Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Oct-11-2012

By Catholic News Service


Stamp for Christmas season features Holy Family fleeing to Egypt

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Postal Service Oct. 10 released a Christmas stamp featuring an image of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt. A ceremony to celebrate the first day of issue of the stamp took place at the Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The portrayal of the Holy Family is a change from the traditional image of Madonna and child used almost every year since the first Christmas stamp was issued in 1962. Louis Guiliano, a member of postal service's Board of Governors, took a moment at the ceremony to acknowledge the reason for the 50-year tradition of religious stamps. "The primary reason for Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ," he said. Since 1962, the religious stamp has been coupled with a secular one, featuring items such as tree ornaments, evergreens, or nutcrackers. The religious stamps have been mostly classical works of art depicting Mary and the infant Jesus. This year, Giuliano said, the board decided to go with a different portrayal for the stamp, one he calls more contemporary. It is based on a passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew: "Out of Egypt I call my Son."

- - -

Massachusetts voters urged to reject assisted-suicide ballot measure

WATERTOWN, Mass. (CNS) -- "Doc, how long have I got?" That's the question Dr. John Howland hates to be asked. Life expectancy is notoriously difficult to predict, and Howland is a family physician, not a soothsayer. The doctor, who has practiced medicine for 30 years, said he once saw a patient who was so ill that he thought she would die within the day. Her care was transferred to another hospital. "Two years later, she walked into my office, and I about fell over," he said. "I try to avoid trying to figure out when people are going to die. That's not my job. My job is to try to help care for people." Howland spoke at a recent "Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Preventing Assisted Suicide," which was broadcast live from Watertown on the Boston Archdiocese's CatholicTV Network and WQOM 1060 AM. Since the Oct. 3 live event CatholicTV, at www.catholictv.com, has been rebroadcasting it and planned more rebroadcasts including on Election Day, Nov. 6. The ballot initiative "Question 2" -- "Prescribing Medication to End Life" -- appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot in Massachusetts would permit individuals who are given six months or less to live to receive life-ending drugs. If the majority of commonwealth voters support the measure, it will take effect in January. Howland said terminally ill patients have the opportunity to communicate with their families. He called their final months "precious time that we all need." Janet Benestand, Boston archdiocesan secretary for faith formation and evangelization, asked CatholicTV viewers to try to comprehend the grief one would experience upon discovering that a loved one had taken his or her life. "Imagine being the spouse or the child of someone who has made this choice and not having been consulted," she said.

- - -

Putting out into the 'digital' deep, 'My Year of Faith' app goes live

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) -- The Year of Faith officially kicked off Oct. 11, and now there's an app for that! The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is answering Pope Benedict XVI's call to use new media and technology, providing a blog and mobile app (available for iPhone and Android mobile device users) as part of an exciting faith-building initiative. This app, which went live Oct. 11, is titled "My Year of Faith" and can be a daily, customizable resource for users. It includes many features that lead to a deeper understanding of their faith, an increased prayer life, and reflections and thoughts from nationally known bloggers and writers - all with daily content updates. The list of contributors is a "who's who in Catholic social media" including blogger Lisa Hendey of CatholicMom.com, popular Catholic authors and speakers, and local voices, too, like Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Those who do not have smartphones can follow the blog at www.myyearoffaith.com. The "My Year of Faith" app costs 99 cents and is available for iOS and Android. That includes tablets such as iPad and the Kindle Fire. According to Megan Oberhausen of the diocesan Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries, the new media outreach serves two purposes. "The first is catechesis," said Oberhausen, "by offering a short reading every day to help people know and love their faith more deeply."

- - -


Pope presents Vatican II messages for laypeople to help change world

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a gesture recalling how the Second Vatican Council sought to enhance the connection between the church and the world, Pope Benedict XVI handed out copies of the council's messages for laypeople in various walks of life. At the end of the Mass in St. Peter's Square marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and the start of the Year of Faith, the pope gave out texts of the special messages that Pope Paul VI had composed for seven categories of the faithful; Pope Benedict chose contemporary representatives of those groups to receive the messages Oct. 11. The symbolic gesture was meant not just to recall and commemorate an event from the past, but to "enter more deeply into the spiritual movement, which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning," the pope said in his homily. The seven messages, initially presented by Pope Paul on Dec. 8, 1965, address the concerns and responsibilities of: political leaders; scientists and cultural figures; artists; women; workers; the poor, sick and suffering; and young people. Pope Benedict gave the "Message to Politicians" to some members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, including ambassadors to the Vatican from each continent. The message said that the only thing the church asks of politicians is freedom -- "the liberty to believe and to preach her faith, the freedom to love her God and serve him, the freedom to live and to bring to men her message of life. Do not fear her."

- - -

Pilgrims at Vatican II Mass highlight council's openness to world

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council with a Mass outdoors was a reminder of the fact that the council called the Catholic Church to live and work in the world, said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz. "One of the things that was beautiful today was that we were outdoors, outside the beautiful Basilica of St. Peter, which is what I think John XXIII really wanted: to open the doors, to have the church in the world and transforming the world," the bishop said Oct. 11. The Second Vatican Council resulted in a new emphasis on the importance of every member of the church and a new openness to different peoples and cultures, said some of the bishops and pilgrims who attended Pope Benedict XVI's Mass to mark the anniversary of the council. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai told Catholic News Service that for Catholics in India the council's teaching on interreligious dialogue "was extremely important and gave us a whole new perspective on how to deal with everybody else," recognizing "that everybody is searching for the truth; we are brothers and sisters on the same journey. Of course, from the pastoral point of view," the cardinal said, "I thought the whole concept of the church being the whole people of God -- that was fantastic. That is exactly what cheers my heart; we are all the people of God." Vatican II called on bishops and priests "to empower the laypeople, guide them and inspire them, being alongside them so all of us together can work on this great project of new evangelization," Cardinal Gracias said.

- - -

At anniversary Mass, pope recalls 'authentic spirit' of Vatican II

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the start of a special Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI called on Catholics to revive the "authentic spirit" of Vatican II by re-proposing the church's ancient teachings to an increasingly Godless modern world. The pope spoke at a special Mass in St. Peter's Square Oct. 11, half a century to the day after the opening ceremonies of Vatican II. About 400 bishops from around the world, including 15 of the 70 surviving members of the 1962-65 council, attended. Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury attended as special guests. The observances featured ceremonies recalling milestones of Vatican II, including the enthronement of a book of the Gospels used at the original gathering and a re-presentation of the council's final "messages" to various categories of lay Catholics, such as artists, workers and women. Vatican II, Pope Benedict said, had been "animated by a desire ... to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man." He noted that Blessed John XXIII, in his speech at the opening of the council, called for both the safeguarding and the effective teaching of the "sacred deposit of Christian doctrine ... this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, (and) needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs our time."

- - -

Head of Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi hands powers to vicar general

ROME (CNS) -- Citing health concerns, the head of the Legionaries of Christ handed over his governing powers to the order's second highest official for an indefinite period of time. Legionary Father Alvaro Corcuera made the announcement in an Oct. 9 letter posted on the congregation's website. "I do not have the health and energy necessary to face responsibly the demands of the general governance in the present time," said Father Corcuera, who succeeded the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado as general director of the order and its lay movement, Regnum Christi, in 2005. The Vatican is currently leading a reform and reorganization of the Legionaries in the wake of revelations that Father Maciel, who died in 2008, had fathered children and sexually abused seminarians. Maciel founded the Legionaries in his native Mexico in 1941. Mexican Father Corcuera, 55, said that, though he is "not gravely ill," the position of general director requires a person who is "in full health." Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the papal delegate who oversees the order, said in a letter dated Oct. 10 that he had invited Father Corcuera to take "a sabbatical year" out of concern that "a climate" frequently marked by "suffering and misunderstanding" over the Vatican reform might harm the leader's health. "This is not a resignation from his position nor are we designating a new, substitute general director," the cardinal said.

- - -


Bosnian cardinal says family is most important evangelizer

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, said any evangelization he's done has always and only been a matter of building on the evangelization already begun within the family. "My pastoral work is simply an addition to what the family has already built," he said Oct. 10 during a speech to the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization. Credit for the flowering of new vocations also lies with the family because it is "the first school of faith and truly encourages a personal encounter with Christ." Cardinal Puljic said that in his own life, as well as in his ministry as a bishop, he also recognizes the family as "the first seminary. The family transmits the faith with its heart, life and practice," the cardinal told the synod. During the war in the Balkans in the 1990s, he said, half the Catholic families of Bosnia-Herzegovina were forced to flee, and "thanks to the games of local and international politicians," many still have been unable to return. After the breakup of the communist Yugoslavia, he said, the newly independent countries adopted democracy, but that brought with it relativism and a weakened appreciation for the traditional family.


Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250