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News Digest

Issue of April 12 April 25, 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

11 move closer to sainthood

Pope Benedict XVI authorized the publication of a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of an Italian nun and of decrees recognizing that 10 other candidates for sainthood heroically lived the Christian virtues, including Sister Manuela de Jesus Arias Espinosa, the Mexican founder of the Poor Clare Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and of the Missionaries of Christ for the Universal Church.

The recognition of the miracle in the cause of Immaculate Conception Sister Giuseppina De Micheli clears the way for her beatification. She was born in Milan in 1890 and died in Centonara d'Arto in 1945.

The other decrees approved by the pope April 3 signify that the church recognizes that the men and women lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and that they are venerable. Recognition of a miracle attributed to each candidate's intercession is needed for that person's beatification.

The other nine include an Austrian bishop, a German priest, a former Capuchin minister general, two founders of women's religious congregations, two religious sisters and two lay people.

No action on state FOCA bill

Illinois House Bill 2354, which opponents said was a state version of the federal Freedom of Choice Bill, was not called for a vote before an April 3 deadline.

Catholics and other pro-lifers objected to the bill, saying it would make abortion a fundamental right and strip any restrictions from the procedure, including parental notification for minors.

It also would have increased state funding for abortions and weakened the state's health care right of conscience by requiring health care providers to make referrals for abortions and mandated comprehensive sex education in all public schools.

The Illinois bishops, including Cardinal George, had urged Catholics to contact their state legislators and register their opposition to the bill. (See Page 9 for a letter on the bill from the Catholic Conference of Illinois.)

News Digest

For Pope John Paul beatification process may be on final lap

Vatican City - They brought flowers and messages to his grave. They sang songs evoking his memory. And they prayed for his beatification. The fourth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II April 2 was marked by a sense of anticipation following reports that the late pontiff would be beatified on the fifth anniversary next year. The Vatican has played down those rumors. But among the thousands who flocked to his tomb and gathered in St. Peter's Basilica for a memorial Mass, the feeling was strongly hopeful.

'Ordinary' people - extraordinary choices

In the following pages, the Catholic New World honors men and women religious - priests, brothers and sisters - who are celebrating special anniversaries of 60 years and above and who are from Chicago or who have served here. One School Sister of St. Francis - Sister Elka Becker - has served 90 years, since she was 15 years old. Readers may come across the names of teachers from long ago, family friends or a favorite parish priest.