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April 14, 2006

The Catholic News & Herald 1

Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

Celebrating Easter Parishes, schools celebrate Lent, Easter | Pages 10-11

Established Jan. 12, 1972 by Pope Paul VI aPRIL 14, 2006

Serving Catholics in Western North Carolina in the Diocese of Charlotte

Gathered in faith and service

Thousands rally in Winston-Salem for immigration rights

Holy oils blessed for use throughout Diocese of Charlotte


WINSTON-SALEM — In cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of people carrying American flags joined rallies, marches and prayer services April 9-10 to call attention to the contributions of immigrants and to ask for changes in immigration law and policies. At Corpening Plaza in downtown Winston-Salem, more than 3,000 people gathered at a peaceful rally themed “Justice for Immigrants: A Journey of Hope”

staff writer

CHARLOTTE — Our priests are the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of Isaiah, said Bishop Peter J. Jugis. “My brother priests, Isaiah prophesied … you yourselves shall be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God,” said Bishop Jugis. The bishop offered these words during the chrism Mass, one of the Catholic Church’s most solemn Masses, at St. Patrick Cathedral April 11. During the annual Mass, priests redediSee CHRISM, page 9

Families survive deadly tornadoes, shocked by scenes of destruction by ANDY TELLI catholic news service

G A L L AT I N , T e n n . — Last year, Jennifer Trahan helped a family relocate to Gallatin after they lost their New Orleans home in Hurricane Katrina. Now Trahan and her family have found themselves with nothing after their house was destroyed by a tornado, one of several that killed 12 people in Tennessee April 7. See TORNADO, page 17



Torn to pieces

no. 27

A unified voice

Bishop, priests rededicate ministry during chrism Mass



Photo by Karen A. Evans

See RALLY, page 7

Bishop Peter J. Jugis and other diocesan priests distribute Communion to permanent deacons and worshippers during the chrism Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte April 11.

Christmas in Africa Priests, volunteers bring hope, gifts to orphans by


MAGGIE VALLEY — At first, nurse Tierney Echelmeier was afraid. She’d never seen anyone as thin as Sipho. Approaching Sipho, “skeletal in every sense of the word,” Echelmeier wrote: “I felt grace come over me to give me the strength to go to his bedside first. We communicated as best we could with

the language barrier and I was able to make him smile after we spent 20 minutes brushing his teeth, something that had not been done for him in several days. And he smiled.” Augustinian Fathers Francis Doyle and Jim Wenzel, both from the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova in Philadelphia, spent Christmas week with Echelmeier, 26, and five other Augustinian See AFRICA, page 5

Photos courtesy of Father Francis Doyle

A Villanova University student on semester break plays with a youngster in St. Theresa’s Orphanage in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa.


Culture Watch


Program anniversary; donations to needy

Da Vinci Code’s falsehoods; Vatican Museums

‘How’ and ‘why’ of fasting; Easter preparations

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April 14, 2006

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

At Catholic prayer breakfast, bishop urges battling moral relativism WASHINGTON (CNS) — From commonly used language to societal priorities, the “moral relativism” decried by Pope Benedict XVI often seems to be the only way to cope with modern times, said Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wis., urging participants at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast April 7 to work against that tide. In a program that also included remarks by President George W. Bush and the Vatican’s representative in Washington, Bishop Morlino’s keynote address warned about the “dictatorship of relativism” and described the enforcement mechanisms employed in maintaining that dictatorship. He said the mass media and “those who pander to polls” keep society focused on relativism. They employ inconsistency between civil laws and practices and the use of language that hides the true meaning of certain activities to keep people from applying the moral standards of natural law to

Running on faith

Diocesan planner ASHEVILLE VICARIATE CNS photo courtesy of Mount St. Mary’s University

Pictured on the hand of Debbie Squiccimarri is the $15,000 engagement ring recovered by Ron Bledsoe, a plumber at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. Squiccimarri’s ring slipped off her finger and vanished into the toilet and believes Bledsoe’s efforts, and St. Anthony’s intercession helped find it.

Plumber rescues $15,000 ring with help from St. EMMITSBURG, Md. (CNS) — As a plumber at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg for 24 years, Ron Bledsoe has recovered all kinds of items accidentally dropped down sinks or washed away in the sewer system. Calls for help usually involve saving lost contact lenses or the occasional cell phone. But on Feb. 20, Bledsoe faced his most challenging rescue mission ever: finding a $15,000 engagement ring that disappeared down a toilet at Cogan Student Union Building. Debbie Squiccimarri, a high school teacher from Ramsey, N.J., was visiting Mount St. Mary’s when she went to the ladies room. After blowing her nose and tossing the tissue into the toilet, the diamond engagement ring slipped off her finger and vanished when the automaticflushing system kicked in before she could grab it. “I immediately freaked out,” said Squiccimarri, who had received the ring only six weeks earlier on Christmas night. Bledsoe turned off the water and removed the toilet from the wall in a failed attempt to find the ring. A few weeks later, he took all the pipes apart, but still couldn’t track it down. Acting on a hunch that the ring may have traveled through the underground plumbing system to a bend under the

fourth manhole cover from the Cogan building, Bledsoe began checking the spot twice a week. On March 20, the determined plumber saw the glistening ring resting under an inch of murky water. The ring was returned to its elated owner March 27. “Not only did he continue looking for it, when he found it he was honest enough to return it,” said Squiccimarri, who gave Bledsoe a cash reward for his efforts. “He’s a very kind, honest and humble man.” Bledsoe said he was driven by the sad expression on Squiccimarri’s face when she lost the ring. “Just the way she looked that day made me want to find it,” he said. “She was devastated.” While the plumber did the grunt work, Squiccimarri is convinced he received heavenly assistance. After losing the ring, Mary Battaglino, Squiccimarri’s aunt, started a prayer chain consisting of six people praying to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost items. Did the intercessor make a difference? “Absolutely,” said Squiccimarri. As soon as she returned home from Mount St. Mary’s, Squiccimarri went to the jeweler to have round balls soldered into the band so that it won’t fall off again.

ASHEVILLE — The St. Martin de Porres Dominican Laity Chapter meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the rectory building at the Basilica of St. Lawrence, 97 Haywood St. Inquirers are welcome. For more information, contact Beverly Reid at (423) 638-4744 or HENDERSONVILLE — The St. Francis of the Hills Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order meets the fourth Sunday of each month, 2:30-4:30 p.m., at Immaculate Conception Church, 208 7th Ave. West. Visitors and inquirers are welcome. For more information, contact Joanita Nellenbach, SFO, (828) 627-9209 or

CHARLOTTE VICARIATE CHARLOTTE — Dr. Warren Carroll will speak on “The Growing and Indestructible Church” at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 6828 Park Rd., April 18 at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, call Estelle Wisneski at (704) 364-9568 or e-mail MINT HILL — Deacon Jeff and Barbara Evers will lead a workshop, “Exploring the Image of God,” April 29 at St. Luke Catholic, 13700 Lawyers Rd. Video and discussion will begin at 3 p.m. in the St. Luke Family Life Center. Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m., followed by a “Bring a Dish” dinner and discussion. To register, call Bob McHugh at 7532012 or Mary Adams at (704) 545-1224. CHARLOTTE — Theology on Tap, a dynamic speaker series designed to provide young adults in their 20s and 30s with the opportunity to discover more about their faith in a relaxed open environment, will meet Tuesdays,

everyday life, he said. Bishop Morlino gave the example of protests by some people against “warrantless surveillance” by government agencies in pursuing terrorists, while other U.S. groups encourage warrantless surveillance of people’s garbage bins, to ensure they are following local laws about recycling. One type of surveillance is considered “politically incorrect,” he said, while the other is “politically correct” and accepted by the same people who decry the other type of surveillance. “Redefinitions, euphemisms and anomalies” are among the language games he said people use to make what under natural law would be morally unacceptable to everyone become an accepted part of the normal life, Bishop Morlino said. “Language games are very dangerous,” Bishop Morlino said.

April 18-May 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Pepperoni’s Pizza in Park Road Shopping Center. These interactive events will explore the issues and challenges that Catholic young adults face in the 21st century. Contact Catrina at (704) 665-7374 or c_l_conway@ for more information. CHARLOTTE — The Semi-Annual Rosary Rally will be held May 7, at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick Cathedral, 1621 Dilworth Rd. East. This 31-year diocesan tradition will include recitation of the rosary, a eucharistic procession and Benediction. For more information, call Tina at (704) 846-7361. HUNTERSVILLE — A Mass to Honor Deceased Loved Ones is celebrated the last Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. St. Mark Church, 14740 Stumptown Rd. For more information, call Pam Schneider at (704) 875-0201. CHARLOTTE — A Support Group for Caregivers of a Family Member with Memory Loss meet the last Monday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m., at St. Gabriel Church, 3016 Providence Rd. For more information, contact Suzanne Bach at (704) 376-4135. CHARLOTTE — The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, St. Brigid Division 1, an IrishCatholic group of women dedicated to their faith, country and Irish heritage, meet the third Wednesday of each month. Anyone interested in membership, call Jeanmarie Schuler at (704) 554 0720.

GASTONIA VICARIATE BELMONT — First Saturday Devotions take place on the first Saturday of each month at Belmont Abbey Basilica, 100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Rd. Devotion begins at 9:30 a.m. with the r e c i t a t i o n o f t h e r o s a r y, f o l l o w e d b y reconciliation and Mass. For more information, call Phil or Terri at (704) 888-6050.


aPRIL 14, 2006 Volume 15 • Number 27

Publisher: Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Editor: Kevin E. Murray Staff Writer: Karen A. Evans 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.

The Catholic News & Herald 3

April 14, 2006


Scientific progress must not come at cost of human dignity, says pope Pope: Universities can play key role in sustaining VAT I C A N C I T Y ( C N S ) — Scientific and technological progress must never come at the cost of the life and dignity of people, Pope Benedict XVI told participants of a Vatican conference on higher education. He said universities and other institutions of higher learning can play a key role in sustaining the ideals and values that uphold and protect humanity while still pursuing scientific advancements. The pope made his remarks in an April 1 meeting with educators and government ministers who took part in a seminar sponsored by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education. The international gathering focused on the cultural heritage and academic values of European universities. Universities have always stood

out for their “love of knowledge and search for the truth,” the pope said in his address. But educators and university heads must clarify the purpose of institutions of higher learning: Are they at the service of individuals caught up in their own special interests or at the service of those who are “open to solidarity with others in the search for the true meaning of existence?” the pope asked. He said universities must never just pass on knowledge to students, but also must be concerned with educating new generations by “appealing to the heritage of ideals and values” upon which Europe was built. The humanistic tradition was founded on Christian values, he said, making European universities “authentic laboratories for research” and deepening knowledge.

GREENSBORO — Theology on Tap, a speaker series for Catholics in their 20s, 30s and 40s, will meet at Coopers Ale House, 5340 West Market St., April 19 and 26, May 3 and 10 at 7 p.m. Theology on Tap is a casual forum where people gather to learn and discuss the teachings of the Catholic Church. A service project will take place May 13 at Mary’s House in Greensboro. For more information, visit www.triadcatholics. org or call Deb at (336) 286-3687.

Merton’s deep spirit of prayer, passion for peace, openness to all whom he encounters, and keen wit. Bring your own lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided. For more information, call (336) 624-1971 or e-mail

GUILFORD COUNTY — The Ancient Order of Hibernians Guilford County Division, the oldest and largest order of Irish Catholic men, is looking for more Irish Catholic men to join them for meetings, educational seminars and social events. Contact Michael Slane at (336) 665-9264 for time and location.

SMOKY MOUNTAIN VICARIATE MAGGIE VALLEY — A Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat for Post-Abortion Healing is a confidential opportunity for anyone struggling with the emotional or spiritual pain of abortion. The retreat is designed to help you experience the mercy and compassion of God. It is also an opportunity to surface and release repressed feelings of anger, shame, guilt and grief. This will help you to grieve the loss of your unborn child, to receive and accept God’s forgiveness, and to forgive yourself. The next retreat is April 21-23 at the Living Waters Catholic Reflection Center, 103 Living Waters Lane. For further information, call Shelley at (828) 670-8192 or (828) 2304940, e-mail or visit the web site at SYLVA — A four-part series, “Prayer of the Church,” will be presented at St. Mary Church, 22 Bartlett St. The sessions will meet 10-11 a.m., April 22, May 27, June 24 and July 22. Please call the church office at (828) 586-9496 to pre-register.

you will see how friendship with him will lead to you opening yourselves to others.” Pope Benedict reminded the students that St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, used to preach about the “apostolate of friendship,” which involved being a true friend to others and sharing faith with them. “Every Christian is called to be a friend of God and, with his grace, to attract one’s friends to him,” the pope said. The pope told the students that through prayer and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and penance, they would grow in friendship with Jesus and become a “new generation of apostles.” Anthony Njubi Gichiki from the Opus Dei-related Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya, spoke on behalf of the students, first of all in conveying their best wishes to the pope for his 79th birthday April 16.

Papal birthday

WINSTON-SALEM — St. Benedict the Moor Church, 1625 East 12th St., hosts a  12:15 p.m. prayer service, Veni Sanctus Spiritus, the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. All are welcome to reflect on God and refresh the spirit in the middle of a day. For more information, call Sister Larretta RiveraWilliams at (336) 725-9200.

Is your parish or school sponsoring a free event open to the general public? Please submit notices for the Diocesan Planner at least 7 days prior to desired publication date (Fridays) in writing to Karen A. Evans at kaevans@ or fax to (704) 370-3382.

WINSTON-SALEM — Spirit of Assisi, a Franciscan Center, 221 W. Third St., will host read and reflect “brown-bag” gatherings April 26 and May 3, 10, 17, 12-12:45 p.m. We will discuss “An Introduction: Thomas Merton” by William Shannon. Be inspired by


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Meeting with some 5,000 university students attending an Opus Dei-sponsored conference, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged them to deepen their friendship with Christ so they can share their faith with their friends. The UNIV 2006 Conference brought students from some 200 universities in 32 countries to Rome for a week of study and exchanges on faith and modern life, focusing especially on the mass media. Meeting the students April 10, the pope said it was obvious that the mass media do not always promote “personal relations, sincere dialogue and friendship among people,” and they do not always help people cultivate their relationships with God. The only way to combat the negative influence of the media, he said, is to “keep Jesus as one of your dearest friends, rather your best friend. Then

WINSTON-SALEM — Spirit of Assisi, a Franciscan Center, 221 W. Third St., will host a book discussion on “Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective” by Ilia Delio, O.S.F. This book deals with the theology of divine humility and God’s relationship to the world, while at the same time tackling some tough questions. The group will meet April 24; and May 1, 8 and 15, 6-7:30 p.m. For more information, call (336) 624-1971 or e-mail



Pope urges students at Opus Dei conference to share their faith

CNS photo by L’Osservatore Romano

A young woman presents a birthday cake with a grand piano made of dark chocolate to Pope Benedict XVI at the end of an audience with some 5,000 university students at the Vatican April 10. The pope celebrates his 79th birthday April 16.

Diocesan requirements for reporting ministry-related sexual abuse of a minor 1. Any individual having actual knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect an incident of ministry-related sexual abuse is to immediately report the incident to the Chancery.

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

April 17 — 7 p.m. Sacrament of Confirmation Holy Cross Church, Kernersville

Ordination to the priesthood of Benedictine Father Agostino Fernandez Belmont Abbey, Belmont

April 19 — 7 p.m. Sacrament of Confirmation St. James the Greater Church, Hamlet April 22 — 10 a.m.

April 24 — 7 p.m. Sacrament of Confirmation St. John Neumann Church, Charlotte

2. The Chancery will then report the incident to the proper civil authorities. The individual reporting the incident to the Chancery will be notified of the particulars regarding the Chancery’s filing of the incident with civil authorities. 3. This reporting requirement is not intended to supersede the right of an individual to make a report to civil authority, but is to ensure proper, complete and timely reporting. Should an individual choose to make a report to civil authority, a report is still to be made to the Chancery. Correction — March 31

In the “Advising change” article, Francisco Risso was misquoted about joining the Govornor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. He was quoted as saying, “I asked to be on the council.” He actually said, “I was asked to be on the council.”

4 The Catholic News & Herald


Celebrating stewards Parish dinner highlights stewardship efforts ARDEN — St. Barnabas Church in Arden recently celebrated its fifth anniversary of stewardship efforts in the parish. A spaghetti dinner, prepared by the Knights of Columbus, was held in the parish hall March 25 as a way to acknowledge and thank parishioners who have given of their time, talent and treasure. Father Roger Arnsparger, pastor, and Deacon Art Kingsley, permanent deacon

at the parish, helped serve the dinner. “St. Barnabas’ stewardship program has become a way of life for its parishioners with the many ministries that are provided for their participation,” said Cathie Stout, coordinator of volunteers at St. Barnabas Church. Parish ministries include family and community life, youth, respect life, eucharistic adoration and evangelization. “Parish life benefits from this participation as the parishioners give freely and generously,” she said.

April 14, 2006

Knights and LAMBs assist least among us

Courtesy Photo

The Knights of Columbus from several councils recently presented donations to organizations that assist people with intellectual disabilities at a disbursement dinner held at Holy Family Church in Clemmons March 30. Pictured (from left): Bobby Page, LAMB director, Council 2829; Dave Shepherd, treasurer and LAMB director, Council 8509 for 2006; Bob Nicolosi, district deputy and LAMB director; Dave Thomas, LAMB director, Council 8509 for 2005; Brian Sternecker, grand knight, Council 9499; Butch Tomlinson, LAMB director, Council 10504; and Bill Dillard, grand knight, Council 10504.

Courtesy Photo

Father Roger Arnsparger (right) and Deacon Art Kingsley serve spaghetti and meatballs during a dinner celebrating the parish stewardship program at St. Barnabas Church in Arden March 25.

Warming donations

Photo by Karen A. Evans

Jonathan Piscitelli, promotions assistant for a local radio station in Charlotte, delivers coats to the Catholic Social Services Refugee Resettlement Office at the Pastoral Center in Charlotte March 21. About 90 coats were distributed through CSS case managers and English as a Second Language teachers. According to Mary Jane Bruton, volunteer coordinator for the refugee office, almost all of the coats were given out by the following day.

Councils award funds to assist local organizations CLEMMONS — The Knights of Columbus of North Carolina’s District No. 11 recently awarded more than $40,000 to organizations that assist people with mental disabilities. The funds were distributed to 21 organizations during a dinner held at Holy Family Church in Clemmons March 30. Approximately 135 people attended the dinner, catered Holy Family Church volunteers. Councils participating in the fundraising were Santa Maria Council 2829,

Holy Cross Council 8509, Bishop Greco Council 9499 and Our Lady of Mercy Council 10504. A total of $40,804.24 was raised through the Knights’ Operation LAMB (Least Among My Brethren) campaign. Most of the funds were raised through the councils’ annual Tootsie Roll drives at supermarkets, industrial complexes and restaurants. Since 1973, $15.5 million has been raised by the Knights to assist individuals with mental disabilities

April 14, 2006

The Catholic News & Herald 5

from the cover

‘They are rich in love, in sharing whatever they have.’

Priests, volunteers bring hope to Africans AFRICA, from page 1

them. They simply held the wrapped packages until told to open them. Restoring dignity Several years ago, the nuns asked for a priest to come to minister. The first to volunteer was Augustinian Father Ed Hattrick, now 76. He had been stationed in Japan for 40 years, but moved to KwaZulu-Natal, where he learned the Zulu language. Father Doyle asked him why he transferred to South Africa. “I’ll never forget what he told me,” said Father Doyle, his voice filled with awe. “He said he wanted to spend his last years doing the works of mercy.” Father Hattrick contacted wealthy Japanese friends who had funded building Our Lady of Mercy Church, where worship is joyful. “I was there for Mass in Zulu and it was so spirit-filled I couldn’t believe it,” Father Doyle said. “People were singing and swaying.” Apartheid, which kept blacks separate from whites, officially ended in 1994, but is still a factor. A wealthy parish about five miles away ignores the nearby poverty. “That’s why we’re there,” Father Doyle said of the Augustinian presence. He reminded those indignant over the neglect that this happens in other places, too, including the United States. St. Margaret of Scotland Church children and parents wanted to know

Photo courtesy of Father Francis J. Doyle

Augustinian Father Ed Hattrick (right) and Cecilia (in background), a volunteer from Our Lady of Mercy Parish in South Africa, visit a Zulu family at Christmas. They are standing outside their mud-walled home.

volunteers, as well as Augustinian friars and nuns in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, a rural region in South Africa. The volunteers, mostly recent college graduates, spend a year ministering in various locations in the United States, Mexico, Peru and South Africa. Like Echelmeier, the other KwaZulu-Natal volunteers have written Lenten reflections about working in St. Theresa’s Orphanage. After Mass on March 26, Father Doyle, pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Maggie Valley, greeted members of the parish’s youth faith formation group and their parents with “Sawubona,” Zulu for “hello.” The youngsters’ attention was locked on Father Doyle as he told about his visit

what they could do to help the people in Kwa-Zulu-Natal. He asked the parents to get together to decide how they would like to help. “It isn’t just material poverty,” he said. “That’s one issue. “It’s also a poverty of human dignity, but they are rich in love, in sharing whatever they do have.” “It’s just horrible to hear about (the poverty),” Christopher Peterson said after the presentation. “I think it’s good for the kids to hear this,” his mother, Carol Peterson, said. “I want them to know there are kids whose needs aren’t always met. It’ a humbling experience to know that we’re not the center of the world and (for them) to maybe do something when they’re college graduates, and to do something now.” Contact Correspondent Joanita M. Nellenbach by calling (828) 627-9209 or e-mail

to the orphanage and the nearby Our Lady of Mercy Church and St. Leo’s School. St. Leo’s wasn’t like the schools they attend in Haywood County. It has nine classrooms for its 390 students but no electricity to light the rooms on dark, rainy days. “Don’t they have candles?” Christopher Peterson, 13, asked. “No,” Father Doyle replied. “No candles. Nothing.” When it’s windy, sand and dirt blow through the unscreened windows, bringing eye and skin irritation and a parasite that gets under the children’s skin. Not fatal, but extremely irritating. “Imagine your attention or lack of attention (if you were scratching at these parasites),” Father Doyle said. Father Doyle visited 14 orphaned children living in a hut, three hours’ walk from the school. They leave at 4:30 a.m. each day to attend classes at St. Leo’s School. They come to school hungry. For some, lunch is the day’s only meal. St. Theresa’s Orphanage has its own school, but not necessarily much food. A friar there told Father Doyle that one day he noticed a group of children around a fire in a nearby vacant lot. When he investigated, he found that they had shot a bird out of the air and were cooking it. Celebrating Christmas The Augustinian sisters, whose convent is in France, have been in KwaZulu-Natal for 100 years. They staff the orphanage, and the Augustinian volunteers are working with them and at the school. Some have asked to stay at Kwa-Zulu-Natal another year. The volunteers, Father Doyle said, “were the light in the darkness for me. I was so touched by their dedication.” While Fathers Doyle and Wenzel were there, 16 Villanova University students arrived to spend two weeks of their Christmas break at the orphanage, painting buildings and playing with the children. On Christmas day, Cecilia, a parish volunteer, took the priests to visit four families in their unfurnished mud houses. Well, not entirely unfurnished — one house did have a bed for the five people who live there. The visitors brought food to the families, who apparently wanted to save it for later. “Do you know what one family had for Christmas dinner?” Father Doyle asked the youth faith formation group at St. Margaret of Scotland Church. The children shook their heads. “Tea,” he said. “They boiled water and their entire Christmas dinner was tea.” At one house in South Africa, the children were each given a Christmas present but had no idea what to do with

6 The Catholic News & Herald

immigration reform

‘The young church of today’

Rallies, prayers and marches show nationwide support for immigrants by

Courtesy Photo

Young Hispanic men and women, including 50 from the Diocese of Charlotte, take part in a procession as part of a regional youth encounter in Atlanta March 24.

Hispanic youths gather in Atlanta to examine life in America by

KAREN A. EVANS staff writer

ATLANTA — Nearly 600 Hispanic young adults recently worked together to prepare a document examining the situation of Hispanic youth and young adults in the Southeast episcopal region. Fifty young Hispanic men and women from the Diocese of Charlotte traveled to Atlanta March 24 to take part in the Regional Youth Encuentro de la Red March 24. The goals of the encuentro (encounter) were to identify the needs and aspirations of Hispanic youths; develop a common vision and pastoral principles; create pastoral models and practices; create strategies to improve pastoral action; and provide leadership training and promotion. Throughout the United States, Hispanic young adults have spent the past year participating in a grassroots study of their lives as young Catholics in the country. “Anyone observing these young adults could not help but admire them for their diligent work ethic and sincere desire to give of themselves completely to the task at hand,” said Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart Sister Eileen Spanier, young adult director for the Diocese of Charlotte. “These young men and women are strong leaders who possess a wide array of skills for competent, collaborative leadership,” she said. “They are willing to contribute what they are and have to build the kingdom of God.” The grassroots process has been used by the National Hispanic Ministry office three times in the last 35 years: in 1972, 1977 and 1985. The U.S. bishops’ National Hispanic Pastoral Plan published in 1987 was the result. This year marks the first time the

April 14, 2006

process has been used specifically with youth and young adults. Materials and simultaneous translation were available in English and Spanish to facilitate the participation of non-Spanish-speaking Hispanic youths and for non-Hispanic youths and adult observers at the meeting. “It is my hope that what we are accomplishing here will be shared with other ethnic populations to build a strong base for the Catholic Church,” said Sister Spanier. “A church that is inclusive and dependent on the shared gift of all, a church that will truly reflect ‘unity in diversity.’” “The Hispanic young people’s enthusiasm and desire to help one another has always been an inspiration to me, and it was evident among the 600 participants in Atlanta,” said Franciscan Sister Andrea Inkrott, director for Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Charlotte. Juan Jose Rodriguez, the Southeast Pastoral Institute for Hispanic Ministry’s youth director will edit the results from 60 groups into a regional document that will be taken to the national encuentro in Notre Dame, Ind., June 8-12. Thirty delegates from the Diocese of Charlotte will represent the diocese, along with Ricardo Veloz, diocesan Hispanic youth and young adult coordinator. “There are 45 million Hispanics in the United States, and half of them are younger than 27,” Piarist Father Mario Vizcaino, Southeast Pastoral Institute director, said in a gathering of the region in October 2005. “They are not the church of tomorrow; they are the young church of today.” Contact Staff Writer Karen A. Evans by calling (704) 370-3354 or e-mail


WASHINGTON — From Los Angeles to St. Louis, and from Jackson, Miss., to Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of people nationwide put on white shirts and picked up American flags to join rallies, marches and prayer services April 9 and 10. The events were part of the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, to call attention to the contributions of immigrants and to ask for changes in immigration law and policies. In several cities, Catholic bishops gave speeches and led prayers. Many participants were encouraged to join the activities at their churches. Crowds estimated to be as large as 500,000 in Dallas April 9 and in Washington April 10 blocked city streets and surprised even organizers with their size. At an April 10 vigil at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in downtown Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony prayed in Spanish to “the God of one and all” to help members of Congress not be exclusionary, and he asked for the intercession of Mary, an immigrant who fled to Egypt with her son, Jesus. In St. Louis the day before, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said, “It is not right to make immigrants the scapegoats of social and political problems of our nation. It is profoundly unjust to place the blame for the acts of terrorism perpetrated by a few at the door of all immigrants.” On a stage where he was joined by Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders, he said: “Our presence here today expresses the teaching common to our different religious traditions which instructs us to receive immigrants as true brothers and sisters.” In Chicago about 400 people gathered to pray for immigration reform April 10 at Our Lady of Tepeyac Church, days after senators left Washington for a two-week recess without voting on a comprehensive immigration bill worked out in a bipartisan compromise. The congregation prayed the Stations of the Cross, with each station focused on one aspect of immigrant life, from the lack of access to health care to unscrupulous employers stripping undocumented workers of their dignity. At the last station, “Jesus is laid in the tomb,” Our Lady of Tepeyac pastor Father

Robert Casey said that for immigration reform advocates it is a “time of watchful waiting ... of waiting inside the tomb.” In Colorado Springs, Colo., more than 500 people participated in a lunchtime immigration rally April 10. “These are people who are paying taxes, buying from our stores and paying the sales taxes, contributing to their communities and churches and schools,” said one speaker, a migrant worker named Jesus who did not give his last name. “This is not a group that should be pushed off to the side.” “Some people say that we come here and take all their resources, but we pay taxes,” said a rally organizer, Victor Orozco. “Immigrants pay taxes, immigrants work. ... The immigration system does not work,” he said. “So when people think that we come and take all their resources, we say ‘No, we want to work.’” In a statement for an April 10 rally in El Paso, Texas, Bishop Armando X. Ochoa urged people to use the two-week Senate recess to contact their representatives “to let them know that we expect true reform, and not just enforcement that does little to address the reality of the immigration situation in our country.” About 2,000 people were reported to have attended that rally. A few days earlier, a march for Cesar Chavez Day brought out more than 6,000 people in El Paso. In Indianapolis, about 20,000 people — dressed in white to show solidarity — lined up for blocks on downtown streets, waving American flags and carrying placards. “God Bless America,” “The Dream continues,” “Immigrants make good Americans,” “Immigrants are Hoosiers” and “Somos todos inmigrantes/We are all immigrants” read some of the signs. “I think it’s important to stand up for the rights of people,” said Juan Escamez, pastoral associate for the Hispanic community at St. Phillip Neri Church in Indianapolis. A native of Spain, Escamez moved to the United States with his family 25 years ago. “It is important to defend the poor, the oppressed, the outcast. That’s why we’re here,” he said.

April 14, 2006

immigration reform

Thousands rally in WinstonSalem for immigration rights RALLY, from page 1

April 10. As in other cities, many involved wore white shirts meant as a symbol of their peaceful intentions. The events were part of the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, aimed at opposing strict immigration enforcement legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in December and encouraging more comprehensive bills that would not criminalize illegal immigrants and those who provide services to them. Organizers also support legislation that would make it possible for the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants to legalize their status. “Nationally, Saturday, April 10 was designated as a day to pray, to fast and to demonstrate that immigrants are willing to do work and want to be legalized so they can come out of the shadows while they contribute to the economy of the United States,” said Sandra Hoyle, a parishioner of Holy Cross Church in Kernersville. “These people want it known that they do pay taxes and obey laws,” she said. “They also want to send their children to schools of higher education.” Martin Mata, director of the parish’s Hispanic ministry, helped in the demonstration’s planning. “It was also in response to the Catholic campaign for justice and reform and to the U.S. bishops’ call for justice for immigrants,” said Mata. “It comes from the roots of the people — to practice what Jesus told us to do — to welcome the immigrants.” Amid a sea of American flags and a smattering of Mexican flags were posters that read, “We are not criminals,” “We are all immigrants here,” “I am only a kid, what have I done?” and “Plymouth

Rock, landing of the first undocumented immigrants.” There were calls for unity and solidarity among all peoples. The keynote speaker was Juan Hernandez, an American who grew up in Mexico and served as special advisor to Mexican President Vicente Fox on immigration issues. Hernandez fought to end border violence and helped establish programs of the U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Prosperity to improve Mexico’s poorest regions. “The giant has awoken,” said Hernandez of the crowd. “And it’s a friendly giant; it’s a giant that loves the United States.” Hernandez asked those gathered if they are willing to learn English, to which they replied, “Si, se puede” (“Yes, we are able”). He asked if they were willing to pay taxes. Again, in unison, the reply was, “Yes, we are able” When asked if they were willing to become U.S. citizens, they overwhelmingly replied, “Yes, we are able.” Billy Hunt, a member of the Tuscarolo Native American tribe who resides in Brown Summit, said he came to support the immigrants. “If anybody has a right to be here, I see them (as having that right) as much as anyone else,” he said. “Puerto Rican, Mexican or whatever other nation they come from, they have a right to be here.” Mark Atkinson, an immigration lawyer in Winston-Salem, said the rally’s purpose was to show support for a comprehensive immigration reform that secures the nation’s borders and creates a path for legalization for immigrants currently in the country. Many Hispanics in the past, he said, have stayed quiet during immigration debates, working hard at jobs that offer little rest. “Now is the time to no longer be quiet,” Atkinson said to the crowd.

Carmen Dugarte, a native of Venezuela and parishioner of Holy Family Church, attended the rally to support her fellow immigrants. “We want to be free in this country,” she said. “We want our voices to be heard in the government because they are working for the United States. We want our children to go to college, to have health insurance, to build businesses here.” Enedino Aquino, Hispanic ministry coordinator for the Greensboro Vicariate,

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also came to support the immigrants. “We are here because we believe in the Gospel of Jesus, where it says man has dignity, which is a gift from God,” he said. “This country needs to respect our dignity, because we are not criminals, we are human beings.” “And if we remain unified, we have a voice,” he said. Contributing to this story was Catholic News Service.

Photos by Deacon Gerald Potkay

People wearing white shirts and waving American flags take part in a pro-immigration rally in WinstonSalem April 10. An estimated 3,000 people took part in the rally.

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Working together

April 14, 2006

Newly confirmed

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Kaitlin Kuhn, Caitlin Brewer, Mary Lauren Shea, Flannery Kuhn, Isabelle Martella and Emily Asinger make scarves during a troop meeting Feb. 16. The girls are members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 10 and Brownie Troop 856 at St. Ann Church in Charlotte. The junior troop is working on the Bronze award by showing leadership and helping a Brownie troop earn a badge.

‘Trusting in God’

Courtesy Photo by Rick Stoehr

Bishop Peter J. Jugis stands with confirmation candidates at Good Shepherd Church in King March 25. Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation, along with baptism and the Eucharist. Pictured (from left): Celia Juarez, Nalley Chacon, Shane Maneval, Maria Gallando, Alex Chauvin, Mary Ann McGrath, Bradley Essick, Bishop Jugis, John Kamer, Spencer Brown, Joseph Swing, Will Cumbo, Daniel Garr, Carl Brown and Michael Gordy.

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Debbie Felker, president of the Ladies Guild at Sacred Heart Church in Brevard, welcomes approximately participants to the first Women’s Day of Reflection at the church March 30.

Catholic, Protestant women gather for reflection, learning Jane Derrick, Bible teacher and workshop leader at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, was the event’s featured speaker. Drawing on Scripture and her own experiences, Derrick spoke on “Trusting in God when the Path is Hard” and “Trusting God’s Love.” Many of the participants, who worked in small groups for sharing and insight, said they were looking forward to another Women’s Day of Reflection next year.

B R E VA R D — C a t h o l i c a n d Protestant women came together to enrich their Lenten experiences. Approximately 200 women from 21 churches including Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist, gathered for a Women’s Day of Reflection at Sacred Heart Church in Brevard March 30. The event, themed “Trusting in God,” was hosted by Sacred Heart Church’s Ladies Guild. It was the first interfaith gathering of women in the Brevard area for a day of learning and prayer.

April 14, 2006

from the cover

The Catholic News & Herald 9

“The priest is a reservoir of the holiness and compassion of Christ for the people of God.”

— Bishop Peter J. Jugis

Pictured are the oils to be used in administering the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and anointing of the sick throughout the Diocese of Charlotte.

Priests rededicate to ministry, bishop blesses CHRISM, from page 1

cate themselves to their priestly ministry. During the Mass, the bishop blessed the oils to be used in administering the sacraments of baptism, confirmations and anointing of the sick throughout the diocese in the upcoming year. Bishop Jugis, along with concelebrants Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin; Benedictine Abbot Placid Solari, abbot of Belmont Abbey; Abbot Patrick Shelton, pastor of St. James Church in Hamlet; Msgr. Mauricio W. West, vicar general and chancellor; Father John Putnam, judicial vicar; Father Paul Gary, rector of St. Patrick Cathedral; and other clergy of the diocese, gathered with about 100 priests, permanent deacons and seminarians for the diocese to celebrate the liturgy with the people of faith whom they serve. During his homily, the bishop extended a special welcome to the priests who will retire this summer and those who are celebrating anniversaries of priesthood ordination. The recommitment ceremony, which followed the Liturgy of the Word, included the priests’ renewal of their dedication as ministers of Christ, striving to be more

like Christ and being faithful to their sacred ministry. “The priest has so much to give, because he constantly draws from the wellsprings of compassion and holiness in heart of the high priest with whom he is sacramentally identified,” said the bishop. Bishop Jugis urged the priests to be authentic in their ministry, a ministry that reveals Jesus Christ. “The priest is a reservoir of the holiness and compassion of Christ for the people of God,” he said. “The faithful come to us … to drink of the holiness and compassion of Christ. The priest acts in person of Christ as high priest and good shepherd.” Following the liturgy of the Eucharist, Bishop Jugis blessed the three oils used in sacramental and liturgical practices. Vials of the oils are dispensed to every parish and mission church in the diocese. With the sacred oils — and having recommitted themselves to the mission they share with their bishop — the priests returned to their parishes, rededicated in spiritual union with the diocesan faithful.

Photos by Karen A. Evans

Fathers Timothy Reid, Herbert Burke, Michael Kottar and Christopher Davis share a laugh before the chrism Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral April 11. Father Reid is the parochial vicar of St. Mark Church in Huntersville; Father Burke is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Forest City; Father Kottar is the pastor of Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews and Prince of Peace mission in Robbinsville; and Father Davis is pastor of Divine Redeemer Church in Boonville.

Contact Staff Writer Karen A. Evans by calling (704) 370-3354 or e-mail

Bishop Peter J. Jugis blesses the oils during the chrism Mass. The oils will be used in administering the sacraments of baptism, confirmations and anointing of the sick throughout the diocese in the upcoming year.

Richard Worthington, a seminarian of the Diocese of Charlotte studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., discusses life in the seminary with young people following the chrism Mass. Worthington shared stories of ordinary events, like helping a fellow seminarian fix his car, and not-so-ordinary events — when Pope John Paul II once visited the seminary, he swam in the facility’s pool.

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Bonnets and baskets


April 14, 2006

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First-graders at St. Ann School in Charlotte don their handmade Easter bonnets to parade through the school April 11. The first-grade students “adopted” two female veterans living in the nursing home of a veteran’s hospital in Salisbury. Students and parents delivered two Easter baskets full of candy, lotions, books and homemade cards to the veterans April 12.

Seventh-graders at Our Lady of Grace School in Greensboro re-enact the Passion and death of Jesus during a living Stations of the Cross at Our Lady of Grace Church April 12. An earlier presentation was offered March 29. “I was moved by the solemnity and prayerfulness of our students as ‘Jesus’ is condemned and begins to carry the cross up the aisle of the church,” said Principal Gary Gelo. Gelo said both he and many of the students were moved by the performance. After Jesus was taken down from the cross, the students left the church in reverent silence. “The kindergarten students went back to their classrooms and drew what they learned from the experience,” said Gelo. The drawings are shown to the seventh-graders, who “recognized the impact and importance of their message as Catholic leaders in our school and community,” said Gelo. Gelo said the re-enactment was “the most moving and prayerful experience I have had in my 20 years in Catholic schools.” “At moments like this, one recognizes that our school has the opportunity to provide faith-filled memories for children that will last a lifetime,” he said. “This is what makes us unique and special ... each day our children teach us by their example to be faithfilled followers of our Savior.”

Courtesy Photo by Frank Ryder

Members of the fifth-grade faith formation program at St. Luke Church in Mint Hill enact a living Stations of the Cross for parishioners at the church April 7.

April 14, 2006


Have palms, will process GREENSBORO — Catholics in Greensboro recently joined Protestants in a palm procession. Parishioners of St. Pius X Church joined members from Newlyn Street United Methodist Church and Northside Baptist Church in the procession through Greensboro on Palm Sunday, April 9. The procession included a donkey, handled by a member of the Methodist church. The event was covered by a

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Following jesus

Greensboro television news station. Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, commemorates Christ’s jubilant entry into Jerusalem and marks the beginning of Holy Week. Pope Benedict XVI lead Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 9. During the Mass, the pope said that the poverty of the Gospel must be understood not only as a material condition, but as a spiritual state of humility.

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Parishioners of Our Lady of the Highways Church in Thomasville portray Joseph, Mary and Jesus at the Nativity during a Lenten program at the church March 8.

Lenten program focuses on Jesus’ life, suffering

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Msgr. Anthony Marcaccio, pastor of St. Pius X Church in Greensboro, greets a donkey used in a procession during Palm Sunday, April 9.

THOMASVILLE — Aspects of Jesus’ life have been the focus of a unique Lenten program at Our Lady of the Highways Church in Thomasville. Hundreds of parishioners have participated in the weekly program, which followed Mass and was based on the Marketplace 29 A.D. Vacation Bible School curriculum, customized by Kathy Laskis, the parish’s faith formation director. “Each Wednesday night of Lent we are concentrating on a different aspect of Jesus’ human life,” said Laskis. With 110 people signed up to participate the first night, parishioners

dressed in period costumes visited the Nativity, “walking” to Bethlehem behind Mary and Joseph and their donkey. “We ate bag suppers out of cloth bags that we carried with us,” said Laskis. “When we got to Bethlehem, we signed our names to the census with a quill pen and paid our taxes. “Then the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds and then to everyone at the manger,” she said. Following Wednesdays featured other events in Jesus’ life: the wedding feast at Cana, the Sermon on the Mount, the Good Shepherd story. On April 12, participants enjoyed a Seder meal. “The idea is to live like Jesus did and eat the foods he probably ate so we can understand his human side and appreciate more his suffering and dying for us,” said Laskis.

To Our Readers The next issue of The Catholic News & Herald will be April 28. We wish you a blessed Easter.

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April 14, 2006

in our schools

Piping on St. Patrick’s Day

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Students at St. Gabriel School in Charlotte follow bagpiper Mark Adamson, father of kindergarten student Carmen Adamson, on St. Patrick’s Day March 17. Mark Adamson played the bagpipes for the students and spoke about the instrument during all recess periods. The event was coordinated by the school’s Learning Enrichment Activities Program (LEAP), which regularly sponsors “St. Gabriel Meets ...”, a playground question-and-answer session for students on designated topics.

Following the Yellow Brick Road

Students walk in U.S. leaders’

Conference offers historical perspectives W I N S TO N - S A L E M — F i v e students from Our Lady of Mercy School in Winston-Salem joined more than 200 outstanding middle school students from across the United States in a leadership conference in Washington, D.C. March 11-16. Themed “The Legacy of American Leadership,” the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) introduced the students to tradition of leadership throughout U.S. history, while helping them develop their own leadership skills. Joe Griffith, Rebecca Doyle, Carly Wooten, Allie Cross and Austin Smith, sixth-graders at Our Lady of Mercy School, were selected by teacher Barbara Burke to attend the six-day conference based upon their academics and leadership skills. “The aim of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference is to inspire students to recognize their own leadership skills, measure their skills against those of current and former leaders and return home with new found confidence in their ability to exercise positive influence within their communities,” said Mike Lasday, executive director of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, the organization that sponsors JrNYLC. “Young people are not only welcome in Washington, D.C., they actually keep this city and our country running,” he said.

During the program, students took part in educational activities and presentations, and met with elected officials and key Congressional staff members on Capitol Hill. They also visited historical sites, such as Harpers Ferry, National Museum of American History, Washington’s monuments and memorials and ended with a trip to Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, Md. In addition to examining notable U.S. leaders and historic figures, students studied leadership throughout critical periods of U.S. history, including the Civil War, World War II, the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement. Upon completion of the JrNYLC, the students from Our Lady of Mercy School gained a greater sense of understanding of the role of individuals in U.S. democracy, as well as the responsibilities of being a leader. The Congressional Youth Leadership Council is a nonprofit educational organization. Since 1985, the council has inspired more than 200,000 young people to achieve their leadership potential. Nearly 425 members of the U.S. Congress join the company’s commitment by serving on the CYLC Honorary Congressional Board of Advisors. In addition, more than 40 embassies participate in the council’s Honorary Board of Embassies.

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Members of the student drama club at Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School in Charlotte portray characters from “The Wizard of Oz” during one of three performances in March. The drama club consists of approximately 80 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students under the direction of parent Rosemary Nocella and band director Alan Kaufman. The students rehearsed weekly since the beginning of the year. They gave one performance for their fellow students and two for the public.

Joe Griffith, Rebecca Doyle, Carly Wooten, Allie Cross and Austin Smith, sixth-graders at Our Lady of Mercy School in Winston-Salem, are pictured at a leadership conference in Washington, D.C. in March.

April 14, 2006

in our schools

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Now there’s a tall drink

Pen pals return from Iraq

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Principal Gary Gelo and students of Our Lady of Grace School in Greensboro are pictured with U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Travis Hawley (left) and Sergeant Oronde Smalls, who visited the school April 7. The Marines presented the school with an American flag that was flown on missions over Al Fallujah, Baghdad and Al Asad in Iraq in January. Hawley and Smalls visited each classroom to personally thank the students for their support during the seventh months the Marine squadron was based in Iraq. The Marines answered questions and presented each student with an American flag as a thank you for their support of the squadron and a reminder of the importance of defending democracy. Last Fall, Our Lady of Grace School students “adopted” Hawley’s squadron of 23 Marines. Every grade level was involved in the project, corresponding with the squadron throughout the year. For Christmas, the students made cards and raised money to buy phone cards that enabled the Marines to call their loved ones for the holidays.

Photo by David Hains

Professional basketball player Emeka Okafor of the Charlotte Bobcats presents a $500 check to Principal Angela Montague of St. Patrick School in Charlotte April 11. The school received the check and a pep rally from the NBA team for collecting 8,700 milk bottle caps, more than any of more than 246 schools that participated in the contest. The cap collection project is part of a national program, sponsored by grocery store chain Harris-Teeter, which emphasizes the importance of balanced nutrition in a good diet. The 5-foot-2-inch Montague wore heels to minimize her height difference with the 6-foot-10-inch Okafor.

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April 14, 2006

Culture Watch

A roundup of Scripture, readings, films and more

Pages of falsehoods ‘Da Vinci Code’ lies could bring more interest in faith, speaker says by

ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO catholic news service

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Instead of fearing or trashing “The Da Vinci Code,” people of faith should view it as a much-needed vaccine against ignorance, according to Thomas Ryan, chairman of the religious studies department at St. Thomas University in Miami. “It is a novel that holds a mirror up to us — to silly academics and people who misuse facts,” Ryan told a group of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders gathered March 22 for the monthly clergy dialogue sponsored by the National Conference for Community and Justice. He said talking about the popular book — and upcoming movie — should “strengthen our congregations to be able to deal with what’s out there” in terms of religious ignorance and misconceptions. “This is a vaccine,” said Ryan, whose area of specialization is medieval church history. “This articulates the silliness that’s out there. We could use it as a way of inoculating ourselves,” he said. Ryan, who only recently read the novel, said his personal reaction to it was: “Thank you, Dan Brown. ... I am grateful to (the novel) for driving me to learn more about my faith. It raises questions that I need to go and see. I’m a smarter person as a result of it.” He described the novel as “a brilliant moneymaker” with all the right ingredients: a murder, a mystery and a conspiracy. As one character in the book acknowledges, “Everyone loves a conspiracy.” Even more so, Ryan said, when “it incenses the faithful.” Brown “wants us to think that this is nonfiction. And a lot of people have fallen for the bait,” Ryan said. But “it’s not nonfiction.” He said that “on practically every page there is falsehood” and “outrageous claims that are completely unfactual.” “I think the author puts in all those mistakes to alert us” to the fact that it is a work of fiction, Ryan said. “It’s a story of people who use false evidence to support their claims. And don’t we meet those people every day?” “I think it’s a story of humanity,” he said. “I think Dan Brown is kind of

laughing at us. It mocks our gullibility.” Participants at the clergy meeting noted that the novel might not have been as popular, or raised such a polemic, in a less secular age. Many people today are seeking spiritual answers outside mainstream religions, and the Catholic Church is not the only one dealing with misconceptions and revisionist theories about the foundations of the faith. Some in Judaism, for example, are questioning whether Abraham really existed or the Exodus actually took place, said Rabbi Herbert Baumgard, rabbi emeritus of Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest. “It is out there and it’s all over the place. The whole thing is being questioned and has to be considered,” said Rabbi Baumgard, who has read the novel. Rev. Priscilla Felisky Whitehead, associate minister at the Church by the Sea in Bal Harbour, also read it, and described it as “fiction robed in age-old rumors.” Her church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Members of her congregation have asked her questions about what is true and what is false in “The Da Vinci Code,” she said. The problem is they do not want to take the time to do the research. “They want me (to dig it out) for them,” she said. Like Ryan, however, she is grateful to Brown for one thing: “It’s no longer inappropriate to talk about Jesus at a cocktail party.” “When there’s something in the popular culture going on, it’s a great opportunity to agree with it, disagree with it or talk about it,” said Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, who hosted the clergy meeting at Temple Judea in Coral Gables. “One thousand years from now, God willing, there will be people talking about the Bible. No one will be talking about Dan Brown,” he said. WANT MORE INFO? Background information on what is truth and what is fiction in “The Da Vinci Code” is available at, sponsored by the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign.

Harvard professor Paul Farmer to receive Villanova University honor VILLANOVA, Pa. (CNS) — Dr. Paul Farmer, professor of medical anthropology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, is the 2006 recipient of Villanova University’s Mendel Medal. The award was presented April 8 to Farmer, who is a founding director of Partners in Health, an international

charity that provides direct health services and conducts advocacy activities on behalf of those who are ill and poor. Farmer also is the subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning, “Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.”


Sunday Scripture Readings: April 23, 2006

April 23, Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday Cycle B Readings: 1) Acts 4:32-35 Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24 2) 1 John 5:1-6 3) Gospel: John 20:19-31

God is ready to clear our doubts, fears by JEFF HENSLEY catholic news service

Perhaps Thomas is the best model for belief we have. He’s so modern. He believes in nothing he can’t see or touch with his own eyes and hands. He’s outspoken, hard-headed. He’s so much like us, and his behavior is so much like the contesting and quarreling attitude so many of us take on claims that seem just a little too good to be true. After all, weren’t we raised on the Better Business slogan: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? But Jesus, knowing just how contentious Thomas is, still responds in as humble and generous a fashion as is possible, so much better than Thomas, or we, deserve. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!” Jesus

tells Thomas, who at that very moment must have been the most dumbfounded, incredulous person on the planet. It was enough for him, as he said in response for all of us: “My Lord and my God.” This account should embolden not only our belief but our willingness to encourage others, even as they express their anger and disbelief. A lot of times people want to hush others as they express their anger at God, and certainly there must be some outer limits to such expressions as we seek to respect our place in a universe we did not create. But I always feel that God, the same God who responds to Thomas’ doubts, is big enough to handle any doubts, anger or disbelief we may have, always ready to meet doubters to their faces. So I think we can tell doubters to express their questions to God and ask him to make the reality of his presence clear to them. He did it for Thomas, and I believe he will do it for each one who needs to know, just as much as Thomas did that he came in the flesh, died and rose from the dead so that we could be forgiven of our failures and shortcomings, our sins, and live in fellowship with God. Questions: What doubts do you have about God’s presence in our world? What beliefs about the resurrected Christ require the most faith for you?

WEEKLY SCRIPTURE Scripture for the week of April 16-22 Sunday (Easter Sunday), Acts 10:34, 37-43, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, John 20:1-9; Monday (Easter Monday), Acts 2:14, 22-33, Matthew 28:8-15; Tuesday (Easter Tuesday), Acts 2:36-41, John 20:1118; Wednesday (Easter Wednesday), Acts 3:1-10, Luke 24:13-35; Thursday (Easter Thursday), Acts 3:11-26, Luke 24:35-48; Friday (Easter Friday), Acts 4:1-12, John 21:1-14; Saturday (Easter Saturday), Acts 4:13-21, Mark 16:9-15. Scripture for the week of April 23-29 Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday), Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 5:1-6, John 20:19-31; Monday (St. Fidelis), Acts 4:23-31, John 3:1-8; Tuesday (St. Mark), 1 Peter 5:5-14, Mark 16:15-20; Wednesday, Acts 5:17-26, John 3:16-21; Thursday, Acts 5:27-33, John 3:31-36; Friday (St. Peter Chanel, St. Louis de Monfort), Acts 5:34-42, John 6:1-15; Saturday (St. Catherine of Siena), Acts 6:1-7, John 6:16-21. Scripture for the week of April 30-May 6 Sunday (Third Sunday of Easter), Acts 3:13-15, 17-19, 1 John 2:1-5, Luke 24:35-48; Monday (St. Joseph the Worker), Colossians 53:14-15, 17, 23-24, Matthew 13:54-58; Tuesday (St. Athanasius), Acts 7:51—8:1, John 6:30-35; Wednesday (Sts. Philip and James), 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, John 14:6-14; Thursday, Acts 8:26-40, John 6:44-51; Friday, Acts 9:1-20, John 6:52-59; Saturday, Acts 9:31-42, John 6:60-69.

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April 14, 2006

Penn and ink

The beauty of faith

At Vatican Museums, a new way of looking at old things by CINDY WOODEN catholic news service

Courtesy Photo

Molly Branson, Reid Knox and Marcos Hernandez, students at St. Pius X School in Greensboro, stand with Audrey Penn (left), an award-winning children’s author and lecturer who visited the school March 27. The school hosted Penn to participate in her education program, the Writing Penn, with which she shapes and refines her story ideas in partnership with the students.

VATICAN CITY — The problem with being a 500-year-old museum is that the science of collecting and displaying pieces has changed dramatically. To celebrate its half-millennium, the Vatican Museums has decided not to host special temporary exhibits, but to focus on restoring, rearranging or reopening significant pieces of its permanent collection and opening new collections. One of the Vatican Museums’ new collections is composed of the smallest items that once belonged to the Pio-Christian Museum: a collection of sculptures, epigraphs and sarcophagi from the catacombs of Rome. The new collection of early Christian antiquities had been under the care of the Vatican Library, but in 1999 Pope John Paul II transferred it to the Vatican Museums. For seven years, experts in archaeology and museum design prepared the collection for its late-March opening. Gone, for the most part, is the 18thcentury organizational plan, which basically boiled down to putting all the round items together and all the square items together. The collection includes more than 1,000 medals, cameos, etched or gold-painted glass, ivories, oil lamps and bronze or silver cups and bottles found in the catacombs of Rome and surrounding towns. While they are not famous masterpieces, “the objects are signs of deep personal devotion, of martyrdom and of conversion — this is the value, the beauty they still transmit today,” said Francesco Buranelli, director of the Vatican Museums. Although the previous arrangement of the collection was old-fashioned, the impulse that led Popes Clement XI and Clement XII to gather the artifacts was not, said Guido Cornini, the museum’s director of decorative arts. “Collecting paleo-Christian artifacts not so much as art, but as documentation is a very modern idea in museography,” Cornini said.

The objects “speak of a way of living the faith, not by the elite who commission great paintings, but by ordinary Christians,” he said. In 1756 Pope Benedict XIV ordered his predecessors’ collections to be organized and displayed in a new museum with the aim of “promoting the splendor of Rome and affirming the truth of Christian religion.” The museum’s collection does not take people’s breath away as much as it demonstrates the care taken even by ordinary Christians to bury their loved ones with signs of their religious identity and their trust that they would join the saints and martyrs in heaven. Today, the Christian Museum occupies a long corridor on the main thoroughfare from the Sistine Chapel to the museums’ exit, and most visitors simply would walk past the glass-fronted antique cupboards filled with the little artifacts. The Vatican Museums hope more people will pause for a look now that the cupboards have been restored, the lighting modernized and the items rearranged. The first step, Cornini said, involved “a long, painstaking research into the pedigree of each piece.” While the new exhibit does place some items together based on the material they are made of — for example, the images of saints on glass or the terra-cotta oil lamps — most of the objects are now grouped together according to the catacomb in which they were found. “Putting them in their context gives an idea of life and death from the first to the sixth centuries,” Buranelli said. The objects probably will not stop people in their tracks, as does the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s famous frescoes, he said, but even a quick peek in the cupboards demonstrates that almost from the beginning Christians felt a need to communicate the beauty of their faith by making something beautiful.

Pope watches TV movie, calls predecessor ‘untiring prophet of hope’ VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope John Paul II was “an untiring prophet of hope and peace,” Pope Benedict XVI said after watching a made-for-television movie about his predecessor’s pontificate. Pope Benedict joined an estimated 8,000 people March 30 in the Vatican’s audience hall for the premiere of the Italian production, “Karol: A Pope Who Remained a Man.” The movie is the sequel to “Karol: A Man Who Became Pope,” which aired in Italy shortly after Pope John Paul’s April 2, 2005, death and in August on the Hallmark Channel in the United States. The first movie portrayed the life of Karol Wojtyla up until his 1978 election as Pope John Paul. The second film

covered the years of his papacy, ending with news footage of his funeral. Both films were based on the Vatican-approved book, “Stories of Karol: The Unknown Life of John Paul II.” Pope Benedict told those watching the film with him, “The sequence of images showed us a pope immersed in contact with God and, precisely because of that, always sensitive to human hopes.” Recreating scenes from his trips around the world and from audiences at the Vatican, “it gave us a way to relive his meetings with many people, from the great of the earth to simple citizens, from famous personalities to the unknown,” the pope said.

1 6 The Catholic News & Herald

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April 14, 2006

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High school team shines at Model Security Council KERNERSVILLE — The Model United Nations team from Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Kernersville is again making strides. The team participated in a high school Model Security Council at Appalachian State University April 5. Under the leadership of faculty advisor David Seidel, the team worked in pairs to represent the interests of different countries while discussing a variety of issues, including human trafficking to peace in the Middle East. Twenty-six students of the 48-member team won awards. Honorable mentions were given to the following pairs of students: P.J. Dascoli and Neil Goodman, Molly Riazzi and

Maggie Ronan, Jenny Pentz and Hannah LaRoe, P.J. Stanford and Andy Ronan, and Matt Sutter and Mike O’ Shea. Four pairs of students were recognized as excellent delegations: Melissa Plunkett and Teri Walsh, Lohr Beck and Sarah Booker, Ify Wilson and Breanne Long, and John Valitutto and Brendan Regan. Students Matt O’Neill and Tony Barker were awarded the distinction of superior delegation. Jordan Cain and Tyler Frankenburg were honored with best delegation. The event marks the end of a victorious season for the Model U.N. team, which was designated as “best high school” in the national Model U.N. competition in Washington, D.C. in February.

April 14, 2006

from the cover

The Catholic News & Herald 17

Survivors shocked by tornado destruction TORNADO, from page

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” said Trahan, a parishioner at St. Stephen Church in nearby Old Hickory. Across the state the storms damaged as many as 3,000 buildings and 167 people were injured. In Sumner County, there were reports of nine deaths, 150 people were injured, and up to 900 homes, farms and businesses were damaged or destroyed. “You never think you’re going to be on the receiving end,” Trahan said. “It’s tough being on the receiving end. It’s humbling.” People from three Nashville parishes have rallied to help Trahan, her son and fiance, Chad Rowan, find an apartment, clothes and furnishings. Trahan was at the house of her friends with her son when the tornado ripped through Gallatin, a small town of about 20,000 people about 15 miles northeast of Nashville. When her fiance heard about the coming storms, he raced to their home to check on their dogs. He pulled into the garage just minutes ahead of the tornado, took care of the dogs, and jumped into a closet for safety, Trahan said.

He did not have time to close the garage door, and when a woman driving by saw the approaching tornado and the open door, she ran into the garage for cover with her 4-year-old daughter. Rowan did not know they were there until the tornado had passed and he heard the woman screaming, Trahan said. One of the brick walls of the garage had fallen and the woman was pinned under the work bench. The woman suffered some broken ribs and a cracked hip but her daughter was unhurt, Trahan said. Jean Lovell, her husband and two daughters were in the family’s veterinary clinic when the tornado hit. When they saw the storm approaching, the Lovells gathered in an interior room with no windows. The storm blew the windows and doors out of the clinic, she said. “I heard the roof being peeled off.” Afterward, while the clinic was still standing, Lovell said, a woman was found dead in her car in the parking lot. The vehicle was blown into the lot and landed upside down. The business next to the clinic was a pile of rubble. Found dead there were two people, including the 25-year-old son of the owner of the business. Overcome with emotion, Lovell said through tears, “His business is gone, his son is gone.” The Lovells, who belong to St. John

CNS photo by Tami Chappell, Reuters

Joseph Handsonman carries a mattress April 9 from his aunt’s home in Goodlettsville, Tenn.; the home was destroyed by one of several tornadoes that hit the area April 7. Vianney Church in Gallatin, were unable to leave the clinic immediately after the storm because the winds had knocked down electrical lines and they didn’t know if they were hot, Lovell said. The family started to become upset when they could smell leaking gas, Lovell added. But emergency workers were soon on the scene to help. The Lovells will operate their largeanimal clinic from their farm until they can reopen their clinic, Jean Lovell said. In the meantime, friends and fellow parishioners have been helping them clean up the damage at the clinic. About 30 people showed up April 8 at Trahan’s home to help her family begin cleaning up, Trahan said. At St. John Vianney Church, there was no damage to the church or school and no

parishioners were killed in the tornado. But many parishioners’ homes were damaged, and “nine families lost their homes completely,” said Debbie Dawes, parish secretary. She was busy in the aftermath of the storms trying to link the many offers to help with the people in need. “We have a list of about 40 families offering to do whatever anybody needs,” Dawes said. The night the tornado hit, the parish’s Knights of Columbus council had a fish fry planned. Several Knights came to the parish in the hours after the tornado and started frying the fish, which they later handed out to rescue workers and people who had lost their homes, Dawes said.

1 8 The Catholic News & Herald

April 14, 2006


A collection of columns, editorials and viewpoints

The gift we must give children Focusing on God’s beauty fights pessimism St. Augustine wrote, “We are an Easter People, and alleluia is our song.” I wonder how true that is for the average Catholic. There is so much cynicism and discouragement in the air these days that we need a strong antidote against joylessness. We need to ponder the words of Jesus, who has the power to lift us higher: “Be not afraid; in this world you will have many troubles, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” It is so important to teach our children to count their blessings. Of course we must teach them the catechism, but religion is more than theology. Teaching religion involves conveying a spirit of excitement about the gifts of faith, life and the promise of eternal happiness. Religion is about interacting with the infinite love of God, about giving ourselves joyfully to our Maker. The Mass is a celebration, not merely a religious duty or a church ritual. It is an act of love. We give ourselves to God at the Offertory, and he gives himself right back to us in the reception of holy Communion. When we allow the spirit of complaint and negativity to flourish in our families and schools, we do children a great disservice. Pope John Paul II taught, “Christ came to bring joy, joy to children, joy to parents, joy to friends and families ..., joy to all people. Joy is indeed the keynote message of Christianity, and the recurring motif of the Gospel.” The problems of this world are monumental, but they could be infinitely worse. Even if all those problems were solved tomorrow, the media still would report bad news, and people still would find things to complain about.

FATHER JOHN CATOIR cns columnist

Our tendency to give in to discouragement too easily is at the heart of the problem. Dr. Robert Muller wrote: “People all too easily forget, and are induced by the media to forget, how beautiful life really is, and how good the vast majority of people really are.” We all need to become messengers of joy, especially for the sake of the children. We have to instruct children that optimism is hard work, so too is devotion and love of neighbor, and that the highest values of the human spirit are attainable, with the help of God. The only way to root out the tendency to give in to self-pity and negativity is to demand more of ourselves and of the children we teach. How can we do this? Start with the practice of helping them to focus on God’s beauty all around them by smelling the roses and listening more closely to the birds as they sing their lovely songs of joy. We can all learn to do a better job of giving thanks to God for the wonders of his creation. Help the children to look within in order to find God, the source of their being, who is love, joy and peace. Teach them that God’s beauty enters one’s heart through all the senses. “Just as the body grows and flourishes on a healthy diet, our joy can grow and flourish when fed a steady diet of beauty” (Thomas Kinkade). Teaching children how to protect themselves from pessimism and fear is the greatest gift we can give them.

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Pope says Easter preparation with penance is good for the by CINDY WOODEN catholic news service

VATICAN CITY — The traditional practice of preparing for Easter by going to confession is good not only for individuals, but for the world, Pope Benedict XVI said. Acknowledging one’s sins and being forgiven for them, he said, gives a person peace, which spreads from the heart to an individual’s actions, bringing peace to the family, the community and eventually the world. Explaining the church’s Holy Week and Easter rituals during his April 12 general audience, the pope said the violence that exists in the world is a sign of too many people’s inability “to reconcile themselves in order to begin again with sincere forgiveness.” Jesus’ resurrection “gives us the certainty that despite all the darkness in the world sin will not have the last word,” he said. “Strengthened by this certainty, with greater courage and enthusiasm we can commit ourselves to the birth of a more just world.” After discussing the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the pope spoke about the eucharistic adoration that follows the liturgy. In the dark and silence before the Blessed Sacrament, he said, Jesus calls Catholics to “stay and watch” with him the night before his death, just as he asked his disciples to do. But also like the disciples, he said, “too often we fall asleep.”

Letters to the NFP helps couples operate within God’s I was happy to see The Catholic News & Herald spreading the good news about natural family planning in the March 10 issue (“Gynecologist employs natural family planning principles in practice”). Natural family planning (NFP) is a highly effective and safe method for married couples to postpone or avoid pregnancy, or for couples wishing to conceive a baby. While it is well documented that NFP is superior to artificial birth control when it comes to physical side effects and potential health risks, it is difficult to put into words why NFP is also superior when it comes to spiritual and emotional implications. Perhaps it comes down to trusting what Jesus Christ teaches us through the Catholic Church concerning human sexuality, marriage and contraception. Once we put into practice what he teaches us, we begin to experience and understand its benefits. Anyone can have sex, but only a husband and wife oper-


On Good Friday, the pope said, Catholics contemplate Jesus on the cross, gazing “at his pierced heart” in order to recognize “the cosmic dimension” of God’s love for all creation, “a love that goes beyond all understanding.” To prepare for the great joy of the Resurrection, he said, “the church asks its faithful to receive the sacrament of penance as a type of death and resurrection,” a new beginning in the life of faith. “Aware that we are sinners, but trusting in divine mercy, let us be reconciled with Christ in order to experience more fully the joy that he gives us with his resurrection,” he said. The grace given through forgiveness and absolution, Pope Benedict said, “is a source of interior and exterior peace and makes us apostles of peace in a world where, unfortunately, divisions, suffering and the dramas of injustice, hatred and violence continue.” At the end of the audience, a children’s choir sang “Happy Birthday” to the pope in English. He will celebrate his 79th birthday April 16, Easter.

ating within God’s laws can have each other. When married couples practice kindness, affection, mutual obedience, faithfulness, forgiveness and openness to life, together they can take on the unique crosses they are given by divine providence with joy, trust and confidence. — Mary Thierfelder Gastonia

Power of prayer and peace

Thank you for the article on the Power of Prayer Penny Project for our troops (“Louisiana woman’s penny project sends prayers, support to U.S. troops,” March 24). Military families sacrifice so much for freedom; it’s good to see people rallying in support and prayer. Prayer for peace is one thing Pope John Paul II asked of all the world’s children. — Jean Aberle Newton

Complacency blinds us

I was pleased to read Karen Osborne’s column in the March 17 issue (“Just when you thought discrimination was gone”). She is right that our complacency can blind us to the discriminatory attitudes that keep us from valuing and respecting others.

The Catholic News & Herald 19

April 14, 2006

Easter season is for falling in love Jesus’ death, resurrection offers ing the account of the Resurrection, we clearly understand that this empty tomb is as important as the cross — were it not for the empty tomb, the cross would have been a tragedy. The women were determined to again see the Lord they loved. Perhaps the crucified Lord was only the beginning of their spiritual journey. Their love story had to continue. Once we fall in love with the Lord, he becomes a magnet in our lives. We search for him because we want to be with him. We don’t know everything about the God-man who died for us until we become part of his love story. The Resurrection, therefore, is about “witnessing” the cross and the empty tomb. Whenever we experience or witness Jesus, we celebrate his life and our lives. Easter must be more than lilies, rabbits, butterflies and eggs when we really listen to what the Gospels tell about the Resurrection. We Catholics are the Gospel’s people who see the real Jesus, not simply the picture or the statue. Happy Easter, and enjoy the real person of Jesus in our eucharistic banquet. Father Aurilia is pastor Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville.

Guest Column

A. Interestingly, fasting of some sort is observed by adherents of nearly every religion in the world. It takes many forms, perhaps total restraint from food and drink for a whole day or more, or “one full meal” with occasional snacks, or anywhere in between. There are numerous valid and “practical” reasons people fast: to withdraw occasionally from one’s normal intake of food and drink, to feel more alert and healthier, to sleep better, to lose weight, to gain self-control and so on. Whatever else it may be, however, from the Christian perspective fasting is above all a religious act that puts people in better touch with God. It is a unique way of expressing praise, love, hope and faith in God, of keeping ourselves open to the Lord’s continual desire to fashion us in the image of Jesus Christ, into the complete human beings we were created to become. The renowned second-century theologian St. Irenaeus wrote that God shaped us and continues to do so. Our job is to offer the Creator a heart that is soft and malleable. Let the clay be moist, he says, so we

Coming of Age


KASE JOHNSTUN cns columnist

There is something peculiar about the greatest celebration of the liturgical year. We actually celebrate this great event at a different date every year because we still go by the phases of the moon. In fact, we celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the spring equinox, obviously set to coincide with the rebirth of life that erupts from a bulb planted in the winter ground, representing a message of hope from nature. Rabbits, eggs, butterflies and lilies don’t make Easter, but they are powerful signs of fertility, resurrection and hope. But for me, the most powerful symbol is the empty tomb. I have been in many cemeteries to bless tombs, and yet I have never seen an empty one. The two Marys who went to the tomb were astonished to see the empty tomb, and I don’t blame them. By read-

The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of fasting Q. Every Lent we are told about the “power of fasting,” or that we should fast and pray about a particular problem. I know the rules about fast days, but can you explain more about why people fast and how? (Indiana)

No good alibi

don’t grow hard and lose the imprint of his fingers. A major challenge with fasting, as with all practices of self-denial, is that they can become mere external formalities, an end in themselves, and lose touch with their spiritual implications. The prophet Isaiah once described how the people complained because they fasted faithfully but God didn’t seem to notice (Chapter 58). God’s reply was that they fasted, but then they quarreled and fought, they were selfish and cheated each other. “This rather is the fasting I want,” he said: Free the oppressed, share bread with the hungry, shelter the homeless and don’t turn your backs on each other. Then, said God, people will fast and he will listen. Marvelous words to reflect on during this Lent! Food and drink are one of the great treasures of our lives. They are blessings God obviously wants us to enjoy intensely. One of the great motives for fasting, therefore, is the one we find presented most often in the Scriptures. It is a way of responding to God’s persistent flirting to get our attention, of telling God we’re really serious about what we pray for, whether the prayer is praise and worship, asking some favor, giving thanks or any other intention. Some relatively recent and excellent

Hurting others hurts God

Question Corner FATHER JOHN DIETZEN cns columnist

books about fasting are on the market. One of them is “Fasting Rediscovered,” by Paulist Father Thomas Ryan. He tells how in the Old Testament God falls all over himself to convince his people that he is there to give them what they need; they respond by telling God in this way how urgent are their wants. Father Ryan describes how his father used to ride his bicycle around the block where his mother lived, hoping to get a glimpse of her through the window. Our sense of God, he says, must be like what his mother felt. She knew he was out there circling, watching, hoping. When she went to the window, she knew he would know her, would listen to her concerns and would make a loving response. As Father Ryan says: “Fasting is sending God a message. He’s very good about answering his mail.” That is something people of faith who fast often already know, and the rest of us might learn. Questions may be sent to Father Dietzen, Box 5515, Peoria, IL 61612, or e-mail

I have no alibi. I have no excuse. I have no reason. I have no story. I just have to say I am sorry. Saying “I’m sorry” for doing something stupid can be the hardest thing in the world to do. It can eat at your insides and make your head feel like a brick. But when it is time to say it, we just have to say we’re sorry. The difficulty of saying it rises sharply when we’ve done something stupid and there is no logical reason behind our actions. You didn’t call a friend when the rest of you went out, and you knew it would hurt his feelings. You didn’t stand up for someone who truly needed standing up for; you didn’t use your ability to protect someone when you could. If you never find yourself saying you are sorry, then the blinders you’re keeping over your eyes need to be taken off and shelved. There is no one who hasn’t wronged friends, family or strangers. Sometimes we don’t mean to harm, but we do it anyway. Yes, even priests, nuns and deacons will be the first to admit they are not perfect and that they need to say they’re sorry sometimes. One of our struggles throughout life is trying to avoid the reason for saying we’re sorry: hurting others. It all boils down to avoiding what hurts others. But when we do hurt others, we just have to say we’re sorry. Saying this to God is just as difficult. We hurt God as much as we hurt our friends. You, me, your parents and everyone else in the congregation has sat in the rows on Sunday and heard, “When you hurt others, you hurt God.” This is a difficult concept to accept because we can’t imagine actually hurting God, can we? But truly accepting that when we hurt others we hurt God makes saying we’re sorry a lot more serious and it makes the offense more slicing. So when I say, “I just have to say I’m sorry,” I don’t mean that saying sorry is a way out. I mean that there is nothing else I can say because what I did to hurt you was wrong, there were no reasons for it and I can’t explain it. The only thing there is to say is, “Sorry.”

April 14, 2006

The road to Sydney

The Catholic News & Herald 20

in the news

Send-off of pilgrim cross opens countdown to World Youth Day 2008 by JOHN THAVIS catholic news service

VATICAN CITY — With the unveiling of a logo, the handover of a pilgrim cross and the cheers of young Australians, the “road to Sydney” for World Youth Day 2008 was officially opened at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI sent the World Youth Day cross on a two-year trip across Africa and Oceania after a Palm Sunday liturgy April 9. Accepting it were young Australians, eager for the spiritual spotlight that will soon begin to swing across their country. With Australian flags unfurled, the young people indulged in some lively celebration after the liturgy in St. Peter’s Square. “That was the spirit of Sydney on display,” Morris Iemma, premier of the Australian state New South Wales, remarked at a press conference afterward. He predicted that young people would find Sydney “the friendliest city and the most welcoming city” in the world. Pope Benedict XVI gave the organizers a morale boost when he told pilgrims, “See you in Sydney, God willing.” When Australia was announced last year as the venue for the next international gathering, there was doubt about whether the pope would make the trip. But the pontiff recently assured Cardinal George Pell of Sydney that he planned to come, said Bishop Anthony Fisher, an auxiliary bishop in Sydney and a chief organizer of the event. Civil authorities say they expect about 130,000 foreign youths to come to Australia in 2008 for the July 15-20 celebrations, to be joined by about twice that number from Australia. Some 500,000 people are expected to attend the closing papal Mass, which would make it the biggest event ever to take place in Sydney. The cardinal said authorities had been extremely cooperative in discussions on visas, a chronic problem during the international World Youth Day encounters. He said the government would keep current

CNS photo by Chris Helgren, Reuters

The World Youth Day cross is passed from German to Australian youths during a ceremony after Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican April 9. World Youth Day was held in the German city of Cologne in the summer of 2005, and the next one is to be held in Sydney, Australia, in 2008.

immigration rules in place, but would impose no quotas on visas — and no quotas on individual countries. Within Australia, Bishop Fisher said, the invitation to participate will be broader. “What we’re saying is that World Youth Day is an unabashedly Catholic event, but is open to all — those who have any or no religion,” he said. It’s the first time the event will be held in Oceania, and the distance means fewer participants are expected from Europe, North America and South America. On the other hand, organizers are drumming up interest in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, offering travel subsidies to poorer youths, and are counting on significant participation from Asian nations like the

Philippines, South Korea and India. Cardinal Pell said World Youth Day would also welcome Chinese Catholics “with open arms.” The pilgrimage of the World Youth

Day cross will have a key role in awakening interest and spurring spiritual reflection across the country, Bishop Fisher said. He compared it to the relay of the Olympic torch, which came through Australia when the country hosted the Summer Olympics in 2000. “But this time it’s not about sport; it’s about faith, and hope in young people,” he said. The World Youth Day program includes a Way of the Cross through Sydney, which will probably traverse five of the seven bridges over Sydney Harbor, Bishop Fisher said. There were reports last year that Mel Gibson, who directed “The Passion of the Christ,” would help stage part of the Way of the Cross in Sydney. Carolyn Grant, managing director of a public relations firm working with the Archdiocese of Sydney, said April 9 that “Mel’s not officially on board.” The World Youth Day logo, publicly displayed during the Palm Sunday liturgy, features a design that combines the cross, the flame of the Holy Spirit and the distinctive shells of the Sydney Opera House. When Australian journalists wondered, tongue in cheek, whether the opera house was in flames, Cardinal Pell assured them, “No, that’s the flame of love.” Young people submitted hundreds of ideas for the logo, and a professional design company worked with the best suggestions. The outcome reflects the official World Youth Day theme, taken from the Acts of the Apostles: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.” WANT MORE INFO? Information on World Youth Day is available online at

April 14, 2006  

Catholic News Herald - Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina. The official newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte...

April 14, 2006  

Catholic News Herald - Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina. The official newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte...