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News Digest: Week in Summary

Death penalty disappointment
The Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty has expressed disappointment in the Illinois Senate’s May 15 approval of a measure that would expand the death penalty to include first degree murder in “furtherance of a gang activity.” “At a time when Gov. Ryan has halted the death penalty based on egregious errors and injustices in the system that led to wrongful death sentences of at least 13 men, this attempt to expand the death penalty must be considered ill-advised at best, and cynical politics at worst,” a coalition statement said. The group also expressed concern that the measure would “also inevitably be used against minority defendants in greater proportion than whites. … This will worsen the already lopsided racial imbalance on Illinois Death Row.”

‘Grunts’ need shepherds, too
Father Ken Carlson loved the military life.
Carlson also loves being a priest.
The 32-year-old associate pastor at Our Lady of the Ridge Parish in Chicago Ridge served three years in the Air Force before returning home to care for his ailing mother. After she died, he entered the seminary.

CCI pressing on ‘faith’ issues
The Illinois legislative session is set to close at the end of the month, and the state Catholic conference is still working on several issues. Topping the list is a 4 percent cost-of-doing-business increase in the state budget for social service agencies such as Catholic Charities that work under state contract. Gov. Ryan’s proposed budget calls for no increase.

Consistory looks to future
Pope, cardinals to meet; topics unclear
The world’s cardinals are preparing to meet with Pope John Paul II in a consultative session that could help shape important pastoral policies for coming decades. The May 21-24 meeting, known as an extraordinary consistory, was convened by the pope after he created 44 new cardinals in February. It is the first such meeting since 1994, and it offers a rare chance for the College of Cardinals as a whole to influence papal thinking. Cardinal George was scheduled to arrive in Rome for the consistory May 20.

Execution delay ‘a good decision’
“Any decision not to take a human life is a good decision, even if it represents only a temporary delay,” Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein said May 15 about the postponement of Timothy McVeigh’s execution.

Bells ring against death penalty
Dominican Sister Dorothy Briggs one of the U.S. founders of “For Whom the Bells Toll,” an international campaign to end capital punishment, has been surprised by its success.

Translation rules awaiting new texts
The new rules from the Vatican regarding translation of liturgical texts, released earlier this month, evoked several responses from around the country. Cardinal George said of the new Vatican instruction, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” adding, “When you get an actual translation, then you’ll see if it’s acceptable or not. Rules are only rules until they’re put into practice,” he said.

Ministry to Hispanics takes on social issues
The growing number of Hispanics in the United States is catching the eye of politicians. “The Latino vote is coming out. I would like to believe we in the Catholic Church had a part in this,” said Louis Velasquez, Hispanic ministry director for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Music keeps her "up beat"
The musician glided by in her dark serge habit to take her place with the University Chamber Orchestra at St. Xavier University May 5. The program for the May 5 concert listed “Sister M. Reginald” in the viola section, but her first love is the violin.

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Parish Pride
St. Adrian Church, Chicago

Where's Mary?
The statue of Our Lady of the New Millennium will move from St. Martha Parish at 8523 Georgiana Ave. in Morton Grove, where it is now located, to St. Catherine Laboure Parish, 3535 Thornwood Ave., Glenview, on May 27.

Special services will be held throughout the week at St. Catherine Laboure, including an outdoor Mass at 9 a.m. and a candlelight procession at 8 p.m. on May 28, Memorial Day. For more information, call the parish at (847) 729-1414.

Other parishes scheduled to host the statue are:

  • June 3-10: Our Lady of Humility, 10655 Wadsworth Road, Beach Park/Zion (847) 872-8778
  • June 10-17: St. Anastasia, 624 Douglas Ave., Waukegan, (847) 623-2875
  • June 17-24: St. Edna, 2535 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, (847) 398-3362
  • June 24-July 1: St. Petronille, 420 Glenwood Ave., Glen Ellyn, (630) 469-0404
  • May 6-13: St. Thecla, 6725 W. Devon Ave.
  • May 13-20, St. Eugene, 7958 W. Foster Ave.
  • May 20-27, St. Martha, Morton Grove

Movie Reviews:
The U.S. Catholic Conference's Office for Film and Broadcasting judges films according to artistic merit and moral suitability.
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Church Clips by Dolores Madlener
A weekly
column of
Dolores Madlener

Needlers for the needy — Knitting needles purl and crochet hooks loop when a group of seasoned citizens get together in St. Linus Parish (Oak Lawn). Therese McNicholas organized this local branch of “Project Linus” whose motto is, “A blanket is like a big hug when you most need one.” It holds special meaning for the ladies of St. Linus (the national program is named for Charles Schulz’ Peanuts cartoon character, who always needs his security blanket.) These stitchers are in their late 50s to mid-80s, and meet twice a month to work on afghans for kids in local hospitals and lap pads for nursing home residents, as well as outfits for newborns as a pro-life apostolate. Of course, the original “Linus” was from Tuscany and became the next pope after St. Peter about the year 67. He was consecrated a bishop by St. Paul and is mentioned in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, 4:21. For more info on the national Project Linus, call Bloomington, Ill. at (309) 664-7814.

Wag’s corner — John J. Lyons of St. Juliana Parish (N. Osceola) suggests: “On Memorial Day Weekend—avoid road rage—just don’t look at the gas pump prices.”

Modesty? Which way did it go? — A TV news anchor did a segment recently on the difficulty in finding appropriate apparel for tots to pre-teens and older girls. Now a spiritual-based program called G.A.L. (Girls As Leaders) is trying to offer alternatives to little girls dressing like “big girls.” Jeanne Diamond of Our Lady of the Woods Parish (Orland Park) will applaud daughters Megan and Kelly as they model age-appropriate outfits at “Pure Style,” a Christian fashion show May 20 in Lombard, with no hip huggers or bare midriffs. The local chapter has girls, ages 11-17, emerging as leaders to hopefully influence peers as well as retail merchants and enriching the bond between moms and daughters. For more info, you can call Diamond at (708) 203-3761.

Eternal City, not Radio City — The Italian bishops’ conference surveyed entertainers in Italy about their faith life recently. Eight out of 10 said they “Never forget to pray before going onstage or on the air.” Fifty-three percent of the performers said Italian TV does not give enough attention to human values, to the individual’s genuine liberty and sense of justice.” More than 25 percent believe themes about faith should not be confined to religious productions, but should be present in prime time programs too.

People and places — St. Denis Parish (S. St. Louis) will bid a fond adieu to Adrian Dominican Sister Elizabeth Lynch who served as principal of their school for 30 years! They will also celebrate her 50th anniversary in religious life at the 10 a.m. Mass June 3 with a reception following in the school hall. . . . Christine Zambrzycki Flaherty, director for 11 years of the arch’s European-American Ministry, was recently featured in an exhibit as one of 46 successful Polish women of all ages and professions. Polski 2000 is a display of black and white photos accompanied by texts in English and Polish honoring these women. Flaherty, in Holy Name Cathedral Parish (N. State) is a native of Lodz, Poland, and a naturalized American citizen.

Junior Clips —
William Shakespeare died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. He would have been 385 this year and De La Salle Institute (S. Wabash) didn’t want to let it go unrecognized. “Shakespeare Week” was their way of enhancing the bard’s popularity among the students, in case J.D. Salinger was making inroads. Faculty members dressed up as their favorite Shakespearean characters, there was a sonnet-writing contest, and of course good old Elizabethan darts, lawn bowling, pie-eating contests, and a Bill Shakespeare “Wheel of Fortune” game. Zounds!

Send your benevolent gossip to Church Clips, 721 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60610 or via e-mail to: dmadlener@catholicnewworld.com