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Some Catholic hospitals dispense advice to ease insurance confusion

Maggie Ward, an oncology nurse at Via Christi Hospital in Wichita, Kan., knows all about the health insurance marketplace that opened to the public Oct. 1 to allow families and small businesses to shop for insurance coverage.

She understands coverage costs, available options and how people can determine their eligibility for government subsidies because she had 30 hours of training from the U.S. Health and Human Services to be certified as a navigator, or qualified person, to steer people through the maze of the new health care law.

EWTN files second lawsuit against HHS mandate; Alabama is co-plaintiff

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The Eternal Word Television Network, joined by the state of Alabama, has filed another lawsuit challenging the federal mandate requiring most employers to provide coverage of contraceptives, sterilizations and some abortion-inducing drugs free of charge.

The suit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile.

Last March, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the Irondale-based television network's lawsuit against the Health and Human Services mandate, which is part of the Affordable Care Act.

New Jersey governor drops appeal of ruling allowing same-sex marriage

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New Jersey's governor withdrew his appeal of a state judge's ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry, saying through a spokesman that he "strongly disagrees" with the court "substituting its judgment for the constitutional process ... or a vote of the people," but acknowledged such marriages are now "the law."

Republican Gov. Chris Christie's decision Monday came hours after same-sex couples across New Jersey exchanged vows at midnight.

Faith leaders welcome government reopening, point to unfinished work

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Religious leaders welcomed the congressional deal of Wednesday that reopened the federal government after a 16-day shutdown, but some cast wary glances at the unfinished business of Congress as well as the circumstances that brought about the shutdown in the first place.

"The shutdown has had a widespread impact on many people, especially the poor, who suffered for lack of basic services during the period," said a statement Thursday by Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

At 'Justice for Immigrants’ Mass, bishop calls Jesus 'divine immigrant'

Jesus was the "divine immigrant" who lived his life "traveling from place to place," Bishop David O'Connell of Trenton told the congregation at a midday "Justice for Immigrants" Mass Oct. 11 at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral.

"Sacred Scripture tell us where he was from and what his ancestral lineage was," the bishop said in his homily. "But nowhere in the Bible do we find his permanent address, the location of his house, where he lived after beginning his public ministry.

"He lived and worked as an immigrant, an itinerant preacher, on many levels," the bishop added.

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April 11-24, 2014

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