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At St. Mary, one man was custodian of all of us

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Appreciation

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- St. Mary is a majestic, historic parish church, on its 100th anniversary designated a basilica, and for this funeral Mass on a weekday in late June, every pew was filled. Mourners stood in the aisles, at the rear, spilling over into the vestibule. A beloved pastor, a saintly nun, a community leader -- who had commanded this outpouring of respect, the largest funeral Mass at St. Mary that even the oldest parishioners among us could remember?

No, it was Clifton.

In parish life that many of us knew, Clifton Lively would have been called the janitor; custodian might have been a more dignified title. In Catholic folklore the custodian was a shadowy figure, never to be found when you needed him, a set of keys jangling at his belt, wearing dingy trousers, his breath with the sour smell of last night's beverage, or sweeter, after a needed quick nip throughout the working day.

Nationwide Crossroads walks conclude with pro-life rally in Washington

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WASHINGTON -- They crossed 2,000 miles of mountains and prairie, sun and sleet, city and country to spread the Catholic church's pro-life message.

"They" were mostly college-age volunteers who walked from coast to coast in four separate groups, protesting at abortion clinics along the way, before arriving in Washington for a rally Saturday.

The walk was challenging at times, volunteers Matt Rochefort and Stephanie Culy told Catholic News Service in an interview a day before the rally.

Rochefort's group braved wildlife, including a bear sighting at night. Meanwhile, Culy's group trekked up the Cascade Mountains to cross Washington state, but they remained dedicated to their mission.

"We were climbing 1,600 feet in five miles, and it was windy and raining," said Culy, but any adversity they faced was worth it to take a stand against "the culture of death."

"This is the kind of culture we're working against. I thought of Christ walking to Golgotha. That image really stuck to me," she said.

Rochefort believed the clinic protests were effective.

No joke: Dolan-Colbert 'Catholic comedy slam' gets media blackout

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News that Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan would appear together on a panel on faith and humor next month was greeted with widespread anticipation: Both men are devout Catholics and pretty darned funny.

But now this tale has a surprising punch line that will surely make a lot of people unhappy: Organizers of the Catholic comedy slam, set for Sept. 14 at Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York, have announced a total media blackout of the event.

"After extended conversations with the program participants, the university will be closing the event to the media," the university's communications office wrote Thursday in an email to reporters. The event is titled "The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy, and the Spiritual Life."

"The evening has evolved from a public event to a more intimate conversation in front of members of the Fordham community," the statement said. "We will not be videotaping the event for distribution, nor streaming it on the web or elsewhere."

Hyatt responds to accusations of unfair employee practices

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Editor's note: On July 31, NCR published a commentary from Clete Kiley about Hyatt. The hotel chain has written a response to the opinion piece, which follows.

At Hyatt, the satisfaction and well-being of our associates is fundamental to the success of our business because they are the ones who provide hospitality to our guests. Hyatt provides industry-leading wage and benefits packages, maintains an outstanding workplace safety record and is a recognized leader in promoting a diverse work force. That is why the average tenure of Hyatt housekeepers in the U.S. is more than 12 years, why there are more than 20,000 Hyatt associates throughout the U.S. who have been with the company for more than 10 years, and why Hyatt is consistently distinguished as a great place to work in independent surveys of our associates, including our housekeepers.

Swimmer says having 'world's best' friends, family keeps her grounded

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DENVER -- For swimmer Missy Franklin, a rising senior at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, "there is nothing like wearing a cap with my country's flag on it."

"I always remember, though, that I'm not just representing the U.S. but also my family, friends, team, school and Colorado."

Hyatt has a huge moral challenge to overcome in treatment of employees

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COMMENTARY

Every day, guests check into Hyatt hotels, unaware that the multibillion-dollar company has a shameful record of exploiting low-wage workers and firing employees. A largely immigrant work force that scrubs toilets, lifts heavy mattresses and toils in the shadows has few resources to fight a powerful corporation with deep pockets. But some heavy-hitters, including the NFL Players Association, are now standing together with these workers as part of an international boycott of Hyatt that is taking place in Chicago and 19 other U.S. cities.

Student killed during pro-life walk across the country 'missed deeply'

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Moore felt called to walk across America this summer with pro-life college students to help save the lives of unborn babies.

"I had already been involved in the pro-life movement for several years," Moore wrote in a reflection before he joined a group of Crossroads volunteers walking from San Francisco to Washington to pray for an end to legalized abortion. "When I am at home, I pray in front of the local abortion mill almost every day and try to speak to the people going in."

"Crossroads sounded like a good way to serve God and help his children," he added. "I have been considering a vocation to the priesthood for some time, and Crossroads is a great way to work on my discernment -- prayer, sacrifice and separation from the distractions of the world."

The 20-year-old Concord, Calif., college student lost his own life early July 20 when he was hit by a car and killed instantly as he walked along a highway in west-central Indiana with another Crossroads participant.

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April 25-May 8, 2014

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