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Sisters choose nature over riches of natural gas lease

With 761 acres of mostly wooded property nestled along the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line, the Sisters of the Humility of Mary feel they have been entrusted with a special oasis.

The land encompasses a 250-acre organic farm, grazing land for cattle and sheep, wetlands and shaded open space where members of the community, employees and visitors can relax, walk and pray, all to gain a deeper appreciation of creation.

Microclimates, closets and Christmas' truth

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Microclimates get a lot of attention from farmers and gardeners. You can grow a good crop on the north side of the property in the global South or on the lean of the hill in the American West.

Christmas is like a microclimate, a time when we are responsive to the seasonal weather. One of my long-term unemployed parishioners wept recently in my office. He said, “It’s hard enough week after week but to have no money at Christmas, it is cruel. Not to mention what Congress is trying to not do for us in extending benefits.” 

Christmas goes green in two new children’s books

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Looking for a last-minute Christmas book to place alongside The Lorax and other environmental “keeper” books on your shelf?

Two new publications -- Christmas Nevermore by Marc Cadieux and Herve Bastien, and Mert the Anxious Evergreen, by Claire Bowman -- revisit the spirit of Dr. Seuss’ cautionary tale about corporate greed and environmental degradation, and all within a holiday-season setting.

Advances in drilling technology led to fracking's rapid expansion

The history of slick water hydraulic fracturing extends back more than 60 years as America seeks solutions to its seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy.

Also known as fracking, the process has been used to extract oil and natural gas since 1947, said Peter MacKenzie, vice president of operations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. He and other industry representatives argued that the process is safe and even when problems occur, companies work to alleviate any concerns.

To frack or not to frack: Debate examines America's quest for energy

Pauline Beck looks out over her 30-acre farm and points to the east. It's there, not quite a mile away, where a natural gas well is likely to be built as Pennsylvania secures its place as a leader in America's burgeoning energy industry.

And that saddens Beck, a member of nearby St. James Parish.

Global wave of prayer launches as Francis urges action against hunger

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All people must stand united against the scandal of hunger while avoiding food waste and irresponsible use of the world's resources, Pope Francis said Monday.

People should "stop thinking that our daily actions do not have an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hunger firsthand," the pope said, as he launched a global campaign of prayer and action against hunger.

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In This Issue

July 18-31, 2014

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