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Archive of August 10, 2004

Leaders underscore role of Christianity in new Europe

Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - Several bishops and political and financial leaders present this week at the 2004 European Pilgrimage of Young People in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, underscored the role Christianity has in the building of the new Europe.

Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo said Christian inspiration can transform the political, cultural and economic integration of the continent so that all Europeans feel at home and form a family of nations built on trust.  “Santiago is the common home where we look forward to this new Europe in which life is defended above all else,” he said.

Likewise, regarding his experience as a pilgrim, the Archbishop, who traveled the Way of St. James with a large group from his archdioceses, including 740 young people, said that it was very joyful for him as bishop and pastor. 

Michael Camdessus, ex-managing director of the International Monetary Fund, presented a conference entitled, “The Europe of Hope,’ in which he underscored that the continent is a privileged place of human hope, a place of communication in which, for the first time, peoples of very different standards of living are united together and the more privileged countries should welcome them and recognize their Christian roots.

Marcelino Oreja, member of the European Union Commission, pointed out that the Way of St. James is like a European cultural itinerary.  “It is the sum of all spiritual, religious and cultural values.”

In his conclusion he underscored the ideal of a United Europe, referring to a phrase by Winston Churchill: “No more war between us.”  For Christians, he said, the hope of Europe is the unity of the faith.

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Historic black church finally dedicated after 2002 Christmas blaze

Miami, Fla., Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - St. Francis Xavier, the oldest black Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Miami, was formally dedicated for the first time Sunday, after completing a $14.5-million restoration to repair damage from a 2002 Christmastime arson, reported The Associated Press.

A 12-year-old boy, who had been expelled from the church’s school, set the 77-year-old church on fire Dec. 20, 2002, police said. No one was hurt in the fire. The extensive repairs needed to the sanctuary were mostly paid for with insurance money.

Church leaders were surprised to learn that Sunday's dedication was the first for the historic church, likely because it began as a black mission. Mission churches weren't dedicated the way other churches are, explained Miami Archbishop John C. Favalora.

''We were looking through the church archives and found that this church was never formally dedicated,'' told Rev. John Madigan, pastor of the parish, to Miami Herald. “I was just as surprised as anyone because this is very much a historic church.''

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Lourdes: pilgrims from Asia among the many

Lourdes, France, Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - News among Pope John Paul II’s upcoming pilgrimage to Lourdes has raised interest among Asia’s Christians, and an ever-growing number of them are visiting the renowned Catholic sanctuary, reported AsiaNews.

Last year about 9,000 pilgrims from Asia visited Lourdes. The largest group, which numbered 1,179 people, came from South Korea. Surprisingly, a contingent of 934 North Korean refugees, living in different parts of Asia, also made the trip.

The second largest group came from Lebanon (1,099), followed by Japan (1,086), China (368), Vietnam (224), Thailand (198), Singapore (135), United Arab Emirates (80), and Taiwan (66).

Fr. José De Antonio is a Spanish oblate in charge of Lourdes pilgrimages from outside of Europe. Back in July, he welcomed three European-based Indian Tamil pilgrims.

“The Tamils pray and make their plea to Mary so that she may help their loved ones who are ill,” Fr. De Antonio told AsiaNews. “It is common for them to take home Lourdes water for their relatives or friends who are ill and unable to come.”

Christians from the Middle East also come to Lourdes in great numbers, especially from Lebanon. Many of them are young people, who are moved by a devotion to Mary, which is strong among Maronites, said Fr. De Antonio.

Lourdes is also an important stop for those Asians who are only starting to discover Christianity. Some Japanese tour operators offer Lourdes in their European tour packages. “Japanese tourists who come to Lourdes are often on a spiritual quest, drawn to Christianity, wanting to know it better,” Fr. De Antonio said. “Coming to Lourdes is a way for them to discover what Christian devotion to Mary is all about.”

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CREDO Rochester joins in campaign to bar pro-abortion politicians from Communion

Washington D.C., Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - A pro-life group in upstate New York has joined American Life League in encouraging bishops to refuse Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. CREDO Rochester, Inc., is an associate group of the American Life League.

American Life League first launched its campaign to encourage bishops to bar pro-abortion Catholic public officials from Communion in January 2003.

"We have stated a simple truth: You can't be Catholic and pro-abortion," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. "CREDO Rochester, Inc., is stepping forward to remind Catholics of this truth.

"It is the prayer of American Life League and CREDO Rochester, Inc., that the bishop of Rochester will join other steadfast shepherds of the Church by enforcing Canon 915, which provides that those 'who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Communion'," Brown said.

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Majority of Portuguese oppose homosexual “marriage”

Lisbon, Portugal, Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - According to a poll by the Correio da Manha newspaper in Portugal, the majority of Portuguese are against a law that would make homosexual unions equivalent to marriage, although they favor the adoption of orphaned children by homosexual couples.

The Portuguese newspaper reports that more than 55% of those questioned expressed opposition to the legalization of homosexual marriage and only 35% said they were in favor.

However, the majority of those polled said they were in favor of allowing homosexual couples to adopt children “orphaned by their biological parents.”  53.8% approved of adoption by two men, while 61% approved of adoption by two women.

The poll of 504 people was taken at the end of July by the Aximage Institute for the Portuguese newspaper.

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U.S. nun moves closer to sainthood

Newark, N.J., Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - New Jersey Catholics are hoping they will have their own homegrown saint soon. The cause for sainthood for a New Jersey nun, who was a Sister of Charity in the 1920s, moved one step closer toward sainthood last month, reported The Jersey Journal.

Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark signed documents last month, promoting the beatification of Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, SC, who grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey.

The documents have been forwarded to the Congregation for Causes of Saints in the Vatican. If she is beatified, she will be the first person from New Jersey to receive that recognition from the universal Church.

A holy life 

Teresa Demjanovich was born March 26, 1901, the seventh child of a Slovakian family. The family attended the nearby St. John's Byzantine Church, where they followed the Eastern Orthodox rites but stayed loyal to the pope in Rome.

In 1925, after teaching for two years, Teresa decided to join the Sisters of Charity. During her novitiate, under the direction of Fr. Benedict Bradley, she composed a series of essays and meditations, which were later published, under the title "Greater Perfection." Sr. Miriam died soon after, in 1927, at age 26 from appendicitis.

In 1946, the Sr. Miriam Teresa League of Prayer, which has about 3,000 members around the world, organized to pray for her canonization.

In 1955, the Vatican recognized Sr. Miriam as a Servant of God. Only years later, in the 1960s, a boy, who was legally blind and suffering from macular degeneration, gained normal eyesight as a result of praying to Sr. Miriam.

This became the first documented miracle in Sr. Miriam’s cause for sainthood.  The boy, who is now 50, gave testimony under oath at the Sisters of Charity General House about what happened to him as a boy.

Now that the documentation has been submitted to the Vatican, the sisters and the local Catholic Church are simply waiting to hear. Given that there are more than 200 candidates for beatification being reviewed at this time, there is no indication that the results for Sr. Miriam’s cause will be available soon.

"Everyone talks about Mother Teresa and how quickly she became sanctified,” Sr. Marian Jose Smith, SC, told The Jersey Journal, “but she had a worldwide reputation. So given that our Sr. Miriam was an obscure novice, it's remarkable that in less than 100 years, she's gotten this far."

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French Web site offers to relay prayers for Pope’s trip to Lourdes

Paris, France, Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - On the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Lourdes this weekend, a French religious Web site, called Croire.com, is offering to take all e-mail prayers to the grotto in Lourdes, reported AFP yesterday.

Croire.com  promises to take all e-mail prayers, received by Aug. 14, to the grotto before the Pope celebrates mass at the sanctuary.  

For five Euros ($6.15 US), one can also purchase a candle that will be placed at the grotto. The price includes a booklet, detailing the official events of the Pope's weekend visit.  

Pope John Paul II is expected to arrive in France, Saturday for a two-day visit to Lourdes, marking the 150th anniversary of the proclamation by Pope Pius IX of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.  

About 300,000 pilgrims are expected to attend the mass, presided by the Pope, Aug. 15, on the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

To send an e-mail prayer visit:
http://www.croire.com/article/index.jsp?docId=1850250&rubId=238

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Religious leaders plead for peace in Boston

Boston, Mass., Aug 10, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston issued a letter that was to be read at all parishes during mass last weekend in response to the increased violence and the number of homicides in the city.

Boston police have recorded 41 homicides so far this year – as many as the city saw in all of 2003.

The Associate Press reported that the city’s leaders are particularly concerned that the homicides include 26 deaths of people under age 24, including one daytime murder of a coach at a youth basketball game last month. There have also been two recent non-fatal shootings of children in other parks, one of them in the middle of youth football tryouts.

In the letter, the archbishop wrote: "Our public parks and playgrounds, places, which ought to be oases of safe recreation and enjoyment for our children and families, have become the venues for terrible episodes of violence."

The archbishop joined a group of about 30 ministers who met with Mayor Thomas Menino last week, Aug. 6, to discuss the violence. They pleaded for peace at a public demonstration on the weekend. On Saturday, Pastor Gregory G. Groover said the ministers pledged to increase neighborhood watches and street outreach, and to preach peace from their pulpits.

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