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Symposium: Year for Priests

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The Catholic University of America, in conjunction with Theological College, the national seminary at CUA, will be sponsoring a two day symposium starting tomorrow on the Year for Priests, announced by Pope Benedict XVI. The symposium will feature speakers from the Society of St. Sulpice which runs Theological College, as well as from the university’s Department of Theology.

The Society of St. Sulpice, diocesan clergy who join the society specifically to work in seminaries, has a long history in priestly formation, especially in America. Fleeing the horrors of the French Revolution, a band of Sulpicians came to these shores at the invitation of Bishop John Carroll to open the first seminary in America, St. Mary’s in Baltimore in 1791. When Catholic University started a seminary, it was natural to entrust it to their care. I attended TC in the mid-1980s and they had the foresight and wisdom to direct me towards an alternate career path!

First Woman Cherokee Chief

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Wilma Mankiller, the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation, says that when native women assume leadership positions, they take a step forward for women and a step into tribal tradition at the same time.

Her activism began 40 years ago in November, when native students occupied the island of Alcatraz near San Francisco.

Mankiller was honored as an extraordinary older woman at the AARP conference on diversity and aging in Chicago. She was interviewed by New America Media editor Khalil Abdullah.

Sister's transform barn into wellness center

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Cincinnati.com reports that the St. Clare Convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor is transforming a barn on their grounds into a wellness center for the neighborhood.

When completed, the barn, which is undergoing a $1.5 million renovation, will serve as a sort of community center for the neighborhood, offering classes and programs geared toward building community and providing personal and spiritual growth. Many of these will be targeted to young adults. Classes, which will be rolled out over time, will include topics related to health, wellness, spirituality and ecology, including nutrition, budgeting, yoga, smoking cessation, recycling, organic gardening and other topics.

Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk is to bless the barn at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10.

Africa is no longer the 'Beggar of the World'

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The Community of Sant’Egidio, founded in Rome in 1968 and considered one of the new movements in the Catholic church, has long has a special commitment to Africa. The community helped negotiate the Mozambique peace accords, and its DREAM project is considered a model for anti-AIDS efforts. This morning, the founder of Sant’Egidio, Italian layman Andrea Riccardi, published an essay on the Synod for Africa in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading daily newspaper. Following is an NCR translation of Riccardi’s piece.

Africa's dynamism real but also deceptive, cardinal says

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tAfrican Catholicism’s explosive growth and vitality are real, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana said this morning during the opening session of the second Synod for Africa, but also in a sense deceptive.

t Turkson, the relator, or general secretary, of the synod, pointed to four specific challenges:

•tThe fact that the church “hardly exists in large parts north of the equator,” meaning that it’s largely concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa;
•t“The fidelity and commitment of some clergy and religious to their vocations,” perhaps a veiled reference to scandals such the one that erupted last May in the Central African Republic, when Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo resigned after a Vatican investigation revealed that several priests were living more or less openly with women and the children they had fathered;
•t“The loss of members to new religious movements and sects” – which, in today’s Africa, is likely a reference to the rapid expansion of Christian Pentecostalism – as well as a tendency for young Africans to lose their faith when they relocate to Europe and North America;
•tNeed for “a conversion that is deep and permanent.”

Say hello to Africa's next great hope to be pope

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tFor the better part of three decades, the phrase “African pope” almost automatically beckoned images of Cardinal Francis Arinze, a smiling, charismatic Nigerian who loomed in the popular imagination as the best prospect to become the first African pope since Gelasius I in the late fifth century, and only the third African pope in history.

tArinze, however, is now retired and will turn 77 on Nov. 1. With the opening today of the second Synod for Africa, the torch has in effect been passed to Africa’s next great papabile, or candidate to become pope: Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, who will celebrate his 61st birthday on Oct. 11.

Asked this morning during a Vatican news conference if the Catholic church is ready for a black pope, Turkson answered simply: "Why not?"

"We've had Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations ... he had his problems, but he did it. Now we have Obama in the United States. So, if by divine providence, God would wish to have a black man as pope, I say thanks be to God!"

It was vintage Turkson -- candid, charming, and delivered with a healthy dose of humor.

To bongos and bass guitar, pope calls Africa an 'immense spiritual lung'

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tHere’s something you don’t see every day: St. Peter’s Basilica, typically a showcase for traditional and sober forms of Catholic worship, rocking to the beat of bongo drums and bass guitars, as a Congolese chorus belted out catchy African hymns such as “Nakoma Peto” and “Yamba Makabu”.

tSuch was the scene in St. Peter’s this morning, during an opening Mass for the second Synod of Bishops for Africa, which is set to run Oct. 4-25 in Rome.

tPope Benedict XVI led this morning’s liturgy, joined by almost 240 bishops, most of them Africans taking part in the synod. Concelebrating the Mass were the three co-presidents of the synod, Cardinals Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Wilfrid Fox Napier of South Africa, and Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Senegal, along with Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the “relator,” or general secretary, of the synod.

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May 22-June 4, 2015

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