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November 10, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

to counter gangs

Members of a 240-student youth symphony rehearse at PolÃgono Industrial Don Bosco, located in a crime-ridden area of San Salvador, El Salvador. The project was launched in 2011 by Salesian Father Jose Maria Moratalla Escudero to help keep young people from joining gangs.
Edgardo Ayala/cns

Hurricane Sandy
A girl in a candlelit vigil at the Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene on Oct. 29 marks the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York.
Lucas Jackson/
Reuters, cns

Christmas stamp
A 2014 Christmas stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service features a silhouette of the Three Kings.. Donec sed nunc in diam lacinia.
U.S. Postal Service/cns

Susan Boyle
Scottish singer Susan Boyle poses Aug. 31. In 2009 Boyle, a Catholic, came in second place on "Britain's Got Talent" and has since released six albums. The singer, who launched her first U.S. tour in October, says that "without God, you can do nothing."
Jason Bell/cns

Big mergers in NY

NEW YORK — In a long-awaited but nonetheless stunning announcement, the Archdiocese of New York said Nov. 2 it would merge 112 of its 368 parishes into 55, effectively shuttering at least 31 churches by Aug. 1. Twenty-four of the merged parishes will continue to celebrate scheduled Masses and sacraments at two sites. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York said the painful reorganization is a necessary adjustment to historic parish infrastructure that will strengthen the Catholic Church in the archdiocese.

Priests laicized

CINCINNATI — Three priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who have been on administrative leave because of allegations of improper behavior involving minors have been dismissed from the clerical state by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "I hope that this resolution will bring some measure of closure and healing to anyone harmed by these priests," Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati said in a statement issued Oct. 28. He said that with this decision, all the cases presented to the doctrinal congregation "have been dealt with and we have no more priests of the archdiocese on administrative leave."

Chicago closures

CHICAGO — In a major restructuring, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Oct. 29 that 14 elementary schools would be closed or merged at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. "This restructuring is the result of our ongoing efforts to strengthen and support sustainable Catholic schools over the long term," said Thomas McGrath, chief operating officer for Catholic Schools. The closings and reconfigurations affect approximately 1,280 elementary students and 229 staff members. Parish contributions and archdiocesan assets have funded school operating costs to the tune of approximately $165 million over the past five years. The average cost of tuition in Catholic schools is $4,500 per student and in many schools the majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

Creighton criticized

OMAHA, Neb. — Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha said he was disappointed that Creighton University's president said the Jesuit-run institution will extend health care benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees in 2015. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Nebraska, and the beneficiaries are in same-sex marriages performed in states where such unions are legal. An amendment to the Nebraska Constitution that was approved by voters in November 2000 defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and prohibits recognition of same-sex relationships under any other name.

Suicide called tragedy

PORTLAND, Ore. — Brittany Maynard, a young California woman who was suffering from terminal brain cancer and gained national attention for her plan to use Oregon's assisted suicide law, ended her life Nov. 1. She was 29. "Brittany's death was not a victory for a political cause. It was a tragedy, hastened by despair and aided by the culture of death invading our country," said Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life.

Faith kept Foley strong

WASHINGTON — Prayers from around the world and an unwavering faith in God have continued to provide a strong foundation for John and Diane Foley after their son, journalist James Foley, was murdered in Syria by Islamic state militants Aug. 19. "It's faith in God that's kept me together," Diane said in an interview with Catholic News Service. "I really feel that it was the prayers of people all over the world, and our church community and family, but all over the world, people were praying for him."

Mansion forgoed

CHICAGO — Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, who will succeed Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George in mid-November, told the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago that he has decided he will live in the rectory at Holy Name Cathedral instead of the Archbishop's Residence on Chicago's North State Parkway.

Ebola housing 'right'

DALLAS — Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell said that he followed the teaching of Christ and stepped in to house the fiancee of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan and three others for several weeks at a diocesan facility when no one else would. The bishop's acknowledgement Oct. 20 coincided with the lifting of the 21-day quarantine for nearly four dozen people being screened for the Ebola virus with none showing any signs of the disease. It also capped nearly a month of a scrambling by local, state and federal officials in trying to both combat the virus and calm the public's fears about its spread. During the time, two nurses who had contact with Duncan tested positive for the virus after his death.

Hip-hop catechism

WHEELING, W.Va. — A new series of catechism videos is in the works aimed at youth and focusing on morality. Bob Rice, a professor at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, is the writer for the series, known as VCat. The first video in the "Morality" series was released in October. Titled "Love God/Love Each Other," this video morphs hip-hop music and graphic arts to discuss the importance of love.

— Catholic News Service


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