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Faith & Parish

Resignation of Martino was no surprise

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At the press conference Aug. 31 announcing the resignation of Joseph Martino as bishop of Scranton, Pa., Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali said, Martino's resignation "comes after much prayer and reflection," and the decision "also carries with it a deep concern for the well-being of this local church, with its clergy, religious and laity."

Given Martino's stormy tenure in Scranton, words like "deep concern for ... this local church" have led some to wonder how voluntary the resignation was.

The God in Government blog of The Washington Post reminded readers that Martino "made a rather spectacular appearance at a parish forum last year where members were discussing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' document on political responsibility. He ordered the discussion closed, telling the group, 'No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB doesn't speak for me.' "

Making the grade: rating Catholic-sponsored charities

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Mission Management

The financial crisis has left charities scrambling to satisfy increased demand for services and to raise the dollars needed to fund programs. This has made charitable giving an even more treacherous endeavor as donors try to figure out which charities manage their resources in the most prudent and transparent manner.

Scranton's Bishop Martino stepping down

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Update from Catholic News Service Aug. 31:

Pope accepts resignation of Scranton bishop for health reasons

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph F. Martino, 63, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., for health reasons.

He has appointed Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia to be apostolic administrator for the diocese.

The pope also has accepted the resignation of Scranton Auxiliary Bishop John M. Dougherty, who is 77. Canon law requires that all bishops submit their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.

See an update here: Scranton's Martino resigns, citing insomnia, fatigue

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NCR News Story posted Aug. 28:

Bishop Joseph F. Martino will resign as head of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., as early as next week, according to sources within the diocese, it was reported today by several outlets in the Scranton area.

Priests learn best practices in parish management

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WASHINGTON
You don't think there are enough hours in the day for laypeople? Try being a parish pastor.

There's all the spiritual and sacramental ministry the position entails, plus the work that goes along with being, quite often, the only priest in a sizable suburban parish with plenty of staff and even more demands.

How does a pastor handle it all? This summer, in an effort to help answer that question, the International Institute for Clergy Formation at Seton Hall University in New Jersey joined with the Washington-based National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management to offer a "best practices" seminar to 28 parish priests -- most of them from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which constitute Region III of the U.S. bishops' conference, but also from West Virginia, Florida and Louisiana.

The idea to conduct such a seminar had been in the mind of Father Paul Holmes, a Newark, N.J., archdiocesan priest, since 2000, when he taught at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. But different assignments -- and his own "busy-ness" -- kept him from actively pursuing the idea for several years.

Okla. bishop no longer faces people at Mass

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Saying he wants "to recover a more authentic Catholic worship," Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., has announced that he will return to the ancient custom of ad orientem, in which the presider at Mass does not face the people in the pews, but turns to face the altar.

Having the priest face the congregation was one of the major liturgical changes brought to the Mass during the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Slattery said this change had had unforeseen, negative consequences that he hoped to counter by reverting to the ad orientem tradition.

Don't be prisoners of crises, men religious told

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ST. LOUIS -- Challenges faced by men's religious orders -- including the impact of the clergy sex abuse scandals and decline in vocations -- should inspire a renewed commitment to proclaim the Gospel message, said speakers at an annual conference.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, told more than 130 superiors of men religious Aug. 6 that the church should not be "a prisoner of the sex scandals" nor should it be "a prisoner of the crisis of religious life."

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April 11-24, 2014

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