Bishop’s newest podcast focuses on Eucharist

The Intermountain Catholic in Salt Lake City has posted the third podcast of Bishop John C. Wester, this time focusing on the Eucharist. Questions covered: Why is the Sunday Eucharist important? What does it mean to say “the Mass never changes”? What if I feel connected to God in my garden or in the mountains?

Churches mobilize against pornography

Efforts to fight pornography have been getting increased attention in recent months. The latest: Churches in the Kansas City area are petitioning six county governments in the region to convene grand jury investigations into sales of pornography. They also are seeking enforcement of Missouri and Kansas obscenity statutes. Stories are in both The Catholic Key in Kansas City, Mo., and The Leaven in Kansas City, Kan.

If you’ve not been following it, this is only the latest Catholic press coverage of the issue.  Some examples:

In addition, Archbishop George H. Niederaur of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Communications and a member of the Pontifical Council on Social Communications, spoke this month in Salt Lake City (his former diocese) and said the Internet has made pornography an “electronic tsunami” that has taken the problem well beyond simply movies and magazines. You can read coverage of the speech in the Intermountain Catholic of Salt Lake City. Subscribers to Origins, the CNS Documentary Service, can read the full text in Origins’ May 31 edition.

First parish life collaborator named in Pittsburgh Diocese

Earlier this month we posted a link here to a story about a pilot program in the Pittsburgh Diocese for parish life collaborators where a pastor is not able to serve. Now comes word in the Pittsburgh Catholic that the first one has been named. There’s also an interview with the newly named coordinator, Holy Family of Nazareth Sister Dorothy Pawlus, about her new duties and increased responsibilities.

YouTube Catholics

A good overview of how church leaders and others are using the latest audio and video tools on the Internet, such as YouTube, for evangelization and other purposes is provided in the National Catholic Register.

Fallen soldier’s family honors his memory

Memorial Day has passed, but it’s not to late to read this feature in the Catholic Explorer of the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., about a local family whose observance of the holiday changed this year after the death last December of Capt. Travis Patriquin.

‘Origins’ covers immigration, spirituality, pornography, and more

A variety of interesting texts in the latest edition of Origins: CNS Documentary Service:

  • Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles explains why the church considers the U.S. immigration system unjust and in need of reform. (Subscribers: click here)
  • St. Augustine might feel right at home with the contemporary emphasis on individuals finding their own way to live out their humanity and on individuals not only choosing their own faith but one that “speaks” to them by making sense of their spiritual journey as they see it, suggests Archbishop Philip Wilson, president of the Australian bishops’ conference. (Subscribers: click here)
  • The “electronic tsunami of pornography” now generates more annual income than all three major professional sports combined and causes the world’s fastest-growing addiction. But what should motivate people to take action “is not the amount of pornography there is but the kind of harm it does,” says San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Archbishop Celestino Migliore expresses the Vatican’s disappointment that the U.N. has postponed action on a declaration on the rights of indigenous people. (Subscribers: click here)
  • The Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., will not appeal the $11.45 million a jury recently awarded two sexual abuse victims, says Bishop William F. Murphy, who says “I believe that we need closure and healing at this time and that a new trial would only open up the wounds once again.” (Subscribers: click here)
  • The Vatican doctrinal congregation has sent to U.S. bishops a “minimum profile” for the assessment, study and certification of former Protestant ministers who want to become Catholic priests. (Subscribers: click here)

More links …

CNS Rome bureau chief Thavis wins CPA’s St. Francis de Sales Award

By Catholic News Service

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) — Catholic News Service Rome bureau chief John Thavis was named May 25 as the winner of the 2007 St. Francis de Sales Award by the Catholic Press Association.

The award is considered the highest honor in the Catholic press. Thavis, 56, is one of a handful of reporters to have won the award, commonly called the Franny.

“I share this award with everyone at Catholic News Service. What I do day in and day out is really part of a team effort from the top down,” Thavis said in accepting the award during a closing-day luncheon at the May 23-25 CPA convention.

Thavis won the award “for his in-depth knowledge of the workings of the Vatican and his ability to share that with fellow journalists and Catholic press readers,” according to material distributed with the CPA ballot listing the five finalists for the prize.

A member of CNS’ Rome bureau since 1983 and bureau chief since 1996, Thavis “shows the same level of care, depth, balance and precision in informing readers about the everyday pastoral work of the popes — general audiences, Sunday Angelus messages, Masses, parish visits — as he does covering major events such as the release of an encyclical, canonizations and controversies,” the ballot said.

Cited in the ballot material were the 40-plus foreign trips Thavis has taken accompanying Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI; his coordination of three other journalists’ work during the “frenetic” jubilee year 2000; and his writing of most of the main transition stories between the death of Pope John Paul and the election of Pope Benedict, while supervising the work of an expanded team of writers in 2005.

“This is one of those awards that make you stop and look back,” Thavis said in his acceptance remarks.

“In 1978 I was Catholic and a journalist but did not consider myself a Catholic journalist. I worked for an English-language newspaper in Rome. One evening one of the Italian typesetters yelled, ‘Fumata bianca!’ (‘White smoke!’). I pedaled my bicycle to St. Peter’s Square and stood under the balcony and heard them announce the new pope: (Cardinal) Karol Wojtyla. I’d never heard of him. Then he came out and gave his beautiful talk in Italian. I thought to myself, ‘This guy is good.’

“I never dreamed I’d be back in Rome in the early 1980s covering the pope full time, traveling on his plane, poring over his speeches and documents and watching him grow old,” he added.

Thavis confessed he did not know that much about St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists and the award’s namesake. So “I Googled him,” he said. “I found that he had quite a bit to say to modern journalists. He had a great respect for the truth. He knew the destructive power of the half-truth. He knew that sometimes one must tell an unpleasant truth, but said it had to be done with love and kindness.”

As a result of his work, Thavis added, “I’ve learned an awful lot about the faith on the job. People sometimes ask me, ‘Don’t you get cynical covering the Vatican?’ And I have to answer no. The Vatican is full of good people working hard to do good things with very few resources.”

Thavis lives in Rome with his wife, Laurie. They have a daughter, Hilary, and two sons, Brian and Alan. Raised in Minnesota, he remains an ardent fan of baseball’s Minnesota Twins.

He is the second St. Francis de Sales Award winner from CNS in four years. Reporter Jerry Filteau won the award in 2003.

The other 2007 finalists for the award were:

Gretchen Keiser, editor of The Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

– The late Edmund R. Sullivan, who had been associate editor of The Catholic Exponent, newspaper of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, and a syndicated cartoonist.

Mary C. Uhler, editor of The Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Madison, Wis.

Bob Zyskowski, associate publisher and general manager of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

- – -

Contributing to this story was Julie Asher.

05/25/2007 2:56 PM ET

Adults getting confirmed often surprised by spiritual boost

The Catholic Sentinel in the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., says adult Catholics who receive the sacrament of confirmation — either because they missed it as a child or for other reasons — discover that they’ve been awakened to some unexpected feelings about their faith.

Computer ‘podcast’ connects with Catholic men

A podcast aimed at men on the upcoming Sunday Scripture readings is being unveiled in Pittsburgh this month before going national on Father’s Day. The Pittsburgh Catholic provides the details.


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