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The Catholic New World
News Digest: Week in Summary
Issue of March 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.


Immigration reform rosaries
At noon on each Wednesday in Lent, the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform will hold a Lenten Rosary of Hope at the Chicago Federal Complex outdoor plaza at Dearborn and Adams streets. Participants will recite the rosary and pray for comprehensive immigration reform.

St. Ben's offers arts program
St. Benedict College Preparatory High School will offer a multi-disciplinary Performing Arts Academy as part of its curriculum beginning in the 2007-08 school year. This program is designed for students who are interested in studying performing arts in college or working in the entertainment industry. Students must first apply to St. Benedict High School and take a full course load before they can be considered for a place in the Performing Arts Academy. The new program includes 15 additional hours of performing arts classes each week. Tuition for the arts academy is $400 per month in addition to the high school's regular tuition. The program will be offered through St. Benedict and The Entertainment Project, a professional entertainment management company. For more information, call (773) 509-3869 or visit www.stbensarts.com.


Pope encourages priests to meet challenges with love and prayer
During a 90-minute question-and-answer session with pastors from the Diocese of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the priests to face challenges with trust that God's love will have the last word. The pope's remarks were punctuated by applause and laughter, including his own, as he responded Feb. 22 to questions about youth ministry, prayer, eucharistic adoration, religious art, Scripture, theology and the activities of new church movements.

Continuing an 80-year-old papal tradition, Pope Benedict XVI is canceling regular audiences and clearing his calendar to make a weeklong Lenten retreat. The spiritual exercises not only shut down the normal business of his pontificate, but also place the pope in the unusual position of doing all the listening and none of the talking. Judging from his own remarks in recent years, Pope Benedict doesn't mind giving up center stage and reflecting on someone else's insights.

Cardinal warns against secularism
Freedom of religion, and all freedom, can be placed at risk by an "aggressive secularism" that asserts its dominance in society, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago warned in a Feb. 13 talk at the Library of Congress. In his talk-titled "What Kind of Democracy Leads to Secularization?"-Cardinal George weighed in against both legal and cultural expressions of secularism that marginalize the importance of religion in society.

Cathedral's new floor project's first phase
Members of Holy Name Cathedral parish and other worshippers got their first chance to enjoy a new terrazzo floor, refurbished pews with new kneelers and a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the sanctuary the weekend of Feb. 17-18. The cathedral had been closed on weekdays for seven weeks leading up to the dedication, said Father Daniel Mayall, the cathedral's pastor, with workers arranging 750 chairs each weekend for Saturday vigil and Sunday Masses. Nearly 5,000 people a week visit the cathedral at Superior and State streets, Mayall said, "and the carpet had seen better days."

Archdiocese follows recommendations
According to a committee made up of jurists, child care experts and law enforcement personnel, the Archdiocese of Chicago has made the changes it promised in the wake of two reports released last year. Among the changes are a policy of removing from ministry priests accused of current abuse immediately when an allegation is received, and a streamlining of the offices responsible for dealing with allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

DCFS official accepts position as new director of safe environment
After more than 15 years at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Womazetta Jones knows she has made a difference for kids. But the job took its toll on her and her husband and three kids. So when Jones, most recently DCFS' child protection statewide training manager, met with Jan Slattery, director of the archdiocese's Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, and Slattery asked her to consider working for the archdiocese, it was a natural move.

Parish leaders come together to share ideas, network, learn
Feb. 17 was another cold and snowy day, but that did not stop nearly 1,000 courageous Catholic parishioners from making their way to Maria High School on Chicago's South Side for the annual Parish Leadership Day. Cardinal Francis George eyed the full cafeteria and said, "These are the people who are shaping our parishes. There's a lot of generosity in this room, and for that I am very grateful." Presenter and exhibitor Andrew Lyke of the archdiocesan Family Ministries Office remarked on the diversity of the participants. "It's great to see the leadership of the Chicago church come together," Lyke said. "It is not often you see such diversity in one place. It feels good to be part of it."

Cardinal, education leaders attend Catholic school summit
Catholic schools are an "irreplaceable good," and hope and concern for their future blended when nearly 300 educational leaders, including five bishops, gathered here Feb. 26 for the first "Summit for Catholic School Education in Illinois." "Despite all the challenges, there is reason for hope," said Cardinal George, in addressing the assembly that included diocesan superintendents of schools, elementary and secondary school presidents and principals, members of education boards and commissions, and dozens of priests and religious from throughout the state. Cardinal George repeatedly thanked those involved in Catholic education, and especially praised the generosity of teachers. "There are saints in our Catholic schools," said Cardinal George. "And many of them are teachers."

Chicago-born Jesuit reaches 130 million-on TV
Jesuit Father Mitchell Pacwa reaches into 130 million homes every week on the global Catholic network EWTN with a message of hope for a world that he says has been beleaguered by both "false pessimism and false optimism" since the early 18th century. Specifically, he sees a world that has reached a cultural and religious crisis with family dissolution. Known widely for his teaching about the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II, Scripture, moral theology and faith basics, Pacwa lays it squarely on the line.

'Sisters of Selma': Documentary film examines the role of sisters in civil rights movement
On March 7, 1965, many watched the evening news in horror. Footage showed state troopers and police officers in Selma, Ala., beating up protestors as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The group was attempting to march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery to protest laws that kept black residents from voting. In response to the violence that ensued on March 7, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for religious leaders to come down to Selma to support the residents. Among those who came were Catholic sisters, including a group from the Midwest.

'Dialogues' tells uplifting story of martyrdom
Martyrdom is as old as the Catholic Church and as relevant as today's news. Throughout history, men and women have made the decision to die rather than surrender the principles of their faith. The 20th century saw more martyrs than any other in history-notably in Germany under Nazism, in the Soviet Union and China under Communism, in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, in Africa, India, Pakistan, Latin America, and the Middle East. The events of 9/11 and frequent news of suicide bombers are evidence that the 21st century is no different. Lyric Opera's "Dialogues of the Carmelites," currently at the Civic Opera House in Chicago, tells a story of martyrdom. It is a true story, although it centers on a fictional character, Blanche de la Force. On July 17, 1794, in Compiegne, France, 16 Carmelite nuns died at the guillotine during the French Revolution, 10 days before the Terror ended with the fall of Robespierre.

Study finds alumni value Catholic college experience
Alumni of Catholic colleges and universities rank their education and the values they learned in those institutions far more highly than alumni of major public universities do, education researcher Jim Day told a national gathering of Catholic college and university presidents Feb. 4. The alumni of Catholic schools were considerably more likely than their public university counterparts to say they benefited from opportunities for spiritual development in their college years, experienced an integration of values and ethics in classroom discussions and were helped to develop moral principles that can guide actions, he reported.

U.S. Catholic colleges urged to help those in poor countries
One of the Vatican's top education officials Feb. 4 urged U.S. Catholic college and university presidents to examine how they can provide "creative and effective support" to Catholic academic institutions in the developing world that are struggling with inadequate resources. "The inequality in resources available to Catholic higher education institutions worldwide is a matter of grave concern," said Archbishop J. Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education.

Colleges must forge Catholics identities
U.S. Catholic colleges and universities have to decide what they want to be when they grow up, Jesuit Father Dean Brackley of El Salvador's Universidad Centroamericana told a recent meeting of Catholic educators at Loyola University Chicago. Brackley, who has taught at UCA since 1990 when he was sent to replace one of six Jesuits murdered a year earlier, said a battle for the soul of Catholic institutions is already underway. "Some would like to to turn our schools into Catholic Harvards while others are so concerned about the loss of faith and the rise of 'cafeteria Catholicism' they went to turn our schools into bastions of Catholic orthodoxy against what they see as a hostile pluralistic environment and religious indifference," Brackley said, told addressing the Heartland/Delta Faculty Conversations.

> Front Page

Church Clips by Dolores Madlener
Dolores Madlener
a column of benevolent

'Start spreadin' the news' - The Feast of the Divine Mercy is April 15. Mark Endres of Madison, Wis., recently read St. Faustina's "Diary," and it renewed his spiritual life. He knows St. Faustina desires "that the image be publicly honored." Endres saw a couple big billboards spreading the Divine Mercy message in other states, but he couldn't afford to rent one. So Endres began putting up Divine Mercy flyers in his local university. Finally he was inspired to design a "mini-billboard" aka a bumper sticker (10x3 inches). He also acquired a contract to be able to use the familiar image, and he now offers the stickers in English, Spanish or Polish: "Jesus, I Trust in You!" Endres says it's not a "business," but a desire to spread devotion to the Divine Mercy. He figures at least 1,500 new people see his Saturn's bumper sticker each year. Go to www.divinemercybrochure. com, to order, or send a SASE to Endres at 5733 Modernaire St., Madison, WI 53711 for a free sticker in English. (Military dogtags with the Divine Mercy image will be available soon.)

Idea Exchange - Father Tom Rzepiela, pastor of St. Thomas of Villanova (Palatine) has printed and mailed to all parishioners, a 48 page soft-cover booklet with the 47 Gospel readings for Lent and the Easter season. He has a lot of faith in people: All but two readings have reflections written by Senior Ministry parishioners. Parishioners are encouraged to write two on their own. It is an impressive evangelization tool and a testimony to the laity. For example, Mark's Gospel on March 16 about "Which commandment is the greater?" has parishioner Kay Crnich reflecting: "Dear God, how simple you make my life . how complicated I make it: Go to work, Pick up groceries, Pay bills, Visit dad, Return library books . Help me to prioritize with you at the center. Let me be more focused on your two commandments. Maybe it is OK if the library books are late, maybe my time would be better spent just being with dad. . I know we live in a very real world, but help me to see and be in this world through YOUR eyes. Let my life be a prayer to you ."

Happy New Year! - It's the Chinese Year of the Boar. While friends of St. Therese (award-winning) Chinese Catholic School (W. 23rd St.) celebrate at a benefit dinner March 10, anyone of any age can go to their neat Web site: sttheresechinatown.org. Click on "Parish," then "Chinese Prayers" and hear an audio of the Hail Mary, Apostles Creed, Our Father or Glory Be, recited in either Cantonese or Mandarin dialects (the words are written in English so you can follow along).

Kodak moments - "Remembering Chicago: The Boomer Years," is the 90- minute documentary about life in the '50s and '60s. It premiers March 4 on Channel 11 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.; March 10 at 3:45 p.m. and March 14 at 7:30 p.m. It has a number of slides from the vast collection of Richard Gladziszewski, a parishioner of St. Michael's (Orland Park). He grew up and raised his family in St. John of God (S. Throop) in Chicago. The program includes his slides of family and parish events, the blizzard of 1967, trips to Grant Park and views of downtown Chicago in 1960. Gladziszewski and Chrys Rudnik of Park Forest are still organizing his collection of almost 10,000 slides spotlighting 1954-1985.

Wish you were Irish? - St. Patrick's Day, March 17, is the feast day that keeps on giving. Gaelic Park (Oak Forest) celebrates for 10 days with special storytellers, music, dance, dinners, soda bread contests and crowning of the Irish Festival Queen. They're at (708) 687- 9323. . . . On the other side of town, the Irish American Heritage Center (N. Knox) has a full schedule including the talent showcase "Irish Dance Chicago," 7 p.m. March 17. Reach them at (773) 282-7035.

... goes around, comes around - Susan Tassone in the arch's Missions Office isn't trying to sell books-she wants to remind us to pray for the souls in Purgatory, especially during Lent. St. John Chrysostom in the early church preached on the holy souls: "Let us assist them according to our power .by praying for them, by asking others to pray for them ." Tassone has compiled a number of books with devotions that include the Rosary, the Way of the Cross, and Eucharistic Adoration on behalf of the holy souls. By helping them, "their gratitude will bring you countless blessings." For any of Tassone's books or a CD/cassette, call Our Sunday Visitor, at (800) 348-2440. The saints say: the second greatest number of souls are released at Easter!

New neighbors - Guess who moved in to the empty convent of St. Mary of Celle Parish (Berwyn): three Sisters of Christian Charity! Sister Therese Fields, Sister Monica Cormier and Sister Juliana Miska's main mission, among other ministries, will be to visit the elderly and homebound, and work with parish evangelization efforts in a multi-cultural parish. Two of the sisters lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Foundress Pauline von Mallinckrodt sent a small group of her sisters from Germany to New Orleans in 1873. They were the first Sisters of Christian Charity in the USA.

Bulletin browsing - One of "52 Blessings Sometimes Overlooked": Comfortable shoes.

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.