Nation and World News

Mideast Church leaders pray for peace, dialogue

Catholic Church leaders prayed for peace and dialogue as Mideast violence escalated, and churches and local government buildings opened their doors to the displaced.

Valencia prelate says families are in a new ‘stage’

A new stage has begun: that of the evangelized and evangelizing family, says the archbishop of Valencia.

Dioceses feeling crunch talk money, strategies

Catholic dioceses in the United States

Vatican ledger has $12M surplus

Despite the $8.9 million of extraordinary expenses related to the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican closed its 2005 budget with a surplus of more than $12 million, officials said.

Eucharistic Congress seeking composers for its theme song

The general secretariat of the International Eucharistic Congress has invited musical composers to submit entries for the congress

World and National News Briefs

Abortion clinic becomes Catholic chapel

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CNS) — The site of a former abortion clinic in Williamsville, a Buffalo suburb, has been turned into the chapel of a Catholic radio station, according to a report in the July edition of Western New York Catholic, the Buffalo diocesan monthly newspaper. The paper said Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of Buffalo blessed and dedicated the Chapel of the Holy Innocents June 1 at the Station of the Cross, a four-station Catholic radio network based in Williamsville. Jim Wright, co-founder of Holy Family Communications, which owns the network, said he only recently learned from the previous owner of the building that the 330-square-foot chapel was being constructed in the space where abortions were once performed. "In the tradition of the early Church, pagan temples were turned into holy spaces," Bishop Kmiec said. "We have done the same thing here today."

Migration group focuses on human rights

UNITED NATIONS (CNS) — Human rights are key to resolving international migration problems, a Catholic official said July 12 at a U.N. General Assembly hearing on international migration and development. "Rights are not the ‘opposite’ of practical. In fact, rights solve problems," said John Bingham, head of advocacy of the International Catholic Migration Commission. "As an organization of the Catholic Church working with migrants worldwide regardless of faith, race or nationality," he said, "we would mention five human rights especially important to migration: The right to life; the right to work and to be paid a fair wage; the right to movement, including out of and back to one’s own country; the right to stay in one’s own country — closely related to the right to development; and we would emphasize, especially here, the right to participate actively in decisions that affect one’s life, family and community. Migration and development work best when basic human rights are respected," Bingham said.

Franciscan community founded in Jordan

JERUSALEM (ZENIT) — A Franciscan community will be established on Jordan’s Mount Nebo. The decision was confirmed by Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, custos of the Holy Land, in a recent letter to all the religious of the custody. "The arrival of new missionaries in the Holy Land has enabled us to reinforce our presence in Jordan, in our only shrine connected to a memory of the Old Testament, which has already become a constant object of pilgrimage," he wrote. From the summit of Mount Nebo, Moses saw the Holy Land without being able to enter it. The community is made up of three religious brothers, from Australia, Italy and Syria. They will revive contemplative life and prayer, combined with hospitality for pilgrims, explained the custos. The custody hopes to make the site suitable for retreats and hospitality.

Augustians appeal to Hispanic aspirants

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CNS) — The Augustinians of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova have opened a house of discernment for Hispanic men called the Casa Augustin. A new release from the province said it hopes that Casa Augustin, located in Lawrence, Mass., will enhance opportunities for Hispanic vocations and increase vocations to the Augustinian order. The program is designed specifically for Spanish-speaking aspirants in need of spiritual, academic and linguistic preparation. Casa Augustin is a bilingual house so that participants may grasp a better understanding of the English language without losing their Hispanic heritage. Augustinian Father Luis Madera, director of Casa Augustin, was born in Puerto Rico. He made his profession as an Augustinian in 1995 and was ordained in 2000. He was associate pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Staten Island, N.Y., and returned to Lawrence last August. The Web site for the house of discernment is

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