Archive of July 10, 2010

Illinois headband designer making charity fashionable

Champaign, Ill., Jul 10, 2010 (CNA) - She started a trend and a business in high school creating colorful headbands, but the best part of Gina Hinders’ story centers on her heart and how she is making charity fashionable.

“I decided from the get-go I would do it for charity,” said Gina, who made good on that pledge by recently donating the first $900 of profit from her headband business to Catholic Charities of Champaign, Illinois. The funds will be used to buy gift cards for birthmothers in the adoption program.

The “get-go” was last fall, when Gina began offering for sale the headbands she had been crafting and wearing since her freshman year. The fashion trend was catching on among her friends, so Regina created a Facebook site -- “Regina Hinders Headbands” -- to display her latest designs and invite purchases.

“A lot have been sold to classmates, but sometimes orders come from people in the area,” she said of the plastic headbands, which Gina wraps with ribbon or cloth and tops with jeweled flowers or other decorations. In addition to headbands, the site also offers other hair accessories such as decorative clips and barrettes.

That Gina would decide to help others with her time and profit continues a trend of giving the energetic young woman had already established in her high school years. She was a student volunteer for three summers at Carle Hospital, volunteered at an elderly day care for a week during Catholic Heart Work Camp in 2008, and for three years coordinated her school’s Empty Bowl Fundraiser to feed hungry people in the Champaign area.

A four-year member of the varsity basketball team, she received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award in 2009 and was named the girl’s recipient of her school’s highest honor -- the St. Thomas More Award -- this spring. In an unusual family twist, her first cousin Paul Perona earned a similar honor this spring at St. Bede Academy in Peru, where he was named Senior of the Year.

The middle child of five born to Kevin and Mary Hinders -- members of St. Matthew’s Parish -- Gina said it was her mother who suggested Catholic Charities as the beneficiary of her business success.

“I knew they were a solid Catholic organization which supported pro-life efforts in our community,” Mary Hinders told The Catholic Post. Mrs. Hinders was aware that Renee Eifert, a social worker with Catholic Charities, is “doing wonderful things for birth moms.”

The Hinders family actively supports the pro-life movement. They have participated in the national March for Life and prayed at Planned Parenthood in Champaign. Mrs. Hinders sees Gina’s support of Catholic Charities as “an extension of our pro-life effort.”

Her sisters Maria, Christiana, and Julia model the headbands for Gina’s Facebook site. Some of the costume jewels she incorporates formerly belonged to her great-grandmother. Gina said family members and friends have offered to help manufacture the hair accessories -- which can take an hour or more of labor each -- but the charitable entrepreneur admits she’s a “control freak” about their creation.

She continues to improve her craft and says the designs are getting more extravagant. “I’ve started to make them with feathers,” said Gina.

This fall, Gina will continue making the headbands from her room at Newman Hall at the University of Illinois. “I’ll probably get a good response there,” she said, already looking ahead. While art is a hobby, she has yet to decide on a college major, leaning toward pre-med with a Spanish minor.

Meanwhile, word about her business is spreading in other ways. She was featured on a WCIA-TV “Kid to Know” segment on June 15.

Gina has long hair, but says the headbands complement any hair length. They sell for $10, while clips and barrettes are $5 to $7. She will create custom designs or duplicate existing ones shown on her Facebook site, which contains contact and ordering information.

Gina wears her products often, but doesn’t offer them all for sale. “Sometimes they’re just too cute to give away,” she said.

Printed with permission from The Catholic Post, newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria, Ill.

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Critics decry Federal ruling against Defense of Marriage Act

Boston, Mass., Jul 10, 2010 (CNA) - In response to a federal judge in Massachusetts ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, critics of the move warned it could trigger “another culture war” and accused Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and the Obama administration of having “deliberately sabotaged” their defense of the case.

On July 8, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in two cases brought by the state Attorney General Martha Coakley and a homosexual activist group.

In the case brought forward by Coakley, Judge Tauro declared that DOMA compels Massachusetts to discriminate against its own residents to receive federal funds for certain programs, the New York Times reported.

The other case, brought by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), focused on the question of equal protection concerning a small number of federal benefits. The judge agreed that the federal law violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by denying benefits to one class of “married couples,” homosexuals, but not others.

"This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status,” the judge ruled, according to the New York Times.

He said the enactment and enforcement of DOMA “plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state.”

More than 15,000 same-sex “marriages” have been contracted in Massachusetts since a 2004 state court ruling required the practice to be recognized by law. Those in same-sex “marriages” reportedly do not receive Social Security survivors’ payments, do not have guaranteed work leave for a sick “spouse,” and cannot file taxes jointly.

In 1996 DOMA passed the U.S. House by a vote of 342-67. It passed the Senate by 85-14 and was signed by President Bill Clinton. The legislation defined marriage for federal purposes and protected states which do not recognize same-sex “marriage” from being forced to do so.

Mary Bonauto of GLAD praised Thursday’s decisions. According to the New York Times, she said “Today, the court simply affirmed that our country won't tolerate second-class marriages.”

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), told the Associated Press that the rulings constituted “judicial activism” and deemed Judge Tauro to be “a rogue judge.”

"We can't allow the lowest common denominator states, like Massachusetts, to set standards for the country," Lafferty said, noting that voters have consistently rejected same-sex “marriage” at the ballot box.

In a Thursday statement Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), charged that under the guidance of then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who is now a Supreme Court nominee, “Obama’s justice department deliberately sabotaged this case.”

The Justice Department’s brief described DOMA as discriminatory.

"With only Obama to defend DOMA, this federal judge has taken the extraordinary step of overturning a law passed by huge bipartisan majorities and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996,” Brown continued. “A single federal judge in Boston has no moral right to decide the definition of marriage for the people of the United States.”

According to NOM, despite DOMA language saying that it was designed to protect children’s rights to their mothers and fathers, the judge disavowed that DOMA had anything to do with “responsible procreation.”

"Does this federal judge want to start another culture war?" asked Maggie Gallagher, NOM chairman. "Does he really want another Roe v. Wade?”

Gallagher said that since the late nineteenth century, when Congress banned polygamy, the federal government has had the “clear” right to define marriage for the purposes of federal law and federal territories.

“Only an incompetent defense could have lost this case. We expect to win in a higher court," she commented.

Tom McClusky, senior vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), expressed confidence that the “erroneous” decision would be overturned on appeal.

“The federal DOMA does not violate equal protection principles and has not interfered with Massachusetts' freedom to determine its own definition of marriage,” he stated. He too blamed the decision on the “deliberately weak legal defense” mounted by the Obama administration, which he noted has called for repeal of the law.

According to ABC News, Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said that the Obama administration was "reviewing the decision" and had not yet decided whether to further defend the law in court.

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Despite language difficulties, Community of St. John begins youth ministry in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jul 10, 2010 (CNA) - Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported that the Community of St. John was recently asked by an archdiocese in Ethiopia to head the local youth ministry, despite a lack of familiarity the brothers have with the country's 80 languages.

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa asked the community – which was founded in France– to provide chaplains who would set up a youth ministry program for the archdiocese.

Br. Iovane, who is one of three brothers who went to Ethiopia, told ACN that one of the biggest challenges has been learning a new language.

The brother said he along with the other two have spent three hours a day learning Amharic, the country's official language, but one of 80 spoken in Ethiopia. He then explained how the language has similar roots to Hebrew, with an alphabet that has as many as 277 different characters.

Despite the difficulties of learning the complicated language, the new youth chaplain said that any challenges pale in comparison to the higher calling of the work he has been sent to do alongside his community.

“You have to know why you’re here. If you are here on mission, then it’s (God’s) will to spread his word to the end of the earth, as it says in Matthew’s Gospel.”

“You have to speak the language to communicate with the young people – it’s not a question of whether it’s difficult or not,” he added. “What matters is that it’s what the Lord is calling me to do.”

“When you switch on the light sometimes it doesn’t come on, when you turn on the tap sometimes no water comes out, but this is not an issue compared to the mission we have from the Lord.”

The three brothers arrived shortly after the archdiocese conducted a survey asking the youth what they wanted from the Church, with the results showing that they desired more formation in the faith. In response, the brothers have organized interactive teaching sessions, concerts, festivals and other community youth events.

Speaking on the fervent faith of the Addis Ababa Catholic youth, Br. Iovane said they “have a faith, a sense of adoration through liturgy that is just amazing, I’ve never seen that anywhere else – and I’m not talking about Eucharistic Adoration – what I mean is while singing at the entrance of Mass they are connected to God, worshiping God in a personal context.

“If they build a life on that faith they will triumph.”

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Vatican claims net financial loss, sees improvement over 2009

Vatican City, Jul 10, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican's accounts continue to run in the red but have improved from last year, the Holy See announced on Saturday. Deficits from the past are gradually being reabsorbed.

Three days of meetings took place this week between members of the Council of Cardinals, the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and the Vatican City State Governorate. The sessions focused on organizational and economic matters of the Holy See and the governorate in 2009.

Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, president of the prefecture and incidentally named the Pontifical delegate to the Legion of Christ on Friday, reported a nearly $5.2 million deficit for 2009 in the Holy See's balance sheet, which contained over $321 million in expenses.

On a positive note, the Holy See's statement explained that the "negative fluctuations" which had been "suspended" in 2008 were "absorbed" this year. Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told journalists that these "fluctuations" amounted to between eight and ten million Euro ($10.1-12.6 million).

Expenses largely result from the activities of Vatican dicasteries and other bodies, including Vatican Radio, that "participate in the pastoral care of the Pontiff of the Universal Church."

The Governorate of the Vatican City State, which is economically independent from the Holy See, reported a deficit of $9.8 million, a little less than half of last year's declared shortfall. While the negative figure was attributed to the effects of the global economic crisis, its "containment" gave the governorate the opportunity to regain momentum from financial losses in 2008.

The Vatican statement underscored that the administration of the governorate does not depend on contributions from the Holy See and that it "autonomously confronts its own economic necessities."

Among the most notable costs during 2009 were those for a study carried out for a new communications infrastructure, improvements to the Vatican Museums, the care of Vatican patrimony which includes all of the Papal basilicas, security within the Vatican and restructuring of the Vatican Apostolic Library.

The three major sources of income for 2009 were contributions from Peter's Pence of $81.5 million, from the Catholic dioceses of the world of $31.5 million and from other institutions including the Vatican's Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) which donated $63.2 million.

The statement concluded with words of gratitude from members of the Council of Cardinals to all who, "in a generous and often anonymous way, sustain the apostolic and charitable ministry of the Holy Father in service of the Universal Church."

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Papal nuncio to Haiti: Six months later, 'We still need help'

Rome, Italy, Jul 10, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - As the six-month milestone since a devastating earthquake left the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in tatters nears, the work of rebuilding continues slowly. Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, told Fides news agency that, simply put, "there is still much left to do."

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that took place on Jan. 12 severely damaged much of the city, including many Church buildings.

Referring to the still poor roads and living conditions in the capital, Archbishop Auza observed that "it seems that the earthquake just happened yesterday!"

Some people remain without shelter and "do not see a way out," he added.

The papal nuncio cited the difficulty being encountered by reconstruction efforts as "fundamentally linked" to the formation of a commission to lead the charge. With the finalization of a commission to guide and oversee reconstruction efforts, the archbishop said that "it seems that now they can finally get to work."

The Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), a joint Haitian and international commission led by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, was established on June 17 to oversee the rebuilding of the country.

Archbishop Auza also surveyed Church reconstruction efforts and needs.

Even though much of the funding for archdiocesan projects has come from Catholics worldwide, new building requires government permits. Despite the lack of a government "sign" to go ahead on the variety of projects to be carried out, Archbishop Auza still hopes that the "priority project" will begin by the one-year anniversary of the disaster.

This major effort consists of building two national Haitian seminaries. With the encouragement from the bishops' conferences "of our brother nations," he said, the hope of the Church of Haiti "is to lay the first stone or offer some concrete possibility on the first anniversary of the earthquake on Jan. 12, 2011."

The U.S.-based Florida Catholic reported in June that, besides this major project, other "priority long-range reconstruction sites" in the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese include rebuilding the city's Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, the archdiocesan-owned hospital and damaged parishes.

Asked what his appeal would be to the world at this point, the nuncio told Fides, "Simply, that everyone sees that there is still much left to do. We still need help.

"We thank the Bishops of Haiti, the Holy See, and the international community for supporting us in the reconstruction. The Catholic Church has this priority: the reconstruction of the churches and seminaries."

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