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Raiders defend state swimming title, while Sals regain pool supremacy

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Dialog reporter

 

NEWARK — One Catholic school defended its crown, while another regained the top spot after a year away at the 2017 DIAA state swimming and diving championships on Feb. 25 at the Rawstrom Natatorium at the University of Delaware.

It was a repeat performance for Ursuline, which won back-to-back titles for the first time since 1986 and ’87. The Raiders received two wins from senior Marie Dickson, who captured both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. She was also a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay quartet that closed the event with a win. Dickson swam the opening leg and was followed by Abigail Poole, Allison Thomas and Heidi Dickson. Read more »

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Pope, at Anglican church in Rome, calls ecumenism a shared journey

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Catholic News Service

ROME — The path toward Christian unity can’t be found isolated in a laboratory hashing out theological differences, but rather by walking together on a common journey, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis laughs during an evening prayer service at All Saints' Anglican Church in Rome Feb. 26. It was the first time a pope has visited an Anglican place of worship in Rome. (CNS photo/Maria Grazia Picciarella,)

Pope Francis laughs during an evening prayer service at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome Feb. 26. It was the first time a pope has visited an Anglican place of worship in Rome. (CNS photo/Maria Grazia Picciarella,)

While theological dialogue is necessary, Catholics and Anglicans can continue to “help each other in our needs, in our lives and help each other spiritually,” the pope said Feb. 26 while answering questions from parishioners of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome.

“This cannot be done in a laboratory; it must be done walking together along the way. We are on a journey and while we walk, we can have these (theological) discussions,” he said.

The pope made history as the first pontiff to visit the Anglican parish, which was celebrating the 200th anniversary of its establishment in Rome.

Invited by the Anglican community, Pope Francis took part in an evening liturgy and blessed an icon of Christ the Savior to commemorate the occasion.

The prayer service included a “twinning” pledge between All Saints’ Anglican Church and the Catholic parish that shares its name in Rome. As Pope Francis looked on, the pastors of both parishes signed a pledge to collaborate in joint retreats, works of charity and sharing meals with each other.

Rev. Jonathan Boardman, chaplain of the Anglican church in Rome, presented the pope with several gifts that highlight his concern for the poor and the marginalized, including a promise to serve meals to the homeless once a week in his name.

He also said 50 English Bibles will be given in the pope’s name to Anglican nuns in Rome who minister to the city’s prostitutes.

The Anglican community also presented Pope Francis with a basket of homemade jams and chutneys as well as a Simnel cake, a traditional fruitcake typically served on the fourth Sunday of Lent and adorned with 11 marzipan balls representing the 12 apostles, minus Judas.

After welcoming the pope to the parish, Rev. Boardman noted that when divisions first began, the title “Bishop of Rome” was once used by Anglicans as an insult “or an attempt to belittle it.”

“Today for us recognizing your unique role in witnessing to the Gospel and leading Christ’s church, it is ironic that what we once used in a cruel attempt to put you in your place has become the key to your pastoral kindness in being alongside us and so many other Christians around the world,” Rev. Boardman said.

The pope thanked the congregation and acknowledged that much has changed between Anglicans and Catholics, “who in the past viewed each other with suspicion and hostility.”

“Today, with gratitude to God, we recognize one another as we truly are: brothers and sisters in Christ, through our common baptism. As friends and pilgrims, we wish to walk the path together, to follow our Lord Jesus Christ together,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for Catholics and Anglicans to work together to help those in need in order to build “true, solid communion” through a “united witness to charity.”

Following the prayer service, the pope took some moments to answer questions from several members of the Anglican church.

Asked his opinion on current relations between Catholics and Anglicans, the pope said that while relations between the two communities have been at times “two steps forward, half step back,”” they are still good and “we care for each other like brothers and sisters.”

Ernest, an Anglican seminarian, also asked the pope whether Anglicans and Catholics in Europe can learn from the example of churches in Asia, Africa and the Pacific whose “ecumenical relations are better and more creative.”

Pope Francis said the younger churches “have a different vitality” and have a “stronger need” to collaborate.

An example of this, he added, was a request made by Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian bishops of South Sudan for him to visit the country along with Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury.

“This creativity came from them, the young church. And we are thinking about whether it can be done, if the situation is too difficult down there. But we must do it because they, the three (bishops), together want peace and they are working together for peace,” the pope said.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Access to clean water is essential right for humanity, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and a key component in protecting human life, Pope Francis said.

“The right to water is essential for the survival of persons and decisive for the future of humanity,” the pope said Feb. 24 during a meeting with 90 international experts participating in a “Dialogue on Water” at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

A man fills buckets with drinking water a a public filling area Feb. 3 in Aleppo, Syria. Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and a key component in protecting human life, Pope Francis said Feb. 24 during a meeting with 90 international experts participating in a "Dialogue on Water" at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. (CNS photo/Youssef Badawi, EPA) See POPE-WATER Feb. 24, 2017.

A man fills buckets with drinking water a a public filling area Feb. 3 in Aleppo, Syria. Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and a key component in protecting human life, Pope Francis said Feb. 24 during a meeting with 90 international experts participating in a “Dialogue on Water” at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. (CNS photo/Youssef Badawi, EPA) 

Looking at all the conflicts around the globe, Pope Francis said, “I ask myself if we are not moving toward a great world war over water.”

Access to water is a basic and urgent matter, he said. “Basic, because where there is water there is life, making it possible for societies to arise and advance. Urgent, because our common home needs to be protected.”

Citing troubling statistics from the United Nations, the pope said, “each day’ each day! — a thousand children die from water-related illnesses and millions of persons consume polluted water.”

While the situation is urgent, it is not insurmountable, he said. “Our commitment to giving water its proper place calls for developing a culture of care, that may sound poetic, but that is fine because creation is a poem.”

Scientists, business leaders, religious believers and politicians must work together to educate people on the need to protect water resources and to find more ways to ensure greater access to clean water “so that others can live,” he said.

A lack of clean and safe drinking water “is a source of great suffering in our common home,” the pope said. “It also cries out for practical solutions capable of surmounting the selfish concerns that prevent everyone from exercising this fundamental right.”

“We need to unite our voices in a single cause; then it will no longer be a case of hearing individual or isolated voices, but rather the plea of our brothers and sisters echoed in our own, and the cry of the earth for respect and responsible sharing in a treasure belonging to all,” he said.

If each person contributes, he said, “we will be helping to make our common home a more livable and fraternal place, where none are rejected or excluded, but all enjoy the goods needed to live and to grow in dignity.”

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U.S. senators discuss trafficking, immigration with Vatican officials

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Catholic News Service

ROME — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met Feb. 23 with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, to discuss U.S.-Vatican cooperation in fighting human trafficking and ending modern slavery.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, speaks to reporters Feb. 24 about his meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met the press at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. (CNS photo courtesy of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See)

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, speaks to reporters Feb. 24 about his meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met the press at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. (CNS photo courtesy of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See)

Corker told reporters Feb. 24 that while modern slavery was the focus of his visit, with so much international attention on President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, “certainly it came up. It was not stressed. We understand the pope has spoken very strongly about this issue.”

The senator said the United States and the Vatican have a “mutual interest in dealing with modern slavery,” a phenomenon involving some 27 million people; 24 percent of them, he said, are involved in forced prostitution, while the remaining 76 percent are subjected to “hard labor.”

Pope Francis repeatedly has highlighted the connection between restrictive immigration policies and the growth of human trafficking.

“Obviously, the migrant issue and the crisis it has generated there makes people even more vulnerable,” Corker said.

The senator said he believed Trump’s executive orders on immigration were just the first step in a more comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policy.

While the revised orders have not yet been published, Corker said he believes the restrictions on immigration from Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries where terrorism has been an issue would be a “temporary situation while they look at the vetting processes.”

“My hope is that what this is going to lead to is an immigration policy where we deal with the whole issue,” he said. “We’re beginning on the security front,” which responds to the concerns of many Americans.

Corker said he did not meet Cardinal Parolin has an emissary of the White House, but he does hope Trump will meet Pope Francis in May when the president is scheduled to be in Italy for a summit of the G-7 countries.

“Healthy relationships between our administration and the pope and the Vatican” are important for the people of the United States, he said. “As an American and as someone who sees the importance of this relationship, whether it’s in May or some other near-term point, I hope it occurs.”

Corker was not the only member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to visit the Vatican in late February.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, attended Pope Francis’ general audience Feb. 22 and spoke with the pope afterward about “the global refugee and migrant crisis,” his office said in a statement.

“As the pope stated so clearly yesterday (Feb. 21), it is a moral imperative to protect and defend the inalienable rights of refugees and respect their dignity, especially by adopting just laws that protect those fleeing dangerous or inhumane situations,” Kaine said.

The senator’s office said he also met with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who is the Vatican foreign minister, participated in a discussion focused on Latin American issues with Vatican officials and met with the Jesuit Refugee Service to discuss its work with refugees and asylum seekers.

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Vatican Letter: Pope’s remarks on refugee crisis aren’t intended for United States only

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — When Pope Francis affirms basic Christian principles, he is not singling out one person or nation, but he definitely is not excluding them either.

The ongoing global migration and refugee crisis is a case in point. Read more »

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Seniors shine on their night as Spartans end regular season with big win

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For The Dialog

 

MILLTOWN – St. Mark’s boys basketball team honored five seniors on Feb. 22, and all five started and scored in the 63-41 win over Polytech.

St. Mark's Chris Ludman drives toward the hoop vs. Polytech. He finished with 21 points. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

St. Mark’s Chris Ludman drives toward the hoop vs. Polytech. He finished with 21 points. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

It didn’t look too rosy at the beginning, however, as the visiting Panthers jumped out to a 10-0 lead less than four minutes into the first quarter. Seniors Zach Palmer and Chris Ludman hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 12-6 and begin the comeback. A spin move by Ludman led to a field goal and cut the deficit to 12-8 at the end of one.

The second quarter was all Spartans, as they outscored the Panthers, 22-4. Senior Billy Sullivan got the party started, scoring six straight to tie the contest at 14. Palmer then hit a three, followed by a putback, and Ludman made a pair of shots.

The Spartans took a 30-16 lead into intermission but didn’t let up, as Ludman scored six third-quarter points. Polytech’s Joseph Haass caught fire in the third, draining a trio of three-pointers and converted one into a four-point play. The Spartans took a 44-29 lead into the fourth quarter, but a Haass triple cut it to 47-37. The Spartans closed strong, outscoring the Panthers, 16-4, including a three-pointer at the buzzer by senior Matt Smith. His teammates came running out to make this senior’s night.

Billy Sullivan looks for a Spartans teammate. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

Billy Sullivan looks for a Spartans teammate. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

The Spartans finished the regular season 15-5 and now await their seeding for the state tournament. They were led by Ludman, who finished with 21 points. Palmer added 13 and Sullivan 11. The Panthers were lead by Haass, who finished his season with 16 points.

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Pope appeals for aid as famine grips ‘martyred South Sudan’

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis appealed for humanitarian assistance to South Sudan where famine threatens the lives of millions of people already suffering due to a three-year civil war.

A health worker examines a 4-year-old girl suffering from malnutrition Feb. 13 in Dablual, South Sudan. Pope Francis appealed for humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, where famine threatens the lives of millions of people already suffering due to a three-year civil war. (CNS photo/Nicolas Peissel/EPA)

A health worker examines a 4-year-old girl suffering from malnutrition Feb. 13 in Dablual, South Sudan. Pope Francis appealed for humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, where famine threatens the lives of millions of people already suffering due to a three-year civil war. (CNS photo/Nicolas Peissel/EPA)

In the “martyred South Sudan,” he said, “a fratricidal conflict is compounded by a serious food crisis, which has struck the Horn of Africa and condemns millions of people to starve to death, among them many children,” the pope said.

At the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican Feb. 22, the pope said that a solid commitment from the international community to assist South Sudan is crucial.

The United Nations Feb. 21 declared a famine in two counties of South Sudan, adding that the catastrophic food shortages will continue to spread, threatening millions of lives.

Civil war has destabilized the world’s youngest country for more than three years due to a political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar.

“This famine is man-made,” said Joyce Luma, director of the U.N. World Food Program.

Despite efforts to hold off the famine, she added, “there is only so much that humanitarian assistance can achieve in the absence of meaningful peace and security, both for relief workers and the crisis-affected people they serve.”

Pope Francis urged governments and international organizations to “not stop at just making statements,” but take concrete steps so that necessary food aid “can reach the suffering population.”

“May the Lord sustain these, our brothers and sisters, and those who work to help them,” Pope Francis said.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Greed corrupts beauty of God’s creation, pope says at audience

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Humanity’s greed and selfishness can turn creation into a sad and desolate world instead of the sign of God’s love that it was meant to be, Pope Francis said.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democratic nominee for U.S. vice president in the 2016 election, talks with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York during Pope Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 22. (CNS/Paul Haring)

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democratic nominee for U.S. vice president in the 2016 election, talks with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York during Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 22. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Human beings are often tempted to view creation as “a possession we can exploit as we please and for which we do not have to answer to anyone,” the pope said Feb. 22 at his weekly general audience.

“When carried away by selfishness, human beings end up ruining even the most beautiful things that have been entrusted to them,” the pope said.

As an early sign of spring, the audience was held in St. Peter’s Square for the first time since November. Despite the chilly morning temperatures, the pope made the rounds in his popemobile, greeting pilgrims and kissing bundled-up infants.

Continuing his series of talks on Christian hope, the pope reflected on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, which expresses the hope “that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption.”

St. Paul, the pope said, reminds Christians that creation is a “marvelous gift that God has placed in our hands.”

Through this gift, he said, “we can enter into a relationship with him and recognize the imprint of his loving plan, which we are all called to achieve together.”

Sin, however, breaks communion not only with God but with his creation, “thus making it a slave, submissive to our frailty,” the pope said.  

“Think about water. Water is a beautiful thing; it is so important. Water gives us life and it helps us in everything. But when minerals are exploited, water is contaminated and creation is destroyed and dirtied. This is just one example; there are many,” he said, departing from his prepared remarks.

When people break their relationship with creation, they not only lose their original beauty, he said, but they also “disfigure everything surrounding them,” causing a reminder of God’s love to become a bleak sign of pride and greed.

St. Paul tells believers that hope comes from knowing that God in his mercy wants to heal the “wounded and humbled hearts” of all men and women and, through them, “regenerate a new world and a new humanity, reconciled in his love,” Pope Francis said.

“The Holy Spirit sees beyond the negative appearances for us and reveals to us the new heavens and the new earth that the Lord is preparing for humanity,” the pope said.

“This is the content of our hope. A Christian does not live outside of the world; he knows how to recognize the signs of evil, selfishness and sin in his own life and in what surrounds him,” he said. “But at the same time, a Christian has learned to read all of this with the eyes of Easter, with the eyes of the risen Christ.”

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Trump administration announces ‘enhanced enforcement’ of immigration laws

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — In two memos published Feb. 20, the Department of Homeland Security outlined guidelines that White House officials said would enhance enforcement of immigration laws inside the country as well as prevent further unauthorized immigration into the U.S.

A "No Trespassing" sign is situated along the steel bollard border fence in Nogales, Ariz., Feb. 19. (CNS /Nancy Wiechec)

A “No Trespassing” sign is situated along the steel bollard border fence in Nogales, Ariz., Feb. 19. (CNS /Nancy Wiechec)

In a Feb. 21 news briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the guidelines include hiring more border agents, construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and hiring more personnel to “repatriate illegal immigrants swiftly.”

The memos by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly also called for state and local agencies to “assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law” and for hiring additional border patrol agents, as well as “500 Air and Marine Agents/Officers.” The cost of implementing such programs, whether there’s enough funding and how Congress will be involved, was not discussed.

While there have been two arrests under the new administration involving recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, it was not mentioned in the new guidelines. The program grants a reprieve from deportation and allows a work permit for those who were brought as minors to the U.S. without legal permission.

In the news briefing, Spicer said the guidelines were meant to prioritize for deportation anyone who was a criminal or posed a threat in some form, but he also said “laws are laws” and that anyone in the country who is here without permission is subject to removal at any time.

In a Feb. 23 statement, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, said that while public safety is important, the memos detailing the new guidelines “contain a number of provisions that, if implemented as written, will harm public safety rather than enhance it.” Bishop Vasquez added that it will break down “the trust that currently exists between many police departments and immigrant communities, and sow great fear in those communities,” if local enforcement is used to enforce federal immigration laws.

The memos addressed the issue of unaccompanied minors who cross the border, fleeing violence in their home countries or seeking reunification with family in the U.S. They said that “regardless of the desire of family reunification,” smuggling or trafficking is “intolerable” and said “exploitation of that policy led to abuses by many of the parents and legal guardians.”

Bishop Vasquez said the policies in the memos “will needlessly separate families, upend peaceful communities, endanger the lives and safety of the most vulnerable among us” and urged the Trump administration to “reconsider the approach” expressed in the Feb. 20 memos but also “reconsider the approach it has taken in a number of executive orders and actions issued over the last month. Together, these have placed already vulnerable immigrants among us in an even greater state of vulnerability.”

Department of Homeland Security workers, the memo also said, should prioritize for deportation “removable aliens” who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.”

Reports from major outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post said the administration in a conference call said it was seeking to calm fears among immigrant communities by saying only those who “pose a threat or have committed a crime” need to worry about being priorities. But during the news briefing, when asked about a woman who was deported despite having no major criminal convictions, Spicer said he wouldn’t comment on specific cases.

After drafts of memos leaked out in mid-February proposing use of the National Guard in immigration operations, The Associated Press reported that the New Mexico’s Catholic bishops called the ideas in the memos “a declaration of some form of war.” AP provided documents to back up the claim but the White House denied it and the final guidelines made no mention of the National Guard.

Catholic leaders have been urging dignity and respect for migrants and have acknowledged the rampant fear among communities.

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men Feb. 21 issued a statement denouncing the recent arrest by immigration officials of six men exiting a hypothermia shelter at Rising Hope Mission Church in Alexandria, Virginia, saying it violated Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy “not to conduct enforcement actions at or near sensitive locations like houses of worship.”

The conference said it invited “others to join us in denouncing these deportation efforts that harm the ‘least of our brothers and sisters.’ We especially denounce the irreverence, disrespect and violation of sensitive locations, such as houses of worship and ministry which belong to God and the erosion of our Constitutional right to be free from religious oppression by our government.”

 

Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

 

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Eleven players score as Ursuline cruises in battle of the Raiders

By

Dialog reporter

 

BRANDYWINE HUNDRED – Ursuline wrapped up its regular season Feb. 21 at Concord by showing it is ready for the girls basketball state tournament. Concord scored the first bucket of the game, but it was all Ursuline after that, as the top-ranked Raiders swamped the No. 6 Raiders, 71-37, in nonconferene action.

Concord junior Zhan’e Snow opened the contest with a layup, but it was Ursuline’s day after that. The visitors ran off the next six points, including a nice back-door layup for Olivia Mason and a give-and-go between Alisha Lewis and Maggie Connolly. Lindsay Brown came in after Yanni Hendley picked up her second foul, and she drained a three-pointer as Ursuline built up a 17-7 lead after one quarter. Read more »

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