No diocesan-wide events this weekend
This Weekend’s Readings
Headlines from Catholic News Service
St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic community responds to bridge collapse
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Upon hearing of the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, priests from the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis traveled to the scene, as well as to nearby hospitals and medical centers, to see how they could help victims of the tragedy and their families. Although Dennis McGrath, archdiocesan spokesman, said that travel between the two cities has been “virtually impossible” since the disaster, the archdiocese held two noon prayer services Aug. 2 — one in St. Paul at the Cathedral of St. Paul and the other at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis. Coadjutor Archbishop John C. Nienstedt presided over the ceremony at the cathedral, and Father Kevin McDonough, vicar general, celebrated the prayer service as well as the daily Mass at St. Olaf. Archbishop Harry J. Flynn said both churches had a “great number of people who came together to offer their consolation and their prayers for those who died, for those who are injured, and for their families.” The latest tallies Aug. 2 confirmed seven people dead, and estimated 60 injured and at least 20 missing.
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Catholic leader cheers U.N. decision on peacekeeping force for Darfur
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The United Nations’ decision July 31 to send a peacekeeping force to the Darfur region of Sudan drew cheers from Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based confederation of Catholic relief, development and social service organizations. The U.N. resolution, which authorized up to 26,000 peacekeepers in the long-troubled region, was hailed as a ” welcome breakthrough” by Caritas in an Aug. 1 statement. “It is too early to tell if the U.N. resolution for peacekeepers in Darfur means an end to the suffering of the people there, but it sends a strong signal to all the warring parties to stop fighting and to enter into meaningful negotiations,” said Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight. “The force should go a long way in providing protection for civilians and access and security for humanitarian operations. If the peacekeepers can achieve these goals, then there is good reason for hope,” she said.
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Itinerant catechists spread out over U.S. to announce the good news
DENVER (CNS) — Nearly 500 members of the Neocatechumenal Way gathered in Denver July 5-20 for a biannual national retreat called an “itinerants’ convivence.” But it wasn’t an average retreat as the participants were sent out, two by two, to every U.S. state for eight days with no money to announce the good news of salvation; 204 teams of two people were sent with round-trip bus or airplane tickets to 150 dioceses. At their destination they were to give whatever money they had to the poor and depend solely on God’s providence as they announced the good news to the bishop, if he was available, and to pastors. They were also free to make the announcement to lay Catholics and non-Catholics. “It’s in the Scriptures and everything in the Scriptures applies to us,” said Rose Mary McLeod, who with her husband, a seminarian and a priest make up the itinerant team responsible for the Neocatechumenal Way in Colorado. “There is a (scriptural) mandate from Jesus Christ,” McLeod continued, “to go without sandal, without extra tunic, without purse to announce the love of God — the salvation that’s available for us.”
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Archdiocese’s new umbrella organization aims to meet needs of elderly
ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — In an effort to serve an aging Catholic population, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has launched Catholic Senior Services — an umbrella organization of support for the elderly that will use the local network of Catholic senior care organizations and parish programs. Four established senior service organizations plan to work with the archdiocese and network with parishes to create more senior housing and support and establish programs that provide a continuum of physical, spiritual and social care for the church’s elderly population. Today about 20 percent of the U.S. population falls into the baby-boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1964. As the baby boomers near retirement, much of this population is better-educated, more technologically adept and living healthier lifestyles than previous generations, according to “A Time to Reap,” a new pastoral letter on aging by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The letter focuses on the dignity of the elderly person, changing demographics and the archdiocese’s response. It also introduces Catholic Senior Services and explains its role in the church’s mission.
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News agency calls Chinese priests’ arrest part of government crackdown
ROME (CNS) — The late July arrest of three Catholic priests in China’s Inner Mongolia region is part of a crackdown in several areas of the country against priests who are not part of the government-recognized Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, said a Rome-based news agency. AsiaNews, an agency sponsored by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, said that at least 11 priests under arrest are experiencing harsher treatment since the publication June 30 of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Chinese Catholics. While showing a willingness to discuss church-state relations with the Chinese government, the pope’s letter also insisted that Catholics should have full religious freedom, including the freedom to maintain normal contacts with the pope and the Vatican. AsiaNews said its sources in China described as “a government answer to the pope’s letter” the July 24 arrest of three priests in the Ximeng region of Inner Mongolia. The three — Fathers Liang Aijun, Wang Zhong and Gao Jinbao — are from Xiwanzi in Hebei province.
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Bulgarian accused, absolved of involvement in plot to kill pope dies
SOFIA, Bulgaria (CNS) — Sergei Antonov, accused by Pope John Paul II’s would-be assassin of being part of a Soviet-bloc plot to kill the pope in 1981, was found dead in his Sofia apartment. Bulgarian police confirmed the death of the 58-year-old Antonov Aug. 1, but said his death had occurred several days earlier. He apparently died of natural causes. Antonov was deputy manager of the Bulgarian state airline’s Rome office in the early 1980s. Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk captured in St. Peter’s Square moments after shooting the pope and convicted of attempted murder for the crime, had told Italian investigators that Antonov and two employees of the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome were involved in the shooting. He said the Bulgarians were acting on instructions from the Soviet secret police. Antonov was arrested, but an Italian court ruled in 1986 that there was not enough evidence to convict the Bulgarians.
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Kenyan bishop applauds ruling that U.S. Mill Hill priest was murdered
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — A Kenyan bishop applauded an inquest court ruling that a U.S. priest who died in Kenya in 2001 did not commit suicide but was murdered by a third party. Bishop Peter Kairo of Nakuru, head of the Kenyan bishops’ conference’s justice and peace commission, described the ruling as superb. “The fact that the inquest court has managed to rule out the FBI suicide theory on the murder of the late Catholic priest is good enough,” the bishop, who attended the court’s Aug. 1 ruling, told Catholic News Service. After a nearly four-yearlong inquest into the death of Mill Hill Father John Kaiser, presiding magistrate Maureen Odero said in the ruling that “there exists sufficient evidence to show third-party involvement in the death of the deceased” and recommended that the Kenyan police immediately start fresh investigations to determine who killed Father Kaiser. Odero also discounted another expounded theory that Father Kaiser had suffered from a diagnosable mental illness.
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Pope names Canadian physician to Pontifical Academy for Life
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named a 47-year-old Canadian physician and specialist in bioethics to the Pontifical Academy for Life. The nomination of Dr. William F. Sullivan, 47, president of the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists, was announced Aug. 2 by the Vatican. Sullivan specializes in family medicine and ethics in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. He also serves as director of family medicine in the Division of Biomedical Services and Research at Surrey Place Centre in Toronto. Also Aug. 2, the Vatican announced the appointment to the academy of Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Chomali Garib of Santiago, Chile, a professor of theology and bioethics at the Catholic University of Santiago, and of Dr. Kvetoslav Sipr, a professor of family medicine at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, and director of a natural family planning center in Brno.
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Pittsburgh Diocese appoints its first parish life collaborator
PITTSBURGH (CNS) — In what the bishop who appointed her called “a historic moment,” Sister Dorothy Pawlus, a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth, was commissioned July 15 as the first parish life collaborator in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Auxiliary Bishop Paul J. Bradley, who is diocesan administrator, appointed her under the diocese’s pilot program. He commissioned her at a special Mass at St. Bartholomew Parish in Penn Hills, where she will serve. Sister Dorothy was pastoral associate and social service minister at St. Bartholomew for three years under Father David Bonnar, former pastor, who is now secretary for the diocesan secretariat for parish life and ministerial leadership. A parish life collaborator is a deacon or professional minister appointed by the bishop to share in the pastoral care of a parish. “No one in the church engages in ministry alone. Collaboration is the key to the success in all ministry and certainly in this newly established ministry in the life of the diocese,” Bishop Bradley said at the commissioning.