Next up on Hill: hearing for nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Vatican

The Senate hearing for theology professor Miguel Diaz, President Barack Obama’s pick to be the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, takes place Wednesday. 

He’ll be one of four ambassador nominees facing questions from the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. The others are Obama’s choices for ambassador to Morocco, Saudi Arab and Tajikistan.

Diaz teaches at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and at nearby St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. His selection has been seen by some observers as an affirmation of the growing role Hispanic Catholics are playing in the U.S. Catholic Church.

How does the national health care reform debate look at the local community level?

With all the talk in Washington about health care reform measures lawmakers are wrangling over on Capitol Hill, what often gets lost in the national coverage of the debate is how people on the local community level are dealing with the high cost of health care.

But the Tennessee Register, newspaper of the Diocese of Nashville, Tenn., is getting at that perspective. In a two-part series, July 10 and Aug. 7, the paper is telling the stories of  people like Earl Lewis, who as a heart-transplant patient has a monthly pharmaceutical bill of $2,400 for anti-rejection pills, and health care workers, like nurse practitioner Nancy Anness, who sees what patients are coping with every day.