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Prague archbishop recalls Havel as friend, ‘fellow prisoner’

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PRAGUE — Calling former Czech President Vaclav Havel a “friend and fellow prisoner,” the president of the Czech bishops’ conference said the entire nation owes Havel a debt of gratitude for its freedom and the new flourishing of Czech life and culture.

Archbishop Dominik Duka of Prague, who was imprisoned with Havel by the communists, asked that the bells of all Catholic churches in the Czech Republic ring at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 in memory of the former president who died that morning at the age of 75.

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Bishop tells prisoners Jesus was born for all

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Dialog Editor

Bishop Malooly proclaimed the joy of Christmas during Masses at two prisons Dec. 17 and 19 and brought the inmates the message that Jesus was born for all and wants to draw everyone closer to him.

The bishop’s Masses were on Dec. 17 at Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna and Dec. 19 at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle.

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Pope tells prisoners God loves them

December 19th, 2011 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI told inmates at a Rome prison that people say nasty things about him, too, but it’s important to remember that there are other people ready to offer their love and support.

During a visit Dec. 18 to Rome’s Rebibbia prison, the pope gave a short speech and then responded to questions from six of the inmates gathered in the prison’s Church of Our Father.

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Sainthood causes of Marianne Cope and ‘Lily of the Mohawks’ advance

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood causes of Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

He also formally recognized the martyrdom of 64 victims of the Spanish Civil War and advanced the causes of 18 other men and women.

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Church agencies aid thousands of Philippine flood victims

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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines — Church agencies teamed with international aid groups and the Philippine government to assist tens of thousands of people left homeless in northern Mindanao by flash flooding caused by an intense tropical storm that left at least 650 people dead and hundreds more missing.

The country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that about 135,000 people in 13 provinces were affected by Tropical Storm Washi, which unleashed floods and landslides as people slept in their homes across northern Mindanao late Dec. 16.

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Be witnesses for Jesus’ life, love, cardinal says at Mass, procession

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Catholic News Service

 

GERMANTOWN, Md. — Under a full moon on a cold, dark evening, they walked and prayed together, an estimated crowd of 600 people, holding candles and praying the rosary as they marched from Mother Seton Church in Germantown to a nearby clinic where late-term abortions are performed.

Helping to lead the Dec. 10 candlelight prayer procession was Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, just after he presided at a Mass for Life at the church, marking one year since the arrival Dr. LeRoy Carhart in the neighborhood in December 2010.

Carhart left Nebraska to come to Maryland to perform late-term abortions after his state passed a law prohibiting abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy. Maryland has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country.

A standing-room crowd of more than 1,000 people attended the Mass, where Cardinal Wuerl said, “Countless unborn infants are reaching out to hold on to us with all of their strength, since we are the only voice they have in their struggle to find a place, a home, a life in this world.”

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl leads a candlelight prayer procession with parishioners from Mother Seton Church in Germantown, Md., to the Germantown Reproductive Health Services abortion clinic Dec. 10. An estimated 600 people, holding candles and praying the rosary, marched to the clinic, where late-term abortions are performed. (CNS photo/Leslie E. Kossoff, Catholic Standard)

The procession wound for several blocks, with the flickering points of candlelight shining in the darkness. The candles were held by people of all ages, ranging from senior citizens to small children, who marched four people abreast on the sidewalk, as cars drove by.

Members of a Knights of Columbus honor guard also marched near the front of the procession. Two seminarians held a large banner that read, “Pray to end abortion.”

The marchers then stood and prayed before the abortion clinic. Cardinal Wuerl said, “Let us ask God’s blessing on all of us, all who are gathered here, all who speak for life, who walk for life, who defend life.”

Moments later, the cardinal said he was inspired by the size of the crowd witnessing to life at the Mass and procession. “It says that the future is with life. Our task is to keep holding up the Gospel of Life.”

“The power of the symbolism of the light (shining) in darkness was beautiful,” Christa Lopicollo, the archdiocese’s executive director of life issues, told the Catholic Standard, archdiocesan newspaper.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl encouraged people to continue to witness to the dignity of all human life through their prayers and actions. “Prayer does change hearts. … Prayer does work, and it must be our instrument of change,” he said.

Cardinal Wuerl noted that just as St. John the Baptist was a voice crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord, so too has the Catholic Church in the past 20 centuries continued that mission, to be that voice, and to follow Jesus’ call for his disciples to be his witnesses.

“What brings us here is the recognition we’re called to share our faith, to share what we believe. We’re called to proclaim the Gospel of life” proclaimed by Jesus.

The cardinal called abortion “the single greatest blight on our nation since the age of slavery. How is it possible in history for atrocities to take place, for those things to happen? How could it be there were concentration camps dedicated to the extermination of people? How could we have in our nation slavery — the reduction of people to property?”

Then, the cardinal continued, people could ask how it is possible today to have “the wholesale destruction of human life” through abortion.

“How did such atrocities come to be ever accepted by any people, anywhere, at any time? Silence. Silence is the ally of atrocity,” Cardinal Wuerl said.

Today, the cardinal continued, “We are confronted with the evil of abortion on demand. It’s almost inconceivable in our city, in our society (that) it would be legal to kill an almost fully formed child.”

Since his arrival more than a year ago, Carhart has performed an estimated 700 abortions at the clinic. Weekly prayer vigils are held near the abortion clinic 8-10 a.m. every Monday.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl said that “taking life in the womb” can never be justified. He said it was important to reach out in compassion to mothers and fathers contemplating abortion or grieving afterward. And he called on people to stand up for unborn children whose lives are at risk.

Cardinal Wuerl noted the spiraling violence in homes and on streets throughout the country. “If it’s ever going to be broken, we need a new vision. Christ invites us to see that way that recognizes the gift of life, the wonder of life. Truly you and I are capable of life-giving compassion…(and) life-giving support for mothers and children.”

Seven priests concelebrated the Mass. After the homily and the creed, prayers were offered for the unborn, the elderly and those with disabilities, that people might recognize “their right to life as children of a loving God.”

Dr. Grace Morrison, a parishioner of St. John Neumann Church in Gaithersburg who has helped coordinate the Monday morning prayer vigils outside the abortion clinic for the past year, said that in the past year, there have been “18 saves we know of.” She was referring to women who changed their minds and left the abortion clinic without undergoing the procedure.

“In order to close this place down, our faithfulness out there is essential. … I believe it is our prayer, our fasting and our sacrifice that is what it will take to pierce the darkness,” she said.

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Home missions: Pueblo Indians deeply steeped in faith

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Catholic News Service

LAGUNA, N.M. — San Jose Mission, built in 1699, sits atop a hill in the center of the village of Laguna and at the center of life for many Laguna Pueblo Indians.

Less than 20 miles away is the Acoma Pueblo, located on a 365-foot-high sandstone mesa. At its center is San Esteban del Rey Mission, built between 1629 and 1641.

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Prayer must include praise, thanks, pope says

December 15th, 2011 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Prayer should not center just on asking God to fulfill one’s hopes and desires, but must include praise, thanks and trust in God’s plan which may not match one’s own, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The way Jesus prayed to his Father “teaches us that in our own prayers, we must always trust in the Father’s will and strive to see all things in light of his mysterious plan of love,” he said during his weekly general audience Dec. 14.

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Every day is sun day at St. Mary’s in Hockessin

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Staff reporter

HOCKESSIN – St. Mary of the Assumption Parish has gone a little green – and is saving a lot of green – thanks to an early Christmas gift from two parishioners who are in the energy business.

The Hockessin church is already seeing the benefits from a solar energy system that now provides some of its electric power. The system, materials and labor, was a gift from Bruce and Linda Wanex, who own Wanex Electrical Services. Bruce Wanex said he was looking for a way to give back to his community and to keep his employees busy as the workload slowed.

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Evidence of miracle credited to late Archbishop Sheen heads to Rome

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Catholic News Service

PEORIA, Ill. — Boxes wrapped in ribbon and a happy little boy are Christmas images, but the combination had another joyful meaning Dec. 11 during ceremonies closing the Diocese of Peoria’s inquiry into an alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

“May God, who has begun this great work, bring it to fulfillment,” said Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky after affixing a wax seal on a box containing evidence gathered in the past three months by an investigative tribunal. The assembly gathered for the special Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral responded with sustained applause.

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