No weekend events
This weekend’s Readings
Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30
Psalm 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40
Genesis 49:29-32; 50:15-26
Psalm 105:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37 or Psalm 19:8-11
Today’s Headlines from CNS
Cardinal Keeler retires; Archbishop O’Brien succeeds him in Baltimore
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Baltimore Cardinal William H. Keeler July 12 and named Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of the Archdiocese for the Military Services to succeed him. The changes were announced in Washington by Msgr. Martin Krebs, charge d’affaires of the Vatican nunciature. Archbishop O’Brien will be formally installed as archbishop of Baltimore Oct. 1. Cardinal Keeler, 76, has been beset with health problems in recent years, including a total knee replacement in 2005, a broken ankle resulting from a car accident in Italy in 2006 and brain surgery in June, believed to be related to head trauma during the accident. He has been a bishop since 1979 and had headed the Baltimore Archdiocese for more than 18 years. Archbishop O’Brien, 68, was named an auxiliary bishop of the New York Archdiocese in 1996 and coadjutor archbishop of the U.S. military archdiocese in 1997. Less than three months after his installation, he became head of the archdiocese when Archbishop Joseph T. Dimino resigned for health reasons. As a priest he worked as a civilian chaplain at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; a military chaplain in Vietnam and at U.S. Army posts; vice chancellor and director of communications for the New York Archdiocese; secretary to Cardinals Terence Cooke and John J. O’Connor of New York; and seminary rector in New York and Rome.
– – –
U.S. bishops back trust fund for affordable housing
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. bishops are backing a bill that would create a national trust fund to build affordable housing. “The Catholic bishops support housing policies which seek to preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing and help families pay for it,” said John Carr, the U.S. bishops’ secretary for social development and world peace, at a June 28 press conference noting the bill’s introduction in the House. “We must put in place a sustainable source of funds to build affordable housing,” Carr said. “So many families cannot find or afford decent housing; many families must spend so much of their income for shelter that they forego other necessities, such as food and medicine,” he added. The National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2007 was introduced by a bipartisan group in the House that includes Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Jim Ramstad, R-Minn. A July 19 hearing on the measure was scheduled by the House Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Frank. It will establish a National Housing Trust Fund, a dedicated source of funding for the production, preservation and rehabilitation of 1.5 million affordable homes in 10 years. At least 75 percent of the funds would be for housing for households that are extremely low income, earning less than 30 percent of an area’s median income.
– – –
Pontifical College Josephinum establishes institute for diaconate
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNS) — The Pontifical College Josephinum, the only pontifical seminary in North America, has announced the establishment of the Institute for the Formation and Ministry of the Permanent Diaconate at its campus in Columbus. Father Christopher J. Schreck was named the founding executive director of the institute. Ordained in 1977 for the Diocese of Savannah, Ga., Father Schreck served as vice rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia from 2002 to 2004 and before that was vice rector for educational administration from 1996 to 2002. Since then he has been a distinguished professor of sacred Scripture there. His programs and retreats for deacons have been popular for many years. The Josephinum also will introduce a distance-learning program in September, which was developed in cooperation with the National Association of Diaconate Directors. It is intended exclusively for deacons, emphasizing the core ministries of the diaconate.
– – –
Christian Family Movement leaders discuss marriage initiative
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (CNS) — Tom Halpin, a national board member of the Christian Family Movement, thinks church leaders sometimes are “misperceived as being out of touch” with issues faced by laypeople. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said, after meeting with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, named in June to head the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., and who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family Life. “The church is truly committed to affirming and helping couples in their marriages,” added Halpin, an Omaha, Neb., resident. He and his wife, Mary Kay, are CFM’s treasurer couple. Archbishop Kurtz and Sheila Garcia, associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth, met with Halpin and other CFM board members during their summer board meeting at St. Lawrence Martyr Church in Redondo Beach. The archbishop and Garcia discussed the bishops’ new marriage initiative, listened to the board’s reaction and asked for input on how the church could help them in their efforts to support couples and families.
– – –
Thousands of Indian Christians march for Christian dalits’ rights
HYDERABAD, India (CNS) — Escalating a six-decade struggle, thousands of Christians protested discrimination against dalit, or low-caste, Christians in marches throughout the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Participants in the July 9 march through the headquarters of Andhra Pradesh’s 23 districts were urging the federal government to introduce a bill to extend equal rights to dalit Christians when Parliament begins its session in late July, reported Asian church news agency UCA News. They also were calling for the government to immediately implement the recommendations of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities. The commission recommends reserving 10 percent of government jobs for Muslims and 5 percent for other religious minorities. The marchers highlighted their demands through placards, slogans and speeches. Leaders submitted a memorandum addressed to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the offices of district collectors, the highest local civil officials.
– – –
Officials call for more clergy to work at Marian shrine in Lourdes
LOURDES, France (CNS) — Church officials have called for more clergy to work at France’s Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, after a sharp rise in visitors wanting to make confessions. “Several priests have already asked to come, but we need more for the coming jubilee year,” said Father Yvon Peschet, who is in charge of the shrine’s Reconciliation Chapel. “It’s especially with French-speaking clergy that we really need reinforcements now. But there’s a shortage in the dioceses now, and it isn’t easy for them to take time off for pastoral work down here.” Father Peschet told Catholic News Service July 12 that the 30 priests permanently on hand at 40 confessionals in Lourdes were having to cope with 400,000 requested confessions each year. He said he expected the demand to increase in 2008, the 150th anniversary of Marian apparitions at Lourdes, which already attracts 6 million visitors annually. “The Francophone confessionals are literally under siege,” said the priest. “We need … men of prayer, at ease with their vocation, happy in their priesthood and faithful to the Catholic Church’s magisterium. Our team will then consider them as auxiliary confessors for a period of 15-30 days.”
– – –
Indian archbishop ‘confused’ by reduction in HIV estimates
BANGALORE, India (CNS) — The head of the Indian bishops’ health care commission said he was perplexed by national and international health agencies’ reduction in the estimated number of HIV-positive people in India. Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore said he was “confused by the sharp and sudden decline (in the estimates) while there is no change in the ground reality at all.” “These figures will certainly lead to complacency. There is no doubt it,” the archbishop told Catholic News Service July 9. Three days earlier, the National AIDS Control Organization of India, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization announced the number of HIV-positive people in India is now estimated to be between 2 million and 3.1 million. In a May 2006 global aids report, UNAIDS had said that India, with 5.7 million HIV/AIDS cases, had overtaken South Africa with 5.6 million as the nation with most HIV/AIDS cases. At the time, Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had disputed the figures. Archbishop Moras said reducing the estimates by nearly half “gives out a wrong signal” to the public and those in the field that the situation is not as bad as it was thought. He also said the new estimates “would certainly impact international funding” for HIV programs in India.
– – –
Polish priest faces possible jail time after controversial remarks
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — A Redemptorist priest who runs Poland’s largest Catholic broadcast agency faces possible jail time after describing Polish President Lech Kaczynski as “a crook subservient to the Jewish lobby.” Prosecutors in Torun, where Radio Maryja is based, said they would consider charges against Father Tadeusz Rydzyk under a criminal code clause calling for three years in jail for insulting the head of state. The priest denied making the remarks and insisted he was the victim of “another provocation.” The Redemptorist province in Warsaw said July 9 it had set up a team to make a “proper analysis of the existing situation” after the Wprost weekly published a transcript of Father Rydzyk’s alleged statement to a student meeting, during which he also called Poland’s first lady, Maria, a “witch.” The British news agency Reuters reported July 10 that the priest is heard on a tape of the meeting criticizing the president, his brother and his wife for supporting limited abortion rights. “The first lady with this euthanasia. … You witch, I’ll let you have it. If you want to kill people, do it to yourself first,” Reuters reported the priest as saying on the tape. Kaczynski urged the church July 10 to take action against Father Rydzyk, saying insults aimed at Poland’s leaders were a matter of government-church relations, reported Reuters.
– – –
Lady Bird Johnson, former first lady and environmentalist, dies at 94
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson “truly was a Texas treasure,” said the bishop of Austin, Texas, where she lived at the time of her death July 11. Johnson made beautifying the nation’s highways and public lands her legacy. She died of natural causes at her home near Austin at the age of 94, according to The Associated Press. Upon learning of her death, Austin Bishop Gregory M. Aymond issued a statement expressing his sadness and asking for prayers for her and her family. “She truly was a Texas treasure,” Bishop Aymond said. “She found and spread God’s beauty in the simplicity of wildflowers and nature. In faith, we trust she is resting in comfort in the Lord’s garden.” Paulist Father Robert Scott was at Johnson’s bedside when she died at approximately 4:15 p.m. Though Johnson was an Episcopalian, her daughter Luci Baines Johnson Turpin converted to Catholicism during her father’s presidency and knew Father Scott, a senior minister at St. Austin’s Parish in Austin and at the University of Texas Catholic Center. Father Scott told Catholic News Service July 12 that he has known Turpin and her family for 25 years. He also knew the former first lady because she attended all her grandchildren’s first Communions, graduations and confirmations. Father Scott recalled that she hosted a confirmation retreat for an entire confirmation class at the LBJ Ranch.