Today (10.03.07)

Today in the Diocese

MIDLAND — Bishop Pfeifer meets with group of Midland community leaders on drug epidemic, 10:30 a.m., First Presbyterian Church.

Today’s Readings

Nehemiah 2:1-8
Psalm 137:1-6
Luke 9:57-62

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News ServiceU.S.

Archbishop O’Brien calls it ‘an honor’ to lead historic archdiocese

BALTIMORE (CNS) — A joyous crowd of about 2,000 people filled the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore Oct. 1 to celebrate the installation of Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien as the 15th archbishop of Baltimore. In a ceremony rich with tradition, Archbishop O’Brien called it “an honor and a privilege” to serve as the spiritual leader of more than 500,000 Catholics in the archdiocese. “Whatever I am, and all that I have I give to you,” he said in a homily that was interrupted several times by applause. “And until that day when he calls me to judgment, I will seek to serve you with the wholehearted love of Jesus Christ.” He succeeds Cardinal William H. Keeler, who retired after heading the archdiocese for 18 years. Eight cardinals and nearly 70 archbishops and bishops from across the country and around the world attended the ceremony. More than 400 priests and 62 deacons joined the bishops in an opening procession that lasted more than 30 minutes.

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Milwaukee archbishop prays that jurists will respect all human life

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The belief that God created humanity with a special dignity is a cornerstone of Judeo-Christian tradition and has shaped the United States since its founding, said Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan at the 54th annual Red Mass in Washington. And he prayed that belief would inspire jurists and government officials to recognize “the innate dignity and inviolability of every human life.” In his homily at the Sept. 30 Mass, Archbishop Dolan quoted the nation’s second president, John Adams, who spoke of the “true map of man” as consisting of “the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God.” That is “a map whose paths can only be walked with a reverence for life, a respect for others, a grasp of virtue and a responsible civility,” the archbishop said. The chief justice and five U.S. Supreme Court justices were among the 1,200 people in the standing-room-only crowd at St. Matthew Cathedral for the Mass, which seeks God’s blessings and guidance on the administration of justice.

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U.S. Sikhs come to Washington for third dialogue with Catholics

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The conversation between U.S. Catholics and Sikhs continued in Washington Sept. 28-Oct. 1 as about a dozen members of each faith engaged in the third dialogue between the two denominations. It’s a learning experience, said Kavneet Singh, 44, who was participating in his second dialogue. “It’s a very high-level dialogue,” he said, “to really get to know the core of the faith.” From the dialogues the Sikh participants learn about what the two faiths have in common. “Both faiths are looking out for the welfare of mankind,” Singh said in an interview with Catholic News Service. “We all look out for our brother.” Both Sikhs and Catholics, he added, share the view that there is just one God. The concept of a single God would be seen by Sikhs as more expansive than the Abrahamic concept of God, according to Manohar Singh, 71, who was born in the Punjab region of India, considered the cradle of Sikhism. Manohar Singh — no relation to Kavneet — said Sikhs consider God to be “a mother, a father, brother, sister, even as a friend — any kind of relationship that you have here” on earth.

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Michigan Catholics to get DVD explaining stem-cell research issue

DETROIT (CNS) — To clear up confusion about stem-cell research, the Michigan Catholic Conference has launched a statewide educational program to explain the Catholic Church’s teaching on human life, the church’s support for adult stem-cell research and its opposition to embryonic stem-cell research. As part of the program every registered Catholic home in Michigan will soon be receiving a DVD and other information in the mail. On Oct. 1, the conference began mailing digital video discs, along with a letter signed jointly by Michigan diocesan bishops and a brochure, to 504,000 Catholic homes in the state. “Stem-cell research has moved to the forefront of human life issues in Michigan and throughout the nation,” said Dave Maluchnik, public policy associate at the Lansing-based conference, the public policy voice of all seven Michigan dioceses.

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U.S. priest sees hopeful signs for eventual reunification of Korea

MARYKNOLL, N.Y. (CNS) — Subtle changes in attitude are more important than signed documents when it comes to measuring progress in relationships with the North Koreans, according to a U.S. priest who has visited North Korea more than two dozen times since 1995. Maryknoll Father Gerard Hammond, a missioner in South Korea since 1960, has served in many capacities, including personal envoy of Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, South Korea, and apostolic administrator of the Pyongyang Diocese in North Korea. He also is the director of the Seoul archdiocesan National Reconciliation Center, chairman of the North Korean branch of Caritas International, a Catholic aid agency, and a trustee of the Eugene Bell Foundation, a Protestant charity that works in North Korea. Father Hammond first visited North Korea to bring aid after devastating floods there. In the 12 years since then, he said, there has been an improvement in “dialogue, attitude and trust on both sides. I speak Korean and I’m accepted. If I wasn’t, I couldn’t go there.” Father Hammond, 74, said his age is an advantage and “they would consider me, in many ways, a Korean.”

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OCP publishes Spanish-language guide to prayer, Bible readings

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) — Hoping to fill a gap in worship resources available to Hispanic Catholics, OCP in Portland has published a new Spanish-language guide to prayer and the daily Lectionary readings called “Palabra, Vida y Fe” (“Word, Life and Faith”). Published twice a year, the book includes Scripture readings, reflections, saints’ profiles and more for every day of the week. The second edition, available now, covers July through December 2007. “Catholic bookstores are packed with missals and weekly devotionals in English, but very few such resources exist in Spanish,” said Pedro Rubalcava, director of Hispanic ministries at OCP. “Of the few available, none covers half the year in one book, or contains extensive catechetical and prayer sections like the ones in ‘Palabra, Vida y Fe.'” More information about “Palabra, Vida y Fe” is available on the Web site http://www.ocp.org, or by calling (800) 548-8749.

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WORLD

War cannot be means to promote national interests, Vatican tells U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (CNS) — War and armed conflict are no longer sustainable means for promoting or protecting national interests, the Vatican’s top foreign affairs official told the U.N. General Assembly. U.N. agreements concerning disarmament and the nonproliferation of weapons and plans to create “a standing team of expert mediators” to prevent conflict should receive increased support, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti said Oct. 1 at U.N. headquarters in New York. Speaking during the general debate marking the opening of the 62nd session of the U.N. General Assembly, the archbishop said the values upon which the United Nations were founded should be reaffirmed so as to “deliver a forceful ‘no’ to war and an equally forceful ‘yes’ to human dignity.” He said respect for human dignity “is the deepest ethical foundation” upon which peace and fraternal relations between nations are built. “Forgetting, or partially and selectively accepting” this principle of respect “is what lies at the origin of conflicts, of environmental degradation and of social and economic injustice,” he told the assembly.

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Myanmar situation is warning to every society, says Irish archbishop

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) — The situation in Myanmar is a warning to every society in the world, said Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who visited the country’s capital in 1992 as part of his work as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The archbishop described Myanmar’s ruling military regime as corrupt, cynical and devoid of any ideology except staying in power. He spoke Oct. 1 in a homily delivered to judges, lawyers and court personnel at the annual Mass marking the start of the new law term. The archbishop referred to a quote from St. Augustine that Pope Benedict XVI used in his 2006 encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (“God Is Love”): “A state which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves.” “If we want an example of this, we can look at the tragic situation unfolding in these days in Burma,” said Archbishop Martin, using the former name of Myanmar. “Burma is a country I know personally and for which I have for years had a great interest and concern.”

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Arrest at U.S. border makes Canadians question use of refugee law

TORONTO (CNS) — The arrest of a U.S. refugee worker at the Canadian border has prompted criticism of what some call the misapplication of a Canadian law. Janet Hinshaw-Thomas, founder of the Pennsylvania-based PRIME-Ecumenical Commitment to Refugees, was charged with people-smuggling as she delivered 12 Haitian asylum seekers to the border post at Lacolle, Quebec, Sept. 28. A court date has been scheduled for Nov. 30. The 65-year-old grandmother of four has been working with refugees in Pennsylvania since 1983. She is the granddaughter of the late U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and niece of U.S. Cardinal Avery Dulles, who has said he is willing to testify on her behalf. Hinshaw-Thomas spent a night in jail before being released on $5,000 bail and being warned to be on good behavior. Immigration lawyers and refugee rights advocates in Canada expressed shock that a law intended to punish criminal gangs who have sent people drifting toward Canadian shores in rusty hulks or lured vulnerable women into the sex trade is being applied to a humanitarian.

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Vatican rep: Countries must respect rights while coping with refugees

GENEVA (CNS) — Countries must find better ways to respect human rights in their efforts to cope with the growing number of refugees and displaced people, said the Vatican’s representative to international agencies based in Geneva. The increasing number of people fleeing their homes because of persecution, conflict or severe poverty has resulted in frustration for the international community, public anxiety and “emotional political reactions,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican official. He told members of the executive committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Oct. 2 that nations should tackle the refugee problem from “a human rights approach.” “Regrettably, the number of refugees has increased again to some 10 million persons, and internally displaced people to well over 24 million,” he said.

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Philippine governor wants no charges if attacker is mentally ill

SAN FERNANDO, Philippines (CNS) — A priest who serves as provincial governor of Pampanga said he wants police to drop charges against a man who allegedly drew a knife on him if the man is mentally ill. Father Eddie Panlilio told the Asian church news agency UCA News Oct. 2 that he had asked police to bring Rafael Enriquez to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for psychiatric evaluation. The priest said he also directed the provincial legal office to study the apparent attack on his life the previous day. Father Panlilio, the first Catholic priest elected to public office in the Philippines, took the oath of office as governor June 30 and is not practicing his priestly ministries during his three-year term. Enriquez, 30, approached Father Panlilio from behind as reporters were interviewing the governor in the lobby of the capitol. The governor had just launched his “White Ribbon Campaign” for good governance. Police reports said Enriquez pulled a six-inch knife out of his bag and raised it behind the priest’s back. However, a security aide grabbed the man’s hand, and the attacker was taken to the police station for investigation.

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U.S. auxiliary says appointment of Beijing bishop not handled well

HONG KONG (CNS) — The Chinese-born auxiliary bishop of San Francisco said it was “not good” that Beijing Bishop Joseph Li Shan did not have his papal mandate made public at his recent episcopal ordination. “The Vatican was a little bit weak this time,” Auxiliary Bishop Ignatius C. Wang told Catholic News Service Oct. 2 in Hong Kong, without elaborating. Bishop Wang was en route to the United States after visiting his sister in mainland China. Bishop Wang said he was on a brief visit to Mongolia when the ordination in Beijing occurred Sept. 21, but he knew that the papal mandate had not been made public. “His priests did not read it,” said Bishop Wang. Father Sun Shang’en of Beijing, diocesan spokesman, told the press after the ordination ceremony, “If the Vatican approves Bishop Li, we are happy and welcome it, but we have not yet seen the apostolic bull from the Vatican.”

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PEOPLE

U.S. Maryknoller, 81, hands over video productions to Kenyan bishops

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — After 26 years of documenting life in Africa, U.S. Maryknoll Father Richard Quinn has handed over control of Ukweli Video Productions to Kenya’s Catholic bishops. “Ukweli” is the Swahili word for truth. “When I began my video productions in the metropolitan Archdiocese of Nairobi, some of the people thought that I was crazy. Others could not even pronounce the word video,” Father Quinn, 81, said at the handover ceremony at a Mass in Nairobi Sept. 27. He said the late Cardinal Maurice Otunga of Nairobi “did not understand the whole concept of the modern mass media communications and its effective contribution in evangelization,” but “he did welcome us.” Today, said Father Quinn, the use of mass communications is well entrenched in evangelization work. Ukweli Video Productions has produced several hundred videos — biographies of missionaries and videos based on the social and religious teachings of the Catholic Church. Bishop Martin Musonde Kivuva of Machakos praised Father Quinn, a native of Passaic, N.J., for his years of work.

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New managing editor named for Tucson diocesan newspaper

TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) — Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson has named Bernard A. Zovistoski managing editor of The New Vision, the official diocesan newspaper. Zovistoski worked for 25 years at The Times-Union daily newspaper in Albany, N.Y., as a reporter, editor and managing editor, and for six years as the first civilian editor of The Stars and Stripes, the daily newspaper that serves U.S. military forces in Europe. He also served for seven years as editor of two weekly newspapers in upstate New York. “I’m delighted to have this opportunity to join in support of the ministry of the Diocese of Tucson,” Zovistoski said. “It’s a big change for me, and a welcome one.”

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Catholic family sets record for most siblings to finish same marathon

APPLETON, Wis. (CNS) — When they crossed the finish line, 13 of the 14 children born to Ed and Janet Weisse of Oshkosh broke the world record for the most siblings to complete the same marathon. But their other sibling, Peter, who died of brain cancer at the age of 3 in 1968, was very much a part of the group and the focus of the day as his siblings ran the 26.2 miles in his memory and to raise money for cancer research. The Weisses competed in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Sept. 23, which started in Menasha, went through Appleton and other communities and ended in Neenah. The event is named for the Fox Cities community, comprised of seven cities, towns and villages along the Fox River. Running in memory of Peter “gave the event more purpose,” said Ben Weisse of Madison, the 12th of the siblings and instigator of the family event. “Whether we get the record or not, who cares? There are 14 of us. We always include Peter in the number. He’s my brother.”

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