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Bishop accepts pastor’s resignation over Mass wording

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville said he did not “fire” a priest from his pastorate for using his own wording in some parts of the Mass but was obligated to correct the situation as shepherd of the diocese.

The bishop accepted the resignation of Father William Rowe, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mount Carmel for the past 17 years, after several meetings with the 72-year-old priest over the last five years failed to resolve the bishop’s concerns about how Father Rowe celebrated the Mass, especially after the implementation of the new Roman Missal in late November.

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Arms trade threatens peace, harms poor, UN observer says

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VATICAN CITY — The unregulated sale and transfer of weapons and weapons’ technology harm the poor and threaten peace and security around the world, a Vatican official told a U.N. meeting.

Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, addressed a committee preparing for the U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty; the conference will be in July.

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Massacres under way in Sudanese border region, says bishop

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VATICAN CITY — A Sudanese bishop said the world has forgotten people in his diocese, where thousands of people have sought shelter from a government bombing campaign and aid agencies cannot gain access.

“There is an ongoing forgotten massacre on the Nuba Mountains” where “people are dying of starvation and bombings,” said Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid, Sudan.

Bishop Gassis’ diocese straddles a border area of Sudan and South Sudan, and members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North fought with the South for Read more »

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Bishop: Church has long sought ‘decent health care for all’

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The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee said that “long before the current battles” over health care reform and the federal contraception mandate, “the Catholic Church was persistently and consistently advocating for this overdue national priority” of universal health care.

“Since 1919, the United States Catholic bishops have supported decent health care for all and government and private action to advance this essential goal,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Biography depicts spiritual vibrancy of Maryknoll Sisters’ foundress

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“On the Threshold of the Future: The Life and Spirituality of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Founder of the Maryknoll Sisters” by Claudette LaVerdiere, MM. Orbis Books (Maryknoll, N.Y., 2011). 160 pp., $20.

This year the Maryknoll Sisters celebrate the 100th anniversary of their founding, making it a particularly appropriate time for the publication of this study of their foundress, Molly Rogers (1882-1955).

Maryknoll Sister Claudette LaVerdiere, a former president of the congregation who has worked in both East Africa and Myanmar, offers a concise portrait of this remarkable woman, known in religious life as Mother Mary Joseph.

This is the cover of "On the Threshold of the Future: The Life and Spirituality of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Founder of the Maryknoll Sisters" by Claudette LaVerdiere, MM. (CNS)

The book opens with a biographical section that illustrates the family and social environment that formed Molly Rogers. Most Catholic children were educated in parochial schools, but because Molly and her seven siblings attended Boston’s public schools, she was “relatively untouched by the Catholic culture of the time.” This would have a significant impact on her vision for Maryknoll, a congregation “shaped more by the resilience needed in foreign mission than by traditional expectations of religious.”

Molly wanted to be a nurse, but her father insisted she get a college education and during her junior year at Smith College she experienced her decisive call. “She had just witnessed the vibrant ‘mission sending’ of the Protestant Student Volunteer Movement. ‘Something — I do not know how to describe it — happened within me,’ and she proceeded directly to St. Mary’s Church. Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, she pledged herself to the mission of the church, having no idea how she might follow through on this commitment. She simply believed that divine providence would show the way.”

“On the Threshold of the Future,” like other stories of the founding of religious congregations, can be read as a testimony to how divine providence works in, and through, the lives of generous souls. Beginning Jan. 6, 1912, Molly Rogers and a small group of other women volunteers supported Fathers James Anthony Walsh and Thomas Frederick Price in the establishment of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America.

These laywomen began as unpaid secretaries (the “Teresians of Maryknoll”) and after a lengthy period of formation and training, received approval to become a diocesan congregation in 1920. The following year, the first Sisters were sent to China.

The book’s great strength is its careful presentation of Mother Mary Joseph’s spirituality, whose description of a Maryknoll Sister is a remarkably accurate rendering of her own spiritual genius. “I would have her distinguished,” she wrote, “by Christ-like charity, limpid simplicity of soul, heroic generosity, selflessness, unfailing loyalty, prudent zeal, gracious courtesy, an adaptable disposition, solid piety and the saving grace of a kindly humor.”

The Maryknoll Sisters were imbued with the Dominican charism of contemplation and action. “I mean that we must be so trained, have so formed our affections … our inward gaze fixed solely upon (God), and no matter what distractions, no matter what works, what trials, sickness, separation caused by death — always our first thought, our involuntary action, even, is to accept everything with our eyes fixed upon the face of Christ.”

Mother Mary Joseph had great confidence in the Sisters’ maturity, diversity of gifts, bonds of charity (“mutual love in Christ”) and religious obedience to sustain the common good. When, on Jan. 2, 1947, she left the office of mother general, Mother Mary Joseph reflected on the 35 years she led her community. “These have been lovely years in which we have worked together and my heart will always sing its hymn of gratitude, to you, for your patience, your faithfulness and your love, and to God, for having given us each other in this glorious work of the extension of God’s kingdom.”

This carefully researched, well-written and intelligent book is not, ultimately, a work of scholarship. It is, instead, a “hymn of gratitude” for Mother Mary Joseph’s spiritual vitality, “a gift not only for Maryknoll missioners in the first part of the 20th century but for our time and for the world.”

Rachel Linner, a freelance writer and reviewer in Medford, Mass., wrote this review for Catholic News Service.

 

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Life revolves around water in Lima’s poor neighborhoods

February 13th, 2012 Posted in International News Tags: , , , ,

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LIMA, Peru — Of all the parts of her tiny, wooden house on a parched hillside at the city’s edge, Emilia Lazo Campos is proudest of the bathroom. The tiles gleam despite the dust. There’s even a shower — in case Lazo and her family ever get water service.

But the most important part, to her, is the dry latrine — an “ecological bathroom,” as she calls it — which requires no water for flushing, has no odor, attracts no flies like her old latrine did, and will eventually produce compost that she can use for a small garden.

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Hong Kong cardinal warns of schism in Chinese church

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VATICAN CITY — Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun warned that the Chinese Catholic Church is “on the verge of a schism” between communities cooperating with government structures and those who refuse to register with government authorities, and he called on the Vatican and other Catholics to shun “organisms that are not only foreign but clearly hostile to the church” in China.

Cardinal Zen, retired bishop of Hong Kong, made his comments in an article published Feb. 8 by Asia News, a missionary news agency based in Rome.

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Illinois bishop accepts priest’s resignation over refusal to use new Mass translation

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville has accepted the resignation of a longtime pastor with whom he has had discussions about how the priest celebrates Mass.

Father William Rowe, who for the past 17 years has been pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mount Carmel, said he offered to resign after those conversations did not resolve Bishop Braxton’s concerns about his celebration of the Mass, including his failure to follow the new English translation of the Roman Missal, implemented in November.

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Pope warns of indifference masked as ‘respect for privacy’

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VATICAN CITY — In his Lenten message, Pope Benedict XVI called on the faithful to be concerned for one another and “not to remain isolated and indifferent” to the fate of others.

Materialism and a sense of self-sufficiency are obstacles to a Christian life of charity, the pope said.

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Church leaders to ask forgiveness for protecting abusers

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ROME — A Vatican cardinal will lead a penitential vigil to show contrition for the sexual abuse of children by priests and for the actions of Catholic officials who shielded the perpetrators from justice.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, will preside over the vigil Feb. 7, during a weeklong symposium attended by representatives of 110 bishops’ conferences and 30 religious orders.

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