Tanzanian girls glad to go to school

A new book, “Emusoi” – to be published this October — tells the story of six  Masai girls in Tanzania who had the opportunity — rare in their culture — to get an education. The girls were taught at the Maryknoll-sponsored Emusoi Center. 

Last year,  CNS ran a story about this center — founded and run by Maryknoll Sister Mary Vertucci — that educates Masai girls whose culture often has them married at age 14. According to Sister Mary, only 11 Masai women out of the 1 million living in Tanzania have a university degree.

“Emusoi” means discovery and awareness in Maa, the Masai language. More information about the center can be found here.

Loyola graduates remember Katrina

The 2009 class of Loyola University New Orleans recently paid their respects to other colleges – 637 to be exact.  That’s the number of colleges that took in Loyola students immediately after Hurricane Katrina forced the university to suspend classes for a semester in 2005. In honor of these schools, the class commissioned a local artist to design a sculpture that incorporates the names of each of the “Katrina colleges.” The sculpture, located on the campus grounds, is a metal bench in the spiral shape of a hurricane.

A synod for the Middle East

UPDATE: Additional info in our story.

VATICAN CITY — Vatican sources are saying that Pope Benedict XVI will convene a Synod of Bishops for the Middle East to be held in October of 2010, to address the trials and tribulations of the Christian population in the region.

Jordanians and pilgrims celebrate as Pope Benedict XVI visits the Melkite Cathedral of St. George in Amman, Jordan, earlier this year. Pope Benedict was making a week-long pastoral visit to the Holy Land, which has seen a major exodus of Christians for years. (CNS/Greg Tarczynski)

Jordanians and pilgrims celebrate as Pope Benedict XVI visits the Melkite Cathedral of St. George in Amman, Jordan, earlier this year. Pope Benedict was making a week-long pastoral visit to the Holy Land, which has seen a major exodus of Christians for years. (CNS/Greg Tarczynski)

Patriarchs and other representatives from Eastern churches were arriving in Rome Friday, and the pope was to meet with them Saturday morning to discuss the initiative, the sources said. An announcement was expected in coming days.

Pope Benedict has spoken frequently about the pressures faced by Christian and Catholic minorities in the Middle East, particularly in the Holy Land and in Iraq. The synod would provide an opportunity for a much-needed strategizing  session at the level of the universal church, one source said.

Late in the day, the Vatican press office released the names of the patriarchs and other representatives meeting tomorrow with the pope. They include the Chaldean patriarch, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad; Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem; the Lebanon-based Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre P. Sfeir; and representatives of the Ukrainian, Syro-Malabar, Coptic, Melkite, Syrian, Armenian, Romanian and Syro-Malankar rites.

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