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Prominent KC health provider takes issue with Bishop Finn

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The letter of a prominent Catholic Kansas City health care provider has reached my desk. It is a response to the Kansas City area bishops' pastoral on health care. The layman is Daniel L. Fowler, chairman of the board of Northland Health Care Access, a 501(c)(3) Missouri non-profit corporation that provides access to healthcare for the uninsured. He is also the board chairman of a sister organization, Metrocare, Inc., that operates a network of volunteer specialty care physicians in the Kansas City area in affiliation with the Metropolitan Medical Society. He serves on the board of Northland Neighborhoods, Inc., a community development corporation that is also a Missouri 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Here is want Fowler wrote to his bishop, Finn:

Thoughts on moving

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For anyone who's noticed that I've been absent from this blog for a few weeks, don't worry. I'm still here--just in the middle of a move.

Yes, we're among the few lucky Americans to have sold our house (a condo)--and rather quickly, I might add. I guess if the price is right...

And we were doubly lucky in that we found a nice house, a small Chicago bungalow, at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately the closing dates require us to be "homeless" for two weeks, so we've been bouncing from relative to friend to relative.

I forgot how hard moving is, and now I'm witnessing how the disorientation affects a 2-year-old. There's the packing, then the sadness at seeing your empty home--our first home as a married couple, the place we brought our son home to.

And when the movers arrive--four recent immigrants who worked harder that morning than I have all year--there is the guilt over having SO MUCH STUFF. Having to pack everything you own really highlights how much you own. At the end, when we were tossing the last miscellaneous junk into unlabeled boxes, I had a strong urge to give up all my possessions and move to a monastery.

African Catholics prepare for synod

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Fr. Pete Henriot, an American Jesuit, is the director of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Lusaka, Zambia. He has an opinion piece on AllAfrica.com about the upcoming synod of African bishops. It is the second such synod, the last one being convened in 1994.

Henriot writes that after reading the instrumentum laboris, the working document the bishops will use to prepare for the synod, he was

" ... struck by the relevance of the agenda topics to the life of the church in Africa. There is an honest reflection on the difficulties of implementation of the First African Synod (1994), with clear recognition that many parts of Africa have in the past decade been severely wracked by armed conflicts and ineffective governance. The concrete experience of the church in relating to this challenging situation is sketched with obvious questions regarding the effectiveness of our responses."

Of all the points that the synod could emphasize, Henriot points to three that he sees are critical. To points are included in the instrumentum laboris.

    Report of rights abuses in Honduras

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    Jean Stokan, Director of the Justice Team for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, provides a graphic description of gross human rights abuses in Honduras in her appearance on "Interfaith Voices" this week. She describes government forces trying to snuff out the protests of those who oppose the recent coup. Teachers, lawyers and campesinos were attacked in multiple and bloody ways as they demonstrated to restore the elected leader of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and the constitutional order of the country.

    Jean was part of a delegation of religious people who visited Honduras in August on a trip sponsored by both the Quixote Center and the Sisters of Mercy.

    To hear the interview, go to: www.interfaithradio.org

    Before this interview, you can hear the tale of Kevin Roose, a student who went undercover at Liberty University (founded by Jerry Falwell) to investigate evangelical culture. And after Jean’s interview, you can hear about the great sounds of an interfaith choir called Mosaic/Harmony.

    Sea level rise puts NYC at risk

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    Rising Sea Levels Putting New York City at Risk

    Wall Street Journal science columnist Rob Lee Holtz reports in an animated video that with climate change melting ice caps will create higher seas in the coming decades making New York City awash in water.

    He points out that New York City pumps 14 million gallons of water a day out of the subway system. One possible safeguard is a massively expensive storm surge protector across the Hudson River.

    As New York and all of America take time to remember the victims of the attack on September 11, 2001, it is worth keeping an eye on the potential deadly ramifications of climate change.

    Pope Benedict's prayer at Ground Zero

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    On its Facebook page, CatholicTV.com has a photo of Pope Benedict's April 2008 visit to Ground Zero in New York and reprints the prayer he prayed there. It begins:

    O God of love, compassion, and healing,
    look on us, people of many different faiths
    and traditions,
    who gather today at this site,
    the scene of incredible violence and pain.

    The prayer ends with:


    Comfort and console us,
    strengthen us in hope,
    and give us the wisdom and courage
    to work tirelessly for a world
    where true peace and love reign
    among nations and in the hearts of all.

    A story for Year of the Priest

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    Fr. James Reuter marked a diamond anniversary Tuesday: He made his first vows in the Society of Jesus 75 years ago. Sixty-nine of those years, he spent in the Philippines as a teacher, playwright, writer, coach, chaplain.

    Journalists remember him as spokesman for the Philippine bishops.

    He described his parish as the "stage, radio, printing press, shooting lot, dressing room, director’s booth, the theater."

    Read a reflection here, Diamonds and Red Shoes, to learn why he says he is grateful whenever anyone says: "I am praying for you."

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