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DiVincenzo scores 30 to help send Salesianum back to boys hoops final

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Dialog reporter

 

NEWARK — Salesianum’s basketball team went through some tough times internally in the last month, coach Brendan Haley said, but the Sals came together as the playoffs approached. As the players grew closer, their play improved, at the right time of the year. As a result, the team will play for its second straight state title Saturday.

Donte DiVincenzo played like a Division I college player Thursday night, scoring 30 points and grabbing eight rebounds as the sixth-seeded Sals upset the No. 2 Mount Pleasant Green Knights, 60-49, in a semifinal contest at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Sals will play eighth-seeded Polytech on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Bob. Read more »

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Two years after his election: Pope Francis talks about his papacy and the future

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — When Pope Francis went out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time, he said he did not prepare what he was going to say, but “I felt deeply that a minister needs the blessing of God, but also of his people.” Read more »

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‘Run All Night’ is vaguely Catholic but clearly violent

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Catholic News Service

The crime drama “Run All Night” can be viewed as a Catholic-inflected redemption story.

Even as it showcases some fundamentally positive values, though, director Jaume Collet-Serra and screenwriter Brad Ingelsby’s acrid film garners such a high body count and traverses so gritty an urban landscape that their tale of conversion winds up being too sordid for the casual moviegoer.

Liam Neeson and Joel Kinnaman star in a scene from the movie "Run All Night." The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.)

Liam Neeson and Joel Kinnaman star in a scene from the movie “Run All Night.” The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.)

Liam Neeson stars as burned-out New York hit man Jimmy Conlon. While he may have escaped legal retribution for the long-ago string of rub-outs that gained him the tabloid nickname “The Gravedigger,” Jimmy is a remorse-driven drinker dependent for survival on the charity of his lifelong friend and underworld patron Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris).

The casualties of Jimmy’s killing spree, undertaken at Shawn’s direction, include his relationship with his law-abiding son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) from whose family, Genesis Rodriguez plays Mike’s wife Gabriela, Jimmy is completely estranged. Yet when Mike, a limo driver, is targeted for death after he accidentally witnesses a multiple murder carried out by Shawn’s headstrong son and heir Danny (Boyd Holbrook), the lad has no choice but to turn to Jimmy for protection.

With both crooked cops under Shawn’s control and the city’s honest chief of homicide, Det. John Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio), on their trail, Mike and Jimmy go on the run. The chase becomes even more challenging for the duo once Shawn adds ruthless gun-for-hire Andrew Price (rapper Common) to the array of adversaries hunting them.

Initially resigned to his own damnation, he and Shawn talk in oblique terms of their shared eternal doom, Jimmy eventually comes to yearn for some measure of personal salvation. He’s also shown to be at pains to keep Mike on the right side of the law and, in particular, to prevent him from spilling blood.

Along with the odd religious detail, such as a crucifix or a portrait of St. John Paul II hanging in the background, a consistent theme of confession, though it’s rendered in purely secular terms, reinforces the vaguely Catholic context of the proceedings. As for the possible aesthetic rewards awaiting those adult patrons for whom this frequently visceral odyssey is suitable, the yield on that score is more routine than abundant.

The film contains much harsh and sometimes bloody violence, drug use, a few vulgar sexual references, about a dozen instances of profanity and twice that number each of rough and crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L, limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

 

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Our Lenten Journey, March 13, 2015

March 13th, 2015 Posted in Featured Tags:

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Our Lenten Journey | March 13, 2015

 

“To love means loving the unlovable.

To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.

Faith means believing the unbelievable.

Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

— G.K. Chesterton

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that part of the greatest commandment is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable presents a challenge to us — whether with our neighbors or ourselves — but it certainly helps us to follow that commandment.

TODAY’S READINGS:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031315.cfm

USCCB LENTEN RESOURCES:

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/lent-calendar.cfm

 

MAR.13

 

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‘Cinderella’ brings new life to old tale, arrives with ‘Frozen’ short

March 12th, 2015 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

“Cinderella” injects vibrant new life into a venerable fairy tale. The result is an exuberant live-action retelling of the oft-filmed fable, the most famous screen version of which is Disney’s classic 1950 animated feature.

Lily James and Richard Madden star in a scene from the movie "Cinderella." The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Disney Enterprises)

Lily James and Richard Madden star in a scene from the movie “Cinderella.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Disney Enterprises)

Opting for fidelity and sincerity rather than a revisionist approach, director Kenneth Branagh sticks to the basic story, displaying genuine affection for its iconic characters. Familiar yet fresh, his delightful take, suitable for the entire family, nicely brings to the forefront dual lessons about compassion and forgiveness.

There’s a lot of death in the Cinderella story, but here that aspect of the tale is treated gently. Ella (Lily James) tends to her dying mother (Hayley Atwell), whose final request to her is, “Always have courage and be kind.” This becomes Ella’s life motto and not a bad one at that. Her sunny nature and good will inspire all creatures, great (fellow humans) and small (white mice).

When her beloved father (Ben Chaplin) remarries, Ella’s patience is put to the test, but she never gives in to the dark side. The same, alas, cannot be said for Ella’s new stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), or her shrieking stepsisters, Drizella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger).

The ladies are ghastly in every respect, from their poor manners to their garish outfits. Anyone who calls her cat Lucifer, as Lady Tremaine does, is just about bound to be wicked.

The standard narrative unfolds: Father dies, and Ella is reduced to waiting on her obnoxious relations in the manner of a servant. Covered in ashes from cleaning the fireplace, she’s derisively dubbed “Cinderella.”

Riding her horse through the forest one day, Cinderella encounters Kit (Richard Madden), aka Prince Charming. They meet cute but confused, she unaware of his royal status, he not catching her name. Cinderella retreats, and the prince, his heart aflame, vows to find the enchanting maiden.

A royal ball is arranged, with an invitation to all eligible ladies in the kingdom, titled or not. Lady Tremaine forbids Cinderella to attend, tearing her dress to pieces.

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter), naturally, has other ideas. The transformation of pumpkin, mice, lizards and a goose into a golden coach, white horses, footmen and driver, respectively, is one of the highlights of the film.

The other standout is Cinderella’s shimmering blue dress. Not since Scarlett O’Hara made an outfit from old curtains in “Gone with the Wind” has a skirt stolen the show to such an extent, swishing and swirling across the dance floor as though possessing a mind of its own.

While there are a few twists in store, a happy ending is assured, and the final message won’t leave a dry eye in the house.

Preceding “Cinderella” is a short animated film, “Frozen Fever,” featuring characters from the blockbuster 2013 movie “Frozen.” It’s Princess Anna’s (voice of Kristen Bell) birthday, and her sister, Queen Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), is planning a party, despite feeling unwell. Given Elsa’s frost-producing proclivities, as highlighted in the original, however, her sneezes bring predictably chilly consequences.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I, general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

 

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Some Catholic leaders see ‘Francis effect’ in pope’s first two years leading the church

March 12th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Within two years of becoming pope, Pope Francis now has an effect named after him.

This “Francis effect” provides both comfort and challenges to Catholics, according to a panel of U.S. Catholic leaders speaking during a March 10 teleconference organized by Faith in Public Life. Read more »

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Photo of the week: A cardinal’s views on environment might be preview of pope’s encyclical

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Catholic News Service

MAYNOOTH, Ireland — The greatest threats facing humanity are those “that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment,” said a top Vatican official.

Those threats are interrelated, so Pope Francis is promoting an “integral ecology,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

A Nepalese man hugs a tree while celebrating World Environment Day at the forest of Gokarna, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, in this 2014 photo. The greatest threats facing humanity are those "that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment," said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. (CNS photo/Narendra Shrestha, EPA)

A Nepalese man hugs a tree while celebrating World Environment Day at the forest of Gokarna, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, in this 2014 photo. The greatest threats facing humanity are those “that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. (CNS photo/Narendra Shrestha, EPA)

Delivering the 2015 Trocaire Lenten Lecture at St. Patrick’s Pontifical University March 5, the Ghanaian cardinal said that for the pope, integral ecology, as the basis for justice and development in the world, requires “a new global solidarity.”

“We all have a part to play in protecting and sustaining what Pope Francis has repeatedly called our common home,” he said.

“At the heart of this integral ecology” is the call to “a changing of human hearts in which the good of the human person, and not the pursuit of profit, is the key value that directs our search for the global, the universal common good,” the cardinal told bishops, priests, seminarians, religious and laity who attended the address.

He said Pope Francis’ encyclical on human ecology will explore the relationship between care for creation, integral human development and concern for the poor and will be published “before the summer” and in time for the pope’s September visit to New York and his address to the United Nations.

The cardinal said he has seen a draft of the encyclical but emphasized that “many people are still working on it,” so it would be a “sciocchezza” (foolishness) to anticipate its contents.

However, he told the delegates to “give great attention to the forthcoming encyclical” as “we confront the threat of environmental catastrophe on a global scale.”

Drawing from Catholic social thought, rooted in the Scriptures and natural reason, Pope Francis’ first principle of integral ecology is the call to protect and care for both creation and people, which are reciprocal concepts and together make for authentic and sustainable human development, the cardinal said.

“Clearly this is not some narrow agenda for the greening the church or the world. It is a vision of care and protection that embraces the human person and the human environment in all possible dimensions,” he said.

He also referred to Pope Francis’ Feb. 9 morning homily, in which he said “it is wrong and a distraction to contrast ‘green’ and ‘Christian.’” In fact, the pope said, “a Christian who doesn’t safeguard creation, who doesn’t make it flourish, is a Christian who isn’t concerned with God’s work, that work born of God’s love for us.”

When Pope Francis says that destroying the environment is a grave sin; when he says that it is not large families that cause poverty but an economic culture that puts money and profit ahead of people; when he says people cannot save the environment without also addressing the profound injustices in the distribution of the goods of the earth; when he says that this is “an economy that kills,” he is not making some political comment about the relative merits of capitalism and communism, but is restating teachings from the Bible, Cardinal Turkson said.

Describing 2015 as “a critical year for humanity,” he said the coming 10 months are crucial for the decisions about international development, the fate of humanity and care for the earth.

He explained this was because in July the third International Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; in September the U.N. General Assembly will agree a new set of sustainable development goals for the period up to 2030; and in December, the climate change conference in Paris will make plans and commitment to slow or reduce the pace of global warming.

 

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Washington Letter: Supreme Court ponders Obamacare and insurance costs

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Catholic News Service

Several Supreme Court justices wondered aloud at oral arguments March 4 whether a ruling against the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies to millions of lower income Americans would lead to a “death spiral” for the health insurance program.

“We’re going to have the death spiral that this system was created to avoid,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, if the court were to rule in King v. Burwell against the practice of providing subsidies to some participants in insurance programs in states that failed to set up their own insurance exchanges and use the federal system. Read more »

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Commentary: Following a snowy way of the cross

March 12th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Writing a column on social justice and peace offers me plenty of timely issues to choose from. And I always truly sense from God the exact issue he desires that I write on.

I’m not claiming here any special revelation. God’s active, guiding presence is available to everyone. All we need to do is deeply trust, quietly listen and patiently wait. Read more »

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Pope’s morning homily: Christians either love God and neighbor or they’re hypocrites

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Christians either love God and their neighbor or they are hypocrites; there is no middle ground, Pope Francis said.

“Jesus says, ‘Whoever is not with me is against me.’ Well, can’t there be a compromise, a bit here and a bit there? No. Either you are on the path of love or you are on the road of hypocrisy,” he said March 12 in the homily at his early morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta where he lives.

Pope Francis greets people in wheelchairs during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 11. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets people in wheelchairs during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 11. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The day’s Gospel reading, Luke 11:14-23, shows the opposition and uncertainties surrounding Jesus after he drove a demon out of a man; some accused Jesus of using the power of the devil, others stayed neutral, wanting more evidence. The day’s first reading from the Book of Jeremiah (7:23-28) recounts how God’s people choose not to listen or obey him and let their hearts be hardened by evil.

The whole history of the people of God and salvation has been marked by sin, unfaithfulness and hypocrisy, the pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

“This is the story of God. It seems like God was crying here (in the Book of Jeremiah): ‘I loved you so much, I gave you everything and you — everyone is against me,’” the pope said.

It’s what happens when people’s faith falters or vanishes, he said. “We do our will. But by doing that along life’s journey, we are following a path that hardens;the heart becomes hardened, turns to stone. And the word of God can’t get in. The people stray.”

People should ask themselves during Lent, “Do I listen to the Lord’s voice or do I do what I want, what I like?” the pope said.

When people’s hearts are hardened, they can no longer hear what God has to say, like those who accused Jesus of using the power of the devil, which, the pope said, is a typical accusation made by “legalists” or those “who believe life follows the laws they make.”

The same thing has happened in the church, the pope said, pointing to St. Joan of Arc, who was burned alive after being accused of being a heretic by “doctors” of the church who “knew solid doctrine; these Pharisees, distanced from God’s love.”

Pope Francis said another example was Blessed Antonio Rosmini, a 19th-century Italian philosopher, priest and religious-order founder whose writings had been condemned by the church until 2001, when the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the future Pope Benedict XVI, declared that the positions condemned more than 100 years earlier did not accurately reflect Blessed Rosmini’s thinking or beliefs.

In his homily, Pope Francis said God has always sent prophets and saints “to tell his people he loved them.” It has always been the saints, “not the powerful ones, not the hypocrites” that have “carried the life of the church forward,” he said.

Saints are people “who are not afraid to be caressed by God’s mercy. And that is why the saints are men and women who understand so much misery, so much human misery and they accompany the people close up. They do not despise the people.”

Like Jesus told the crowds after the exorcism, Christians today are told: “Either you let God’s mercy love you or you do what you want, according to your own heart, which gets harder and harder, every step on this path” of hypocrisy, the pope said.

“There is no third way of compromise. Either you’re a saint or you take another path,” Pope Francis said. “Whoever does not gather with me leaves things behind. No, it’s worse, he scatters, he ruins” and corrupts.

 

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