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January 23, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

African American
History Month

An exhibit about one of the highest-ranking African American chaplains who served during World War II is seen at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington Jan. 5, part of a display for African American history month.

Procession fills bridge
Filipinos in Manila occupy Jones Bridge during the annual procession of the Black Nazarene Jan. 9.

SEEK conference
Young adults pray during a Mass during the Jan. 3-7 biennial SEEK conference at San Antonio's Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. About 13,000 people, almost exclusively young adults, attended the conference sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, FOCUS, in a move designed to bring evangelization efforts to college campuses.
FOCUS/courtesy photo

Morgan Freeman series

WASHINGTON — Despite the seemingly contradictory reports about U.S. church attendance falling across denominations and already low percentages for believers worshipping across the globe, belief in God remains strong, said actor Morgan Freeman, the narrator of a documentary series that bears his name. The nature of belief is "universal. Wherever you go, there are people that believe in a higher power, a divine power. There is nobody who thinks that man is in charge," said Freeman, who is featured in "The Story of God With Morgan Freeman," the second season of which is on cable's National Geographic Channel.

Nat Hentoff dies

WASHINGTON — Pro-lifers mourned the death of Nat Hentoff, 91, who passed away Jan. 7 — a rare combination of Jewish atheist, political liberal and pro-lifer. "It's not surprising an atheist would be against abortion, because all he knows is life," said Maria McFadden Maffucci, president of the Human Life Foundation and editor of its journal, the Human Life Review.

Roof death sentence

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Jurors unanimously agreed to sentence Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black churchgoers. In closing statements before the deliberation Jan. 10, the unrepentant 22-year-old told jurors that "I still feel like I had to do it," the Associated Press reported. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said in a statement that the Catholic Church opposes capital punishment and reminded people that all life is sacred."

NYPD officer dies

NEW YORK — Detective Steven McDonald, the New York City police officer who was paralyzed after being shot in the line of duty 30 years ago and famously forgave his teenage assailant and went on to become a prophetic voice for forgiveness and reconciliation, died Jan. 10. He was 59. A New York police spokesman confirmed that McDonald, who was Catholic, had died at a Long Island hospital four days after suffering a heart attack.

U.S. Hispanic bishop dies

SAN ANTONIO — Retired Archbishop Patrick F. Flores, 87, the first Mexican-American bishop in the United States, died of pneumonia and congestive heart failure Jan. 9 at Padua Place Residence for retired priests in San Antonio. The bishop, who dropped out of school to be a migrant farmworker, was known for his support for farmworkers, Mexican-American civil rights and his love of his culture and heritage.

Spiritual exercises helped

WASHINGTON — Actor Andrew Garfield underwent the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, as part of his preparation for playing a Jesuit priest in Martin Scorsese's new film, "Silence." Garfield's spiritual adviser for this Jesuit journey was Jesuit Father James Martin, editor at large of America magazine, a Jesuit journal, the author of several books, and who has some measure of television fame for being the chaplain of the old "Colbert Report."

March against murder

CHICAGO — Shara Funches' eyes scanned the rows of crosses set up on the sidewalk just north of the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue, a main thoroughfare through downtown. Funches was looking for the cross bearing the name of her godson, Devon Almon, 23, who was gunned down on the Eisenhower Expressway Sept. 29. "I had to be here for him. But also for all the kids who died. It just has to stop. It's just sad. All the mothers, all the fathers, robbed," Funches said. She was one of hundreds of people who joined a Dec. 31 march on Michigan Avenue organized by Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Parish on the city's South Side, to remember those who died by gun violence in 2016.

Catholic News Service


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