March 28, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 6 • Oakland, CA
Science is worship
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that atrocities carried out by the Islamic State group against Yezidis, Christians and other minorities were genocide, the first U.S. declaration of genocide since Sudanese actions in Darfur in 2004. Kerry said he was not judge and jury, but the Islamic State had self-defined itself as genocidal because of its actions against Yezidis, Christians, Shiite Muslims and other minorities. A 66-member coalition is "working intensively to stop the spread of Daesh," Kerry said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
Rare disease treatment
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Millions of Americans are affected by more than 7,000 rare diseases. With that in mind, the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City is launching a new rare genetic disease program to find treatments and cures for a variety of rare diseases. Jay Kamath, the institute's CEO, said the organization has always had an interest in expanding research into the area of rare disease and felt it was time to do more now.
SAN FRANCISCO — In the final chapter of his 2015 encyclical letter, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," Pope Francis said "individual conversion" and "community networks" will ultimately motivate Christians to develop the new convictions, choices and habits necessary to authentically care for God's creation. On April 23, the Archdiocese of San Francisco launches an initiative designed to help bring those lofty ideals down to earth with a workshop for members of parish and school communities who may want to respond to the pope's call but may not know how or where to start.
Rev. Elizondo dies
SAN ANTONIO — Father Virgilio Elizondo, a nationally known professor of pastoral and Hispanic theology at the University of Notre Dame and founder of what is today the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, was found dead in his home the afternoon of March 14. He was 80. The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office verified his death late that night. By the end of the day March 15, the county medical examiner had ruled his death a suicide, confirming that the priest had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Father Elizondo was widely recognized as "the father of U.S. Latino religious thought."
NEW ORLEANS — For every sub-sea-level New Orleanian who lives precariously behind engineered levees, the north shore often is considered to be a safe haven from any storm. But when the water from torrential rains and cresting rivers kept rising to historic levels March 11 north of Lake Pontchartrain, there was absolutely no way to dam the flow before it caused unprecedented damage to St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College and several other areas in the northernmost parts of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Bishop disagrees with ND
FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend said he disagreed with University of Notre Dame officials for honoring Vice President Joe Biden with the Laetare Medal for outstanding service to the Catholic Church and society. He said Biden's stance of not opposing abortion and his support of same-sex marriage make him ineligible to receive the award. Biden, along with former Speaker of the House John Boehner, will be honored May 15 during Notre Dame's 171st commencement ceremony.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The monks of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon March 12 elected a 64-year-old internationally known scholar with a part-time teaching post in Rome as their new leader. Abbot Jeremy Driscoll also is a priest who each summer sits on a lawn with Oregon youths to address questions about Catholicism. The abbey, which runs a seminary educating priests from all over the West, including the Diocese of Oakland, will schedule a service recognizing the new abbot.
— Catholic News Service
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