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Bishops see new perspective on Middle East after Holy Land pilgrimage

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The 18 U.S. bishops who conducted a 12-day prayer pilgrimage for peace in the Holy Land in September came away with new perspectives on the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, according to Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M.

He was one of the bishops who visited many of the sacred sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam during the trip.

Mail balloting needed to determine vote on diocesan assessment increase

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A proposed 3 percent hike in diocesan assessments for 2016 to fund the U.S. bishops' national operations fell three votes short of approval in electronic balloting Tuesday during the second day of the bishops' annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Under the electronic balloting system, votes are kept secret, but the system knows which bishops vote, so the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will send mail ballots to complete the vote.

Encourage more Latino students to attend Catholic schools, bishops told

The church needs to do a better job of encouraging Latino families and underserved populations to send their children to Catholic schools, the bishops were told Monday during their annual fall assembly in Baltimore.

"If efforts are not made to reach out to them, they won't think it's a viable option," said Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.

Sulpicians elect U.S. priest to second six-year term as superior general

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Sulpician Fr. Ronald Witherup, a U.S. priest, has been re-elected for a second six-year term as superior general of the Society of the Priests of St. Sulpice, as the Sulpicians are formally known.

The Sulpicians are an international society of diocesan priests focused on the education and formation of priests and future priests.

Archbishop: Catholics should be free to serve with 'eucharistic heart'

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The Eucharist conforms Catholics to "the pattern of Christ's self-giving love" and compels them to see the dignity of the poor and perform acts of mercy, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said at the June 21 opening Mass for this year's Fortnight for Freedom.

The Mass coincided with the feast of Corpus Christi.

"By entering the dynamic of Christ's self-giving eucharistic love, we are impelled ... to work for a loving and just society where the dignity of human life is respected from conception until natural death and all the stages in between," he said in his homily.

Injunction stops enforcement of HHS mandate for Catholic benefits group

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A federal district court in Oklahoma issued an injunction Wednesday preventing several Catholic entities from being forced to comply with the federal Department of Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate.

Of the nine Catholic entities granted relief by the court's action, four are based in Baltimore, three in Oklahoma, one in North Carolina and one in Kansas.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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