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Japanese American's life dedicated to serving the poor


A recent parish survey by the Catholic Volunteer Network revealed that 81 percent of Catholics over the age of 40 had volunteered before. While 77 percent of survey respondents volunteered for less than one week at a time, 10 percent volunteered for long periods (nine months or more).

“It takes a special person to make a lifetime volunteering commitment to serving the poor,” said Jim Lindsay, executive director of the Takoma Park, Md.-based Catholic Volunteer Network.

Ala. church bans social networking with minors


MOBILE, Alabama -- The Archdiocese of Mobile has told staff and volunteers who work with children that electronic communication with minors must be limited to “providing information related to a ministry or event and not for socialization or other personal interaction.”

The policy, implemented on Friday (April 1), applies to faculty and staff at Catholic schools, as well as adults who work with minors and teens in youth ministry or religious education.

Israeli peace activist leaves behind legacy of creative rebellion



A masked gunman fatally shot Israeli-Palestinian actor and peace activist Juliano Mer Khamis April 4 as he was leaving the theater he had co-founded in the Jenin Refugee Camp, located in the Palestinian Territories.

The 52-year-old director, who had just finished discussing a production of “Alice in Wonderland” with a colleague, stepped out to take his one-year-old son home with the babysitter when his assailant fired five times at close range into Mer Khamis’ vehicle, killing him and slightly wounding the babysitter. The child, sitting in his lap, was unharmed.

The murder of the much-loved Mer Khamis has shocked his students and colleagues as well as artists and peace activists around the world. That he was killed on the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a devastating irony for, like King, Mer Khamis understood freedom is essential to peace and expressed this conviction creatively and courageously.

The Anglican woman who awakened us to Catholic mystics


What is a spiritual classic? Theologian David Tracey says it is a book that transforms the reader, who recognizes in it something essential and true. Its longevity follows from its power to inspire lives.

Christians today are fortunate to be heirs to a revival of these classics, many of which have now been translated and republished. This revival, stimulated by the Second Vatican Council, had earlier antecedents, one of which was Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness, published in London and New York in 1911.

Behind peace witness, a prophetic, transforming priest


OMAHA, NEB. -- Fr. Jack McCaslin can't remember how many times he's been arrested.

As he sits in a brown reclining chair in his room at a retirement community here, he takes his glasses off and starts turning them over in his hands, pulling at the temples. "I don’t know how many," he says at first, pausing to consider. "About 40, I think?"

Archbishop hospitalized after mild stroke


INDIANAPOLIS -- Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein of Indianapolis suffered a mild stroke March 18 and was admitted to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

As of March 22, the archbishop remained hospitalized but was resting comfortably. He was alert and talking with his doctors and has been visiting with a few priests of the archdiocese.

According to The Criterion, the archdiocesan newspaper, the archbishop became dizzy while at home March 18 and called 911. After undergoing tests at St. Vincent, doctors determined that he had suffered a mild stroke.

The archbishop said the day-to-day operations and ministries of the archdiocese would continue as normal while he recuperates. He said he would appreciate everyone's prayers.

Archbishop Buechlein, 72, has suffered a series of health problems over the past three years. In 2008, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and underwent several weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The treatments were successful and he is cancer free.

In 2009, Archbishop Buechlein had shoulder replacement surgery and in 2010 he had surgery to remove a benign tumor from his stomach.

Chicago priest, hired Barack Obama as organizer, dies at 70


Amidst all the controversy that has swirled around the church over the past decade, it is easy to forget the legions of men and women who have dedicated their lives to the simple idea that they had a duty to magnify the love of God by working selflessly for the wellbeing of others.

Fr. Thomas Kaminski, who died Feb. 12 at age 70, was such a man -- and one who found himself fatefully in a position to animate and applaud the efforts of a young Barack Obama as he was beginning to discover his own calling to a public life.

Well-known Gethsemani monk dies at 95


TRAPPIST, Ky. -- Trappist Fr. Matthew Kelty, a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani known for his talents of writing and speaking, died Feb. 18 after a brief illness. He was 95 and had been a priest for 64 years.

An announcement about his death on the abbey's website,, said, "Father Matthew was one of the community's most prominent members, who touched many retreatants over the years with his compline talks, and many more people around the world with his writings."

Father Kelty, it said, "was an Irishman with, as he put it, the 'gift of the gab.' He once said, 'I can talk and I can write,' which he considered nothing special. They were gifts, but he used them to reach and help other people."

Born Charles Richard Kelty Jr. in South Boston, Mass., Father Kelty joined the Society of the Divine Word as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1946. He served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea from 1947 to 1951, and then worked for the society's magazine in Techny, Ill., from 1951 to 1960.

Symposium, controversial exhibit explore gay identity


WASHINGTON -- On Jan. 29, the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution held a symposium on “Addressing (and Redressing) the Silence: New Scholarship in Sexuality and American Art.”

Gathering in the Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium, which boasts Robert Rauschenberg’s great lithograph triptych “Autobiography” (1968) at its entrance, 11 scholars, some well-established figures in the field, some now entering it, held their audience amazingly fast from 9 in the morning to 8 at night.

One might have thought the symposium was an act of public penance for the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video “Fire in the Belly” from the gallery’s Oct. 30-Feb. 13 exhibit “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.”

G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian, succumbed Dec. 1 to the two-pronged attack of John Boehner and Eric Cantor from the House of Representatives and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. (Wojnarowicz’s AIDS-themed video contains a brief passage showing a crucifix crawling with ants.)



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