||Focolare members meet
Maggie James of Boston plays the harp during a rehearsal at the Focolare Expo 2013 in Chicago April 27. U.S. members of Focolare met for the conference covering a variety of cultural and faith topics. The Catholic lay movement claims more than 87,000 members in more than 180 nations. Its aim is world unity through the witness of Christian love and holiness in families and in small commuities.
Blessed Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, also known as "Madre Lupita," the Mexican co-founder of the Handmaids of St. Margaret Mary and the Poor, will be canonized May 12, as will Colombia's first saint, Blessed Mother Laura Montoya, founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and of St. Catherine of Siena. Mother Montoya died in 1949 after a career spent working with poor indigenous Colombians in difficult circumstances.
Madre Lupita left a legacy of providing care for the poor and the elderly through the order she co-founded with Father Cipriano Iniguez in 1901 at the age of 23. She will become the second Mexican woman to be canonized and the latest from the western state of Jalisco, where the Cristero Rebellion raged in the 1920s and religious like Madre Lupita were forced to carry out their work as laity because of anti-clerical restrictions that forbade her wearing a habit.
Gerry Lee, who served as a lay Maryknoll missioner in Venezuela from 1984-94, has been named director of the organization's Office for Global Concerns.
Chinese Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai died April 27 at age 96 of pancreatic cancer. He is pictured meeting with visitors from the U.S. in 2007. Bishop Jin, who spent decades in prison and work camps in atheist China, later negotiated a delicate balance between the country's state-sponsored church and the Vatican.
Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill, retired bishop of the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., died April 27 at his residence in Rockford. Bishop O'Neill, 95, was appointed bishop of Rockford in 1968, and served until he retired in 1994.
Some charges dismissed
PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia judge dismissed three of eight murder charges April 23 in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist accused of killing babies said to be born alive at his clinic. Gosnell was arrested in January 2011 and charged with seven counts of infanticide and one count of murder in the case of a Nepalese woman who died during an abortion.
Bronze Star for priest
PHILADELPHIA — After Mass at most parishes, it's fellowship over coffee and doughnuts. But for troops stationed in Afghanistan, the post-Mass ritual involves smoking cigars down to the nub. Father Stephen McDermott, a priest of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and an Army chaplain holding the rank of captain, led the way. Father McDermott, who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Afghanistan, recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in the battle-torn country.
Magazine to debut
WASHINGTON — "There are a lot of women's magazines out there, but none really that speaks to us as women," said Mary Rose Somarriba, a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church in Washington and culture editor of Verily, a new magazine that was to debut in May. "They are not speaking to readers in helpful ways, and sometimes even in a hurtful way," she said. "Often women's magazines turn into a guilty pleasure. We read them, but we don't feel uplifted by them."
ST. LOUIS — Father William F. Vatterott, 36, a St. Louis archdiocesan priest pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of child pornography after being indicted by a federal grand jury April 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The Archdiocese of St. Louis was cooperating with the investigation. Father Vatterott has been on administrative leave since June 2011, when the archdiocese learned of the allegations.
New auxiliary ordained
WASHINGTON — Not every bishop gets, at his episcopal ordination, a color guard from both the Knights of Columbus and the U.S. military. Nor do they get both "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "The Navy Hymn" sung at the ordination Mass. But when you are newly ordained for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, as Bishop Robert J. Coyle was April 25, you get that and a lot more — like being told by his new boss, Archbishop Timothy M. Broglio, that he'll be working in "a global archdiocese."
Archbishop at Red Mass
MIAMI — Traditional marriage is "best for children" and efforts to legalize same-sex marriage will "open a Pandora's Box of unforeseen and, to be sure, unintended consequences," Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski said during the annual Red Mass. Delivering the homily at the April 23 liturgy, Archbishop Wenski said the growing movement in support of same-sex marriage would "redefine marriage for all as existing solely for the gratification of two consenting adults" rather than for the creation of life.
Military oversight urged
WASHINGTON — An informational slide that listed Catholicism, evangelical Christianity and other religious groups under the heading of "Religious Extremism" and was recently used in a training briefing for a group of about 100 Army Reserve soldiers has been removed from the presentation. But the fact these groups were ever put on a list that included the Ku Klux Klan and "Islamophobia" has drawn strong criticism from the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services and other religious entities. A statement from the military archdiocese, dated April 4, called on "the Department of Defense to review (the slides) and to ensure that taxpayer funds are never again used to present blatantly anti-religious material to the men and women in uniform. The archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist," it added.
NEW YORK — The Archdiocese of New York has dropped its legal demand that the Obama administration provide documents from the White House staff related to the church's lawsuit against the government's insurance mandate for birth control coverage. Reuters reported that the archdiocese filed a notice with the U.S. District Court April 22 dropping its request for documents from the administration.
Security for event
SAO PAULO — Security officials at all levels are coordinating to make sure World Youth Day is secure for pilgrims, including foreign visitors. World Youth Day's Local Organizing Committee has released details of a contingency plan to be used July 23-28, when the international event takes place in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's federal police and the federal highway police will be in charge of Pope Francis' personal security, escorting the pontiff to the different event sites. Military police will be in charge of opening and closing roads, as well as the security of tourist sites. The Ministry of Defense said it would not place troops on display on the streets with armored cars and rifles.
Religious rights on stage
ROME — A Kuwaiti princess, a Jesuit astronomer, a British-born rabbi, a former NBA star, a Muslim graffiti artist and the Cuban-American singing sensation Gloria Estefan all took the stage at a Rome concert hall not far from St. Peter's Square. They were among the more than 20 speakers who each talked in turn to a nearly full auditorium for a TEDx conference dedicated to religious freedom in the world today.
— Catholic News Service
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