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Pennsylvania foe downs Ursuline in straight sets

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Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON – Ursuline’s volleyball team proved it could play defense as well as anyone in the state during Tuesday’s match with Merion Mercy (Pa.), but the Raiders fell just a bit short on offense. The Golden Bears, from Merion Station, between Narberth and Bala Cynwyd, left Delaware with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 sweep.

The match was a back-and-forth affair all night, with the largest lead on either side coming at the end of the third set. It was an entertaining evening filled with spectacular defense from both teams, very few aces and some critical unforced errors. Read more »

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Church and society must learn from families, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Society and the church have much to learn from the family and, in fact, the bond between the church and the family is “indissoluble,” Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis greets a baby during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Oct. 7. The pope said that when families mirror God's love for all, they teach the church how it should relate to all people. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets a baby during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 7. The pope said that when families mirror God’s love for all, they teach the church how it should relate to all people. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Families bring needed values and a humanizing spirit to society and, when they mirror God’s love for all, they teach the church how it should relate to all people, including the “imperfect,” the pope said Oct. 7 during his weekly general audience.

While members of the Synod of Bishops on the family were meeting in small groups, Pope Francis held his audience with an estimated 30,000 people in St. Peter’s Square. He asked them to accompany the synod with their prayers.

While the Catholic Church insists that governments and the economy need families and have an obligation to give them greater support, Pope Francis said, the church itself recognizes that it, too, must have a “family spirit.”

Using the Gospel story of Jesus telling the disciples he would make them fishers of men, Pope Francis said, “a new kind of net is needed for this. We can say that today families are the most important net for the mission of Peter and the church.”

“It is not a net that imprisons,” he said. “On the contrary, it frees people from the polluted waters of abandonment and indifference that drown many human beings in the sea of solitude.”

Families are the place where individuals learn that they are “sons and daughters, not slaves or foreigners or just a number on an identity card,” the pope said. “The church must be the family of God.”

Pope Francis asked people to join him in praying that “the enthusiasm of the synod fathers, animated by the Holy Spirit, would energize the impulse of the church to abandon its old nets and start fishing again, trusting in the word of its Lord. Let us pray intensely for this.”

“Christ promised, and this comforts us, that even bad fathers do not refuse to give bread to their hungry children, so it is impossible that God would not give the Spirit to those who, even imperfect as they are, ask with passionate insistence,” he said.

The world itself needs “a robust injection of family spirit,” he said. Even the best organized economic, juridical and professional relationships are “dehydrated” and anonymous without concern for people, especially for the weakest members of society.

Family ties, the pope said, teach individuals and society the value of “bonds of fidelity, sincerity, trust, cooperation, respect; they encourage people to work toward a world that is livable and to believe in relationships even in difficult situations; they teach people to honor their word.”

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Pope Francis will visit Mexico in 2016

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Catholic News Service

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican bishops’ conference and the Vatican have confirmed Pope Francis will visit Mexico in 2016, marking his first trip to this heavily Catholic country in throes of unrest over unresolved issues such as violence, crime and corruption.

Auxiliary Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcia of Puebla, conference secretary-general, told Catholic News Service that the pope would travel to Mexico next year, though dates and details were still to be determined. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, provided similar information to the Televisa network, adding the trip would likely take place during the first half of 2016 and include a stop in the capital, Mexico City.

Pope Francis has previously mused about visiting Mexico, home to the world’s second-largest Catholic population. After visiting the Philippines last year, the pope said he wanted to walk from Mexico into the United States “as a sign of brotherhood and of help to the immigrants,” along with visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the world’s most-visited Marian shrine.

He said in September that he had planned to enter the United States at a border crossing, going from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso, Texas, but opted to instead visit Cuba after the communist country and the United States ended their estrangement, with Vatican assistance.

Migration, in the form of Central Americans traveling through Mexico and falling victim to criminals and corrupt public officials, is one of many potential issues on the agenda for Pope Francis in Mexico.

A visit in early 2016 would come as the country continues confronting vices like corruption, which has implicated the president, and insecurity in states such as Michoacan and Guerrero, the latter being where 43 students were kidnapped and presumably killed by police acting in cahoots with criminals in September 2014.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose agenda has focused more on economic reforms than social and security problems, has traveled twice to the Vatican since Pope Francis’ election. In June 2014, his visit followed the bishops’ conference issuing an unusually terse statement on his economic agenda.

Politicians from Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, which was founded by the anti-clerical victors of the Mexican Revolution, previously avoided public encounters with prelates, but have sought well-publicized papal audiences in recent years, reflecting the thaw in church-state relations over the past 25 years.

Pope Benedict XVI made the last papal trip to Mexico in March 2012, visiting Guanajuato state. His visit drew an estimated 600,000 people for the final Mass, doubling expectations, though his message stayed away from uncomfortable issues such as security.

According to census data, Mexico remains one of Latin America’s most Catholic countries, with 83 percent of the population professing the faith.

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South Carolina bishop asks for prayers for families affected by floods

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston asked for prayers for the families of those killed as well as for those whose homes were destroyed in what officials called a 1,000-year storm that brought extreme rains that deluged South Carolina.

Residents use a canoe to evacuate a home surrounded by floodwaters in Conway, S.C., Oct. 5. Torrential rainfall that South Carolina's governor called a once-in-a-millennium downpour triggered flooding in the state and caused at least 14 deaths in the Carolinas. (CNS photo/Randall Hill, Reuters)

Residents use a canoe to evacuate a home surrounded by floodwaters in Conway, S.C., Oct. 5. Torrential rainfall that South Carolina’s governor called a once-in-a-millennium downpour triggered flooding in the state and caused at least 14 deaths in the Carolinas. (CNS photo/Randall Hill, Reuters)

Authorities said at least 14 people died and media reported that rescuers have had to pluck hundreds from swamped cars and flooded houses. Some residents remained in danger Oct. 6 from residual effects of saturated grounds that can unearth weakened trees and collapse roads.

“We simply ask for prayers, especially for the families of those who lost their lives in this horrific ‎storm,” Bishop Guglielmone told The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the Charleston Diocese. “Many people lost homes, cars and other possessions, but in time and with assistance these can be replaced. The strong spirit of our people in South Carolina and their lively faith will get us through this difficult time and will sustain us.”

State officials declared a state of emergency Oct. 1 as unprecedented rains and flash flood conditions raged throughout the state.

Bishop Guglielmone canceled the On Fire With Faith conference set for Oct. 2-3 in Simpsonville, 200 miles northwest of Charleston. Other diocesan events were postponed and rescheduled.

The National Weather Service reported that from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5, Charleston saw 23.61 inches of rain, while nearby Summerville, which also had significant flooding and evacuations, was inundated by 19.47 inches. Columbia Airport had 10.77 inches.

It was the dams in Columbia, however, that wrought more damage. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division reported that of 18 dams officials are closely monitoring, nine have breached or failed completely and one was intentionally breached to relieve pressure on it. The dams are part of the 70-mile network of lakes and streams that make up the Gills Creek Watershed.

The emergency management division also reported that several rivers remained above flood stage Oct. 6. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for some areas and a curfew was mandated by Charleston officials.

Msgr. Richard Harris, diocesan vicar general, is pastor of St. Joseph Church located near one of the flooded areas along Lake Katherine in Columbia. The church was without power and closed Oct. 4, so Masses were canceled.

He said he knew of 10 parishioners who had to be rescued by boat. “They have lost everything,” Msgr. Harris said.

One family had to put their children on their shoulders and carry them through chin-deep water, he added.

Tracy Bates, Catholic Mutual’s claims risk manager for the Diocese of Charleston, had nine reports of damage from parishes as of the morning of Oct. 6 and that calls continued to come in. St. Mary Our Lady of Hope in Summerton southeast of Charleston was flooded with about 8 inches of water and remained submerged Oct. 6.

Bates said water seeped into Blessed Sacrament School’s ground floor and the Carter-May Residence for assisted living also had water creep into its hallways. On the coastal peninsula, she received reports that Sacred Heart Church suffered flooding that submerged its basement boiler room, which houses the electrical system.

Other parishes that have reported flooding and water damage include the lower chapel at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston Catholic School, Neighborhood House outreach center, St. Jude Church in Sumter’s youth center building, the library at St. Andrew Church in Myrtle Beach, St. John the Beloved in Summerville, and the rectory at St. Mary Our Lady of Ransom in Georgetown.

Bates said crews have been in to dry out some of the structures as a first step.

“The longer the water sits, the worse the damage gets,” she said. “We also have to worry about mold.”

In addition to the bricks and mortar damage, the diocesan Office of Archives and Records Management was concerned about historically important items and put out a call to parishes to offer assistance with documents.

“We’re happy to consult with vendors, help develop records recovery plans, find temporary housing for records, or make on-site visits,” said Brian Fahey, archivist.

Bishop Guglielmone has sent a request to pastors asking them to take up a special collection within the next several weeks to help parishioners who lost their homes and churches that sustained damage.

By Deirdre C. Mays,  editor of The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the Diocese of Charleston.

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California bishops decry assisted suicide measure signed into law

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s bishops expressed disappointment with Gov. Jerry Brown’s Oct. 5 signing of a measure legalizing physician-assisted suicide in the state, saying the law “stands in direct contradiction to providing compassionate, quality care for those facing a terminal illness.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill legalizing assisted suicide in that state on Oct. 5. (CNS file/ Michael Swan/The Catholic Register)

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill legalizing assisted suicide in that state on Oct. 5. (CNS file/ Michael Swan/The Catholic Register)

“This bill does nothing to validate the lives of the vulnerable,” said the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, in a statement soon after Brown’s action.

The conference added that the legislation “isn’t compassion” and does not support or promote the common good.

“As Catholic bishops in California, we join hands with the disability rights groups, physicians, other health care professionals and advocates for the elderly in opposing physician-assisted suicide as the wrong way to advance the human dignity for those facing a terminal illness,” the conference said.

The prelates also pointed out that the 48 Catholic hospitals in California “provide excellent palliative care services as all medical facilities for terminally ill patients should but often do not.”

In a message the governor wrote to members of the California Assembly after signing the measure into law, he said he carefully read the “thoughtful opposition materials presented by a number of doctors, religious leaders and those who champion disability rights.”

Brown, who is Catholic, also said he considered the theological and religious perspectives about the “deliberate shortening of one’s life” and he read the letters and “heartfelt pleas” of those who support the bill. He said he discussed the issue with a Catholic bishop, his own doctors, former classmates and friends who “take varied, contradictory and nuanced positions.”

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown wrote. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

“This is a dark day for California and for the Brown legacy,” Californians Against Assisted Suicide said. “Gov. Brown was clear in his statement that this was based on his personal background. As someone of wealth and access to the world’s best medical care and doctors the governor’s background is very different than that of millions of Californians living in health-care poverty without that same access; these are the people and families potentially hurt by giving doctors the power to prescribe lethal overdoses to patients.”

The coalition against the bill said it “is reviewing at all of its options.”

The California Catholic Conference said it was proud to work with Californians Against Assisted Suicide and its partners from the disability rights community, advocates for the elderly, physicians’ groups and other health care professionals during the debate on this measure, and said the bishops would “continue to stand with them in efforts to protect the most vulnerable Californians.”

The conference stressed that the legislation will “adversely affect the poor, as those with resources will always have access to palliative care.”

It also said the legislation places the elderly and disabled in “great peril” noting that “the option to offer the low-cost alternative of lethal drugs instead of proper medical care is a temptation not long resisted.”

The legislation requires that a patient with a terminal disease must be physically capable of taking medication that would end his or her life. It says that a patient must submit written requests for the medication, that two doctors must approve the request and that there must be two witnesses.

Other states with laws permitting physician-assisted suicide are Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

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Canadian archbishop suggests synod’s bishops discuss female diaconate, domestic violence

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, said the synod should reflect on the possibility of allowing for female deacons as it seeks ways to open up more opportunities for women in church life.

Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, arrives for the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the family celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 4. On Oct. 6, he suggested the synod fathers discuss expanding ministry opportunities to women to the diaconate. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, arrives for the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the family celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 4. On Oct. 6, he suggested the synod fathers discuss expanding ministry opportunities to women to the diaconate. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Where possible, qualified women should be given higher positions and decision-making authority within church structures and new opportunities in ministry, he told Catholic News Service Oct. 6.

Discussing a number of proposals he offered the synod fathers to think about, he said, “I think we should really start looking seriously at the possibility of ordaining women deacons because the diaconate in the church’s tradition has been defined as not being ordered toward priesthood but toward ministry.”

Currently, the Catholic Church permits only men to be ordained as deacons. Deacons can preach and preside at baptisms, funerals and weddings, but may not celebrate Mass or hear confessions.

Speaking to participants at the Synod of Bishops on the family Oct. 6, Archbishop Durocher said he dedicated his three-minute intervention to the role of women in the church, one of the many themes highlighted in the synod’s working document.

The working document, which is guiding the first three weeks of the synod’s discussions, proposed giving women greater responsibility in the church, particularly through involving them in “the decision-making process, their participation, not simply in a formal way, in the governing of some institutions; and their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers.”

Archbishop Durocher, who recently ended his term as president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that much of his brief talk was focused on the lingering problem of violence against women, including domestic violence. He said the World Health Organization estimates that 30 percent of women worldwide experience violence by their partner.

He reminded the synod fathers that in the apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” in 1981, St. John Paul II basically told the church that “we have to make a concerted and clear effort to make sure that there is no more degradation of women in our world, particularly in marriage. And I said, ‘Well, here we are 30 years later and we’re still facing these kinds of numbers.’”

He said he recommended one thing they could do to address this problem was, “as a synod, clearly state that you cannot justify the domination of men over women, certainly not violence, through biblical interpretation,” particularly incorrect interpretations of St. Paul’s call for women to be submissive to their husbands.

In his presentation the archbishop also noted that Pope Benedict XVI had talked about the question of new ministries for women in the church. “It’s a just question to ask. Shouldn’t we be opening up new venues for ministry of women in the church?” he said.

In addition to the possibility of allowing for women deacons, he said he also proposed that women be hired for “decision-making jobs” that could be opened to women in the Roman Curia, diocesan chanceries and large-scale church initiatives and events.

Another thing, he said, “would be to look at the possibility of allowing married couples, men and women, who have been properly trained and accompanied, to speak during Sunday homilies so that they can testify, give witness to the relationship between God’s word and their own marriage life and their own life as families.”

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Pope Francis says ministry to divorced, remarried is not only topic for bishops’ discussions on family

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — As the discussion began at the world Synod of Bishops on the family, Pope Francis urged members not to act as if the only question that mattered was the pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, his spokesman said.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, talk as they leave the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, talk as they leave the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Oct. 6 that the pope took the microphone that morning to affirm again that “Catholic doctrine on marriage has not been touched or put into question.”

Pope Francis told the bishops that the only documents that are “official” for their work are the speeches he gave at the opening and closing of last year’s synod and the final report voted on by synod members in October 2014. The report, along with additions made based on responses to a questionnaire, is the working document for this year’s synod, Father Lombardi said.

The pope also said, “We should not let ourselves be conditioned by or to reduce the horizons of our work as if the only problem were that of Communion for the divorced and remarried or not,” Father Lombardi said. The Vatican did not release the text of the pope’s remarks.

Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, writing on his blog, said that during the hour of open discussion at the synod Oct. 5, some bishops were “uneasy about the impression given by the presentation of Cardinal (Peter) Erdo in the morning that some key questions are already decided and seemingly off the table. They felt that such a stance was premature.”

Cardinal Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, chosen by Pope Francis to introduce the synod’s work, had made it appear there was little support for or possibility that the church would adopt German Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to design a “penitential path” that eventually would allow some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion even without an annulment and without a promise to abstain from sexual relations.

Responding to reporters later, Cardinal Erdo said his report’s affirmation of the indissolubility of marriage and moving away from seeking a pastoral approach to allowing those couples to receive Communion were the result of the input the synod sought from Catholics around the world after the extraordinary synod on the family last year.

Using his Twitter account to report Pope Francis’ comments to the synod Oct. 6, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, a synod member, said the pope asked the synod “not to give into a hermeneutic [interpretation] of ‘conspiracy,’ which is sociologically weak and spiritually unhelpful.”

Instead, Father Spadaro tweeted, the pope called for a “profound discernment” in order “to understand how the Lord wants his church.”

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and member of the synod, told reporters the discussion about the “penitential path” or other forms of outreach to divorced Catholics “is open. I think the intervention of the pope this morning … was to recall that the documents to which we are to refer are the final report (of the 2014 synod) and his two speeches, opening and closing the synod, which leave open the possibility.”

At the same time, the archbishop told reporters, “the synod does not have this as its only point of reference” as the pope himself said. “It is just one of the points.”

“If everything was concluded with the report yesterday (by Cardinal Erdo), then what are we doing here?” Archbishop Celli asked.

Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, a synod member who also attended last year’s extraordinary synod on the family, said participants see a growing distance between modern cultural attitudes toward marriage and family life and what the church teaches and proposes.

Catholic pastors have different attitudes about what the response should be, he said. “One reaction is to emphasize what the teaching is for fear that, as the culture moves away from that vision, our own understanding gets diluted. The other fear is that we lose contact with that culture and that we close in on ourselves and become a kind of a ghetto or a sect that no longer has an impact on culture.”

“All the bishops agree,” he said, “that the teaching of the church coming from Jesus is a gift for the world; it’s not just for a select few.”

The challenge, Archbishop Durocher said, is to not lose the teaching while learning to enter into dialogue with the world as it is “in a way that will speak to the world and provoke its imagination and its interest. So some bishops will emphasize the teaching and some bishops will emphasize the dialogue,” which is the importance and beauty of the synod, he said.

“Cardinal Erdo’s talk was a beautiful and classical presentation of the church’s teaching,” he said. “Other bishops are saying, ‘This is important. We need to hold on to this. Now how do we enter into dialogue with this world.’”

Cardinal Erdo’s presentation, he said, “is an important piece, but it is one piece” of finding a way to bring the good news about the family to the world.

At the official media briefing for the synod, Father Lombardi and the others charged with summarizing the synod’s activity each day listed dozens of other topics raised by the first 72 synod members to speak: the challenges to families and the church posed by the “cultural revolution”; the need to be careful in using language that appears immediately judgmental; how to help all Catholics and families grow in the Christian life; war, anti-Christian persecution and migration; violence against women and children; polygamy; and the role of the family in the new evangelization.

Preparing priests to minister with and to families was another topic, said Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the English-language briefer. He also listed the topics of the role of the extended family; multiple calls for better and longer marriage preparation programs; and the need to love and respect homosexual Catholics, who are “our children, our family, not outsiders, but our flesh and blood.”

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Unrest flares again in West Bank, Jerusalem

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Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM — Unrest flared in early October throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, which has experienced tensions during September, largely over the status of the contested holy site of the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif.

A Palestinian throws a stone at Israeli troops during clashes in Bethlehem, West Bank, Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Mussa Qawasma, Reuters)

A Palestinian throws a stone at Israeli troops during clashes in Bethlehem, West Bank, Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Mussa Qawasma, Reuters)

Four Israelis were killed in the Old City of Jerusalem: a couple driving near their West Bank settlement with their four children in the back of their car, and two men, one of whom was on his way to pray at the Western Wall at the end of the Jewish Sabbath; his wife and toddler were injured in the attack. An ultra-Orthodox teenage boy was later stabbed near the same place.

Catholic News Service was unable to reach the Franciscan custos of the Holy Land or the Franciscan St. Saviour Parish in the Old City for comment.

Palestinians said the attacks were reprisals for the killing of a young Palestinian woman by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Hebron, West Bank, as well as the shooting of another Palestinian man on the eve of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, not far from where the couple was murdered. Media reported the 19-year-old Palestinian who carried out the Old City attack had posted on Facebook that Palestinians would not accept Israel’s attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque and declared the start of the third intifada, or Palestinian uprising.

The Israeli Defense Forces carried out raids in the West Bank against suspected terrorists, but the Israeli Haaretz newspaper quoted an IDF source as saying that Israel was reluctant to deal a collective punishment to the Palestinian public. The source counseled restraint in dealing with the situation in order not to set off a third intifada. One Palestinian was killed in rioting in Bethlehem Oct. 5.

Meanwhile, in Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestinian police continued their investigation into a Sept. 26 fire at the Maronite Monastery of St. Charbel and have arrested several suspects in what they said was a work-dispute-related incident. The fire caused extensive damage; the structure was undergoing renovations at the time, and there was no working electricity.

However, Deacon Sobhy Makhoul, Maronite Patriarchate chancellor, initially said the attack was sectarian in nature and called it arson by extremist Muslims in the predominantly Muslim neighborhood. Deacon Makhoul was out of the country in early October and could not be reached for comment.

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Catholic Charities to administer pre-weatherization program in Delaware

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Families who don’t qualify for the Delaware Weatherization Assistance program because their homes are not sound enough will now be helped to qualify by a partnership between Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington and Delaware’s Sustainable Energy Utility (DESEU).

DESEU will provide $700,000 in funding for the Pre-Weatherization Assistance Program and Catholic Charities will administer the program statewide.

“Catholic Charities is excited to take part in this partnership that will enhance the quality of life for Delaware’s low-income families struggling to keep their homes comfortable during weather extremes, said Richelle A. Vible, Catholic Charities’ executive director. “We thank DESEU for reaching out to Catholic Charities to help in this important work.”

Tony DePrima, DESEU executive director, said, “The DESEU is grateful for Catholic Charities’ willingness to partner with us on this program. This effort was a direct result of our board of directors’ desire to do more work for people in need.”

Families participating in the Pre-Weatherization Assistance Program will receive financial help for structural repairs for leaky roofs, broken windows and doors, moisture in crawlspaces and other problems which would negate the benefits of weatherization.

The Pre-Weatherization Assistance Program will inspect homes, hire contractors, schedule repair work and perform quality assurance post-inspections before readmitting these units into the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Candidates for the pre-weatherization program will come from an existing pool of deferred weatherization clients. Clients qualify for weatherization through the Delaware Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is supplemental assistance for low-income families who need help paying winter energy bills. Both programs are administered in Delaware by Catholic Charities.

 

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Hunger is a ‘true scandal’ in a world where food goes to waste, Pope Francis says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Hunger is a “true scandal” that threatens the life and dignity of millions of people while tons of food go to waste, Pope Francis said.

A homeless man sits on a sidewalk in Philadelphia Sept. 26. Pope Francis says hunger is a "true scandal" that threatens the life and dignity of millions of people. (CNS photo/CJ Gunther, EPA)

A homeless man sits on a sidewalk in Philadelphia Sept. 26. Pope Francis says hunger is a “true scandal” that threatens the life and dignity of millions of people. (CNS photo/CJ Gunther, EPA)

“We must face this injustice, this sin,” the pope told more than 7,000 volunteers and coordinators of Italian food banks, along with representatives from food banks in other countries.

Pope Francis met the volunteers and coordinators Oct. 3 in the Vatican at a meeting sponsored by the Italian Food Bank Foundation, which assists the local food-distribution outlets and has a special focus on encouraging large-scale food producers to donate their excess or imperfect products to local food banks rather than destroy the products.

The pope praised their efforts “to fight the waste of food, recover it and distribute it to families in difficulty and to the poor.”

Developing nations are not the only countries with a hunger problem, he said. Even the richest countries seem to struggle to feed their poor despite the world being able to produce enough food to feed everyone.

In the Gospel, the pope said, Jesus makes clear that people will be judged on how they responded to the hunger of others.

“We see in the Gospel that the Lord, when he realizes that the crowd who came to listen to him is hungry, does not ignore the problem and he doesn’t give a nice speech about fighting poverty,” the pope said, “but he does something that leaves them all in awe: He takes the little that the disciples have, blesses it and multiplies the bread and fish.”

While “we cannot do a miracle like Jesus,” every person and every food bank, even those that struggle, can do at least a little something to fight hunger and to educate their families and communities about the need for solidarity, the pope said.

Pope Francis pleaded with the volunteers and coordinators to remember always that the people who come to them “are persons, not numbers, each with their burden of pain that sometimes seems impossible to carry.”

“Look at their faces, look them in the eye, shake their hand, see in them the flesh of Christ and help them regain their dignity and get back on their feet,” the pope said. “Be brothers and friends of the poor; let them know they are important in God’s eyes.”

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