||Father Dear protests
Father John Dear, founder of Bay Area Pax Christi, a former Jesuit and a nationally known peace activist, gestures during a protest at the entrance to the White House in Washington Sept. 23. Father Dear and others blocked the gate to protest war, poverty and environmental destruction before being arrested by the police.
Rally for school choice
Members of Chicago's St. Malachy School drum corps play during a Sept. 25 school choice rally outside an Illinois state building in Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago's Office of Catholic Schools co-sponsored the School Choice rally with other organizations to educate people about school choice and possible ways the Illinois General Assembly could support it.
Karen Callaway/Catholic New World, cns
||Sainthood cause of Father Tolton
This prayer card promoting the canonization cause of Father Augustus Tolton, the first recognized U.S. diocesan priest of African descent, has been distributed by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George has formally closed the investigation into the life and virtues of the sainthood candidate.
Karen Callaway/Catholic New World, cns
Catholic values at work
WASHINGTON — Venture capitalist Frank Hanna believes that just because he's a Catholic business owner, his faith and values don't have to be checked at the office door. If anything, Catholic virtue and a deep feeling of solidarity with colleagues, customers and poor people around the world guide his decision-making to, as Hanna puts it, help humanity flourish. Hanna, CEO of Hanna Capital in Atlanta, told 75 participants at a Sept. 24-26 conference on the vocation of business at The Catholic University of America that moral values in business must be a priority for Catholic business owners and managers.
Yearlong pro-life effort
WASHINGTON — Each year October is designated as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and this year's theme is "Each of Us Is a Masterpiece of God's Creation," inspired by words in a statement Pope Francis issued for the 2013 Day for Life. The first Sunday of October, Oct. 5 this year, is Respect Life Sunday, and kicks off the U.S. Catholic Church's yearlong pro-life program.
New Fall River bishop
FALL RIVER, Mass. — At his Sept. 24 installation Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha of Fall River urged Catholics of the diocese to recognize their "rich diversity of gifts" and "live in harmony despite our differences," said the bishop, a native of Brazil who came to the United States when he was a seminarian.
Orange cathedral design
GARDEN GROVE — Christ Cathedral has a multilayered mission — and with the rollout of the new design plans that will transform the former Crystal Cathedral into the mother church of the Diocese of Orange, it has taken a big step toward realizing that mission. "We're trying to create a place that is welcoming to Catholics, certainly, but to people of all faiths, and even of no faith at all," said cathedral rector Father Christopher Smith at an afternoon news conference Sept. 24.
WASHINGTON — The role of religion in U.S. public life has Americans divided. In its fifth annual American Values Survey presented Sept. 23, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 46 percent of respondents were more concerned about the government interfering with the ability of people to freely practice their religion than they were with religious groups trying to get laws passed that force their beliefs on others. Conversely, 46 percent were more worried about the religious groups than the government.
'Powerful witness of faith'
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City's archbishop called the overflow crowd at a Sept. 21 eucharistic Holy Hour "a powerful witness of faith." More than 600 people filled St. Francis of Assisi Church for the prayer service led by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley. Another 1,400 people stood in overflow areas and outdoor prayer gardens to listen to his homily over loud speakers. The Holy Hour was celebrated as a response to a Satanic "black mass" held the same day in a downtown arena.
Prosperity elusive for many
WASHINGTON — According to the Census Bureau's new statistics, released Sept. 16, poverty in the United States is down, but only slightly. The actual number of people living in poverty in 2013 is unchanged at 45.3 million, but because of continued population growth in the United States, the percentage of Americans living in poverty is down 0.5 percentage points, from 15.0 percent to 14.5 percent. So if you think prosperity's just around the corner, it's an awfully long block the nation must walk to get to that corner.
Campaign do's and don'ts
WASHINGTON — With a new election cycle approaching, churches are reminded of what they can and cannot do under a decades-old congressional amendment that prohibits political campaigning in such institutions. The Johnson amendment to the tax code was enacted in 1954 to prevent tax-exempt organizations under the Internal Revenue Service from participating in political campaign activity. It has drawn criticism from religious institutions and nonprofit organizations for restricting their constitutional right to free speech. According to section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, charities, churches and other organizations that are not required to pay a federal income tax cannot "participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office."
Religion increases longevity
WASHINGTON — Study after study has confirmed that those who are involved in religion and those who are married are healthier, physically and mentally happier and live longer than those who are not. "The health benefits of marriage are so strong that a married man with heart disease can be expected to live, on average, 1,400 days (nearly four years) longer than an unmarried man with a healthy heart," said Dr. Scott Haltzman, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
World Meeting of Families
PHILADELPHIA — Sept. 22 marked exactly one year before the start of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, so organizers for the event took the occasion to brief staff of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on the latest details. Registration for the Sept. 22-25 event will begin within several weeks as agreements with speakers for the program are finalized. Organizers are hoping for about 10,000 attendees for the four-day meeting, perhaps up to 15,000.
Archbishop Blase J. Cupich
Cardinal George successor
CHICAGO — Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, as the ninth archbishop of Chicago, succeeding Cardinal Francis E. George. Archbishop Cupich, 65, will be installed in Chicago Nov. 18 during a Mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Cardinal George is 77, two years past the age when bishops are required by canon law to turn in their resignation to the pope. He retains the office of archbishop until his successor's installation. The cardinal was first diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and had a recurrence of cancer in 2012.
— Catholic News Service
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