Today (08.28.07)

Today in the Diocese

 Diocesan Liturgy Commission, 10 a.m., Pastoral Center

  OZONA — Installation of new pastor, Fr. Rodney White, 6:30 p.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Help.


Deacon Mario Calderon (1998)

Today’s Readings

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Psalm 139:1-3, 4-6
Matthew 23:23-26

Today’s Headlines from CNS


Caribbean Catholics to tackle new priorities after convention ends

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CNS) — Although the second national convention of Caribbean Catholics of North America is over, the work for volunteers has just begun. During a town hall meeting Aug. 19, Caribbean Catholics who gathered at Rochester’s Crowne Plaza Hotel narrowed their focus to six priorities: immigration, welcoming new arrivals to the United States, Caribbean music ministry, Catholic schools, increasing the involvement of youths and developing a Web site. Volunteers signed up for committees and will tackle the priorities in advance of the third national convention in 2009 at a location to be determined, said Sister Joan Angela Edwards, a Sister of the Sorrowful Mother who is president of the nine-member governing board of Caribbean Catholics of North America. Regional meetings in 2008 also will continue the work of the committees, she said. Since Caribbean Catholics of North America formed in 2003 and incorporated in October 2006, the group has been working to form local chapters across the country, leaders said.

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Burlingame Mercy Sisters begin new project to fight global poverty

BURLINGAME, Calif. (CNS) — The Burlingame regional community of the Sisters of Mercy took steps to “make poverty history,” as the title of one of the sessions of their recent annual convocation put it, by giving their blessing to a new initiative called Mercy Beyond Borders. In a presentation to the more than 160 sisters and Mercy associates gathered at the Burlingame motherhouse for the Aug. 9-12 convocation, Mercy Sister Marilyn Lacey outlined a proposal for the new nonprofit entity, which she said will address global poverty with the U.N. Millennium Development Goals as its inspiration. “This can be a million-nun movement which focuses on concrete, small projects,” said Sister Lacey, who directed the Diocese of San Jose’s Catholic Charities’ refugee services outreach for 21 years and during her current sabbatical year is writing a book on refugees. “We can connect Mercy resources in the U.S. with projects already established in the developing countries that need seed money,” she said. “We can mobilize our Mercy passion to do this. We have 10 years to meet the U.N. millennium goals.” The U.N. Millennium Development Goals include eight objectives which range from halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary health care.

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Colorado Catholic school to teach eighth-grade students by gender

PARKER, Colo. (CNS) — Eighth-graders at Ave Maria School in Parker are experiencing a change in the classroom environment this fall, with the students divided into gender-separated classes. According to Erlene Madsen, principal of Ave Maria, there are no plans at present to expand the single-gender model to other grade levels. Eighth-graders are divided by gender into separate classrooms but will interact with each other during breaks, recess, lunch and social events, Madsen wrote in an e-mail to The Colorado Catholic Herald, diocesan newspaper of Colorado Springs. According to Michelle Maher, diocesan superintendent of schools, a key reason for the change is that most Ave Maria eighth-grade graduates continue on to Regis High School in Aurora which is a coeducational high school where boys and girls are separated into two separate single-gender divisions, each in its own building with a library, chapel and classrooms. The implementation of a single-gender grade level at Ave Maria came after a few years of discussion. School administrators initially presented the idea to the school’s advisory council, which sought feedback from parents and approved the model for one year.

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Religious told to respond in ‘creative fidelity’ to God’s call

CLEVELAND (CNS) — Men in religious orders must respond in “creative fidelity” to the mission entrusted to them, a Vatican official, Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rode, said at the annual meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. “Consecrated persons must realize that, no matter what their apostolic commitments might entail, their primary mission is that of witnessing to the values of the kingdom,” said Cardinal Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, during the Aug. 10-13 CMSM assembly in Cleveland. “Their lives and actions must clearly show that the message of Jesus is the only message which offers the way to eternal life,” Cardinal Rode said. He added that the rise of religious life from the church’s earliest days was the response of those who sensed the need “to more radically conform their lives to the teachings of the Gospel, to live a life of radical poverty, chastity and obedience in imitation of the Jesus whom they had come to know personally.”

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Repair of historic St. Louis church could take years, cost millions

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Restoration efforts at St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Parish in St. Louis could take a year or more and cost several million dollars, according to Bob Ryan, director of the archdiocesan Office of Risk Management. “It might take a year to put it back together or more,” Ryan told the St. Louis Review, archdiocesan newspaper. “We won’t know until we get the bids to reconstruct it. It could go as high as $3 (million) to $4 million, but that is pure speculation at this point in time.” The risk management office administers the archdiocese’s self-insurance program for parish properties. St. Alphonsus is insured through the program, although the property is owned and administered by the Redemptorists. To help with the cost of restoration efforts, the archdiocese has pledged $100,000 from the Annual Catholic Appeal’s parish emergency fund. Ryan said the main effort following the fire had been to secure the building and make it safe enough to bring in structural engineers to begin the formal evaluation of the property. The city of St. Louis has condemned the 140-year-old church building, which was struck by lightning as storms rolled through the area Aug. 16.

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Workshops at Caribbean Catholic meeting emphasize multiculturalism

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CNS) — Her father was from the Caribbean, while her mother was from Central America, so that’s why Mary E. Davidson of the New York borough of Queens terms herself a Caribbean hybrid. Davidson also considers herself chosen. She explained that on Sept. 11, 2001, she was supposed go to a meeting a block away from ground zero. Instead, she decided that morning to go to Mass, and she was delayed afterward in Queens. “Had I not changed my route, I would have been a victim,” Davidson said. “I am here for a purpose — for whatever the Lord sends me.” Davidson said that’s why she was attending the second national convention of Caribbean Catholics in Rochester Aug. 17-19 — to discover her purpose. Davidson’s multicultural and spiritual outlook is the type that several speakers promoted during workshops held at the event. As participants defined the struggles they as Caribbean Catholics face in adjusting to life in North America, they were given strategies to maintain spirituality while blending their native and adopted cultures.

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Australian bishop says church is failing victims of clergy sex abuse

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) — The bishop who developed the Australian Catholic Church’s protocols for dealing with cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors says the church is failing victims and not confronting the systemic causes of sexual abuse and making changes that will make ministries healthier places. In a new book, “Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church,” Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, 70, a retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney, writes, “I am convinced that if the pope had spoken clearly at the beginning of the revelations, inviting victims to come forward so that the whole truth, however terrible, might be known and confronted, and firmly directing that all members of the church should respond with openness, humility, honesty and compassion, consistently putting victims before the good name of the church, the entire response of the church would have been far better. Even now I cannot see evidence that a true confrontation of the problem is occurring,” said the book, released in late August. “The staff of those clinical facilities specially set up for the treatment of priests and religious who have offended against minors have not been asked by Roman authorities for their findings on the causes of abuse.”

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Peruvians join Vatican official in prayer near quake’s epicenter

PISCO, Peru (CNS) — A subdued crowd of several hundred residents and rescue workers gathered in the main plaza of Pisco to pray with a top Vatican official who had come to remember victims of the mid-August earthquake. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, conveyed “greetings, solidarity and blessings” from Pope Benedict XVI to worshippers in Pisco, as well as a crowd of more than 5,000 people at an earlier prayer service Aug. 24 in Ica, about 42 miles south of Pisco. The mood was more subdued in Pisco, the city closest to the epicenter of the quake, than it was in Ica. More than 300 of the more than 500 quake victims died in Pisco — at least 100 of them when the roof of St. Clement Church collapsed during a memorial Mass for a parishioner who had died a month earlier. The cardinal urged residents not to give up hope and to remember that God is present even in the midst of tragedy. After the service, Cardinal Bertone waded through the thick adobe dust on the site of the church and led prayers for those who had died and for their families.

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Vatican officials say new book illustrates Mother Teresa’s strength

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Vatican officials said a new book detailing Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s long “crisis of faith” illustrates her spiritual strength in the face of doubt. “This is a figure who had moments of uncertainty and discouragement, experiencing the classic dark night that God gives to chosen people in order to forge them on the road to holiness,” said Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, a member of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. “These moments of crisis felt by great saints are normal and in line with the church’s tradition,” Cardinal Herranz said Aug. 26. The letters are being published in English in the upcoming book, “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,” edited by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, a member of the Missionaries of Charity order founded by Mother Teresa and the postulator of her sainthood cause. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, told Vatican Radio that what distinguished Mother Teresa’s “dark night” was that it apparently continued throughout her life and was not a preparation for a new spiritual stage as with other saints.

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Salvation is open to all, but the way is not easy, pope says

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Salvation through Christ is open to all, but the way is not easy because it requires a real commitment to love and justice, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope, speaking Aug. 26 to hundreds of pilgrims at his summer residence outside Rome, said that when Christ told his disciples the gate to heaven was narrow he did not mean it was for the privileged few. “Christ’s message goes in the opposite direction: Everyone can enter into (eternal) life, but for everyone the gate is narrow … because it requires commitment, renunciation and mortification of one’s own egotism,” the pope said. Christ made clear that people will ultimately be judged on the basis of their works in this world, he said. “The evildoers will find themselves excluded, while those who have done good and sought justice through sacrifice will be welcomed. It will not be enough to declare oneself a friend of Christ,” the pope said.

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Bishop, others welcome new investigation into Father Kaiser’s death

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — The family and friends of Mill Hill Father John Kaiser welcomed the Kenyan government’s order for fresh investigations into the death of the U.S. missionary, whose body was found in Kenya Aug. 24, 2000. Marking the seventh anniversary of Father Kaiser’s death, Bishop Peter Kairo of Nakuru, head of the Kenyan bishops’ justice and peace commission, said the attorney general’s Aug. 22 order “is yet another step toward the right direction. This will be yet another golden opportunity for us to come out and assist in discovering the killer of our brother, Father Kaiser,” he said Aug. 25, addressing Catholics, human rights activists, bishops and nuns gathered to commemorate the priest’s death. Bishop Kairo expressed hope that one day the truth will prevail and the murderer be revealed. He appealed to people to volunteer any information that they may have when the investigation begins.

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Monastery discernment year begins with 650-mile journey by bicycle

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — This August, Stephanie Hart was on the road to discerning whether she has a calling to the religious life — both literally and figuratively. That road took her about 650 miles across four states, as the 27-year-old massage therapist biked from her home in Miles City, Mont., to St. Joseph, Minn., where she joined the Sisters of St. Benedict for a yearlong postulancy to discern whether she has a permanent call to religious life. It may be an unusual way to embark on a vocation, but Hart said she enjoyed traveling on the open road. “I guess what I’m hoping for myself during this time is mostly to just be — to allow whatever thoughts to come that need to come,” said Hart, who left Aug. 11 and arrived late Aug. 25, in an interview with The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, shortly before beginning her journey. “I have about two weeks, pedal stroke by pedal stroke, to begin to acclimate,” she added. Hart, a 2002 graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, documented her adventure on a blog:

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Canadian Cardinal Gagnon, longtime Vatican official, dies in Montreal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Canadian Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, 89, a longtime Vatican official and an outspoken defender of traditional church teaching who frequently found himself in the midst of controversy, died Aug. 25 in Montreal. Pope Benedict XVI called the cardinal a “faithful servant of the church” who generously served many years “with competence and devotion.” In telegrams sent to Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal and Sulpician Father Lawrence Terrien, superior general of the Sulpicians, the pope offered his condolences for the Sulpician cardinal’s death. The Vatican released to journalists copies of the telegrams Aug. 26. Cardinal Gagnon served as head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, 1983-1990, and as president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, 1991-98. Throughout his career at the Vatican, Cardinal Gagnon was an outspoken critic of North American society and church trends. He said U.S. religious education was diluted and failed to teach the basics and criticized sex education in the church.

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Vatican confirms pope will meet with Israeli president

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, a Vatican official confirmed to Catholic News Service Aug. 24. The Sept. 6 meeting will come just three days after Israeli and Vatican representatives meet in Jerusalem to discuss financial issues related to Catholic institutions in Israel. Peres, who met with Pope Benedict in April 2006, was elected in June as Israel’s president, a largely symbolic role. Peres has served as prime minister of Israel twice, as well as in a number of high-ranking government posts. In 1994 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Oslo accords, which affirmed the Palestinian right of self-governance. Peres’ visit with the pope will be part of an official visit to Italy in which he will also meet with Italian political leaders.


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