Obama team reaching out to religious groups

U.S. News & World Report has an article about efforts by the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama to reach out to leaders of religious denominations. Participants in some of these meetings said they’d already attended multiple sessions with Obama’s team, and that this represented a marked difference from the limited contacts they have had in the last eight years with the current administration.

The story doesn’t specifically refer to the Obama team’s contacts with Catholic groups.  But several of Obama’s staff members met with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops committees on domestic and international policy during their December joint meeting in Washington.

Bishops’ committee members met via teleconference with Denis McDonough, an Obama foreign policy adviser and member of the transition’s national security working group, and with Melody Barnes, the president-elect’s designate to head his Domestic Policy Council. Others who worked on Obama’s campaign and are involved in religious outreach attended various sessions with the committees.

The National Catholic Reporter had a story in December about a meeting between transition team staffers and representatives of 15 Catholic organizations, including religious orders; Network, the social justice lobbying group; Pax Christi USA, and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

An Epiphany that celebrates the role of women

In reviewing Catholic publications, I came across an article that takes a perspective on the Epiphany I had never considered.

In “Celebrating the other Christmas holiday” in the Dec. 26 issue of the National Catholic Reporter, author Karen O’Brien discusses how she discovered Irish traditions of Jan. 6 in which women are given a special day to relax from the holiday work they have endured during the holiday season.

It’s an interesting read and provides an insight of how different cultures celebrate the holidays, Jan. 6, and the role of women in society.