Today (07.24.07)

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Christ the King Retreat Center, San Angelo

Today’s Readings

Exodus 14:2115:1
Exodus 15:8-10, 12, 17
Matthew 12:46-50

Today’s Catholic News Service Headlines

U.S.

Sponsorship talks end between Boston Archdiocese, Ascension Health

BOSTON (CNS) — The Archdiocese of Boston and Ascension Health, a national Catholic health care system, have ended discussions about a change in sponsorship of Caritas Christi Health Care without an agreement. “As in any negotiations of this scale, we approached this process with a clear understanding of the need for parities to reach agreement on numerous terms in order to move forward,” the archdiocese and Ascension Health said in a joint statement in late June. “While we hoped to reach a definitive agreement, regrettably, after months of good-faith efforts, we collectively determined that is not possible, and we have agreed not to pursue affiliation,” they said. Discussions between the two organizations began in February. The archdiocese, the current sponsor of Caritas Christi, was seeking a new sponsor for the heath care system. Ascension Health, based in St. Louis, is both the largest Catholic and largest nonprofit health care system in the United States. Caritas Christi Health Care was established in 1985 and is the second largest health care system in New England.

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Personalities, faith of Catholic Channel hosts attract listeners

NEW YORK (CNS) — Tune in to “The Catholic Guy” on Sirius satellite radio any afternoon, and you might hear radio host Lino Rulli doing a round of speed dating, looking for a date. Or, you might hear him interviewing a cast member of “The Sopranos” about growing up Italian-American, parodying a hip-hop song on “mock and roll Fridays” or extolling the benefits of going to confession. On the free-wheeling, family-issues program “Speak Now With Dave and Susan Konig” in the 10 a.m. to noon slot, the Westchester married couple’s banter on a recent morning ranged from the expanded opportunities for the Latin Mass to a planned interview with outspoken hard-rocker Ted Nugent on “parenting a teenager.” “We’ll take advice from anybody,” quipped Dave Konig, against a split-second instrumental clip of Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.” That same week, fellow host Bob Dunning’s topic on his early afternoon program, “Across the Nation,” was “Are video games addictive?” All three programs are part of the daily lineup on the Catholic Channel, which has been up and running for the last eight months on Sirius satellite radio’s channel 159.

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NFP respects human dignity, natural law, says speaker

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) — In deciding a correct course of action, a person must determine not just whether a means is efficient, but, more importantly, whether it respects the dignity of the person and natural law, a physician told a University of Notre Dame audience July 15. Natural family planning, known as NFP, not only provides efficient family planning without side effects, but also is ethical because it respects both the unitive and procreative purposes of marriage, said Dr. Maria del Pilar Calva Mercado of Mexico. NFP teaches couples to identify the fertile days in a woman’s cycle so that the couple can avoid or achieve pregnancy. Calva Mercado teaches genetics and bioethics at the university level. She is also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and serves on the Commission for the Family for the Bioethics Council of the Mexican Episcopal Commission. With her at Notre Dame was Judith Leonard, director of the Office of Family Life and Natural Family Planning for the Diocese of Wichita, Kan. Their visit to the campus came at the end of a week of NFP instruction.

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Catholic university team learns about reality of poverty in Nicaragua

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — When University of San Francisco graduates receive their diplomas next year, they might not realize the leather covers enclosing those hard-earned pieces of paper came from a struggling artisan in Nicaragua. Members of the University of San Francisco’s leadership team, headed by the president, Jesuit Father Stephen Privett, took an immersion trip to Nicaragua June 8-16. The goal was to educate participants about the realities of poverty in the developing world to enhance classroom work and make concrete the university’s mission of providing a global perspective. Tangible results of this trip included a probable link between the Jesuit-run university and a Nicaraguan leather shop. After a visit to a leather craftsman’s home and workshop outside the capitol, Managua, Tracy Shroeder, the university’s vice president for information technology, suggested the university could link with the man to provide a service to students — 3,000 leather diploma covers every year — that would also help his small business.

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WORLD

Pope calls for end to ‘useless slaughter’ of war

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the “useless slaughter” of war and asked that “the rule of law” replace the recourse to weapons. When people succumb “to the temptations of evil” and launch violent conflicts and wars, “this stupendous garden that is the world” is opened up to hell, he said. The pope made his appeal for peace July 22 before reciting the noonday Angelus prayer with thousands of pilgrims gathered in the main square of this northeastern Italian town nestled in the Dolomite Alps, where the pope is spending his July 9-27 vacation. The peace and tranquillity of this Alpine region has sharpened “the painful impact of the news I receive about the bloody conflicts and violent events happening in many parts of the world,” he said. “The beauty of nature reminds us that we were told by God to cultivate and care for this garden that is the earth. If humanity lived in peace with God and each other, the earth would really look like a paradise,” he said.

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In WYD message, pope calls on youths to evangelize, be missionaries

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When adults have so much difficulty bringing young people to faith, it probably is a sign that God is calling youths to evangelize their peers, Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for World Youth Day 2008. The struggle adults have in making the faith convincing “can be a sign that the Spirit intends to push you young people to take charge of this,” the pope wrote in his message, released in Italian July 21. Pope Benedict also said he hoped a huge crowd of young people would join him in Sydney, Australia, for the July 15-20 international gathering, which will include a renewal of the promises made at baptism and confirmation. “Together we will invoke the Holy Spirit, asking with trust in God for the gift of a new Pentecost for the church and for humanity in the third millennium,” the pope said. The theme of World Youth Day 2008 is: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.”

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Bishops hope adultery charges don’t shift focus from Zimbabwean crisis

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference said it hopes that allegations of adultery against Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo will not divert attention from the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Noting with “sadness and concern” the widely publicized allegations, the bishops said they come “at a time when Zimbabwe is facing one of the worst political and economic crises in its history, a crisis which Archbishop Ncube has consistently expressed great concern about and which we believe the country should be focused on.” Archbishop Ncube, an outspoken opponent of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, plans to deny in court allegations of adultery that his lawyer said are part of a well-orchestrated campaign to discredit him. According to Zimbabwe’s state media, Onesimus Sibanda is claiming $160,000 in damages from Archbishop Ncube for the alleged affair with his wife, Rosemary Sibanda.

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Ukrainian cardinals write each other in dispute over church building

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — Ukraine’s Eastern-rite cardinal has written his Latin-rite counterpart in an effort to resolve what church sources say is the first intra-Catholic dispute over a church building. Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, an Eastern rite, wrote Latin-rite Cardinal Marian Jaworski of Lviv, Ukraine, after Latin Catholics claimed they were kicked out of a church by Eastern Catholics. “Greek (Eastern) Catholics are only conducting their services temporarily in this church,” Cardinal Husar said in a letter to Cardinal Jaworski. “I will ensure understanding between nations, especially when they belong to the same universal church, is not just an empty slogan, but a genuine reality.” Most of Lviv’s Latin Catholics are of Polish descent. Extracts from Cardinal Husar’s letter were published July 19 by Poland’s Catholic information agency, KAI, which also published a July 7 letter from Cardinal Jaworski to Cardinal Husar complaining about the alleged seizure of the Mother of God and Lord’s Presentation Church in Lviv.

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PEOPLE

Evangelist’s two-day festival in Omaha draws a crowd of 105,000

OMAHA, Neb. (CNS) — Members of more than 275 churches in Omaha attended the Luis Palau Heartland Festival July 14-15 to listen to Palau and to praise Jesus. Omaha’s event was the first time a Catholic archdiocese or diocese had publicly endorsed the Palau festival, with Omaha Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss making an appearance onstage to address the crowd of more than 45,000 people the first night. An estimated 105,000 attended the event over the two days. “All of us here share something in common — our commitment to Jesus and his Gospel,” the archbishop said in his address. “He is the Savior … sent into our world to save us from our sins and to lead us home to the Father.” Palau, a world-renowned Christian evangelist who has been preaching to crowds for more than four decades, has held festivals since 1999, drawing more than 4.5 million people. He also reaches a worldwide audience through radio, television, print and the Internet. His ministry’s headquarters is in Oregon.

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Prayer and Action initiative connects youths with universal church

SALINA, Kan. (CNS) — Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller doesn’t judge the success of the Prayer and Action project by the gallons of paint used. She counts the teenagers committed to Christ. “Kids are searching for a prayer life, for a relationship with Christ,” she said. “Here, they are experiencing the bigger church, the universal church.” Sister Barbara Ellen, a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia and youth ministries director for the Diocese of Salina, said the second year of the Prayer and Action project has been nothing but inspiring. “It’s far exceeded my expectations,” she said. Seminarian Gale Hammerschmidt proposed the idea two years ago, and he and Sister Barbara Ellen applied for a grant from the Catholic Church Extension Society to help get it started. The goal was to provide youths a local mission experience, he told The Register, Salina’s diocesan newspaper, but it has grown to be so much more. It connects youths to people in need, it rallies people in the community and it creates lifelong relationships, he explained. “That’s an added bonus I didn’t realize. It’s been a true blessing,” he said.

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