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Fr. Sam stole nonprofit's money

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Fr. Samuel Ciccolini, a beloved Catholic priest who founded the Interval Brotherhood Home of Akron, Ohio, stole money from the nonprofit group's foundation, his attorneys have admitted.

But Ciccolini, better known as "Father Sam," has since repaid the money he took, attorneys Peter Cahoon and Gregory Plesich wrote in an 11-page brief filed last week in federal court in Cleveland.

Everyone loves a love story

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Saturday night at the vigil Mass for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the celebrant, a retired priest originally from Ireland, Father Walsh, proclaimed the Gospel according to Luke (Chapter 5) about the mustard seed:

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

Father began his homily by asking: "How may people here this evening know that tomorrow is Respect Life Sunday?" I raised my hand half way because of course I know that Respect Life Sunday comes in October but truly, I did not approach mass aware that it was today.

But, no one else raised their hands either.

Boston-area priest charged in theft

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Boston-area priest charged in theft of money

A popular priest at a Haverhill, Mass., Roman Catholic church who resigned this summer after allegations of financial misconduct came to light is now facing charges.

Authorities say the Rev. Keith LeBlanc, former pastor of St. John the Baptist Church, has been issued a summons to appear in Haverhill District Court on Nov. 3 to face charges of larceny over $250 by a single scheme, and fraud. He was not arrested.
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Justice Stevens' and the death penalty

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In a wide ranging interview with NPR, 90-year old U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens had this to say about the death penalty:

"Both the change in Stevens and the change in the court are illustrated by the issue of the death penalty. When he first joined the court, he voted to revive capital punishment, overturning a de facto moratorium imposed by the court four years earlier.

Sculpting mashed potatoes

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As a kid, when adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer right back: "A forest ranger! No, a priest!" Up on a shelf in my boyhood closet, corroborating this confusion, were my implements for playing Mass -- a metal cup used to press "hosts" out of stale Wonderbread, homemade vestments cut out of old sheets -- together with hiking books and nature field guides. Torn then between being a wilderness guy or a man concerned with public liturgy, counsel and prayer, to this day I haven't really resolved this conflict.

When Charles Lindbergh was a boy, he was plagued by nightmares of falling from high places, and he even tried to meet this fear by jumping out of trees. Did his deepest innards know even then he was destined to first solo the Atlantic? Surrealist painter Salvador Dali, it is reported by playmates, one day bit into a rotting bat, a surrealistic act if ever there was one. Schoolmates of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, witnessed that he was overeager, always ready to be useful to his teachers, to keep his friends amused and help older people.

Hate: America's real security threat

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"This is our most serious public safety issue and a national security threat to America," reads a billboard in Oracle, Arizona.

Surely the message must refer to Osama Bin Laden, still on the loose, I thought, or perhaps to lax safety measures at airports. But no.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the message is accompanied by a photo of a Latino family.

It is surely a sign of the times. It has become socially acceptable in growing sectors of our society to hate Mexican immigrants -- desperate border crossers risking their lives, fleeing poverty and hunger.

The quote is from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, the Star reported, although he denies having anything to do with the putting up of the billboard.

The newspaper report was read as part of a recent weekly liturgy in downtown Tucson, led by Redemptorist Fr. Ricardo Elford.

More than \"gotcha\" journalism

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The race for California's governor has gone from interesting to very interesting in the last few days, thanks to a "gotcha" journalism drama that stars some main players on the Golden State stage: undocumented immigrants and Catholic church.

Republican candidate Meg Whitman has a lot of (her own) money; she ran eBay for several years. She has thrown a record $119 million of her own funds into her gubernatorial campaign. She's running against Democrat Jerry Brown -- now 72, once governor of the state back in 1975-to-1983, trying for it again.

Church closings (very likely) coming to Brooklyn

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According to the New York Daily News:

Catholic leaders in Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y. named Monday a "diocesan day of prayer" as word spread that churches in Brooklyn and Queens may close as part of an unprecedented reorganization.

The Diocese of Brooklyn, faced with budget trouble and a shortage of priests, is considering shuttering churches and merging parishes in Brooklyn and Queens, the Daily News reported Sunday.

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