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Pope names bishops for Jackson, Miss., and San Angelo, Texas — Updated

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WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named a Pennsylvania pastor from the Diocese of Scranton to be bishop of Jackson, Miss., and the vicar general of the Diocese of Austin, Texas, to be bishop of San Angelo, Texas.

The pope appointed Father Joseph R. Kopacz, 63, a Scranton diocesan priest who is pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Mount Pocono, Pa., to succeed Jackson Bishop Joseph N. Latino, who is 76. He appointed Msgr. Michael J. Sis, 53, an Austin diocesan priest who has been vicar general since 2010, to succeed San Angelo Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, also 76.

Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Bishops Latino and Pfeifer. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.

The changes were announced in Washington Dec. 12 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-designate Kopacz will be ordained and installed at a Feb. 6 Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson.

Bishop-designate Sis will be ordained and installed at a Jan. 27 Mass at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo.

Bishop Latino, who will serve as diocesan administrator in Jackson until his successor’s installation, asked Catholics of the diocese to keep the newly named bishop in their prayers and to offer him “a warm Mississippi welcome” when he begins “his many responsibilities as shepherd of the Diocese of Jackson.”

He added: “This is indeed a joyful day.”

A native of New Orleans, the retired bishop had headed the Jackson Diocese since March 2003. Ordained a priest for the New Orleans Archdiocese in 1963, he held educational, parish and administrative posts in the archdiocese and in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, La., after it was formed in 1977. He was vicar general for Houma-Thibodaux when Blessed John Paul II named him the 10th bishop of Jackson.

Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera said in a statement the appointment of Bishop-designate Kopacz was “cause for great joy” in his home diocese. Pope Francis has recognized the priest’s “many gifts and deep faith,” he said.

While Holy Trinity parishioners and many others in the Scranton Diocese “will undoubtedly feel a certain sadness in losing the presence of a such a dedicated pastor and friend,” Bishop Bambera said, “we give thanks to God that he has chosen Father Kopacz to serve the broader church and particularly our brothers and sisters” in Jackson.

A native of Dunmore, Pa., Bishop-designate Kopacz has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Scranton, a master’s in Latin from Fordham University in New York, and a master’s in theology from Christ the King Seminary in the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. He also earned a master’s in counseling and psychology and a doctorate in human development from Marywood University in Scranton.

He was ordained for the Scranton Diocese in 1977 and had several assignments as assistant pastor, parish administrator and pastor.

From 1998 to 2002 he was diocesan vicar for priests and formation director at St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton, Pa., then was appointed pastor of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Scranton. In 2005 he was named vicar general for the diocese, while still vicar for priests and Sacred Hearts pastor. In July 2006 he became pastor of St. Mary of the Mount in Mount Pocono; he was vicar general until August 2009. St. Mary was consolidated with two other parishes to form Holy Trinity, his current parish.

Other diocesan positions he has held include as president of the Catholic Schools’ Board of Education, a member of the diocesan finance council, director of continuing education for priests and a coordinator of Hispanic ministry for Monroe County.

The Jackson Diocese is comprised of 65 counties, covering about 38,000 square miles. It is home to close to 48,000 Catholics, out of a total population of 2.1 million people. It has 75 parishes and 24 missions.

Bishop-designate Sis was born Jan. 9, 1960, in Mount Holly, N.J.

He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and a licentiate in moral theology from Pontifical Lateran University’s Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome.

Since his ordination for the Austin Diocese in 1986, he has served in a variety of roles. He has been associate pastor and pastor at several parishes. From 1990-1992 he was an associate pastor in campus ministry at St. Mary’s Student Center in College Station, Texas, which is home to Texas A&M University.

From 1993 to 2006, he was pastor of St. Mary’s Student Center. In 2006, he began a three-year stint as vocation director for the diocese. In 2010, Austin Bishop Joe S. Vasquez named him vicar general and moderator of the curia.

At a news conference in San Angelo, Bishop-designate Sis called his appointment “a joy and an honor and an undeserved privilege.”

He asked for prayers from Catholics of the diocese as their new shepherd. “I want to learn your hopes, your dreams, your struggles and fears,” he said.

The new bishop made some remarks in Spanish, saying, “The church belongs to all.”

Bishop Pfeifer told him: “We welcome you. We open our hearts to you, and our hands.”

Bishop Pfeifer has been San Angelo’s bishop since he was ordained and installed to head the diocese July 26, 1985. Born in Alamo, Texas, he was ordained a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate in 1964. He served various assignments, including many years as a missionary in Mexico.

He was elected provincial of his order’s Southern province, and while in that position, Blessed John Paul II named him fifth bishop of San Angelo May 31, 1985.

The San Angelo Diocese covers more than 37,000 square miles spread across 29 counties in central and west Texas. Catholics number 77,000 out of a total population of about 860,000. The diocese has 47 parishes and 22 missions.

 

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Pope asks people of Americas to embrace poor, immigrants, unborn as Our Lady of Guadalupe does

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis prayed that Catholics throughout the Americas would open their arms to the poor, to immigrants, to the unborn and to the aged just as Mary opens her arms to all.

Dec. 12 is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (CNS flee/Mike Crupi/Catholic Courier)

Anticipating the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, Pope Francis said, “I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the virgin, with love and tenderness.”

Speaking in Spanish during his general audience Dec. 11, the first pope from the Americas explained that “when Our Lady appeared to St. Juan Diego, her face was that of a woman of mixed blood, a ‘mestiza,’and her garments bore many symbols of the native culture.”

“When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma (cloak) of Juan Diego,” the pope said, “it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America — the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come.”

Mary’s embrace, the pope said, was a sign that North and South America were called to be “a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants and the poor and the marginalized in every age. A land of generosity.”

In his main audience talk, Pope Francis concluded the series of audience talks about the creed started by retired Pope Benedict XVI during the 2012-13 Year of Faith.

Meeting some 30,000 people in a sunny but frigid St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis, suffering from a head cold and occasionally taking sips of a hot liquid, focused his talk on the creed’s profession of faith in “life everlasting” and in the last judgment.

In a certain sense, the final judgment is already underway because those who close themselves off to the love of the Lord and the love of their neighbors are saying they don’t want or need salvation, he said.

“This is where our responsibility comes into play,” the pope said. “In a way, we become the judges of ourselves by excluding ourselves from communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.”

The idea of a final judgment naturally sounds frightening, he said, but the Gospel tells people they don’t need to be afraid, just awake and aware.

“Salvation is opening yourself to Jesus. He will save you,” Pope Francis said. “We are all sinners; all of us are. Let us ask forgiveness. With the desire to be good, let’s ask him, ‘Lord, forgive us.’”

“The love of Jesus is stronger than any other thing,” he said. “The love of Jesus is great. The love of Jesus is merciful. The love of Jesus forgives. But you must open yourself to it. And that means repenting, expressing regret for the things we have done that weren’t good.”

Another consolation offered by the Gospel, Pope Francis said, is that no one has to go it alone. The entire communion of saints, all the holy men and women who are already with God, are interceding for those on earth.

“We can count on the intercession and benevolence of our many elder brothers and sisters who have preceded us on the journey of faith, who have offered their lives for us and who continue to love us in an indescribable way,” he said.

 

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St. Elizabeth students commemorate Pearl Harbor with painting

December 11th, 2013 Posted in Our Diocese, Youth Tags: , ,

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WILMINGTON – Two art classes at St. Elizabeth High School recently completed a project with a Pearl Harbor theme, the result of which was a 10-by-20 foot painting in the style of Pablo Picasso. Read more »

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Pope Francis is third pontiff to be named Time’s Person of the Year

December 11th, 2013 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is not seeking fame or accolades, but being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year will make him happy if it helps attract people to the hope of the Gospel, said the Vatican spokesman.

Pope Francis is Time magazine’s person of the year. (CNS/Paul Haring)

“It’s a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions in the international press” goes to a person who “proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks effectively in favor of peace and greater justice,” said the spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.

The choice of Pope Francis “is not surprising, given the wide appeal and huge attention” to his pontificate so far, Father Lombardi said in a written statement Dec. 11, shortly after Time announced it had named the pope for the annual feature.

“Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly — young and old, faithful and cynical — as has Pope Francis,” Time said on its website. “With a focus on compassion, the leader of the Catholic Church has become a new voice of conscience.”

Blessed John Paul II was named Person of the Year in 1994 and Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

Other past honorees include several U.S. Presidents, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. The magazine says the title goes to the person or idea that “for better or worse … has done the most to influence events of the year.”

The pope “does not seek fame and success, because he serves to proclaim the Gospel and God’s love for everyone,” Father Lombardi said. But if the recognition “attracts women and men and gives them hope, the pope is happy.”

The spokesman added that Pope Francis would also be pleased if the magazine’s decision “means that many have understood, at least implicitly, this message” of hope.

 

 

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Ukraine protest is spiritual movement, bishop says

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Catholic News Service

ROME — When Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Borys Gudziak addressed the crowds in Kiev’s Independence Square Dec. 8, he focused on the youth and told them they could change the country.

The U.S.-born bishop and former rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv currently serves as the bishop for Ukrainian Catholics in France but was in Kiev for a meeting of the synod of bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

A large crowd gathers during a Dec. 8 rally organized by supporters of the European Union integration in Independence Square in central Kiev, Ukraine. The protests began in late November when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich announced the end of a process to bring Ukraine closer economically and legally to the EU. (CNS photo/Gleb Garanich, Reuters)

Bishop Gudziak was not the only prelate at the large Dec. 8 demonstration. Retired Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the 80-year-old former head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, spoke from the main stage early in the morning. The protest area includes a tent chapel where liturgy is celebrated, Bishop Gudziak said, and Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant clergy have been assisting the demonstrators.

“It’s very much a spiritual movement, a movement of hearts and values,” Bishop Gudziak told Catholic News Service Dec. 9. Speaking by telephone from Kiev, he said the protesters want “a country where corruption doesn’t reign, where a mother doesn’t have to pay a bribe to get a doctor for her child, where students don’t have to pay bribes to get into university.”

Corrupt politicians, he said, are getting rich, while the population gets poorer and more people try to emigrate in search of work.

The protests began in late November when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich announced the end of a process to bring Ukraine closer economically and legally to the European Union. The students had seen the move toward Europe as a sign of “hope that things would change, that the rule of law would be instituted,” Bishop Gudziak said.

“”The reneging on the promises he had been making for two years was an incredible betrayal,” the bishop said.

The demonstrations grew in strength after a police crackdown Nov. 30 left dozens of people injured.

“The wanton violence, with no apologies, no one fired or even suspended, no sanctions,” made Ukrainians believe they had to act, Bishop Gudziak said. The police action “gave new life to a protest movement that was fizzling.”

As the bishop spoke, he said police were beginning to circle the area around the demonstrations, leading to fears of a new violent crackdown.

The BBC reported early Dec. 10 that police were dismantling barricades raised by the protesters near government buildings. The opposition Fatherland Party claimed security forces had entered its offices and seized computer equipment, shutting down the party’s website.

Many of the protesters believed Yanukovich withdrew from the European Union association agreement in preparation for a new trade agreement with Russia. In reaction, some protesters toppled a statue of Vladimir Lenin in central Kiev.

At the Dec. 8 rally, Bishop Gudziak read the story of the healing of Jairus’ daughter from Luke 8. The passage, he said, “tells of people who were suspicious, cynical or afraid” and Jesus tells them, “Don’t be afraid, she will rise again.”

The bishop encouraged the protesters to continue their peaceful demonstration: “I told them the whole world is watching you with admiration: your smiles, your dedication, your fortitude in the cold, your determination, your songs.”

He said he told them that with peaceful protests, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were able to change entire continents, and “you can change the country.”

 

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European panel sees Vatican making progress fighting financial crime

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — A European body that investigates government efforts to combat financial crimes has confirmed the Vatican has made significant progress in reducing the risk that its institutions could be used for money laundering and financing terrorism.

“Moneyval,” the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism, approved the Holy See-Vatican progress report at a meeting Dec. 9 in Strasbourg, France.

The committee plans to publish the full report on its website Dec. 12.

“The adoption of the progress report confirms the significant efforts undertaken by the Holy See and Vatican City State to strengthen its legal and institutional framework,” said Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, undersecretary for relations with states and head of the Vatican’s delegation to Moneyval.

“The Holy See is fully committed to continuing to improve further the effective implementation of all necessary measures to build a well-functioning and sustainable system aimed at preventing and fighting financial crimes,” Msgr. Camilleri said in a statement released by the Vatican press office.

The December review is a follow-up to Moneyval’s July 2012 evaluation; in a 240-page report, Moneyval acknowledged Vatican efforts to comply with international standards but expressed concerns about the Vatican’s internal inspection and supervisory powers and procedures.

Since mid-2012, the Vatican City governor’s office and Pope Francis have issued new norms, laws and procedures for dealing with financial matters and for strengthening the Vatican Financial Intelligence Authority set up by retired Pope Benedict XVI.

In its Dec. 9 statement, the Vatican said it has signed international cooperation agreements with Belgium, Spain, the United States, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Germany to facilitate the investigation of suspicious financial transactions.

Moneyval also took note of the Vatican’s “preliminary review of the customer database” of the Institute for the Works of Religion, more commonly known as the Vatican bank, where an “in-depth audit of customer records” is ongoing, the Vatican said.

Rene Brulhart, director of the Financial Intelligence Authority, told Vatican Radio that Moneyval’s adoption of the report “confirms that the Holy See is on the right track,” although “there’s always room for improvement.”

 

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Sals roll to season-opening hoops victory over Howard

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For The Dialog

 

WILMINGTON – The Salesianum basketball team opened its season Saturday night ready to prove to the state that it has what it takes to compete for – and win – a state championship. The first opponent was defending state champion Howard, which brought its rebuilding project to a sold-out gym.

The Sals (1-0) were without 6-7 center Brian O’Neill, but it didn’t matter as they rolled to a 60-41 win. Junior guard Donte DiVincenzo, who is being recruited by several major Division I universities, led the way with 24 points. Read more »

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Pope, at Marian devotion, prays that no one ignores the the poor, elderly, children, sick

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Catholic News Service

ROME — Pope Francis prayed that people would never be indifferent to the cries of the poor, the suffering of the sick, the loneliness of the elderly and the fragility of children.

“May every human life always be loved and venerated by all of us,” he prayed on the feast of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8.

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead a Marian prayer service near the Spanish Steps in Rome Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis marked the feast day with a traditional afternoon visit to a statue of Mary erected near the Spanish Steps.

He traveled between the Vatican and the heart of Rome’s tourist and shopping district riding in the passenger front seat of a four-door Ford Focus sedan. The visit was to pay homage to Mary by praying before the statue, which commemorates Pope Pius IX’s proclamation in 1854 that Mary, by special divine favor, was without sin from the moment she was conceived.

The pope offered a large basket of white roses trimmed with a white- and yellow-striped ribbon decorated with the pope’s coat-of-arms. The basket was set among scores of other floral arrangements at the foot of the column topped by the statue.

While he did not give a speech or make any formal remarks to the crowds gathered for the event, he spoke from a prepared prayer asking that Mary would renew in everyone the desire to be holy, charitable, pure and chaste and to speak words that “glow with the splendor of truth.”

Standing before the statue, he asked Mary to “help us stay attentive to listen to the Lord’s voice: that the cry of the poor never leave us indifferent, that the suffering of the sick and those in need not find us distracted, that the solitude of the elderly and the fragility of children may move us” and that everyone seek to love and respect every human life.

At the end of the prayers, Pope Francis kissed, hugged, greeted and blessed a long line of people in wheelchairs and their caregivers. He received a few individual white roses from people and a few notes and presents.

After the ceremony, he stopped at Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major to pray before the basilica’s famous Marian icon “Salus Populi Romani” (health of the Roman people).

Reciting the Angelus earlier in the day to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said Mary never strayed from the love and plan that God had for her even when accepting that plan fully “was certainly not easy for her.”

However, God’s love and plan for Mary, he said, are not something alien or irrelevant to the rest of humanity, despite the presence of sin.

God wants and chooses everyone to be holy and immaculate, he said. “All along, we, too, have been chosen by God to live a holy life free from sin. It is a plan of love that God renews every time we approach him, especially in the sacraments.”

Pope Francis asked that, in contemplating Mary, people recognize their true destiny and vocation: “to be loved and transformed by love.”

May people look to Mary “to learn how to be more humble and also more courageous in following the Word of God and for accepting the tender embrace of her son, Jesus, an embrace that gives us life, hope and peace,” he said.

A related video on the pope’s visit to the Marian statue in Rome will be available on the CNS YouTube channel, at youtube.com/catholicnewsservice.

 

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Bishops’ president says ACLU lawsuit is ‘baseless, misguided’

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Dec. 6 called a lawsuit filed against the USCCB over its directives for Catholic health care “baseless” and “misguided.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan filed the suit in U.S. District Court Nov. 29.

The ACLU and the plaintiff, Tamesha Means, claim she received negligent care at a Michigan Catholic hospital when her pregnancy was in crisis at 18 weeks, leading her to suffer emotional and painful trauma that resulted in a premature birth and the death of the baby shortly thereafter.

The ACLU suit blames the bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care” for the inadequate care it says Means received.

“It is important to note at the outset that the death of any unborn child is tragic, and we feel deeply for any mother who suffers such pain and loss,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., USCCB president. He noted that the USCCB had not yet been served with the complaint but decided to respond because of media requests for comment about the suit.

“We cannot speak to the facts of the specific situation described in the complaint, which can be addressed only by those directly involved,” he said.

He called it “baseless” for the ACLU to claim the directives encourage or require “substandard treatment of pregnant women” because they do “not approve the direct killing of their unborn children.”

The USCCB directives are now in their fifth edition, approved by the U.S. bishops in 2009, and are available at www.usccb.org. The 43-page document includes 72 directives.

They “urge respectful and compassionate care for both mothers and their children, both during and after pregnancy,” Archbishop Kurtz said. They “restate the universal and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on defending the life of the unborn child,” he added, a teaching he noted “also mirrors the Hippocratic oath that gave rise to the very idea of medicine as a profession, a calling with its own life-affirming moral code.”

“A robust Catholic presence in health care helps build a society where medical providers show a fierce devotion to the life and health of each patient, including those most marginalized and in need,” he said. “It witnesses against a utilitarian calculus about the relative value of different human lives. And it provides a haven for pregnant women and their unborn children regardless of their financial resources.”

Mercy Health spokeswoman Joan Kessler told Catholic News Service in a Dec. 3 email that hospital officials were “still reviewing the situation and at this time we have no comment.”

Asked for comment on the case by CNS, the ACLU of Michigan provided a statement Dec. 5, quoting Kary Moss, executive director: “The best interests of the patient must always come first and this fundamental ethic is central to the medical profession. In this case, a young woman in a crisis situation was put at risk because religious directives were allowed to interfere with her medical care. Patients should not be forced to suffer because of a hospital’s religious affiliation.”

All Catholics hospitals in the United States are required to adhere to the directives. They guide Catholic health care facilities in addressing a wide range of ethical questions, such as abortion, euthanasia, care for the poor, medical research, treatment of rape victims and other issues.

ACLU filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan/Southern Division. Besides the USCCB it names three former or current chairs of Catholic health care system that includes Mercy Health Muskegon, as it is now called, where Means sought care.

According to the suit, the plaintiff was 18 weeks pregnant in December 2010 when her water broke and she had a friend rush her to the Catholic hospital, the only health facility close to her home. It says as a mother of three, Means, then 27, knew something was seriously wrong with her pregnancy.

Means says because the hospital had to adhere to the USCCB directives, and it was prevented from telling her “the fetus she was carrying had virtually no chance of surviving” and informing her the safest option was to “induce labor and terminate the pregnancy.”

The lawsuit says that an ultrasound showed that Means was suffering from “oligohydramnios,” a condition characterized by a deficiency of amniotic fluid surrounding the unborn child. The lawsuit said that in Means’ case, it was caused by “the premature rupture of membranes.”

The hospital, then called Mercy Health Partners, or MHP, “did not tell Ms. Means that it would not terminate her pregnancy, even if necessary for her health, because it was prohibited from doing so by the directives,” the lawsuit says.

The suit says the hospital sent Means home and told her to make an appointment with her own doctor. She returned to Mercy Health the next day, was sent home again, only to return a third time, according to the suit. As “she waited to be sent home for the third time … she began to deliver,” the suit says. “The baby died shortly after birth.”

“Ms. Means brings this negligence action against the defendants for their roles in promulgating the directives,” the lawsuit says. “As a direct result of these religious directives, Ms. Means suffered severe unnecessary and foreseeable physical emotional pain and suffering.”

In his statement, Archbishop Kurtz said the USCCB will continue to defend the principles of Catholic teaching, including as there are outlined in the ethical directives, “in season and out, and we will defend ourselves against this misguided lawsuit.”

Others named as defendants are three former chairs of what the suit calls “Catholic Health Ministries, the religious sponsor of MHP.”

Mercy Health Muskegon in west Michigan is part of a regional system of Catholic health care facilities. In May of this year, its parent company, Trinity Health, merged with Pennsylvania-based Catholic Health East. The consolidation created one of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems, serving patients and communities in 21 states.

The new organization has its headquarters in Livonia, Mich., and maintains a divisional office in Newtown Square, Pa.

 

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Boys high school basketball capsule previews

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The high school basketball season gets underway this weekend. Here is a preview of Delaware’s Catholic school teams. Note: Final rosters were not available when this was written.

 

Archmere Academy

Last year: 8-12

Top returning players: Sean Deely, Conor Furey, Michael Ford

Notable games: At St. Andrew’s, Dec. 12; at St. Mark’s, Dec. 19; vs. St. Elizabeth, Feb. 4; at Salesianum, Feb. 16.

Outlook: This team shoots the ball well and is a very tough opponent. The Auks have some challenging road games early.

 

St. Mark’s High School

Last year: 9-11

Top returning players: Matthew Williams, Nick Pappas

Notable games: vs. A.I DuPont, Jan. 11; at Sanford, Jan. 21; at Salesianum, Jan. 24; vs. St. Elizabeth, Jan. 27

Outlook: The Spartans graduated several players from last year’s team. They do play seven of their first eight non-tournament games at home, which could be an advantage.

 

St. Elizabeth High School

Last year: 14-8, lost to Polytech in the second round of the state tournament

Top returning players: Sheldon Sorrell, Joe Schiavoni, Mike Piekarski

Notable games: vs. Concord, Dec. 13; vs. Salesianum, Jan. 10; vs. Archmere, Jan. 23; at Newark, Feb. 18

Outlook: The Vikings lost Andre Patton to graduation, but they return many valuable pieces and should make another tournament appearance. They kick things off this afternoon (Dec. 6) vs. St. Georges in a tournament at A.I. DuPont High School.

 

Salesianum School

Last year: 19-4, lost to Sanford in the state semifinals

Top returning players: Donte DiVincenzo, Brian O’Neill, Joe McCusker

Notable games: vs. Howard, Dec. 7; vs. Sanford, Jan. 28; at A.I. DuPont, Feb. 1; at Concord, Feb. 8

Outlook: Salesianum looks to advance past last year’s semifinal appearance behind all-state guard Donte DiVincenzo and considerable size in the frontcourt. The Sals once again play a tough schedule, beginning tomorrow with defending state champion Howard.

 

St. Thomas More Academy

Last year: 2-17

Top returning players: Akhil Patel, Kubilay Tekmen

Notable games: at Archmere, Jan. 7

Outlook: The young Ravens will look to gain experience this year while improving on the won-loss record from last year.

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