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Faith & Parish

Vatican asks bishop to assess Ohio diocese

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CLEVELAND -- The Vatican has asked a retired New Jersey bishop to visit the Diocese of Cleveland and assess the leadership of Bishop Richard G. Lennon at the Ohio bishop's own request.

"While I am confident that I am faithfully handling the responsibilities entrusted to me, I personally made this request earlier this year because a number of persons have written to Rome expressing their concerns about my leadership of the diocese," Bishop Lennon said.

He made the comments in a July 11 statement announcing that Bishop John M. Smith, who headed the Diocese of Trenton from 1997 until his retirement last December, was to spend a week in Cleveland beginning the day the announcement was made.

"This visit will be an opportunity to gather extensive information on all aspects of the activities of the diocese and will allow for an objective assessment of my leadership," Bishop Lennon said. "I ask for prayers that this process will support the vibrancy and vitality of our diocese going forward."

Oakland bishop, parishioners to meet on leadership issues

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BERKELEY, Calif. -- After a month of Sunday demonstrations in front of their church, members of Save St. Joseph the Worker Church have been invited to meet with Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone on July 25 to discuss their concerns about leadership at the parish.

Since early June, in addition to the demonstrations, more than 250 parishioners have sent letters about a growing crisis in the parish and at least two dozen parishioners joined in a one-hour phone blitz to the bishop's office on July 7. In an email the following day, leaders of the group were told that Cordileone would meet with them, a request they have been making for more than a year.

At issue are grievances about the leadership of Fr. John Direen, who took over as pastor two years ago. These include disbanding the pastoral council, limiting participation of El Consejo Latino (the Spanish-speaking advisory council), turning a conference room adjacent to parish offices into a religious book store without parish consultation, and dismissing from the rectory of a long-serving priest who was undergoing cancer treatment.

Faith and community get a lift in a parish in India

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FIRST PERSON

AMBOLI, ANDHERI, MUMBAI, India -- I belong to a parish in a densely populated suburb of Mumbai, India, a parish, I am happy to report, that is functioning quite well.

Records indicate that St. Blaise parish dates back to around the year 1560 when Portuguese Franciscans came here and constructed a chapel. A parish, as it might have been viewed then, came some 25 years later -- around 1585. The number of Catholics then, according to records, was 1,637 adults and 400 children. Today the parish claims a membership of more than 14,000.

If you look at our parish church, with its pantheon of apostles on the roof top, it is distinctive -- and in other ways it is much like the other buildings near a junction of two heavily traveled crossroads. The area is generally noisy, with the sounds of motorcars; taxis; motorbikes and rickshaws; and buses filling the air.

Musical settings for new Roman Missal can begin in September

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BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Instead of requiring that implementation of all parts of the new Roman Missal wait until the first Sunday of Advent, bishops who head dioceses can authorize the gradual introduction of the musical settings of the people's parts of the Mass beginning in September.

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, announced that decision June 16 at the USCCB spring general assembly near Seattle.

New Chicago auxiliaries born in Mexico, Poland

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WASHINGTON -- Two Chicago pastors -- one born in Mexico, the other in Poland -- have been named auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Chicago by Pope Benedict XVI.

The appointments of Father Alberto Rojas, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, and Father Andrew Wypych, pastor of St. Francis Borgia Parish, were announced in Washington June 13 by Msgr. Jean-Francois Lantheaume, charge d'affaires at the apostolic nunciature.

Baptism, not bishops or pope, unites the church

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DETROIT -- "Baptism unites the church, not ordination," theologian and author Anthony T. Padovano told more than 1,800 reform-minded Catholics gathered June 10-12 at Detroit's Cobo Hall.

Addressing the inaugural national meeting of the American Catholic Council June 11, he said, "The pope does not unify or sanctify the church and make it catholic or apostolic. This is the work of the Spirit and the community. The pope is an institutional sign of a unity already achieved by the faithful. The pope does not create a community of believers or validate baptisms or make the Eucharist occur."

Read the full report here: Baptism, not bishops or pope, unites the church

Bishops to discuss Johnson's defense of her 2007 book

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Update: The U.S. bishops' committee for doctrine, which severely criticized a popular theology book as "undermining the gospel," is expected to discussion the author-theologian's response to their criticism when the bishops meet June 15-17 near Seattle in Bellevue, Wash., Capuchin Franciscan Fr. Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the U.S. bishops Secretariat for Doctrine told Catholic News Service June 8.

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