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February 13, 2009

The Catholic News & Herald 1

Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

Perspectives Answering age-old questions; oversimplifications and misunderstandings

Established Jan. 12, 1972 by Pope Paul VI February 13, 2008

‘Constructive conversation’

| Pages 14-15 Serving Catholics in Western North Carolina in the Diocese of Charlotte

Pope says fasting in Lent opens hearts to God, hands to the poor by CINDY WOODEN catholic news service

by CINDY WOODEN catholic news service

See HOLOCAUST, page 5

no. 15

To ‘satisfy the deepest hunger’

Pope, German chancellor discuss Holocaustdenying bishop

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to each other on the telephone about the recent controversy surrounding a traditionalist bishop who has denied the Holocaust. “It was a cordial and constructive conversation, marked by a common and profound agreement that the Shoah is a perpetually valid warning for humanity,” said a statement released Feb. 8 by the spokesmen for the pope and for Merkel. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, papal spokesman, said the conversation was marked by “a climate of great respect” and included mention


VATICAN CITY — Fasting from food and detaching oneself from material goods during Lent help believers open their hearts to God and open their hands to the poor, Pope Benedict XVI said. The Lenten fast helps Christians “mortify our egoism and open our hearts to love of God and neighbor,” said the pope in his message for Lent 2009. The papal message for Lent, which begins Feb. 25 for Latin-rite Catholics, was released Feb. 3 at the Vatican. Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical See LENT, page 9 CNS photo by David Gray, Reuters

A beggar hunches on a footpath behind a bowl as he begs for money from passing crowds visiting a fair at the Longtan Park temple in Beijing Jan. 30. United Nations statistics state that in 2008 the number of undernourished people in the world rose to 963 million. Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Christians to fast during Lent to focus on God and be in solidarity with the poor.

At the heart of the matter Young Catholic returns from year of volunteering abroad Auger to speak at campus ministry retreat by

KATIE MOORE staff writer

Courtesy Photo

Stephanie Auger is pictured in January with residents at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic where she spent a year doing volunteer work. “The kids there flock to visitors and you end up walking around with three or four hanging off of you at all times,” she said of her visit to the orphanage.

CHARLOTTE — In 2006 Stephanie Auger attended a “Give Your Heart Away” community service weekend sponsored by the diocesan Catholic Campus Ministry. That weekend had a profound impact on her life

To share the vibrancy, to understand the obstacles

Vatican orders study of women religious institutes in United States by CHAZ MUTH catholic news service

and the direction it would take during the next two years — it was then that Auger was inspired to dedicate a year of her life to serving others. “On the last day of the retreat, they had two or three people who had just volunteered come and give their personal accounts,” said Auger, a parishioner of

WASHINGTON — The Vatican has initiated an apostolic visitation of institutes for women religious in the United States to find out why the numbers of their members have decreased during the past 40 years and to look at the quality of life in the communities.

See HEART, page 7

See STUDY, page 12

Living sacraments

Culture Watch

After the fire’s fury

Deacons, wives explore spirituality at workshop

Insightful book on Holocaust; online spiritual guidance

Archbishop pledges support to wildfire victims

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| Pages 10-11

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February 13, 2009

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Current and upcoming topics from around the world to your own backyard

WASHINGTON (CNS) — President Barack Obama created by executive order Feb. 5 a White House Office of FaithBased and Neighborhood Partnerships, which will expand upon and rework the Bush administration’s Office of FaithBased and Community Initiatives. The office’s top priority, according to the White House release, will be “making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.” It also will focus on reducing demand for abortions, encouraging fathers to stand by their families and working with the National Security Council to “foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.” In the same order, Obama created a new President’sAdvisory Council on FaithBased and Neighborhood Partnerships, comprised of 25 leaders of religious and community organizations, including Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic

Holding onto God’s gifts

CNS photo by Bob Roller

Trish Stone (front) holds her 9-month-old son, Patrick, as he plays with his twin brother, Mark, held by Cubby LaHood at her home in Silver Spring, Md., Jan. 30. LaHood co-founded Isaiah’s Promise, a support group for couples facing a troubled pregnancy. Stone met with LaHood during her pregnancy when she learned Mark would have severe disabilities.

Mother of twins lives out her belief in everyone’s God-given dignity SILVER SPRING, Md. (CNS) — Trish Stone is a firm believer in the sanctity of life. Although she comes by this naturally because of her Catholic upbringing, her belief also has been tested. During a routine sonogram last year when Stone was expecting twins, she received “a look” from her doctor that something wasn’t “quite right.” And after a whirlwind of tests that day, one of the twins was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition that causes increased fluid pressure in the brain and swelling of the child’s head that hinders normal neurological development. Within the first hour of learning this news, Stone was advised to consider “selective reduction” — aborting the unhealthy twin to focus on the healthy one. She was told that if the unhealthy twin survived, he would not have any “quality of life.” Stone and her husband, Rich, had not been prepared for such a diagnosis. But there was no question that they would carry both babies to term despite fears of unknown future challenges. “Thank God I grew up in a family with a strong faith. I knew in my heart that every life has a purpose,” said Stone, who believed growing up with a sister with disabilities made this understanding all the more real. Stone, a member of Holy Redeemer Church in Kensington, Md., said that more than anything she wanted to talk to people who had been through something similar. That’s when she contacted Cubby LaHood, co-founder of Isaiah’s Promise, a support group for couples

Obama orders faith-based office be reworked, its scope expanded

facing difficult pregnancies. She met with LaHood several times and the two discussed Stone’s fears as well as practical concerns. After the twins were born, LaHood went to the hospital where Mark, the twin with hydrocephalus, was transferred for multiple brain surgeries. Nine months later, the young mother said she has never let herself “go down the road of ‘why me’?” Instead, she said she relied on her faith “more than ever” as she prayed for the strength to face either Mark’s death or his disability. “I didn’t pray for him to be perfect. I just prayed that I would have the strength,” she said. And that strength has come — amid the difficulties — in small ways. For example, the morning she was scheduled to deliver the twins, the Stones attended Mass at their parish and the priest prayed for their family during the intentions. When Stone heard the parishioners join in praying for them, she said she felt a powerful assurance that “things were going to work out.” Today, Stone’s daily life with a toddler and two babies, including one who requires a number of doctor appointments, therapy sessions and seizure medication, is nothing short of a challenge. But watching him smile at his twin brother, she said she often considers taking him to visit the doctors who warned about his lack of “quality of life.” She also can’t help but think that “his life will touch someone in some way.”

Diocesan planner For more events taking place in the Diocese of Charlotte, visit www.charlottediocese. org/calendarofevents-cn. ASHEVILLE VICARIATE

HENDERSONVILLE — A five-day Lenten retreat will take place at Immaculate Conception Church, 208 Seventh Ave. W., Feb. 28-March 4 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Augustinian Father Michael Sullivan of the Augustinian Preaching Apostolate will conduct the retreat with the topics “To Be Born Again,” “The Healing Love of Jesus,” “The Call to be Church” and “Our Response to the Call.” For more information, call Barbara Wilde at (828) 697-9058 or e-mail


CHARLOTTE — The young adult ministry group at St. Peter Church will host a Theology on Tap series at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, 911 E. Morehead St., every Monday in February from 6:30 to 8 p.m. This event is open to young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 who are interested in discovering more about their faith in an open and relaxed environment. A special Mass for Theology on Tap will be held March 2 at 7 p.m. at St. Peter Church. To RSVP, e-mail CHARLOTTE — St. Matthew Young Adult Life invites those in their 20s and 30s to attend

Charities USA, and Arturo Chavez, president of the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio. The council will advise the White House and federal agencies on a range of topics, from hiring policies for private agencies that accept federal funds to how national security issues are affected by religious beliefs. At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier the same day, Obama said the goal of the office “will not be to favor one religious group over another — or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state.” He said such work is important because “few are closer to what’s happening on our streets and in our neighborhoods than these organizations. People trust them. Communities rely on them. And we will help them.”

an upcoming Theology on Tap series,“Lent: 40 Days in the Desert.” This series will be held once a month for four months at Mario’s Pizza/John’s Place, 3016 Weddington Rd., Suite 100 and will explore the various events associated with the Lenten season. The second session will take place Feb. 19, when Father Patrick Toole will present “Holy Thursday and the Last Supper.” Come for food and drinks at 6:30 p.m. Speakers begin at 7 p.m. For more information, e-mail CHARLOTTE — The Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Basil the Great, 7702 Pineville-Matthews Rd., will host an introduction to Eastern Christian spirituality led by Father Deacon Daniel Dozier. All Catholics are invited to attend this free event to learn more about the diverse and universal nature of the Catholic Church. The next meeting will be Feb. 21 on “God’s Inner Life.” Meetings will take place in the fellowship hall after Divine Liturgy at 6 p.m. CHARLOTTE — The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians invites women of the diocese to join them in celebrating their Irish-Catholic heritage. The next meeting will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 6828 Old Reid Rd., Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Jeanmarie Schuler at (704) 554-0720. CHARLOTTE — St. Peter Church, 507 South Tryon St., is offering a weeklong guided Ignatian Lenten Retreat. The opening session will be Feb. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Biss Hall (beneath the church) and the closing session will be March 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Mass will be celebrated at the conclusion of the retreat. Registration is required for individuals interested in the guided retreat. If you are unable to make the guided retreat, you are invited to attend the opening and/or closing session[s]. The retreat and parking in the Green Parking Garage are free. To register or for more information, call (704) 332-2901 or visit

February 13, 2009 Volume 18 • Number 15

Publisher: Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Editor: Kevin E. Murray STAFF WRITER: Katie Moore Graphic DESIGNER: Tim Faragher Advertising MANAGER: Cindi Feerick Secretary: Deborah Hiles 1123 South Church St., Charlotte, NC 28203 Mail: P.O. Box 37267, Charlotte, NC 28237 Phone: (704) 370-3333 FAX: (704) 370-3382 E-MAIL:

The Catholic News & Herald, USPC 007-393, is published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, 1123 South Church St., Charlotte, NC 28203, 44 times a year, weekly except for Christmas week and Easter week and every two weeks during June, July and August for $15 per year for enrollees in parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and $23 per year for all other subscribers. The Catholic News & Herald reserves the right to reject or cancel advertising for any reason deemed appropriate. We do not recommend or guarantee any product, service or benefit claimed by our advertisers. Second-class postage paid at Charlotte NC and other cities. POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to The Catholic News & Herald, P.O. Box 37267, Charlotte, NC 28237.

February 13, 2009

The Catholic News & Herald 3


Vatican official asks Europe to support Africa, Middle East ROME (CNS) — European nations must do more to promote development and the end of violence in Africa, take an active role in promoting peace in the Holy Land and work for the good of their own citizens by protecting the traditional family, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI’s top aide and secretary of state, met Feb. 10 with ambassadors to the Vatican from member nations of the European Union. “You must fight the temptation to establish contacts with African nations with an exclusive aim of gaining the greatest possible profit,” the cardinal told the ambassadors during the meeting at the Czech Embassy to the Holy See. European involvement in Africa must aim instead at helping Africans become the protagonists of their own cultural, civic, economic and social development, he said. For that to happen, the nations need material assistance and

encouragement to resolve the conflicts under way, address injustices and help the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people. Cardinal Bertone also urged the European Union and its member nations to take a more active role in pressing for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing tensions in the Holy Land. Peace throughout the Middle East, he said, depends on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that will happen only with the realization of the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security in their own states. As for the Gaza Strip, torn by fighting in late December and January, Cardinal Bertone said it was a priority “to guarantee the access of humanitarian aid destined for the civilian population” and to insist that both sides resolve their differences with negotiations, not violence.

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are offering a domestic violence prevention workshop in Spanish for men and women at St. John Neumann Church at 7 p.m. on Feb. 19. For more information, call Father Russ Ortega at (704) 536-6520.

be collected to help stock local food pantries. For more information, call the parish office at  (704) 545-1224.

CHARLOTTE — Children with disabilities are invited to join Allegro classes, a fun learning environment where movement and instruction are combined. Classes are held for 30 minutes on Tuesdays at the St. Matthew Knights of Columbus Banquet Center, 9009 Bryant Farms Rd. Classes are free, but registration is required. Applications are currently being accepted for the spring session. Space is still available and classes will start in February. For more information or to receive an application, call (704) 412-5229 or e-mail CHARLOTTE — A Blood Give-In will be held at St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., in the Parish Center Family Room March 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Sign-up sheets will be in the narthex the weekends of Feb 21-22 and Feb 28-March 1. Walk-ins will be taken as time permits. Donors must bring a picture ID. For more information, call the church office at (704) 543-7677. CHARLOTTE — A monthly respect life Mass will be celebrated every fourth Saturday at St. Ann Church, 3635 Park Rd., beginning Feb. 28 at 9 a.m. Following Mass there will be exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. There also will be an opportunity to go and pray a rosary at a local abortion clinic. The morning will conclude with Benediction. For more information, contact Danielle Mathis at MINT HILL — A Lenten preparation program for adults will be held at St. Luke Church, 13700 Lawyers Rd., Saturday afternoons during Lent from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Family Life Center. The first session will be Feb. 28. Sister Veronica Grover will lead the study on the documents and teachings of the church and how we can relate these to modern times. Donations of canned goods will




HIGH POINT — Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 4145 Johnson St, will host HOSEA (Hope of Seeing Everyone Again) for those who have been away from the faith and are interested in getting reacquainted with the Catholic Church. The next session will be Feb 18 from 7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. Come and have your questions answered. For more information, call Jan Hitch at (336) 884-5097 or call the church office at (336) 869-7739.

Vatican conference will give intelligent design critical study VATICAN CITY (CNS) — An upcoming Vatican-sponsored conference on evolution will include critical study of the theory of intelligent design, which, organizers said, represents poor theology and science. While proponents of intelligent design were not invited to give presentations at the March 3-7 international conference, organizers agreed to discuss how it appeared and developed as a cultural ideology, not as science. A number of presentations will discuss intelligent design’s “long and complex genesis” in a historical context and its impact on society and culture because it is “certainly not discussable in the scientific, philosophic and theological fields,” said Saverio Forestiero, zoology professor at Rome’s Tor Vergata University and a member of the conference’s organizing committee. Forestiero was one of the speakers at a Vatican press conference Feb. 10 presenting the March event, titled “Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories.” The Pontifical Council for Culture, Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University

and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana are organizing the international conference to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” and the 200th anniversary of his birth. Jesuit Father Marc Leclerc, a philosophy professor at the Gregorian, said the conference was in no way a “celebration in honor of the English scientist.” He said it would be an occasion to critically assess an event that permanently altered the history of science and changed the way people understand humanity. The conference will look at “a correct exegesis” of biblical accounts of creation, said Father Leclerc. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the author of Genesis was not trying to explain the scientific origins of nature, but rather to respond to the theological question “What meaning does mankind have in the cosmos?” Father Leclerc said that “people of faith, even philosophers, can see God’s presence” in the world and recognize he has a plan for humanity.

Serving the sick and suffering

GREENSBORO — “Hollywood vs. Faith: The Struggle to Live Faithfully in the Media Age” will be presented by Emmy award-winning actor Frank Runyeon at St. Paul the Apostle Church, 2715 Horse Pen Creek Rd., Feb. 24, 7-9 p.m. Drawing on examples from his 25 years in television, film and radio, Runyeon will encourage suggestions on how to watch TV from the “inside out.” This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jeannine Martin at (336) 294-4696 ext. 225.


WINSTON-SALEM — In an effort to give practical help to married and engaged couples to live out the teaching of the Church, a course in natural family planning will be held Feb. 15 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Leo the Great Church, 335 Springdale Ave. For more information and registration, call Todd and Stephanie Brown at (336)765-2909.

Is your parish or school sponsoring a free event open to the general public? Deadline for all submissions for the Diocesan Planner is 10 days prior to desired publication date. Submit in writing to or fax to (704) 370-3382.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis will participate in the following events:

Feb. 18 (7 p.m.) Sacrament of confirmation Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Charlotte

Feb. 21 (7:15 a.m.) Mass for candidates in Permanent Diaconate Formation Program Catholic Conference Center, Hickory

Feb. 20 (10 a.m.) Diocesan Finance Council meeting Pastoral Center, Charlotte

March 1 (4 p.m.) Rite of Election St. James the Greater Church, Concord

CNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic

Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., is accompanied by nurse Phyllis Benanti as he blesses patient Sam Keller at Good Shepherd Hospice Inpatient Center in Port Jefferson, N.Y., Jan. 14. World Day of the Sick, observed annually Feb. 11 on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, affirms the church’s duty to remember and serve the sick and the suffering.

Church leaders urge Madagascar factions to talk after deadly violence VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christian leaders in Madagascar have urged political factions to enter into dialogue after recent political violence, reported the Vatican’s missionary news agency. Fides reported Feb. 10 that Catholic Archbishop Odon Razanakolona of Antananarivo, president of the Forum of Christian Churches in Madagascar, “has sharply criticized” the bloodshed in which the presidential guard opened fire on demonstrators in the capital Antananarivo Feb. 7. The forum “has asked the two sides to enter into dialogue.” Pope Benedict XVI said Feb. 8 the

bishops of the island designated that day as a day of prayer for reconciliation and social justice. “Deeply concerned about the particularly critical moment the country is living through, I invite you to join Malagasy Catholics in entrusting to the Lord those who have died in the demonstrations and in asking him, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the return of harmony among people, social tranquility and civil coexistence,” the pope said. More than 100 have died in political unrest since January.

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around the diocese

‘To become a living sacrament’

Providing help. Creating hope. Changing lives. Catholic Social Services — The Diocese of Charlotte Photo by Deacon Gerald Potkay

Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father Joseoh Zuschmidt talks to Deacon Andy Cilone during the permanent deacons and wives continuing education session held at St. Joseph Church in Kannapolis Feb. 7.

Deacons, wives explore spirituality as part of continuing education by


KANNAPOLIS — Permanent deacons recently examined how to foster and express spirituality for the good of themselves and the community. Thirty-eight permanent deacons and wives took part in a continuing education class at St. Joseph Church in Kannapolis Feb. 7. All active permanent deacons in the Diocese of Charlotte are required to participate in continuing education for spiritual and personal growth, as well as an annual retreat and an annual recommitment to the bishop. The recent class was led by Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father Joseph Zuschmidt, parochial vicar of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point. Father Zuschmidt shared with the group the humility and spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, and the work of his fellow Oblates, a congregation of priests and brothers who base their spirituality on the saint’s teachings. The Oblates serve the church around the world as parish priests, chaplains, missionaries, teachers and more. Father Zuschmidt told the group that Catholic spirituality is rooted firmly in the sacraments. It is through them, he said, “that we are able to live a holy life as devout or holy Catholics who are to the church, to ministry, to fice committed spouses and to children.” The beginning of all spirituality, said Father Zuschmidt, is the “recognition that there is something beyond ‘me.’” “For Christians, that something is Jesus Christ, who is the image of the living God,” said Father Zuschmidt. “Jesus is the first and greatest sacrament, for he is the first outward n Saints” sign given by God.” The second greatest sacrament, said Father Zuschmidt, “is the church, left here by Jesus.” “If we want to know who Jesus is, we must look to the church, which is the ‘body of Christ’ — the Christian community,” he said. Because God is in every event of our

February 13, 2009

lives, said Father Zuschmidt, we each must have a “rule of life to prepare us for what will happen during the course of the day.” “Practice patience to confront those various opportunities each day presents. Then, worship God through private prayer and minister at home, as well as to others,” he said. “Above all, live Jesus so as to become a living sacrament with compassion, forgiveness and a prayerful relationship with God,” he said. “That is a lifelong effort, which will reap its own rewards.” Deacon Walter Haarsgaard of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point said he “came to learn about the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales” but was “humbly reminded to address my own spirituality on a daily basis.” “I must go out every day and live my spirituality, even though I don’t think about how it plays into everything we do,” he said. “I need to start making a reflection of the day — to cultivate my own life style, to make it grow so that I can live Jesus each day,” he said.


The permanent diaconate is funded in part by contributions to the Diocesan Support Appeal. This year’s DSA campaign runs Feb. 1 through March 8. Did You Know? A permanent deacon is an ordained minister permitted to preach; assist priests at the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist; officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals; and administer blessings during certain liturgical rites. The permanent deacon is the only ordained man allowed to be married. However, if a deacon’s wife passes away, he is not allowed to remarry. If a man is single, he is not allowed to marry after ordination.

Firefighters come to rescue at Holy Angels Residents respond with gratitude for assistance BELMONT — A burst water pipe recently caused quite the commotion at Holy Angels in Belmont. The pipe burst in the evening of Jan. 17 in Moody Place, a 15-room intermediate care facility for residents of Holy Angels, a nonprofit corporation that provides services for children and adults with mental retardation and physical disabilities. The rupture sent water gushing into the facility at 25 gallons per minute, forcing the evacuation of residents. The water ran directly to the emergency sprinkler head, activating the alarm and summoning the Belmont Fire Department. The firefighters quick response to shut off the water resulted in only 125 gallons of water being released. They then pitched in to help remove as much of the water as possible before leaving to answer another call. “Although firemen are normally known for extinguishing fires with gallons of water, we found out rapidly how very helpful they can be in helping to remove the water,” said Regina Moody, Holy Angels president and CEO. “As a result of their rapid response, we don’t even anticipate that the floor of the room where this happened will need to be replaced,” she said.

Several of the firefighters later returned to offer further assistance, Moody added. “The Belmont firemen who responded to Holy Angels that night were exemplary. Their commitment to the Belmont community, especially to Holy Angels is evident, not only on this day but many times prior,” said Kerri Massey, Holy Angels chief program officer. “They are truly heroes to the residents and staff of Holy Angels,” she said. Since the firefighters’ dinner had been interrupted to respond to the Holy Angels alarm, Mercy Sister Nancy Nance, Holy Angels outreach services vice president, and Robert and Mike, Holy Angels residents, delivered soup and sandwiches from Cherubs Café. The café, run by Holy Angels, provides vocational training and employment for residents. While visiting the fire station, Robert and Mike were treated to a ride in the fire truck. WANT MORE INFO? For more information on Holy Angels, visit or call (704) 825-4161.

Courtesy Photo by Mercy Sister Nancy Nance

Robert (second from left) and Mike (fourth from right), residents of Holy Angels in Belmont, are pictured with Belmont firefighters Jan. 23 after delivering soup and sandwiches to the fire station.

Catholic Social Services presents Gala for Hope to benefit Asheville’s Western Regional Office

Saturday, February 21 6:30 – 11:30 pm

Crowne Plaza Resort Hotel, Asheville * Delicious sit-down dinner * Fabulous silent auction * Exciting entertainment by “Common Saints”

Info: or 828/255-0146 Tickets: $50 Major Sponsors: Preferred Properties of Asheville Preferred Storage Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care

Catherine McAuley- Mercy Foundation Mountain Health Contracting Services ARP/Phoenix

February 13, 2009

from the cover

Remembering the Holocaust: A scientific fact, a religious obligation Anti-Semitism condemned in clearest terms, Vatican official says erroneous and affirms it anyway. by CINDY WOODEN catholic news service

VATICAN CITY — Acknowledging and remembering the Holocaust is not only a matter of historical honesty; it is a religious obligation, especially for bishops, several Vatican officials said. When Pope Benedict XVI publicly distanced himself from the Holocaustdenying views of traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson and the Vatican Secretariat of State called on the bishop Feb. 4 to publicly disavow his views, they were not simply responding to a public uproar. “Denial of the Holocaust by a person who should know better is indistinguishable from an anti-Semitic prejudice,” said Bishop Brian Farrell, vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews. “Anti-Semitism has been condemned by the Second Vatican Council in the clearest terms,” he said. Bishop Williamson is one of the four bishops whose excommunications were lifted in late January by Pope Benedict. The bishops had been excommunicated in 1988 after being ordained against papal orders by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Just a few days before the Vatican made public the fact that the pope had lifted the excommunications, a television interview with Bishop Williamson aired; in the interview he claimed that the Holocaust was exaggerated and that no Jews died in Nazi gas chambers. At his weekly general audience Jan. 28, Pope Benedict affirmed the obligation to remember the Holocaust as a concrete example of “the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man. May the Shoah be a warning for all against forgetfulness, denial or reductionism because violence committed against one single human being is violence against all.” A religious concern Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, said that to deny the Holocaust is to deny “the most obvious manifestation” of the presence of evil in the world. “A religious person, a Christian must face the challenge to faith represented by this fact, by evil in the world,” he told Catholic News Service Feb. 5. Unless a person recognizes the reality and enormity of evil in the world, he or she cannot understand why Jesus had to die in order to ransom humanity, Father Lombardi said. Denying the Holocaust is a sign of not understanding the reality of evil and, “therefore, of not living the faith,” he said. “For this reason, it seems right to me that a bishop who denies the Shoah is better off growing potatoes or doing anything else, but not being a bishop.” Father Lombardi said denying the Holocaust “is an obvious error,” but whether or not it is a sin depends on whether the person is conscious that it is

“In that case, it is a serious sin of lying mixed, in addition, with components of racism and anti-Semitism,” the papal spokesman said. Bishop Farrell told CNS Feb. 5 that there are several reasons why “the Shoah is a religious concern.” First, he said, “every destruction of human dignity, every murder of a human being is an evil that goes against God’s plan. In that sense, it is an issue for religion.” “There is a second reason that is much more specific to the Shoah and it is that the Shoah took place in the heart of what was supposedly the Christian continent, Europe,” he said.

Prevailing attitudes Rabbi David Rosen, chairman of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee, said there is a well-documented connection between centuries of Christian teaching of contempt for the Jews — blaming them for the death of Christ — and the atmosphere that allowed the Nazis’ attempts to destroy European Jewry to nearly succeed. “When the church declares antiSemitism a sin against God and man, it is demonstrating a fundamental sea change in prevailing Catholic attitudes toward Jews,” the rabbi told CNS. “Arguably nothing raises a question mark over that change as much as expressing or tolerating Holocaust denial.” In an article for the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the Italian historian Anna Foa wrote that Holocaust denial is a lie cloaked in scientific jargon “to cover its true origins, its true motive: anti-Semitism.” Bishop Farrell said the testimony of the survivors of the Nazi death camps, the remains of the camps themselves and the meticulous documentation kept by the Nazis prove that the Holocaust and the death of 6 million Jews is a historical fact that can be denied “only through ignorance or prejudice.” “That is why it becomes an issue when a bishop, who should be a teacher of truth and of goodness, denies the Holocaust,” he said. “The fact that the pope asked the bishop to reject these opinions and to apologize for them results from the fact that a denial of the Holocaust by a person who should know better is indistinguishable from an anti-Semitic prejudice,” Bishop Farrell said. After visiting a Nazi death camp in Poland in 2006, Pope Benedict said, “May contemporary humanity never forget Auschwitz or the other ‘death factories’ where the Nazi regime attempted to eliminate God in order to replace him. “May it not succumb to the temptation of racial hatred, which is at the root of the worst forms of anti-Semitism. “May people recognize once again that God is the Father of all and calls us all, in Christ, to build a world of justice, truth and peace together.”

The Catholic News & Herald 5

Pope, German chancellor discuss Holocaust-denying bishop HOLOCAUST, from page 1

of Pope Benedict’s Jan. 28 statement about the importance of remembering t h e H o l o c a u s t a n d M e r k e l ’s Feb. 3 request that the Vatican make it clear that it would not tolerate Holocaust denial. The controversy began in late January when a television station aired a November interview with Bishop R i c h a r d Wi l l i a m s o n , w h o w a s excommunicated in 1988 after being ordained against papal orders. The late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who ordained him, and three other bishops ordained at the same ceremony also were excommunicated. The interview aired just before the Vatican published the news that Pope Benedict had signed a decree lifting the excommunications of the four bishops. The Vatican Secretariat of State issued a further statement Feb. 4, the day after Merkel’s public request, stating that Bishop Williamson would not be received into full communion with the church unless he disavowed in “an absolutely unequivocal and public manner” his statement that reports of 6 million Jews dying in the Holocaust were an exaggeration and that no Jews died in Nazi gas chambers. In an interview published Feb. 7 by the German magazine Der Spiegel, Bishop Williamson said he was willing to review the historical evidence about the Holocaust, and “if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time.” Social separation Bishop Williamson e-mailed Der Spiegel from Argentina where he had been the head of the seminary of the Society of St. Pius X in La Reja for the past five years. The Argentine newspaper La Nacion reported Feb. 8 that Bishop Williamson has been removed as the rector of the seminary. In an e-mail to the newspaper, Father Christian Bouchacourt, the society’s South American district director, said Bishop Williamson had been removed from his duties, and he repeated the society’s position that “the affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any way the position of our congregation.” In the meantime, Father Davide Pagliarani, superior of the society’s Italian district, issued a statement Feb. 6 saying that another Holocaust denier, Father Floriano Abrahamowicz, had been expelled from the Society of St. Pius X. As the controversy surrounding Bishop Williamson grew in late January and early February, Father Abrahamowicz gave several interviews in which he, too, denied the Holocaust and in which he claimed that the Nazi gas chambers were used to disinfect inmates upon arrival at Nazi

CNS photo by L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI speaks during an audience with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at the Vatican Feb. 12. Denying or minimizing the Holocaust “is intolerable and altogether unacceptable,” Pope Benedict told the group of U.S. Jewish leaders. concentration camps. The Society of St. Pius X was founded in 1969 by Archbishop Lefebvre. It does not accept the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and its concepts of religious freedom and ecumenism. Reaffirming commitment Pope Benedict was scheduled to meet Feb. 12 with more than 60 U.S. Jewish leaders, members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. A Vatican official told Catholic News Service Feb. 9 that the group had requested the papal audience before the Bishop Williamson controversy erupted, but that obviously the Germanborn pope would use the occasion to reaffirm his respect for the Jews and his position that the Holocaust was real and that it was a horrific proof of the existence of evil. Top officers of the World Jewish Congress met at the Vatican Feb. 9 with Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews. Ronald S. Lauder, president of the congress, said in a statement that he and the other officers told Cardinal Kasper that the Vatican’s insistence that Bishop Williamson recant “was a welcome first step,” but that concrete actions must be taken to emphasize that the Catholic Church itself will not tolerate “accommodating anti-Semites.” Lauder said he hoped the pope would be able to make his planned May visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. “We are looking forward to the pope’s visit to the Holy Land,” he said. “This will be an opportunity to reaffirm the Vatican’s commitment to dialogue with Jews.”

6 The Catholic News & Herald

Saving graces

respect life

‘The healing hand of Christ’

Vatican says Englaro’s death must lead to better ways to protect life by CINDY WOODEN catholic news service

VATICAN CITY — The Feb. 9 death of Eluana Englaro after nutrition and hydration were withheld should lead Italian citizens and their government to find more effective ways to protect and promote human life, said the Vatican spokesman. “In the name of Eluana we must continue to seek more effective ways to serve life,” said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. Englaro, who had been in a persistent vegetative state for more than 17 years, died at a private clinic in Udine, Italy, less than a week after her doctors, with the support of her father, began withholding nutrition and hydration. By Feb. 7, doctors said she was receiving only sedatives. News of her death interrupted an Italian parliamentary debate on an emergency measure to make it illegal to withhold nutrition and hydration from patients who are disabled or in a persistent vegetative state; the measure would have forced Englaro’s doctors to begin giving her nutrients and water again. Vatican officials repeatedly have said that the provision of nutrition and hydration is an obligatory, basic part of caring for a person who cannot care for him or herself; it is not an extraordinary means of keeping someone alive and cannot be withdrawn. During his Feb. 8 Angelus address, Pope Benedict XVI did not mention Englaro by name, but he offered prayers for “all of the sick, especially those in a most serious condition who cannot provide for themselves in any way, but are totally dependent on the care of others. May each of them experience, through the care of those who are close to them, the power of the love of God and the richness of his saving grace.” Englaro, 38, was seriously injured in a car accident in January 1992. After she had been in a persistent vegetative state for five years, her father began a legal battle to win permission to withdraw the nasogastric tube through which she was being provided nutrition and hydration. In a commentary on Vatican Radio Feb. 10, Father Lombardi said, “In the face of her death, believers gather in prayer and entrust to the Lord the soul of Eluana, a person whom we love and who has become part of our lives in the last few months.” “Now that Eluana is at peace, we hope that her situation — after so much discussion — will be a motive for calm reflection and for a responsible search for better ways to accompany the weakest people with all due respect for the rights to life, love and attentive care,” he said. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, told reporters Feb. 9 that the Christian response to Englaro’s death must be to pray that God “would open the gates of heaven to her after she suffered so much on earth.” He also said he was praying that God

February 13, 2009

CNS photo by Daniel Raunig, Reuters

Candles are seen near a photo of car accident victim Eluana Englaro at La Quiete clinic in Udine, Italy, Feb. 10. Englaro, who had been in a persistent vegetative state for 17 years, died at the clinic Feb. 9 after her father won a court battle to withhold food and water. The Italian Senate had been debating emergency legislation that would have forced the clinic to resume feeding her. would “forgive those who brought her to this point. And I invite everyone to pray in the spirit of forgiveness.” In November Italy’s supreme court upheld a lower court ruling that Englaro’s care could be interrupted because of the “extraordinary duration” of her condition and because she had made it clear before the accident that she would not want her life artificially prolonged. Once the court ruled, Englaro’s father spent several months trying to find a private clinic that would accept her as a patient, but not continue giving her nutrition and hydration. She had been in a clinic run by the Misericordine Sisters, who not only refused to withhold food and water, but also made it clear they wanted to continue caring for Englaro. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made no public comments

Hospitals won’t comply with unjust laws and won’t close, bishop says ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CNS) — The Catholic Health Association’s board of trustees recently reaffirmed its opposition to any attempts by Congress or President Barack Obama to broaden abortion access and its commitment to keep Catholic hospitals open, Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg said in a Feb. 6 blog entry. “Idle threats about the certain closing of Catholic hospitals if certain things happen are simply that — idle,” said the bishop and CHA board member, writing about the board’s Feb. 4-6 retreat in the St. Petersburg area. “We are here today and will be here tomorrow to provide the healing hand of Christ to others as long as we can financially survive in a challenging situation and comply fully with our ethical and religious directives,” he added in his blog on the diocese’s Web site. The U.S. bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” guide Catholic health care facilities in addressing ethical questions such as abortion, euthanasia, care for the poor, medical research and other issues. Although the CHA gathering “was essentially a planning retreat,” the board re-emphasized “some actions taken at

previous meetings,” Bishop Lynch said. CHA “will join with the church and all other pro-life parties to vigorously oppose any and all attempts by this Congress or administration to broaden abortion access,” he said. “Catholic hospitals will not allow abortions to be performed in their facilities” and will not comply with any laws mandating abortion or other procedures that violate the ethical and religious directives, “even if our actions constitute civil disobedience,” he added. “No Catholic institution or employee of an institution can or will be made to violate the dictates of their conscience resulting from federal or state legislative action,” Bishop Lynch said. He said Catholic hospitals “won’t comply” with laws that violate conscience “but we will not close.” Among the reasons he cited were that: — Catholic hospitals are sometimes the sole provider of health care in a large geographical area, especially in rural areas. — The hospitals have an obligation to their physicians, nurses and other employees; to their bondholders; and “to the poor, unprotected and to our communities which benefit from our presence.”

about the case until Feb. 5 when he announced his government was issuing a decree to stop Englaro’s doctors from withdrawing nutrition and hydration. But Italian President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign the decree, saying it was constitutionally questionable, and encouraged parliamentary action instead. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, had a telephone conversation with Napolitano Feb. 7 to discuss the Englaro case. The Vatican said Cardinal Bertone expressed his “deep appreciation for the speed with which the Parliament was preparing to approve the bill.” Berlusconi’s government Feb. 6

introduced the bill in Parliament to make it illegal to withhold nutrition and hydration in cases like Englaro’s. When her death was announced, Berlusconi told reporters: “I feel great sadness. I am deeply disappointed that the government’s action to save a life was made impossible. “I did everything I could and it is not my fault that the culture of death won and not the culture of life,” the prime minister said. After Englaro’s death, members of Parliament were debating whether to continue working on the emergency legislation or to return to parliamentary committees to continue work on broader bills dealing with end-of-life issues.

February 13, 2009

The Catholic News & Herald 7

from the cover

Young Catholic returns from year of volunteering abroad HEART, from page 1

St. James the Greater Church in Concord. “Hearing other people talk about their own experiences, that made me really want to do it,� she said. “I decided I didn’t want to just go straight into graduate school or a job,� said Auger. “I new I wanted to do something; I just wasn’t sure what.� Fast forward three years and Auger has just returned from a year of volunteering in the Dominican Republic. This weekend Feb. 13-16, she will attend the fifth annual “Give Your Heart Away� community service weekend at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory. But this time she will be the one giving a first-hand account of her experience. Good Samaritan Auger first traveled to the Dominican Republic on a two-week medical mission last January with a group called Intercultural Nursing. She assisted the group of nurses at a medical clinic in a remote area on the western part of the island near the border of Haiti. While there, she was introduced to Sister of St. Joseph Beatrice Barry from Long Island, N.Y., who has been serving the sick of the Dominican Republic for the past 30 years. Sister Barry offered Auger a spot serving at her medical hospitality house, La Posada del Buen Samaritano, or “The Inn of the Good Samaritan.� Within two-weeks of returning home from the medical mission, Auger boarded a plane and went back. “This was the craziest decision I’ve ever made in my life, but I couldn’t imagine not going back,� said Auger. “You don’t say no to something like that.� While volunteering at the hospitality



courtesy photo

In this January 2008 photo, Stephanie Auger is seen interpreting for a nurse at a clinic in ElĂ­as PiĂąa, a small town on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. At the time, Auger was serving on a two-week medical mission with Intercultural Nursing. The children in the picture were seeking treatment for parasites. house, Auger worked closely with sick people from both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Auger lived in the house with Sister Barry and anywhere from 15 to 20 patients at time, mostly children with cancer, HIV, AIDS, severe burns or orthopedic problems. The most rewarding part of the experience was “the relationships I formed with the kids in the house,â€? said Auger. There was one child in particular, Alberto, a 16-year-old Haitian who was being treated for lymphoma. “He was the love of my life,â€? Auger said. “We really bonded.â€? Augur received daily Spanish tutoring for the first two-and-a-half months of her stay. But for the most part,

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she wasn’t given a lot of time to ease into her surroundings. Driving in Santo Domingo definitely took some getting used to. “There’s no rules,� she said jokingly, and “they don’t pay attention to the lights.� Her daily responsibilities included driving patients to hospitals, clinics and labs; food shopping; and buying medication. “If they were kids and they couldn’t really talk to the doctor, I would talk for them,� she said. Adjusting and focusing When Auger speaks at “Give Your Heart Away� this weekend, she plans to share how the experience has impacted her life. “It’s changed me, in a good way,� she said. She wants the students to know how fulfilling a volunteer experience, like the one she had, can be. Although she credits the good

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work of the many domestic volunteer organizations here in the United States, she said there is definitely something to be gained from living abroad. “I think it’s really important for people to leave the United States to see how other people live,� she said. “You become so appreciative of everything you have.� Auger is also likely to share some of the challenges she encountered while living in a developing country — such as not being able to drink the water, take hot showers or flush toilet paper down the toilet. “I ate rice and beans almost every day for a year,� she said. And she had to adapt culturally. “It’s hard to be a woman, especially an American woman in the Dominican Republic,� said Auger who had a difficult time blending in with her tall frame, fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. “It was hard adjusting to all the attention I was getting as a white person,� she said. Her experience also has changed her plans for the future. “Before, I wasn’t really thinking about any kind of job where I would be serving others,� she said. Now, she is considering going to nursing school or graduate school for international studies. Sewing seeds Whether she goes into the medical profession, works for a nonprofit organizations or immigration services, she knows that she wants a job that is focused on helping others. “In campus ministry we sow seeds of faith, hope and justice, and we pray that our students will answer the call to do more for our church,� said Mary Wright, director of diocesan campus ministry. “Stephanie (Auger) is a great example of a student saying ‘yes’ and giving back to the community through service,� she said. This year approximately 70 college students from around the diocese are expected to participate in the “Give Your Heart Away� weekend. On Saturday the students will take part in a variety of service projects at several locations in the Hickory area. Afterwards, they will have a chance to reflect on the service projects in the context of Catholic social teaching, as well as spend time in prayer and fellowship. On Sunday there will be a panel discussion on living a life of service, at which time Auger will share her story. Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore by calling (704) 370-3354, or e-mail

Catholic campus ministry is funded in part by contributions to the Diocesan Support Appeal. This year’s DSA campaign runs Feb. 1 through March 8.

8 The Catholic News & Herald

A look at Lent

lenten solidarity

To transform the world Operation Rice Bowl a way to help poor during Lent

CNS photo by Nancy Wiechec

The Angelotti family prays before sharing a meatless meal at their home in Centreville, Va., Feb. 4. They have made Operation Rice Bowl a centerpiece on the family table during Lent. The nationwide alms-giving program coordinated by encourages participants to learn about hunger and poverty around the globe and then to make donations to help those most in need.

A general introduction to the season

Lent is the season the Catholic Church gives us to take stock and review our lives, to root out all that is not good and true and replace it with the faithful and the holy. In these 40 days, the Catholic Church turns to the ancient penitential practices of fasting, almsgiving and prayer. These practices remain as rich and life-giving in the year 2009 as they were when practiced by the early Christians and by our Jewish forbearers. Fasting reminds us of our hunger for God, which no worldly thing can satisfy. Almsgiving reminds us that love of God and love of neighbor are inextricably intertwined, and that we bear responsibility for each other. Prayer reminds us to center our lives on God who alone gives meaning to all we do. Lent is a most special time. The liturgies and devotions of Lent call us to a kind of spiritual “spring cleaning,” identifying relationships that are disordered and sins that imprison and then seeking forgiveness and healing. We root out the darkness of sin so as to enter the Easter mysteries with a clean heart bathed in the healing, life-giving light of Christ.

Guidelines for Lent

1) The time of Lent is to be observed by Catholics as a special season of prayer, penance and works of charity. 2) Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, and Good Friday, April 10, in particular, are the most important penitential days of the liturgical year. They are days of both fast and abstinence. All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence. 3) The rule of fasting states that only one full meal a day can be taken. Two small meals, “sufficient to maintain strength,” are allowed, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals breaks the fast, but drinking liquids does not. The rule of fasting binds all Catholics from age 18 to 59. 4) Abstinence refers to the eating of meat. Under the present law, it does not include egg or milk products, meat stock soups or gravies. The rule of abstinence binds all Catholics 14 years old and older. 5) The substantial observance of the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious obligation. Those whose work or health would be impaired are excused from fasting and abstaining. The individual conscience can decide if there is a proper cause to excuse. A more serious reason should be present to excuse from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday penance. 6) Self-imposed fasting on the other weekdays of Lent is recommended. Abstinence on all Fridays of the year is also highly recommended.

February 13, 2009

The 1983 war and peace pastoral letter of the U.S. bishops, stating that prayer is incomplete without penance, urges Friday abstinences as something all American Catholics should offer up for the sake of world peace. 7) Parents and teachers should see to it that even those who are not bound by the laws of fasting and abstinence because of age are brought up in an atmosphere that is conducive to a sense of penance. 8) The faithful should be clearly and positively encouraged to receive the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent. There should be adequate time scheduled for confessions before Easter. Group reconciliation services should not be scheduled for the last days of the Holy Week. At no time is it permitted to schedule a group reconciliation service for the purpose of giving general absolution without individual confessions. 9) The liturgical directions of the Sacramentary and the Lectionary must be faithfully observed regarding all the special Holy Week rites. 10) Funeral Masses are not allowed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday. The funeral rite outside of Mass can be held either in church or at the chapel on those days, with a funeral Mass later. 11)The RCIA is incorporated into the liturgy during Lent. The rite of election is celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent. On the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, the Scrutinies take place during Mass.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the U.S. bishops’ international aid and development agency. Founded in 1943 to assist the displaced populations of war-torn Europe, CRS now brings humanitarian relief efforts to poor people in nearly 100 countries. Inspired by the loving message of Jesus Christ in all its works, CRS invites the U.S. Catholic community to join in its mission to respond to natural disasters, combat poverty, bring clean water to villages, help farmers grow the food needed for their families and communities, and fight illnesses such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. Working closely with the U.S. bishops, CRS promotes a vision of human dignity, human development and peace building consistent with the moral vision espoused by the Catholic Church. All people — without regard to race, religion or nationality — are recipients of the charitable efforts of CRS. And such efforts are very effective, with 94 percent of each dollar donated to CRS going directly to programs. CRS also is a determined advocate on Capitol Hill for the world’s poor, making sure members of Congress address the global scourges of disease, hunger and poverty. CRS lobbies the government on behalf of initiatives based on Catholic moral principles that are designed to bring relief to millions of people worldwide. An example of such an initiative is the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which enables many people worldwide to receive lifesaving medical treatments. I believe very strongly in the work of CRS. Since 1997, I have worked as a volunteer with the Diocese of Charlotte’s Office of Justice and Peace, a component of Catholic Social Services, on the Diocesan CRS Advisory Committee. This committee is comprised of volunteers from across the diocese who promote CRS’s work and disaster relief appeals, and, importantly, encourage participation in CRS’s Operation Rice Bowl. During Lent, Operation Rice Bowl participants pledge to pray, fast in solidarity with those around the world who suffer from hunger, learn about the global community and the challenges of poverty overseas, and give sacrificial contributions to those in need. With Lent just around the corner, parishes nationwide are preparing for the 2009 Operation Rice Bowl collection —

Guest Column DEACON EDWARD KONARSKI guest columnist

CRS’s primary fundraising mechanism. This year’s theme is “Solidarity Will Transform the World.” Of the funds raised through Operation Rice Bowl, the majority goes through CRS headquarters in Baltimore, Md., to fund international development projects. A smaller portion remains in the Diocese of Charlotte to provide funding for the $1,000 Operation Rice Bowl mini-grants that support local hunger and poverty-alleviation efforts. The Diocesan CRS Advisory Committee evaluates the applications for these grants. This past fall, eight parishes received mini-grants. CRS is making changes for the better in communities worldwide. I encourage you to learn more about CRS ( org) and its many programs. If you are a parent or educator, or if you just want to broaden your children’s knowledge of global issues, consider visiting the CRS education Web site ( org) for valuable educational resources. In his 2009 World Day of Peace Message, Pope Benedict XVI called Catholics worldwide to build peace by fighting poverty. In solidarity, the U.S. bishops and CRS will launch the Catholics Confront Global Poverty Campaign Feb. 23. I hope you will join me, and thousands of other Catholics, in responding to this campaign’s invitation to learn about global poverty issues. The diocesan Office of Justice and Peace will share details of this campaign with parishes in early March. Please pray with me for the hundreds of millions of people suffering from a lack of life’s most basic necessities. I encourage you to be generous to those in need in our own communities and around the world. And please be a voice for the voiceless by advocating for policies that benefit our brothers and sisters worldwide. Deacon Konarski is a permanent deacon and Operation Rice Bowl coordinator at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Morganton.

February 13, 2009

lenten Solidarity

Pope says fasting in Lent opens hearts to God LENT, from page 1

Council Cor Unum, the Vatican’s office for promoting and coordinating charity, told reporters that Christian fasting brings together love for God and love for neighbor. “The pope reminds us of our obligation to open our hearts and our hands to those in need,” he said at the Vatican presentation of the message. The Vatican invited Josette Sheeran, the U.N.’s World Food Program executive director, to help present the papal message. “Serving the hungry is a moral call that unites people of all faiths,” said Sheeran, whose organization relies heavily on Catholic charities and other faith-based organizations to distribute food aid. “At this time of worldwide economic challenges, let us not forget that the food and financial crises hit the world’s most vulnerable the hardest. Since 2007, 115 million were added to the ranks of the hungry to create a total of nearly 1 billion people without adequate food.” Sheeran said that at a time when the U.S. and other governments are announcing multitrillion-dollar packages to bailout banks, car companies and other industries, the World Food Program is asking that 0.7 percent of all stimulus plans be dedicated to hunger relief. “Financial rescue packages must serve not only Wall Street and Main Street, but also the places with no streets,” she said. Cardinal Cordes and Sheeran agreed that the financial bailout plans are necessary not just for helping the world’s richest nations, but also for preventing a worsening situation in poor countries dependent on exports, on development aid and on the money their citizens working abroad send home to support their families. “If the financial system fails completely, it will hurt the poor first,” Cardinal Cordes said. Sheeran said the 2007-2008 food crisis — when the price of basic staples soared

The Catholic News & Herald 9

“Fasting is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live.”

World Hunger About 963 million people — 14 percent of the world’s population — are undernourished. undernourished population 41% or more 31-40% 21-30% 11-20% 0-10% people who continuously consume fewer calories than are required to maintain a healthy life. seven countries have more than 65 percent of the world’s undernourished population.

— Pope Benedict XVI

1. india 2. China 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

— combined with more recent job losses because of the financial crisis involved “two separate problems, but the result is the same: malnutrition and death.” ‘The deepest hunger’ In his message, Pope Benedict said the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are meant to help Christians focus on God and prepare for the Easter celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Focusing his message specifically on the practice of fasting, the pope said it is a way for believers to submit themselves “humbly to God, trusting in his goodness and mercy.” “Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by his saving word,” the pope wrote. “Through fasting and prayer we allow him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God,” he said. While some people fast to cleanse their body or to lose weight, Christians fast during Lent in order “to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God,” he said. “Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin,” the pope wrote. At the same time, he said, “fasting is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live.” By fasting in solidarity with the poor, “freely embracing an act of selfdenial for the sake of another, we make a statement that our brother or sister in need is not a stranger,” the pope said.

Country data is from 2003-2005. information unavailable for countries in white. source: Food and agriculture organization of the united nations

Congo Bangladesh indonesia ethiopia pakistan

230.5 million 122.7 43.0 40.1 37.1 35.2 35.0

©2009 Cns

U.N. statistics reveal extent of world hunger by NICOLE COIA catholic news service

VATICAN CITY — In his 2009 Lenten message Pope Benedict XVI said the spiritual practice of fasting also should lead to concrete action on behalf of the hungry. “Fasting is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live,” the pope said in the message released at the Vatican Feb. 3. The Vatican invited Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program, to its press conference presenting the message. The following are statistics on world hunger from the World Food Program and the Office of the U.N. Secretary-General: — In 2008, the number of undernourished people in the world rose to 963 million (more than the combined populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union), up 40 million from 2007. — The majority of undernourished people live in developing countries, with about 65 percent of the total living in India, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia. — Hunger and malnutrition are the No. 1 risk to health worldwide, greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. — Hunger does not affect just the individual. Economists estimate that every child whose physical and mental development is stunted by hunger and malnutrition stands to lose 5 percent to 10 percent in lifetime earnings. — The total food surplus of the United States alone could satisfy every empty stomach in Africa; France’s leftovers could feed the hungry in Democratic Republic of Congo and Italy’s could feed Ethiopia’s undernourished. — Today 25,000 people will die from hunger. A child dies every six seconds of

Today 25,000 people will die from hunger. A child dies every six seconds of malnutrition or starvation. malnutrition or starvation. — A number of factors, including high energy and fertilizer costs, sent global food prices soaring to all-time highs in 2008. In March the price of rice hit a 19-year high while wheat climbed to its highest level in 28 years. However the price of staple foods throughout the world has declined over the last few months. — Food riots erupted in the spring of 2008 in Haiti, Mexico and Senegal. The World Bank estimated that social unrest, as a consequence of the world food crisis, could spread to 33 countries. Although riots have eased in recent months, at a meeting in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 26, Ban Ki-moon, U.N. secretarygeneral, urged wealthy nations not to ignore the shocking problem of world hunger. — There is enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment necessary for a healthy and productive life.

February 13, 2009

10 The Catholic News & Herald

Culture Watch

A roundup of Scripture, readings, films and more

Moving book tells troubling tale of mass shootings of Jews in Ukraine reviewed by EUGENE J. FISHER catholic news service

“The Holocaust by Bullets” is one of the most moving, troubling and insightful books on the Holocaust, or for that matter any other subject, that I have ever read. Father Patrick Desbois is a French priest of humble background who is an adviser to the French bishops and to the Holy See for Catholic-Jewish relations. His interest in the dialogue with Jews and in the Holocaust was sparked by his grandfather, who had been a prisoner of war during World War II interned by the Germans in Ukraine and who, in telling the story of his own sufferings to his grandson, insisted that it was much worse for “the others.” “The others,” it turned out, were the Jews, who, relatively early in the war in German-occupied Ukraine, were murdered, not by the anonymous millions in concentration camps away from the eyes of the public, but by the scores in town squares and fields in front of their horrified non-Jewish neighbors, friends who were often forced to facilitate the massacres by digging the ditches and covering over the mass graves that to this day dot the landscape of an entire country. Until Father Desbois and his courageous team spent much of the past decade traveling around the country from village to village, interviewing the townsfolk, most of whom were children at the time of the killings, the graves were unmarked, destined it would seem for oblivion. Now the sites are carefully plotted, their positions marked exactly by GPS, with the approximate number of the victims interred there and with eyewitness stories recorded and cross-referenced with archival materials from German and Soviet records. The book is written simply in the first person, narrating how the author became interested in and then, in the best moral sense, obsessed by his mission. It details the development by his small team of a methodology to interview witnesses and, by analyzing the number of bullets found in a given area, computing the approximate number of victims buried where they had fallen. Some of the passages, in their stark simplicity, sear the soul of the reader. Visiting a neat, well-kept German cemetery in Lublin, Poland, for example, shortly after visiting a Jewish grave site in which they saw “nothing that resembled a cemetery,” Father Desbois comments: “While the mass graves of the thousands of Jews who were shot are untraceable, every German killed during the war has been reburied and identified by name. The cemeteries are on the scale of the Reich. Magnificent cemeteries for


Sunday Scripture Readings: Feb. 22, 2009

Feb. 22, Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle B Readings: 1) Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25 Psalm 41:2-5, 13-14 2) 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 Gospel: Mark 2:1-12

God’s presence helps us leave past behind, focus on future by JEFF HEDGLEN catholic news service

the Germans ... absolutely nothing for the Jews. “Thus, under the ground, everything is still in order according to the hierarchy of the Reich. We cannot give a posthumous victory to Nazism. We cannot leave the Jews buried like animals. We cannot accept this state of affairs and allow our continent to be built upon the obliterated memory of the victims of the Reich.” This is not to say that the book is a sad one. Rather, it radiates a sense of redemption. In interviewing the witnesses to the mass shootings of Jews in their villages, Father Desbois allows them, most for the first time since they witnessed the horrors in which they took part, to speak of what happened, to have it recorded for posterity. Many were conscripted into digging the pits into which the Jews were herded and shot. Then they were forced to cover over the pits, throwing thin layers of earth over multiple layers of the dead bodies of the conscripts’ neighbors and friends. In the interviews, the witnesses had to relive the horror, but in telling it, they were finally freed from some of its heavy burden. One elderly woman, for example, confessed that she and two friends were forced “to walk on the bodies of the people who were shot after every volley of shots. We were three Ukrainian girls who, in our bare feet, had to pack down the bodies of the Jews and throw a fine layer of sand on top of them so that other Jews could lay down (to be shot in turn).” The volume is graced with 16 pages of excellent photographs of the sites, the digging and, above all, the faces of the witnesses, as well as several transcripts of testimonies. One finishes this book with new understandings of familiar words such as evil, shame, hope and grace. Fisher is retired associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and recently received the Shevet Achim Award for Outstanding Contributions to Jewish-Christian Understanding from the Council of Centers on JewishChristian Relations.

The past has such an allure for us, especially as we get older. We love to tell stories of how it was “back in the day.” Whenever we gather with old friends, we tell and retell the same stories as though they had happened just last week. For some, the past is so much a part of their lives that they seem to constantly relive it, be it the glory days of high school and college, their home town or even the physical shape they once had. For others, the history they carry with them is a burden. These people sometimes wallow in the past. The hard and painful times tend to hold on as though affixed to the soul with superglue. We are, for sure, a product of our previous experiences. But we do not have to be defined by them. In this weekend’s first reading, God says through the prophet Isaiah: “Remember not the events of the past, the

things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” God is all about the here and now. Even the name God reveals to us in Exodus is “I am who am,” not “I was” or “I will be” but I AM. This shows us that God is eternally present, and he is calling us to meet him where he is. For me and a lot of people I know, one aspect of the past that continues to nag, pull and at times bring guilt is the sins I have committed. Even those I have taken to confession tend to creep back into my mind and try to drag me down. But here again God’s mercy shines through in the words of Isaiah: “I ... wipe out ... your offenses; your sins I remember no more.” God’s eternal presence and unfailing forgiveness can give us the strength we need to leave the past behind. It’s not that God is saying we are to deny our past or even forget it, but that we must avoid allowing the days behind us to dictate the ones before us. If we hold too tight to yesterday we might miss what God is doing right now, and if God is doing it, it is sure to be a good thing. Questions: What “new thing” is God doing in your life these days? What things from the past are hard for you to let go of? In what ways do you see God as being eternally present? Scripture to be Illustrated: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

WEEKLY SCRIPTURE Scripture for the week of Feb. 15-21 Sunday (Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time), Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46, 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, Mark 1:40-45; Monday, Genesis 4:1-15, 25, Mark 8:11-13; Tuesday (Seven Servite Founders), Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10, Mark 8:14-21; Wednesday, Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22, Mark 8:22-26; Thursday, Genesis 9:1-13, Mark 8:27-33; Friday, Genesis 11:1-9, Mark 8:34--9:1; Saturday (St. Peter Damian), Hebrews 11:1-7, Mark 9:2-13. Scripture for the week of Feb. 22-28 Sunday (Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time), Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25, 2 Corinthians 1:18-22, Mark 2:1-12; Monday (St. Polycarp), Sirach 1:1-10, Mark 9:14-29; Tuesday, Sirach 2:1-11, Mark 9:30-37; Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), Joel 2:12-18, 2 Corinthians 5:20--6:2, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18; Thursday (Thursday after Ash Wednesday), Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Luke 9:22-25; Friday (Friday after Ash Wednesday), Isaiah 58:1-9, Matthew 9:14-15; Saturday (Saturday after Ash Wednesday), Isaiah 58:9-14, Luke 5:27-32.

An invitation to all Catholic women!

Strong Women, Strong Friendship, Strong Faith! — a weekend forum with Sr. Paula Hagen, O.S.B.

Sr. Paula Hagen, co-author of Ministry of Mothers Sharing, is a family therapist, national family ministry consultant, trainer, and retreat director from St. Paul’s Monastery in St. Paul, Minnesota. She will facilitate the retreat using Scripture, prayer rituals, journaling, quiet reflection, and discussion centered on Mary.

Fri., Feb. 27 – 5:30-9:30 pm and Sat., Feb. 28 – 9am-12 pm Light dinner Friday, continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday are included. St. Leo the Great Parish Center in Winston-Salem — 335 Springdale Ave., 27104 Cost: $25 -- ($30 after Feb. 23, payable at door) Registration and/or info: 336.724.0561 or Kelly at

The Catholic News & Herald 11

February 13, 2009

Spiritual guidance online Content of popular Catholic Web site put out in book, sent to pastors by CHAZ MUTH catholic news service

WASHINGTON — In the 10 years since Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., began offering ministry guidance and aids on its Web site, the technology has exploded and so has the audience of the Catholic Web site, which received more than 21 million hits in the past year. The site has become so popular that a Catholic publishing house in Chicago has published some of the content in book form and sent a complimentary copy to every Catholic parish in the United States. “I know that it may sound a little odd that a book would come out of stuff from a Web site, and not the other way around,” said Jesuit Father Andy Alexander, one of the founders of the Web site that inspired the book. “But we’re hoping to expand our audience, and this book will help, especially if parishes begin using it,” he said. The book, “Praying Lent: Renewing Our Lives on the Lenten Journey,” is a guide for Catholics about how to celebrate an often misunderstood season. Father Alexander and Maureen Waldron — staff members of the Jesuit-run university’s Collaborative Ministry Office — set up the Creighton University Web site in 1998 to provide daily reflections for the faculty and staff to help them understand the school’s mission. During Lent that year the daily reflections focused on the 40 days leading up to Easter and provided information about what that period means to Catholics and what the church expects from them. “At the end of Lent of 1998, when we first went online with daily reflections, a woman wrote to us and said she was visiting Hong Kong and heard about our site from a priest from Baltimore and told us how much our postings meant to her during her time overseas,” Waldron said. “That’s when it occurred to us, ‘We’re not just a campus ministry. We’re reaching out globally,” she said. As they added faculty and staff to their roster of daily reflection writers, they also started hearing from more people from all corners of the planet. “We started to realize two things,” Father Alexander said. “People were very hungry for spiritual guidance, and the World Wide Web is a very powerful tool.” With little technical savvy or computer training 10 years ago, Father Alexander, now 60, and Waldron, now 55, learned the ins and outs of Web site design and maneuvering using the trialand-error method. Over the years they have added online translations of spiritual exercises from St. Ignatius, established interactive retreats, posted Lenten recipes, installed audio downloads, provided Advent

instructions for Catholics, given advice for dealing with grief and created a weekly guide for daily prayer, Father Alexander said. “People kept saying they were too busy to pray,” he said. “So this reviews all of the readings of the week and instructs people how to practice their faith. For lack of a better phrase, it’s religion for the busy person.” However, the online ministry isn’t a substitute for Mass, Father Alexander said. “It’s not replacing church,” he said. “This is spirituality online. It helps people strengthen their relationship with God when they are not in church.” Since they were hearing from people from Saudi Arabia to Siberia, F a t h e r A l e x a n d e r a n d Wa l d r o n translated some of the retreats into Spanish, Japanese and Russian. “Loyola Press started watching our numbers, and even though they said they had never published anything that had already been available for free, the numbers were staggering,” Father Alexander said. “They asked us if they could put our online retreats in books, so that people can have them in hand,” he said. The book will be handy for people who are traveling without Internet access, or for those who just haven’t embraced the new technology, said Michelle Halm, a Loyola Press spokeswoman. “We saw how the retreat on Lent inspired so many people to sign onto their Web site,” Halm said. “We thought it would be great to put that information into a book to reach even a broader audience.” “It’s very practical and hands-on. It even has recipes and (information on) how to make the most of Lent. We wanted to get it into more hands,” she said. Since Loyola Press would also like to see pastors all over the United States use this book as an instructional guide for members of their congregation, the company has sent every parish in the country a complimentary copy along with inexpensive order deals, she said. “This would be ideal for a prayer group, or a special Lenten instruction group,” Halm said. Msgr. Damien Nalepa, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Church in Baltimore, received his copy during Advent and decided to read it sometime in January. However, the idea of a book to help guide members of his congregation through the practical aspects of Lent intrigued him. “I like the idea,” he said. “This is the kind of tool that I think would be valuable for our parishioners. I am always looking for tools to help Catholics really understand Lent.” Asecond book containing information from Creighton University’s online ministry site, which can be found at www. online.html, is planned for the near future, most likely as a guide for Advent, Halm said.

CNS photo courtesy White Stone Gallery

Spanish-born contemporary artist Maria Tarruella poses in front of her painting, “John 8:12” in Philadelphia Feb. 4. Her exhibition, titled “Hope,” contains 13 layered-collage pieces depicting images of God’s presence in our daily lives.

Artist hopes her art opens people’s hearts to God’s love by JACKIE TAYLOR catholic news service

WASHINGTON — Contemporary artist Maria Tarruella hopes her first U.S. exhibit can open the hearts of people around her to the love of God. “He knows who he has to communicate to. I hope I’m humble enough and open enough to hear his voice and listen to where he wants to take me,” she stated. “In my work, I ask the Lord to come bless me and use me. The art comes from a conversation between us,” Tarruella said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service. Her exhibition, titled “Hope,” contains 13 layered collage pieces depicting images of God’s presence in our daily lives. The exhibition will debut Feb. 27 at White Stone Gallery in Philadelphia. St. Teresa of Avila, a 16th-century mystic, served as an inspiration for Tarruella’s art. She said she admired the saint’s ability to combine mysticism and a businesslike attitude in her life. “We always have our daily fights and it’s about seeing how we can give our day-to-day lives to the Lord and let him come into our minute, little paths in life,” said Tarruella. Living in the United States for a little more than a year, Tarruella said she noticed a different attitude toward religion in the States. “People in Europe are much more reserved about their faith. Speaking about religion is quite personal and private. People are taken aback if you speak openly about God,” she noted. Tarruella admires the fact that Americans speak much more candidly about faith in God. Born in the predominantly Catholic country of Spain, Tarruella rarely practiced her faith growing up. She experienced a renewal of her faith during a 1989 encounter with the late Pope John Paul II in Santiago, Chile. Hearing the pope’s words, Tarruella felt an intense heat in her heart and recognized the sensation as a sign to

communicate God’s message to others. For the “Hope” exhibit, Tarruella created layered pieces, using wax, acrylic paint, metallic paint, tissue paper, iron powder and ashes on raw linen canvas. Each material is symbolic of Tarruella’s faith. “Our daily life is filled with information, junk mail, bills, papers and notes. I would get a pile of coupons from the cashier at the grocery store and just crumple them up and throw them away. Then I thought that cashier had cared enough and taken time to give those coupons to me. I should not be throwing them away,” said Tarruella. So, instead, she used the newspaper clippings, receipts and coupons in her art. Tarruella placed the papers on a canvas, praying for everyone that made it possible for those things to reach her hands, she said. Tarruella created her own paint to cover the collage. She “applied the Holy Spirit” to her work, she said, by gently placing tissue paper over the paint, which gave a “sense of peace” to the art. Applied over the tissue paper, wax acts as a symbol of God’s action in our lives, she said. “Like God’s love, the wax is burning, but it is also tender.” “Hope” will be installed in gallery rooms with lights that can be turned on or off when visitors are viewing the art. Tarruella uses a bright fluorescent paint hidden beneath several layers. When the lights are off, the concealed paint becomes visible, giving further meaning and dimension to the work. “Even in the darkness, there is always light. God will guide you through the dark to where Jesus is,” Tarruella said. People around the world have responded positively to her art, she said, regardless of their religion or background. “One time a lady saw my painting from the street and came into the gallery. She stood in front of the painting and looked at it. She suddenly began to cry because she was so moved by the painting. She had heard a voice calling her to open her heart,” said Tarruella.

12 The Catholic News & Herald

February 13, 2009


Vatican orders study of women religious in U.S. STUDY, from page 1

The announcement was made Jan. 30 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington by Sister Eva-Maria Ackerman, a member of the American province of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. She will assist Mother Mary Clare Millea, a Connecticut native who is superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an international religious institute that has its headquarters in Rome. Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, appointed Mother Clare as the apostolic visitor. The cardinal sent letters detailing the task to both the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the two major organizations representing heads of women’s religious orders in the United States. It is too early to know how many volunteers will be enlisted to visit nearly 400 Catholic institutes for women religious in the United States, how much it will cost or who will pay for the study, Sister Ackerman said during the press conference at the national shrine. “We hope to discover and share the vibrancy and purpose that continue to accomplish so much, as well as to understand the obstacles and challenges that inhibit these individuals and institutions, thus limiting their growth

and/or redirecting their resources and outreach,” she said. The study — which is expected to be completed by 2011 — is in no way connected to the apostolic visitation of more than 200 U.S. seminaries and formation houses in 2005 and 2006, which was ordered in response to the sexual abuse crisis that hit the U.S. church, Sister Ackerman said. It was not known why the Vatican chose to do this study now, why the United States was singled out and what prompted the Vatican congregation to order it, she said. “I don’t even want to speculate,” she added. Once the study is concluded, a “comprehensive and confidential” report will be given to Cardinal Rode, but its findings are not expected to be made public, Sister Ackerman said. “First, Mother Clare will solicit voluntary input from the superiors general through inviting them to make personal visits with her in Rome or in the United States,” she said. “During the second stage, the major superiors in the United States will be asked for information such as statistics, activities and community practices. Selected on-site visits will be made during the third stage,” Sister Ackerman said. Catholic women religious have been involved in education, health care and a variety of pastoral and social services in the United States since before the nation was founded in 1776, said Mother Clare in a prepared statement released at the press conference. “I am truly humbled and a bit overwhelmed,” she said of her assignment. “While I have visited each of the communities and missions in my own

Religious in the Diocese of Charlotte Congregations of sisters: Congregation of Notre Dame Congregation of Our Lady Help of the Clergy Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena Eremitic of St. Augustine Maryknoll Sisters Missionaries of Charity Missionary Servants of the Blessed Trinity Poor Servants of the Mother of God School Sisters of St. Francis Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul Sisters of Mercy Sisters of Providence Sisters of St. Francis Sisters of St. Joseph Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Society of the Holy Child Jesus Ministries: Congregational leadership Medical clinic director Outpatient clinic director Business manager Counseling Nursing Retreat ministry Peace and justice advocacy Seminary professor Hospital chaplain

Bereavement ministry Residence for mentally and physically impaired Evangelization/faith formation/vocations Prison ministry Diocesan tribunal Hispanic ministry Elementary education Theology professor Director of diocesan media center Parish pastoral associates Elder care Day care services Residence for homeless women and children Nursing home administrator and patient visitors Residence for terminally-ill AIDS patients Spiritual renewal programs director Congregations of brothers: Augustinians Jesuits Benedictines Capuchin Franciscans Missionaries of the Poor Ministries: Retreat house director College coach Professors Hispanic ministry coordinator Vocations work Manual labor

CNS photo by Mike Crupi

Nuns gather to pray in the chapel at the Dominican Monastery of Mary the Queen in Elmira, N.Y, in this July 14, 2004, file photo. An announcement was made in Washington Jan. 30 that the Vatican has initiated an apostolic visitation of institutes of women religious to find out why their numbers have decreased during the past 40 years. congregation, the thought of gathering facts and findings about nearly 400 institutes across the United States can be daunting in scope,” she said. “I know that the object of this visitation is to encourage and strengthen apostolic communities of women religious, for the simple reason that these communities are integral to the entire life of the Catholic Church, in the United States and beyond,” Mother Clare said. Sister Ackerman acknowledged that the population of women religious has

significantly dropped during the past several decades, and that fewer nuns have chosen to teach school in the past 30 years in favor of doing social outreach. “Recruitment is of great concern for every (religious) community,” she said. “We live in a very different society,” she added, than that experienced by many of the U.S. saints who were nuns — Sts. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Frances Xavier Cabrini, Katharine Drexel, Rose Philippine Duchesne and Mother Theodore Guerin.


WALSINGHAM ACADEMY in WILLIAMSBURG, VA Position Description: Together with the President and Upper School Principal, the Lower School Principal completes the Academy’s administrative team. The Principal is responsible to ensure mission integration, provide instructional leadership, ensure overall program and curriculum development, and administer daily operations. Requirements: The ideal candidate for this position is a practicing Catholic holding a master’s degree in administration. A combined minimum of 8 years teaching and administrative experience at the elementary level is required. The candidate should hold, or be eligible to obtain, Virginia State Elementary Certification. Application Process: Qualified applicants should complete an application which is available at and send a resume to the President at, or President, Walsingham Academy, 1100 Jamestown Road/P. O. Box 8702, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8702. Application must be received no later than March 2, 2009.

Classifieds Classified ads bring results! Over 160,000 readers! Almost 54,000 homes! Rates: $.80/word per issue ($16 minimum per issue) Deadline: 12 noon Wednesday, 9 days before publication How to order: Ads may be E-mailed to, faxed to (704) 370-3382 or mailed to: Cindi Feerick, The Catholic News & Herald, 1123 S. Church St., Charlotte, NC 28203. Payment: For information, call (704) 370-3332.

February 13, 2009

The Catholic News & Herald 13

in our schools

Students in service

Surveying the school

Courtesy Photo

Students from St Mark School in Huntersville deliver cookies, handmade cards and a banner to the Huntersville Oaks nursing home Jan. 26. The outreach was for “Community Service Day,” part of Catholic Schools Week. The students visited with residents individually to deliver the cards. Similar donations were made to the Huntersville police and fire departments and the Huntersville branch of the public library.

Courtesy Photo

Bishop Peter J. Jugis visits with kindergarten students at Sacred Heart School in Salisbury Jan. 30 as part of Catholic Schools Week. Bishop Jugis visited all the classrooms and celebrated Mass for the students in Sacred Heart Church. Concelebrating Mass were Father John Putnam, pastor, and Father Nohe Torres, parochial vicar. Deacon James Mazur assisted.

Peace of Mind for Uncertain Times

Courtesy Photo

Bishop Peter J. Jugis (right) and Father John Putnam (left), pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury, tour the site of the new church and school Jan. 30.

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Do you have a news story to share with The Catholic News & Herald? Do you know of local people who are living the tenets of their faith? Do you have photos of a parish-, school- or ministrybased event? If so, please share them with us. Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore at (704) 370-3354 or kmmoore@

February 13, 2009

14 The Catholic News & Herald


A collection of columns, editorials and viewpoints

Spiritual, emotional and cultural

Faith is an integral part of holding onto our historical identity

Some time ago I found myself among about a dozen people, most of them my neighbors in New Mexico, at an organizational meeting of a Unitarian fellowship. I went because the organizers are good friends and they insisted I join them. We sat in a circle in the assembly room of another church and each person in turn spoke about his past religious affiliations. To my surprise, every person had left the church in which he or she had been born. As I listened to them speak about their search for something new, I looked out a large window across the valley. There, on a gently sloping hillside, stood a chapel with adobe walls and a small bell tower jutting out of the rusty tin roof. Named in honor of St. Isidore, patron of farmers, that chapel is where I often worshipped with my family when I was a child. As I sat only half listening to the others, I remembered the lusty hymns, the hard wooden pews and the many processions, especially on Good Friday when the Penitentes, a penitential society of laymen, re-enacted the Crucifixion. When my turn came to speak, I invited the others to look out across the valley to the chapel. I told them my grandfather and many other relatives, perhaps even my great-grandfather, are buried in the humble cemetery adjacent to the chapel. I told them my experience in the Catholic Church has not always been good. Sometimes bishops, priests and fellow laypersons have disappointed me, as indeed I am sure I have sometimes failed to measure up in their standards. But, as I emphasized to the group, we have a long history there. And I added: “I am not going to break with that history. The faith is part of who we are.” It’s the same response I give to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who come regularly to my door in New York, seeking to entice me to join their church. They find me by asking my neighbors, “Is there

Seeking Life MOISES SANDOVAL cns columnist

anyone who speaks Spanish here?” I thought again about all this recently when I read about a talk President Barack Obama gave to American Jews in June 2008. He said: “In many ways, I didn’t know where I came from. So I was drawn to the belief that you could sustain a spiritual, emotional and cultural identity. And I understand the Zionist idea — that there is always a homeland at the center of our identity.” The homeland at the center of Hispanic identity, of course, is more than a place; it is a faith, a language, a tapestry of values embedded in a culture that places a high value on family and community and a history that stretches across the centuries all the way back to Spain. There our ancestors battled the Moors for 700 years to preserve their faith and way of life. For most if not all of us, necessity or opportunity has taken us away from the place where we were born. This is as true of immigrants as it is for my own people in New Mexico and other areas of the Southwest. But wherever we have gone we have carried the portable aspects of our homeland with us. And the way to sustain the spiritual, emotional and cultural identity to which Obama alludes is not by giving all that up. It is by knowing who we are, where we come from and what gifts we bring that we can best contribute to the multicultural society in which we now find ourselves.

Write a Letter to the Editor The Catholic News & Herald welcomes letters from readers. We ask that letters be originals of 250 words or fewer, pertain to recent newspaper content or Catholic issues, and be in good taste. To be considered for publication, each letter must include the name, address and daytime phone number of the writer for purpose of verification. Letters may be condensed due to space limitations and edited for clarity, style and factual accuracy. The Catholic News & Herald does not publish poetry, form letter or petitions. Items submitted to The Catholic News & Herald become the property of the newspaper and are subject to reuse, in whole or in part, in print, electronic formats and archives. Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Catholic News & Herald, P.O. Box 37267, Charlotte, N.C. 28237, or e-mail

Age-old questions Love is ageless and expressed in many relationships — with others and with God My local newspaper carried a picture of newlyweds, 95 years young, who were celebrating their marriage with a large, extended and multigenerational family. The bride wore white. The groom wore a dapper suit. Both wore big smiles. Looking at that picture, some might wonder, “At their age?!” I, however, marvel at their eagerness to unite themselves to each other in marriage in their twilight years, a commitment that many young people seem to shy away from today. And I rejoice that their families were present to celebrate with them, giving their blessing and support as the couple embarks on a new chapter of life. Truly love knows no age or time limit. This story reminded me of a study published in February 2007 that found that the risk for Alzheimer’s-like dementia more than doubled in lonely people. Lonely people were also more likely to be less economically and educationally accomplished, and tended to have more health problems than those who reported having strong social ties. Loneliness, it seems, can take a horrible toll on us as we age. And yet, in today’s busy world, many of us find less and less time to nurture strong relationships. Time can pass without our calling a friend, visiting a shut-in relative or reaching out to a neighbor. We might take long-term relationships for granted, giving into pressure to spend time on newer, perhaps more exciting ones. We might shun older people because we think we have nothing in common with them. We might ignore younger children for the same reason. We might lose sight of the fact that, the Lord willing, we too will reach an older age. True love, one that reflects our faith and value in the worth of other people, does not develop overnight. It cannot be forged in a few online chat sessions or a couple of dates. Parent-child, husband-wife bonds cannot be improved upon by scheduling in brief “quality time” and ignoring longterm building. And yet, more and more, that is what many aspects of society, with an emphasis on anti-aging, quick fixes and instant gratification, would lead us to believe. But we know otherwise, and we have examples from Scripture to guide us. The greatest example of a long-term, loving relationship is the one we enjoy with our Creator. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Yes, God knew us then and he knows us now — and he loves us completely! Love through sacrifice shines in Christ’s example of selfless giving, by his death on the cross and also through his whole life of service to those young, old, strong and infirm.

Living Well MAUREEN PRATT cns columnist

If we look at love through the eyes of faith and expand our understanding of love beyond what television, radio and music outlets describe, we discover that love is ageless and can be expressed in many different relationships. No one is too young or too old for God’s all-encompassing love. I think about those “kids,” that couple who traveled 95 years and lived full lives before finding and marrying each other. What an example of the timeless expression of love! Of course, not every loving relationship will end in marriage. But with examples like this one to inspire us, we too can look beyond society’s often one-sided perception of love and help bring Christ’s compassion and love to the world. For with Christ, no one is ever alone.

Too Sweet 2.2 million couples marry each year in the U.S.

196,420 couples married in U.S. Catholic churches last year — about 9% of all marriages.

California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas have the most number of Catholic marriages


of currently married women have been married for at least 50 years.

57% women 60% men who are 18 or older and married in the U.S. Source: U.S. Census and The Official Catholic Directory

©2009 CNS

February 13, 2009

The Catholic News & Herald 15

Oversimplification leads to misunderstanding Catholic media crucial for contextual reporting The movie synopses printed in television program grids are models of conciseness. After giving the title, the year and the stars of the movie, the writer has minimal wordage left to describe the plot. Some actual examples from recent TV logs: “Ben Hur”: “Friends become bitter enemies during the time of Christ.” “Julius Caesar”: “Political intrigues lead to Caesar ’s downfall in old Rome.” “Pearl Harbor”: “Friends join a war effort after the Japanese attack Hawaii.” “E.T.”: “A California boy befriends a homesick alien.” History written in that style might find: “George Washington”: “Affluent Virginia planter leads revolutionary army, named president, becomes father of his country.” Such condensed information is not inaccurate; it is just an oversimplification that provokes misunderstanding. Another problem is instantaneous news. If you are too many beers into an evening and dance with a lampshade on your head while on vacation in Pago Pago, be prepared to see a photo of that when you come home. Because of context and instantaneous news, the Vatican finds itself in a fix. Not only the Vatican. So are Catholics who are called upon to be apologists at office coffee breaks, confronting such questions as “What’s wrong with the

church?” or “What is the pope up to?” Not too long ago, the appointment of an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Linz, Austria, would have been little known outside the borders of that country. And the contents of the parish newsletter in the Austrian town of Wi n d i s c h g a r s t e n w o u l d h a v e been of little concern other than among parishioners. But it contained questionable opinions of the pastor, leading to a threeparagraph story with this headline: “Pope Promotes New Orleans Critic.” In 2005, Father Gerhard Wagner was quoted in the parish newsletter as saying he was convinced that the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina that year was “divine retribution” upon New Orleans for its permissive sexual attitudes and tolerance of homosexuality. The brevity in reporting gives good reason for a reader to have the impression that being named a bishop was reward for his unorthodox statements. In another case, the Society of St. Pius X situation extends back through two papacies and decades with canon lawyers wrestling with the question. Bishop Richard Williamson, one of four bishops whose illicit ordination in 1988 by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre prompted their automatic excommunication, provoked protests worldwide with his assertions that the Holocaust was exaggerated and that no Jews died in Nazi gas chambers.

Going green with NFP

Natural family planning respects nature of marital act, encouraged for Catholics In his 2008 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict XVI called for a “strengthening” of the “covenant between human beings and the environment” and has since been widely dubbed the “green pope.” I invite Catholic couples to follow the pope’s message and go green this year by taking a natural family planning class. Natural family planning (NFP) is “about going green,” according to Christopher Thompson, associate professor in Catholic studies and theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. “People want their food, they want their vegetables, they want their meat to be raised with some sort of respect for the nature of the thing,” he said. Thompson said he he questions why some couples lower their standards when it comes to their marriages. “Why introduce into your body chemicals you wouldn’t put in your garden? Why use plastics or petroleum

products in the bedroom if you won’t use them anywhere else?” he asked. Our society is beginning to favor the wisdom of nature. We buy organic products and insist on breastfeeding as the best form of nutrition for our infants. As such, why not make the effort to learn NFP? Natural family planning is an umbrella term for the various methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of naturally occurring signs of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used. Couples abstain from intercourse during times identified as fertile if pregnancy is to be avoided. And when used correctly, research shows that NFP methods are 97-99 percent effective.  While children are the greatest gift in a marriage, couples may at times need to postpone pregnancy

Consider This STEPHEN KENT cns columnist

Controlling passions harnesses energy for doing good, pope says The Pope Speaks POPE BENEDICT XVI

Denying the Holocaust, like denying your own right hand, is clearly stupid but not a cause for excommunication. Likewise, making poor remarks years ago is no reason for a perpetual ban on a person. A Vatican statement said Pope Benedict XVI did not know about Bishop Williamson’s controversial statements when he lifted the excommunication of him and three other traditionalist bishops. These two events show the result of the quest for brevity and instant communication at the expense of context. When, weeks later, the Vatican said the pope was unaware of Bishop Williamson’s remarks, brevity led to an incomplete understanding of infallibility. Thus another coffee-break topic. “How could it be he does not know? He is infallible.” Because of the shorthand of brevity of context, full understanding needs more than “Pope Reinstates Denier of Holocaust” or “Pope Promotes New Orleans Critic.” This is Catholic Press Month. There is no better evidence to illustrate the value of the Catholic media — print, video and Internet — than this need for contextual reporting.

Guest Column BATRICE ADCOCK guest columnist

for good reasons. NFP does not offer carbon offsets, but it does help couples to responsibly plan their families in a dignified way that respects the nature of the marital act For more information on natural family planning in the Diocese of Charlotte, call (704) 370-3230. Adcock is NFP program director for Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte.

Catholic Social Services is funded in part by contributions to the Diocesan Support Appeal. This year’s DSA campaign runs Feb. 1 through March 8.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When people control their passions and desires, they can direct their energy toward total love of God and serving others, Pope Benedict XVI said. “Passions are not bad in themselves” but can lead to bad behavior if they are not controlled, the pope said Feb. 11 during his weekly general audience. The pope’s talk focused on St. John Climacus, the sixth-century author of “Scala Paradisi” (“Ladder of Paradise”), a step-by-step explanation of how to grow and mature in the spiritual life. The audience talk marked a return to the pope’s audience series on the great Christian writers of early Christianity. Pope Benedict said St. John Climacus’ work divides the Christian spiritual journey into three phases: cultivating “spiritual infancy,” or the attitude of a child totally dependent on God; “spiritual combat” against human passions through the cultivation of spiritual virtues; and obtaining “Christian perfection” through faith, hope and love. For St. John Climacus, he said, spiritual combat is not a negative exercise in the sense of ridding one’s life of desires, but rather takes the positive approach of cultivating virtues so that passion becomes a source of energy and of true longing for union with God. “According to St. John, passions are not bad in themselves. They only become so because of the negative way people with their freedom use them. If they are purified, passions set people energetically on the path toward God,” the pope said. The pope said in reading the work of St. John, “For me it is particularly important that the highest point of the ladder, the top rungs, are at the same time the basic, initial, most simple virtues: faith, hope and love. They aren’t virtues that are accessible only to moral heroes. They are virtues that are gifts of God and in which our life grows.” Faith obviously comes first because it is through faith that people renounce their arrogance and self-centeredness, recognizing that God is the creator and ruler of all, he said. “St. John Climacus rightly says that only hope makes us able to love. Hope helps us transcend the things of daily life and not expect success from one day to the next,” he said. With hope “we can support the delusions of each day, we can be good to others without reward,” the pope said, and with hope we take small steps forward each day “and in that way we learn love. Let us climb this ladder of faith, hope and love, and in that way we will arrive at true life.”

February 13, 2009

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The Catholic News & Herald 16

After the fire’s fury

Australian archbishop pledges church’s support to wildfire victims

and Fr. Mo West, Vicar General and Chancellor, for the

ALASKA CRUISE and RETREAT with a day in Seattle! August 17-25, 2007

CNS photo by Trevor Pinder, Reuters

Country Fire Authority member Andrew Watson carries his 5-year-old daughter Elana in the fire-ravaged town of Kinglake, about 29 miles northeast of Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 9. Weary firefighters and rescuers pulled the remains of dozens of people from charred buildings Feb. 9 as the death toll rose to more than 180 from wildfires in southeastern Australia’s Victoria state.

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CANBERRA, Australia (CNS) — The head of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference said the Catholic Church would lend both spiritual and practical support to families victimized by a series of wildfires that left more than 180 dead in Victoria state. “I know that Catholic parishes across Australia have been praying for the people who died in the bush fires, as well as for those experiencing the grief of losing loved ones, family homes and cherished pets and belongings,” said Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, conference president, in a Feb. 9 statement. “Catholic relief agencies, such as St. Vincent de Paul and Centacare, are already at work providing much-needed assistance to people on the ground in these communities. This support will continue over the coming months and years, as we walk with these families and communities in their time of need,” Archbishop Wilson said in a Feb. 9 statement. “My prayers and thoughts are with all who are suffering so grievously,” Archbishop Wilson said. In a separate statement, Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon, president of Catholic Religious Australia, the nation’s organization for men and women religious, said, “With all Australians, we will work to provide the practical support and help that is needed.” At the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state, sent a telegram to Quentin Bryce, governor general of Australia, assuring her of Pope Benedict XVI’s prayers for those affected by the fires as well as for those providing aid. Denis Fitzgerald, executive director of Catholic Social Services Victoria, said in a statement that the emergency relief arm of the St. Vincent de Paul Society was “providing immediate assistance and assessing needs for recovery” on a parish-by-parish basis. Centacare agencies in four Australian

dioceses were providing assistance as well. Centacare is the national federation of Catholic social service agencies. “Their professional expertise in counseling is very important and will become more so over the coming weeks and months, as the recovery phase takes off,” Fitzgerald said. Archbishop Wilson urged people to give generously to emergency appeals being established to assist those affected by the fires. Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, established one appeal; the St. Vincent de Paul Society set up another. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced immediate emergency aid of $10 million (US$6.8 million), and government officials said the army would be deployed to help fight the fires and clean up the debris. The Country Fire Authority in Victoria said some 850 square miles were burned. Some towns were fully lost to the flames. Australian authorities said they expected the death toll to top 200. The Associated Press reported blazes had been burning for weeks across TOP HEAD several states in southern Australia. A long-running drought — the worst inNO a RISK t up to 7/3 century — had left forests extra dry, and fire conditions Feb. 7 in Victoria were said to be the worst ever in Australia. Wildfires are common during the Australian summer. Government research shows about half of the roughly 60,000 fires each year are deliberately lit or suspicious. Lightning and people using machinery near dry brush are other causes. Police were investigating whether any of the Victoria fires had suspicious origins. Australia’s previous worst fires were in 1983, when blazes killed 75 people and razed more than 3,000 homes in the states of Victoria and South Australia during All f the “Ash Wednesday fires.” Seventy-one died and 650 buildings were destroyed in Wes 1939’s “Black Friday fires.”


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The remains of St. Andrew’s Church are seen after it was destroyed by fire in Kinglake, northeast hotel of and ai Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 9. Weary firefighters and rescuers pulled the remains of dozens of people from charred buildings Feb. 9 as the death toll rose to more than 180 from wildfires in southeastern Deposits ar Australia’s Victoria state.

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Feb. 13, 2009  

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