Archive of August 23, 2004

Pope announces return of Our Lady of Kazan icon to Russia this week

, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Before the Angelus yesterday, Pope John Paul II remarked that August is an important month for many Marian churches and shrines, which organize special celebrations and receive numerous pilgrims.

The Pope took the opportunity to announce that the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which had been taken out of Russia in the last century and which eventually made its way to the Vatican, will be returned to Russia and given to the Russian Patriach Alexei II this week.

After the Angelus, the Pope greeted all of the participants at the 25th International Communion and Liberation gathering in Rimini, Italy. He extended a special greeting to Bishop Luigi Giussani, founder of the movement.

“Christianity, notwithstanding human limits and errors, constitutes the greatest factory toward true progress,” the Pope told the delegates, commenting on the theme for the gathering, “because Christ is the inexhaustible source for the renewal of mankind and of the world.”

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Hispanic Business Leaders and Bishops meet in Denver, commit to promoting Ecclesia in America

St. Malo, Colo., Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Hispanic business and community leaders met with regional bishops, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, at the St. Malo Conference Center in the Archdiocese of Denver August 20-22 to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by rapid Hispanic growth not only in Colorado – 73 percent in the past decade – but also throughout the region.

Bishops Cipriano Calderon Polo, member of the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops and Former President of the Pontifical Council for Latin America, José Gomez, Auxiliary of  Denver, Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, Raymundo Peña of Brownsville, Texas, David L. Ricken of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Michael Sheridan, Bishop of Colorado Springs, Colorado were all present at the three day conference.

Along with the laypeople present, who included Roberto Dañino, Vice-President of the World Bank, Manuel Lujan, former Secretary of Interior of the Bush senior administration, and Dr. Christine Johnson, President of  the Community College of Denver (Colorado), They reviewed relevant social data and their pastoral implications, and comprehensively discussed their economic and political dimensions, concluding that both practical guidance and urgent action from the Church community in addressing these issues are necessary.

In reviewing the body of recent Church teaching, they say they were “struck by the continuing power of Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America’s content”, its call to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, its emphasis on conversion, communion and Catholic solidarity in addressing our communities’ problems, and its focus on the decisive role of laypeople in this effort.

Participants committed themselves to begin a process of applying Ecclesia in America to the pastoral and social challenges facing their local communities. They also announced they will reconvene before August 30, 2005, to “share and assess the results of our local efforts and develop a plan for broadening successes to other communities.”

The lay participantss in the event were Jaime Antunez, Director of the Humanitas Cultural magazine from Santiago, Chile, Ronald Montoya, President and CEO of Plasticomm Industries (Colorado), Paul R. Perez, Perez Asset Management (California),

Monica A. Pleiman, President and CEO of Optimum Management Systems, John V. Saeman, Founding Partner of Medallion Enterprises, Mike Day, Owner and President of North Star (Montana), Tommy Espinoza, President an CEO of Raza Development Fund (Arizona), Francisco Garcia, Preasident and CEO of  IITC (Colorado), Andres Ruzo, Owner and CEO of Link America (Texas), Ricardo Saldivar Regional President of The Home Depot (Mexico), and Anthony Tenorio, President, Owner and CEO of Applied Technology Associates.

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Use American talent to do business but bring in Faith, says Archbishop to Hispanic leaders

St. Malo, Colo., Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Archibishop Charles Chaput of Denver spoke to prominent Catholic businessmen on the relationship of the Christian with money at the Conference “Christian values and Financial Success” that convoked some 20 Latino Business leaders and Bishops at the St. Malo Retreat and Conference Center near Denver, Colorado, August 20-22.

Tonight is the “start of something important and new for us… and will grow “to touch many others in the future,” said Archbishop Chaput at the opening of the conference.

“People sometimes misread Scripture as teaching that money is the root of all evil.  But that's not what Scripture says,” he continued. “The Bible says, "the love of money is the root of all evils" because “through this craving [some] have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs” (1 Tim 6:10).

The Archbishop said that it is important to think about the relationship we have with money. “We can love people.  We can’t love things…St Luke reminds us that even when we’re rich, our life does not consist of possessions (Lk 12:15).  When we treat things with the love that we owe to people, people suffer.”

“Americans have a talent for making money.  We’re very good at it.  That’s a big force for good in the world.  The skill of making and managing wealth has some of the same beauty as a great work of art,” he continued.

“But this is also true,” Archbishop Chaput pointed out,  “as many people are poor and hurting today as at any time in history.  A consistent lesson of history is that too many of the rich forget too many of the poor.  Power -- and that includes economic power, and even our own financial success – can become a kind of illness.” 

By confusing freedom with possessions we will forget the “real meaning of freedom” which is not about “accumulating and consuming things,” he said,  “It’s about creating, and sharing the joy of creating, with others…We can't be free until we live, in some sense, for others.  Freedom is not self-indulgence.  It's self-mastery and self-sacrifice to achieve goals that matter, and accomplishments that last.”

“The dignity of the human person, together with a commitment to the common good, is at the heart of Catholic social teaching,” said Archbishop Chaput, pointing out why it is so important to make sure that faith is not pushed out of public life.

“People sometimes ask me, where does God belong in the marketplace?  He belongs in the hearts and the actions of the people who make the marketplace succeed…The vocation of a financial leader is to light the community with the habits of generosity and integrity.  All of us preach by the way we live, and by the way we work,” he said.

In concluding his speech, Archbishop Chaput spoke of the role of Hispanics in the future of America. “Denver is 31 percent Hispanic. Colorado is now 17 percent Hispanic.  That’s a 73 percent growth in our Hispanic population in one decade.  All of America is changing, and Latinos will shape the nature of that change.”

But the change can be more far reaching than simply a matter of increasing numbers, suggested the Archbishop: “Hispanics can bring to the table a Catholic sense of family, a Catholic sense of community, a Catholic love for life, generosity and a respect for the dignity of the person.”

Keep these things at the center of your heart,” he exhorted, “American life has lost its soul.  You can change that.  America needs to change.  Be different.  Remember who you are.  Remember the faith and Catholic understanding of the world that shaped you.  Make your success a success of the soul -- a success for the common good -- and you’ll leave the world a better place than when you entered it.”

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Russian Catholics hope to pray in front of icon of Our Lady of Kazan before it is handed over to Orthodox

Moscow, Russia, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Moscow have asked their Archbishop Mgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz about the possibility of praying for Christian unity before the icon of Our Lady of Kazan prior to being given to the Orthodox Church in the Kremlin. However, as of yet they have not received an answer.

A Vatican delegation headed by Walter Cardinal Kasper will present the icon to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II as a personal gift of the Pope to the Orthodox Church so that it may be venerated by the entire Russian people.

For not the first time on such occasions, the Catholic Archbishop has not been invited to attend the handing over ceremony on August 28,  nor have Moscow’s Catholics. In both 2001 and 2003 relics were presented by the Catholic Church to the Russian Patriarch, and both times the Catholic Archbishop was not invited.

Extending an invitation to Archbishop Kondrusiewicz and Moscow’s Catholics would help improve the ecumenical situation between Orthodox and Catholics in Russia according to experts.

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Liturgy is ‘a school for holiness’: Cardinal Sodano

Vatican City, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - The Eucharist leads the faithful to holiness and is the secret to the New Evangelization, said Angelo Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state, on behalf of Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the 55th National Liturgy Week, Aug. 23-27.

The weeklong event is being held in San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy, where the beloved St. Padre Pio lived. The theme of the conference is Liturgy and Holiness.

Liturgical celebrations can provide people with “constant energy and support in their journey toward Christian perfection,” wrote the cardinal.

“The Liturgy, through which one is in contact with the sacred mysteries, invites us therefore to reach for holiness, responding to the evangelical call to become perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect,” he said, drawing from the Gospel of Matthew.

The cardinal also referred to Pope John Paul II’s document “Novo millennio ineunte”, in which the pontiff reminds all of the faithful of the universal call to holiness and urges all Catholics to attend Sunday mass and make it “the heart of each Sunday.”

“The liturgy is a school for holiness because it helps transform one’s existence to include prayer, whether it be private or in community. The pious, conscious, active participation in the Mysteries, which the liturgy celebrates, unites us to Christ and it helps us to constantly begin again in Christ,” he said.

The cardinal also commented on the significance of the conference being held where St. Padre Pio lived and ministered, a saint who emphasized the importance of the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation.

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Kazan icon to be venerated before being given to Russian Church

Vatican City, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - In the few days before the Vatican’s icon of Our Lady of Kazan will make its way to Russia and be given to the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Pope John Paul II will take some time to pray and venerate the icon.

The pontiff will celebrate a Liturgy of the Word Aug. 25 for the veneration and transfer of the icon.

The Pope is giving the icon to Patriarch Alexei II, the Russian Orthodox Church and the people of Russia. Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, will deliver the icon on the Pope’s behalf Aug. 28.

The faithful can venerate the icon in the Vatican basilica Aug. 26.

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Expectation in Russia for return of Marian icon

Rome, Italy, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Shortly after the papal announcement at Castelgandolfo regarding the return of an icon of Our Lady of Kazan to the Russia, nearly all of the media in Russia covered the remarks by Pope John Paul II.

According to the NTV channel, the Pope had hoped to personally return the icon to the Russian People, but the revered image will be taken to Moscow instead by Cardinal Walter Casper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, due to fierce opposition by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II regarding a papal visit to the country.

The Marian image, the object of widespread devotion in Russia, has a basilica named after it in St. Petersburg, but the 15th century icon disappeared at the beginning the 20th century.

Years later it reappeared in Warsaw and later in the United States, where a group of Catholics purchased it and donated it to the Pope in 1993.

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Ukrainian patriarch celebrates Ukrainian national holiday in upstate New York

Rochester, N.Y., Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, patriarch of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, made a rare visit to Rochester and Irondequoit Aug. 21 to celebrate the 13th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Russia, reported

This was the first time the patriarch joined the celebration in the Rochester area, where more than 25,000 Ukrainians live. About 200 people attended a ceremony with the cardinal Saturday for a new Ukrainian monument, located in nearby Irondequoit. In his speech, Cardinal Husar reportedly talked of human dignity, justice and a better future for Ukraine.

Cardinal Husar has been traveling throughout North America to raise money to build a Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Kiev, the nation's capital.

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Military chaplains keep ‘U.S. military machine running,’ says press report

Najaf, Iraq, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Alongside U.S. troops, on a battlefield of intense bombing and gunfire, stands one unarmed man – a military chaplain – ready to serve and minister to the living and the fallen.

A recent report by the Associated Press reveals how U.S. military chaplains are instrumental in providing support to the troops by their very presence and by helping them deal with moral as well as life-and-death issues, through prayer, comfort and spiritual advice. The report states that their ministry helps keep “the U.S. military machine running.”

Since Aug. 5, U.S. troops have been fighting with Iraqi militants in Najaf's cemetery, believed to be the largest in the Muslim world.

The AP report tells how military chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Paul Shaughnessy joined a supply convoy and spent the night with Marines in the cemetery recently crouched behind tombstones for cover.

One round exploded about 50 yards from the 58-year-old priest. After hearing calls for help, he found two Marines, bleeding profusely. Believing they would die, he performed last rites on them. One survived; the second did not.

Performing such rites, holding prayer services and giving soldiers blessings are typical of chaplains, who are also involved in helping soldiers work through moral issues that arise from combat. 

Chaplains help to ease a soldier’s troubled conscience in combat, says the report, by arguing that killing combatants is justified, and emphasizing that they perform their duties in a just way, do not take innocent life or use excessive force.

Baptist Army chaplain Capt. Warren Haggray, 48, told the AP that he draws from Scripture to teach his soldiers that there are times for war and for peace, “and there are times that you just have to get out there and fight.”

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Thirty-three parishes in Fargo to close by 2010

, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - Thirty-three parishes in rural North Dakota will close within the next six years due a shift of the population to urban centres, leaving parishes with too few members and priests to carry out the ministry of the church, reported

Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo made the announcement at a press conference Aug. 21. Yesterday, he celebrated masses in three of these parishes.

The consolidation decisions were made for pastoral and not financial reasons, said the bishop. The goal was to ensure that each parish could effectively carry out such ministries as religious education, liturgy and elderly care.

The bishop pointed out that church closings are not unusual and that, since 1871, 172 parishes and missions have been closed in the diocese while more than 100 others were built.

So while plans are under way to close 21 percent of all parishes in the diocese and consolidate them with larger parishes nearby, the bishop said, plans are also under way to open a new parish in West Fargo as the population there swells.

The parish-closure announcement comes as no surprise. For the past year, each parish went through a review of its viability, and results showed that the number of families was declining. Many of these parishes have fewer than 30 families with few young people.

In fact, the closure will directly impact only 521 families – less than two percent of the diocese's 28,000 families.

The bishop acknowledged that it has been a painful process for those parishioners directly involved. "We will mourn the church buildings that will no longer be used,” he said, recognizing people’s attachment to their parish churches.

“We recognize, however, that our faith is more than the buildings in which we have worshiped," he continued.

The fate of the church buildings will vary. A parish church in Bathgate is historically significant and will be donated to the Pembina County Historical Society. Parishioners already have razed another church building because it was in poor shape. Others may be kept open for occasional use as chapels or be given away to other churches.

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Church is most trustworthy institution for most Nicaraguans

Managua, Nicaragua, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - A national poll in Nicaragua has revealed that despite a general distrust of institutions, 70% of Nicaraguans consider the Catholic Church to be the most trustworthy institution in this Central American country.

The Communications Department and the Institute of Polls and Surveys of the Central American University (UCA) presented the results of the poll carried out between June and July of this year.

Respondents were asked what their level of trust was in various institutions, including the federal government, the Church, the Judicial Branch, the Police Force, and the Military among others.

The institutions which received the highest percentages were the Church with 70%, the media (63%) and non-governmental organizations (50%).

Coming in last were the federal government (24%), political parties (17%), and the National Assembly (20%).  The level of trust in the Judicial Branch and the Supreme Electoral Council was very low, at 26% and 30% respectively.

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Bishops of Dominican Republic call for support of new measures to confront country’s crisis

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Aug 23, 2004 (CNA) - The President of the Bishops Conference of the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Ramon de la Rosa, called on the government to “fully commit itself” to addressing the crisis the country faces, and he asked Dominicans to support the measures announced by newly elected President Leonel Fernandez.

Archbishop De la Rosa also explained that the weak economy means the country needs to be more austere, and he recommended the fostering of national and foreign investment.

For his part, the new president said he was inheriting a government “with a balance in the red,” and that “there is not one cent with which to begin to work.”

In order to address the crisis, President Fernandez promised to take measures to reduce government spending and to implement the tax reform proposed by the International Monetary Fund.

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