Nearly every month, supervisors, executives and others in positions of leadership at Avera Health System come together to reflect on the Catholic tradition of the businesses where they work. They remember the stories of the health system’s founders, the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, who around the turn of the 19th century began caring for the sick and poor in what was then Dakota Territory, but they also talk about everyday routine in the more than 300 health care facilities the system now runs throughout the Great Plains. They talk about Catholic social teaching, and what it means to care for the patient as a whole, and they praise colleagues who do good work. Mostly, they try to keep alive the link between present and past.
NEW YORK -- The man who for decades has stood against the powers that be needed the arm of his niece Frida Berrigan to steady him in the front-row pew of the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, and he needed help from sister-in-law Elizabeth McAlister to get to the pulpit, but once there, the power of his words filled the assembly.
MANILA -- This weekend's announcement of the October canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod has delighted Filipino Catholics, especially those in the Cebu province, and has driven its archbishop to work for a celebration that would be as meaningful as it is joyful.
You might call Br. Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría the superintendent of the superintendents.
The global head of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Rodríguez is responsible for a religious congregation that oversees more than 1,000 teaching establishments in 82 countries, where about a million students are educated.
SEATTLE -- Members of the House of Representatives in Washington state voted Feb. 8 to legalize same-sex marriage, and Gov. Christine Gregoire was expected to sign the bill into law by mid-February.
The vote came one day after a federal appeals court in California struck down that state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
In Washington, the legislation passed with a 56-42 vote in the House. On Feb. 1, the state Senate approved it 28-21.
Once it becomes law, Washington will be the seventh state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal.
Several Republicans in the House argued against the bill, saying that it went against the tradition of marriage.
In Jan. 23 testimony before a Senate committee, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain urged lawmakers to oppose the measure "based on the grave challenge this legislation poses to the common good. By attempting to redefine marriage, it ignores the origin, purpose and value of marriage to individuals, families and society."
OAKLAND, CALIF. -- The woman who oversaw four executions by lethal injection is fighting to make sure it never happens again.
Jeanne Woodford served as warden of San Quentin State Prison in California from 1999 through 2004. Now she is the chief law enforcement spokesperson for SAFE California, a ballot initiative that would replace the state’s death penalty with life in prison without parole, require inmates to pay into a victims’ compensation fund, and allocate $100 million over three years to solving crime.
Growing scientific evidence that football players can suffer permanent mental disease has so far stirred no broad discussion among Catholic colleges and high schools or national church organizations about the ethics of continuing to sponsor the game.
A major new study of African-American Catholics has found that on average they are more religiously engaged than their white Catholic counterparts. They are also better-educated and more economically successful than their African-American Protestant counterparts.
On some educational and socioeconomic scales they exceed or rank equal in achievement with white Protestants, although they still rank below white Catholics.
PHILADELPHIA -- Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, retired archbishop of Philadelphia, died Jan. 31 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he resided.
According to the Philadelphia Archdiocese, he died in his sleep at 9:15 p.m. He was 88. The archdiocese said he had been battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer.
Cardinal Bevilacqua headed the archdiocese from February 1988 to October 2003.
WASHINGTON -- A group of Catholic school leaders, including a student, a few principals, diocesan education officials and other school representatives, were honored Jan. 25 at the White House for their innovation and dedication.
The group was recognized as part of the Obama administration's "Champions of Change" program, which highlights different groups each week for contributions they make to their communities. Past recipients have included inventors, artists, volunteers, chefs, farmers and health activists.
The attention to Catholic school leaders was timed to coincide with Catholic Schools Week Jan. 29-Feb. 5.
At the gathering, Joshua DuBois, head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, praised Catholic schools for not only serving their own students but also local communities.
"You step up to the plate for everyone," he said, citing the example of how Catholic schools in New Orleans were the first schools to open after Hurricane Katrina.