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The Catholic New World
News Digest: Week in Summary
Issue of February 4, 2007

The following items are condensed. For the complete article, please read the print edition of The Catholic New World. To subscribe, call (312) 655-7777.


Send a senior a Valentine
Catholic Charities is asking for donations of valentines that will be sent to more than 50,000 seniors in Chicago. Now through Feb. 14, individuals and groups are asked to create homemade valentines with a cheerful note inside. The valentines should be sent to Department of Communications, Valentine Drive, 721 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60610.

Pro-life plates OK
Chose Life Illinois (CLI) won a victory Jan. 19 in a lawsuit that it raised against the Illinois Secretary of State over pro-life license plates. The Northern Illinois District Court ruled that the pro-adoption message "Choose Life" could be an option for specialty license plates in Illinois. Citing First Amendment protection, Judge David Coar ruled in favor of CLI, explaining that their message is constitutionally entitled to be on Illinois license plates. Prior to the courts ruling, CLI had received more than 25,000 signatures from private citizens in support of the license plates. Proceeds from the sale of the specialty plates will go to pro-adoption groups.


Pope: Increase ecumenical efforts at parish level
Pope Benedict XVI said ecumenism should find increasing expression at the parish level through prayer and works of charity. The pope made the remarks at his Sunday blessing Jan. 21 during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. On Jan. 25 he was scheduled to join other Christian leaders to close out the week with a prayer service in Rome. Addressing pilgrims from his apartment window, the pope said ecumenism must be understood as a "profound dialogue, listening to each other and speaking with each other, getting to know one another better." "This is a task everyone can carry out, especially when it comes to 'spiritual ecumenism,'" he said.

North American, European bishops discuss Holy Land
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said North American and European bishops would urge their countries to be "advocates for peace and justice" in the Holy Land. "I will urge my own country to be more involved in establishing peace in the area," said Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., at a press conference Jan. 18. He added that the current situation in the Holy Land was "untenable."

Children matter-on the Internet
Myspace.com. YouTube. IMs. Text messaging. Parents who are curious about any of the above can just ask their teenage or tween children, because chances are, they know all about it. What they might not know is how to keep themselves safe from predators who use the Internet and other technology to find victims. Robert Farley, a former commander of the Cook County Sheriff's Department's unit on Crimes Against Children, will speak at workshops in all six vicariates of the archdiocese to help parents learn what they can do to keep their children safe. Farley now consults with police agencies around the world about how to catch online predators, and with schools and other organizations about how to keep children safe.

Boston College president: Move on
Jesuit Father William P. Leahy has had a front-row seat for the clerical sexual abuse crisis. President of Boston College since 1996, Leahy watched the scandal unfold as the Boston Globe printed the first stories in 2002, through the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and the appointment of Cardinal Sean O'Malley and the closure of dozens of parishes. But when he came to the Siena Center at Dominican University in River Forest Jan. 25 and 26, he wasn't there to talk about the past. He was there to talk about how the church can move forward.

Center brings Hispanic formation to Vicariate V
Edith Robles coordinates the religious education program at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish on Chicago's Southwest Side. She wanted to take catechist formation and get certified, but the classes were hard to find, and always, it seemed, far away. Then last year, Robles heard about the Centro Espiritu Santo, an effort to bring Hispanic-oriented formation and catechesis opportunities under one roof in Vicariate V, which serves a wedge-shaped area extending southwest from downtown Chicago into the suburbs. With 81 parishes, Vicariate V serves more Catholics than any other in the archdiocese. Now Robles and five of her catechists are set to receive their certificates in May, after completing the two-year program, she said.

Parish Leadership Day
Working together with a variety of people is an important but sometimes difficult aspect of parish life. The 20th annual Parish Leadership Day will provide practical support and information for parish leaders on working together in a parish community. "Called to Serve: Co-Workers in the Vineyard" is the theme for this year's event, which will be held Feb. 17 at Maria High School, 6727 S. California. Participants can take advantage of educational workshops and spiritual support for parish leaders.

Father Boland attends State of the Union address
Father Michael Boland, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, was among the guests of First Lady Laura Bush at President Bush's Jan, 22 State of the Union address. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago was honored for its work on behalf of homeless veterans in the St. Leo Residence, which is now home to 141 veterans on the South Side, on the site of the former St. Leo Parish.

Cardinal George to speak at Bernardin symposium
Cardinal George will offer remarks and the closing prayer at a seminar on ecclesial leadership to be held from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at Catholic Theological Union's Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Center, 5416 S. Cornell Ave. Entitled "The Legacy of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin: a Living Gift to the Church," it will be the second of three special events commemorating the 10th anniversary of the cardinal's death Nov. 14, 1996.

Lack of funds forces AIDS ministry network to shut doors
The National Catholic AIDS Network, which recently formed a partnership with Loyola University Chicago, has announced that it will close following its 20th annual AIDS Ministry conference this summer. The decision comes at a time when more and more people in the United States are living with HIV or AIDS, as the numbers of new infections are holding steady or rising and the death rate has gone down. The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States is now estimated to be more than a million.

Kolping Society once provided beds, now provides support
When two German immigrants established the Catholic Kolping Society of Chicago in 1872, its main purpose was to provide residence space for journeying tradesmen. Young immigrants, mostly from Germany, would come to the Kolping Society looking for a place to stay or just for companionship. Alois Ideler, chairman of the board of directors of the society, explained how the purpose of the society has changed over the years. "The old purpose was to provide a home for boys who were away from home," he said. The society used to own a home in Chicago with 100 rooms that would be rented out. That building closed in 1968 but the society moved to their new space at 5826 N. Elston Ave. Now the 225-member society uses the building as a community center, where other groups, such as Boy Scout troops, can use the meeting spaces.

Bears mascot 'on mission from God'
Jason Yurechko may not be built like the classic cheerleader, but start playing "Sweet Home Chicago" and he can groove with the best of them. An auxiliary mascot for the Chicago Bears, Yurechko feels he is just using his gift to remind fans that sports are all about fun-even if his favorite team is headed this weekend for Miami and Super Bowl XLI. "I love making people laugh," said Yurechko, 29, a parishioner at St. James the Less, Highland, Ind. "When people go to sporting events, they're not thinking of their bills or their problems. They're trying to escape. I'm helping them escape."

Looking at poverty Students put visions of poor
in America into art projects

For eighth-graders at Holy Cross School in Deerfield, poor people are the scruffy ones they see in downtown Chicago, shaking cups for loose change. Poverty is something that has little to do with people like them. So they researched poverty in America, with the help of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development's povertyusa.org Web site. Then they wrote about what they learned and created copper reliefs about poverty in the United States that were displayed during Catholic Schools Week. "It was surprising to learn just how many people were homeless and how many were in poverty," said Veronica Goldman, 13. "But I liked seeing how CCHD helps people, by teaching them to help themselves."

> Front Page

Church Clips by Dolores Madlener
Dolores Madlener
a column of benevolent

Speaking of volunteers - St. Isidore Parish (Blue Island) is assured of volunteers of all ethnic and racial persuasions when they begin making cheese, sauerkraut and potato pierogis on Feb. 3-4. With 100 dozen of the semi-circular dumplings made of unleavened dough already ordered, they'll have their work "cut out" for them. You may still be able to order some by calling Carol at (708) 388-2345. Pick-up date is Paczki Sunday, Feb. 18 (paczkis will be served after all Masses.)

Honk if you're pro-life - There's lots to discover at the March for Life, like "Life Athletes." It's an association of over 300 pro and Olympic athletes "committed to leading lives of virtue, abstinence, and respect for life." Think you're dreaming? Not steroid-shooting, pill-popping, brawling-headline-grabbing "role models"? This group motivates men and women students to champion respect for life. The organization has a curriculum for grades 5-12, and workshops for teachers. Principals or pastors are welcome to introduce the program in their schools. They host sports camps, too. Do you have to be an athlete to join? Life Athletes "is a fellowship of the heart." Anyone who makes the commitment can become a Life Athlete. Web page is www.lifeathletes.org.

Over here / over there - U.S. Marine Corps chaplain Father John T. Hannigan is home from Iraq. Hannigan teamed up with friends of Seat of Wisdom Books & Gifts last year and distributed rosaries, catechisms and other religious goods to soldiers, sailors, Marines and Seabees from Baghdad to the borders of Syria while he was deployed in the Middle East. A welcome home Mass at 11 a.m. Feb. 18 will be followed by a luncheon, at St. Anthony Church 7659 W. Sauk Trail, Frankfort, Ill. Call (815) 469-3750 for more info.

'Breaking' the mold? - Single college women ages 18-30 are experiencing something new in spring breaks. The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Mo., are again opening their monastery for a different 'rite' of spring. The sisters offer input on prayer and vocation discernment as well as fun and relaxation. Several five-day sessions are scheduled in March, Saturdays through Wednesdays. Fort Lauderdale inns can't match the sisters' room and board rates at $25/person! Contact Sister Ruth Elaine at [email protected].

Parish potpourri - St. Margaret of Scotland's (S. Throop) Southside Irish Party Feb. 24 (see p. 24) will have former Harlem Globetrotter Govoner Vaughn as guest of honor and an array of retired White Sox stars mingling with party-goers. . . . Allison Wojcik, a student at St. Mary of the Angels School (N. Hermitage), won first prize in the Patriot Pen contest sponsored by the VFW 3579 and Ladies Auxiliary in Park Ridge. Evelyn Bates is auxiliary chairman. . . . St. Nicholas Parish (Evanston) formed a new Immigration Advocacy Group. They volunteer to assist members of their community in preparing for the naturalization exam required of all citizenship applicants. . . . St. Bruno Parish (S. Harding) celebrated a Mass for the men and women in our Armed Forces Jan. 27. Military families were especially welcome. The parish is also collecting items to be sent to those serving in Iraq. Pastor Father Waldemar Kilian served as a U.S. Army chaplain. . . . Boy Scout Troop 276 in St. Ann Parish (Lansing), "had dinner" with Cardinal George recently. The Calumet Council presented the cardinal with a "Spirit of Scouting" award at a banquet in the Tinley Park Convention Center. . . . St. Dorothy School (S. Eberhart) students collected $1,000 recently; sent $500 to Africa and $500 for Hurricane Katrina relief.

Bears not-so-trivia - Virginia Halas McCaskey, owner of the Chicago Bears, is a proud alum of St. Scholastica High School (N. Ridge), and was taught by the Benedictine Sisters.

'Ex-10-sion' - Whenever you need spirits lifted, or have a hankering for heroes, read through an Extension Magazine-any issue. Just in a recent letters page-the Diocese of Superior, Wis. received a $25,000 grant for its pro-life office from the Catholic Extension Society. And a word of gratitude from the hard-hit Diocese of Biloxi, Miss., for postcards of encouragement they received from Extension readers all over the country. Or the exciting story of Father Scott Garrett, 49, of Oregon, former Air Force vet. He's now a bush pilot in Dillingham, Alaska, his new parish since August 2005-where 60-70 inches of snow is an average winter. He's flown to outlying villages through mountain terrain and fog, and learned to wear a "huge parka under my alb" for outdoor funerals in a 20-mph wind. Call (800) 842-7804 for 12 free copies of Extension as it celebrates its 100th birthday, 1906-2006.

Junior Clips - It will be a pilgrimage to Rome for 27 St. Patrick High School students (W. Belmont). . . . In solidarity with St. Rita High School junior Andy Smialek, undergoing his third round of treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, fellow students are signing up to shave their heads for a donation to cancer research. The water polo team shaved their heads for a pledge of $1,000. Brother Rice, Mount Carmel and Marist high schools are participating, and in mid-March celebrity barbers will shave the students in time for St. Paddy's Day.

Send your benevolent gossip to:
Church Clips
721 N. LaSalle St.,
Chicago, IL 60610
or via e-mail.


Movies at a Glance
Capsule reviews of movies from the U.S. Catholic Conference's Office for Film and Broadcasting, judged according to artistic merit and moral suitability.