Miguel Diaz confirmed as ambassador to the Vatican

Ambassador Miguel Diaz (CNS photo)

Ambassador Miguel Diaz (CNS photo)

UPDATE: Cuban-American confirmed as ninth US ambassador to the Vatican

VATICAN CITY — To no one’s surprise, the U.S. Senate last night confirmed Miguel Diaz as the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

That gives Diaz and his family time to relocate to Rome before the summer holidays end and the Vatican swings back into business. Sometime after he arrives, he’ll present his credentials to Pope Benedict XVI — an occasion for speeches from the pope and the new ambassador.

Diaz was named in May, six weeks before President Barack Obama’s visit to the Vatican, and had his hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in late July.

He has been a professor in the theology departments at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.

Most-viewed CNS stories for July

Eclectic? I suppose that would be one word to describe our most-viewed-stories list for the month that just ended. Among other things, it was a month when Pope Benedict XVI issued a historic encyclical — and yet our many stories on it didn’t crack our Top 10!

But what does seem to matter for our readers are the stories that they can’t find elsewhere. There were many sources for encyclical stories, but not so many for the other stories that made this list, including coverage of President Obama’s visit to Vatican City (Nos. 2 and 4 below) and his interview with religion reporters (Nos. 8 and 9) the week before, including our Patricia Zapor.

Anything else here that you missed?

1. Pope confirms visit to Shroud of Turin; new evidence on shroud emerges (July 27)

2. White House official says Obama gave pope letter from Kennedy (July 10)

3. Pope accepts resignation of Brazilian who spoke about girl’s abortion (July 2)

4. Spokesman says pope wants honest dialogue with Obama on life issues (July 10)

5. Vatican used nighttime mission to gather relics from St. Paul’s tomb (July 6)

6. Nation called ‘fortunate’ to have Alabama physician as Obama nominee (July 14)

7. Pope says doctrinal congregation will dialogue with traditionalists (July 8)

8. Obamas miss having a church, but worry about causing disruptions (July 2)

9. Obama cites influence of Cardinal Bernardin, prepares to meet pope (July 2)

10. Permission to kill: Can a nation ever justify assassination of enemy? (July 17)

Priest uses skills as former truck driver to help needy

A Pittsburgh priest who once worked as a long-distance truck driver still uses those skills to take items to the needy in northern Kentucky. Several times a year he fills a rented 53-foot tractor-trailer.

“Quite simply, it’s just following the golden rule to love one another,” Father Tom Lewandowski said in a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Catholic, newspaper of the Pittsburgh Diocese. “That’s what it’s all about — sharing love and kindness and charity and being involved with people in their lives.”

Father Lewandowski, pastor of North American Martyrs Parish in Monroeville, Pa., collects items from church flea markets. More than a dozen Catholic parishes have contributed things, from clothing to housewares to furniture.

One of his destinations for his truck deliveries is the Father Beiting Appalachian Mission Center in Louisa, Ky., founded by Msgr. Ralph Beiting in 1991. The priest, now 83, has been ministering to the people of Appalachia for most of his priesthood.

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