||Vigil in Newtown
Msgr. Robert Weiss speaks to young women inside St. Rose of Lima Church during a vigil service the evening the day's tragic events unfolded Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn. At least eight of the children killed in the shooting rampage at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary were to be buried from St. Rose, a parish of 3,200 families and the only Catholic church in Newtown. Priests from nearby parishes, Catholic Charities and the Knights of Columbus rushed to aid families and staff.
Two months without electricity
Father Pancrose Kalist accepts the offertory gifts from Tim Marshall during Christmas Eve Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in the Staten Island borough of New York Dec. 24. The church, located in one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, had held daily services without electricity and heat for nearly two months after the storm. The utilities were temporarily restored in time for Christmas.
Gregory A. Shemitz/cns
Holy Land customs
The Musallam family puts final touches on a Christmas tree at their apartment in the West Bank city of Bethlehem Dec. 15. Christmastime for Christians in the Holy Land is family time — with many attending services, presenting gifts, visiting friends and sharing traditional treats. Pictured with Rami Musallam and his wife, Loreen, are 8-year-old Ameer, 4-month-old Sarah, and Aram, 5.
|Prayers for peace
Father Raymond Moussalli, a Syrian priest, prays with Iraqi children for peace in Iraq and Syria during Mass at a Chaldean Catholic church in Amman, Jordan, Dec. 23.
Judge rejects license
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Catholic bishops of North Carolina said they were "deeply saddened" that a federal judge ruled the state cannot issue "Choose Life" license plates without offering a choice of plates with a different viewpoint. U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox ruled Dec. 7 that North Carolina's attempt to offer "Choose Life" plates only is unconstitutional because it is "viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment."
Mass translation OK
WASHINGTON — A wide majority of Massgoers are satisfied with the new English translation of the Roman Missal introduced a year ago at Advent, a survey showed. Seventy percent of Catholics responding agreed that the translation is a "good thing," according to results of the survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
Sisters aided Vatican II
NEW YORK — In responding to the Second Vatican Council's call to universal holiness, American women religious have been both beacons and lightning rods for the church, according to speakers at a Dec 11 forum. Religious sisters were in the forefront of Vatican II's call for church renewal, and their vibrant lives and ministries are still shaped by the council's documents, panelists. "It is sisters, as much as anyone, who have shaped the face of the church in the world today," said James P. McCartin, director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture.
WEBSTER, N.Y. — Christmas Masses in the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y., took on a somber tone as parishioners mourned two volunteer firefighters fatally shot while responding to a fire in a lakeshore community outside of Rochester. Firefighters Michael Chiapperini, 43, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, died in a hail of gunfire Dec. 24 after being lured to a blaze that New York State Police said was set by the gunman. Two other firefighters, Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino, were injured in the ambush and remained hospitalized in satisfactory condition Dec. 27. Police said William Spengler Jr. ambushed first responders before turning a gun on himself.
Judge Bork dies
ARLINGTON, Va. — Judge Robert Bork, former circuit judge, U.S. solicitor general and 1987 Supreme Court judicial nominee, died Dec. 19 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington of complications from heart disease. He was 85. Bork became a Catholic in 2003 at age 76. In an interview with the National Catholic Register after he joined the Catholic Church, Bork said: "There is an advantage in waiting until you're 76 to be baptized, because you're forgiven all of your prior sins. Plus, at that age you're not likely to commit any really interesting or serious sins."
Injunction request denied
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied two companies' request for an injunction while they challenge part of the Department of Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate in court. In an order filed Dec. 26, Sotomayor ruled that the owners of the Hobby Lobby craft store and the Mardel Christian bookstore chains did not qualify for an injunction while they challenge requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Parish assets saved
MILWAUKEE — Two decisions by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge have kept the assets of Catholic parishes in southeastern Wisconsin out of reach of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors seeking compensation for victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Chapter 11 reorganization.
Agencies aid Syrians
ISTANBUL, Turkey — International aid agencies scrambled to help feed Syrians displaced by their country's civil war, and Catholic aid officials relayed stories of Syrians who have crossed into neighboring countries. The U.N.'s World Food Program said it reaches up to 1.5 million people monthly within Syria, but that increased violence was making it more difficult to reach the country's hardest-hit areas, especially in the north.
Bishops may appeal
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Catholic leaders said they would appeal to the Supreme Court if the Reproductive Health Bill — versions of which have passed the House and Senate — gets signed into law. During a news conference Dec. 18, Msgr. Joselito Asis, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, said if President Benigno Aquino signs the legislation into law, the bishops would support an appeal by Catholic lawyers who claim it is unconstitutional.
Deacon faces charges
OTTAWA, Ontario — William Kokesch, a Montreal permanent deacon who served nearly 10 years as a communications director for Canada's Catholic bishops, has been charged with producing and distributing child pornography. On Dec. 27, Kokesch, 65, was released on bail after posting a $10,000 cash bond. The judge ordered him not to use computers or be around anyone under 18 without adult supervision. The married father of five grown children is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 27.
Taize for the New Year
ROME — The simple songs using phrases from the Psalms repeated over and over form a frame around the 10 full minutes of absolute silence that lies at the heart of the Taize ecumenical community's prayer. As monks from the community, based in France, and volunteers prepared to welcome more than 30,000 European young adults to Rome Dec. 28 for the annual "pilgrimage of trust," they gathered each afternoon for several weeks at the Basilica of St. John Lateran to pray. The young people and the monks will share their prayer with Pope Benedict XVI as well.
— Catholic News Service