||SF parish attracts
Father Joseph Illo, pastoral administrator of Star of the Sea Parish in San Francisco, greets parishioners after Mass July 2. Father Illo said, "Our mission statement is to evangelize God's people beginning with the gift of the Holy Eucharist. That means putting a lot of energy into our music, our preaching, our Sunday Mass. Three years after Father Illo was appointed parish administrator in August 2014, bringing his powerful commitment to traditional Catholic practices to the famously progressive city, Mass attendance and number of parishioners registered have increased about 10 percent each year.
CATHOLIC SAN FRANCISCO
||Vietnam must respect religious freedom
A priest distributes Communion during Mass Aug. 27 at a church in Hanoi, Vietnam. The nonresident Vatican envoy to Vietnam, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, called on the Southeast Asian nation's communist government to respect religious freedom on Aug. 13 at the opening Mass of the Marian Congress, held at the national shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in central Vietnam's Quang Tri province. Archbishop Girelli said, "I would like to tell the Vietnamese Caesars to give to God what is God's," to which the congregation responded with a large round of applause.
Sisters lose land
WASHINGTON — The Adorers of the Blood of Christ and other landowners in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, have lost their court case to keep a natural gas pipeline from being built on their property. In an Aug. 23 opinion, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Schmel ordered that Williams Partners and their Transco subsidiary can have permanent right of way of 1.05 acres to build the 42-inch pipeline, as well as another 1.65 acres of right of way on a temporary basis to build it. The pipeline will extend through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Schmel ordered Williams to pay $329,000 to the Adorers and the other landowners for their property.
WASHINGTON — Catholics in Oklahoma have been preparing for a long time for this moment. Many, like Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, had faith it would come, but there's still a sense of awe, to think that a farm boy, one of their own, is about to take a step toward official sainthood. On Sept. 23, Oklahomans will get a front row seat to the beatification of Father Stanley Rother, an ordinary man from an ordinary town, who died extraordinarily as a martyr in Guatemala while serving in a mission.
Apology from priest
ARLINGTON, Va. — A Catholic priest in the Arlington Diocese who wrote a column asking forgiveness for the time he spent as a member of the Ku Klux Klan 40 years ago when he was "an impressionable young man" has never paid court-ordered restitution for cross-burning and other racist actions he pleaded guilty of doing at that time. Father William Aitcheson, now 62, wrote in an Aug. 21 op-ed posted on the website of the Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper. "I'm sorry. To anyone who has been subjected to racism or bigotry, I am sorry. I have no excuse, but I hope you will forgive me," he wrote.
Urged to fight racism
LOS ANGELES — The United States is seeing "a new kind of racism and nationalism" that is "rooted in fear," and Catholics must work to overcome such new forms of racism and "every ideology that denies the equality and dignity of the human person," the archbishop of Los Angeles said. "There is fear about what is happening in our society. There is fear about what is happening in our economy. Our country has become so angry and bitter, so divided — in so many different areas," said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.
'Sin of racism'
WASHINGTON — Saying there is an "urgent need" to address "the sin of racism" in the country and find solutions to it, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has established a new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and named one of the country's African-American Catholic bishops to chair it. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, initiated the committee Aug. 23 "to focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our church, and the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions."
PHOENIX — The church needs to look beyond ordained clergy for leadership, said Marianist Father James Heft during an address at the annual meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in Phoenix in early August. "Early on in the life of the church, religious life was a lay movement. Beginning in the third century, the desert fathers were typically not ordained, and a century later when monastic communities began to form, they remained a largely lay movement," Father Heft said.
WASHINGTON — Iceland is on its way to "eliminate" people with Down syndrome, a report from CBS News explained, causing uproar in the pro-life community over the high numbers of abortions following prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. With only one or two people, on average, born with Down syndrome each year, Iceland's population exemplifies what pro-life leaders say is the tragic reality of an abortion-driven society.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration renews its commitment to the protection of religious minority groups threatened by the Islamic State in the Middle East, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the preface of the annual State Department report on international religious freedom, released Aug. 15. "ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled," Tillerson said in a statement Aug. 15.
Nun receives award
JAMAICA, N.Y. — Maryknoll Sister Janet Carroll, founding executive director of the U. S. Catholic China Bureau, was the recipient of the organization's 2017 Matteo Ricci Award, an honor bestowed upon people who best exemplify the bureau's mission to build a bridge of friendship and service between the Catholic Church in the U.S. and China. Oakland's Emeritus Bishop John S. Cummins was last year's award recipient. The award, named for the 16th-century Jesuit missionary to China, was presented to Sister Janet at a banquet Aug. 12 during the China bureau's 27th biennial national conference at St. John's University.
— Catholic News Service
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