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Archive of November 24, 2003

Important appointments, changes at the Vatican curia

Vatican City, Nov 24, 2003 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II announced this Monday some changes and appointments at the Vatican Curia.

The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, presented by Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, and appointed Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who was Undersecretary for the Relations with the States.

Also, as it usually happens after the creation of new Cardinals, the Pope appointed those created in the consistory of October 21, 2003, as advisors or members of the various Vatican dicasteries.

Cardinals Jean-Louis Tauran and Attilio Nicora of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the section for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Cardinals Justin Francis Rigali, Jospi Bozanic, Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Mân, Philippe Barbarin and Marc Ouellet of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments.

Cardinals Jean-Louis Tauran, Julián Herranz, Javier Lozano Barragán and Attilio Nicora of the Congregation for Bishops.

Cardinals Renato Raffaele Martino, Javier Lozano Barragán,  Stephen Fumio Hamao, Attilio Nicora, Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Gabriel Zubeir Wako, Telesphore Placidus Toppo and Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of the Congregation the Evangelization of Peoples.

Cardinals Angelo Scola and Tarcisio Bertone of the Congregation for Clergy.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Cardinals Francesco Marchisano and Peter Erdo of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Cardinal Julian Herranz of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature.

Cardinals Ennio Antonelli and Josip Bozanic of the Pontifical Council for Laity.

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Cardinals Angelo Scola and George Pell of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Cardinals  Stephen Fumio Hamao, Bernard Panafieu and George Pell of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Cardinals Renato Raffaele Martino, Stephen Fumio Hamao and Gabriel Zubeir Wako of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.”

Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick  O’Brien of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.

Cardinal Peter Erdo of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Cardinals Bernard Panafieu and Telesphore Placidus Toppo of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Cardinals Francesco Marchisano and Rodolfo Quezada Toruño of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Cardinals Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien, Eusebio Oscar Scheid and Ennio Antonelli of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Cardinals Renato Raffaele Martino and Justin Francis Rigali of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

Cardinals Francesco  Marchisano and Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church.

Cardinal Julian Herranz of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

In addition, His Holiness appointed Cardinals Javier Lozano Barragán, Eusebio Oscar Scheid and Marc Ouellet, as counselors of the Pontifical Commission for Latin American and Cardinals Carlos Amigo Vallejo and Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, as members of the same pontifical commission.

Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary of the section for the Relations with States of the Secretariat of state, as consultant of the Congregation for Bishops.

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All Christians can contribute actively in building the Kingdom of God, Pope says

Vatican City, Nov 24, 2003 (CNA) - During the Angelus prayer last Sunday,  during the solemnity of Christ the King, Pope John Paul said all Christians, with their own charismas, can contribute in building the Kingdom of God.

 “Over the months,” explained the Pope, “we have contemplated all His mysteries, from His birth to His ascension into heaven.” “Now with the apostle Paul we recognize that God’s design is to ‘echo in Christ all things, from the heavens and the earth’,” he added.

 “Looking at Him whom eastern liturgy calls the ‘Pantocrator’ or Almighty,” he continued, “the mission of believers, who are called to cooperate in a variety of ministries and charisms, takes on great importance in building up His kingdom.” 

The Holy Father concluded his brief remarks by greeting participants in the Congress on Sacred Music of the Association of St. Cecilia, organized on the centenary of the Motu proprio ‘Tra le sollecitudini’,  an instruction Pope St. Pius X issued  on sacred music.

The Pope expressed gratitude to “all who put their musical talents and competency at the service of the liturgy.”

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Catholic fund-raising keeps on track, research finds

, Nov 24, 2003 (CNA) - In spite of some studies that predicted Roman Catholics would dramatically reduce donations to the Catholic Church, surveys show that while several U.S. dioceses failed to meet their fund-raising goals, giving to parishes overall actually rose this year.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, released a donations report this month, which said collections were up. The report is based on surveys sent to the dioceses on behalf of the International Catholic Stewardship Council, an association of diocesan fund-raisers.

Joseph Claude Harris, an independent researcher in Seattle who analyzes Catholic giving, extrapolated CARA's data to estimate that parish collections rose by 4.9 percent last year to $5.8 billion, while giving to bishops' appeals dropped by 2.3 percent to $635 million.

Harris' findings are consistent with a survey made by the Gallup Organization and Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA.)

The poll, conducted last month, found most Catholics had not reduced donations to their parish or diocese. But 27 percent said they did not respond to national appeals from bishops, an increase from 19 percent last year.

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Philadelphia Catholics in awe before relic of Our Lady of Guadalupe

, Nov 24, 2003 (CNA) - A half-inch piece of cactus cloth in a small glass case has been drawing crowds and creating a sense of awe among American Catholics recently.

The ancient relic is believed to have come from the cloak worn by St. Juan Diego, an Indian peasant who had a vision of the Virgin Mary in Mexico in 1531. A colorful image of the Virgin, which came to be known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, is said to have miraculously appeared on the cloak afterward.

The scrap of cloth hangs on a silver chain around the neck of a 17th-century statue of Mary. It was on display in Avondale, Pa., the second to last stop in a 21-city tour of the relic.

The tour was organized by the Los Angeles Diocese, which has custody of the relic, to celebrate Juan Diego's canonization last year, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. The rest of the cloak, called the Tilma of Tepeyac, hangs in Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Mexico City.

The Archdiocese of Phliadelphia decided to bring the relic to an Avondale church because of the high number of Hispanics in the area. While the relic is very important to Catholics from Mexico, it also seems to be important to non-Hispanics as well. In fact, regardless of their heritage, the relic seems to be leaving those who visit it without words to express their experience.

There are about 149,000 Spanish-speaking Catholics in the greater Philadelphia area.

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Catholic school program in Pittsburgh a model for special education nationwide

, Nov 24, 2003 (CNA) - A nationally recognized school program, hailed as a model for inclusive, “Christ-centered” Catholic education, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The St. Anthony School Program operates 11 schools around Pittsburgh – seven elementary, three secondary and Duquesne University, where students receive vocational training, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

However, the Word of God program – an outgrowth of the St. Anthony School Program – has received particular attention because of its success with children who have autism and Down syndrome.

About 50 percent of students in the St. Anthony School Programs have learning disabilities or low IQs, 30 per cent have autism and 20 per cent have Down syndrome, reported the daily.

The Word of God program, which runs within regular schools, promotes independence and encourages academic excellence through homework and class participation and focuses on vocational skills such as day-care assistance, mailroom training and other support functions, said the newspaper.

The student-to-staff ratio is 3-to-1 with a maximum of 13 children at each site. These students have individualized education programs in reading and language arts, math, handwriting, computer and social skills and are integrated into regular classrooms for the arts, physical education and other social studies. The individualized programs ensure that each child continues to learn at a pace that fits the student's abilities.

Students are also taught class skills, such as raising their hand, being prepared for class, doing homework, and following rules, so children will be able to interact appropriately when they are integrated into the regular classes.

Director of education for St. Anthony Lisa George said expectations for students are high. "We demand a lot, not only for academics but also for social skills and behavior, because that's what will carry on in life," she told the newspaper.

The program also teaches functional skills like counting money, shopping and telling time. “The goal is for them to be productive citizens of the community," said George.

However, what sets the program apart from other inclusive-education programs is that “everything comes from the religious standpoint that everyone is equal in God's eyes," George told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It's a loving, caring environment because it's Christ-centered."

That’s one reason Lisa and Joe Rajakovich enrolled their four children at the school. The couple had grown up studying in there. They loved it and decided to raise their children in the same neighborhood so they could benefit from the inclusive model of education as well.

But the Rakoviches have another reason to send their nine-year-old daughter daughter Maria to Word of God. Maria has Down syndrome.

"We wanted Maria to have the religious aspect, and it's nice to continue the family tradition," Lisa told the newspaper. She stressed how Maria is flourishing there. “She's reading and spelling and writing," she said.

"We're so fortunate that our diocese offers a wonderful program like this because a lot of other dioceses don't," she was quoted as saying in the Post-Gazette.

Nicole Hardiman is flourishing there as well. After being told by public school teachers that Nicole would never learn to read, her mother, Mary Ann, enrolled her daughter in the Word of God program. Nicole was in the second grade, reported the paper.

Now, at 19, Nicole is enrolled in the program's site at Duquesne, where typical college students act as job coaches for her vocational training as a teacher's aide, reported the newspaper.

Nicole is one of many St. Anthony success stories. Over the past 50 years, 789 students have been served and more than 95 percent of post-secondary graduates have been placed in the work force.

St. Anthony School Programs held its annual Opportunity Award Dinner Nov. 14 to begin its 50th anniversary celebration. The event is a major fund-raiser for the program, which relies on the support of donors.

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