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News Digest

Issue of January 18 – January 31, 2009The 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

Learning to evangelize

The Archdiocese of Chicago will offer the Chicago Institute of Evangelization Feb. 27-28 at Rosary Hill Retreat House in Justice.

Talks will be presented in English, Spanish and Polish, with presenters including Dominican Father Jordan Kelly, director of the Office for Evangelization; Douglas Stearns, coordinator for parish evangelization; Hector Molina, director of the Office of the New Evangelization of the Archdiocese of St. Louis; and Father Claudio Diaz, director of Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of Chicago. For information or to register, call (312) 534-5299. Cost is $75.

Spend a day in Springfield

Catholics from all over Illinois are invited to "Catholics at the Capitol," a one-day gathering in Springfield when Catholics will be encouraged to talk with their legislators about issues involved in Catholic social teaching.

The day's events will begin at 10 a.m. with a presentation from the Catholic Conference of Illinois staff on "advocacy at the capitol." That will be followed by an 11 a.m. rally for Catholic schools in the capitol rotunda, and the opportunities for participants to visit their own representatives and senators at noon.

For information, call (312) 368-1066 or visit

News Digest

Debate continues on why number of nuns is declining

Vatican City (CNS) - Statistics leave no doubt that the number of women religious has dropped sharply over the last 50 years, but there is an ongoing debate over the reasons for the decline.

The question surfaced recently when L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, asked one priest to review another priest's book about the phenomenon. Italian Claretian Father Angelo Pardilla, author of "Religious Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," said the principal cause for the decline was that many religious misunderstood the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and lost a sense of their identity.

Pope thanks 'the Way' for service, urges greater unity with dioceses

Pope Benedict XVI thanked members of the Neocatechumenal Way for their generous service to the church and called for greater efforts toward unity with local bishops and parishes.

Unity with the church and among Christians is indispensable for helping the church's evangelical efforts "be fruitful and credible," he told thousands of members of the movement during a special audience in St. Peter's Basilica Jan. 10.

First Things founder Father Neuhaus dies from cancer Father

Richard John Neuhaus, a former Lutheran minister who became a Catholic priest and a staunch defender of church teaching on abortion and other life issues, died Jan. 8. He was 72.

His funeral Mass was scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 13 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in New York.

Cardinal names new chair of National Review Board

The former director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been appointed to chair the bishops' National Review Board by Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Diane Knight, a social worker from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will succeed Judge Michael Merz as head of the USCCB's National Review Board at the conclusion of his term, following the bishops' spring meeting in June.

Organization to honor Catholic high school athletes

Catholic high school athletes and coaches will be honored Feb. 21 as members of the All-Star Catholic High School Hall of Fame.

The awards are an initiative of Sports Faith International, a Chicago media initiative co-chaired by Chicago Bears coowner Patrick McCaskey.

A total of 13 awards will be presented in a ceremony at Halas Hall in Lake Forest. They include male and female athletes of the year, coaches of the year and teams of the year, as voted by people who registered to vote online.