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Faith & Parish

Making the grade: rating Catholic-sponsored charities


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


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


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


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


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


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."

Young Catholics accept the church as is


The latest installment: In Search of the Emerging Church

Young people are arguably the most studied, analyzed and coveted group in the Catholic Church.

If churches conducted auctions for members, the bids for them would shoot through the roof. Everyone wants them. They are the future. At the same time, everyone wonders where they are and how to keep them if they dare to darken the door of the local church.

In interviews earlier this year with young Catholics (most were in their 20s and 30s, two were in their mid-40s) at Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Jersey City, N.J., it seemed clear that some ideas about church membership are definitely age- or generation-specific. Younger Catholics appear reluctant to use such labels as conservative or liberal in describing themselves or others, while traditional pieties and the church's tradition itself can play an important role in someone's decision to become Catholic.

22,000 honor Our Lady of Guadalupe


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nearly 22,000 people packed Arena in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale for an Aug. 8 festival honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe and featuring a special relic -- a small piece of St. Juan Diego's famed cloak.

The event was hosted by the Knights of Columbus and followed the fraternal organization's Aug. 6-8 International Marian Congress. During the festival, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson reflected on the unparalleled influence Our Lady of Guadalupe has had on the Americas.

"Your presence here today is a testament to the power of the message of love that Our Lady brought to this hemisphere," Anderson told the crowd. "Our Lady of Guadalupe is the empress of the Americas. She calls all of us to unity within the Gospel message of her son."

When Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531 in Mexico, the Spanish missionaries had had little success evangelizing the indigenous population. After the apparitions, millions of indigenous people converted.

Her appearance also called the Europeans and native populations to a new unity in her son, Anderson said, a call that is still in effect today for the Americas.



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