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Archive of August 2, 2009

Meal site temporarily serving hungry at garage

Davenport, Iowa, Aug 2, 2009 (CNA) - The demolition of a parish rectory did not stop a dedicated group at St. Anthony’s Parish in Davenport, IA from serving meals to the hungry five days a week.  When they were left without a location to operate from, McAnthony Window simply moved into the parish garage.

 

The window is temporarily operating out of the garage until the parish’s new hall is completed next spring. Anywhere from 125-175 people are served a sandwich, soup, treat and coffee Monday through Friday from 9-11 a.m. at McAnthony Window.

 

For years, it had been located in the St. Anthony rectory. Volunteers made sandwiches and soup in the kitchen and served the food from a window.

 

Fr. Jack Gallagher, St. Anthony’s pastor, was adamant that the service continue, even after the rectory was demolished to make room for the new parish hall. There had been talk among some people to discontinue the meal service during construction.

 

Dennis Flaherty, the parish’s business manager, said the mission to serve the poor would not stop.  The parish decided the old rectory garage would remain standing during construction so McAnthony Window could operate on the parish campus.

 

Last month, the garage door was sealed, the building cleaned out, new lighting, a door for volunteers’ use and a sliding window installed and an air conditioning unit added. Heating will be available during cooler weather, Flaherty said. “This has been a labor of love,” he noted.

 

Anne Morey, McAnthony Window supervisor, said the transition went well — which included moving three refrigerators, a freezer, cabinets and countertops to the garage.

 

It has about the same amount of space as in the rectory, but items are easier to access, she said. The temporary site has been approved by the Scott County Health Department.

 

Fifteen percent of the weekend collection from St. Anthony Parish goes to the Care and Share program, which includes funding for McAnthony Window, Flaherty said. Financial and food donations from businesses and individuals also help support the window.

 

Flaherty said schools and scout troops sometimes make sandwiches and have a teacher, coach or leader deliver the food.

 

“I think the kids are more humble when they realize how this benefits others,” Flaherty said.

 

If a delivery includes too many loaves of bread or sweets for McAnthony Window to use, those items are donated to Café on Vine and other organizations that serve hungry people.

 

The number of people served at McAnthony Window has increased slightly in the past year, Morey said, particularly during the end of the month when money is tight.

 

During warm weather, cookouts are usually planned for the last Friday of the month. Care and Share pays for some of the cookouts while individual donors pay for others.

 

“Our window and other service organizations are always looking for volunteers,” Flaherty said. “Consider turning off your TV and help others — wherever that might be.”

 

Printed with permission from The Catholic Messenger, newspaper of the diocese of Davenport, Iowa.

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Catholics to honor St. John Vianney 150 years after his death

CNA STAFF, Aug 2, 2009 (CNA) -

On Tuesday, August 4, the Church will celebrate the feast day of St. John Vianney, patron of priests.  This day will mark the 150th anniversary of the saint’s death and comes during the newly-begun Year for Priests.

John Vianney, also known as the Holy Curé de Ars, was born May 8, 1786 in Dardilly, near Lyon, France to a family of farmers. He was ordained a priest in 1815 and became curate in Ecully. He was then sent to the remote French community of Ars in 1818 to be a parish priest.

Upon his arrival, the priest immediately began praying and working for the conversion of his parishioners. Although he saw himself as unworthy of his mission as pastor, he allowed himself to be consumed by the love of God as he served the people. 

Vianney slowly helped to revive the community’s faith through both his prayers and the witness of his lifestyle. He gave powerful homilies on the mercy and love of God, and it is said that even staunch sinners were converted upon hearing him.  In addition, he restored his church, formed an orphanage, “La Providence,” and cared for the poor.

His reputation as a confessor grew rapidly, and pilgrims traveled from all over France to come to him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Firmly committed to the conversion of the people, he would spend up to 16 hours a day in the confessional.

Plagued by many trials and besieged by the devil, the St. John Vianney remained firm in his faith, and lived a life of devotion to God.  Dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, he spent much time in prayer and practiced much mortification. He lived on little food and sleep, while working without rest in unfailing humility, gentleness, patience and cheerfulness, until he was well into his 70s.

John Vianney died on August 4, 1859. Over 1,000 people attended his funeral, including the bishop and priests of the diocese, who already viewed his life as a model of priestly holiness.

The Holy Curé of Ars was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925.  He is the patron of priests.  Over 450,000 pilgrims travel to Ars every year in remembrance of his holy life.

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of St. John Vianney’s death, this year has been declared the Year for Priests by Pope Benedict XVI.  The Pope inaugurated the Year for Priests on June 19, and wrote a Letter to Clergy, encouraging all priests to look to the Curé of Ars as an example of dedication to one’s priestly calling.

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Equality directive could be used to restrict Catholics, U.K. bishops warn

London, England, Aug 2, 2009 (CNA) - The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales as well as the  Scottish Bishops’ Conference have submitted a joint response to an EU proposal for an Equal Treatment Directive. The bishops voiced “serious concerns” that the proposal—which covers religion, belief, disability, age and sexual orientation—could be used by “pressure groups” to limit the freedom of Catholics.

Beginning their statement on the European Commission’s proposed directive, the Bishops’ Conferences said the Catholic Church commends the “moral principle” underlying the bill “on the basis of the innate dignity of every person as made in the image of God.”

The statement said that the Church is not seeking “special provisions” or exemptions from “universally applicable requirements” and also reiterated Catholics’ recognition of the freedom of groups in disagreement with Catholic teaching.

“What the Church is seeking from this Directive is simply the right to maintain its own teaching and activities with integrity, according to its own ethos,” the statement said. “As the Directive covers religion, belief, disability, age and sexual orientation, it is inevitable that circumstances will arise where the right to equal treatment under the directive will involve competing rights, either within a protected characteristic or between them, given the incompatibility of some of the beliefs concerned.”

The Bishops’ Conferences warned of the risk that the directive may be turned into an “instrument of oppression” against one or another group. Clarity was needed, their statement stressed.

“Discrimination under this Directive is not restricted to employment, and so this subjective approach to harassment will apply in all walks of life, including academic discourses, sermons, theatre, television and radio discussions,” they continued.

“Various pressure groups” they warned, may use the directive’s provision to “curtail the expression of views they disagree with by the simple expedient of declaring themselves to be offended.”

“Homosexual groups campaigning for same sex marriage may declare themselves offended by the presentation of the Catholic Church’s moral teaching on homosexual acts; Catholics may declare themselves offended by a ‘Gay Pride’ march; an atheist may be offended by religious pictures in art gallery; a Muslim may be offended by any picture representing the human form.”

Acknowledging that freedom of expression should be used “with due regards to others’ feelings,” the bishops said a more objective standard than “offensiveness” was necessary.

Other vague parts of the directive, the Bishops’ Conferences said, made it unclear whether a church hall which refused to book a group of witches would be considered discriminatory.

Some of the directive’s rules “could have the effect of requiring Catholic organizations to act against their ethos,” the conferences’ statement warned.

The statement was signed by Msgr. Andrew Summersgill, the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

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College football star Tim Tebow says he is ‘saving himself for marriage’

Hoover, Ala., Aug 2, 2009 (CNA) - Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow brought chastity and college sports together at a press conference last week at U.S. college football’s SEC Media Days when one reporter asked him if he was “saving himself for marriage.”

The question, asked by FanHouse.com reporter Clay Travis, prompted laughter from Tebow and other media members in the audience before the University of Florida athlete replied:

“Yes I am.”

Smiling and noting the reporters’ reactions, he added: “I think y'all were stunned by that… first time ever! Wow…”

“I was prepared for that question, I don’t think y'all were,” he added, laughing with the rest of the room.
In other remarks at the conference, he discussed how the story of his birth and his mother’s resistance of doctors’ pressure to abort has affected others.

Tebow’s parents were Christian missionaries in the Philippines. His mother had contracted a life-threatening infection while pregnant with him, but she refused medical advice to abort the unborn Tim Tebow.

At the press conference, the football star said he believes the publicity his mother’s story has received has helped other women decide not to abort their children, LifeSiteNews.com reports.

“There have been a lot of people that have been encouraged not to have an abortion because they heard the story of my mom, or they have been encouraged because they have heard me give my faith on TV or in a report or something,” he stated.

Saying that there has been a “backlash,” he said he will “deal with it if I have to.”

“It's not a big deal to me because of the kids and people that have been encouraged by the stories we have tried to tell and by the life that I've tried to live,” he remarked.

Tebow was the first homeschooled athlete to win the Heisman Trophy.

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Benedict XVI points priests to August saints for inspiration

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 2, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI led the Angelus prayer for faithful gathered on Sunday in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo. He spoke to those present about the numerous saints whose feasts are celebrated in August and how their lives can serve as models for priests in the Year for Priests.

Thinking of the just-initiated Year for Priests, Pope Benedict called it a “precious occasion to deepen the value of the priestly mission in the Church and in the world.”

As priests seek to grow deeper in their vocation, Pope Benedict pointed to the examples of several saints, whose feast days are celebrated in August.

“Yesterday was the liturgical memorial of St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, great master of moral theology and model of Christian and pastoral virtue, always attentive to the religious needs of the people,” he recalled. “Today we contemplate in St. Francis of Assisi the ardent love for salvation of souls, which every priest must constantly nurture.”

“In order to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney I declared the Year for Priests,” the Pope reminded. “I will speak about this humble pastor, who constitutes a model of priestly life not only for pastors, but for all priests, during the catechesis of the upcoming Wednesday’s general audience.”

“On August 7, there is the memorial of St. Cajetan of Thiena, who said that ‘not with sentimental love, but with love of facts do we purify souls,” the Holy Father said. On August 8, there is the feast of St. Dominic, of whom it is said that when “he opened his mouth it was to either speak of God in prayer or to speak of God.”

Benedict XVI also noted the 31st anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI, who died at Castel Gandolfo on August 6, 1978.

Pope Paul VI, Benedict observed, was a man who with “His life, so profoundly priestly and so rich in humanity, remains in the Church a gift for which to thank God. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, aid priests to be totally in love with Christ, following the examples of these models of priestly holiness.”

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Muslims burn 6 Christians to death after false allegations

Lahore, Pakistan, Aug 2, 2009 (CNA) - Religious extremists struck again in Pakistan on Saturday when a violent mob of Muslims looted and burned a Christian neighborhood, killing six Christians by burning them to death. The attacks took place in reaction to a rumor that the Koran was desecrated in a nearby village.

The violence, which took place in the central Punjab town of Gojra City, occurred early on Saturday when a throng of Muslims surged into the Christian quarter, setting all 40 of the Christian houses and two churches aflame.

As the crowd of Muslims approached Gojra City, Christians fired shots at them in self-defense.

Six Christians—four women, a man and a 7 year-old child—were burned to death in the attacks.

The rioters were enraged by the alleged desecration of the Koran in the village of Koriyan, about two miles away.

However, Rana Sanaullah, provincial minister for law, who is also responsible for security matters of Punjab, said that an initial investigation found there was no desecration of the Koran. "It was just a rumor which was exploited by anti-state elements to create chaos," he said.

According to locals, the police observed the looting and burning, but took no action. “Though police was present at the time of attack, miscreants were not stopped by them,” local Christians complained. After some time, the police tried to stop the protesters, but the mob turned on the police, resulting in some injuries.

According to Minorities Concern of Pakistan, “this is the third incident in the last two months of this kind in Punjab province in which Christian localities were attacked due to alleged blasphemy.”

Christians make up just 1.5 percent of the total population of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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