CNS World Youth Day blogger now a priest

Many readers may recall Deacon Chris Valka, a seminarian for the Congregation of St. Basil who blogged for us during World Youth Day in Sydney last year. Deacon Chris was ordained a Basilian priest last month at St. Anne Church in Houston. A great friend of CNS, Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the executive director of Toronto’s Salt and Light Television, preached his Mass of Thanksgiving. You can see photos of Father Chris’s ordination and read the text of Father Tom’s homily. Don’t forget to read Father Chris’s reflection on vocations on the same site.

Father Chris is finishing up a stint in campus ministry at the university chaplaincy in Las Cruces, N.M., before doing a summer immersing himself in Catholic TV at Salt and Light. Then it’s back to the U.S. for his first assignment as a new priest.

You also can read about Father Tom being recently appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

You have to hand it to the Basilians. They stay busy.

Judge Sotomayor, Catholic education and Catholic identity

President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx section of New York, where Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore grew up.

Writing in his June 15 column in The Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan newspaper, he said he knew the school to be “solidly Catholic in spirit and in consistent fidelity to the church and its teachings.” But news reports that say Sotomayor is not a regular “Mass attendee,” the archbishop notes, seem that to imply that her high school “somehow failed in its mission.”

“I would not say that at all,” he writes. ” The question, however, does bring to light the importance of our own parochial schools’ ‘Catholic identity.'”

Bringing denominations together sometimes challenging

At Bread for the World’s annual gathering Monday, a panel of Hispanic religious leaders from various denominations was convoked. They said they were setting doctrinal differences aside to work on issues on which they had common cause, like hunger, poverty and immigration.

However, speakers talked about some of the tensions that still exist among different faiths. The Rev. Juan Martinez, a Church of the Brethren minister, recalled trying to set up a Hispanic pan-Christian clergy breakfast at Fuller Theological Seminary in Atlanta, where he teaches. After much internal deliberation, he said, he decided against inviting Catholics out of fear of alienating the Protestant clergy he hoped would attend.

At another event he organized, Rev. Martinez said, an Episcopal bishop supported the endeavor with a monetary contribution, but shied away from attending himself, saying his presence would be too divisive.

Another panel speaker was an Augustinian Recollect priest who is director of the Hispanic Pastoral Institute in Newark, N.J., sponsored by the Archdiocese of Newark, which educates both Catholics and Protestants. A Protestestant minister let it be known he would not attend any events sponsored by the institute because of the name of the building in which it is housed: Centro Guadalupe, named after Our Lady of  Guadalupe.