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 June 6, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 11   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Statue of Mary remains
after church destroyed

A statue of Mary stands outside the remains of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Joplin, Mo., May 24 after the church and school were destroyed by a monster tornado that struck the city May 22. The massive F-5 tornado cut a swath of destruction three-fourths of a mile wide and six miles long, claiming at least 125 lives with hundreds still missing. Nearly every building in its path was left in total ruin. “Most people’s emotions are still too raw for them to begin processing this catastrophic event,” said Father Justin Monaghan, St. Mary’s pastor. “I just want to tell them, ‘Our prayers are with you and we will rejoin you in rebuilding, healing, and renewal in the midst of the pain you are all suffering.’”
CNS photo/Emily Molinaro, The Mirror
Chaplain visits with veteran
Voluntas Dei Father Andrew Sioleti, a Department of Veterans Affairs chaplain, is one of many Catholics who minister to our nation’s military veterans, trying to help aging soldiers heal from past wars. Above, Father Sioleti visits with Army and Merchant Marine veteran Jose Garcia, 88, and Garcia’s daughter, Frances Rojas, at their residence in the Brooklyn borough of New York May 18.
CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz
Bishops named to new posts

Father Donald J. Hying of the Milwaukee Archdiocese was to be an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese. Father Hying will be ordained July 20. He will be the spiritual leader on a Pentacost Tour pilgrimage to France in October.

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio, was named to head the Diocese of Joliet, Ill. He succeeds Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who was Joliet’s bishop for four years until he was named to head the Seattle Archdiocese last September.

Msgr. Robert D. Gruss of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, was appointed bishop of Rapid City, S.D. The appointment was announced in Washington May 26 by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Jesuit priest confirmed as new House chaplain

WASHINGTON — Jesuit Father Patrick J. Conroy, who graduated with his master’s in divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1983, was unanimously approved as the next House chaplain in a May 25 vote. Father Conroy, 60, a native of Washington state, had been nominated by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, himself a Catholic, as the ideal candidate for the position. The Jesuit succeeds Father Daniel Coughlin, a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese who retired in April after 11 years on the job. Father Conroy most recently was a theology teacher, campus ministry assistant and coach at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore., and long served as a pastor to Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest.

Circumcision proposal: ‘misguided’ attack

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer called a proposed ban on circumcision that qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot in San Francisco “a misguided initiative” and “an unconscionable violation of the sanctuaries of faith and family” by the city. An interfaith coalition opposes the proposal as an infringement on religious liberty and parental rights. The initiative would ban circumcision for any male under 18 except in cases of medical necessity. It says that religious belief could not be used as an exception to the law and violators could be fined up to $1,000 and imprisoned for up to one year.

Vocal priest reinstated as pastor of Chicago parish

CHICAGO — Father Michael Pfleger, who was placed on administrative leave from his position as pastor of an African-American parish on Chicago’s South Side has been reinstated by Cardinal Francis E. George and agreed to develop a transition plan for the future of the parish. The outspoken priest, longtime pastor of St. Sabina Church, was placed on leave April 27 three weeks after he said in an interview on national radio that he would leave the Catholic Church if he were to be reassigned.

Boston Archdiocese, sisters resolve dispute

BOSTON — The Boston Archdiocese and members of the Daughters of St. Paul have successfully resolved an ongoing dispute over pension funds. The two sides said in a joint statement May 25 that they had reached a resolution and had asked the state Supreme Judicial Court to dismiss the complaint by the Daughters of St. Paul alleging that the archdiocese did not allow the sisters to withdraw their portion of a church-run pension fund.

Diocese ends state-funded adoption, foster services

ROCKFORD, Ill. — The Diocese of Rockford has announced that its Catholic Charities offices will no longer offer state-funded adoptions and foster-care services when the new Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act takes effect June 1. Because the law did not include an exemption allowing religious organizations to refer adoptions or foster-care arrangements involving same-sex or unmarried cohabitating couples to other agencies, “the Diocese of Rockford is forced to permanently discontinue all state-funded adoption and foster-care operations as of June 1,” said Penny Wiegert, diocesan director of communications.

Reports on religious set for completion

WASHINGTON — More than 400 reports on the status of U.S.-based religious congregations of women will be sent to The Vatican by the end of the year by the apostolic visitator overseeing a years-long study of American religious life. Mother Mary Clare Millea, superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the apostolic visitator appointed by The Vatican, told Catholic News Service she started compiling the reports in September with the goal of completing them by Dec. 31.

Order to cut prisoners seen as rights victory

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s May 23 decision upholding orders to reduce the population at dangerously overcrowded California prisons was hailed as a step toward improving inmates’ physical and mental health and religious rights. The court ruled 5-4 that federal judges were acting well within the Constitution by ordering the state to keep the total population in California’s 33 prisons to no more than 110,000, still well above the 80,000 adults they were designed to hold. Religious groups were pleased after filing a joint friend-of-the-court, or “amicus,” brief saying they “share a faith-based duty to ameliorate unnecessary human suffering, especially among the marginalized, such as the inmates in the California prison system.”


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