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News Digest

Issue of September 2 – September 15, 2007
The following items are condensed. For the complete articles, please read the print edition of The Catholic New World. To subscribe, call (312) 534-7777.

News Update

CCHD grants to be awarded

Cardinal George will distribute Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants to 21 recipients at a Sept. 20 reception at Old St. Mary’s Church, 1500 S. Michigan Ave.

The campaign provides funding to projects operated by not-for-profit organizations that empower people living in poverty to change the structures that perpetuate poverty.

The campaign is funded with a national collection the weekend before Thanksgiving. Three-quarters of the proceeds go to the national CCHD office for distribution; eight organizations will receive grants totalling $285,000 from the national office, and two organizations will receive a total of $60,000 in national economic development grants.

The remaining 25 percent of the collection remains in the diocese where it was collected. The archdiocese of Chicago will award 11 local grants totalling $175,000.

Bishops denounce Amnesty policy

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced Amnesty International’s recent adoption of a policy to fight for the decriminalization of abortion around the world.

Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., president of the conference, said in an Aug. 23 statement that the U.S. bishops urge Amnesty to “reconsider its error and reverse its policy on abortion.” “This basic policy change undermines Amnesty’s long-standing moral credibility and unnecessarily diverts its mission,” Bishop Skylstad said. “In promoting abortion, Amnesty divides its own members ... and jeopardizes its support by people in many nations, cultures and religions who share a consistent commitment to all human rights.”

The human rights organization's International Council—more than 400 delegates from 75 countries—approved the proposals at a meeting of Amnesty leaders in Cocoyoc, Mexico, Aug. 11-17 as part of Amnesty’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign.

News Digest

Pope’s brother: criticism signals ‘good pontificate’

Pope Benedict XVI’s elder brother said criticism of the pope should be expected as the sign of a good pontificate and that recent controversies showed papal leadership could not be “all peace, joy and pancakes.”

“I’m mainly concerned that the new situation will work well for my brother in relation to his faith, and I can witness that he’s fulfilling what the good Lord expects of him and also being understood by many people,” Msgr. Georg Ratzinger said in an Aug. 17 interview with Bavaria’s Passauer Neuen Presse daily.

Dark spots small part of church’s reality, says Vatican official

Dark spots exist in the Catholic Church, but they are only a small part of the reality of the church and its members, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

In an Aug. 20 interview with Vatican Radio, the cardinal said media that focus only on the failures of church members are giving the public a distorted vision of the church.

Evangelization leader spreads word of love

Evangelization, said Dominican Father Jordan Kelly, is helping people realize that they have been loved by God, leading them to respond with faith and action and prayer.

Kelly, 50, has been named director of the archdiocese’s Office for Evangelization after six years at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, where he held a variety of positions. He also celebrates weekend Masses at St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs.

Annual Catholic Appeal campaign wins recognition from international group

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Annual Catholic Appeal will be recognized in September by the International Catholic Stewardship Council.

Barbara Shea Collins, director of stewardship and development, and Ray Coughlin, director of the Office for Stewardship and Development, will accept the 2007 Award of Excellence for the best diocesan annual appeal.

Officials: Book illustrates Mother Teresa’s strength

Vatican officials said a new book detailing Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s long “crisis of faith” illustrates her spiritual strength in the face of doubt.

“This is a figure who had moments of uncertainty and discouragement, experiencing the classic dark night that God gives to chosen people in order to forge them on the road to holiness,” said Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, a member of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

Respect Life materials show children as ‘cause for rejoicing’

The U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities has published materials for the 2007-08 Respect Life program, using the phrase “The Infant in My Womb Leaped for Joy” as its theme.

Taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, the words refer to the pregnancies of Mary and her elderly cousin, Elizabeth—both “cause for rejoicing” despite their unusual circumstances, said a brochure published as part of the Respect Life package.

Bishops focus on immigration in annual Labor Day statement

Immigration issues, including the “failed immigration debate” that preceded Congress’ unsuccessful vote to change U.S. immigration policy, were highlighted in the U.S. bishops’ annual Labor Day statement.

“This vital national immigration discussion polarized our people, paralyzed the Congress and failed our nation,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, N.Y., chairman of the bishops’ domestic policy committee, in the statement. “After this debate, we are a society more divided, a people more confused and a nation unable to move forward on one of the most serious and complicated issues we face as a nation.”

Parish sharing partners bring teachers, schools together

Carrie Cunniff remembers going to St. Malachy School for service projects and special days when she was a student at Holy Cross School in Deerfield.

Now starting her first year as a kindergarten teacher at Holy Cross, Cunniff found herself sharing a table with prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers from both schools, reflecting on the meaning of personal power, planning ways their students could engage in service learning and speculating about the possibility of a joint field trip.

Catechetical Conference: Encountering the living Christ

The Chicago Catechetical Conference will offer catechists serving all age groups and all Catholics seeking to better understand their faith an opportunity to learn and reflect on “Encountering the Living Christ,” the theme chosen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for Catechetical Sunday 2007.

Catechetical Sunday this year is Sept. 16.

The Nov. 16-17 conference is co-sponsored this year by three agencies of the Archdiocese of Chicago: the Office for Catechesis and Youth Ministry, the Office for Catholic Schools and the Office for Divine Worship. It will once again be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

Nominations sought for ‘Heart of the School’ awards

The Office of Catholic Schools is seeking nominations for thr 2007-2008 “Heart of the School” Awards.

Two awards will be given in each of seven categories. Forms are available online at

Scout demonstrates Kwanzaa value of unity

Jim Thomas joined his St. James (Arlington Heights) Youth Ministry in eighth grade as a way to meet with peers, talk about relevant issues and get help where needed. Now the long-time Boy Scout and St. Viator High School sophomore is well on his way to receiving his Eagle Scout award as a result.

“I joined the youth ministry as a way to bond with people and better understand why they think the way they do,” Thomas said. “I also liked the idea of discussing (with peers) things that are happening around us and having opportunities to help others.”

Genesis plan for schools begins to take effect

In a few years, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago will still be teaching faith and values along with math and English.

But there will be some differences, said Nicholas Wolsonovich, superintendent of Catholic schools. Each school will have a lay board, charged with the responsibility for marketing, development and other issues. They will be using the same curriculum in all academic subjects, including religion. Many will have a longer school day or a longer school year, and all will offer their teachers more time for staff development.

Youth, young adults pray, minister together to make a difference

More than 100 youth and young adults came together at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church on the far South Side of Chicago Aug. 26 for the first annual Youth and Young Adults in Ministry Unity Mass to praise God through song and dance

Youth and young adults ministered as altar servers, lectors, greeters, ushers, ministers of the cup, choir members, commentators and liturgical dancers.

St. Procopius starts dual-language program

Kindergarten through eighth-grade students at St. Procopius School in Pilsen will attend classes this year in a dual-language environment, with classes taught in English and Spanish.

The goal of the program is to ensure that students become fully bilingual, fluent and literate in both English and Spanish.

Chaplains advise how students can keep faith

Staying involved in church activities and with campus Newman centers is key to students keeping the faith while in college, according to college chaplains.

“First and foremost, as in all things Catholic, go to Mass,” said Father John Nordeman, chaplain of the Newman Center at Pennsylvania’s West Chester University. “It is a staple. It is something that we can always count on as being the same, and it is where we go to meet our Lord.”