Archive for February, 2010

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his deep concern and sorrow over the continuing wave of violence against Christians in Mosul, Iraq.

Vatican Radio and the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported Feb. 24 that although the pope is on retreat and not speaking publicly, he expressed his sorrow that “in the area of Mosul, the killing of Christians continues.” (more…)

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A man prays in the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem Nov. 29, the first Sunday of Advent. The Middle East is one spot in the world where religion plays a major role. (CNS/Debbie Hill)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — If the United States is to engage the world in a more effective and meaningful way, it must broaden its view of the role of religion in other countries beyond terrorism and counterterrorism strategies, a new report concluded.

Released Feb. 23 by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, the report offers U.S. diplomats and policymakers a framework to better respond to the growing influence or religion in the affairs of the world’s governments, said R. Scott Appleby, director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and a co-chairman of a task force that wrote the report.

“What we’re calling for is a more consistent, integrated approach that is tailored, not going beyond the bounds of what’s necessary,” Appleby said at press briefing at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.

“You would you think in a way, isn’t this happening already, but for complicated and historical reasons, the answer has been no,” he said. (more…)

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St. Joseph gears up for altar

Its founding families were immigrants from Sicily who arrived in Southeast Texas more than 100 years ago. Descendants from those families and current parishioners are keeping up some of those Sicilian traditions even now.

St. Joseph, 1115 Orange St., Beaumont, will celebrate its first St. Joseph Altar in years March 14. Though it had been a tradition, Hurricane Rita in 2005 interrupted it. Now the parishioners are getting ready, baking cookies and preparing the rest of the items. The blessing, prayers and viewing will be after 4:30 p.m. Mass March 13. The Tupa Tupa and serving will be after the 10 a.m. Mass March 14 until 3 p.m. in the parish hall.

Cookies, desserts and other items will be sold. Contact Rose Fazio Leggett at (409) 893-7379 or Sara Fazio Chimeno at (409) 893-9330 to order stuffed artichokes at $8 each and spaghetti sauce at $8 per quart. (more…)

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Two months in and half way there

The capital campaign, Together for God’s Good Work, has already passed the half-way mark in pledges. More than $12.6 million has been pledged putting the campaign well on its way to the $25 million goal only two months after resuming from more than a year-long hiatus due to Hurricane Ike.

“This campaign is vital to the long term fiscal stability of our diocese, parishes and ministries. We as people bear responsibility to steward well all that God has given us and to show our gratitude by coming together to carry out the Gospel mission,” Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, said. (more…)

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Youth focus on the Eucharist and adoration

Hundreds of youth turned out for Youth 2000 Feb. 19-21 at St. Anne, Beaumont. The Franciscan Friars from New York once again provided the three-day Eucharistic Adoration Retreat.

The retreat included music, prayer, talks and workshops for the junior high and high school youth from across Southeast Texas. (more…)

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By John Thavis Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Before beginning his annual Lenten retreat, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Catholics around the world to practice prayer and penitence in the weeks leading up to Easter.

The entire period of Lent should be like “a long `retreat’ during which people can return inside themselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to overcome the temptations of the Evil One,” the pope said at his noon blessing Feb. 21.

He described Lent as a time of spiritual training, undertaken not with an attitude of pride, but in an effort to live more closely with Jesus through prayerful reflection and penitential practices.

The importance of spiritual fortification in order to resist temptation was illustrated by the Gospel account of Christ’s own temptations by Satan in the desert, the pope said.

“Christ came into the world to free us from sin and from the ambiguous fascination of designing our lives without God. He did so not with high-sounding proclamations, but by fighting personally against the tempter, right up to the cross,” he said. (more…)

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By John Thavis Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The latest Vatican statistics show a slight increase in Catholics as a percentage of the world’s population, and a slow but steady rise in the number of priests and seminarians worldwide.

The statistics, from the end of 2008, were presented along with the new Vatican yearbook Feb. 20.
The Vatican said the number of Catholics reached 1.166 billion, an increase of 19 million, or 1.7 percent, from the end of 2007. During the same period, Catholics as a percentage of the global population grew from 17.33 percent to 17.4 percent, it said. (more…)

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