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Dan Dick and me

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A Remembrance and a Reflection

Daniel Eggleston Dick, a good old union man of 86 well lived years, died in the early afternoon of July 26 surrounded by his large family and a few close friends in Worcester, Mass. I was blessed to be among those gathered at Dan's bedside when he breathed his last.

I first met Dan in the summer of 1970 -- forty years ago this very summer. I had just graduated from a small Roman Catholic high school seminary in the foothills of the White Mountains in Enfield, N.H. I left there a decided conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and a budding Catholic hippie. Dan was leading an experimental summer class with the Rev. Carl Kline and others at the "Free University" being held at Worcester State College where I was taking up sociological studies in the fall and it was good to study with Dan that summer.

Cardinal Newman's letters to young nun made public

LONDON -- An English order of nuns has made public the letters between a dying nun and English Cardinal John Henry Newman, who founded the Oxford Movement to bring the Anglican Church back to its Catholic roots.

The letters show how the 19th-century theologian, who will be beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in Birmingham, England, Sept. 19, tried to console Visitation Sister Dominica Bowden after she discovered she was suffering from tuberculosis.

Well-worn Mass kit links Ore. priests across time

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- An aging leather case used by priests on sacramental missions of mercy for decades has been passed on to the next generation, providing a link to clergy in Oregon's past.

The little leather kit includes a book of prayers, holy water, an antique-looking ring holder with holy oils, a pix and a purple stole priests use when hearing confessions and giving last rites.

Though it seems to predate him, the first known user of the kit was Father Augustine Meyer. Born in 1911 in Cottonwood, Idaho, he came to Portland to attend Catholic boarding school and discerned a call to priesthood. He entered Mount Angel Seminary and was ordained in May 1937.

William Callahan, peace, justice champion, dies

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Father William R. Callahan, an international leader in movements for social justice, peace, and reform of the Roman Catholic Church, died July 5th at Community Hospice Hospital in Washington, DC due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 78.

Callahan, a Jesuit until the early 1990’s, was dedicated to the justice call of the reformist Second Vatican Council [1962-1965] in the Roman Catholic Church. He was best known for his leadership for peace and justice in Central America, especially in Nicaragua, and for his advocacy of gender equality in the Catholic Church, including women’s ordination.

In the 1970s, he became a nationally known speaker on social justice and the spirituality of justice. In 1982, he published Noisy Contemplation: Deep Prayer for Busy People, which is a classic in contemporary spirituality. Deep prayer does not require the silence of a monastery, he said. Ordinary people can pray in the midst of noise and activism. “We are blessed with a merry God; indeed, we are the entertainment,” he said in the book – with a flash of the humor for which he was famous.

Maryknoll Missioner captures valuable Asian scholarship

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES -- Call this a work of the heart from a missioner with a solid mind.

Maryknoll Fr. James H. Kroeger’s work assures that even some of the more obscure scholarly efforts about the Asian church will not be overlooked. In turn, it offers valuable guidance to future historians, theologians and pastoral workers who will want to understand and build on the successes of Asia’s continent-wide episcopal conference.

A two-volume set called Theology from the Heart of Asia represents the first comprehensive outline of Asian Catholic scholarship, from 1985 to 2008, focused upon the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC). Published by Claretian Publications, these are reference books and are not aimed at the general reading audience. At the same time these books are invaluable for scholars and others who understand the importance of the federation and its vision of church.

Theology from the Heart of Asia contains the outlines of 27 FABC-focused dissertations. It comes with equally important footnote references. Together these books assure that future scholars will be able to build on these materials.

Cardinal Mahony testimony: 'dark and disappointing moment'

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It's a dark and disappointing moment for Catholics in Los Angeles -- at the request of the Los Angeles Times, the courts last week made public a deposition earlier this year by Cardinal Roger Mahony, in the case of former priest Michael Baker, a convicted child molestor who was shuttled around to various parishes in the 1980s.

As I've written before, Mahony is one of the good guys on some many things that matter to Catholics in California: human rights, social justice, immigration reform. But when it comes to the still-growing sex abuse scandal, he seems to be just another person-in-power looking first to protect the church's reputation.

In the deposition, Mahony acknowledges that Baker (who is now serving ten years in prison for molestation) came to him and confessed his actions. The cardinal sent the priest off to a "treatment center" used by the church, and then the church swung him around to several parishes - including some with elementary schools.

Reports of abuse by Baker continued but nothing more was done.

Br. Louis has sought 'to live the message I was trying to teach'

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KANSAS CITY, MO. -- After 28 years of dedicated leadership serving the economically impoverished here, a local icon -- known by many by his white beard and seemingly constant stream of flannel shirts -- has left the Catholic Worker community that he sometimes single-handedly sustained for the past three decades.

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July 18-31, 2014

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