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Vatican official says ISIS conflict is not about religion, points to economic interests


Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The conflict in which Islamic State fighters are driving out Christians and other minorities must not be seen as a war between Islam and Christianity, said the head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches.

“I do not share this position and I ask, on the contrary, that it never prevail,” Cardinal Leonardo Sandri told participants in the inaugural In Defense of Christians summit Sept. 9.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, leads a prayer during an ecumenical service at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington Sept. 9. Christian patriarchs from the Middle East, along with lawmakers and international human rights activists, are attending In Defense of Christians’ three-day summit about the persecution of Middle Eastern minorities. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, leads a prayer during an ecumenical service at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington Sept. 9. Christian patriarchs from the Middle East, along with lawmakers and international human rights activists, are attending In Defense of Christians’ three-day summit about the persecution of Middle Eastern minorities. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

He said the Islamists are not looking to destroy a foreign Christian culture, but are intent on destroying centuries of “a respectful and useful cultural coexistence.”

He also said it was “impossible … to quell the doubts about how the vast economic interests at stake affect the conflict.”

The cardinal reminded approximately 500 people at the Omni Shoreham Hotel about Pope Francis’ statement Sept. 8, 2013, the day after his prayer vigil for peace in Syria. Pope Francis said: “And the doubt always remains: Is this war or that war, because wars are everywhere, really a war to solve problems, or is it a commercial war for selling weapons in illegal trade? These are the enemies to fight, united and consistent, following no other interests than those of peace and of the common good.”

Cardinal Sandri said that people also must consider “the control of oil wells and of gas deposits, the safety of the petroleum and gas pipelines, the supremacy of one area of free commercial trade over another, and this is not only in the Middle East but also in Eastern Europe and in other regions of the world.”

He said this leads to a situation in which someone’s personal economic interests are more important that human life, which “can even be annihilated, or at least not taken into account.”

Cardinal Sandri said the situation in which Christians and other minorities were being forced from their homes and executed had to be resolved through the United Nations, and it might or might not involve the use of force.

“The unjust assailant must be halted, but let us not limit our thinking to the use of force, in some cases necessary, alone, and in any case only within the framework of an international agreement under the aegis of the United Nations, involving the Arab and Muslim countries,” he said.

The cardinal thanked Muslim leaders, such as the grand muftis of Saudi Arabia and of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, as well as of several imams of England and Italy,who had spoken against Islamic State atrocities in recent weeks.

“Let us thank them in the hope that their example may be followed by many so that no silence may be equivocal, and let us thank together all those in Iraq, in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Bahrain … who have worked hard or have offered help and shown willingness to welcome the Christians expelled from the plain of Ninevah,” he said.

He said he had heard of private residents of Jordan who had gone to the Caritas offices with basic goods or offered to pay rent for refugee families. He said Muslim students had volunteered with Caritas in Jordan.

Earlier in the day, speaking to the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Sandri thanked them for their consistent calls for Americans to remember their “elder brethren in the faith.” He also thanked them for their special prayers for peace in Iraq; letters to politicians, including President Barack Obama, meant to raise awareness; and special collections for those affected by Middle Eastern violence.


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NFL ref is a rookie on the field but not in his faith

September 11th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,


Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS — The emotion poured out of Bryan Neale when he learned that the dream he had pursued for 25 years had finally come true.

The National Football League informed Neale earlier this year that he had been chosen as one of the 13 new referees hired for the 2014 season.

Bryan Neale, center, talks with a fellow NFL official during a pre-season game in early August between the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys. Neale, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis, has always relied on his faith on and off the field. (CNS photo/courtesy Bryan Neale)

Bryan Neale, center, talks with a fellow NFL official during a pre-season game in early August between the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys. Neale, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis, has always relied on his faith on and off the field. (CNS photo/courtesy Bryan Neale)

“The phone rang at 11:48 a.m. on March 21, if that tells you anything,” said Neale, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start bawling like a baby. It was a really big deal. It’s one of those deals where you go, ‘Oh my God, I’m in the NFL!’”

Yet, even Neale’s joy for his selection does not match the emotion he feels when he tells the story of how his Catholic faith became the focal point of his life.

“I grew up in a conflicted household,” he told The Criterion, newspaper of the Indianapolis archdiocese. “Both of my parents are from Catholic families in Evansville. My dad was a hippie, and he would rebel against the Catholic Church because, in his mind, it was old school and brainwashing. So growing up, I had my dad’s influence which was to be a free spirit. And I had my extended family which went to Mass every Sunday.”

He was baptized but never had his first Communion or confirmation, he said. During Mass, his aunts, uncles and cousins would go to Communion, while “me and my Methodist aunt would be sitting in the pew together,” he recalled. “I always felt left out. Not to be a sob story, but I felt I always wanted to be a part of it.”

Neale reached a turning point as a young adult.

“As I moved into my twenties, I hit what a lot of people do, the searching phase. I was faithful, but I really didn’t have a place to worship. The Catholic Church was always my home. I always felt fully at peace and comfortable there,” he said.

But after “talking to a friend about being lost and meandering around,” the friend told Neale he was taking Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. He put Neale in touch with the director.

“I went through RCIA in 1997,” said Neale, now 44 and the father of four. “Even to this day, the consecration and Communion never get old to me. It’s the most special thing going because it’s the thing I always missed out on when I was a kid. To me, it’s the most touching, important thing that we do in the Catholic faith.”

Neale’s “all-in” approach to his faith reflects the same commitment he had to pursue his dream of becoming an NFL official.

He played football through high school, but when he enrolled at Indiana University in Bloomington he knew he was not “fast enough or good enough” to play the sport in college. So he set his sights on becoming an official. He got his license in 1988.

“My first game was a (junior varsity) game at Bloomington South (High School). I ran around the field, I had no idea of what I was doing, I never blew my whistle, I didn’t throw any flags, and I thought it was awesome. It was the greatest thing ever.”

A year later, he wrote down a list of goals, including becoming an NFL official someday. As he progressed through the college ranks, including eight years in the Big Ten Conference, his focus never wavered.

Then came the moment when he was sure he had blown any chance of living his dream, during the national college championship game in January 2011, Oregon vs. Auburn.

“Oregon was driving to win the game at the end of the fourth quarter. … I ran into a defensive back who was guarding a receiver on a fourth-down play. I hit this Auburn kid, and it left the Oregon kid wide open. He caught a pass for 16 yards, and they went down and scored a touchdown.”

Neale’s voice softened.

“For a moment, I thought my career was over. But you still have the rest of the game. There were a couple minutes left. Auburn ended up coming back and kicking a field goal to win,” he said.

Faith helps in those moments, too.

“I pray a lot more on the football field than I do in church,” Neale said, adding, “I pray all the time. It may not be in the traditional on-the-knees, eyes-closed, hands-folded manner, but I’m constantly talking. More than anything, I affirm that God is going to take care of me.”

Neale’s faith guides him in family life as well. He’s been married to his wife, Jennifer, for 14 years. Their four children range in age from 7 to 12.

It’s important to him to give his children “a more structured faith environment,” than he had, “so it’s very central to what we do,” he said.

“It makes me feel good to start them off that way, to expose them to faith, to let them experience the things that I didn’t experience that I wish I would have as a kid,” Neale said. “And still to give them, hopefully, the freedom when they’re adults to make their own reasonable choices about their faith.

“I still want them to have part of what my dad taught me, to be open-minded and be called to what you’re called to. I hope to God, they all stay close.”

 — By John Shaughnessy

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Christians are called to help those who don’t love back, pope says


Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Christians are called to help those who have nothing to give and love those who don’t love back, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis kisses the forehead of Salvatore D'Argento from Chieti, Italy, as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 10. D'Argento has quadriplegia. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis kisses the forehead of Salvatore D’Argento from Chieti, Italy, as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 10. D’Argento has quadriplegia. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Salvation and changing the world for the better require “doing good to those who aren’t able to repay us, just like the Father did with us, giving us Jesus,” the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square Sept 10.

“How much have we paid for our redemption? Nothing! It was all free. So do good without expecting something in return. Just as the father did with us, we have to do the same. Do good and keep going.”

“It’s not enough to love the one who loves us. It’s not enough to do good to those who help us.”

People are called not to be self-centered, but to model themselves after Jesus’ gratuitous love, he said.

The pope continued a series of talks on the nature of the Catholic Church, focusing on “the church as a mother who teaches us the works of mercy.”

The Gospel is all about showing others mercy, the pope said. He referred to “The Judgment of the Nations” in Matthew, Chapter 25, which reveals that those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned inherit God’s kingdom.

“Could a Christian who isn’t merciful ever exist? No! A Christian must by necessity be merciful because this is the core of the Gospel,” he said.

The church “doesn’t give theoretical lessons about love and mercy. She doesn’t spread a philosophy to the world, a path to wisdom,” he said. The church backs up what she says by mirroring what Jesus did.

While Christianity is also about the written word and church teachings, the church “teaches, like Jesus, by her example, and words serve to illuminate the meaning behind her gestures,” he said.

Asking how the church shows people the way, Pope Francis said the lives of saints and mothers and fathers who teach their children what true mercy and hospitality entail offer good examples to follow.

Pope Francis then told the story of a mother he knew when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He said her way of teaching was “a beautiful example that helped me a lot.”

The woman answered her door one day to see a man who came looking for food; her three very young children agreed that the mother should give the man something to eat, the pope recalled.

When the mother said, “OK, let’s all give the man half of what’s on each of our plates,” the children protested, “Oh no, that’s not right!” they said, coveting their own serving of steak and fried potatoes.

By making each child contribute, the mother taught them that giving was not some abstract gesture, but required “giving what’s really yours” to someone else, the pope said.

The pope said he realized people may also feel uncomfortable about visiting those in prison, thinking that “It’s dangerous. They are bad people!”

“Listen up. Each one of us is capable of doing the same thing done by that man or woman in jail. All of us are capable of sinning and making the same mistake in life. They are not worse than you and me.”

Showing mercy to those who have strayed can be life changing, he said. “Mercy overcomes every wall, every obstacle” and can instill new life and hope in others.

The pope also encouraged those in the Middle East to show mercy.

When greeting different language groups after his main catechesis, the pope told Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Syria and the Middle East, “to face hatred with love, conquer violence with forgiveness; respond to weapons with prayer.

“May the Lord reward your fidelity, instill in you courage in the fight against the forces of evil and open the eyes of those who are blinded by evil, so that they may soon see the light of truth and repent for their errors,” he said.

- – -


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 Church leaders, politicians, laity meet in D.C. on behalf of Christians


Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Emphasizing that diversity does not preclude unity, nearly a thousand Christian leaders, politicians and laypeople gathered in Washington to launch a massive effort on behalf of the minority communities of the Middle East.

High-ranking church leaders representing Pope Francis and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, patriarchs of Eastern churches, members of Congress and Christians in the diaspora came together in Washington for the inaugural In Defense of Christians summit. They set off for Capitol Hill Sept. 10 with a message to U.S. lawmakers and policymakers: Christians and other minorities have an inherent right to live in the Middle East, where they have lived for centuries. Read more »

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Early goal holds up as Sals soccer notches first win


For The Dialog


WILMINGTON – A goal in the second minute by senior Bryant Krussman was enough for Salesianum as the defending Division I champions defeated the Division II title holder, Indian River, 1-0, Tuesday afternoon.

Krussman took a nice pass from classmate Kevin Williams to beat Indians goalkeeper Ian Walls. Walls kept IR in the contest with several nice stops, including two on point-blank shots in the 27th minute.

Indian River regrouped at the half and came out with some good chances to tie. Salesianum keeps Jake McAteer made five saves on the afternoon, as did Walls, and the Sals outshot IR, 7-6.

Salesianum (1-0-1) hosts C. Milton Wright of Maryland on Saturday at 11 a.m., while the Indians (1-1) welcome Caesar Rodney on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

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Pandas rebound from big deficit, take volleyball opener


For The Dialog


WILMINGTON – Defending state champion Padua rallied from two sets down for a 3-2 win over Archmere in the season opener for both teams Monday night at Padua. The set scores were 23-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17 and 15-10.

The Pandas were in control early, but Archmere gained the advantage following several unforced errors. Padua led the first set, 23-15, but the Auks capitalized on several miscues by Padua. A kill by sophomore Grace Merritt clinched the comeback for Archmere, which scored the final 10 points of the first set.

Padua (1-0) had some early kills in the second by senior Stephanie Annone, but the Auks rebounded behind senior Emily Dentinger and sophomore Zoe Akoto, winning to take a 2-0 lead.

“After the set, we talked about getting mentally back into the match,” Annone said.

That is what Padua did in the third, and it continued into the fourth, when freshman Emily Jarome introduced herself to the high school volleyball scene. Jarome scored the final four points of the fourth set on powerful kills.

Archmere (0-1) stopped the bleeding for a while in the fifth and deciding set, taking a 5-0 lead behind the serving of sophomore Kaylie Leclerc. Padua scored the next four, then the front line of Jarome, Annone and senior Vanessa Crumety heated up. Jarome ended things with a thunderous kill. She finished with 20.

“The other players were so supportive of me, and I felt I could play at this level,” she said.

Annone added 16 kills, while senior Hailey Baker had 44 assists. Padua travels to Virginia on Saturday to meet Paul VI at 1 p.m., while Archmere visits Delmarva Christian Friday at 5:15 p.m.

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Vikings’ teacher visits Rwanda for CRS


Dialog reporter


Teacher and youth minister visits African nation 20 years after the genocide that left 800,000 dead


WILMINGTON – Citizens in Rwanda could teach the local population something about conflict resolution, according to a St. Elizabeth High School teacher who visited the east African country in August.

Melissa Pollio traveled to Rwanda with Catholic Relief Services, one of 12 people from across the country and the only delegate from the Diocese of Wilmington. It was part of a CRS program, “Called to Witness,” which brings youth leaders to a developing country. Pollio is also the youth minister at St. Elizabeth Parish. The point of the trip is immersion, not service, where the delegates study what the country does for and with its young people. Read more »

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Raiders begin 2014 volleyball campaign with sweep of Vikings



Ursuline's Miranda Schiccatano returns the ball as St. Elizabeth's Erin Evans (6) and Karli Cathell try to block during the Raiders’ 25-14, 25-12, 25-19 win Monday night at the St. E Center. The Dialog/DonBlakePhotography.com

Ursuline’s Miranda Schiccatano returns the ball as St. Elizabeth’s Erin Evans (6) and Karli Cathell try to block during the Raiders’ 25-14, 25-12, 25-19 win Monday night at the St. E Center. (The Dialog/DonBlakePhotography.com)
















Ursuline's Kailyn Kampert, who finished with 12 kills, returns the ball as St. Elizabeth's Kylie DeGhetto trirs to block.

Ursuline’s Kailyn Kampert, who finished with 12 kills, returns the ball as St. Elizabeth’s Kylie DeGhetto trirs to block.






















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Holy Cross adds a chapel, relocates the library

September 9th, 2014 Posted in Education and Careers, Our Diocese Tags: ,


Dialog reporter


DOVER – Holy Cross School has taken  an available classroom on its multi-building campus in Dover and transformed it into a chapel for individual class liturgies or other services.

Holy Cross principal Haydee Rosario said the chapel came about after discussions by school officials and parish priests. The school had room in its junior high school building after some grades were consolidated from three sections into two. Read more »

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Big early games await Catholic high school boys


For The Dialog

The first full week of boys action features some good soccer matches, as well as some important early season clashes in football that could play a role in playoff seedind down the line. Let’s start with the soccer matches.



Indian River (1-0) at Salesianum (0-0-1), 4 p.m. The defending champs from both divisions square off in a great early season matchup. The Sals beat Indian River in last years clash.

St. Mark’s (0-0) at Glasgow (0-1), 3:45 p.m. The Spartans start their season against a good Dragons team. Glasgow lost to St. Elizabeth, 2-1, in their opener.

A.I. duPont (0-1) at Archmere (0-1), 3:45 p.m. Both teams got shut out in their opener. The Auks are poised to make the Division II field while the Tigers will have to win some matches against quality teams if they want to get in this year.

St. Elizabeth (1-0) at Brandywine (1-0), 3:30 p.m. Both teams are looking for a 2-0 start. Brandywine earned a 3-2 win over Hodgson in its opener.


St. Elizabeth at St. Mark’s, 3:30 p.m.

St. Thomas More (0-1) at Newark Charter (0-2), 4:30 p.m. The Ravens look for their first win of the season against Newark Charter, in its first year as a varsity team.


Archmere at Delmarva Christian (0-1), at 4 p.m.


C.M. Weight (Md.) at Salesianum, 11 a.m.

Milford (0-1) at St. Mark’s, 1:30 p.m.



Sussex Tech (1-0) at St Marks (0-1), 7 p,m. The Spartans aim to rebound from a 24-0 loss to William Penn last week. The Spartans’ defense faces a Ravens offense that put up 51 points in a win against A.I. duPont.

St. Elizabeth (0-1) at Laurel (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Both teams are coming off tough losses.


Brandywine (1-0) at Archmere (0-1), 2 p.m. Archmere fell to Conwell-Egan (Pa.) and will try to right the ship with a win over the Bulldogs. Brandywine played well in a win over St. Elizabeth last week.

William Penn (1-0) at Salesianum (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Get to Baynard Stadium early if you want a seat as my top two teams square off. Both teams dominated their opponents in week one; the Sals beat Caesar Rodney, 28-7, while the Colonials shut out St. Mark’s, 24-0.

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