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February 5, 2018   •   VOL. 56, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Super Bowl Mass a joy
for East Coast priests

People walk into the Mall of America Jan. 28 in Bloomington, Minn., site of the media center for Super Bowl LII. The NFC champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the AFC champions, the New England Patriots, will compete in Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Catholic coaches and players of the two teams have clear game plans for making Sunday Mass in the midst of prepping for big games each week. Msgr. Mike Foley and Father Tom Barcellona celebrate Mass for the respective Super Bowl-bound teams they serve. "I have great respect for these men. They work really hard," Msgr. Foley said. Father Barcellona has served as the Eagles Catholic chaplain since 2004, the last season the team went to the Super Bowl. In addition to Mass, he offers pastoral guidance and sacramental preparation for players and coaches alike.

New bishop in Stockton
Pope Francis named Auxiliary Bishop Myron J. Cotta of Sacramento to succeed Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton. On Jan. 23, the pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Blaire, who is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. Bishop Blaire, a native of Los Angeles, has headed the Stockton Diocese since his 1999 appointment by St. John Paul II. Bishop Cotta, who will turn 65 March 21, was named an auxiliary bishop of the Sacramento Diocese by Pope Francis in 2014. A native of Dos Palos, the bishop speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Fresno in 1987. Bishop Cotta's installation as the sixth bishop of Stockton will take place March 15 in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton. Until then Bishop Blaire will serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

Restoring appeal of Catholic education
Catholic bishops are looking to "transform" Catholic schools in response to decades of declining enrollment that has forced hundreds of schools to close since 2005. The effort, said Bishop George V. Murry SJ, of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Catholic Education. It encompasses a wide-ranging look at issues facing Catholic schools and a renewed effort to help parents better understand that the spiritual development of a child goes hand in hand with academic achievement. Oakland's Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, joined with 30 other bishops, educators and representatives of Catholic education organizations at a Jan. 17-18 meeting at USCCB headquarters to take steps to ensure that Catholic schools will remain a vibrant and important part of family and church life.

DACA protest near Disneyland
Recipients and supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protest Jan. 22 outside Disneyland in Anaheim. Beneficiaries of the program, commonly called Dreamers, and their allies temporarily blocked a vehicle entrance to the amusement park, just as the Senate reached an agreement to end the government shutdown brought on in part by a stalemate over the young immigrants' future.

V Encuentro: A new encounter with Christ
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez urged the crowd at the archdiocesan "V Encuentro"Jan. 27 to bring "the people of our times to a new encounter with Jesus Christ and the mercy and love of God."

He addressed more than 1,000 Catholic lay leaders, clergy and religious from 52 parishes in all regions of the tri-county Archdiocese of Los Angeles gathered at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Diocesan-level encuentros and regional encuentros are taking place around the country as part of a process of reflection and action leading up to the U.S. Catholic Church's Fifth National Encuentro, or "V Encuentro," to be held Sept. 20-23 in Grapevine, Texas.

The Oakland diocese held its Encuentro in October; the regional meeting is set April 27-29 in Fresno. For more information, go to oakdiocese.org and take the links to the Latino Ministry, or contact Hector Medina at hmedina@oakdiocese.org.

"The 'V Encuentro' is a wake-up call for all Catholics, but especially our Hispanic/Latino communities to become agents of renewal for church and society," said Jesuit Father Allan Figueroa Deck, a theologian from Loyola Marymount University, who facilitated the reflection session titled "Take the Initiative," in Los Angeles.

School network closing
WASHINGTON — A trust fund that supports a Catholic school network in inner-city Memphis, Tennessee, is running dry, forcing diocesan officials to announce that the schools will close at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. Vince Higgins, director of communications for the Diocese of Memphis, said the closing of all nine Jubilee Catholic Schools as well as the affiliated St. Michael School was "a long time coming. Without some great benefactor coming forth saying, 'We'll fund the schools,' we can't face that cost." The diocese expects that a separate network of charter schools will take the place of the jubilee schools that will keep "the same schools, same curriculum, same teachers, same student pool, same parents" in place, allowing for a high level of academic achievement to continue.

Dismantling racism
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — Just over five months after a violent white supremacy rally shook Charlottesville — and the nation — to its core, more than 80 area Catholics gathered to discuss racism and how to face it, dismantle it and advance toward equality for all. "The sin of racism is that it attempts to deny certain individuals' image and likeness of God," said Greer Gordon, a theologian, activist and retired departmental director of the Office of Evangelization for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. "We have never had such revelations from God in Scripture. We have to be able to stand in front of people and witness to this. Like Paul, we must be courageous."

Bishop gives absolution
HONOLULU — Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva gave general absolution to about 45 people in a deacon formation program in response to the alert of an imminent ballistic missile attack that put Hawaii in a state of panic shortly after 8 a.m. Jan. 13. It was the first time he had ever performed the rite. The absolution of sins given to a group of people at one time is allowed only in grave circumstances, such as situations of great danger or imminent death, or for soldiers going into battle, when private confessions are logistically impossible.

Young adults study
LINTHICUM, Md. — It's no secret that for years, teenagers and young adults have been leaving the Catholic Church, putting aside organized religion for a more personal spirituality, another faith tradition or no faith at all. A new study by St. Mary's Press looks at the reasons for such religious disaffiliation, asking teenagers and young adults ages 15 to 25 a basic question: Why did you leave the church? The answers reported in the study, titled "Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation of Young Catholics," vary widely with respondents citing sociological, familial and spiritual reasons as well as opposition to organized religion.

Mudslide victims' Mass
SANTA BARBARA — Amid tragedies such as the devastating mudslides in Southern California and the horrific wildfires that preceded them, "we want to know why" they happen, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said Jan. 14. "It is not easy. One of the hardest things in the world is to keep believing in God's love when we see tragedy," he said in his homily during a Mass with victims of the mudslides at Santa Barbara Mission.

Lord's Prayer wording
ROME — After special study, the German bishops' conference decided to stick with the traditional wording in the Lord's Prayer while the Italian bishops' conference has decided to change the words of the prayer in their translation of the Roman Missal. The decisions come after the French bishops decided that beginning early December last year, French Catholics would change the line, "Lead us not into temptation," to the equivalent of "do not let us enter into temptation." French-speaking Catholics in Benin and Belgium began using the new translation at Pentecost last June. The common Spanish translation already is "no nos dejes caer en la tentacion" or "do not let us fall into temptation." The issue got wide attention after Pope Francis discussed the line, "And lead us not into temptation," with Father Marco Pozza, a Catholic prison chaplain, Dec. 6, as part of a television series on the Lord's Prayer.

Volcano relief
LEGAZPI, Philippines — The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines has appealed for donations for the relief and rehabilitation of families affected by the ongoing eruption of Mount Mayon in Albay province. More than 70,000 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters as the volcano started spewing columns of ashes as high as one mile. Ucanews.com reported Father Rex Paul Arjona of the Diocese of Legazpi said most of those affected by the eruption are farmers who live and work within the volcano's permanent danger zone.

Catholic News Service


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