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News Digest

Issue of November 24 – December 8, 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

Simbang Gabi novenas set

The Filipino community will hold its annual pre-Christmas Simbang Gabi novena at dozens of parishes in the archdiocese. Simbang Gabi Masses begin Dec. 15 and continue through Dec. 23.

Simbang Gabi is a joyous event, according to Teresita Nuval, director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Asian Catholics, so celebrants wear white vestments instead of the purple of Advent and the Gloria and Alleluia are included in the Masses.

Parishes generally have refreshments following.

For information, visit:, call individual parishes or call the Office for Asian Catholics at (312) 651-8305.

Benefit for Tanzanian school

The Resurrection High School Pep Club will sponsor a “Coffeehouse for Love,” 7-10 p.m. Dec. 14 at the school’s cafeteria, 7500 W. Talcott. Proceeds will benefit the Sisters of the Resurrection Chief Wanzagi Secondary Girls School in the remote village of Buturu, Tanzania, now being developed by Sister Stephanie Blaszczynski, former president of Resurrection High School. Admission is $3. Coffee and sweets will be available for sale.

Fewer than 5 percent of Tanzanian children finish high school and fewer than 2 percent of young women in Tanzania have the opportunity to attend secondary school. Resurrection priests in the Mosoma Diocese of Tanzania invited Sister Stephanie’s congregation to open a school there.

Sister Stephanie expects to open the school for 100 girls in January 2008. Many will be coming from schools with 150 students in a class, two teachers for an entire school or classes that have not had teachers.

Monetary donations for the school or questions about sponsoring a Tanzanian student may be sent to the Sisters of the Resurrection, 7432 W. Talcott Ave., Chicago, IL 60631.

News Digest

For Americans, becoming cardinal was ‘on the edge’ of happiest day

Kneeling before Pope Benedict XVI and becoming a cardinal was “on the edge” of being the happiest day in the lives of the two new U.S. cardinals.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston used the “on the edge” phrase Nov. 24, but said he had to be honest: “The happiest day of my life is the day as a bishop I ordained my first priest. No day will probably ever equal that.”

Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher (a chivalric and philanthropic order with ties to the Holy Land), also used the “on the edge” phrase, but said, “the happiest day was my ordination as a priest. That’s it. I keep saying that I have never had an unhappy day as a priest and I mean it.”

U.S. Catholics invited to anniversary

The Bishop of Lourdes, France, Jacques Perrier, announced Nov. 27 in Washington the opening of a year-long celebration of the 150th Jubilee anniversary of the apparitions of the Immaculate Conception to St. Bernadette Soubirous in the Grotto at Lourdes.

Bishop Perrier made the announcement in the nation’s capital as part of a series of visits to cities around the globe such as Paris, Rome and London. The announcement was made at the offices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Ethical breakthroughs in new stem-cell studies

Scientists, ethicists and church leaders hailed as a breakthrough two studies showing that human skin cells can be reprogrammed to work as effectively as embryonic stem cells, thus negating the need to destroy embryos in the name of science.

Separate studies from teams led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan and Junying Yu and James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison were published online last month by the journals Cell and Science, respectively.

Advent wreaths, Nativity scenes are popular gifts

With Christmas shopping in high gear, area Catholic gift shops help put some faith in the secular frenzy. So what Catholic gifts are hot this year?

Daughter of St. Paul Sister Helen Rita Lane said Christmas shoppers started coming in to their North Michigan Avenue. shop before Thanksgiving for Advent wreaths. “Our supply is wiped out already. We even had a safety-first felt Advent wreath with felt candles children could Velcro on,” Lane said.

Give twice this Christmas with fair trade presents

Do you know where your money goes when you purchase a gift for someone special this Christmas? You do when you buy fair-trade products.

Fair trade is a movement where customers and buyers purchase products from makers who uphold just standards such as paying fair wages to employees and not harming the environment during production. Many fair-trade products come from impoverished or developing countries.

For Catholics, buying fair trade is a way to follow the church’s social teaching of seeking justice for those less privileged.

Historic basilica pushes for resurgence of prayer

Heels and construction boots, white robes and wool jackets made their way to Our Lady of Sorrows — a statue carved with the words “Behold Thy Mother.”

A large shovel, carried from its place against the lectern during a Mass that just ended, passed from person to person, one trading his cane for the shovel, another holding a handle that loomed taller than herself, and all broke ground for Novena Park.

Wrestling coach to move on with no regrets

Mark Gervais may be wrapping up 23 years as Marist High School’s wrestling coach when the season ends in February. But that doesn’t mean the East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Famer will be ending his career anytime soon.

He’ll still be physical education department chairman. And he’ll continue mentoring the Redhawks’ freshman and sophomore wrestlers.