No events in diocese today
Rev. Ray Corr, O.P. (2005)
Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-17; 8:4-9
Today’s Headlines from Catholic News Service
Maryland bishops issue pastoral letter on care of sick and dying
BALTIMORE (CNS) — In an age when medical technology makes it possible to extend human life far beyond what was previously possible, Maryland’s Catholic bishops have issued a pastoral letter aimed at helping Catholics apply their faith to end-of-life decisions. “Comfort and Consolation: Care of the Sick and Dying” was presented June 6 at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Roland Park during a meeting of the governing and administrative boards of the Maryland Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in Maryland. Emphasizing the dignity of every human life, the 35-page letter offers moral guidance on questions about medical care and treatment, nutrition and hydration, pain-relieving medication, pregnancy and imminent death from terminal illness. The letter is the second time Maryland’s bishops have addressed the topic. In 1993, they issued a 13-page pastoral letter called “Care of the Sick and Dying.” The newest document builds on the previous one, adding teachings from Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”). While “Comfort and Consolation” does not attempt to provide what the bishops called “ready-made answers” for every situation, it offers the church’s teachings on ways of preserving human dignity in a variety of difficult circumstances. The bishop reaffirmed that since each person is a “steward of human life,” no one has a right to commit suicide or take another’s life by euthanasia. The bishops said there is a distinction between euthanasia and “morally upright decisions” about accepting or refusing medical treatments in time of grave illness and imminent death.
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U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services has new headquarters
WASHINGTON (CNS) — When Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien approved plans in 2005 to move the military archdiocese’s headquarters from its location at The Catholic University of America’s Theological College, he and his staff hoped a new building would raise the profile of an archdiocese that serves one of the Catholic Church’s largest populations. The end result was moving in March to a renovated 30,000-square-foot building just blocks away from the Catholic University campus in Washington. The U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, headed by Archbishop O’Brien, serves the spiritual and pastoral needs of more than 1.2 million people. It serves military personnel and their families at 220 installations in 29 countries, patients at 172 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and federal employees serving in 134 countries. Geographically, the archdiocese is the largest in the church. Staffers hope having a new building will raise the profile of the archdiocese and give them an identity they say has eluded them since the headquarters moved from New York to the Washington area in 2001. The archdiocese’s staff spent years bouncing from one rented office space to another, finally ending up near Catholic University’s campus, tucked away in Theological College in tight quarters and unnoticed by the public. The five-story building includes a chapel, living quarters and more than 20 offices for the staff of 30. The new space has been put to good use by the staff that oversees the archdiocese’s 1.4 million sacramental records.
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Church helps orphaned Peruvian girl get immigration ‘miracle’
DENVER (CNS) — Her name is Milagros, Spanish for “miracle.” And those who know her say the Peruvian girl’s immigration story is nothing short of miraculous. Thirteen-year-old Milagros Soto, who is finishing seventh grade at St. Francis de Sales School in Denver, has experienced what no child ever should — the brutal murder of her mother by her stepfather, who then killed himself. At the time of the Aug. 17, 2005, murder-suicide, Milagros was 11. With no family in the United States, Milagros was left orphaned in the land to which her mother had brought her just two years before in hopes of a better life. A family friend, a parish school principal and a lawyer from Catholic Charities Immigration Services provided assistance that resulted in Milagros getting legal permanent resident status. Milagros’ immigration case moved quickly. It was accepted under the Violence Against Women Act, which helps victims of domestic violence to move forward with their immigration cases without the knowledge or assistance of their abusers. By July 2006, the girl was granted legal permanent resident status.
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Church official recommends new Nigerian president drop price of gas
LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) — The head of communications for the Archdiocese of Lagos has recommended that new Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua drop the price of gasoline at the pump from 59 cents to 51 cents per liter. “With that, the new government would win public support,” said Father Gabriel Osu, communications director, in a June 5 statement. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo announced an increase of the fuel pump price May 27, two days before Yar’Adua’s inauguration. The increase led commercial transport operators such as cabs to increase their fares by about 25 percent. According to UNICEF statistics, 71 percent of Nigerians live on less than 1 dollar a day. Father Osu described Obasanjo’s action as regrettable, especially since “people were still in the euphoria” of the transition from one civilian administration to another.
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German man sent for treatment after jumping toward papal jeep
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A 27-year-old German man was forced to undergo immediate psychiatric treatment June 6 after he jumped over a barrier in St. Peter’s Square and reached the back of the open jeep in which Pope Benedict XVI was riding. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, refused to release the man’s name but said he was in a Rome psychiatric facility by 2:30 p.m., about four hours after being tackled to the ground by Vatican police. The man was first taken to the Vatican police station and questioned by Gianluigi Marrone, a Vatican judge, Father Lombardi said. “The young man’s intention was not to make an attempt on the life of the pope, but to carry out a demonstrative act to attract attention to himself,” Father Lombardi said. Because the young man was “showing clear signs of mental imbalance, psychiatric doctors from the Vatican health service were called, and they arranged hospitalization for obligatory treatment in a protected, specialized health facility,” the spokesman said. “The case is, therefore, considered closed,” Father Lombardi said. Pope Benedict was in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience. The pope did not appear to have noticed the young man or the activity of Vatican security agents and police forcing the man to let go of the jeep.
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Caritas official, archbishop warn Congo faces full-scale war
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Democratic Republic of Congo is on the brink of full-scale war unless the government and international community intervene, said a Caritas official and the archbishop of Bukavu, Congo. Bruno Miteyo, director of Caritas Congo, told Catholic News Service that “all the elements are there to bring the country to war.” Caritas Congo is the local affiliate of Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella group of Catholic social service agencies. Weapons are being taken into the country over the borders and civilians are being killed, raped or kidnapped, stirring up lingering ethnic hatreds and fueling fresh clashes, Miteyo said June 5 at a press conference during Caritas’ June 3-9 general assembly at the Vatican. Congo is still struggling to recover from years of ethnic violence and a 1998-2003 civil war that displaced 1.6 million people and left another 4 million people dead, making it one of the world’s bloodiest conflicts since World War II. Despite a peace process and democratic elections in 2006, Congolese still “don’t feel we are unified or part of one nation. Some parts of the country are still under (the control of) rebels,” said Miteyo. Poverty, rampant illiteracy and lack of education have made people especially vulnerable to manipulative leaders who try to stoke ethnic tensions, he said. Corruption is a major challenge, he added, because some international aid is diverted from development programs and pocketed by government officials. In an urgent appeal dated May 28, Archbishop Francois Maroy Rusengo of Bukavu warned Bernard Prevost, French ambassador to Congo, of “imminent war” in the country’s eastern province of Kivu. CNS obtained a copy of the letter from Caritas officials.
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Amid political tensions, CRS helps rebuild Lebanon, says worker
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Amid destabilizing political tensions that sometimes turn violent, Catholic Relief Services reconstruction projects have been rebuilding Lebanese communities and bringing hope, said CRS’ country representative in Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese society is experiencing a “kind of schizophrenic existence,” said Melinda Burrell, the CRS official, who visited Washington in late May to meet with U.S. government donors to her programs. “Every three or four weeks, something could trigger a civil war” but again and again, the Lebanese do not fight each other, she said. After decades of on-again, off-again violence, many Lebanese have an attitude of “been there, done that,” she said. Lebanon, a small Middle Eastern country, has made headlines for its uncomfortable relationship with Syria, political assassinations, power struggles among political factions and recent military action against Palestinian terrorists. Last summer, a monthlong conflict between Israeli military forces and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants “destroyed or at least damaged” most of southern Lebanon’s infrastructure, Burrell said. The conflict left hidden cluster bombs in 70 percent of southern Lebanon’s agricultural fields. Burrell said one successful reconstruction project funded by CRS, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency, simply provides a safe place for children to play. With a lot of input from local residents and businesses, CRS created 40 cluster-bomb-safe playgrounds designed to protect against extraneous cluster bombs swept in by heavy rains, she said.
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Honduran cardinal elected president of Caritas Internationalis
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa was elected president of Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based confederation of Catholic relief and development agencies. Caritas delegates, gathered for their June 3-9 General Assembly in the Vatican, voted June 5 for the cardinal, who will represent the confederation on the world stage as of June 9. The 64-year-old cardinal will replace Caritas Internationalis’ first lay president, Denis Vienot. Cardinal Rodriguez thanked delegates for “the trust and confidence they have shown in me.” Unable to attend the assembly because of meetings with Latin American bishops, the cardinal spoke with Caritas representatives by phone June 5. “We in Caritas must work hard for the needs of the poor,” he said in a June 5 statement. He said the world’s resources need to be more fairly distributed and Caritas members must “stand up to overcome social injustice.” Development should also be promoted as “the way to alleviate and to overcome poverty,” he said. Cardinal Rodriguez is currently head of the Honduran bishops’ conference. He once served as vice president of Caritas Honduras and has a long history of being an outspoken champion of human rights and the poor.
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All must teach about Christ, says new head of catechetical conference
GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) — When Lee Nagel, former director of Total Catholic Education in the Green Bay Diocese, assumes his new duties as executive director of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership in Washington July 1, he hopes to help people understand their own mission. That mission — for laypeople, bishops and educators — is to catechize, to teach others about life in Christ, he said. “The faith will only be passed on by all of us,” said Nagel, who served the Green Bay Diocese from 1990 to 2005. “We all do that every day. I want to help people find ways to do that without feeling awkward.” The conference, with approximately 3,000 members nationwide, has its roots in the 1930s, when the U.S. bishops called a gathering of diocesan CCD instructors. CCD stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, a name often used for religious education courses for students not attending Catholic schools. Nagel will be the organization’s second executive director, succeeding Neil Parent, who is retiring. He has held the post since 1991.
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Philippine priest-governor says he’s taking extra care after killings
MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Father Eddie Panlilio, recently elected governor of Pampanga province, has started taking “extra care” to be safe following post-election, deadly ambushes in his province. Speaking with the Asian church news agency UCA News June 6 from Pampanga, northwest of Manila, Father Panlilio said he is “not really worried” about the death threats sent by text message to his cell phone and rumors of plans to assassinate him. But he added that he has taken extra precautions because of his responsibility as an elected official. “I have a province I have committed myself to, so I have to take extra care, and I listen to people more knowledgeable in security matters than I am,” said Father Panlilio. Father Panlilio is the first Catholic priest elected to a political office in the Philippines. He will take leave from his religious ministry while serving his three-year term as governor. He is scheduled take his oath of office June 30. Father Panlilio said religious groups — except the Catholic Church and the indigenous Church of Christ — endorsed his candidacy. Father Panlilio said he wears a bulletproof vest every time he goes out. He also uses security men provided by the Philippine National Police, although he did not request them.
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Retired Kansas Bishop Forst, 96, dies; was oldest living U.S. bishop
OLATHE, Kan. (CNS) — Retired Bishop Marion F. Forst of Dodge City, the oldest U.S. bishop, died June 2 at Olathe Medical Center. At age 96, he was the oldest U.S. bishop, and one of the world’s 12 oldest bishops at the time of his death. The funeral Mass was scheduled for June 7 in the chapel of Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City as the main celebrant and Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore of Dodge City as the homilist. Interment was to be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery there. Bishop Forst had been one of five remaining U.S. bishops, all now retired, to have attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council. The others are Archbishop Philip M. Hannan of New Orleans, Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen of Seattle, Archbishop Francis M. Zayek of the Maronite Eparch of St. Maron of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Bishop Charles A. Buswell of Pueblo, Colo. Born in St. Louis in 1910, Bishop Forst was ordained to the priesthood in 1934 in St. Louis. He served in parish assignments in Denver, St. Louis and Glendale, Mo., before a three-year stint as a Navy chaplain during World War II. In 1949 he was named to the staff of St. Mary Cathedral in Cape Girardeau, Mo. In 1956, when the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was erected, he was named vicar general. Bishop Forst was installed as the bishop of Dodge City in 1960.