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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jun-14-2011

By Catholic News Service


St. Mary's College receives $4.7 million bequest from 1961 graduate

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) -- St. Mary's College has received a $4.7 million donation from the trust of alumna Marjorie A. Neuhoff, the largest sum left in a will in the school's history. Neuhoff was a 1961 graduate of St. Mary's College, a four-year Catholic women's college in Indiana. Carol Ann Mooney, president of the college, said Neuhoff, who died in 2008, was "a professional woman known for her business acumen" who also had "a great love" for St. Mary's. "In her memory, and with the consideration of her family, we have invested her bequest in areas of the college where we see increasing student interest. Our hope is she would see these as sound investments in an institution with which she had a strong personal connection," Mooney said in a statement. The college allocated the funds to three areas of need. The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Nursing Chair will be created with $2 million from the bequest. The chair will be always occupied by the director of the college's nursing department. The current director is Linda Paskiewicz, who will be installed as the first chair holder. A Neuhoff scholarship to be awarded based on financial need will be established with $1.7 million and will be available starting with the 2013-2014 academic year.

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Path to Peace dinner in New York draws record crowd

NEW YORK (CNS) -- A record crowd at the June 7 Path to Peace dinner saw the Path to Peace Foundation bestow awards for religious and humanitarian services. The Servitor Pacis (Servant of Peace) award was given to three women. One recipient was Italian Comboni Sister Rachele Fassera, who was honored for her engagement in East Africa's humanitarian crises and her courage to free kidnapped girls from the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. Sister Eugenia Bonetti, a member of the Consolata Missionary Sisters, received the award for her activism against human trafficking in Kenya. The third winner was Karen Clifton for her work as executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Death Penalty. The Path to Peace Award was conferred on Fra Matthew Festing, grand master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. He is the 79th grand master in the order's history and only the second Englishman to hold the post. Proceeds from the $500-a-plate dinner, which drew 410, benefit the foundation, which expands the Holy See's mission at the United Nations, including speakers, an enrichment experience for young people, plus lectures and seminars in New York City. The dinner serves as the foundation's largest fundraiser each year.

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Archbishop says Ghanaian church proud to send priests as missionaries

VICTORIA, Texas (CNS) -- Archbishop Matthias K. Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana, said he is excited that his country can provide Catholic priests to serve as missionaries in other countries facing a priest shortage, because he sees it as a way to repay the West for fostering the church in Ghana. The church in West is "our mother church because they gave us birth, planted the faith, sacrificed lives," he said. "It wasn't easy. They sacrificed a lot. The first missionary to Ghana died of malaria, then religious sisters came," the archbishop said. "Some were 19 years old and knew they were going to die. Now it's time for us to return the compliment. We know the situation, the lack of priests. It's not that we don't need them. ... I could open three parishes now, but we make the sacrifice, so that the faith and ministry may go on here (in the United States)." Archbishop Nketsiah, 69, made the comments in an interview with The Catholic Lighthouse, newspaper of the Victoria Diocese, where 16 of its 64 priests are from Ghana. Many of them have become U.S. citizens and are pastors of parishes. He has headed the Archdiocese of Cape Coast since 2010. He succeeded Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is now head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

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Evangelize with courage, conviction, joy, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI said that a proper transmission of the faith to the young or the uninitiated depends on a solid grounding of the basics of Catholic formation -- baptism, first Communion and catechism. Pope Benedict XVI told participants of a diocesan conference in Rome June 13 to not be afraid of their duty as Christians to evangelize and to pass on the word of God "with courage, with conviction, with joy." Speaking from Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran, the pope called for renewed efforts for evangelization, which he said, "is not the duty of a few, but of all the members of the church." Special attention should be given to the education of children, adults who have not been baptized and those who have left the church, he said. It is the duty of Catholics today, he said, "to demonstrate the beauty and reason of faith." He called on parents to baptize their children, saying that even youngsters are capable of understanding the importance of the Christian message, can appreciate prayers and rites and know the difference between right and wrong.

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Zambian archbishop hopes forum ends trade imbalance between Africa, US

LUSAKA, Zambia (CNS) -- An international meeting to discuss economic growth and trade in sub-Saharan Africa provided a chance for countries in the region and the United States to take steps to reduce stifling poverty and promote balanced trade, said the archbishop of Lusaka. Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu called for stronger investment in the region from the United States to promote sustainable development. He spoke after the two-day African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum ended June 10 in the Zambian capital. "Trade between Africa and the U.S. has always been imbalanced and unfair," Archbishop Mpundu said. "Africa has provided the U.S. and other developed countries with a ready market for their goods and raw materials for their industries at uncompetitive rates while gaining almost nothing from it." Trade imbalances have contributed to increased poverty levels in Africa, he said. "This is an unfair relationship and, as a church, we have always spoken against this injustice. What we would like to see is a thorough review of the trade between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. We would like to see a relationship where everyone benefits and there is no loser, and we are grateful that the U.S. is now taking the lead to harmonize the situation," Archbishop Mpundu said.

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Church-run agencies give hope to Congolese rape victims

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Systematic rape in Congo has been called a "weapon of war," but after the latest war ended in 2003, sexual violence continued to be a daily reality for Congolese women. "This isn't a story for the war, this is our lives now. If the world is bored with the story, then they have forgotten how to be human," one woman told Pascale Palmer, senior press officer at the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, the official aid agency of the English and Welsh bishops. "Take our stories and tell everyone what is happening here. The world thinks it knows -- but it doesn't know," Feza M'Nyampunda, a 48-year-old victim of rape, told Palmer during a visit to Congo last year. A study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in April 2010 showed civilian rapes in Congo multiplied by 17 times between 2004 and 2008. In a telephone interview with Catholic News Service, Palmer said she has visited CAFOD's rehabilitation sites in Bukavu, Goma and Bunia several times and witnessed the "incredibly harrowing stories" of women ages 16-60 who have experienced sexual violence. She said CAFOD started projects in Congo in 2004, after the organization started to really understand what was going on. "More and more women were coming to the church organizations and trying to tell their story" of rape and sexual assault during seven years of war, said Palmer.

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Water fight: A new Catholic issue emerges in Italy

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A referendum in Italy has spotlighted an emerging social justice issue for the Catholic Church: access to safe water as a basic human right. Italians went to the polls June 12-13 and voted overwhelmingly to revoke a decree that imposed the privatization of water resources. The issue stirred an unusually intense debate, with church leaders arguing that water is the archetypal "gift from God" that should not be polluted by the profit motive. On June 9, a group of more than 100 missionary priests and nuns fasted and prayed in St. Peter's Square to underline their support for the referendum and their opposition to the privatization of water. Beneath Pope Benedict XVI's windows, they unfurled a giant banner reading: "Lord, help us save the water!" The next day, the Vatican's Cardinal Peter Turkson weighed in. Cardinal Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said water distribution should be a service provided by governments to their citizens as part of their role in protecting the common good. Some 25 Italian dioceses signed an appeal asking for a "yes" vote to preserve water as a universally shared resource. Franciscans in Assisi asked prayers and action in defense of "sister water." Bishop Mariano Crociata, secretary-general of the Italian bishops' conference, said recently that access to clean water supplies was a "fundamental human right, connected to the very right to life." He warned that privatization efforts have seen multinational companies "turn water into business" to the detriment of the wider population. Catholic lay groups moved into action to promote a high turnout for the referendum, which needed 50 percent of eligible Italians to vote. In the end, that threshold was easily surpassed.

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Three European theologians to receive Ratzinger Prize from pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI will award three European theologians the Ratzinger Prize for their excellence in theological studies. The pope will present the prizes, which include a check for $87,000, to the winners in the Apostolic Palace June 30. It's the first time the prizes will be awarded since the establishment of the Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) Vatican Foundation last year. The Vatican announced the winners during a June 14 news conference. The winners are: Manlio Simonetti, an 85-year-old Italian professor and expert in ancient Christian studies and patristic biblical interpretation; Father Olegario Gonzalez de Cardedal, a 76-year-old Spanish priest and professor of dogmatic and fundamental theology; Cistercian Father Maximilian Heim, a 50-year-old German theologian and abbot of the Heiligenkreuz monastery in Austria. Cardinal members of the foundation's scientific committee chose the winners and picked scholars who had been building bridges between theology and culture, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the new foundation's scientific committee, told journalists at the press conference.

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At age 110, Massachusetts woman still sees life as 'glorious adventure'

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. (CNS) -- Elizabeth T. Gauthier "has always viewed life as a glorious adventure," and at age 110, she continues to approach it with enthusiasm, according to her son. Mrs. Gauthier, considered a super-centenarian by the U.S. census and the Guinness Book of World Records, celebrated her birthday at her parish church, St. Peter's in Northbridge, by going to Mass, which reflected the importance of faith in her daily life. The Mass drew about 200 relatives and friends from Canada and the United States, said Edgar Gauthier, her 78-year-old son and only child. Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus and several priests were there, too. During the June 5 Mass, when Bishop McManus gave her an apostolic blessing from Pope Benedict XVI, Mrs. Gauthier said she wasn't expecting that. The congregation sang "Happy Birthday," and she waved to the crowd. In his homily, Father Richard A. Fortin, a family friend who is pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Millbury, said Mrs. Gauthier was a blessing to St. Peter's because of her faithful witness to Christ. He said she trusts in God's goodness, keeps her heart open to others, and that there's little wrong with her and much that's right. Son Edgar in a talk noted his mother's firm belief in God and an unwavering commitment to the church's teachings. He said she came to St. Peter's in 1915, helped raise money to erase the debt and met the man she would marry, Ulric Gauthier, now deceased.

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Crosiers in the United States elect new provincial to six-year term

PHOENIX (CNS) -- Crosier Father Tom Enneking was elected June 13 as the new leader of all Crosier Fathers and Brothers in the United States. He was scheduled to be installed for his six-year term as prior provincial during a June 16 liturgy at Holy Cross Church in Onamia, Minn. Father Enneking, 55, will oversee the U.S. communities from provincial headquarters in Phoenix. He has served in various leadership roles in the order during his time in the Crosiers. Father Enneking grew up on his family's farm near Spring Hill, Minn. He attended Crosier Seminary Junior College in Onamia and graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Ind., with a degree in music and psychology. He made his profession of vows as a Crosier in 1978 and was ordained a priest in 1984. After entering the Crosiers, he served at St. James Parish in Aitkin, Minn. In 1985, a year after his ordination, he became pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Onamia serving until 1987. In 1987, he began working for the United States Province as vocation and pre-novitiate director. He later became director of post-novitiate formation, a position he held from 1994 to 2001.


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