National Catholic Reporter

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Faith & Parish

Deaf Catholics prepare for new missal

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Editor’s note: This article is one in an occasional series about the new missal translation that NCR will publish in the run-up to the translation’s official release in November.

In the U.S., English isn’t the only language into which the new Roman Missal will be translated.

Across the country, deaf and hard-of-hearing Catholic communities and their interpreters are preparing for the November changes thanks to free online resources.

Symposium seen as possible start of bishop-theologian dialogue

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WASHINGTON -- After participating in a three-day national symposium on “Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization,” several young theologians told NCR by phone or e-mail that it served as a possibly fruitful start, but only a start, for more dialogue between them and U.S. bishops.

“My experience of the symposium reinforces my belief that bishops and theologians need to continually find ways to be in constructive dialogue with each other,” said Amanda Osheim, an assistant professor of practical theology at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Phoenix diocese to restrict Communion wine

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[Editor's Note: The following story appears in the Oct. 14 print issue of NCR, which went to press three days ago. This morning, NCR learned that the Madison, Wis., diocese is also discussing the implementation, starting this Advent, of Communion wine restrictions.]

In keeping with new standards for the distribution of Communion, the Phoenix diocese will be restricting the frequency of when Communion wine will be available, causing some questions from Catholics.

The Phoenix diocese issued a statement Sept. 21 on the new restrictions, saying that in the diocese and other places, reception of wine “became frequent or even commonplace,” and “the new norms call for the practice of less frequent distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds than the faithful may have been accustomed.”

Peoria Catholic Charities withdraws from state social service

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PEORIA, Ill. -- Citing increasing clashes between Illinois law and church teaching, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria announced Oct. 6 that Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria is withdrawing from all state-funded social service contracts.

To prevent disruption to the 1,000 foster care children and families now served by Catholic Charities of Peoria, plans call for those state-funded contracts to be transferred by Feb. 1, 2012, to a newly formed nonprofit entity called the Center for Youth and Family Solutions. The Diocese of Peoria and its Catholic Charities will have no connection to the new entity.

Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Joliet, Peoria, and Springfield, as well as Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois in Belleville, have been involved in legal proceedings with the state since Illinois recognized civil unions on June 1.

US Catholic priests happy with life and ministry, says study

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WASHINGTON -- Despite all the negative publicity of recent years, research shows U.S. Catholic priests are demonstrably among the happiest, most job-fulfilled and satisfied men in the country, theologian and psychologist Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti said Oct. 5.

Key reasons seem to be their prayer life and the close relations they have established with God, fellow priests and laity in their parishes, he said.

A parish turns to manufacturing

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The epic economic crisis in the United States has prompted dioceses and parishes to help its parishioners find work. Networking events, resumé-writing seminars, and career coaching are common activities. Unemployment remains highest among minority groups. But what if parishes actually created manufacturing jobs and produced goods in a sustainable, local manner? Can this actually be done?

One priest thinks so.

New Orleans Catholic Charities gets $15 million

NEW ORLEANS -- Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of New Orleans has received the largest single grant in its history -- $15 million from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation -- to oversee a collaborative of nonprofit organizations that will provide direct assistance, counseling and job force training to coastal Louisiana fishing families affected by the 2010 BP oil spill.

The grant, announced Sept. 7, was part of the original $100 million in funding that BP gave to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation in 2010 to establish a fund targeted to help oil rig workers and oil rig supply companies affected by the spill.

But because the demand for that funding was far less than anticipated, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation transferred $75 million to establish a "Future of the Gulf Fund," which will fund the efforts of local nonprofits to help people, wildlife and the environment in the Gulf Coast area, said John Davies, president and CEO of the foundation.

US priests form new national association

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A national organization of Catholic priests has been formed and is in the process of informing the U.S. bishops of its existence and preparing to recruit priest members from around the country.

Fr. David Cooper, a Milwaukee pastor and chair of an eight-member organizing core, said the new Association of U.S. Catholic Priests has two major goals: to reach out in fraternal support to brother priests and to create a collegial voice so priests can speak in a united way.

Chaput takes the reins in Philly

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PHILADELPHIA -- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was installed yesterday as leader of the 1.5-million strong Archdiocese of Philadelphia, placing the outspoken culture warrior at the helm of a once tight-knit bastion of American Catholicism that now faces a series of crises.

From a damning clergy sex abuse scandal to a strike by Catholic school teachers, the 66-year-old Chaput has his work cut out in restoring the spirits of Philadelphia’s faithful while not backing down from debates on hot-button issues like gay marriage and abortion.

But Chaput, who spent the last 14 years as archbishop of Denver, seemed to relish the challenge, combining both tasks with characteristic confidence in his homily at Thursday’s installation Mass.

“This church in Philadelphia faces very serious challenges these days,” Chaput told an audience of 1,700 that filled the Byzantine-style Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. “There’s no quick fix to problems that are so difficult, and none of us here today, except the Lord himself, is a miracle worker.”

Parish sheltering Texas wildfire victims

WASHINGTON -- Ascension Parish in Bastrop, Texas, has been serving as a shelter and a nerve center for relief efforts related to the ongoing Texas wildfires that have struck the state.

As of Sept. 7, wildfires had been recorded for 296 straight days in drought-stricken Texas. But in the recent surge of such blazes in early September, more than 1,000 homes in the state had been destroyed and four deaths were attributed to the fires.

"We're not turning anybody away," said Steve Venzon, one of four Ascension parishioners who are taking daily six-hour shifts in directing aid efforts at the church. The town of Bastrop and Bastrop County are in the heart of the fire zone in the 25-county Diocese of Austin, Texas.

Ascension started housing its first evacuees Sept. 4 but quickly filled up its parish hall. Evacuees moved to the parish's religious education building, where 50 people were staying, Venzon told Catholic News Service in a Sept. 7 telephone interview.

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