Today (08.21.07)

   ANDREWS — Installation of Rev. Joey Faylona, new pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes, 6:30 p.m. Bishop Michael Pfeifer to preside.


Deacon William Callan (1988)

Today’s Readings

Judges 6:11-24
Psalm 85:9, 11-14
Matthew 19:23-30

Today’s Headlines from CNS


Program aims to help children recover from Katrina-related trauma

WASHINGTON– Schoolchildren in the New Orleans area suffering emotionally from the effects of Hurricane Katrina are benefiting from a new faith-centered mental health program aimed at helping children exposed to trauma from natural and manmade disasters. Project Fleur-de-Lis (French for “flower of light”) helped more than a quarter of the 22,000 children eligible for services in its first 21 months and has compiled the largest database on Katrina’s effects on children, according to Douglas W. Walker, a clinical psychologist on the staff at Mercy Family Center in Mandeville, La. Operated primarily through New Orleans-area Catholic schools, Project Fleur-de-Lis is a joint program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Mercy Family Center, the Daughters of Charity’s Seton Resource Center for Child Development, the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools, the Algiers Charter Schools Association and St. George’s Episcopal School in New Orleans. Walker and others involved with Project Fleur-de-Lis described the program for participants in the Catholic Health Association’s annual assembly in Chicago in June. An estimated 1,800 people died in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005. About 80 percent of the city of New Orleans was flooded and about 90 percent of the city’s population was evacuated. “Katrina brought to the forefront an issue that was never talked about before — mental health, especially for children,” said Stephen J. Engro, director of development for Project Fleur-de-Lis.

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Catholic school guarantees tuition refund if students aren’t reading

DETROIT (CNS) — Our Lady of La Salette Catholic School in the Detroit suburb of Berkley is making a guarantee: First-graders will be reading at a second-grade level by the end of the year. If not, parents can ask for a full tuition refund. It’s an idea that came to came to principal Carol Smith while she was brainstorming for the coming school year. Her first-grade class was looking a little small for the upcoming year, a bit of an oddity for a school with an enrollment of nearly 200 students in preschool through eighth grade. She believes her teachers are top-notch, and thought it would be a shame if more students weren’t getting the benefit of a La Salette education. “I thought, I had to get people’s attention,” Smith told The Michigan Catholic, Detroit’s archdiocesan newspaper. Yearly tuition for a student who is not a parishioner is $5,080. There’s no catch, but there is a commitment required. Parents must sign a contract promising to spend at least 15 minutes — a time recommended by most educators — reading with their child every day. The first-grader must be new to the school, and he or she will take a test to make sure he or she is ready to learn and has no learning disabilities. At the end of the school year, the child will be given a standardized third-party test to be sure he or she is at a second-grade reading level. If not, parents may request a refund.

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Colleges offer financial aid to gain diversity in student body

WASHINGTON (CNS) — For parents of college-age children, the start of a new school year may mean an empty wallet along with an empty nest. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the median tuition at a four-year school was $7,490 for the 2006-07 school year. The figure includes private and state-run schools, some of which charge in-state students very low tuition. The median tuition at private schools was $15,900, with the more expensive colleges costing more than $30,000 a year. The numbers do not include room and board and other fees that can carry high price tags, such as textbook purchases and travel expenses. The high cost of college has made it difficult for lower-income students to afford it. Most schools have some form of financial aid, and the government provides grants to needy students and will pay the interest on a student loan and defer payments for those who qualify financially. But some Catholic schools are taking extra measures to help students better afford college tuition. Dominican-run Providence College in Rhode Island, in an effort to attract minority and first-generation college students and to put less emphasis on test scores, has made submission of scores from SAT and ACT — traditional college entrance exams — optional. Providence’s incoming freshman class is the first that did not have to submit scores. Christopher Lydon, the school’s associate vice president for admission and enrollment planning, said the move reflects the school’s philosophy that grades and extracurricular activities matter more than test scores. In the first year that Providence dropped the SAT requirement, applications swelled by about 1,000, Lydon told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview.

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Priest says all in central Utah want to aid miners families, rescuers

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (CNS) — Father Donald E. Hope, pastor of a mission church near the mine where six miners remained trapped, said that wherever he goes, people ask, “What can we do for the families of the trapped miners?” In locations from the parishes and missions of central Utah to its grocery stores, people have wanted to know what they can do for the families of the men trapped since Aug. 6, a mile inside and 1,800 feet down the Crandall Canyon Mine. On Aug. 17, the question changed, coming now from the families of the trapped miners: “What can we do for the families of the rescue workers who died in the mine?” Another cave-in took the life of three rescue workers and injured six others Aug. 16. They had been trying to dig underground through rubble to try to reach the trapped miners. The following day the head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said underground rescue efforts were being suspended indefinitely. On Aug. 19 at a press conference after meeting with families, mine co-owner and vice president Rob Moore said it was “likely that these miners will not be found.” Later that day the trapped miners’ families broke their silence with a press conference. Their spokesman, lawyer Sonny Olsen, said the families have been requesting the use of a rescue capsule “since day one.” The capsule, which can lower a miner into the depth of the mine to look for survivors, would necessitate drilling a 30-inch hole from the top of the mine to an area where the trapped miners are believed to have taken refuge. An AP story said an attorney for the mining company said safety experts believe the mountain is too unstable to allow a hole for a capsule to be drilled.

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Pope says top Vatican official to deliver check for Peru quake relief

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Offering prayers for the victims of the Aug. 15 earthquake in Peru and calling again for international assistance for survivors, Pope Benedict XVI announced that his secretary of state personally would deliver a papal donation to relief efforts. “Our thoughts and prayers constantly have been turned to the people of Peru, struck by a devastating earthquake,” the pope told visitors gathered at his summer villa Aug. 19 for the midday recitation of the Angelus. “For the numerous dead, I invoke the peace of the Lord; for the injured, a speedy recovery; and I assure those living in extreme conditions that the church is with you with all its spiritual and material solidarity,” the pope said. He said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, who had a visit to Peru scheduled before the earthquake struck, would expand his late-August trip to show the pope’s concern for the victims. The Vatican said Aug. 20 that the cardinal would deliver a papal check for $200,000 “for the urgent needs of the people” suffering the consequences of the disaster. The Vatican did not provide the precise dates or itinerary of the cardinal’s trip.

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Cardinal hopes pope’s visit to Austria will encourage evangelization

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholic leaders in Austria hope the pope’s Sept. 7-9 visit there will strengthen people’s faith in God and encourage Catholics to evangelize, said Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna. “The biggest challenge today is mission” and taking the Gospel message to others, the cardinal told Vatican Radio Aug. 18. Pope Benedict XVI met with Cardinal Schonborn, president of the Austrian bishops’ conference, and Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz-Seckau, Austria, at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug. 18. The cardinal said that now, “after very difficult times,” there is “a great awakening” among Austrian Catholics, who realize “our society needs the Gospel, faith, prayer.” When a pornography and sex scandal at the diocesan theological seminary of Sankt Polten led to the closing of the seminary and the bishop’s resignation in 2004, Austrian bishops expressed concern the scandal would cause a drop in confidence in the church. The number of Catholics leaving the church by discontinuing “church tax” payments increased sharply after the scandal, according to an August 2004 report by Vienna’s Die Presse daily, raising fears of a permanent decline in Austria, where Catholics nominally make up 78 percent of the population of 8.1 million.

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English bishop resigns from Amnesty after it adopts abortion policy

LONDON (CNS) — An English bishop has resigned from Amnesty International after the human rights group adopted a policy to fight for the decriminalization of abortion around the world. Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia announced in an Aug. 18 statement that he was leaving Amnesty after 31 years of active membership to protest the abortion policy adopted at a meeting of Amnesty leaders in Cocoyoc, Mexico, Aug. 11-17. The organization’s International Council — more than 400 delegates from 75 countries — approved the proposals as part of Amnesty’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign. The council voted to “support the decriminalization of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion, and to defend women’s access to abortion, within reasonable gestational limits, when their health or human rights are in danger.” But Bishop Evans said that the policy made it “very difficult for Catholics to remain members of Amnesty or to give it any financial support.” “This regrettable decision will almost certainly divide Amnesty’s membership and thereby undermine its vital work,” he said. “Among all human rights, the right to life is fundamental.” Bishop Evans was an Amnesty member for 31 years; in the 1980s, he served on the British Section Council and its Religious Bodies Liaison Panel.

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Sydney paper reports World Youth Day opening to be on waterfront site

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) — Barangaroo, a stretch of waterfront named after the wife of an Aborigine who befriended the first British settlers to Sydney, will be the venue for the opening Mass of World Youth Day July 15, 2008 in Sydney. A Sydney newspaper reported Aug. 18 that the 54-acre site, situated on the eastern side of Darling Harbor, also will be a main venue for other World Youth Day events, including the Stations of the Cross. Barangaroo will also make “a dramatic and telegenic backdrop” to the arrival, by boat, of Pope Benedict XVI on his first visit to Australia, said the newspaper. Barangaroo is named after the wife of Bennelong, a leader of the Eora clan of Aboriginal people who befriended Sydney’s first governor, Arthur Phillip, in 1788. Situated in the next inlet along from where the Sydney Opera House sits on Bennelong Point, Barangaroo is a former shipping container terminal earmarked for an urban renewal project.

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At Denver Catholic hospital, NFL stands for ‘Nuns From Leavenworth’

DENVER (CNS) — “Quiet please. Let’s go again.” In the chapel at Exempla St. Joseph Hospital in Denver July 31, amid the lights and camera and cable and sound equipment, a director asks for another take. The crew is shooting part of a series of television commercials promoting the Denver Broncos football team that will air this fall. The director cues his performers. “We are from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth,” the trio says in unison. “And we are Bronco fans.” Sisters Marie deLourdes Falk, Mary Rosenda Arkfeld and Marie Paula Hardy were selected by the Bronco organization to be featured in the promos, which will be shown on television and will be broadcast at the games. The nuns were a little amused at all the fuss over them but, being die-hard fans, they were also excited to be part of “their team.” “This is a lot of fun,” Sister Falk told the Denver Catholic Register, the archdiocesan newspaper. “I’m enjoying every minute of it. I started to cheer for the Broncos in 1977 and I just got hooked.” The nuns and others in their religious community live on the 11th floor of the Catholic hospital, which is part of the nonprofit Exempla organization, co-sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kan., Health System.

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South African bishop: Sentences for apartheid police show ‘balance’

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — Suspended prison sentences given to a South African apartheid-era police minister and four police officers provide a “good balance” in upholding the system of justice while enabling reconciliation, said Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg. Former Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok and his former police chief, Johann van der Merwe, were given 10-year sentences, suspended for five years, Aug. 17 after pleading guilty to attempting to murder the former general secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1989. Three lower-ranking policemen were given five-year terms, suspended for four years. “It is a powerful symbol that the case came to court, as those who did not apply for amnesty have been seen to bear consequences,” Bishop Dowling said in an Aug. 17 telephone interview from Rustenburg, noting that the fact that the sentences were suspended “acknowledges South Africa’s need to move forward as a reconciled nation.” The accused used an organophosphate, such as that found in the insecticide malathion, to poison the clothing of the Rev. Frank Chikane, a former antiapartheid activist and current director-general in the South African Presidency, a government ministry formed for the president’s special focus areas. The poison attacked his nervous system, almost killing him. The sentences were handed down after Vlok, 69, and the other defendants struck a plea bargain.


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