This Weekend (08.17-19.07)

In the diocese:

Saturday — 125th anniversary of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Odessa; Mass: 5 p.m.

Sunday — Bishop to celebrat Mass at St. Joseph, Coahoma, 9:15 a.m.

This Weekend’s Readings


Joshua 24:1-13
Psalm 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22, 24
Matthew 19:3-12


Joshua 24:14-29
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11
Matthew 19:13-15


Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Psalm 40:2-4, 18
Hebrews 12:1-4
Luke 12:49-53 

Headlines from Catholic News Service

Warm welcome, warm weather greet Archbishop Kurtz in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNS) — With solemnity and celebration befitting the Archdiocese of Louisville’s nearly 200-year history, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz was installed Aug. 15 as its fourth archbishop during a Mass that drew about 5,000 people to a downtown Louisville arena. Successor to Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, the new archbishop was presented with a crosier that had been carried by another of Louisville’s shepherds, Bishop William George McCloskey, who served at the turn of the 20th century. Archbishop Kurtz wore a pectoral cross that once graced the neck of Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget, the first bishop of what was then the Diocese of Bardstown, established in April 1808. The diocese was transferred to Louisville in 1841, and in 1937 the diocese was made an archdiocese. Though the events at the Louisville Gardens arena were steeped in history, the day belonged to Archbishop Kurtz and the promise of the future. “You have certainly given me a warm welcome,” he said at one point, adding that he meant it both literally and figuratively. The temperature topped 100 degrees.

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Enrollment picking up at Catholic schools, universities in Gulf Coast

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Two years after Hurricane Katrina, Catholic schools and colleges in the Gulf Coast region are recovering, but enrollment figures have still not been restored to what they were prior to the storm. At Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, which was severely damaged by floodwaters from the breached levees following Katrina, school officials anticipate for the 2007-08 school year an overall enrollment of 3,100 students, including students in the College of Pharmacy and graduate students. Enrollment is still about 75 percent of the pre-Katrina total of 4,100 students. Jesuit-run Loyola University in New Orleans, which was not physically damaged by the hurricane but was forced to close for the fall 2005 semester, did not have figures available for the 2007-08 school year, but has seen an overall loss in students since the hurricane. In the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the total Catholic school student population for the 2006-07 school year was 40,955. Pre-Katrina enrollment was approximately 49,000. In the Diocese of Biloxi, Miss., school enrollment figures have fluctuated since Hurricane Katrina. Prior to the storm, there were 4,117 students in the five high schools and 14 elementary schools in the diocese. At the end of the 2005-06 school year, students numbered 3,862.

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Baltimore Catholic school boosts efforts to recruit Hispanic students

BALTIMORE (CNS) — During the new school year at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, school officials expect to see a more racially diverse enrollment with the addition of several Hispanic students, ending a two-year period with an all-black student body. It is the first time in the coed high school’s 179-year history that school officials have actively recruited students, particularly Hispanic teens. “The Hispanic population in this state and this country is growing by leaps and bounds,” said David Owens, a tennis coach and teacher at the school. “This school was founded by people of Hispanic origin and we’ve had Latino students here in the past. But, that element has kind of taken a back seat to children of African descent,” he told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Baltimore Archdiocese. Owens was educated by the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the same religious order that runs St. Frances Academy, founded in 1828. Founded by Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, the order was the first for black women in the United States.

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Chaplaincy groups join together to form collaborative care group

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (CNS) — Six pastoral care organizations have formed the Spiritual Care Collaborative, a new group that will recognize trained, qualified spiritual caregivers who serve as chaplains, pastoral educators and counselors. The chair of the collaborative effort, Art Schmidt, a chaplain at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Wash., said in a statement that the group will expand public awareness about the work of chaplains. It represents, he said, “an unprecedented opportunity to work together to enhance recognition of common standards for our professions and to unite resources toward the accomplishment of common goals.” The incorporated group is composed of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors in Fairfax, Va.; the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in Decatur, Ga.; the Association of Professional Chaplains in Schaumburg; the Canadian Association of Pastoral Practice and Education in Halifax, Nova Scotia; the National Association of Catholic Chaplains in Milwaukee; and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains in Whippany, N.J.

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Non-Catholic students find welcoming environment at Catholic schools

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CNS) — Brooke Smith fell in love with Irondequoit’s Bishop Kearney High School even before she enrolled. She looked into the school at the recommendation of her pastor at St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church in Rochester and knew it was the right place for her. This fall, she will be a senior at the school — officially called Bishop Kearney High School: A Golisano Education Partner because of its recent partnership with business entrepreneur, B. Thomas Golisano. Religion classes, liturgies and prayer are a regular part of life for Bishop Kearney students, but Brooke said she doesn’t feel awkward about being a non-Catholic in a Catholic school. “Not at all, because not everyone there is Catholic,” she told the Catholic Courier, Rochester’s diocesan newspaper. Nineteen percent of Bishop Kearney’s student population is Christian but not Catholic, and another 3 percent come from non-Christian faith backgrounds, according to Paul Cypher, the school’s vice president for operations.

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Page by dusty page, Guatemala’s violent past is uncovered

GUATEMALA CITY (CNS) — Church leaders say 80 million pages of secret police records being reviewed by the government promise Guatemalans a rare chance to rewrite the history of their violent land. The moldy records were found by accident in 2005 in an abandoned section of a police compound in Guatemala City. Some of the records date back more than a century, their faded pages describing the daily bureaucracy of repression employed for decades by Guatemala’s government. Of most interest to investigators are records from 1975 to 1985, the most violent period of Guatemala’s civil war, during which 160,000 people were killed and 40,000 disappeared. Although workers from the government’s human rights prosecutor have so far examined only about 5 million pages of the records, many are confident that what they are finding will shake up this traumatized land. “During the conflict there was a sense of fear, for you never knew who was behind things,” said Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri of San Marcos, president of the Guatemalan bishops’ conference. “The uncovering of the archives marks that we’re entering a different era. There is an opportunity to know who was involved in this, to rewrite the history of violence in our country and identify who the killers were.”

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Peruvian church organizes aid for victims of magnitude 8 quake

LIMA, Peru (CNS) — Peru’s Catholic Church is organizing humanitarian aid for thousands of victims of a magnitude 8 earthquake, collecting donations of food, water and blankets and channeling financial assistance to the affected region. Roberto Tarazona of the national office of Caritas, the church’s humanitarian and social development agency, said Aug. 16 his office had been in contact with bishops in the affected area and that a Caritas team was en route to the area to assess the damage and coordinate aid efforts. While Caritas’ immediate response is humanitarian assistance, he said, people will need even more help in the weeks following the Aug. 15 quake, because aid tends to dry up once the immediate crisis is past. The areas most affected will have to rebuild “production infrastructure, schools, community buildings, houses, water systems,” Tarazona said. Officials reported at least 437 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the disaster, but the figures were expected to rise as rescue workers searched the rubble for victims and survivors. The National Civil Defense Institute said Aug. 16 it had registered 16,600 families whose homes had been destroyed.

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Pope asks world to come to aid of quake victims in Peru

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI called on the world community to come to the aid of those affected by a deadly earthquake that struck the coast of Peru. In a telegram sent to bishops of the dioceses affected by the magnitude 7.9 temblor, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said the pope was deeply saddened upon hearing the news of the quake, which hit Aug. 15 and left more than 300 people dead and more than 1,300 injured. The hardest-hit areas were south of Lima. The Vatican released a copy of the telegram Aug. 16. The pope offered his prayers and condolences for all those affected by the quake and urged “institutions and people of good will to offer the needed aid to victims out of charity and a spirit of Christian solidarity.”

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Venezuelan cardinal: Bishops might meet to discuss Chavez proposal

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNS) — Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas said the Venezuelan bishops’ conference might have a special meeting to discuss Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s proposed constitutional reform. The proposal “concerns the life of the Venezuelan people, of the Catholics of Venezuela and the rights of everybody,” he said. The cardinal said Venezuelan Catholics should participate in the reform process, to make it “a peace treaty for all Venezuelans and not a declaration of war.” The reform proposal is to be debated in the National Assembly, but it is not clear whether the assembly or the people as a whole will vote on it. Most controversially, the reform proposal presented by Chavez Aug. 15 would remove term limits for the president and concentrate more power in the presidency. Chavez, who made his name by leading a 1994 coup attempt, was first elected president in 1998, and his current term is to expire in 2012, but he has said he expects to hold office until 2021.

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Group wants bust of first Catholic chief justice gone from City Hall

BALTIMORE (CNS) — A bust of the first Catholic chief justice of the United States may be removed from its prominent perch in front of Frederick’s City Hall if a group of civil rights activists gets its way. Pointing to Chief Justice Roger Taney’s role in writing the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision that declared blacks to be noncitizens and that made slavery legal in all territories, members of the Frederick chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are calling on city leaders to take down the bust. The movement has drawn a mixed response from the Catholic community, with some leaders arguing that it is wrong to remove a piece of art honoring a historic figure while others said the move could promote a sense of healing. Guy Djoken, head of the NAACP in Frederick, did not return numerous calls and e-mails from The Catholic Review, Baltimore archdiocesan newspaper, requesting comment about the controversy. “We can look back and say the decision was a mistake and contrary to the teachings of the church, but he still was an important historic figure of the time,” said Msgr. Martin Feild, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Taneytown.

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Former bishops’ communications official Robert Beusse dead at 77

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Robert B. Beusse, a former secretary of communications for the U.S. bishops who was instrumental in establishing the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Catholic Communication Campaign, died Aug. 14 at his home in Caldwell, N.J. He was 77. His funeral Mass was scheduled for Aug. 17 at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Roseland, N.J., with interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover, N.J. “He took great pride in the fact that both CCHD and CCC not only survived but thrived,” said Timothy F. Collins, who recently retired as executive director of CCHD, in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service Aug. 15. “He was a superb communications professional,” Collins added. “He had an incredible gift of putting together a vision of what the church should be doing with the direction the bishops wanted to go.” He was secretary of communications for the bishops’ twin conferences from 1970 to 1979.

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