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News Digest

Issue of March 29 April 11, 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

Teaching award finalists named

Three Catholic school teachers are among 19 finalists for the 2009 Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Awards, which honor teachers who work with children from birth through 8 years old.

They are: Eva Wojkowski, preschool teacher at St. Helen, 2347 W. Augusta Blvd.; Cynthia Helwink, preschool teacher at St. Maria Goretti in Schiller Park; and Amy Scheering, kindergarten teacher at Our Lady of Guadalupe, 9050 S. Burley Ave.

Five winners will be announced in early April and will receive a $5,000 cash award, $1,000 for their schools and other prizes.

NFP liaison

Maria Garcia, the natural family planning coordinator for the Archdiocese of Chicago, is being appointed the liaison to Spanishspeaking countries by WOOMB International, the teachers of the Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning.

She will be appointed at a May 1-7 conference in Australia.

Garcia is well-known internationally for her work with the Billings Ovulation Method, and has insight and respect for the different Catholic Hispanic cultures. She has helped develop a variety of NFP resources in Spanish and English that are available through the Family Ministries Office for more information call (312) 534-8351 or visit

News Digest

In Africa, pope challenges attitudes, cultural trends

Pope Benedict XVI's in-flight statement opposing condom distribution in AIDS prevention drew sharp criticism and was seen by many as a distraction from his main message in Africa.

But a closer look reveals that very little of what the pope had to say during his March 17-23 African journey was easy or accommodating. On issues ranging from abortion to corruption, from women's rights to economic development, he preached the Gospel in a way that took issue with common practices and prevailing attitudes.

Cardinal meets with Obama Also warns of despotism if conscience rights for health workers aren't protected under U.S. law

President Barack Obama met for half an hour March 17 with Cardinal George, who was serving in his capacity as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the White House and the USCCB announced.

Brief statements issued by the White House and the USCCB said little more than that the two presidents had met for a private, 30- minute afternoon session in the Oval Office.