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 April 27, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Preparing for the Pope
Architect Nizar Muammar holds plans at the construction site of a municipal amphitheater on the Mount of the Precipice in Nazareth, Israel, April 19. Muammar, a Catholic, said the site will be ready for Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate Mass there on May 14 during his visit to the Holy Land. It will include a stage, 7,000 permanent seats and more than 30,000 temporary chairs set up on what is becoming a terraced hillside.
Protesting sweatshop purchases
during a rally at a Detroit post office April 15. The group, protesting while taxpayers mailed their last-minute tax returns, called on government entities to stop using tax dollars to buy uniforms and other items made in sweatshops.

Archbishop Dolan installed in New York
NEW YORK (CNS) — St. Patrick’s Cathed-ral in New York overflowed with people, music, incense and good will for the April 15 installation of Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan as the 10th archbishop of New York. The Mass was attended by 12 cardinals and more than 115 archbishops and bishops, 800 priests and more than 1,000 guests.

Prayers answered
Capt. Richard Phillips of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama kisses his wife, Andrea, upon returning to Burlington, Vt., April 17. The couple’s Catholic parish in Underhill Center, Vt., had prayed for the captain’s safe return as he was being held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia. U.S Navy SEALs freed him in a dramatic ending to a five-day standoff with U.S. naval forces.
In his homily, Archbishop Dolan said contemporary Christians should turn to Jesus and “recognize him again in his word, in the ‘breaking of the bread’ and in his Church. Let him ‘turn us around’ as he did those two disciples, turned them around because, simply put, they were going the wrong way.”

‘Doctrinal assessment’ of U.S. nuns by Vatican

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ordered a “doctrinal assessment” of the “activities and initiatives” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Maryland-based association whose members represent about 95 percent of the 67,000 women religious in the United States.

Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, a member of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, is to conduct the assessment at the direction of Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the doctrinal congregation and former archbishop of San Francisco. The assessment by Bishop Blair is separate from an apostolic visitation of U.S. institutes of women religious that will look into the quality of life in the communities and why their membership has decreased during the past 40 years.

Bishop asks to avoid ‘unseemly’ protests

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind. has advised Catholics not to attend “unseemly and unhelpful” demonstrations against the University of Notre Dame’s decision to have President Barack Obama give this year’s commencement speech.

Vince LaBarbera, director of the communications office of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, said the bishop does not want people participating in demonstrations organized by those who have vowed to make the controversy into “a circus” and whose protests “attack” Obama, university president Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins and/or the university.

The bishop is not opposed to “peaceful” demonstrations against the university’s invitation, La Barbera said.

The bishop and other critics of Obama have said his support of legal abortion and embryonic stem-cell research make him an inappropriate choice to be commencement speaker at a Catholic university. Bishop D’Arcy, in whose diocese Notre Dame is located, also announced weeks ago he would boycott the graduation ceremony as his own silent protest of Obama’s abortion policies.

Hundreds mourn slain Texas priest

AUSTIN, Texas (CNS) — The pews, aisles, choir loft and front steps of Cristo Rey Church in Austin were filled April 8 as people paid their last respects to their pastor, Father Jesse Euresti, who was killed March 31 in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

The 69-year-old priest had traveled to Nuevo Laredo March 30 to take some items to his retirement home there and to rest and prepare for Palm Sunday and Holy Week. The next day he was reported missing, and blood and other evidence of a stabbing were found in the home. His body was found on the side of a Mexican highway April 5.

A gift for ending the death penalty
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, standing in St. Peter’s Square for the pope’s general audience April 15, displays the silver olive branch given to him by the Community of Santa’Egidio, for his decision to sign a bill abolishing the death penalty in New Mexico. Pope Benedict XVI blessed the gift.
Manuel Martin Torres Saldana, the caretaker of the priest’s Nuevo Laredo home, was arrested by Mexican authorities April 6. The next day he admitted that he attacked Father Euresti and fatally stabbed him with a machete after the priest kicked him out of the house. According to The Associated Press, Torres claimed he and the priest had been “intimately involved.”

Bishop, now president, faces paternity claims

ASUNCION, Paraguay (CNS) — Just one week after Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo admitted to fathering a boy while he was still a Catholic bishop, Lugo faced two more paternity claims.

One came from a woman who said she sought help from him when he was bishop of the San Pedro Diocese. She claims Lugo is the father of her six-year-old son.

Another woman, a 39-year-old grass-roots leader and former coordinator of social ministry in the San Lorenzo Diocese, claims Lugo is the father of her 16-month-old son.

The latest reports came a week after Lugo admitted to fathering a boy who will turn 2 in May and agreed to pay child support to the boy’s mother. The child was conceived after Lugo left his post as bishop to run for president, but before the Vatican laicized him.

Women consecrated as spiritual mothers of priests

TULSA, Okla. (CNS) — Following a recommendation by the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, 33 women from the Diocese of Tulsa were consecrated as spiritual mothers of priests during a special Mass at Holy Family Cathedral. They are the first spiritual mothers to be consecrated in the United States. Each of the women was given a medal and a certificate signifying their dedication to a particular priest, who was described to them but not named.

The priests who expressed interest in having a spiritual mother do not know her identity, either. The women were asked to spend time daily in adoration and intercessory prayer directed toward their adopted priest.

Vatican dismisses report on U.S. ambassador picks
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A Vatican spokesman dismissed reports that the Holy See has rejected several candidates for U.S. ambassador to the Vatican because of their support for legal abortion.

“No proposals about the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See have reached the Vatican, and therefore it is not true that they have been rejected. The rumors circulating about this topic are not reliable,” the spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told Catholic News Service April 9.

Vatican deplores vote against pope on condoms

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican has deplored a Belgian parliamentary resolution that criticized Pope Benedict XVI for his remarks about condoms and AIDS prevention.

The Vatican’s Secretariat of State said it “deplores the fact that a parliamentary assembly should have thought it appropriate to criticize the Holy Father on the basis of an isolated extract from an interview, separated from its context and used by some groups with a clear intent to intimidate.”

The statement said it appeared that those groups were hoping “to dissuade the pope from expressing himself on certain themes of obvious moral relevance and from teaching the Church’s doctrine.”

The Belgian parliament voted overwhelmingly April 2 to have the government relay to the Vatican the parliamentarians’ disapproval of Pope Benedict’s statement March 17 that distributing condoms was not the key to preventing AIDS.

More going to Mass in Ireland since recession

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) — Many Irish parishes have reported an increase in Mass attendance in recent months, with some parishes reporting increases of up to 30 percent. Bishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher, Northern Ireland, said it is not just the older people who are attending Mass in greater numbers.

“There are a lot of people with young families who have been absent from the church who are now returning,” Bishop Duffy said. “It’s been happening for a little while now — people are seeing the need for deeper values, for moral values that lead to a search for spiritual values; people are certainly searching for something deeper,” he said.

After a period of unprecedented economic growth, Ireland’s economy has been in dire straits in recent months. In a work force of 2 million, approximately 1,000 people lose their jobs every day.


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