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The Catholic New World
News Digest: Week in Summary
Issue of April 2, 2006

The following items are condensed. For the complete article, please read the print edition of The Catholic New World. To subscribe, call (312) 655-7777.


Five parishes, deacon honored

Two awards were to be presented April 2 at the special Mass in honor of the fifth anniversary of Cardinal George’s pastoral letter about racism, Dwell In My Love.

To be honored with St. Katharine Drexel Racial Justice Awards were:

Deacon George Brooks of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish, Flossmoor, for his work as the former director of advocacy for Kolbe House, the Archdiocese’s prison and jail ministry. Brooks also has published articles and given workshops on the death penalty, criminal justice, restorative justice and racial justice topics.

Five parishes—Holy Family (Chicago), Holy Angels, St. Mary of the Woods, Queen of All Saints Basilica and St. Raymond De Penafort in Mt. Prospect—for their work with the Workshops on Racism and Ethnic Sensitivity. After experiencing the workshops and receiving training, teams from these parishes now present workshops to other parish members. In addition, they plan other parish events to raise awareness about the need to eliminate racism.

‘Donate life,’ urges cardinal

Cardinal George is urging Catholics to remember that April is National Donate Life Month.

In a letter he emphasized the importance of giving the gift of life to others when one decides to donate bodily organs and tissues after death. “Our church supports this tremendous act as one of the highest expressions of human compassion and giving, which honors the sanctity of human life,” Cardinal George wrote. The cardinal added, “our beloved Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has said that Catholics can ‘participate spontaneously and in full awareness in the culture of transplants and the donation of organs in which we live.’”

For information, contact Gift of Hope, www.giftofhope.org or (888) 307-3668.


‘Unfair’ charity legislation fails; hospitals affirm efforts

By Michelle Martin
Staff writer

Catholic hospital administrators across Illinois are breathing sighs of relief as the state legislative session draws to a close, with no new requirement to provide a set level of charity care—a requirement that could have made it impossible for many institutions to survive.

Catholic and other not-for-profit hospitals mobilized to oppose Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s proposal to require them to provide charity care equal to 8 percent of their expenditures or lose their tax-exempt status, and legislators listened.

Advocates say death penalty expensive, ineffective, wrong

Capital punishment is wrong, not very cost-effective and probably not healthy in the long run for murder victims’ families either, according to people who have personal experience with the system.

Those were the conclusions of the couple whose loved ones had been fatally shot in separate incidents and a man who spent 16 years on Death Row for an arson/murder he didn’t commit. The three spoke over two weekends at the St. Alphonsus Parish Peace and Justice Forum.

Illinois bishops make immigration statement

The Illinois Conference of Catholic Bishops have joined with bishops from around the United States in calling for comprehensive, just immigration reform.

Bishops from the state’s six dioceses issued a joint statement as the U.S. Senate began debate on immigration reform March 27. The statement came in the wake of a crowd estimated at 100,000 marching in Chicago March 10 in protest of House legislation (HR 4437) aimed solely at increasing enforcement, by, in part, making it a felony rather than a civil offense to enter the country illegally. The bill also would make it a crime to offer assistance to undocumented immigrants.

A year later, the church remembers

From naming prayer groups to cheering at his name, people around the world continue to show their devotion to Pope John Paul II.

A year after Pope John Paul’s death, the Vatican still maintains a separate entrance to the grotto under St. Peter’s Basilica where he is buried, and Pope Benedict XVI still cites his writings and example in his public speeches.

Be witnesses, cardinals told

Inducting 15 new members into the College of Cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI called on them to be even stronger witnesses of God’s love for the world and their own love for the church.

At the March 24 ceremony in which prelates from 11 countries became cardinals, he prayed that the red garments they now wear would inspire them to an even more “passionate love for Christ, for his church and for all humanity.”

Pray for the children

Blue Ribbon campaign aims to raise awareness, offer support to abuse victims

They are in every congregation and every school and every religious education class.

They are not identified, and many never tell their stories.

But the victims of child abuse are all around, and the Archdiocese of Chicago is asking all of its parishes and schools to remind people of that fact during April, which has been designated Child Abuse Awareness Month since 1989.

Franciscans: Holy Land’s Christians need help

Foundation asks U.S. Catholics to support ‘church of Jerusalem’

Franciscan Father Peter Vasko was a marketing executive before feeling that he was called to something different.

Now president of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, Vasko, an imposing New Jersey native, finds himself trying to sell an idea: The need to support Christians living in the Holy Land.

The foundation is a creation of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, which has been present in the area for 1,300 years and now administers 74 Christian holy sites.

The custody benefits from annual Good Friday collection in U.S. Catholic churches, but that money is not available to help the dwindling population of Arab Christians who have lived in the Holy Land since the first century, Vasko said.

Divine renovation

Religious group aims to make

church a fitting tribute

Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz does not attempt to fit into the Woodlawn neighborhood, the community where he has taken up residence as vicar general and provincial superior of the Institute for Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Tall, with blue eyes behind rimless glasses, Schmitz recalls clerics of another era. His black cassock flows without wrinkles or lint, and silver buckles glint on his black shoes. Standing in the cavernous shell of what will be the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the monsignor seems to see the future—a beautiful, colorful church furnished and decorated in the early baroque style—more clearly than the exposed roof trusses, the battered beige paint, the concrete floor littered with construction debris.

Here, the institute will make something beautiful, Schmitz said, and it will bring glory to God and healing to the souls of those who worship there.

Teaching hope

St. Aloysius school offers education to children orphaned by AIDS

Jesuit Father Terry Charlton stands in the well in front of the stage in the theater at St. Ignatius College Prep High School.

Dressed in slacks and sportcoat over his gray clerical shirt, the Indianapolis native looks at home taking questions from an audience of about 100 students who have taken their lunch period to listen to him.

Charlton seems at ease talking with them, as would be expected from a priest who serves as a high school chaplain. But the school Charlton helped found and still serves is a world away, both in terms of geography and the resources of the students it serves.

> Front Page

Church Clips by Dolores Madlener
Dolores Madlener
a column of benevolent

Surprise, surprise — Jay Leno was the mystery guest entertainer at Resurrection Health Care’s March 11 black-tie gala at the Hilton. The star of NBC-TV’s “The Tonight Show” entertained 1,400 guests including Cardinal George.

Fortissimo — The Archdiocesan Office for Black Catholics is looking for singers to perform in a choir at its fund-raiser concert, “Let the Praises Ring!,” 7:30 p.m. May 6, at Old St. Mary’s Church, 1500 S. Michigan. Led by Robert Ballinger, director of St. Philip Neri’s choir (E. 72nd St.), its rehearsals are west: 1-3 p.m. April 22, and south: 1-3 p.m. April 29; dress rehearsal 7 p.m. May 2 at St. Mary’s, call Sheila Adams at (312) 751-5207.

Top o’ the Irish — Carmelite Fr. Kevin Shanley at the Carmelite Retreat Center (Darien) was named one of the Top 100 Irish Americans by “Irish America Magazine,” for his years of service to the Irish. The award was presented St. Patrick’s eve at the New York Athletic Club. Shanley’s dad was in the Easter Rebellion of 1916 in Dublin and sentenced to Wakefield Prison in England. After his release he continued the fight until 1921 and made it to America five years later. Father Shanley taught Irish history and literature for 17 years here, was director for the Irish American Cultural Institute in Minnesota, founded the Celtic News Service and still gives lectures and workshops on all things Irish.

Parish potpourri — The former Our Lady of Angels Church (W. Iowa) is leased to the Baptists. No benevolent gossip there. The real news is at the parish rectory, 3808 W. Iowa. Grayfriar Father Robert Lombardo has moved in. He plans to restore the chapel and hold daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration in the old parish house. A ’79 Domer, he has Notre Dame, Fighting Illini alumni and other volunteers helping him in his ambitious restoration campaign. Lombardo invites anyone who finds himself on the West Side for business or pleasure to stop by. . . . Edward Supan, 2003 grad of St. Ferdinand School (W. Barry), was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout recently. He joined Troop 979 in 5th grade. He also serves the parish as a lector. . . . Army Reserve Chief Michael Clemens, home from Iraq for R&R, visited St. Albert the Great Parish School (Burbank). He thanked the kids for sending cards and letters to him and his companions and answered questions about real life in the military. They promised to keep his company in their prayers. . . . There are some unique prizes, at live and silent auctions at Catholic fund-raisers, from vacations to sports memorabilia. One lucky bidder at Holy Family’s (Inverness) April 29 benefit for its school will have a chance to “Be a Firefighter for a Day” with the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District. That prize sounds an awful lot like work.

Hush-a-bye — According to the London Daily Mail, some parents in the UK are outraged. The government disclosed a plan last week to put nurses in every primary and secondary school in England, to help students ages 11 and up arrange for pregnancy tests, morning-after pills and abortions—without telling parents. It is part of England’s £40million campaign to reduce teenage pregnancy and improve “sexual health.” Those opposing the plan say some school nurses aren’t allowed to give an aspirin or put Band-aids on children without parents’ permission “but they can whisk a young girl off for an abortion without her parents’ knowledge.”

Where’s Father Lord? — The sixth annual Secular Student Alliance will pow-wow in Kansas City Easter weekend. (They don’t celebrate Easter—duh—they’re atheists!) Beguiling TV star of SNL and other sitcoms, Julia Sweeney, author of “Letting Go of God: My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story,” a former Catholic and cancer survivor, is a main speaker. There will also be a professor who suggests teaching Intelligent Design as mythology, and a United Nations official, who is executive director of the Institute for Humanist Studies. It’s the first joint gathering of the SSA and the Atheist Alliance International. Young and old atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics and others, worldwide, will hang out together. Topics will range from “A Summer Away Camp for Atheist Kids,” “How to Talk About Atheism,” and “Selling Atheism,” hands-on training on how to lobby for separation of church and state. Who remembers the words of Father Daniel Lord’s song about “An army of youth, waving the standard of truth...heads lifted high, Catholic Action our cry...”?

Did ja know? — A monthly Mass for the beatification of Mother Maria Kaupas has been offered every first Saturday for over 15 years at her community’s motherhouse here. This is the 100th anniversary year of the founding of the Sisters of St. Casimir by Mother Maria. The Saturday Mass at 2601W. Marquette is open to the public. People can also pray to the Lord through her intercession for their own concerns.

Polish artists? — Students in grades 6-12 can compete for prizes in the Polish Constitution Day art contest. The theme: The 160th anniversary of the birth of Polish author and Nobel Prize winner in literature, Henryk Sienkiewicz. The task is to capture one of his books, on 24-by-30-inch poster board. Deadline is April 17. For more information, call
the Polish Museum of America at
(773) 384-3352, Ext. 104. Winners
walk with PMA’s float in the
Polish Constitution Day Parade
May 6.

Send your benevolent gossip to:
Church Clips
721 N. LaSalle St.,
Chicago, IL 60610
or via


Movies at a Glance
Capsule reviews of movies from the U.S. Catholic Conference's Office for Film and Broadcasting, judged according to artistic merit and moral suitability.