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 May 9, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Arson-destroyed church
will be rebuilt

People stand outside the burned St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights on April 24. The 42-year-old church was destroyed by a three-hour arson fire April 16 and sustained between $8 million and $9 million in damages. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez mourned the loss of their church, but the congregation vowed to rebuild it.
CNS photo/Tim Rue

OBL death time for reflection
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, a man who sowed division and hatred and who caused “innumerable” deaths, should prompt serious reflection about one’s responsibility before God, not rejoicing. The news prompted street demonstrations and expressions of jubilation worldwide. At right, a vendor walks past a sand sculpture of bin Laden on a beach in Puri, India, May 2. Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, May 1, officials said.
CNS photo/stringer via Reuters

Vigil for immigrants
Members of the Sisters of Mercy hold a prayer vigil for immigration reform at the Department of Homeland Security office in Detroit April 27. The vigil has been held weekly for three years, praying the rosary for immigrants who are arrested, imprisoned and deported.
CNS photo/Jim West

Catholics shocked after female student beheaded

RANCHI, India — Students at a Jesuit school in Ranchi were in deep shock after an engineering student, Bijendra Kumar, beheaded his girlfriend, Khushbu Kumari, police said. “I have never seen such a gruesome incident in my life. It appears to be vengeance killing over spurned love,” said Jesuit Father Nicholas Tete, principal of St. Xavier’s College, in the capital of Jharkhand state.The girl was a student of Rammanohar Lohia College, but had gone to St. Xavier’s April 27 for an exam. She was attacked with a kukri, the traditional weapon used by the Gurkhas, as she left the second-floor exam hall after the three-hour test.

Ex-Anglican priest, father of 8, a Catholic

LONDON — It’s a brave decision for Ian Hellyer, a former Anglican priest, to give up his job when he has to provide for eight children and his wife is pregnant with the couple’s ninth child. But Hellyer is losing no sleep over his decision. He believes he is answering God’s call to become a Catholic priest in the newly created Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. “I truly feel that this is God’s call, and there has been nothing to make me think that it isn’t,” he said.

Southern dioceses cope with worst storms

WASHINGTON — Southern U.S. Catholic dioceses are seeking aid for those shattered by the violent storms and devastating tornadoes that tore through their region in late April, killing more than 350 people. Officials from several dioceses told Catholic News Service that they are also busy assessing damage to church buildings and schools, and several special collections have been started to help those in need. Pope Benedict XVI also sent his prayers and support to victims and those engaged in relief and rebuilding efforts in the region in a May 2 letter to Archbishop Rodi from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.

Sacramento bishop says to recall the Holocaust

SACRAMENTO — In a letter to a leading rabbi, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento stressed the need to “purposefully remember” the Holocaust to ensure that “never again will such dark evil prevail.” The bishop addressed his letter to Rabbi Reuven Taff, president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Sacramento, to mark the May 1-8 Days of Remembrance for Holocaust victims. The bishop noted that Jews and Christians “share an immense spiritual patrimony” and said that the “righteous voices from the centuries of religious witness demand that we never tire of the ceaseless task to overcome evil with good.”

New bishop to be a ‘witness of hope’

ALTOONA, Pa. — As his ordination and installation Mass came to a close, new Bishop Mark L. Bartchak said he looked forward to being “a servant, a prophet, a witness of hope.” Hope was the prevailing theme of the April 18-19 celebration of Bishop Bartchak’s ordination and installation as the eighth bishop of Altoona-Johnstown. “A bishop is called to proclaim before all people the basis of Christian hope.” He said that as a bishop, “I will be called to do what others have done for me and with me, all my life. I have always been in awe of moments when others have shared hope with me.”

Appeals court panel throws out prayer case

WASHINGTON — An April 14 decision by a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Freedom From Religion Foundation did not have standing to challenge President Barack Obama’s right to proclaim the National Day of Prayer (May 5 this year) because its plaintiffs could not show any harm done to them. The foundation filed suit in 2008, claiming the day violated church-state separation. A U.S. District Court judge ruled in 2010 the day was unconstitutional. The Obama administration appealed the ruling, arguing the day recognizes the role of religion in the United States.

Catholic homes take major role in fostering vocations

WASHINGTON — The theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations points to the important role Catholic home life plays in the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, said Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis. “The theme which the Holy Father chose places the burden on the local church to reflect on how it develops a culture of vocations,” said the archbishop, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “We know that the vocation comes out of the home.” The papal message for the day of prayer, which will be observed May 15, was released Feb. 10 at the Vatican.

Contraceptive use report misleading, official says

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops’ pro-life spokeswoman is disputing a new report from the Guttmacher Institute that says Catholic women — including frequent churchgoers — are just as likely as other women to use artificial contraception. “The way the data is presented ... is misleading in a pretty fundamental way,” Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. The Guttmacher report said “contraceptive use by Catholics and evangelicals, including those who frequently attend religious services, is the widespread norm, not the exception.”

Arch. Vigneron joins vigil at Michigan mosque

DEARBORN, Mich. — Saying he came as a “voice of peace,” Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, former bishop of Oakland, joined hundreds of religious leaders at a Holy Thursday vigil outside an Islamic center to condemn intolerance and hatred toward Muslims. The gathering at the Islamic Center of America in suburban Dearborn came a day before a planned Good Friday protest by two Florida pastors who threatened to burn a copy of the Quran outside the center.

—Catholic News Service


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