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Not your ordinary 'Mike'

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The New York Post reports that a family's uncared-for painting could really be a lost piece by Michelangelo:

This unfinished painting of Jesus and Mary could be a lost Michelangelo, potentially the art find of the century.

But to the upstate family on whose living-room wall it hung for years, it was just "The Mike."
When the kids knocked the painting off its perch with an errant tennis ball sometime in the mid-1970s, the Kober clan wrapped it up and tucked it away behind the sofa.

There it remained for 27 years, until Air Force Lt. Col. Martin Kober retired in 2003 and had some time on his hands. His father gave him a task -- research the family lore that the painting was really a Michelangelo.

A delight for the eyes: ìThe Kings of Pastry\"

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“A crème puff is very basic, and you have to dress it up, but not to be different from what it is.”

In the wide world of cooking reality shows on television, and food movies in general, “The Kings of Pastry” is a small but mighty contribution.

This 85-minute documentary film by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus is a first-time inside look at a competition between professionals, Meillerus Ouvrieres de France.

In this case, the competition is to find the best pastry craftsmen of France. Previous winners are known by the prized “tricolores” red, white, and blue collar on their chef garb and judges come from this elite group and other renowned chefs.

The film follows pastry chef finalists Jacquy Pfeiffer (co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School), Regis Lazard, and Philippe Rigollot (from Maison Pic, France’s only three start restaurant owned by a woman).

Despite the title of the film and the fact that women chefs do not figure in this particular competition held every four years, one imagines that there must be some great female pastry chefs in France.

Middle East synod is unique, and here's why

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

tIn broad strokes, one Synod of Bishops in Rome is pretty much like another one – the same procedures, the same structures, often the same faces and same issues. Yet there are several features which make the Oct. 10-24 Synod for the Middle East unique, which were highlighted this morning by Archbishop Nikola Eterovi?, a Croat who heads the Vatican department for synods of bishops, in a briefing for reporters.

Read NCR's full coverage of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East: Index of stories from the Synod.

Ad orientem

tFor one thing, this is clearly a synod ad orientem, meaning directed to the East. Of the 185 bishops taking part (out of a total of some 270 participants), 140 come from the 22 Eastern Catholic churches in union with Rome, meaning that just 45 represent the Latin Rite. In most synods, the bishops and other participants from the East are almost a footnote – this time around, they’re the main act.

Press Release: Endangered Catholics

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Just received this press release from the Cleveland group, Endangered Catholics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The parishes closed by Bishop Richard G. Lennon of the Cleveland Diocese will unite in prayer in order to honor Our Lady of the Rosary on Thursday, October 7th at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral at 5:10 PM Mass, followed by a Luminary Service at various appealing parishes at approximately 6:30 PM signifying their hopefulness, their faith and continued petition.

Many of the parishes have been asking the Blessed Mother for her intervention in having the mandates of Bishop Lennon of closures reversed. Vatican appeals are currently at the Congregation for the Clergy which has extended their decision until November 30th.

A religious test for political candidates?

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With the midterm elections fast approaching, this week’s "Interfaith Voices" features Damon Linker, who has written a fascinating new book called The Religious Test: Why We Must Question the Beliefs of Our Leaders.

His thesis is simple. With more and more candidates and office holders filtering their policy preferences through the lens of their religious beliefs, it is no longer off base to question candidates’ views of the divine.

Voters scream for help reveals deeper problems

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This is yet another election year that belongs to "the angry voter." But angry about what? Research highlighted in the New York Times says it's not unemployment or the deficit -- the real frustration comes from the kind of society we've grown into and are leaving to our kids.

In his Times online column, political reporter Matt Bai cited this startling fact: if the Republicans take-over Congress in the November elections, it will mark the third consecutive presidency in which control of Congress has flipped -- a first in this country's already volatile political history.

Listen in on A Nun's Life

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I just received an e-mail from Sr. Maxine Kollasch. Maxine and Sr. Julie Vieira, both Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters from Monroe, Mich., are the driving forces behind the web site, aNunsLife.org.

They do a lot of things on aNunsLife.org: a blog, podcasts, a vocations discussion board, a 24/7 chat room and more.

A recent initiative is a live audio broadcast called "In Good Faith," which features guests who are nationally known for their ministries and discuss spirituality, religious life and discernment.

The show airs on the first Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. EST.

Vatican offices for clergy, charity get new leaders

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Pope appoints new heads to Vatican offices for clergy, charity

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI appointed new heads for two Vatican offices, naming Italian canon lawyer, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah as president of the Vatican's charity-promotion agency, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

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