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Our Lenten Journey: Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6th, 2014 Posted in Featured


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Upstarts join top seeds in quest for boys basketball championship


For The Dialog


The boys’ basketball tournament semifinals will be played Thursday night at the Bob Carpenter Center. It is an intriguing set of games, as one will pit two of the top four seeds, while the other features a pair of double-digit seeds.

No. 14 Cape Henlopen vs. No. 10 St. Georges, 6:30 p.m. Cape’s Vikings are fun to watch as they play a fast-paced style of offense. They scored 73 points against Howard on Sunday, with three seniors leading the way. Tyreik Burton had 25 points, Toney Floyd had 20 and Jonathan Warren 14.

For St. Georges, all eyes will be on sophomore Lamar Hamrick, who scored 39 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Hawks’ 69-66 overtime upset of second-seeded Sanford in the quarters.

The teams did not meet during the regular season, but they have two common opponents, Sanford and Sussex Tech. Cape lost to Sanford and beat Tech twice, while St. Georges beat both teams once.

No. 4 Concord vs. No. 1 Salesianum, approximately 8 p.m. The Raiders and Sals square off for the second time this season, with Concord looking for revenge after losing to the Sals at home on Feb. 8 by a 50-33 score.

Salesianum has a deep, talented roster led by senior forward Brian O’Neill and junior guard Donte DiVincenzo. Both are player-of-the-year candidates. They also get key contributions from seniors Joe McCusker and David Barone. The Sals struggled in Sunday’s quarterfinal vs. St. Elizabeth, winning by nine but playing perhaps their poorest game of the season. To beat Concord, they will need O’Neill to stay out of foul trouble and DiVincenzo to find his shot.

The unquestionable leader for Concord is senior guard Joe Cooper, who transferred from Tower Hill before this school year. Cooper scored 19 in the Raiders’ win over St. Mark’s in the quarters, including five of eight from three-point range. Another key contributor is senior guard William Chapman.

Tickets are $8 and available at diaa.ticketleap.com or at the Bob. One ticket is good for both games. The championship game is Saturday at 1 p.m., also at the Bob Carpenter Center.

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Use Lent to snap out of apathy to sin, poverty, indifference to God, pope says


Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Lent is a time to shed lazy, un-Christian habits and snap out of one’s apathy toward people harmed by violence, poverty and not having God in their lives, Pope Francis said.

Lent is time to “change course, to recover the ability to respond to the reality of evil that always challenges us,” he said during his weekly general audience March 5, Ash Wednesday.

Pope Francis receives ashes from Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome March 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The pope’s catechesis focused on the meaning of Lent, which, beginning Ash Wednesday for Latin-rite Catholics, marks a 40-day period of penance, prayer and conversion “in preparation for the church’s annual celebration of the saving mysteries of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection,” he said.

Later in the evening, Pope Francis was scheduled to lead a traditional Ash Wednesday procession from Rome’s Basilica of St. Anselm to the Basilica of Santa Sabina for Mass and the imposition of ashes.

At his morning audience, he explained that Lent is a time for “a turnaround,” to convert and change for the better.

“All of us need to improve,” he said, and “Lent helps us. And that way we get out of our tired routine and the lazy addiction to evil that tempts us.”

Lent calls people to live more fully their Baptism, which brings new life, he said. “It invites us to not get used to the situations of degradation and misery that we encounter as we walk along the streets of our cities and towns.

“There’s the risk of passively accepting certain behaviors and to not be astonished by the sad situations around us,” he said. “We get used to violence, as if it were everyday news taken for granted; we get used to our brothers and sisters who sleep on the streets, who don’t have a roof over their heads. We get used to refugees seeking freedom and dignity who aren’t welcomed as they should be.”

People also get too used to living in a culture or society that pretends it can do without God, and where parents, grandparents and adults no longer teach children how to pray, he said.

“I want to ask: Your children, your kids, do they know how to make the sign of the cross?” he asked the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. “Do they know how to pray the Our Father, to pray to Our Lady with the Hail Mary?”

He asked that people “think about it and answer in your heart.”

Christians need to overcome their indifference, “this addiction to un-Christian and easy-way-out behaviors that drug our hearts,” he said.

Lent is a time to reflect on and be awed by what Christ did for our salvation and to prepare “our mind and our heart for an attitude of gratitude toward God, for all he has given us,” the pope said, because “when we see this love that God has for us, we feel the urge to get closer to him and this is conversion.”

Summing up, the pope said the “essential elements for living the Lenten season are: giving God thanks for the mystery of his crucified love; authentic faith; conversion; and opening our heart to our brothers and sisters.”


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Familiar foes to meet in girls high school basketball semifinals


For The Dialog


The top four seeds in the girls’ high school basketball tournament have reached tonight’s semifinal round at the Bob Carpenter Center, and all four have played each other during the regular season. To get an idea of how good these teams are, they have seven losses against each other and no other defeats to a Delaware school.

No. 3 Caravel vs. No. 2 Sanford, 6:30 p.m. These teams met on Jan. 28 at Sanford, with Sanford winning easily, 57-30. The Buccaneers have not lost since, winning 10 straight.

A trio of juniors leads Caravel: Caroline Davis, Micah Morgan and Ky-Asia Stanford. In that first game with Sanford, Davis was held scoreless and Morgan had six points, all on free throws, but that was uncharacteristic of these players. They will need to step up against a tough Sanford defense if their team is to have a chance tonight.

For Sanford, player of the year candidate Alison Lewis scored 10 points in the first game against Caravel. Lewis is a prolific scorer and defender, but she is not alone. The Warriors get big contributions from sophomores Chrishyanah Alston, Taylor Sparks-Faulkner and Taylor Samuels and others.

When these teams met in the semifinals last year, Caravel took a 48-40 victory.

No. 4 St. Elizabeth vs. No. 1 Ursuline, approximately 8 p.m. This will be the third meeting this year between the teams. Ursuline will be looking for the sweep against the Vikings, winning 55-50 Jan. 6 at home and 51-42 Feb. 11 at the St. E Center.

St. Elizabeth has a balanced team that plays well together, having returned all but one starter from last year. Seniors Macy Robinson and Sabrina Hackendorn provide scoring and leadership for their young teammates. Starters Gabby Julian and Alex Thomas also return from last year’s starting lineup, with junior Jordyn Humes and freshman Alanna Speaks also playing big minutes.

For Ursuline, the biggest weapon is junior Adrianna Hahn, the returning player of the year. She has the green light to shoot and is particularly effective from three-point range. Sophomore Kailyn Kampert is an effective offensive option, as is her classmate, Alyssa Irons. The lone senior in the starting lineup, Laura Hurff, is a defensive stalwart and leader on the floor.

The teams met under similar circumstances in last year’s semifinals. Ursuline had won both regular-season games, but the Vikings eked out a 44-42 win in the tournament on their way to the state championship.

Tickets for tonight’s doubleheader are $8 and available at diaa.ticketleap.com or at the Bob. The championship game is Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center.

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Pope Francis suggests church could tolerate some civil unions


Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of nonmarital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. He also said the church would not change is teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with “much mercy.”

Pope Francis prays during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 26. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Pope Francis’ words appeared in an interview published March 5 in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

In the wide-ranging conversation with the paper’s editor-in-chief, Ferruccio de Bortoli, the pope defended the church’s response to clerical sex abuse and lamented that popular mythology has turned him into a kind of papal superhero. He also addressed the role of retired Pope Benedict XVI and the church’s relations with China.

“Matrimony is between a man and a woman,” the pope said, but moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.” Asked to what extent the church could understand this trend, he replied: “It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety.”

Bishops around the world have differed in their responses to civil recognition of nonmarital unions. The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family said in February 2013 that some legal arrangements are justifiable to protect the inheritance rights of nonmarried couples. But until now, no pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions.

In the interview, Pope Francis praised Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” which prohibited the use of contraception.

In contradicting contemporary pressures for population control, Pope Paul’s “genius was prophetic, he had the courage to side against the majority, defend moral discipline, put a brake on the culture, oppose neo-Malthusianism, present and future,” Pope Francis said.

But he also noted that Pope Paul had instructed confessors to interpret his encyclical with “much mercy, attention to concrete situations.”

“The question is not whether to change the doctrine, but to go deeper and make sure that pastoral care takes account of situations and of what each person is able to do,” Pope Francis said.

The pope said birth control, like the predicament of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, would be a topic of discussion at the Vatican in October at an extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. He said the synod would approach all such problems “in the light of profound reflection,” rather than casuistry, which he described as a superficial, pharisaical theology focused exclusively on particular cases.

The pope said he had welcomed the “intense discussion” at a February gathering of cardinals, where German Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a talk suggesting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics might sometimes be allowed to receive Communion even without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriages.

“Fraternal and open confrontations foster the growth of theological and pastoral thought,” he said. “I’m not afraid of this; on the contrary, I seek it.”

Asked if the church’s teachings on sexual and medical ethics represented “non-negotiable values,” a formulation used by Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said he had “never understood the expression ‘non-negotiable values.’”

“Values are values, period,” he said. “I cannot say that, among the fingers of a hand, there is one less useful than another. That is why I cannot understand in what sense there could be negotiable values.”

Pope Francis said cases of sex abuse by priests had left “very profound wounds,” but that, starting with the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, the church has done “perhaps more than anyone” to solve the problem.

“Statistics on the phenomenon of violence against children are shocking, but they also clearly show the great majority of abuses occur in family and neighborhood settings,” Pope Francis said. “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility. No one else has done more. And yet the church is the only one attacked.”

Reflecting on his own colossal popularity, the pope criticized “ideological interpretations, a certain mythology of Pope Francis. When it is said, for instance, that he leaves the Vatican at night to go feed the tramps on Via Ottaviano. That never even occurred to me.”

“To portray the pope as a kind of superman, a type of star, strikes me as offensive,” he said. “The pope is a man who laughs, weeps, sleeps soundly and has friends like everybody else. A normal person.”

He acknowledged that he has continued his longtime practice of phoning people who write to him with their problems, including an 80-year old widow who lost her son, whom he calls once a month.

Pope Francis said he has sought out his predecessor Pope Benedict for advice and encouraged him to “go out and participate in the life of the church,” most recently by appearing at a Feb. 22 ceremony with the College of Cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“The pope emeritus is not a statue in a museum,” Pope Francis said. Noting that bishops never retired until after the Second Vatican Council, but that the practice has since become the norm, Pope Francis said the “same thing should happen with the pope emeritus. Benedict is the first and maybe there will be others. We don’t know.”

Asked about the Vatican’s lack of diplomatic relations with China, whose government requires Catholics to register with a state-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association and punishes members of the clandestine “underground” church, Pope Francis said he had written to Chinese President Xi Jinping “when he was elected, three days after me. And he answered me. There are some relations.”


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Our Lenten Journey: Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 5th, 2014 Posted in Featured


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Pope asks prayers for Ukraine; archbishop says Ukraine in danger


Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — As uncertainty reigned in Ukraine and Russian troops appeared to have control of the Crimean peninsula, Pope Francis again asked the world’s Christians to pray for Ukraine and urged the parties involved in the conflict to engage in dialogue.

An Orthodox clergyman prays next to armed servicemen near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post in Ukraine’s Crimean region March 1. The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said Ukrainians must be prepared “to sacrifice our lives in order to protect the sovereign, free, independent, and unified state.” (CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters)

“I ask you again to pray for Ukraine, which is in a very delicate situation,” Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the midday recitation of the Angelus March 2.

“While I hope that all sectors of the country will endeavor to overcome misunderstandings and build the future of the nation together,” the pope said, “I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support every initiative in favor of dialogue and harmony.”

After Russian troops entered Crimea, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, issued a statement March 1 saying, “Ukraine, unfortunately, has been pulled into a military conflict. So far no one is shooting, so far people are not dying, but it is obvious that military intervention has already begun.”

“Our people and our country are currently in danger,” the archbishop said. “We must stand up for our country, to be ready, if necessary, to sacrifice our lives in order to protect the sovereign, free, independent, and unified state,” he said in the statement distributed by the Catholic magazine Credo.

In Ukraine, March 2 was “Forgiveness Sunday” for Eastern Catholics and members of the Orthodox churches; Lent began March 3 for Catholics and Orthodox who follow the Byzantine tradition.

Addressing members of the church in a pastoral letter for Lent, Archbishop Shevchuk and members of the church’s permanent synod said Ukrainians “enter into the great fast this year with feelings of pain, fear, suffering and trembling hope.”

Months of protests sparked by a government decision to reverse a process of closer cooperation with Europe erupted in bloodshed in late February and led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych. After an interim leader was appointed in Ukraine, the Russian government began what it called military exercises along the countries’ shared border and sent troops into Crimea.

In their Lenten letter, Archbishop Shevchuk and members of his synod called on Catholics to use the 40 days of Lent as a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to grow closer to God and to one’s neighbors. Lent, they said, is a time to convert from sin, suspicion and hatred and take responsibility together for the future of the country.


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St. Mark’s boys basketball season ends in quarters vs. Concord


For The Dialog


NEWARK – A 14-0 run turned a 10-point St. Mark’s deficit into a four-point lead, but the Spartans’ shot disappeared as the fourth quarter wore on in a 40-34 loss to Concord in a boys basketball quarterfinal-round game Sunday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center. The loss ended the season for St. Mark’s, which finished the year at 15-6.

Concord got off to a great start on the strength of two three-pointers by senior Joe Cooper, but St. Mark’s trailed by just one, 9-8, after one. Concord took command in the second, outscoring the Spartans, 15-7, to make the halftime score 24-15.

A free throw by William Chapman gave Concord its largest lead at 25-15, but that is when St. Mark’s mounted its comeback. The Spartans scored the last 11 points of the third, taking a 26-25 lead into the final eight minutes. Senior Nick Papa and junior Matt Williams each had four points during the run. The Spartans’ assault continued into the fourth as they grabbed their largest lead at 29-15.

Cooper, however, took over after that. He his a two-point field goal, followed by a couple of threes, giving the Raiders a lead they would not lose. St. Mark’s lost the shooting touch; the team would not hit a field goal in the last 4:47 of the contest.

Cooper led the Raiders with 19 points, including five of eight from three-point range. Chapman added 12. Concord will now get a rematch with top-seeded Salesianum on Thursday night at the Bob; the Sals won, 50-33, when the teams met during the regular season. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., but it will be approximately 20 minutes following the conclusion of the first semifinal between Cape Henlopen and St. Georges. Tickets are available at diaa.ticketleap.com.

Papa finished the night with 12 points to lead St. Mark’s.

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Sals pull away late from game Vikings, move on to basketball semis


Staff reporter


NEWARK – For three quarters, Salesianum and St. Elizabeth battled through missed shots, turnovers and bad decisions, entering the final eight minutes in a 34-34 tie. The student section for top-seeded Salesianum was uncharacteristically quiet, while the supporters of the Vikings, who snuck into the tourney as the 24th and final seed, believed their team could pull yet another upset.

Senior Brandon Gautier tied the game at 36 with a layup, but Salesianum ran off six consecutive points and 15 of the next 19 to take control, defeating the Vikings, 58-49, in the last of four quarterfinal-round games Sunday evening at the Bob Carpenter Center. The win puts Salesianum into the tournament semifinals against fourth-seeded Concord Thursday night at approximately 8 p.m. at the Bob. Read more »

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Strong second half propels Vikings past Padua, into semifinals


For The Dialog


NEWARK – St. Elizabeth found itself in a typical Catholic Conference game with Padua on Saturday in one girls basketball quarterfinal, watching its chances of repeating as state champions slipping through its fingers. But the Vikings went on a 17-6 run at the end of the third quarter to take the lead and went on to a 58-53 win over the Pandas at the Bob Carpenter Center.

Twelfth-seeded Padua played an impressive first half, finishing the second quarter with a 30-24 lead. The Pandas shot 13 for 25 from the field and committed just four turnovers, and the bench contributed 13 points, including six from Kelly Rozenko and four from Claudia Spink. The No. 4 Vikings, meanwhile, shot just 35 percent and turned the ball over eight times. Read more »

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