St. Augustine Catholic
The RCIA: Forming New Catholics This Easter
A Lost Boy’s journey from the Sudan to America
Life After Retirement
in this issue... 
saint of the month
editor's notes
bishop's message
from the archives
in the know with Fr. Joe
work life
theology 101
your marriage matters
the parenting journey
spiritual fitness
parish profile
around the diocese
catholic news from around the world
calendar of events
2005 catholic foundation report
catholic news from around the world
Pope’s Ash Wednesday homily
perfect the “battle against sin”

>>Pope says Lenten conversion draws people closer to God The conversion called for during Lent not only draws people closer to God, but also draws them closer to others in charity and peace, Pope Benedict XVI said. Pope Benedict celebrated an Ash Wednesday Mass March 1 at Rome’s Basilica of Santa Sabina.

In his homily, the pope said Lent is a time for Christians to perfect the “battle against sin,” using the “weapons of prayer, fasting and penance.” “To battle against evil, against every form of selfishness and hatred, and to die to oneself in order to live in God is the ascetic itinerary that every disciple of Jesus is called to follow with humility and patience, with generosity and perseverance,” the pope said. “The docile following of the Divine Master makes Christians witnesses and apostles of peace.”

>> Faith leaders remain strong on immigration reform Attacks against an interfaith campaign to shape immigration reform to address family reunification and other social concerns just affirm the importance of churches working together, said national religious leaders March 1. At a press conference, Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said such attacks, including those made by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., in a recent press release and television commentary, underscore that “we are going to have to make sure we keep our people with us.” Tancredo, who has become a prominent critic of illegal immigration, said church efforts on the issue misrepresent the religious beliefs of a majority of churchgoers. Faith groups will need to be vigilant to keep up with how others try to shape the debate about immigration policy, Cardinal McCarrick said.

>> Congress urged to pass trade legislation favorable to Haiti The head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy has asked Congress to pass legislation granting preferential trade treatment to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti needs preferential treatment, especially to jump-start its clothing industry, if it is to attain economic and political stability after years of social turmoil, said Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla.

Preferential treatment would also lay the groundwork for a return of the foreign investments Haiti needs to stimulate its economy, especially “the once vibrant apparel industry,” he said in a letter to Rep. William Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which must approve the legislation before it can be sent to the full House for a vote.

>>Pope names 15 new cardinals, including two from U.S. In his first set of major appointments, Pope Benedict XVI named 15 cardinals, including U.S. Archbishops William J. Levada, head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, and Sean P. O’Malley of Boston. The pope announced the names at the end of his general audience Feb. 22.
The pope celebrated Mass with the cardinals March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. It was the first gathering of the College of Cardinals since they elected Pope Benedict last April.

>>Pope receives specially loaded iPod nano A group of Vatican Radio employees gave Pope Benedict XVI a brand new iPod nano loaded with special Vatican Radio programming and classical music.

To honor the pope’s first visit to the radio’s broadcasting headquarters, the radio’s technical staff decided the pencil-thin, state-of-the-art audio player would make the perfect gift. Now that Vatican Radio offers podcasts in eight different languages, the pope has the technological capability to plug in and import the radio’s audio files. Pope Benedict visited the programming and broadcasting hub of “the pope’s radio” March 3 to mark the station’s 75th anniversary.

More than 100,000 gather at Fatima to watch reburial of Sister Lucia Despite a persistent rain, more than 100,000 people gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima to pray and witness the reburial of Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last of three Fatima visionaries. Sister Lucia died Feb. 13, 2005, in her cloistered convent in Coimbra, Portugal, at the age of 97. She had been buried temporarily at the Carmelite convent while preparations were made for final burial alongside her two cousins, Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.

On May 13, 1917 – when Lucia was 10 years old, Francisco was 9 and Jacinta was 7 – the children claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, near their home. The apparitions continued once a month until October 1917 and later declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church. In 2000 Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Lucia’s cousins, who died as children.

>> Boston College hosts panel discussion on faith and public policy Catholics debated the role faith should play in the life and work of Catholic politicians during a panel discussion held at Boston College’s Silvio O. Conte Forum Feb. 27. In front of an audience of 6,000, the four panelists discussed issues ranging from abortion to the tax on capital gains. The event, titled Catholic Politicians in the United States: Their Faith and Public Policy, was sponsored by the Jesuit university’s Church in the 21st Century Center.

Moderated by Tim Russert, managing editor and moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the panel included: Democratic strategist James Carville; Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne; Edward Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chairman; and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, who is a contributing editor to The Wall Street Journal.

– Catholic News Service