Home » Posts tagged 'dies'

Czech Cardinal Vlk dies, was clandestine priest under communist regime

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who washed windows and ministered underground during communism, died of cancer March 18 in Prague at the age of 84.

The retired archbishop of Prague was elected the first East European president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences and dedicated his term to rebuilding the church and society after communism in the East and defending Christian values in the face of secularism and materialism in the West.

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, retired archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, died March 18 at the age of 84. Cardinal Vlk worked as a window cleaner while secretly carrying out his priestly ministry during the communist era. He is pictured arriving for a general congregation meeting prior to the election of a new pope at the Vatican in this March 7, 2013, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, retired archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, died March 18 at the age of 84. Cardinal Vlk worked as a window cleaner while secretly carrying out his priestly ministry during the communist era. He is pictured arriving for a general congregation meeting prior to the election of a new pope at the Vatican in this March 7, 2013, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

In a telegram to Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague, Pope Francis recalled “with admiration” the late cardinal’s “tenacious fidelity to Christ despite the privation and persecution against the church.”

The pope also praised his fruitful ministry, which was driven by a desire to share the joy of the Gospel with everyone and promote “an authentic ecclesial renewal” that was always faithful to the work of the Holy Spirit.

Born May 17, 1932, in Lisnice, Czechoslovakia, he studied history at Prague’s Charles University, earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Prague and was a trained archivist.

Ten years after he was ordained a priest in 1968, the communist regime revoked his license to engage in priestly ministry. The regime persecuted clerics, imprisoning them and forcing them into menial jobs; he spent the next 10 years washing windows of government buildings.

However, he continued to minister in secret, like other barred priests, and maintained contacts with students and dissident groups.

“The will of God can be different in different moments of our life,” he said in 1991. “Sometimes it is his will that I wash the windows and other times to be archbishop.”

In the years following his 1988 return to open ministry as a priest, Cardinal Vlk and his homeland faced many changes, including massive anti-government protests.

St. John Paul II appointed the then-57-year-old priest to be bishop of Ceske Budejovice in February 1990, two months after Czechoslovakia’s 40-year communist regime was overthrown by a popular and largely nonviolent uprising.

The late pope then named him archbishop of Prague in 1991 and, in 1993, when Czechoslovakia became two countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, he became primate of the Czech church. St. John Paul made him a cardinal in 1994.

Internally, the post-communist church had to cope with a shortage of trained clergy and laity and a lack of churches and other buildings because the communist government had confiscated church property.

Cardinal Vlk was a strong supporter of Catholic lay movements, and said that, like religious orders in past centuries, lay movements today express the “needs of our time.”

The highlighting of the laity’s role may even be a hidden benefit of the priest shortage, he had said. While the lack of clergy has serious implications for sacramental life, “the life of the church is not only the sacraments,” he said. The most important thing is to genuinely “live the life of the Gospel,” he said.

In 2002, President Vaclav Havel awarded Cardinal Vlk the Czech Republic’s senior Masaryk Prize in recognition of his work for democracy and human rights.

With Cardinal Vlk’s death, the College of Cardinals has 224 members, 117 of whom are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.

Comments Off on Czech Cardinal Vlk dies, was clandestine priest under communist regime

Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade ruling, who later became pro-life and a Catholic, dies

By

KATY, Texas — Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff “Jane Roe” in the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand, died Feb. 18 at an assisted-living facility in Katy. She was 69.

The New York Times said a New York journalist named Joshua Prager, who interviewed her many times for a book he is writing about the Roe decision, confirmed that she had died. The cause of death was heart failure. Her funeral will be private, family members said.

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff known as Jane Roe in the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling legalizing abortion in the United States,  died Feb. 18 at age 69. She is pictured in a 2005 photo. (CNS photo/Shaun Heasley, Reuters)

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff known as Jane Roe in the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling legalizing abortion in the United States, died Feb. 18 at age 69. She is pictured in a 2005 photo. (CNS photo/Shaun Heasley, Reuters)

McCorvey became a pro-life supporter in 1995 after spending years as a proponent of legal abortion. She also became a born-again Christian. A couple of years later, she said she felt called to join the Catholic Church of her youth. Her mother was Catholic and her father was a Jehovah’s Witness. After instruction in the faith, she was accepted into the church in 1998.

“Losing a loved one is always a difficult time for a family. Losing a loved one who was also a public figure at the center of a national controversy brings additional challenges. It also brings additional consolations,” said a Feb. 19 statement from McCorvey’s family released by Priests for Life.

The family thanked the “many people across America and around the world who, in these days, are expressing their condolences, their prayers, and their gratitude for the example Mom gave them in standing up for life and truth. Though she was the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, she worked hard for the day when that decision would be reversed.”

McCorvey’s family said Priests for Life would be organizing memorial Masses and other services around the country “to give more people an opportunity to remember Mom’s life and work.”

Born in Simmesport, Louisiana, Sept. 22, 1947, Norma Leah Nelson was raised briefly at her family’s home in Lettsworth, Louisiana. The family later moved to Houston. McCorvey was 13 when her father left. Her parents divorced, and she and her older brother were raised by their mother, Mildred, who was said to be violent toward her children.

Norma married Woody McCorvey when she was 16. When she was pregnant with the couple’s first child, she moved in with her mother, alleging Woody had assaulted her. She gave birth to daughter Melissa in 1965. She struggled with alcoholism and came out as a lesbian. The following year, McCorvey became pregnant with her second child, who was put up for adoption.

In 1969, when she was 21 and became pregnant a third time, she tried to obtain an illegal abortion but had no luck as state authorities had shut down such operations. She was referred to lawyers seeking a plaintiff for an abortion suit against the state of Texas. The case took three years to reach the Supreme Court. McCorvey gave her baby up for adoption.

“I did sign the affidavit that brought the holocaust of abortion into this nation,” McCorvey said later. But “I found out about Roe v. Wade like everyone else did, in the paper.”

McCorvey said she was told that legalizing abortion would end back-alley abortions and “probably” put a stop to rape and incest. “They (the lawyers) had a hidden agenda,” she said. “They told me that they only wanted to legalize abortion in the state of Texas, but what they actually wanted to do was what they did, legalize abortion across the land.”

In 1994, after more than two decades of drug use and various jobs at abortion clinics, McCorvey said she began to change her mind about the abortion industry, especially when Operation Rescue moved next door to her workplace, an abortion clinic in Texas.

She was particularly enchanted with the friendliness of two little girls, Emily and Chelsea, who were the daughters of Operation Rescue workers. “I was on the pro-abortion side so long, I didn’t know how to react to kindness and love that all these people and the children were showing me,” McCorvey recalled.

She became disillusioned with her job admitting women for first- and second-trimester abortions. Each weekend, according to McCorvey, clinic staff had to perform enough abortions to meet a $40,000 quota.

“What I didn’t understand at the time was that I was tiring of the abortion movement,” she said, adding she was “fed up with the lies and the mistreatment of the women” coming in for abortions.

When she started counseling women that they were under no obligation to go through with their abortions, reducing the weekend numbers, she was fired, McCorvey said.

In 1995, while attending a church service with Emily and Chelsea’s family, McCorvey answered an “altar call” to come forward and publicly accept Christ. In August that year, she was baptized by the Rev. Flip Benham, then director of Operation Rescue National.

From there, increased contact with Catholic pro-life leaders both inside and outside the Dallas Diocese led to her decision to become a Catholic. She documented much of her conversion story in her 1997 autobiography, “Won by Love.”

After receiving instruction in the Catholic faith at St. Albert’s Priory at the University of Dallas, she became a Catholic Aug. 17, 1998. She received holy Communion and confirmation at a private Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Dallas and attended by more than 60 family members and friends from the pro-life movement.

“While pro-abortion advocates used Norma McCorvey to advance their efforts to legalize abortion in the early 1970s, she spent the last half of her life attempting to right the terrible wrong … visited upon the country” by the court’s decision in Roe and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

“Norma became an outspoken advocate for protecting the lives of mothers and their unborn children. … (She) was a friend and valued ally in the fight for life and she will be deeply missed,” Tobias added in a Feb. 18 statement.

 

Comments Off on Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade ruling, who later became pro-life and a Catholic, dies

Phyllis Schlafly dies; supported pro-life and conservative causes

By

WASHINGTON — Phyllis Schlafly, 92, died Sept. 5 at her home in Ladue, Missouri, outside St. Louis, according the Eagle Forum, an organization she founded in 1975. No cause of death was given, but she had been ill for some time.

Phyllis Schlafly, 92, died Sept. 5 at her home in Ladue, Missouri, outside St. Louis, according the Eagle Forum, an organization she founded in 1975. She is pictured in a 2013 photo. (CNS photo/Mary F. Calvert, Reuters)

Phyllis Schlafly, 92, died Sept. 5 at her home in Ladue, Missouri, outside St. Louis, according the Eagle Forum, an organization she founded in 1975. She is pictured in a 2013 photo. (CNS photo/Mary F. Calvert, Reuters)

Schlafly, a Catholic mother of six children, immersed herself for most of her adult life in a host of conservative causes, including stopping ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Schlafly also founded and chaired the National Republican Coalition for Life.

“She served the Lord, her family, and her nation to the utmost,” said a Sept. 6 statement by American Life League president Judie Brown.

“Schlafly not only helped the Republican Party become pro-life in the 1980s, but spent the remainder of her life ensuring it remained so,” said a Sept. 6 statement by Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the March for Life Education & Defense Fund.

Born Aug. 15, 1924, Schlafly did not win every battle she fought — abortion is still legal in the United States; she made three unsuccessful bids for public office, she backed Barry Goldwater for president in 1964 and the candidacy of Alan Keyes in the 2000 Republican primaries — but she was engaged in so many battles on so many fronts that, invariably, she won some.

The ERA was her first major victory. Her group, STOP ERA, later became the Eagle Forum.

Schlafly also went after the U.S. bishops’ proposed pastoral letter on women with the same vigor. In a 1988 interview with the Catholic Times, newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, she said that if sexism was a sin, as one draft declared, the bishops would have to acknowledge the church has exploited and oppressed women, and that notion was “ridiculous.”

“The whole notion that the church has somehow made women second-class or discriminated against them is contrary to history, contrary to fact and contrary to the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Catholics,” she said.

In 1998, Schlafly berated the Patient Access to Responsible Care Act, saying its language had unintended consequences that could mandate abortion coverage. The bill died in committee despite its sponsorship by a Republican congressman and it having more than 200 co-sponsors. But she lost a bid that January to have the Republican National Committee deny campaign funds to any congressional candidate who didn’t oppose partial-birth abortion.

Schlafly, however, convinced the Republican Party to adopt and strengthen its platform language on abortion prior to party conventions. “Phyllis is the reason the Republican Party is a pro-life party,” said a Sept. 5 statement by Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

At a 1994 forum on the GOP’s platform’s treatment of life issues, Schlafly said, “The Republican Party was born on the principle that no human being should be considered the property of another. That is our heritage as Republicans and it would be a tragic mistake to abandon that fundamental precept now.”

During a 1989 debate in Knoxville, Tennessee, against Roe v. Wade lawyer Sarah Weddington; Schlafly said banning abortions would not be a question of governmental interference. “It’s a question of an individual who’s able to kill another human being,” she said. “The question is not who’s going to die. The question is who’s going to kill.”

At the time of the U.S. bishops’ 1988 fall meeting, Schlafly commended St. John Paul II for having “ceaselessly taught the truth about woman,” and denounced “false feminism” to which, the group said, even Catholic pastors are “appearing to succumb.” She also chastised the bishops for their support of the Act for Better Child Care, asking them to repudiate the legislation, calling it nothing more than a “federal baby-sitting bill.”

Schlafly still stumped on the issue at a 1990 Eagle Forum conference in Washington, saying that any savings from a post-Cold War “peace dividend” should be used to help cope with child care needs, by giving them “a tax reduction … not a federal baby-sitting bureaucracy.”

Schlafly and her husband, John, co-founded the Cardinal Mindszenty Society in 1958 to warn Catholics of communism’s dangers. Her sister-in-law, Eleanor Schlafly, ran the organization. Phyllis Schlafly was also member of the Catholic Campaign for America’s national committee, 1991-94.

In addition to her children, Schlafly is survived by 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Comments Off on Phyllis Schlafly dies; supported pro-life and conservative causes

Cardinal Macharski, 89, retired archbishop of Krakow, dies

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, the retired successor to St. John Paul II as archbishop of Krakow, died Aug. 2 at the age of 89.

Krakow's Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, who died Aug. 2 at the age of 89, is pictured in this 2011 file photo during Mass in Piekary Slaskie, Poland. (CNS photo/Andrzej Grygiel, EPA)

Krakow’s Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, who died Aug. 2 at the age of 89, is pictured in this 2011 file photo during Mass in Piekary Slaskie, Poland. (CNS photo/Andrzej Grygiel, EPA)

Just five days before his death, Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to pray at the hospital where the cardinal was in a coma.

Meeting the bishops of Poland July 27, Pope Francis said that he knew they all were worried about the ailing cardinal, even if they could no longer visit with him. “At least draw close,” the pope told them; go to the hospital and “touch the wall as if to say, ‘Brother, I am near.’ To visit the sick is a work of mercy.”

In a message of condolence after the cardinal’s death, Pope Francis said he wanted to offer “a prayer of thanksgiving for the life and pastoral commitment of this well-deserving minister of the Gospel.”

‘“Jesus I trust in you’ — this episcopal motto guided his life and ministry,” the pope said. The motto is taken from St. Faustina Kowalka’s Divine Mercy devotion.

“With trust in divine mercy,” the cardinal fulfilled his ministry “as a father to the priests and faithful entrusted to his care,” the pope said. “In a period of political and social transformations that were not easy, he guided the church in Krakow with wisdom,” working to promote respect for the dignity of every person and for the good of the church community as Poland transitioned from communist rule to democracy.

“I am grateful that providence made it possible for me to visit him during by recent trip to Krakow,” the pope continued.

The cardinal suffered greatly at the end of his life, Pope Francis said, “but even in this trial, he remained a faithful witness of trusting in the goodness and mercy of God. That is how he will stay in my memory and prayer.”

Just a few months after becoming pope, St. John Paul handpicked Cardinal Macharski to succeed him as archbishop of Krakow. The late pope personally ordained him a bishop on the feast of Epiphany, Jan. 6, 1979, and named him to the College of Cardinals six months later.

Franciszek Macharski was born May 20, 1927. During World War II, when the city was under German occupation, he worked as a menial laborer, according to his Vatican biography. After the war, he entered the Krakow seminary and studied theology at Jagiellonian University. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1950.

After six years of parish work, he was sent to Fribourg, Switzerland, to earn his doctorate in pastoral theology. Returning to Krakow, he was named spiritual director of the seminary and taught pastoral theology. He became rector of the seminary in 1970. As a canon of the cathedral, he accompanied then-Archbishop Karol Wojtyla on trips to Canada, the United States, France, Germany and Italy.

He retired as archbishop of Krakow in June 2005.

Cardinal Macharski’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 211 members, 112 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave.

Comments Off on Cardinal Macharski, 89, retired archbishop of Krakow, dies

Chinese priest dies under mysterious circumstances

By

HONG KONG — A Catholic priest who once operated a website that ran afoul of Chinese authorities has died under mysterious circumstances.

On Nov. 11, police informed the family of Father Pedro Yu Heping, also known as Wei Heping, that the priest’s body had been found in the Fen River, a tributary of the Yellow River that flows through Shanxi province, reported ucanews.com.

Father Yu’s body was found Nov. 8, a day after the priest was supposed to be arriving in Xingcheng, in northeastern Liaoning province.

Church leaders from different parts of China and faithful who were close to the priest gathered in Taiyuan, Shanxi’s provincial capital, where his body was found, hoping to get more information.

“Two nuns saw Father Yu off for a bus to the train station in Taiyuan on Nov. 6,” said a source, who asked to remain anonymous. “Various church members were still able to talk to him over the phone that day.”

Father Yu was expected to appear in Xingcheng in the afternoon of Nov. 7 to join a catechetical meeting, but he did not show up. Earlier in the day, a nun received a text message from Father Yu’s mobile phone. The message contained only one Chinese character, bie, which could be interpreted to mean “farewell,” the source said.

“No one believed Father Yu, as a dedicated priest, would commit suicide,” the source told ucanews.com. “But now even a postmortem is not trustworthy.”

Father Yu, 40, was the first webmaster of Tianzhujiao Zaixian, a popular Catholic web portal established in early 2000. Because of the time difference between Europe and Asia, he and his team could translate news from the Vatican in a timely manner, leading the unregistered website to become very popular among Chinese Catholics.

However, the website’s popularity drew attention from Chinese authorities, and it was subsequently shut down. Father Yu claimed he was no longer involved with the website after it reopened in 2003.

Father Yu was born in Shanxi. He studied at Baoding seminary in Hebei province from 1993 until 1997. He was ordained a priest of Ningxia diocese in 2004.

He furthered his studies at the Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellin, Colombia, and at the Pontifical University of Salamanca in Spain. After earning master’s degrees in church social teachings in 2006 and in canon law in 2007, he returned and taught in various seminaries in China.

In recent years, Father Yu was active in publishing a theological journal and conducting research at several cultural institutes in China. He also brought young Catholics to preach and serve in remote areas.

Comments Off on Chinese priest dies under mysterious circumstances

Father Leo Philip McGann, a retired priest of diocese, dies at 80

By

Dialog reporter

Father Leo Philip McGann, a retired priest of the Diocese of Wilmington, died June 13 at Virtua Memorial Hospice Unit in Mount Laurel, N.J. He was 80.

Father Leo Philip McGann (file photo)

 

Father McGann was born in Moorestown, N.J., and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Wilmington in 1971.

During his 21 years in service in the diocese, he served as an associate pastor of Holy Cross, Dover; St. John’s-Holy Angels, Newark; and St. Mary Star of the Sea, Ocean City, Md. He was named pastor of Sacred Heart, Chestertown, Md., and four years later he returned to St. Mary Star of the Sea as pastor.

His other roles in the diocese included membership on the diocesan Pastoral Commission and the Liturgical Commission.

Before entering the priesthood, Father McGann had been a member of the Christian Brothers, which he joined as a student at La Salle College. He was a teacher and administrator in Christian Brothers schools in Arlington, Va., Philadelphia, New Mexico and Canada. He was also the director general of the Baltimore province before leaving the congregation.

In 1992 he took medical retirement and moved back to New Jersey, where he lived until his death.

A viewing will be held June 18 from 7-9 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Moorestown, N.J., his childhood parish. The funeral Mass will be June 19 at 10:30 a.m., also at Good Counsel. Burial will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Hainesport, N.J.

Comments Off on Father Leo Philip McGann, a retired priest of diocese, dies at 80

Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Vatican correspondent, church spokeswoman, dies

By

Catholic News Service

ALBANY, N.Y. — Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, who went from hometown schoolteacher to Vatican correspondent, lived out her drive to be a writer even in her last days. She died April 28 in her hometown of Albany, New York, after a battle with cancer.

Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh talks with a journalist during the U.S. bishops' fall 2007 meeting in Baltimore. Sister Mary Ann, 68, a writer in the Catholic press and longtime spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops, died April 28 in Albany, N.Y. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh talks with a journalist during the U.S. bishops’ fall 2007 meeting in Baltimore. Sister Mary Ann, 68, a writer in the Catholic press and longtime spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops, died April 28 in Albany, N.Y. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Sister Mary Ann, 68, had stepped down last summer from her role of 21 years in media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the last six years as director. Just as she began a transition to a new job she quickly came to love, writing for America Magazine as the Jesuit publication’s U.S. church correspondent, she learned that she had fast-growing metastatic cancer and moved home to the motherhouse in Albany where she had entered the Sisters of Mercy 50 years earlier.

Over the next nine months as her health declined, Sister Mary Ann wrote obliquely about her own impending death, such as in a piece about the “underutilized sacrament of anointing of the sick,” shortly after she hosted a gathering of friends as she received the sacrament herself.

Her articles included observations about journalism, politics, civility in society, the effects of youth sports schedules on families that attend church and many other topics. In her last blog, published March 25, Sister Mary Ann tackled the topic of the need for mercy, as Pope Francis declared a jubilee year of mercy beginning in December.

In interviews with Catholic News Service and for the Sisters of Mercy, she talked frankly about the progression of her cancer and the inevitability of its outcome, though never complaining and always with appreciation for the outpouring of support she was getting.

As word spread of her death, tributes were effusive from people who knew and worked with Sister Mary Ann.

Reporters, colleagues and bishops praised her deep faith, her determination, her trail-blazing as a woman and a nun and her abiding friendship.

In addition to being a good friend and gifted writer, said Susan Gibbs, a public relations professional who was formerly spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington, Sister Mary Ann “helped break the marble ceiling for women in the church.”

Phil Pullella, senior correspondent in Italy and the Vatican for Reuters told of his friendship with Sister Mary Ann that began when she was a reporter in Rome for Catholic News Service.

“I always called her ‘Mother Mary’ and she always called me ‘my son,’” he said in a note to CNS. “Mary Ann was an exceptionally generous woman. … When she moved to America magazine, she wrote some of the clearest insightful, informed and entertaining columns about the U.S. church that I have ever read.”

Archbishop John Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, who will become archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in June, visited Sister Mary Ann in March, presenting her with the St. Francis de Sales Award, the highest honor given by the Catholic Press Association. He is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Communications.

Archbishop Wester said he has “the deepest respect for her integrity and her love for the church. She was a clear thinker who could write persuasively and in a captivating manner.”

Like many others, he commented on her “clever wit” and her ability to “read people’s hearts with ease.”

Sister Mary Ann was born in Albany, Feb. 25, 1947, the only daughter of Irish immigrants. After attending local Catholic schools staffed by the Sisters of Mercy, she entered the order as a 17-year-old. She earned degrees in English at the College of St. Rose in Albany and began teaching elementary and then high school.

But the writing bug, which had led her as a child to stay up late, scribbling under the bedcovers under the light of a gooseneck lamp, soon led her to a reporting job at The Evangelist, newspaper of the Albany Diocese.

She went on to become a Vatican correspondent for Catholic News Service and then its media editor. In those roles, she traveled the world with Pope John Paul II and sat down for interviews with movie stars, including Raul Julia, Gene Hackman and Bruce Willis.

“Rome taught me how to cover Hollywood,” she told CNS in interviews in January. “They’re both complete bureaucracies.”

Her career path led her to the media relations staff of the USCCB, where she managed arrangements for press coverage of World Youth Day in Denver in 1993, for several other visits to the U.S. by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, and for the ins and outs of news about the U.S. church, from the sex abuse crisis to the annual meetings of the U.S. bishops.

 

Comments Off on Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Vatican correspondent, church spokeswoman, dies

Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, dies at 78

By

CHICAGO — Cardinal Francis E. George, the retired archbishop of Chicago who was the first native Chicagoan to head the archdiocese, died April 17 at his residence after nearly 10 years battling cancer. He was 78.

His successor in Chicago, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, called Cardinal George “a man of peace, tenacity and courage” in a statement he read at a news conference held outside Holy Name Cathedral to announce the death.

Retired Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George died April 17, after a 10-year bout with cancer. CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Retired Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George died April 17, after a 10-year bout with cancer. CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Archbishop Cupich singled out Cardinal George for overcoming many obstacles to become a priest, and “not letting his physical limitations moderate his zeal for bringing the promise of Christ’s love where it was needed most.”

A childhood bout with polio had left the prelate with a weakened leg and a pronounced limp throughout his life.

With the cardinal’s death, the College of Cardinals has 223 members, of whom 121 are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for a pope.

Cardinal George was a philosophy professor and regional provincial then vicar general of his religious order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, before being named a bishop in 1990.

He was named bishop of Yakima, Washington, in 1990, then was appointed archbishop of Portland, Oregon, in April 1996. Less than a year later, St. John Paul II named him to fill the position in Chicago, which was left vacant by the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in November 1996.

By retiring in 2014, Cardinal George accomplished what he often joked was his aspiration, to be the first cardinal-archbishop of Chicago to step down from the job, rather than dying in office, as his predecessors had. In the last few months the archdiocese had issued a series of press releases about changes in Cardinal George’s health status as it declined.

At an event Jan. 30 where he received an award from the Knights of Columbus, Cardinal George spoke frankly about living with terminal illness, saying that his doctors had exhausted the options for treating his disease and that he was receiving palliative care.

“They’ve run out of tricks in the bag, if you like,” he said. “Basically, I’m in the hands of God, as we all are in some fashion.”

In a catechesis session during World Youth Day in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 2005, Cardinal George told the youths that having polio at the age of 13 left him, “a captive in my own body. I soon learned that self-pity got me nowhere. Faith was the way out, because in faith I was not alone, and good can come of something that appears bad at that time.”

Archbishop Cupich in his statement also noted that when the U.S. church “struggled with the grave sin of clerical sexual abuse, (Cardinal George) stood strong among his fellow bishops and insisted that zero tolerance was the only course consistent with our beliefs.”

He observed that Cardinal George had offered his counsel and support to three popes, serving the worldwide church. In Chicago, Archbishop Cupich noted, the cardinal “visited every corner of the archdiocese, talking with the faithful and bringing kindness to every interaction.”

 

Comments Off on Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, dies at 78

Cancer claims NCAA basketball player known for her ‘determined spirit’

By

CINCINNATI — Lauren Hill, a Mount St. Joseph University freshman who gained international attention when she pursued her dream of playing college basketball even as her inoperable brain cancer advanced, died April 10. She was 19.

She suffered from a brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, known as DIPG.

Ohio college basketball player Lauren Hill, who died of cancer April 10, is pictured in a 2014 photo. A student at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Hill gained international attention when she decided to play on the college's freshman basketball team even as her inoperable brain tumor advanced. (CNS photo/courtesy Mount St. Joseph University)

Ohio college basketball player Lauren Hill, who died of cancer April 10, is pictured in a 2014 photo. A student at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Hill gained international attention when she decided to play on the college’s freshman basketball team even as her inoperable brain tumor advanced. (CNS photo/courtesy Mount St. Joseph University)

“God has a new game plan for Lauren Hill,” said a statement from Tony Aretz, president of Mount St. Joseph University.

“Her light will continue to shine on us all as her supporters worldwide continue her mission of increasing awareness and finding a cure for DIPG,” he said. “We are forever grateful to have had Lauren grace our campus with her smile and determined spirit. She has left a powerful legacy. She taught us that every day is a blessing; every moment a gift.”

Hill rose to national fame Nov. 2 after Mount St. Joseph, a Catholic university, petitioned the NCAA to open the season early so that she could achieve her dream of playing collegiate basketball. Hill scored a layup to open the game, a highlight that has been viewed on YouTube more than half a million times.

The university held an evening memorial service for Hill April 13.

“As Lauren’s family and friends grieve, I am sure I speak for many who will choose to reflect on her incredible life with admiration and find ways to remember her selfless generosity,” Aretz said. “We thank God for the gift of Lauren and thank her parents and family for the honor of allowing the Mount to be a part of her life. Her love and laughter will remain in our hearts.”

Following her diagnosis, Hill worked to raise money and awareness for research on her cancer with the Cure Starts Now Foundation, granting interviews and making appearances even as her conditioned worsened.

“We are saddened to hear that our friend Lauren Hill has passed away this morning,” said a foundation posting on Facebook. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this difficult time. … Throughout her diagnosis Lauren was a tireless advocate and spokesperson for the Cure Starts Now’s efforts to find the ‘homerun cure.’ Lauren captured the hearts of people worldwide with her tenacity and determination to play in her first collegiate basketball game with her Mount St. Joseph University team.”

The Cure Starts Now added that Hill’s efforts have raised $1.4 million for research on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.

 

Comments Off on Cancer claims NCAA basketball player known for her ‘determined spirit’

Assyrian patriarch dies; was promoter of unity, served for 39 years

By

 

By Catholic News Service

CHICAGO —  Catholicos Dinkha IV, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, died March 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A virus infection and pneumonia were cited as the cause of death. He was 79.

In a message of condolence sent to the temporary head of the church, Pope Francis offered his prayers for the deceased patriarch and said, “The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times.”

Pope Francis said he knew from his conversation with the catholicos how he “suffered greatly because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria, resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution.”

Catholicos Dinkha was born Sept. 15, 1935, in Iraq. He was ordained a priest at age 21 and became a bishop just five years later. He was elected patriarch in 1976, at the age of 41, succeeding Catholicos Eshai Shimun XXIII, who was assassinated a year earlier. Catholicos Dinkha was the first patriarch to be elected; traditionally, succession was from uncle to nephew.

Because of political instability in Iraq, Catholicos Dinkha moved the patriarchal see in 1980 from its ancestral homeland in modern-day Iraq to suburban Chicago in the United States, where a growing diaspora community was located.

Religious leaders offered words of condolence on the patriarch’s death.

“We pray for his soul. We pray also that the fathers of the Assyrian Church of the East will elect a new shepherd who will lead the flock during this crucial time when Christians are persecuted in the Middle East and our Syriac-Chaldean-Assyrian people are being persecuted and forced to be displaced from their homelands,” Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch said in a statement to Catholic News Service.

“With great hope, we look forward to working together with the Assyrian community for the good of our people and a brighter future for all, following the footsteps of the late patriarch,” he said.

Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan told CNS in an email that he last met with the late patriarch in May at the Russian Patriarchate in Moscow.

“We then had the chance to discuss the tragic situation of Christians and other minorities in Iraq, as a sinister prelude of what will happen in Mosul on June 10 and in the Plain of Niniveh on the night of Aug. 6-7,” Patriarch Younan recalled, referring to the invasion of northern Iraq by Islamic State militants.

“He was equally concerned about the ongoing exodus of his church’s membership to the point to fear that a time would come when Iraq and Syria will be emptied of Christians,” Patriarch Younan added.

“Let us pray that the Lord inspire the Holy Synod of the sister church that they may elect a successor filled with wisdom, energy and charisma enabling him to defend the very survival of the Church of the East, either in the Middle East or in the diaspora,” he said.

Catholicos Dinkha has been credited with rebuilding the church and updating the liturgy, translating portions from classical to modern Assyrian. He was esteemed as a fatherly figure and as a strong promoter of ecumenism. The Assyrian Church of the East is not in communion with any other churches, either Catholic or Orthodox.

During his 39-year term, he met with St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, the latter Oct. 2, just five months before his death. Catholicos Dinkha and St. John Paul II signed in 1994 the “Common Christological Agreement between the Church of the East and the Roman Catholic Church,” which expressed the two churches’ common faith in Christ’s incarnation. The two churches have a long-standing theological dialogue.

The majority of the Assyrian Church of the East’s faithful lives in the diaspora, mostly in the U.S. — about 300,000 — but also in Australia and Europe.

Metropolitan Aprim Mooken of India will serve as acting patriarch until a successor is elected.

A wake for Catholicos Dinkha was to be held April 7 at St. Andrew Church in Glenview, Illinois; the funeral will be held the following day at St. George Cathedral in Chicag

 

Comments Off on Assyrian patriarch dies; was promoter of unity, served for 39 years
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.