for Life in Canada
A largely young and noisy crowd gathered on Parliament Hill for the 2012 March for Life to urge the Canadian Parliament to make abortion illegal and to remind officials that children are the building blocks of society. Organizers estimated 20,000 people participated in the May 10 march, a record for the 15-year-old event, according to Jim Hughes, Campaign Life Coalition president.
Bishop Frederic Baraga is depicted in a portrait from the Diocese of Marquette. The Slovenian priest served among the Ojibwa and Ottawa in the Great Lakes region in the 19th century. He was named the first bishop of Upper Michigan in 1857. Pope Benedict XVI moved his cause for sainthood a step forward May 10 by signing a decree recognizing him as "venerable."
Mary Jo Tully, recipient of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's "Ecumenist of the Year" award, is pictured during the awards dinner and ceremony in Portland May 8. Tully, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland, was honored for her years of commitment to ecumenism and service within the Christian community and alongside members of the Jewish and Muslim communities and leaders of other faiths.
St. Hildegard of Bingen is depicted on a gilded altarpiece inside the Rochuskapelle, a pilgrim church dedicated to St. Roch in the town of Bingen am Rhein, Germany. Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree May 10 that formalized her Sept. 17 feast and added her name to the church's catalogue of saints. The German Benedictine mystic, although venerated for centuries, had never been officially canonized.
First priest for ordinariate
HOUSTON — The fledgling U.S. ordinariate for Anglican groups entering the Catholic Church received its first priest May 8, but many more are to follow in the next few months. Father Eric Bergman, a former Episcopal priest who was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., in 2007, was incardinated — or formally accepted — into the Houston-based Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Approximately 60 current or former Anglican priests are preparing to be ordained Catholic priests for the ordinariate, with 30 ordinations expected in the next few months.
Arizona cuts off funds
PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation May 4 that prevents the state of Arizona or any local government from using taxpayer dollars to contract with organizations that offer abortion as part of their services. Brewer signed the measure at a reception held in Scottsdale by the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that works to elect pro-life candidates to public office.
New steps taken for abuse
PHILADELPHIA — Church action following the clergy sexual abuse scandal is most importantly about justice for the victims. But it's also about healing — not only for the victims, but for the entire church community. With that in mind the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has begun a new initiative, "Honesty, Healing and Hope in Christ: Confronting Sexual Violence in Our Archdiocese." The plan, which consists of four phases implemented over six months, is designed to address the feelings and responses experienced when final resolutions about clergy are announced and going forward.
Decision causes uproar
DAVENPORT, Iowa — A gay student at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton has been chosen to receive a scholarship from an Iowa organization that promotes tolerance, but controversy has erupted over presentation of the award. Keaton Fuller, a senior at Prince of Peace, is one of eight recipients of a Matthew Shepard Scholarship from the Eychaner Foundation based in Des Moines. The scholarship honors the memory of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old tortured and murdered in Wyoming in 1998 because he was gay. Scholarship recipients and their schools agreed in the application process to permit an Eychaner representative to present the award during graduation awards ceremonies. While Keaton can receive the scholarship award during graduation ceremonies at Prince of Peace Church May 20, a school representative — not an Eychaner representative — will present it.
Sisters plan future
NERINX, Ky. — The Sisters of Loretto honored their founders, planned for the future, renewed their vows and took action to aid immigrants during a five-day bicentennial celebration in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Among the jubilee highlights was a special liturgy and group photo on the community's Foundation Day, April 25, at the motherhouse in Nerinx. About 300 sisters and lay associates, known as co-members, gathered at the motherhouse — from their homes and ministries around the United States and abroad — to honor three women who laid the foundation of their ministry in 1812.
New guidelines posted
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has issued guidelines for how federally funded faith-based programs should be administered, ranging from explanations of what is considered "explicitly religious" activity to how organizations can preserve their religious identities while using federal funds to provide services. Among the guidelines are that faith organizations are not required to remove crucifixes, icons and other religious material from rooms where federally funded services are provided; and that any client who receives services should, on request, be referred to a non-faith-based organization if one is available.
'Miracle' nuns' message
WORCESTER, Mass. — Nuns who experienced the miracle that led to Blessed John Paul II's beatification brought a message of hope and victory through surrender to the Catholics of Worcester. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, healed of Parkinson's disease in 2005, and Sister Marie Thomas Fabre, then her superior and now mother general of the Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity in France, were visiting the United States for the first time.
Methodists stand firm
TAMPA, Fla. — Delegates attending the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Tampa voted May 3 against changing the wording in the church's book of laws and doctrines that says homosexual acts are "incompatible with Christian teaching." After much debate, conference delegates also defeated a proposal stating that church members agree they disagree about homosexuality.
Priest relieved of duty
PHILADELPHIA — Acknowledging that "much work still needs to be done in restoring the health of our local church," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia announced May 4 that five of the 26 priests suspended by his predecessor had been permanently removed from ministry and three had been cleared and "found suitable for ministry." A ninth priest died before allegations of child sex abuse could be investigated, the archbishop said. Six of the original 26 priests remain under investigation by law enforcement, while two other cases were recently released to the archdiocese by law enforcement, he said. In the remaining nine cases, investigations have been completed and "are awaiting either examination by the Archdiocesan Review Board or a final decision by me," he added.
Dioceses defend lawsuits
WASHINGTON — Both the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., are defending themselves against lawsuits filed by Catholic school teachers who were fired for pursuing in vitro fertilization treatments. In the Indiana case, the diocese has not yet filed a response to the suit, but the diocesan spokesman said the teacher was not fired but rather did not have her contract renewed. The suit said the teacher appealed to Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. It added he told her, "In vitro fertilization ... is an intrinsic evil, which means that no circumstances can justify it."
Portugal hit for holidays
OXFORD, England — Portuguese Catholic officials criticized government plans to suppress two religious public holidays as part of an austerity drive and urged postponing the plans until next year. The bishops' conference had agreed to remove the feast of Corpus Christi, this year June 7, as a holiday, that the second day should be the Nov. 1, All Saints' Day, rather than the Aug. 15 feast of the Assumption, proposed by the government.
Aid to Zambia
LUSAKA, Zambia — The United States government's $355 million grant to reduce poverty in Zambia is a biblical act of charity, a Catholic Church official said. The grant from the Millennium Challenge Corp., an independent foreign aid agency created by the U.S. Congress in 2004, adheres to Jesus' directive that "those with more should give some of what they have to those with none," explained Father Paul Samasumo, spokesman for the Zambia Episcopal Conference.
— Catholic News Service