Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 15, 2010
World News in Brief
St. Louis seminary exceeds capital campaign goal
The first capital campaign in the history of St. Louis' Kenrick-Glennon Seminary exceeded its goal by 21.7 per cent, with $60.8 million in pledges.
The goal had been set at $50 million to provide repairs, updates and physical improvements to a building that dates to 1931, while increasing its endowment.
St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson, in a letter in the Feb. 26 issue of the archdiocesan newspaper, said donations to the Faith for the Future campaign are an expression of hope, especially during challenging economic times.
Carlson said the response to the campaign "shows the people's belief that we have to form good priests for the future so we can be a eucharistic people."
Frank Cognata, chief development officer of the archdiocese, said it was especially noteworthy that the campaign was conducted in a down economy and that participation met expectations.
About 100 parishes exceeded their goal and six parishes raised more than $1 million each. Bill Bellrose, chairman of the campaign at one parish, said the goal seemed hefty at first. The parish ended up raising $177,507, which was 61 per cent above the goal.
"The most amazing thing about the campaign was that all you had to do was mention it was for the seminary and future priests, and people were standing in line to give," he said.
Don't blame the victims, Benedict says
Victims of disasters should not be blamed for their own suffering, Pope Benedict said. Reciting the Sunday Angelus at the Vatican on March 7, the pope focused on the day's Gospel story in which Jesus tells his followers they must convert or they will perish.
The crowd Jesus addressed in the day's Gospel story thought that people who met a sudden and violent death were sinners, while the fact that members of Jesus' audience were still alive meant they had nothing to worry about, the pope said.
The Gospel story teaches Christians not to look for fault among the victims of disasters. Instead, they should recognize how much they need God in their own lives and to ask for the strength to convert, he said.
"In the face of sin, God reveals himself to be full of mercy and does not hesitate to call sinners to avoid evil, to grow in his love and to concretely help their neighbours in need so they can live in the joy of grace and not face eternal death."
Pope to visit Spain in November
Pope Benedict will make a two-day trip to Spain in November, visiting the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, the Vatican announced March 3. The trip, scheduled for Nov. 6-7, will be pope's fifth this year, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. The pope's trip coincides with Santiago de Compostela Holy Year, which occurs every time St. James' feast day, July 25, falls on a Sunday. Tradition holds that the remains of the Apostle James the Greater are buried there. The pope also is slated to go to Malta in April, Portugal in May, Cyprus in June and Great Britain in September.
Chilean earthquake isolates rural survivors
While media attention focuses on looting in Concepcion, the largest city near the epicentre of the magnitude 8.8 earthquake Feb. 27, Catholic Church workers struggle to reach quake victims in rural areas who are far from the spotlight. "We are receiving funds to help the poorest people, who are in the countryside," Father Waldo Alfaro, head of the Caritas Chile office in Linares, said March 1 in a telephone interview. Linares is in the Maule region, where most of the quake deaths occurred. The greatest need is for milk, water, food, fuel and cots for victims, as well as assistance in rebuilding houses that collapsed in the quake, Alfaro said. The adobe houses common in the poorest rural regions "are the ones that collapsed," he said. Buckled and cracked highways complicated aid distribution. "Roads are passable, but dangerous."
U.S. bishops support trade protections for Haiti
U.S. bishops have called on the Senate to support the extension of favourable trade status for Haitian-made garments. In a Feb. 19 letter to senators, Bishop Howard Hubbard, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, called for passage of the Renewing Hope for Haiti Act, which would renew existing trade protections set to expire in September. Passage of the bill will help the Haitian economy create jobs and reduce poverty, Hubbard wrote. Jobs especially are needed in Haiti following the massive Jan. 12 earthquake, which struck a large portion of the poor Caribbean nation, killing at least 220,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, he said. Hubbard said passage of the bill can help rebuild the country's economy and encourage exporters to reconstruct damaged or destroyed factories more quickly.
Goldie was first woman in authority at Vatican
Rosemary Goldie, the first woman to hold a position of authority at the Vatican, died Feb. 27 in Randwick, Australia. She was 94. Once described as "the Roman Curia's human microchip memory on the development of the lay apostolate," Goldie made Church history with her 1966 appointment as undersecretary of the Council for the Laity. She held the position for 10 years, working to promote the role of laypeople in Church life. She left the Vatican in 1976 when Church officials upgraded the council's status to that of a pontifical council. Archbishop Phillip Wilson of Adelaide said Goldie made a tremendous contribution to the life of the Church. "Her commitment to the lay apostolate was a lifelong passion and her achievements helped pave the way for current generations."
Bonaventure was moved by holiness of St. Francis
Pope Benedict praised a 13th-century theologian and saint for emphasizing that the faithful should hold Christ and his teaching of poverty, chastity and obedience as a model for their lives. In his March 3 audience, the pope talked about the spiritual and intellectual vigour of St. Bonaventure, an early follower and biographer of St. Francis of Assisi. The saint and doctor of the Church was exemplary because of the way he managed to use wisdom and moderation to mitigate violent conflicts within the Church regarding the mendicant (begging) religious orders that were influential at the time, the pope said. St. Bonaventure also taught and wrote that all believers should do as St. Francis, who strived to imitate Christ in his own life. Born in central Italy around 1217 as Giovanni da Fidanza, he went to study in Paris where he became familiar with the mendicant Franciscan order. He became a Franciscan friar in 1243 and changed his name to Bonaventure.
New Czech primate called a 'man of openness'
When Archbishop Dominik Duka is installed April 10 as archbishop of Prague, Church observers believe the event will herald a new style and direction for the Church in the Czech Republic. As primate, Duka will be the most visible Catholic figure in the secularized Czech Republic, which has seen repeated Church-state feuding since the 1989 collapse of communist rule. His 40 years of priestly experience - including a period when he was forbidden by the former communist government to practise his ministry and then jailed for his underground Church activities - legitimizes his role both within the Church and in dealing with the government.
Kenyan president says abortion will remain illegal
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki assured the Catholic Church that abortion will remain illegal despite contrary statements by members of the country's parliament drafting a new constitution. Addressing the congregation at the Feb. 26 installation of a new bishop, the president said he opposed efforts to legalize abortion and would not support any draft of the constitution that included language legalizing the procedure. The proposed constitution will be subject to a nationwide referendum in June. Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi, who celebrated the installation Mass, told Kibaki that the Church will reject the constitution if it would allow abortion to be legalized.
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