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Archive of October 17, 2010

At Davenport diocesan Mass, couples celebrate 50 years

Fairfield, Iowa, Oct 17, 2010 (CNA) - Couples who pray together stay together — at least according to some who’ve been married half a century. “Faith is a good foundation for a marriage,” said Carol Marlin, a member of Church of All Saints in Keokuk who’s been married to Francis Marlin for 50 years.

“We’ve always kept God in our marriage,” Francis Marlin said. “He has to be the main part of it.”

The parishioners were among about 20 couples who attended a Mass Oct. 10 at St. Mary Church in Fairfield for spouses celebrating their 50th anniversaries. The Davenport Diocese sponsors the Mass annually.

“I’m sure your very lives have preached a strong message over the years,” Bishop Martin Amos told couples in his homily. He joked that as a “professional bachelor,” he would nonetheless speak to them about marriage.

He offered three pieces of wisdom, the first of which was, “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.” He asked couples to think about their visions 50 years ago for their families. Perhaps those plans included a nice house, “two beautiful, highly intelligent, well behaved children” and a certain job.  “No doubt you got something quite different.”

Some people leave marriage because it didn’t measure up to their expectations, Bishop Amos noted. But mature people accept each other and adjust their dreams to reality.  “Without knowing the future, you took each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. It is a tribute to you and your love that you have remained faithful to those promises these many years.”

For the second bit of wisdom, the bishop noted that “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

“Fifty years ago, you probably saw each other as Mr. and Mrs. Perfect. But it didn’t take long to learn that he or she was not perfect.” In response to that realization, spouses might try to change their partners, he observed. But mature husbands and wives recognize each others’ flaws — and love their spouses anyway.

Finally, Bishop Amos said, “Love truly is patient; love is kind, not jealous or rude or self-seeking. It is not prone to anger or to brooding over injuries. And for that to happen there needs to be, as St. Paul said to the Colossians,  heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness and above all, love. That kind of love never fails.”

“…May God continue to bless each of you, your marriage, your families and your futures.”

After the Mass, in reflecting on the secrets to a long marriage, Carol Marlin echoed one piece of wisdom the bishop shared. “Not everyone’s perfect. You learn to adjust to them.”

She and other Catholics agreed commitment is vital. “It takes a lot of work — you can’t just bail out,” said Anne Erlandsen, a Church of All Saints parishioner who attended the Mass with husband Leon.

“You have to be positive that it’s going to work,” said Marlene Bentler. She and her husband, Ray, belong to St. John Parish in Houghton. Faith and prayers help, she said. And “We’ve both been fortunate we’ve had good health.”

Couples cited benefits of their commitment — especially family and grandchildren, Marlene Bentler and Francis Marlin each said. “We’re still playing cards together after 50 years,” she added of herself and Ray.

“It was rare to see 50th anniversaries years ago,” said Adrian Box, who belongs to St. John Parish with his wife, Carol. “We’re pretty lucky to make it to 50 years.”

Printed with permission from the Catholic Messenger, newspaper for the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa.

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Saint Luke, physician who chronicled Christ's life, to be celebrated October 18

Denver, Colo., Oct 17, 2010 (CNA) - On October 18, Catholics and other Christians around the world will celebrate the feast of St. Luke, the physician and companion of St. Paul whose gospel preserved the most extensive biography of Jesus Christ.

St. Luke wrote a greater volume of the New Testament than any other single author, including the earliest history of the Church. Ancient traditions also acknowledge Luke as the founder of Christian iconography, making him a patron of artists as well as doctors and other medical caregivers.

Luke came from the large metropolitan city of Antioch, a part of modern-day Turkey. In Luke's lifetime, his native city emerged as an important center of early Christianity. During the future saint's early years, the city's port had already become a cultural center, renowned for arts and sciences. Historians do not know whether Luke came to Christianity from Judaism or paganism, although there are strong suggestions that Luke was a gentile convert.

Educated as a physician in the Greek-speaking city, Luke was among the most cultured and cosmopolitan members of the early Church. Scholars of archeology and ancient literature have ranked him among the top historians of his time period, besides noting the outstanding Greek prose style and technical accuracy of his accounts of Christ's life and the apostles' missionary journeys.

Other students of biblical history adduce from Luke's writings that he was the only evangelist to incorporate the personal testimony of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose role in Christ's life emerges most clearly in his gospel. Tradition credits him with painting several icons of Christ's mother, and one of the sacred portraits ascribed to him – known by the title “Salvation of the Roman People”-- survives to this day in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Some traditions hold that Luke became a direct disciple of Jesus before his ascension, while others hold that he became a believer only afterward. After St. Paul's conversion, Luke accompanied him as his personal physician-- and, in effect, as a kind of biographer, since the journeys of Paul on which Luke accompanied him occupy a large portion of the Acts of the Apostles. Luke probably wrote this text, the final narrative portion of the New Testament, in the city of Rome where the account ends.

Luke was also among the only companions of Paul who did not abandon him during his final imprisonment and death in Rome. After the martyrdom of St. Paul in the year 67, St. Luke is said to have preached elsewhere throughout the Mediterranean, and possibly died as a martyr. However, even tradition is unclear on this point. Fittingly, the evangelist whose travels and erudition could have filled volumes, wrote just enough to proclaim the gospel and apostolic preaching to the world.

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Court sides with California firefighters forced to participate in gay pride parade

San Diego, Calif., Oct 17, 2010 (CNA) - Four firefighters in California who lodged a complaint against San Diego for being forced to participate in the city’s gay pride parade in 2007, won a court victory on Oct. 14.

On Thursday, less than a week after hearing an oral argument, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District upheld a jury verdict ruling that firefighters from the San Diego Fire Department (SDFD) should not have been mandated to take part in the city’s 2007 “Gay Pride Parade.”

According to the Alliance Defense Fund, the four from the SDFD claim they were sexually harassed through obscene gestures and cat calls at the event, which also featured displays of graphic images and behavior. Although the firefighters objected numerous times to taking part in the parade, the SDFD had disregarded their complaints.

“We hope this ruling will end the city’s attempts to defend its act of compelling people to participate in sexually-charged events against their moral and personal convictions,” said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco, co-counsel in the case.

“If not, we are prepared to continue to defend the firefighters all the way to the California Supreme Court.”

The court stated in its Oct. 14 ruling for the case of Ghiotto v. City of San Diego “that the record contains substantial evidence to support a finding that the sexual harassment experienced by the Firefighters during the Pride Parade was severe and pervasive, thus altering the conditions of employment and creating a hostile or abusive work environment.”

Charles S. LiMandri, the West Coast regional director of the Thomas More Law Center and an attorney with ADF, added that government “employees should never be forced to participate in events or acts that violate their sincerely held beliefs. The jury saw this, and the court wisely upheld that ruling.”

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Report: Catholic Hispanic voters still strong Democrats, but motivation to vote is weak

Washington D.C., Oct 17, 2010 (CNA) - A new survey finds that Catholic Hispanics strongly support Democrats for Congress in the November election, while Protestant Hispanics are closely divided.

The Pew Hispanic Center reports that 65 percent of Latino registered voters said they will support the Democratic congressional candidate, compared to 47 percent of registered voters overall. Twenty-two percent expressed support for the Republican candidate, compared to 44 percent of overall voters.

By a margin of 69 to 19 percent, Hispanic Catholics said they support Democrats over Republicans. However, 45 percent of Hispanic Protestants said they will support Democrats and 41 percent say Republicans.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about 64 percent of Hispanic registered voters are Catholic, while 22 percent are Protestant.

Only 32 percent of registered Latino voters said they had given the upcoming election “quite a lot of thought,” compared to half of all registered voters. Of Hispanic Republicans, 44 percent said they had paid significant attention to the upcoming election, while 28 percent of Hispanic Democrats said the same.

About 51 percent of Hispanic respondents told the survey they are absolutely certain they will vote, compared to 70 percent of the overall population.

Hispanic voters also tended to have a more favorable view of President Barack Obama. About 63 percent approved of his performance, compared to 47 percent of the general population. However, 51 percent said his policies have had no effect on Latinos while 26 percent expressed the view that they have been helpful.

The Pew Hispanic Center’s bilingual survey of 1,375 Latinos included 618 registered voters. For registered voters, the survey claims a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

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Benedict XVI: Six newest saints show faith can still be found

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict celebrated Sunday’s canonization Mass of the six newest saints in the Church as a “feast of holiness.” Alluding to the day’s Gospel readings, he declared that their prayerful lives are “shining examples” and proof that faith still can be found on earth.

The Vatican estimated attendance in St. Peter's Square at 50,000 as Pope Benedict XVI recognized the holiness and heroic virtue of six Catholics. In the Rite of Canonization, the Holy Father declared as saints Fr. Stanislaw Soltys, Br. Andre Bessette, Sr. Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria Y Barriola, Sr. Mary Of The Cross (Mary MacKillop), Sr. Giulia Salzano and Sr. Battista Camilla da Varano.

During his homily at the Mass, the Pope spoke of the celebration as a renewal of "the feast of holiness." Referring to Sunday's Gospel message in that context, he said that its "fundamental teaching" is "the need to always pray ceaselessly."

Pope Benedict noted that although the faithful might at times consider prayer tiresome and ineffective, being tempted to use human means to reach their goals, the Lord underscores the importance of prayer as in the parable in the Gospel reading.

In the passage from St. Luke, Jesus tells the story of the widow who must appeal to a dishonest judge to obtain justice. With persistence, she succeeds despite his contempt for her. The Lord asks how much more God will answer those who pray if this judge was convinced by the prayer of the widow.

"God in fact is generosity personified," said the Pope, "he is merciful, and therefore he is always willing to listen to prayers. Therefore we must never despair, but always persist in prayer."

He added that the Gospel reading’s concluding question of whether Jesus will find faith when he returns is an inspiration to an increase in faith, which is "essential as the basis for prayerful behavior.”

The pontiff said the six new saints offered for veneration sought to be such an inspiration.

Remembering each of the new saints, he paused particularly on Spain's St. Candida Maria de Jesus to answer that final question of the Gospel passage. Today, he explained, one can see "with relief and conviction" that there is faith on earth in the contemplation of figures such as her.

Known for her commitment to prayer, in 1871 St. Candida founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus in Salamanca, Spain to teach children and assist women. The order continues to function in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Pope Benedict gave thanks to God for the gift of holiness "which shines in the Church and is visible today on the faces of these our brothers and sisters." Noting Jesus' invitation for all to follow Him to obtain eternal life, he exhorted the faithful to be "drawn by these shining examples ... guided by their teachings, so that our existence might be a canticle of praise to God.

"Let the Virgin Mary and the intercession of the six new saints whom we venerate with joy today obtain for us this grace," he asked.

Before praying the Angelus at the end of Mass, he referred again to Mary "whom God put at the center of the great assembly of the saints.

"To her," he said, "we entrust all of the Church, so that, illuminated by their example and sustained by their intercession, she may walk with an ever new impulse towards the homeland of Heaven."

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Australians in Rome cheer canonization of ‘outback saint’ Mary MacKillop

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - After Pope Benedict's Sunday declaration of the six newest saints, some of the loudest cheers in St. Peter's Square came from Australians. They had reason to celebrate: their own Bl. Mary MacKillop had just become their country's first canonized saint.

Pope Benedict officially recognized her and five others as saints on Sunday morning.

Now known as St. Mary of the Cross, MacKillop founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. She focused particularly on the education of poor children.

She began the order’s work with a school in a stable the small town of Penola, Australia in 1866. Before her death many more educational institutions were established in "bush" areas where hardship was common.

Today, the "Josephites" are present across Australia and New Zealand, and have extended their ministry to Ireland, Peru, East Timor, Scotland and Brazil.

Official Vatican estimates for the Oct. 17 canonization put the number of ticket-holding Australians in attendance at a minimum of 6,000 people. They witnessed the Pope’s Latin-language declaration of their national hero's sainthood.

CNA spoke with some of the Australian pilgrims, who all said they had personally been touched by St. Mary of the Cross' ministry. Each one was happy to tell his or her story.

Toto Piccolo, an Italian missionary with the Neocatechumenal Way, has lived in Australia for more than 30 years. He led a group of pilgrims from Sydney to Rome to take part in the celebration.

In his view, the saint helps to give courage to Australian Catholics today. "In a secular society," he said, "she managed to give witness to Christ with her life." This is still relevant for Australia, which he called a “young” nation that can "go in any direction."

Rose Ingram, who had come with a group from the Western Australia city of Perth, felt privileged to be in Rome for the celebration. She said her group couldn't help but cheer the short biography of St. Mary of the Cross, read before the Holy Father declared her to be a saint.

The canonization is "just great" for Australia, she said. St. Mary was "champion of the poor" who took education "to the outback" and all over the nation, explained Ingram, herself a former student of the Josephites.

For Ingram, the canonization took on the character of a reunion. At the event she ran into former Josephite school directors who had worked in Perth but had moved on to Ireland and other parts of the world.

Also present were nineteen-year-olds Heidi Welsh and Charlotte King, who live in a boarding house for first-year university students called the MacKillop House near the Australia’s capital of Canberra. The young women welcomed the canonization of Australia's first saint.

 Particularly important to Welsh was that the first saint was a woman. "How awesome is that?" she exclaimed.

Thinking about the fact that MacKillop founded the order at 24 years old, she said that she still has a few years to put something together herself.

A pair of teachers, Bernie Maginnity and Amy Tabain, were chosen by New South Wales' Diocese of Wagga Wagga to head a group of 45 young people for the celebration. The youth came from all over Australia and also East Timor and New Zealand.

Maginnity said the canonization "was just the ultimate for us."

It was "spiritually uplifting," added Tabain. "She's a phenomenal Australian, an ordinary Australian who had an amazing vision and fulfilled the dream and the legacy that continues today through her work, through the Josephites and all the other ministries associated with that. She would be really proud today."

As teachers, she said, they strive to be as humble, dedicated and motivated as she was. Tabain explained that MacKillop's sainthood has an effect on all people regardless of religion and background in Australia and in the places where the Josephites continue the work MacKillop started.

Maginnity appraised her life in concise Australian terms, saying that the new saint is someone who sets an example as “a 'fair dinkum' Aussie battler, having a fair go, trying to help her mates.”

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