and to signal our deep commitment to caring for our children and creating a prosperous future for them and for our entire nation,” Pelosi said at the May 22 summit in Washington, attended by academic and policy leaders who spoke about the state of early childhood development in the U.S.
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Going green: Vatican expands mission to saving planet, not just souls
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Expanding its mission from saving souls to saving the planet, the Vatican is going green. A giant rooftop garden of solar panels will be built next year on top of the Paul VI audience hall, creating enough electricity to heat, cool and light the entire building year-round. “Solar energy will provide all the energy (the building) needs,” said the mastermind behind the environmentally friendly project, Pier Carlo Cuscianna, head of the Vatican’s department of technical services. And that is only the beginning. Cuscianna told Catholic News Service May 24 that he had in mind other sites throughout Vatican City where solar panels could be installed, but that it was too early in the game to name names. Even though Vatican City State is not a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, a binding international environmental pact to cut greenhouse gases, its inaugural solar project marks a major move in trying to reduce its own so-called carbon footprint, that is, the amount of carbon dioxide released through burning fossil fuels. The solar panels will be installed sometime in 2008 after prototypes, environmental impact reports and other studies have been completed, Cuscianna said.
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Latin American sisters rethink mission, community life
APARECIDA, Brazil (CNS) — Changes in vocations and in the needs of people in Latin America and the Caribbean are forcing women religious to rethink their mission and community life. Throughout the region, sisters are engaged in traditional work, such as health care and education, but in new ways. Increasingly they also seek “the frontiers, the places where human dignity faces the greatest threats,” said Sister Maria de los Dolores Palencia of Mexico, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyon and vice president of the Latin American Confederation of Religious. “We want to be newly attentive to the signs of the times and to needs,” she told reporters during the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, in which she is participating. Those pastoral frontiers include work among people with AIDS, indigenous people and those descended from African slaves, street children and people with addictions, she said. The need far exceeds the number of sisters. While 43 percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, the region is home to just 17 percent of the church’s women religious.
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Latin American challenge: Bishops’ plans must be creative, courageous
APARECIDA, Brazil (CNS) — The sweeping scope of Pope Benedict XVI’s speech opening a major meeting of the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean left the prelates free to address the banes and blessings of the modern world. The question is whether the pastoral guidelines they are crafting will enable the church to confront the region’s challenges prophetically, with creativity and courage. The first draft of the document that will be one legacy of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean is an encouraging, though disorganized, step in that direction. Distributed to the bishops May 24, it is still rough and is expected to undergo three more revisions. The bishops are grappling with the fundamental question of how to inspire Catholics to take ownership of their faith, seek a personal conversion that leads them to follow Jesus, and live out that commitment in the church and the world. The church leaders must candidly examine trends in both society and the church that lead some Catholics to join evangelical groups while a much larger number remain Catholic in name only.
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Mexico’s ex-president seeks exoneration for 1993 murder of cardinal
GUADALAJARA, Mexico (CNS) — In an effort to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation, former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari is petitioning the Mexican government and senior Catholic officials to discharge him from any responsibility for the 1993 murder of Guadalajara Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, reported Excelsior, a Mexico City newspaper. The Excelsior story ran May 24, the 14th anniversary of the cardinal’s violent death. It was based on copies of reports it said were dated Oct. 16, 2006, and May 2007 that “are only circulating at the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy” and were prepared for the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Jose Ortega Sanchez, a lawyer for Guadalajara Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, confirmed for Catholic News Service that the reports obtained by Excelsior were authentic. He told the newspaper, “The Vatican’s intention for requesting this information is to know the status of the investigation.” He added that Salinas would like a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and is looking for a third party to mediate — possibly Cardinal Sandoval.
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Archdiocese teaches displaced Colombians skills to survive in city
BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) — Maria, a schoolteacher, fled to Bogota after outlaw groups bombed her home and kidnapped her son twice. “My life has been a tragedy, and only God’s will has me here,” said Maria. “At this moment, I don’t know what to do, I don’t eat, I don’t sleep.” Maria is not alone. Paola and her family took refuge in Bogota after leftist guerrillas ordered them to abandon their home and farm within five hours. Marina fled her hometown after guerrillas tried to recruit her 12-year-old son to make him into a fighter. And Neiya and her family fled from their farm at midnight, after right-wing paramilitaries murdered many neighbors and demanded extortion payments from the rest. Today these four are studying hairstyling in a school run by the Archdiocese of Bogota, where hundreds forced from their homes by Colombia’s drug-fueled civil war learn skills such as baking, how to do manicures and pedicures, computing and fashion design. “The courses are so that they themselves can be protagonists of their own lives, their own stories,” said Scalabrinian Sister Teresinha Monteiro, the Brazilian-born director of the Foundation for the Attention to the Migrant. “They know very well the work of the countryside, but in the city they suffer greatly.”
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CNS Rome bureau chief Thavis wins CPA’s St. Francis de Sales Award
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) — Catholic News Service Rome bureau chief John Thavis was named May 25 as the winner of the 2007 St. Francis de Sales Award by the Catholic Press Association. The award is considered the highest honor in the Catholic press. Thavis, 56, is one of a handful of reporters to have won the award, commonly called the Franny. “I share this award with everyone at Catholic News Service. What I do day in and day out is really part of a team effort from the top down,” Thavis said in accepting the award during a closing-day luncheon at the May 23-25 CPA convention. Thavis won the award “for his in-depth knowledge of the workings of the Vatican and his ability to share that with fellow journalists and Catholic press readers,” according to material distributed with the CPA ballot listing the five finalists for the prize.
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Father Hurst named president-rector of historic Baltimore seminary
BALTIMORE (CNS) — Sulpician Father Thomas R. Hurst, rector since 2001 of Theological College, the national seminary at The Catholic University of America in Washington, will succeed Sulpician Father Robert F. Leavitt as president-rector of St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. The appointment takes effect July 1. Father Hurst is an alumnus of St. Mary’s and a former professor there. He joined the Sulpicians in 1976, three years after he was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y. He has a doctorate in Semitic languages and has taught New Testament and biblical languages for many years. Before he was made rector of Theological College, he was regional superior of the Sulpicians in Zambia and academic dean of St. Dominic’s Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia. He was on the faculty of St. Mary’s from 1980 to 1992, serving as vice rector there from 1986 to 1992.
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Couple pays $7,500 for chicken dinner made by Delaware priest
WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) — Father Richard DeLillio must cook a mean chicken dinner. Why else would someone pay $7,500 for the seven-course meal, and pay for the priest’s flight and accommodations so he could prepare it in Australia? Dr. Paul Edwards of Sydney made the $7,500 bid via cell phone during last year’s “In Vino Veritas” (In Wine There Is Truth) auction supporting Nativity Preparatory School of Wilmington, where Father DeLillio, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, is executive director. Nativity Prep offers a tuition-free education to middle school boys from low-income families. While Edwards’ bid was extraordinary, Father DeLillio, 68, has used his Chicken Olevano dish to raise more than $100,000 at auctions for the Oblates, Nativity Prep or his Rotary club. The priest will accept more than one bid for his special meals, if the price is right. Paul and Sue Edwards met Father DeLillio in 1991 while he was a pastor in North Carolina, where Paul Edwards worked. The priest baptized their daughter Jessica. “We have supported him in all his fundraising efforts,” Paul Edwards wrote in an e-mail to The Dialog, Wilmington diocesan newspaper.
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Children receive awards for depicting Jesus delivering the good news
WASHINGTON (CNS) — In 12-year-old Amber Romero’s mind, Jesus is a high-tech savior who would use an iPod to personally preach the good news. Amber’s artistic portrayal of Jesus speaking to a young girl through an iPod recently won her the $250 first prize in an art contest sponsored by the Catholic Communication Campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The contest had asked for children in grades one through six to depict Jesus personally delivering the good news through a medium of their choice. In Amber’s award-winning depiction, Jesus tells the young girl, “Good news … I love you with all my heart and you should love everyone the same way.” Amber attends Perth Amboy Catholic in Perth Amboy, N.J., in the Diocese of Metuchen and was among several young winners from across the country in the CCC contest. Nina Doyle, 12, of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boca Raton, Fla., in the Diocese of Palm Beach, won the $150 second-place award for her depiction of Jesus in a computer pop-up ad that said, “This is NOT a virus! To hear the good news of Jesus click the ‘Next’ button.” The $100 third-place prize went to Kaylee Slafkosky of St. Mary’s School in Crown Point, Ind., in the Diocese of Gary, for her drawing that shows a message from Jesus being sent around the world as a child reads it on a computer.