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January 8, 2007 VOL. 45, NO. 1Oakland, CA
News in Brief

New bishop for Monterey
Bishop Richard Garcia, auxiliary bishop of Sacramento since 1998, has been named the new bishop of Monterey, succeeding Bishop Sylvester Ryan who is retiring. Bishop Garcia, 59, is one of 25 active Hispanic bishops in the United States. When he is installed in the Monterey Diocese Jan. 30, he will be the 11th active Hispanic bishop to head a diocese.

Bishop to seek presidency
Retired Bishop Fernando Lugo Mendez of San Pedro, Paraguay, left, watches a soccer match in Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, Paraguay, Oct. 29. After a Dec. 20 Vatican warning that he would be suspended from the priesthood if he continued with plans to run for the Paraguayan presidency, he announced Dec. 25 that he would leave the priesthood so he can become a candidate in the April 2008 elections.
PHOTO/REUTERS/Aladin Abdel Naby

Jewish group pledges to Catholic schools
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- A Baltimore-based Jewish foundation is pledging $3.5 million to Catholic schools in Baltimore in an effort to boost enrollment and attract even more financial support for urban-based Catholic education.

Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore and Donn Weinberg of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation announced that the foundation would donate $500,000 in 2006 and $1 million for the next three years to benefit at-risk students in 17 Catholic elementary/middle schools and three high schools.

The grant is contingent on the Archdiocese of Baltimore finding matching grants from other donors.

Jesuit among Newsweek’s people to watch in 2007
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Newsweek magazine has named Jesuit Father John P. Foley, president of the national Cristo Rey Network of Catholic high schools, among “the people to watch in the year ahead.” In 1996 Father Foley opened Cristo Rey Jesuit High School as a college prep school in Chicago’s predominantly Hispanic Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood, which has the city’s least educated population.

In collaboration with more than 100 area corporations, the school operates a work/study program that has every student working five days every four weeks and attending classes 15 days in that time.

Archbishop decries raids at meat plants in six states
DENVER (CNS) -- The archbishop of Denver decried the immigration raids conducted at meatpacking plants in six states Dec. 12 by federal authorities to arrest workers in the country illegally who were suspected of participating in an identity theft scam.

“The mass arrest of unauthorized workers in Colorado and across the country this week once again puts a human face on the flaws in our immigration system, a system that needs immediate and very serious reform,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said Dec. 13. The Catholic Church supports the law and respects law enforcement officers, he said, but Catholics must question why the federal action occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Many of the affected workers are Hispanic.

Main Rome train station dedicated to John Paul II
ROME (CNS) -- Honoring the late Pope John Paul II as a man of dialogue and encounter, the city of Rome and the Italian state railway system have dedicated Rome’s Termini train station to his memory. The newly refurbished “Termini-John Paul II Station” was formally inaugurated Dec. 23. Some 480,000 people a day -- 150 million each year -- pass through the station.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the papal vicar of Rome, told the crowd gathered for the ceremony that it made perfect sense to dedicate a train station to the memory of a pope who traveled so much.

Vatican’s U.N. mission to get diplomatic privileges
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the final hours of the 109th Congress, the House and Senate passed a bill that would let President George W. Bush grant diplomatic privileges and immunities to the
Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations.

The Holy See is not a member of the United Nations, but its permanent observer status, held since 1964, entitles it to participate in General Assembly debates, have its communications issued and circulated as official documents of the assembly, and co-sponsor draft resolutions and decisions that refer to the Holy See.

Portland to pay $75 million to abuse claimants
PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Portland will not need to sell off parish or school property under terms of a $75 million settlement between the archdiocese and almost 150 sex abuse claimants. Among the resolved cases is the $135 million suit that in 2004 pushed the archdiocese to become the first Catholic archdiocese or diocese in the nation to file for bankruptcy. At one point last year, abuse suits against the Archdiocese of Portland added up to more than $500 million.

Collectible Swiss Guard stickers hit market
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Move over baseball players and soccer stars -- an Italian publisher is hoping to hook young collectors on the Swiss Guards. To honor the guards in their 500th year of service to the popes, the publisher has released a deluxe collector’s album with 250 different stickers.

“The Guardian Angels of the Pope” is heavy on images and light on text, but the brief explanations of each sticker are provided in both Italian and English. The images used were chosen and the explanations written by Giovanni Morelli, the retired Vatican Library employee who served as researcher and curator of the 2006 Vatican exhibition on the history of the Swiss Guards.

Warsaw prelate wasn’t a spy, Polish bishops say
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican and the Polish bishops are convinced Warsaw’s new Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus was not a spy for the secret police under Poland’s former communist regime, the Vatican said.

The Polish Catholic Church has been rocked for months by revelations that some members of the clergy cooperated with the secret services of the country’s old communist regimes. Rumors had been circulating for weeks that Archbishop Wielgus, formerly bishop of Plock, had been among the collaborators.

Priest might stand trial for ‘dirty war’ crimes
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNS) -- An Argentine state prosecutor has recommended that a priest who served as a police chaplain stand trial for his alleged role in disappearances, torture and other human rights violations during the country’s “dirty war.”

Father Cristian von Wernich will be the first priest to face trial for human rights violations committed during the 1976-83 dictatorship, in which an estimated 30,000 people died or disappeared. Witnesses accuse Father von Wernich of being involved in the organization of kidnappings and death squads.

Davenport to sell properties to ease debt
DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) -- Three Davenport diocesan properties -- including the house that Bishop Martin J. Amos recently moved into -- were to go on sale as part of the diocese’s bankruptcy proceedings. A fourth property, the diocese’s St. Vincent Center headquarters, will be sold later. The property must be sold to compensate the diocese’s creditors, victims of clergy sexual abuse. The bishop’s house, a duplex, has an assessed value of $196,260.

Crowd assaults Indian archbishop, priests
BANGALORE, India (CNS) -- A crowd of 1,000 people shouted anti-Christian slogans and some of them assaulted Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore Dec. 18 when he visited a church and a school attacked the previous night. The mob pulled the archbishop and two priests from their car and verbally abused them.

The archbishop came to visit two Claretian priests who were attacked by alleged Hindu fanatics the previous night. The attackers also damaged St. Thomas Church and St. Claret School, which the Claretians manage.

President of Xavier U. given Freedom Medal
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Norman Francis, the president of Xavier University in New Orleans for 39 years, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during a Dec. 15 White House ceremony. The longtime president of the nation’s only historically black Catholic university was praised for being “a man of deep intellect and compassion and character.”

President George W. Bush described Francis as the longest-serving university president in the United States and someone who has dedicated his life to education. He noted that Francis, who received his undergraduate degree at Xavier, was the first African-American to graduate from the Loyola University College of Law, also in New Orleans.

Better auditing urged for Catholic parishes
VILLANOVA, Pa. (CNS) -- More than four out of five U.S. dioceses have experienced embezzlement or other misuse of parish funds within the past five years, but only two-fifths have formal written fraud policies, two Villanova University researchers said. Villanova business school professors Robert West and Charles Zech reported that according to a national survey of chief diocesan financial officers 21 percent said the diocese “seldom or never” audits parish finances and only 3 percent said such audits are conducted every year.
The researchers recommended that all parishes undergo internal audits every year, supplemented by an external audit at least once every three years. They recommended all parishes and high schools submit financial data to the diocese at least annually and preferably more often.

 

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