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Keeper of two flocks

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Father Tom Foster of Duluth is a priest with a flock. Quite literally.
The full-time chaplain at St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic keeps 100 ewes and lambs on his 47-acre farm in Cloverland, near Maple. Foster said he loves the contrast of working between his two flocks — parishioners and sheep — though he also spots a number of common traits.

“In scripture, the flock is a very common image, and there are a number of similarities between our behavior and the behavior of sheep,” said Foster, who also serves as chaplain to the 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard. “They can overeat, just like we can; they need to be trained; and you need to develop their trust.”

How much longer will the Palestinians have to wait?

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Okay, I know that finding peace in the Middle East eludes the best minds and most generous wills. Yes, it is all beyond complex. I get it. That said, I cannot imagine any scenerio in which we will find Middle East peace as long as Israeli settlements continue to be established.

Powerless Palestinians are being humiliated day after day as they watch fresh new settlements being established. Speaking of humiliation, think about the young laborer in the accompanying photo which runs with a CNS story on our website. Needing to support his family, he takes what work he can. The work he takes further assures his own humiliation and oppression.

Kudos to Congressman Ryan and Congresswoman DeLauro

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It is impossible not to admire the long hours and tough negotiating that went into the Ryan-DeLauro Bill that aims to reduce abortions. And, it is equally impossible to think that sometime in the near future, a majority of Americans, including a majority of American Catholics, will come to believe that contraception is a bad thing.

\"I'm spiritual but not religious\"

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St. Francis of Assisi was wont to pray for nights on end, “Who are you, God, and who am I?” He was unable to find satisfying answers to these questions in the culture and institutions of his times.

One Sunday he was listening to a sermon in which the preacher quoted Jesus telling his followers to take nothing for their journey, to rely upon the kindness of strangers – in short, to embrace poverty as a spiritual way. Francis was galvanized. He left Mass overjoyed and committed the passages to memory, saying: “This is what I want. This is what I long for.”

Francis had noticed that whenever and wherever he encountered poverty and simplicity in his life, then his heart would warmly glow, his insides would light up with smiles. The scripture passage validated this important inner experience. His enthusiasm enkindled and his creative energies given direction, he went on to create a band of brothers who lived simply and in solidarity with the poor.

Will U.S. still turn blind eye on Indonesian military abuses

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More than 50 U.S. organizations Thursday urged the U.S. government to "strictly prohibit any U.S. cooperation with or assistance to the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus)' in a letter sent Thursday to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of Congress. The letter was coordinated by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN).

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April 11-24, 2014

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