Today (06.28.07)

No diocesan-wide events today 


Bishop Steven A. Leven (1983)

Today’s Readings

Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16 or 16:6-12, 15-16
Psalm 106:1-5
Matthew 7:21-29

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News Service

U.S.First lady announces grant to interfaith effort to fight malaria

WASHINGTON (CNS) — First lady Laura Bush June 27 announced that a $2 million grant will be given to an interfaith effort to help fight malaria in the African nation of Mozambique. She also reported that the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation the same day would approve a $507 million compact with the government of Mozambique. Bush made the announcements in an address at the Maputo Catholic seminary in Maputo, Mozambique. She was on a five-day, four-nation tour of Africa that started June 25. She said the grant will be given to the interreligious campaign “Together Against Malaria,” an organization headed by Mozambican religious leaders from the Catholic Church, the Islamic Congress, the Anglican Church, the Hindu community and the Christian Council, among others. “Churches, monasteries, temples, mosques and synagogues have gone where no one else would go,” Bush said. The text of her speech was made available in Washington June 27. “Houses of worship serve as community centers. They serve as a place for focal points of education, for distribution of commodities and for advocacy for the needs of their people,” she said.

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Faith groups urge U.S. restore habeas corpus for noncitizen detainees

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A host of Catholic organizations have joined similar Protestant, Jewish and Muslim groups in a coalition to urge a reversal of one part of last year’s Military Commissions Act that eliminates habeas corpus for noncitizens held in custody. The practice, they said at a June 26 press conference, has led to torture and other forms of cruel and inhumane punishment since the federal government would not be required to bring the detainee into a courtroom to prove that he or she must continue to be held prisoner. “Torture in any form devalues the dignity of every human person,” said retired Bishop Walter F. Sullivan of Richmond, Va., at the press conference. Bishop Sullivan had for 12 years been the bishop-president of Pax Christi USA, the U.S. arm of the international Catholic peace movement. The press conference was sponsored by the National Religious Coalition Against Torture.

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Arms and spirits high, charismatic Catholics mark 40 years of praise

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CNS) — For most organizations, 40 wouldn’t be a big anniversary calling for special celebrations. In the Catholic charismatic renewal, however, 40 is taking on biblical importance. As Bishop Sam G. Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux, La., pointed out in a keynote address at a June 22-24 Conference of the Charismatic Renewal, the number 40 appears in the Bible nearly 200 times. For 40 years the Israelites wandered in search of the Promised Land; for 40 days Jesus prayed in the desert; Pentecost came 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection, he said. Bishop Jacobs was among several speakers over the weekend who raised the possibility that God might have a similarly dramatic action in mind to mark 40 years of the Catholic charismatic renewal. “We have a great challenge before us,” he said. “These past 40 years have been a time of cleansing and a time of new beginning; a time of preparation and a time of waiting upon the Lord … a time of renewal and of stirring up frequently of the gifts given to us when hands were laid upon us and the Spirit invoked.”

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Pittsburgh Diocese, Catholic group create spiritual podcast for men

PITTSBURGH (CNS) — The Pittsburgh diocesan Department for Evangelization and Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh are producing weekly audio spiritual podcasts, specifically geared toward men, on the upcoming Sunday Scripture readings. Jeff Ludwikowski, co-executive director of the Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh, said the weekly podcasts stem from a desire to respond to Pope John Paul II’s “call for a new evangelization by utilizing new technologies to reach men who may not be tied into traditional methods of faith formation.” The 10-minute podcast is available on the Web site of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men at A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Father James Wehner, director of the Department for Evangelization, is the “voice” of the podcasts. The initial target audience was computer-savvy men who lacked the time for spiritual reading. But Father Wehner noted that the audience is much broader than originally anticipated.

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Priest says Christian perspective can be found in Harry Potter series

WESTFIELD, Mass. (CNS) — July will be a big month for Harry Potter fans and Father Michael Bernier, parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in Westfield, proudly counts himself among the myriad of Potter devotees. In fact, he described himself as a “Pottermaniac” at a talk he gave in May about God and Harry Potter. And he, like millions more, is looking forward to July 21 when the seventh and final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” is released and July 13 when the fifth movie, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” premieres. Father Bernier told those gathered for his talk at St. Mary High School that Christians should not fear this devotion to stories about a boy wizard. “On the surface level it does sound suspect and does raise red flags,” he said. However, he said the magic in Harry Potter is not sorcery. “I happen to be one of the people who believes that there’s a great deal of Christian imagery and symbolism in the books. And I think it answers, at least in parts, a longing that we have for Christ,” he said.

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Manchester Diocese starts new magazine

MANCHESTER, N.H. (CNS) — The Manchester Diocese has launched a new bimonthly magazine called Parable. “People thirst for the good news and Parable provides it,” said Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack. The full-color, 32-page glossy magazine is being produced in partnership with Faith Publishing Service of Lansing, Mich., which has a similar magazine, called Faith, for Catholics of the Lansing Diocese. “Parable tells how faith influences the everyday lives of people,” said Bishop McCormack, the magazine’s publisher. “Through words and pictures, Parable shares the ways that people are inspired either by God or other people. I am confident that readers will find the articles informational and inspirational.” Father John Grace, editor, said more than 70 percent of Parable’s content will be locally generated news, features and photos. The magazine’s starting circulation is 45,000 families in 35 of the diocese’s 117 parishes. Bishop McCormack’s goal is to reach every registered Catholic home in the statewide diocese. The first issue, dated July, went out in mid-June.

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Pope says religious ed should help people integrate faith into lives

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Religious education programs should help people understand the doctrines of Christian faith, but also must help them integrate that teaching into every area of their lives, Pope Benedict XVI said. Holding the 100th general audience of his pontificate June 27, Pope Benedict continued his series of talks about early Christian theologians, focusing on St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a fourth-century bishop. After briefly greeting 6,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope moved into the Vatican audience hall, where he explained the treasure left by St. Cyril in “Catecheses,” a series of lessons addressed to people preparing for baptism and to those who just had been baptized. The pope said St. Cyril’s text is “a model of an introduction to being Christian,” one which addressed people’s intellects, their experience and their behavior. St. Cyril’s catechesis was “profoundly biblical” and demonstrated the unity between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, demonstrating how salvation history began with creation and moved progressively toward fulfillment in Christ, he said.

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Pope tells scientists research must respect life from conception

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church encourages and promotes scientific progress, but insists that research must respect every human life from the moment of conception, Pope Benedict XVI said. At the end of his June 27 general audience, the pope welcomed scientists and physicians participating in an international conference on the use of adult cardiac stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue. “The position of the Catholic Church, supported by reason and science, is clear: Scientific research rightfully should be encouraged and promoted, but never to the detriment of other human beings whose dignity is untouchable from the first stages of existence,” the pope said. The Rome conference was sponsored by the city’s Sapienza University and Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, which have been working together on an adult cardiac stem-cell project.

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At the Vatican, a celebration of Canada Day — a little early

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican was to anticipate the July 1 celebration of Canada Day with a ceremony highlighting the ministry and authority of five new Canadian archbishops. The archbishops of “the true North, strong and free,” were to kneel before Pope Benedict XVI June 29 and receive a woolen band symbolizing the responsibility they share with him of shepherding the church’s flock. They were to be joined by 41 other archbishops from around the world. The five Canadians are Archbishops Gerard Pettipas of Grouard-McLennan, Alberta; Thomas Collins of Toronto; Richard Smith of Edmonton, Alberta; Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa; and Brendan O’Brien of Kingston, Ontario. With more than 1.8 million Catholics, Toronto is Canada’s largest archdiocese. Ottawa is the nation’s capital, and Kingston is the oldest English-speaking diocese in the country. According to Vatican figures, the five archdioceses represented by the new archbishops include close to 2.8 million of Canada’s almost 14 million Catholics.

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Chinese government summons bishops; meeting may concern papal letter

HONG KONG (CNS) — Catholic bishops who have registered with the Chinese government were called to a two-day meeting in Beijing in late June. Some bishops contacted by UCA News, an Asian church news agency, said they believed the June 28-29 meeting was related to an expected letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Catholics in mainland China; others said they did not know why the meeting was called. The pope promised to write such a pastoral letter after a summit took place Jan. 19-20 at the Vatican to discuss the situation of the Catholic Church in China. The letter, which Pope Benedict reportedly signed May 27, is generally expected to be released soon. Vatican sources have said that, as a courtesy, the letter would be sent to the Chinese government before it was released publicly. Anthony Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, confirmed to UCA News June 27 that the bishops were invited to a June 28-29 meeting to discuss celebrating the patriotic association’s golden jubilee. He denied that the meeting has any connection to the papal letter.

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Pope names Archbishop Foley to head Knights of Holy Sepulcher

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley pro-grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a fraternal organization dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and to responding to the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land. The 71-year-old Philadelphia native had been head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for “23 years and three months,” he said June 27. Naming Archbishop Foley “pro-“grand master, Pope Benedict seemed to indicate that he would be named a cardinal during the next consistory, which likely will be held in November. Archbishop Foley, who will remain in Rome, succeeds retired Italian Cardinal Carlo Furno, 85. The Vatican also announced June 27 that Archbishop Foley’s successor at the social communications council would be Italian Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who will turn 66 in July. Archbishop Celli had been a Vatican diplomat and was the Vatican’s point man for contacts with the communist governments of Vietnam and North Korea in the early 1990s when he was an undersecretary in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

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Rockford editor will also be diocesan director of communications

ROCKFORD, Ill. (CNS) — Penny Wiegert will become the new diocesan director of communications and publications, in addition to her current duties as editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Observer, effective July 1. Her appointment was made by Bishop Thomas G. Doran of Rockford. Wiegert succeeds Owen Phelps, who will retire from the newspaper but remain as a consultant to the communication efforts of the diocese. His column, “On the Road,” also will continue every other issue. Wiegert has been at The Observer since 1986 — first on a part-time basis before moving to full time. In 1989 she became associate editor. In 2002, Bishop Doran appointed her editor. Wiegert’s writing has won more than 20 local and national awards, including an Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara journalism award from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.


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