Archive of January 14, 2012

Pro-life ecumenism takes root in Oakland, Calif.

Oakland, Calif., Jan 14, 2012 (CNA) - The Rev. Walter Hoye is preparing for his fifth annual Standing Up 4Life Walk in Oakland, Calif. The rally will begin at noon Jan. 20 in front of Oakland City Hall at 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

“The speakers want to come to Oakland,” said the Rev. Hoye, who thanked West Coast Walk for Life founders Eva Muntean and Dolores Meehan for their assistance.

“Eva and Dolores work together to get communities of color involved,” he said.

The focus of the Oakland event is the impact of abortion on the minority community. The Rev. Hoye is one of the nation’s leaders in framing the abortion debate as a matter of genocide.

Speakers at the rally, who will also attend a benefit dinner later that day, include Lori Hoye, the Rev. Hoye’s wife and partner in the Issues4Life Foundation.

“She is a product of rape,” the Rev. Hoye said. “It’s not the conversation that comes up normally. She will get a chance to talk about what her life has been like.”

Also scheduled to speak are the Rev. Clenard Childress, senior pastor of the New Calvary Baptist Church in New Jersey and founder of; Dr. Vansen Wong, an obstetrician and gynecologist who will talk about his experiences as a former abortion provider; and Abby Brannan Johnson, author of “Unplanned,” her story of her move from Planned Parenthood employee to pro-life advocate.

Johnson spoke at last year’s Walk for Life in San Francisco.

“She’ll rally and walk with us and be with us at the cathedral,” Hoye said.

The hour-long rally in the Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland will be followed by a walk down Broadway to Eighth Street, and back up Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and across 14th Street back to the Frank Ogawa Plaza.

After the walk, leaders and speakers customarily gather for discussion. This year, they will gather at 4 p.m. at the parish hall at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland for conversation and dinner.

“This is the first time as a benefit,” said John Watkins, who coordinates social justice programs at the Diocese of Oakland. Space will be available for about 120 to attend the conversation and dinner. Reservations are required. Tickets are available at $30 for general admission, $15 for students.

“We’re happy to get some young people to come,” said the Rev. Hoye. “They ask wonderful questions.”

The smaller venue will offer the opportunity for the public to talk with the speakers and leaders, the Rev. Hoye said.

“The people will get a chance to talk and ask questions of the rally speakers,” he said. “They’ll be available to talk.”

Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Diocese of Oakland’s Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry and the Issues4Life Foundation, based in Union City, Calif.

An ecumenical prayer service will follow from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. The public is invited to attend the service. The Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, bishop of Oakland, and the Most Rev. Jaime Soto, bishop of Sacramento, Calif. will be among the speakers.

Also expected are Bishop Robert Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church, and Bishop R.D. Garrison Jr. of Judah the Gathering Place of Ministry Unto Jesus, both of Oakland.

“This is beautiful,” said the Rev. Hoye. “Every year we alternate venues to integrate the denominations. Bishop Vigneron (former bishop of Oakland) started this in 2008. Bishop Cordileone sees the vision of bringing all God’s people together.”

Prayers will reflect scriptural passages about life, Hoye said. The heart of the service is the offering of roses.

“Those who have suffered loss get the opportunity to bring up a rose, to represent their child at the altar,” the Rev. Hoye said.

In previous years, it has been a highly emotional moment.

“When we got to the rose ceremony, we are all sharing the same pain. Everybody cried.”

Posted with permission from The Catholic Voice, newspaper for the Diocese of Oakland, Calif.

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Evangelization campaign to launch in 12 European cities

Vatican City, Jan 14, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Church leaders from 12 major European dioceses who are hope to re-evangelize their cities during Lent 2012 met this week in Rome to finalize plans for a new initiative called “Metropolitan Missions.”

“The climate of unity among the cities that share same project was very strong,” Auxiliary Bishop Jean Kockerols of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium told CNA at the conclusion of the Jan. 9 meeting.

“It was very interesting to hear from the other 11 cities who are working on the same priority,” he added.

Also represented were the Metropolitan Archdioceses of Barcelona, Budapest, Cologne, Dublin, Lisbon, Liverpool, Paris, Turin, Warsaw and Vienna. The meeting was hosted by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, which is headed by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.

The Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels is calling its Lenten series of events “Metropolis 2012 – Paths of Conversion.” The organizers plan for the Feb. 22 – April 15 series to create a stir in the Belgian capital by making “everyone more aware of what it means to be Christian.”

The Cathedral Church of Sts. Michael and Gudula will host one of the events, which will involve five afternoons of testimonies on the theme of “conversion paths.” The gatherings will feature a series of famous Belgians reading and reflecting upon passages of the Confessions of St. Augustine.

On Palm Sunday, 15 churches across Brussels will open their doors for anyone to visit and, over a cup of coffee, ask any questions about the Catholic faith. The Sacrament of Penance will also be available.

On Good Friday, April 6, there will be an all-day reading of the Gospel of St. Mark in the historic downtown church Notre-Dame-du-Finistère. This will also be broadcast on large screens in the streets surrounding the church. The chapters and verses of the Gospel will be interspersed with musical interludes played by violin and harp.

Meanwhile, both Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard and his auxiliary Bishop Jean Kockerols are planning to touring parishes to provide teachings sessions on the Catholic faith. Many other events at the parish level are also promised.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization was established in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He said he wanted it to “promote a renewed evangelization” in traditionally Christian countries which are living in a “progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.’”

This year’s “metropolitan missions” are the first of their kind. If deemed successful, they could be introduced elsewhere around the world, including the United States, in the coming years.

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Catholic pilgrims from Miami archdiocese to join Pope in Cuba

Miami, Fla., Jan 14, 2012 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Miami is organizing a pilgrimage to Cuba for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Thomas Wenski announced Jan. 12.

“We travel in solidarity with the Church in Cuba – and in response to their invitation to share with them this historic event,” he said at a Jan. 12 press conference. “The Pope travels to Cuba as a pilgrim of charity. We go to Cuba in the same spirit.”

The archbishop cited the Spanish-language theme of the visit, “A Jesus por Maria, la Caridad nos une,” which means “To Jesus through Mary, love makes us one.” 

Pope Benedict’s March 26-28 visit comes as the Catholic Church in Cuba celebrates the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the statue of Our Lady of Charity in waters off the coast of Cuba. Pope Benedict XV declared her the patroness of Cuba in 1916.

Pilgrims from the Miami archdiocese will travel to Cuba under two possible plans. One includes stops in both Santiago and Havana, while the other another includes a trip to Havana alone. The archdiocese’s travel agency is awaiting final permits for the aircraft.

The travel arrangements will be handled by a travel agency authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. All legal guidelines will be followed, the archbishop said.

The U.S. and Cuban governments have been at odds since the Cuban communists took power in 1959. Travel between the island country and the U.S. is heavily restricted.

“Since this travel is for religious purposes one does not need to be Cuban or Cuban-American in order to travel to participate in the papal visit,” Archbishop Wenski explained.

The first set of Miami pilgrims plan to leave Miami for Santiago, Cuba on March 26. The group will travel to the city’s Plaza de la Revolucion Antonio Maceo, where Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass for the Feast of the Annunciation.

They will then fly to the capital city of Havana, where they may be joined by other American pilgrims who are planning to stop only in Havana.

On March 27, Archbishop Thomas Wenski will celebrate Mass in Havana’s cathedral. The next day the group will attend the papal Mass at the Plaza de la Revolucion Jose Marti. They will leave Havana for Miami on March 29.

The archbishop told the Miami Herald he expects several hundred pilgrims from South Florida to participate. Many Cuban expatriates, exiles and refugees have settled in the Miami area.

Relations between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government have improved in recent years thanks to ongoing dialogue between Raul Castro and Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana.

Archbishop Wenski told the Herald that he hopes the papal trip will promote “the reconciliation of people” and will “affirm the faith of the Church” and perhaps “open up Cuban society to the world.”

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