Archive of October 25, 2013

Catholic sports group immerses athletes in richness of faith

Vatican City, Oct 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - In light of recent events at the Vatican honoring the bond of sports and faith, one catholic organization revealed their goal to both evangelize through sports, as well as form athletes on an integral level.

“We work to support athletes by providing them the Sacraments and once they are properly catechized and formed we encourage them and try to promote them to go out and try to share the Good News, to share their faith as applied in their sport and that's our evangelization component,” Ray McKenna told CNA in an Oct. 20 interview.

McKenna is the founder and president of Catholic Athletes for Christ, which was formed as a response to Bl. John Paul II's call to evangelize the world of sports.

Speaking if the organization's close collaboration with the Vatican's Office for Sports, McKenna stressed that “some of the fruits are there's interest in sports and the Church's perspective on sports.”

“One of the things we wish to share is the rich teaching history of the Church and many people are unaware of that,” he noted, recalling how St. Paul, who whom they refer to as “the first sports writer,” spoke used the analogies of a “prize fight, a race,” and “running for an eternal crown.”

The organization's president also reflected on the “brilliant, excellent, explication” from many different Pope's on the subject of the theology of sports, beginning with an encyclical of Pius XII in which he spoke “beautifully” about “the proper interaction between the body, mind and the soul.”

“Sadly,” he noted, “a lot of people just look at it as a pursuit of the body.”

McKenna also spoke of retired pontiff Benedict XVI, stressing that he “has given one of the most beautiful, I think, discussions of why sports is important,” which is interesting because the former Pope “is not an athlete per se.”

Recalling how during his papacy Benedict was asked in an audience why sports are important to God, Mckenna noted that the pontiff's response was that “Yes God cares about sports because God cares about man and man cares about sports. So anything that is important to man is important to God.”

“Man is created by God the Father, created in the image of God, recreated by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and daily renewed by the Holy Spirit,” McKenna stated, paraphrasing the words of the former Pope.

“So the Trinitarian approach of the Church to sports, and then obviously the next logical step is that sports should reflect properly understood and therefore God.”

As for Pope Francis' take on the matter, the organization's president drew attention to the fact that he constantly emphasizes the need for the Church to “go into the culture and engage the culture,” stressing that this is part of the mission of Catholic Athletes for Christ.

“What we do is to go share the Good News in a pro-active way.”

Often in the secular world, especially within sports, McKenna noted that the Church's teachings are viewed as “black and white and condemning.”

He urged that a big part of the mission of his organization is to show that “the Church's teachings are much more beautiful and richer than that,” stressing that “they give you is a new perspective on life, a new way of life,” which “can get lost if it's a simplistic understanding of rights and wrongs as opposed to a holistic understanding of the human person as engaged in sports.”

As a means of attaining this holistic care, Catholic Athletes for Christ provides to opportunity for their players to receive the Sacraments, primarily Mass and confessions, at their sporting venues.

Proudly announcing new initiatives within the organization, McKenna highlighted a new diocesan-wide high school program which will be launching in the diocese of Trenton, N.J. under Bishop David O'Connell.

“We're really excited,” he said, “our first focus was on the professional athlete, then the Olympic athlete, the collegiate athlete, and now we have something to offer” for younger athletes.

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Evangelization training to be held blocks from White House

Washington D.C., Oct 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The lay evangelization training program Catholic Voices will bring its next group training to within blocks of the White House, as it teaches Catholics how to share the message of the Catholic faith.

The next training session will take place at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., which “hosts the closest tabernacle to the White House,” Kathryn Lopez, director of  Catholic Voices USA, told CNA Oct. 23.

“Where better to gather to work to better communicate the light of faith? Heaven knows politics could use a dose of illumination, liberated from ideology and other idols, as Pope Francis might put it!”

Lopez explained that “people love the Catholic Church and they want to follow our baptismal, Gospel mandate to go and teach all nations. As a Church, we have to help one another. Catholic Voices does this.”

Catholic Voices USA is an offshoot of a British organization which was formed to explain the significance and truth of the Catholic Church’s teachings in advance of  Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.K. in 2010.

The U.S. branch was formed in 2012 “ to prepare lay Catholics to share our faith through the media, in presentations and in public discussions and debates,” Scot Landry, executive director of the group, told CNA.

“Our objective is the same: to ensure that the perspectives shared by Catholics in the media are reflective of the views of ordinary, joyful, faith-filled Catholics,” he said, explaining that the training helps Catholics to discuss their faith and “hot-button issues in which Catholic teaching is often misunderstood or attacked” in a “concise – media-friendly – and compelling way.”

The upcoming workshop will take place on Nov. 15-17. The Catholic Information Center, where the sessions will be held,  is a “natural” choice to host the next training, the directors said.

Mitch Boersma, chief operating officer of the Catholic Information Center explained that the downtown D.C. bookstore and chapel is “the intellectual and cultural hub of Catholic life in Washington” and is “committed to re-introducing the truths of the faith into the national dialogue.”

Boersma added that hosting the training at the Catholic Information Center can help evangelization efforts in the city as well.  “DC is teeming with Catholics professionals eager to grow in their faith and bring the joy of that faith to their jobs, families, and communities,” he said.

“By partnering with CVUSA for this workshop, we hope to provide them with a platform in the heart of the capital to bring their vital evangelizing work to a city in desperate need of the Good News!”

Landry encouraged all Catholics “who have a love for our faith, a growing knowledge of Church teaching, and a desire to help it be better understood” to apply for the program.

Lopez assured that this Washington, D.C. training is just the beginning of Catholic Voices’ goal “to share these gifts with as many as desire to be articulate, soulful Christian communicators as is possible.”

“We’re all called to communicate the Gospel with those around us.”

“People are encouraged, and nourished, and renewed when they see others embracing and highlighting and learning the teachings of the Church. We’re in this together on the road, we pray, to heaven.”

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Colorado parish cultivates 'new evangelization' spirit

Denver, Colo., Oct 25, 2013 (CNA) - A Denver-area parish’s mission week seeks new and creative ways to bring people to church and to encourage Catholics to create “a culture of the new evangelization.”

“The goal is creating a parish that is an evangelizing parish … a place where we come and grow together, and go out and spread the good news,” Father Daniel Cardo, pastor of Holy Name parish, told CNA Oct. 24.

Fr. Cardo said the parish, in the south Denver suburb of Sheridan, has tried to avoid a typical mission practice of hosting a speaker to give several talks.

“That usually works for those who already come to everything. We want to get new people.”

Instead, the parish extends mission activities across a whole week and focuses on activities, rather than a talk.

The parish’s most recent mission week, held Oct. 14-20, took as its theme “The Light of Faith.” It featured different events geared for seven different groups: adult men, adult women, seniors, families with children, young adults, youth, and Spanish-speakers.

The events are designed to be creative and different, in ways that encourage parishioners to invite their friends and family.

For young adults, the parish hosted a Friday night “Oktoberfeast” party with free food and free draft beer in a specially designed glass. The party, now in its third year, has the mood of a German-style Oktoberfest.

Partygoers gathered around small outdoor fires and in tents to chat and eat. One young adult offered a reflection on faith before the dinner began.

As the evening grew cold, the festive crowd switched to hot cider and hot chocolate.

One parishioner had invited his non-Catholic friends from Casper, Wyoming, a four-hour drive away.

According to Fr. Cardo, the parishioner relayed one friend’s comment: “Man, I didn’t know that young Catholics were actually normal!”

“It’s not very threatening to invite someone,” the priest said. “We give a short reflection, and we really try to create a very friendly, welcoming environment so that they can meet people and hopefully get involved in something.”

“They see people having fun, and having beer, and chatting and eating, and they say ‘wow, this is cool’.”

Past “Oktoberfeast” events have helped reconnect inactive Catholics to their faith and have helped non-Catholics decide to join the faith inquiry program at their local Catholic parish.

“Many others have started conversations and friendships and have joined small communities of faith,” Fr. Cardo said.

He said the parish is trying to do what Pope Francis asked of young Catholics at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro: “I would like us to make noise; I would like those inside the dioceses to go out into the open; I want the Church to be in the streets!”

Other mission week events include a zoo for children, a tea and trivia night for women, and a trivia night for men with pizza and beer.

“We literally went through the neighborhood to invite people,” Fr. Cardo said. Parishioners knocked on doors to invite others, with a special focus on the Spanish-speaking community to tell them about the parish’s concert, chat and dinner.

“It’s fun to invite someone to Oktoberfeast or invite neighbors and their kids to the zoo at the parish hall,” the pastor continued, adding that appealing events can help overcome some Catholics’ reluctance to invite others to church.

He credited the “enthusiasm” and hard work of the many parishioners who helped mission week take place. These parishioners have become a “movement” within their parish.

Fr. Cardo said an important aspect of the mission week is its emphasis on friendship as a means to bring others to Jesus Christ.

“If you are friends with someone, invite them to see that this friendship really comes from something else.”

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New book details Benedict XVI's love for nature, ecology

Vatican City, Oct 25, 2013 (CNA) - A new book collecting Benedict XVI's speeches on ecology and man's relationship with nature reveals his love and concern for nature and animals, according to the emeritus Pope's once-private secretary.

“In the book, Benedict writes that man, if he is to have a heart for peace, must have an awareness of the connection between natural ecology and human ecology,” Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, who is now Pope Francis' private secretary, told Vatican Radio in an Oct. 19 interview.

“There emerges an inseparable link between peace for creation and peace among men,” he added.

Monsignor Xuereb was presenting “For an ecology of man,” newly published in Italian by the Vatican Publishing House, at the seventh annual meeting of the publisher's cultural association in the northern Italian city of Pordenone.

He was decided to present the new book to “make a contribution, however small, to reveal the true identity of Pope Benedict. I suffer, when I hear comments which are far from representing the true Pope Benedict.”

Monsignor Xuereb quoted from the book, in which Benedict rooted his concern for ecology in human community, especially the family. “These are words to meditate on,” the monsignor said.

The anthology emphasizes human responsibility towards creation, he added. “In the texts presented in the anthology, Pope Benedict mentions the word responsibility 39 times. This means that man is not yet responsible enough, has not yet realized the importance of the human person.”

He said, “I believe that this book will be a contribution to humanity, that it might become always more responsible for this great gift which the Lord has given us, not as masters, but as custodians.”

The monsignor recounted how Benedict “would melt in front of animals, in nature; he liked to stand outside, when we would go for a picnic,” and that he appreciates not only cats, “but has love for all animals.”

He told of how they were once walking in the Vatican Gardens praying the rosary and they noticed a particular bird which the Roman Pontiff suggested they photograph. “When he saw the photos, his expression was of marvel,” and he insisted that they be published in L'Osservatore Romano.

Monsignor Xuereb noted the continuity not only between Benedict and Pope Francis, but among the Popes stretching back to John XXIII, saying that “he, who was the son of peasants, how could he not have a sensitivity to Creation?”

He said that Benedict and his successor have both said we must fight a culture of waste.

“To recognize Creation as God's gift to humanity helps us to understand the vocation and worth of man,” he concluded.

“It makes no sense to care for nature, for plants, and then despise man. Respect for man, as a consequence, leads to respect for nature.”

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George Weigel awarded for works on Blessed John Paul II

Washington D.C., Oct 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - George Weigel was honored Oct. 22 with the Blessed John Paul II Award for the New Evangelization, for his work investigating the life and work of the late Pope.

Within modern society, the challenges of “coldness, unreality, religious freedom,” Weigel explained during his acceptance speech, “can seem overwhelming.”

However, he continued at the Oct. 22 awards dinner, martyrs and pilgrimage sites “remind us – don’t quit.”

“Christ has won the victory, so we can carry on in good spirits, as John Paul II did until the end of his life.”

The second-annual Blessed John Paul II Award Dinner for the New Evangelization was hosted by the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., which bestowed upon papal biographer George Weigel its highest honor.

The Catholic Information Center is a nonprofit affiliate of the Archdiocese of Washington, and provides a number of cultural and intellectual events for Catholics in the Washington, D.C. area.

Also speaking at the dinner were Laura Ingraham, master of ceremonies; Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., who gave the opening benediction; and Fr. Arne Panula, director of the Catholic Information Center.

Weigel, who is known for his biographical work on John Paul II’s life, centered his discussion on the late Pope’s visit to the Holy Land in 2000.

During his visit to the Holy Land, Pope John Paul II “wanted to carry the entire Church to the places of salvation history,” Weigel explained, so that the Church could viscerally encounter “the stuff of God become man, God entering into history for the salvation of the world.”

He explained that in the historical biblical places of the Holy Land “real people … became friends of Jesus of Nazareth and they met him at Easter and after as the risen Lord.”

From their friendship with Christ, “they went out to change the world.”

Pointing to the first Pope, Peter, Weigel noted that the apostle was “radically transformed” by his encounter with Christ and went from “a probably illiterate, probably smelly guy from east of nowhere, as the world then understood so,” to the first Pope and recipient of “the world’s greatest tombstone.”

“What the Catholic Church bears,” Weigel said “is the Truth of the World,” and it is this encounter with the Truth through Christ that transformed the world.

In order to re-introduce the world to the “Bible’s view of the human story,” he said, “John Paul II carried us all back to Jerusalem, back to the Holy Land.”

“He carried us back to the Holy Land,” so that we would be inspired and tell our story of “friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This reintroduction to “a biblical optic on the world, I think helps us to meet the challenge of coldness” in the world, Weigel continued.

A biblical worldview “helps us meet the challenge of unreality,”  posed by “a culture of a new gnosticism where everything is plastic and malleable, anything goes.”  

However, even in the midst of challenging times, those who know Christ have reason to hope.

“Christians are the people who know how the story is going to turn out. Portrayed in the 21st chapter of Revelation, the end of the story, the end of the human story, is the wedding feast of the Lamb,” Weigel said.

“That is why we too, can be not afraid, and we to on with business as Pope John Paul taught us.”

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Pope: Sacrament of Confession is not a 'torture chamber'

Vatican City, Oct 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - During his daily Mass Pope Francis centered his homily on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, stressing that sin is an everyday struggle which requires accountability through “face-to-face” contact.

“Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber: it’s saying to the Lord, 'Lord, I am a sinner,' but saying it through the brother, because this says it concretely. 'I am sinner because of this, that and the other thing.'”

The Pope offered his Oct. 25 reflections to those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican's Saint Martha’s guesthouse, where he has chosen to reside.

Pope Francis opened his homily by reflecting that for many believing adults, the idea of confessing one's sins to a priest is either so unbearable that they completely avoid the Sacrament, or the process is so painful that the truth is transformed into a form of fiction.

Recalling St. Paul’s words in his letter to the Roman’s from the day’s readings, the Pope noted that the apostle did the opposite, confessing publicly that “good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh,” and that he doesn’t do the good that he wants, but only the evil which he hates.

The Pope stressed that it often happens in the life of faith that “when I want to do good, evil is close to me.”

“This is the struggle of Christians. It is our struggle every day. And we do not always have the courage to speak as Paul spoke about this struggle.”

Often, noted the pontiff, we seek to justify our sins by making excuses and saying that “we are all sinners,” and that this fight “is our struggle.”

“If we don’t recognize this, we will never be able to have God’s forgiveness,” urged the Pope, “because if being a sinner is a word, a way of speaking, a manner of speaking, we have no need of God’s forgiveness. But if it is a reality that makes us slaves, we need this interior liberation of the Lord, of that force.”

Pope Francis then emphasized that the most important element for Saint Paul in finding a way out of this justification was to confess his sin to the community, noting that “he doesn’t hide it,” and that the confession of one’s sins with humility is something which the Church requires of us all.

“Confess your sins to one another,” he said, repeating the words of Saint James, not to be noticed by others, but rather “to give glory to God” and to recognize that it is only him who can save.

This is why, stressed the Pope, we go to a “brother priest,” to confess, urging that when one confesses, it must be done with “concreteness.”

“Some say: ‘Ah, I confess to God.’ But it’s easy, it’s like confessing by email, no? God is far away, I say things and there’s no face-to-face, no eye-to-eye contact,” while “others (say)‘No, I go to confession,’ but they confess so many ethereal things, so many up-in-the-air things, that they don’t have anything concrete. And that’s the same as not doing it.”

Concreteness, honesty, and the genuine ability to be ashamed one’s mistakes are all qualities needed in order to be open to the forgiveness of God, as well as the deep awareness of his love, the Pope noted.

Concluding his reflections, Pope Francis stressed that in the face of confession, we should have the attitude of a small child, because “when a child comes to confess, he never says something general.”

“‘But father, I did this and I did that to my aunt, another time I said this word’ and they say the word. But they are concrete, eh? They have that simplicity of the truth.”

Although “we always have the tendency to hide the reality of our failings,” the Pope noted that “there is something beautiful: when we confess our sins as they are in the presence of God, we always feel that grace of shame.”

“Being ashamed in the sight of God is a grace. It is a grace: ‘I am ashamed of myself.’”

When we think of this kind of shame, the Pope stressed, “We think of Peter when, after the miracle of Jesus on the lake, (he said) ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinner.’”

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US ambassador to Vatican united with Pope in care for poor

Vatican City, Oct 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The new United States ambassador to the Holy See revealed his shared concern with Pope Francis for those who are subject to poverty, as well as his optimism on U.S. relations with the Vatican.

“This is amazing in terms of his focus on the poor and generating kind of an interest for the Christian faith and defining what it is you should be doing for the poor,” Ambassador Ken Hackett said in reference to the Pope during an Oct. 25 interview with CNA.

Hackett was nominated in June by President Barack Obama to serve as the 10th ambassador to the Vatican, and was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate in an Aug. 1 evening session.

He has officially taken over the position held by Miguel H. Diaz, who left the diplomatic post in Nov. 2012 to become the Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of Dayton, Ohio.

Hackett brings to his position extensive experience in relief work, having served with the Peace Corps in Ghana from 1968 until 1971, afterwards dedicating 40 years to working with Catholic Relief Services, spending 18 of those years as the organization’s president and CEO.

During his interview, Hackett voiced excitement about the ability to work so closely with the pontiff, and stressed the importance of knowing who the poor are and “how they should interact in your life.”

He emphasized the significance of not just passing by “that individual who is homeless on the sidewalk,” but thinking seriously “about the policy and structural issues that cause people to be poor.”

The ambassador called this an area of convergence between the Vatican and the U.S. government, particularly the Obama administration, which he said is “deeply concerned about issues of poverty and justice,” as well as “marginalization.”

The U.S. government, Hackett added, is also concerned with the “persecution of minorities, particularly Christians and their constraints on freedoms of religion around the world in horrible places.”

“We see so many incidences around the world where people, not only Christians, are constrained in their ability to practice their faith and to live in peace, and the administration is deeply concerned about those issues as is the Holy Father.”

The envoy's remarks come as current U.S. religious freedom ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook is allegedly set to resign. President Obama faced criticism during his first term in office for leaving the post vacant for nearly two and a half years before Cook's appointment in June of 2011.

Hackett addressed recent tensions between the Obama administration and U.S. Bishops on the HHS mandate, which requires employers to provide and pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs and procedures in employee health insurance plans, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

On the topic, Hackett said that “there are so many areas where the current administration, the Obama administration and the Holy See interact positively and work together on many, many issues, religious freedom being one of them.”

“There are issues where there is disagreement,” he added, “but friends can disagree and I would say that we are much more focused on where there is a positive interaction.”

“Collaboration will lead to real changes, peaceful changes, opportunities for people who are distressed.”

“I see the positive, I don't really want to focus terribly on those elements that may be important but they're not the whole picture by any means.”

In response to questions on his position amid the concern of many bishops involving the administration's stance on certain issues, Hackett said, “I don't find difficulty representing the President because there are so many positive areas of engagement, interaction, collaboration.”

He expressed his hope that despite disagreements, the United States and the Holy See can “work together on issues of migration, on the economy, on jobs,” as well as “trafficking, poverty and peace, peace in the Holy Land, a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis and the betterment of people throughout the world,” urging that “that's where we should be focusing.”

Expressing his goals for the future of his term, the ambassador revealed that he wishes “to broaden and expand the collaboration that is possible between our government and the Holy See and the Church around the world.”

“The Catholic Church reaches into the smallest village, the smallest community, the most distant place, and it reaches those people who are left out very often.”

“I believe there is a deep concern among this administration about how to reach those people and to create a better balance,” he reflected, “a more just balance and give more opportunity for people to reach their God given potential.”

Speaking of Pope Francis and his actions and involvement in these issues so far, Hackett noted that “He's bringing some changes, that is for certain.”

The ambassador also referenced his time working with Catholic Relief Services, highlighting how his experience in the organization helped to prepare him for the new role he has undertaken.

“I think what prepared me for this position, if there was really anything but Divine Providence, was the people I encountered,” he noted.

“The poor around the world, courageous Church people under difficult situations, intrepid people,” and “nuns in Eastern Congo and priests and catechists…who are doing terrific work” was pivotal for his formation, he said.

“To see how that all fit into the Church Universal,” he reflected, was a significant preparation for his role as ambassador to the Holy See.

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Woman healed by John Paul II visits Mexico's Guadalupe shrine

Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Costa Rican woman healed of a brain aneurism by the intercession of John Paul II visited Mexico City to pray before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, giving thanks for a second chance at life with her family.

According to the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s news service, Floribeth Mora Diaz was invited to attend a Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of  Guadalupe on Oct. 22, feast day of Blessed John Paul II, and to share the testimony of her miraculous healing, which paved the way for his canonization, scheduled for April 27 of next year.

Accompanied  by her husband Edwin Arce and two of her daughters for the more than 1,300 mile trip, the 50 year-old Mora was visibly moved as she prayed before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and toured the shrine.

“For me it is an honor to be in Mexico,” Floribeth said. “I am very thankful to God for the privilege of being near Our Lady of Guadalupe. I bring so many petitions with me from my country, which is very devoted to her.”

“During Mass now I spoke to her in silence to ask that she hear the prayers that I bring in my heart from each sick person, from each person who needs her intercession in my country.”

The story of her healing began in April, 2011, when she was diagnosed with a serious brain aneurism and given a month to live.

“It was something horrible to see my children and my family suffer, and I was suffering because I was not going to see them. Even though I have always had faith in God, the human side of me was afraid of death.”

That faith led her to cling to John Paul II, whom she called “my saint.” 

“You are so close to the Lord, tell him not to let me die,” she told the late Pope.

Her prayers were heard on May 2, 2011, a day after the Roman Pontiff's beatification; Mora had been able to follow the ceremony on television. 

“The next day was the most wonderful day of my life,” she explained, “when I heard that voice in my room that said to me, ‘Get up, be not afraid’.” 

It was then that her recovery began.

When the doctors confirmed that she had been healed, Mora decided to share what had happened and to write down her testimony. Weeks later she contacted the Vatican and underwent further evaluations in Costa Rica and Rome to verify her miraculous recovery.

Mora says sharing her testimony has become her “number one priority” in life.  In Costa Rica, she visits the sick, speaks at parishes, and goes wherever she is invited to share her story.

“Everything that I do now is for the glory of the Lord,” she reflected.

“I am an instrument that he used to do his work, but nothing that happened to me would have occurred if my family did not have faith. We need to have a lot of faith, because a life without God is no life at all.”

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Catholic school engages students in national safe driving commitment

Lincoln, Neb., Oct 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - In the midst of National Teen Safe Driving week, a Catholic school in Nebraska is competing to win grant money for their school by encouraging students to take a safe driving pledge.

“We are blessed to have the Pius X community supporting us in this effort to increase awareness about safe driving among teens,” Principal Tom Korta said.

The school held a kick-off assembly Oct. 17 to participate in the national “Celebrate My Drive” contest which runs in conjunction with National Teen Safe Driving Week from Oct. 18 - 26. Participating schools are encouraged to teach students about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving, while at the same time having them commit to being a safe driver.

Demonstrations on distracted and impaired driving and an address from Trooper Kurt Phohaska from the Nebraska State Patrol taught students about the great responsibility that comes with earning a driver’s license.

“Car crashes have been the leading cause of death for 14-to-18 year olds for more than 30 years and State Farm is dedicated to helping teens understand the importance of safe driving,” public affairs specialist Kelly Pargett of State Farm Insurance, which is sponsoring the event, said.

Until midnight on Oct. 26, supporters of Pius X school can visit the Celebrate My Drive website, make a commitment to safe driving, and vote for Pius X High School.

The top five schools with the most students and supporters committed to safe driving will receive a $100,000 grant, which Pius X would use for “both capital improvements and academic programs.”

Restroom renovations, campus ministry support, funding for theology department, and a safe driving program are among the areas in the school that would benefit from the grant award.

“At this time, we really need wider community support to bring us into the top five schools with the highest number of safe driving commitments,” Principal Korta said.

“Pius is the only school in Nebraska that has a chance to win the top prize, and we are asking for the Lincoln community’s support in bringing the $100,000 grant home to our city.”

Pius X is currently in tenth place of the “large schools” which are categorized by having more than 750 students. Of the top ten schools in the lead, Pius X is the only school from Nebraska, and one of two Catholic schools.

Over the past 58 years since its founding, Pius X has served as the central Catholic high school in Lincoln. Dedicated to education that is “Christ-centered”, the school incorporates “Catholic values in all areas of life” while at the same time giving “academic preparation of the highest quality in a disciplined environment.”

Pius X High School is guided by Pope St. Pius X’s motto, “to restore all things in Christ.”

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