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 June 4, 2007VOL. 45, NO. 11Oakland, CA
News in Brief

‘Catholic Extreme Makeover’
A group of retired telephone employees construct a wooden wheelchair ramp by the front door of Father Udochukwu Vincent Ogbuji’s new home in Little Rock, Ark. Parishioners at Christ the King Church in Little Rock helped renovate a vacant parish-owned house in less than two weeks for the Nigerian-born priest, who suffered paralysis following a car wreck.

Fleeing in Lebanon
Lebanese civil defense workers evacuate a Palestinian family from the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon May 22. Thousands of Palestinians fled after a fragile truce halted fighting between the Lebanese army and al-Qaida-linked militants based in the camp, where some 40,000 Palestinian civilians live.

National shrine in D.C. to build Italian chapel
WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) -- The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. contains chapels representing many Catholic ethnic groups in the United States, but not Italians. A cardinal and four bishops of Italian descent are leading a campaign to build a chapel in honor of Our Lady of Pompeii. Designed by the Rambusch Decorating Co., it will be located in the basilica’s west foyer.

Cardinal’s Scholarship Fund gets $22.5 million
NEW YORK (CNS) -- A New York philanthropist has donated $22.5 million to the Archdiocese of New York for its inner-city scholarship program. After former Wall Street investor Robert Wilson, an 80-year-old atheist, made the donation, another donor, who wished to remain anonymous, contributed $4.5 million to the same scholarship program. Since it began in 2005 the fund has awarded 3,700 scholarships with a maximum individual tuition value of $2,100 per year.

Marquette given $51 million for new law school
MILWAUKEE (CNS) -- Marquette University is receiving $51 million from an alumni couple to help build a new law school facility. It is the largest gift ever made by individuals to a Wisconsin college or university. Raymond A. and Kathryn A. Eckstein of Cassville, Wis., and Boca Raton, Fla., said they made the gift as an “expression of gratitude” to the university.

Bishop calls for prayers after Christians threatened
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNS) -- A bishop from northern Pakistan has called on Catholics to pray for Christians threatened with death if they do not convert to Islam or leave town. Bishop Anthony Lobo of Islamabad-Rawalpindi called for the Holy Spirit’s intervention and for prayer in the wake of threats against a small Christian community in Charsadda.

Kidnapped Iraqi priest returned unharmed
ROME (CNS) -- After three days in the hands of kidnappers, an Iraqi Chaldean Catholic priest was released shaken, but healthy, May 21. Father Nawzat Hanna, a pastor in Baghdad’s Baladiyat neighborhood, had been visiting a sick parishioner May 19 when he was seized by a group of men who apparently had been waiting for him. Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad said he was given the location of “a place in the city” where he would find the priest.

“When he saw me, Father Nawzat embraced me tightly, cried and was very shaken; then he thanked everyone who had prayed for him,” Bishop Warduni said. “I hope he has the courage to continue serving the church in Iraq. His family already has moved abroad, but he had chosen to remain here, to remain at the side of his faithful.”

50,000 recite rosary at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
PASADENA, Calif. (CNS) --. Some 50,000 people at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena May 19 prayed the rosary during the Rosary Bowl, Southern California’s largest rosary recitation in more than 50 years. It was sponsored by Holy Cross Family Ministries and its Family Theater Productions in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Diocese won’t appeal award of $11.45 million
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CNS) -- Rockville Centre Diocese will not appeal a jury’s May 18 verdict awarding $11.45 million to a man and a woman who were sexually abused as minors by a Catholic youth minister, who pleaded guilty in 2003 and served two years in prison. The victims, now in their early 20s, said they were assaulted repeatedly over several years, beginning in 1999 when they were 15.

Complaint filed against Guadalajara cardinal
GUADALAJARA, Mexico (CNS) -- The Democratic Revolution Party filed an official complaint with Mexico’s Interior Ministry against Guadalajara Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez for allegedly involving himself in political matters. The complaint is based on the cardinal’s public statements that committed Catholics should not vote for political parties that support decriminalizing abortion and legalizing homosexual unions. Mexico City, which recently decriminalized abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, is governed by the Democratic Revolution Party.

Archbishop disputes racism charges
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg has disputed charges of racism in the placement of priests in his diocese. It is “not necessarily false to claim that the allocation of priests in parishes in the Diocese of Johannesburg is done along racial lines,” the archbishop, who is president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said.

“We are not necessarily colorblind. In the placement of priests, reality is taken into consideration.” The diocese has 30 African (black) priests and 50 African parishes, 44 white priests and 46 white parishes, and eight mixed-race or Indian priests serving eight parishes. “There is a greater need for priests in African parishes. Most of the African priests serve two parishes,” Archbishop Tlhagale said, noting that they speak their parishioners’ languages fluently “and understand the culture of the parishioners.”

While some white priests prefer to work among white parishioners, “a significant number” choose to work in black townships, he said.

Pelosi addresses USF’s business graduates
SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- In a May 19 commencement address for the University of San Francisco’s McClaren College of Business, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called the late Leo T. McCarthy key to her congressional ascent and urged young people to “know your power and follow your passion.” McCarthy was long a fixture in state and local politics including three terms as California lieutenant governor. He was posthumously awarded an honorary degree during the graduation ceremony.

“Words, not weapons, are the tools of a new civilization,” Pelosi told an overflow crowd of graduating students, families, supporters and faculty at St. Ignatius Church on the campus of the Jesuit-run university.

Bishop pleads for help to save rain forest
APARECIDA, Brazil (CNS) -- Saying “it’s five minutes to midnight” for the Amazon, a bishop from Brazil made an impassioned plea for all the countries of the world to join forces to stop the destruction of the rain forest. German-born Bishop Erwin Krautler of Xingu, in northern Para state, said during a press conference May 19 that when he arrived in the area 42 years ago, “the Amazon was more or less intact and now it is threatened with destruction.”
Clearing and burning the rain forest to plant soy and sugar cane “will be a fatal blow for the Amazon,” he said. “If things continue as they are, in another 30 years the Amazon will not exist anymore.”

Destruction of the rain forest has accelerated since the 1970s with the construction of highways that have given ranchers, loggers and miners access to untouched land.


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