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May 5, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Death penalty support declines, fewer executions
Polls show support for the death penalty continues to decline, especially among Catholics. Since a defacto moratorium on executions in the early 1970s while states rewrote laws, rates climbed through the 1990s and have been mostly dropping ever since.
Tim Meko/cns graphic

Easter brings new Catholics into church
About 100,000 people joined the Catholic Church in the United States during rites held at Easter this year, according to Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.
Frida Larios/cns graphic

Holy Week visit
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the U.S. Military Services, washes the feet of a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan at Shindand Air Base, located in Herat province on Holy Thursday. Archbishop Broglio made his pastoral visit to Afghanistan April 15-21.
courtesy of the Archdiocese for the U.S. Military Services

Family examined

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For decades, Focus on the Family has been an ally of the Catholic Church with its many outreaches to build stronger Christian families. The organization's latest effort, "The Family Project," is its most ambitious yet and will include a dozen feature-length documentaries with study guides. The opening documentary of this project, "Irreplaceable," will be screened at theaters across the country for one night only May 6. A list of theaters is available at www.IrreplaceableTheMovie.com. The host, Tim Sisarich, travels the globe to answer the question: "What is Family?" The film explores the desire to belong that each person has and how that longing is fulfilled in the family.

Priest sentenced

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A Catholic priest who was once a top official in the Manchester diocese was sentenced to four years in a state prison April 23 after he pleaded guilty to three felony charges for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his diocese, a Catholic hospital and the estate of a dead priest. Judge Diane Nicolosi of Hillsborough County Superior Court-North sentenced Msgr. Edward J. Arsenault to prison and ordered him to repay the $185,000 he stole and to pay restitution, for a total of about $300,000.

Education is task

PITTSBURGH — Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington told Catholic educators in Pittsburgh for the National Catholic Educational Association's annual convention that "education is the task of all of us." The April 22-24 convention and expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center was expected to draw more than 6,000 participants, including teachers, administrators, catechists, priests and professors. Speaking on the new evangelization in the opening day's keynote, the cardinal highlighted the importance of the Catholic Church's educational ministry and the need for church leaders and educators to work together to ensure Catholic education will help future generations learn about the Gospel and encounter Jesuit Christ.

Bible Challenge renewed

WASHINGTON — America still loves a good TV game show, as "The American Bible Challenge" has demonstrated. It's the highest-rated program on cable's Game Show Network. The third season of "The American Bible Challenge" premieres May 22 on GSN. The first season featured a team of nuns coming close to winning the season championship. This season, the show will feature a three-man team of motorcycle-riding priests, appropriately named the Sons of Thunder.

Missionaries sent

WASHINGTON — A small group of four Teresian Carmelites from India are quickly adjusting to their new life in the Diocese of Bismarck, N.D., helping out in the Catholic Indian Mission and teaching at St. Bernard Mission School in Fort Yates. This is the first time members of their congregation have lived and served in the Western Hemisphere. Their order, founded in 1866, is based in Kerala, India.

Recovering after stroke

SAN DIEGO — The vicar general of the Diocese of San Diego said Bishop Cirilo B. Flores was "alert and in good spirits" after suffering a stroke the afternoon of April 16. In an April 17 statement, Msgr. Steven F. Callahan said the bishop would receive treatment for "a few days" before his release from the hospital. As of late April 21, no update on his condition had been issued. Msgr. Callahan said Bishop Flores, 65, suffered the stroke in his office at the diocesan pastoral center and was taken by paramedics to the hospital.

New CRS song

ANAHEIM — As Pasquale Talarico worked on his new song, "One Family," he had a lot of things to keep in mind: the power of the bluegrassy music, the poetry of the lyrics he wrote with fellow artist Jenny Pixler, and the mission of Catholic Relief Services, for whom the song was destined. "The one thing we wanted to do was create inclusion, to bring in those thought of as the least of the least, and remind us we're all part of God's family," said Talarico. "That was really important." That message comes across loud and clear, said Ted Miles of CRS, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency.

Inmates join parish

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Some of the newest members of Holy Family Parish will never attend Mass at their church. They will never talk with fellow parishioners over coffee and doughnuts after Mass, join the church choir or volunteer for a mission trip. They are inmates on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. Some have been at Riverbend for decades, with few visitors and limited contact with the outside world. Parishioner and prison minister James Booth said welcoming them to join Holy Family "gives them a sense that their faith is not in isolation, even though they are."

Filipinos pray

MANILA, Philippines — About 1,000 devotees from the Manila Archdiocese walked a 4.4-mile stretch fronting Manila Bay to mark the Stations of the Cross and pray for "good weather." The early morning sun beat down on the re-enactment of the Passion, which unfolded every 550 yards at each of the 14 stations April 18. The crowd gathered at the first station before the sun rose as priests announced the prayer intentions of this year's Via Crucis with a reminder for the faithful to sincerely ask for relief from calamities. They also prayed for other environmental issues.

Catholic News Service


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