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The Catholic New World
News Digest: Week in Summary
Issue of February 18, 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.


Loyola ministry offices suffer fire
A Jan. 28 fire has affected the university ministry offices on the second floor of Loyola University's Mundelein Center. The fire broke out sometime between 9:30 and 10 p.m. The fire destroyed one office but no one was injured. The fire also caused extensive smoke and water damage to the rest of the second floor suite. In addition, there was water damage in the mission and ministry office located on the first floor. The ministry offices have been relocated to the first floor lounge of the Mundelein Center.

Amendment gets new effort
Protect Marriage Illinois has released a new petition form to push for the inclusion of a marriage amendment on the 2008 election ballet. The language on this petition will be the same as the 2006 petition but there will be more space on each sheet for signatures. The referendum on the petition reads: "To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, a marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." If enough signatures are collected, Illinois voters could have the chance to vote on whether to pass this marriage amendment. For more information, visit www.protectmarriageillinois.org.


Pope speaks on behalf of those who are sick, weak
Ill people need affection, support

Catholics must ensure that people who are sick, especially the terminally ill, receive affection, spiritual support and medical care to keep them comfortable, Pope Benedict XVI said. Marking the World Day of the Sick Feb. 11 during his midday Angelus address and an evening meeting with a Rome pilgrimage for the sick in St. Peter's Basilica, the pope offered his prayers and his encouragement to the suffering and to those who care for them.

When laws are based on compromise or consensus instead of moral values, anyone too weak or without a voice to participate in the debate is left at the mercy of others, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope decried the loss of a firm moral foundation in law and scientific research when he met Feb. 12 with participants in a Feb. 12-14 conference on natural law and morality.

Church growing in Asia, Africa
The latest Vatican statistics confirm that the church's population and ministerial workforce are continuing to shift to developing countries, especially those in Africa and Asia. Figures released Feb. 12 showed that the overall number of Catholics increased to nearly 1.12 billion at the end of 2005, an increase of 1.5 percent from the previous year. The Catholic growth rate was slightly higher than the rate of overall population increase, which was 1.2 percent. Catholics now represent 17.2 percent of the global population, the Vatican said.

Speaking out about a world without Roe
Pro-lifers in Illinois envisioned a nation without Roe v. Wade at SpeakOut Illinois, a Feb. 3 conference sponsored by a wide range of pro-life organizations. The 17th annual event addressed how states would be affected by a Supreme Court overturn of its 1973 decision that outlawed state and federal laws restricting abortion. "We see signs everywhere that an overturn of Roe v. Wade may soon be a reality," said Ann Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League and an organizer of SpeakOut Illinois. "Most notably, we see signs from abortion supporters who have said they are afraid they may lose the Supreme Court's support."

Former Chicago auxiliary bishop to head diocese
Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to head the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio. Before being appointed to the Virgin Islands diocese in 1998, Bishop Murry, 58, was a Chicago auxiliary bishop for four years.

Catholic New World offers Spain pilgrimage
Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller will serve as spiritual leader on an 11-day pilgrimage to Spain and Portugal, with stops in Lisbon, Fatima, Seville and Avila, among other places.

Prenatal screenings raise ethical questions
In the recent bestseller, "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," the main character, an orthopedic surgeon, is forced to deliver his twin babies himself when his wife goes into labor during a snowstorm. Upon seeing that his daughter is born with Down syndrome, he hands the baby to the nurse to take to an institution. The novel is set in the 1960s when such actions were more common. But, how far have we come towards accepting those with Down syndrome? On one hand, health care for those with Down syndrome has improved immensely, with life expectancies at 50 years, and places like Misericordia provide a stimulating atmosphere for further growth.

Priest-historian retraces his own history
Benedictine Father Cyprian Davis, one of the leading historians of the black Catholic experience in the United States, came to the Catholic Church thanks in part to history. But it wasn't the kind of history that's reflected in his own books. "Ever since I was a kid, I devoured books on history," said Davis, now 76 years old. "It's part of the reason I became a Catholic. "I converted when I was kid-I was in my teens. ... One of the books I remember reading was unbelievable: H.G. Wells' 'The Outline of History'-and H.G. Wells was not a great Christian man," he said, laughing.

Film showcases 'Champions'
Professional athletes haven't had the best reputation in recent years, from legal troubles to custody disputes. But that's not the whole story. There are also athletes who are faithful Catholics, who draw on the strength God gives them to set good examples and stand up as role models. Those are the real "Champions of Faith," according to a new organization that aims to highlight such athletes through a series of films.

Radio retreats offer prayer and reflection during Lent
The Catholic Communication Campaign. will present a series of Lenten radio retreats. The half-hour programs will help facilitate the prayer and reflection that are important for Lent. Six English-language and six Spanish-language retreats will be offered, one for each Sunday of Lent.

> Front Page

Church Clips by Dolores Madlener
Dolores Madlener
a column of benevolent

Go Bears! — Virginia McCaskey, Chicago Bears owner, visited each classroom at White Pines Academy (Lemont) Jan. 18. Mrs. McCaskey, a mother of 11 children, grandmother of 21 and great grandmother of 12, will be honored at a gala March 3, for her lifelong example of “Semper Altius” (Always Higher), the academy’s motto. Founded in 1995, it is an independent, private school in the Catholic tradition, sponsored by the Legion of Christ. For dinner info, call (630) 243-1995.

Whaddabout those Colts! — Some Super Bowl XLI memories are painful. Remember that play in the 4th quarter when Grossman threw a pass that was intercepted by Colts defensive player Kelvin Hayden? What Hayden did with the pigskin clinched the game for his team. But, hey, he’s from Chicago so he grew up a Bears fan. His proud mom is Lynette Hayden, who works hard at Catholic Charities on North LaSalle Street. Mom was at the game and saw it all.

‘Poor’ but honest — She wishes to be anonymous, but an employee of the arch’s Development Office found a check for $25,000 just sitting on the frigid sidewalk in front of her office building last week. After a phone call, a stunned, grateful gallery owner from Wells Street came by to collect it. Ms. Anonymous received a dozen gorgeous roses and box of candy for her good deed.

Over here/over there — Any church communities out there that specifically let military spouses in their parish know where they can get help if needed? Perhaps personally or by an announcement in the bulletin? Maybe you list good Samaritans like the local St. Vincent de Paul Society (if you have one), Knights of Columbus council, Catholic Charities or parish men/women’s clubs acting as a resource to other agencies. How have you lent a hand—offered a gift phone card, batch of cookies for the kids (if there are any) or done some other corporal work of mercy? “We support the troops” — so let’s share the good news of how our faith communities have been helping their families. There must be stories worth sharing, or else those military pay envelopes are fatter than we’ve been led to believe.

Parish potpourri — Harry O’Sullivan of St. John Fisher Parish (S. Washtenaw) was honored by the Village of Evergreen Park recently on completing an additional 250 hours of service helping seasoned citizens with their income taxes. . . . St. Alphonsus Parish (W. Wellington) reaches out to its young adults. They initiated a “Speed Dating” night recently and had more participants than could be accommodated. They have also tried a “Multi-Parish Happy Hour” at a nearby emporium, where young adults from six parishes get together to socialize. . . . When St. Thecla’s (W. Devon) had a dinner and performance by “The Choirboys” folk group recently, they weren’t fooling. The entertainers may sound like the Kingston or Chad Mitchell trios, but they are actually former members of the world-famous Paulist Choristers of Chicago!

Brrrrrr — You know spring can’t be far behind when the stalwart pro-life Protest and Prayer Vigil outside Orland Park’s Planned Parenthood Express goes back to its 10 a.m.- noon hours on the last Saturday of March instead of “winter’s” 11 a.m.-noon.

Black tie ball — Resurrection Health Care’s Monarch Ball this year will feature performances by Mary Wilson of The Supremes and The Temptations Review with Dennis Edwards. Call Anita, at (847) 813-3464 for tickets, $300/person, to the Hilton Chicago gala. Proceeds will benefit Resurrection’s new Francis Cardinal George Center for Ministerial Development.

We apologize — In our Jan. 21 Clips column, there was an item about the oldest living Benedictine monk in the world, Father Theodore Heck. Father is not 100 years of age, but 106 years of age! That is a “heck” of a difference. Fortunately one of his great-nephews caught the error while surfing the net in Washington D.C. He was able to add more benevolent gossip: Father Heck continues his education daily through reading and concelebrates Mass every week. (He also remains a very good euchre player.) Family members from Indiana, Kentucky, Washington, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Alabama and Virginia celebrated his birthday recently at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana.

Be specific — When the Daughters of St. Paul say, “BYOB,” they mean “Bring your own Bible.” They have a Lenten Bible Study group Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-noon, starting Feb. 24. Interested? Call (312) 346-4228.

How many hats? — “Sister Mary Jo” celebrates her 90th birthday March 8. The many friends she’s touched through her 35 years at St. Gabriel Parish (S. Lowe), will gather to mark the occasion at 9 a.m. Mass March 4. In the 1970s and ’80s, Mercy Sister Mary Josephine DeMarco was principal of St. Gabe’s; after the 1990s she served in the school library and as director of religious ed; she was a Eucharistic minister, too. Sister knows just about everyone by name, but for sure she’ll recognize your face. You haven’t changed a bit.

Using the old ‘noodle’ — The inventor of instant ramen noodles has died at 96. Up against food shortages in post-WWII Japan, he chose noodles as a hearty, cheap food, and experimented for a year in his backyard shed. When he realized they could be dried, packaged and rehydrated in a bowl of boiling water in just three minutes, Nissin Food Products Co. was born. His Zen motto was: “Peace prevails when food suffices.” Chicken Ramen, appeared on store shelves in 1958. Shipments of flour supplied by the United States gave a boost to his innovation. The price per package is still about 25-30 cents.

Internet wisdom — Always remember you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

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.