St. Augustine Catholic
The Long Goodbye
Hope After Abortion
Katie's Gift of Life
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 diocesan financial report
catholic news from around the world
Pope's first encyclical
underlines 'back to basics' theme of papacy

Pope releases first encyclical
Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical underlined the “back to basics” approach of his papacy, taking one of Christianity’s fundamental beliefs and illuminating it with deeper analysis. In its title, Deus Caritas Est or God Is Love, the encyclical presented the faith in a clear and positive perspective.

Pope Benedict XVI signs his first encyclical, God Is Love, in his private library at the Vatican Jan. 23.

The core mission of Christianity, it said, is to help people accept God’s love and share it, recognizing that true love involves a willingness to make sacrifices. In short, love of God and love of neighbor – that’s a message the pope believes many people can agree to, if only they are led to think about it.

While challenging the contemporary approach to love and sexuality, the pope avoided the hot-button doctrinal issues that often dominate discussion on religious affairs: abortion, birth control, gay marriage and divorce. It’s not that Pope Benedict doesn’t care about these issues, but he knows that unless people understand the essentials of the faith these doctrinal teachings will not stick.

Saints are models of ‘Social Charity’

In his new encyclical, God is Love, Pope Benedict cites several Catholic models of social charity. Among them are clockwise from top, left: St. Vincent de Paul, who devoted 50 years of his life in service to the poor; Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose care for the sick and downtrodden in Calcutta, India, led her to establish the Missionaries of Charity, an order that carries on her work around the world; St. Louise de Marillac, whose Sisters of Charity aid the sick and the neglected in the example of St. Vincent de Paul; and St. John Bosco, patron saint of youth best known for his work on behalf of homeless boys.

Daytona church named a minor basilica
Orlando Bishop Thomas G. Wenski celebrated a special Mass Jan. 25 after receiving the history-making news that Pope Benedict XVI designated St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Daytona Beach a minor basilica.

“It is a great honor for the parish community and the diocese. The fact that a church is designated as a minor basilica is a great example not only of architecture, but a great example of what the liturgical and spiritual life of any parish community should be,” Father Robert E. Webster, pastor, told The Florida Catholic, Orlando’s diocesan newspaper.

St. Paul’s Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., has been designated a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. The Diocese of Orlando celebrated the designation in a ceremony at the church Jan. 25. It is the first church to be named a minor basilica by Pope Benedict.

Basilica, based on the Greek words for royal and king, is a title bestowed by the pope on a church of historical and spiritual importance. The papal honor makes St. Paul’s the 60th church in the United States to be designated a minor basilica. It is the second church in Florida to receive the honor, after the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, designated in 1976. It is also the first basilica designated by Pope Benedict.

Court blocks two Florida executions
The Supreme Court stayed the execution of a Florida death row inmate for the second time in a week Jan. 31. In the cases of Clarence Edward Hill and Arthur Dennis Rutherford, the court agreed to consider whether execution by lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. The attorney for Hill said his client was strapped to a gurney with an intravenous line in his arm when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary stay of execution Jan. 23. The following day the full court issued a brief order saying it would hear Hill’s claims that the drugs Florida uses in executions cause pain, making the procedure cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional.

Florida’s Catholic bishops had been among those asking Gov. Jeb Bush to stay the executions of Hill and Rutherford.

Poll shows more Americans worry about poverty
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned that poverty will increase in the U.S. in 2006 and 63 percent are worried that they may become poor themselves, according to a new poll commissioned by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program. Results of the national “Poverty Pulse” survey, commissioned annually by CCHD for the past six years, were made public Jan. 19 in New Orleans.

More than seven in 10 said they think there are more poor people today than a year ago, and more than half had donated money to organizations that assist the poor. Asked how Congress should spend tax money, respondents ranked “helping the poor and needy” fourth behind health care, education and national defense.

Widow of civil rights pioneer remembered for her own justice work
Coretta Scott King, who died Jan. 31 at age 78, will be remembered for her fidelity to civil rights and nonviolent justice that had been sought by her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She died at 1 a.m. at a holistic health center in Baja California, Mexico.

Banners hang from light posts in Atlanta across from the King Center. Many people flocked to the center to remember Coretta Scott King, who died at age 78 Jan. 31.

“The entire nation stands in awe of the wondrous legacy of this great woman of faith,” said Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta in a Jan. 31 statement. “We in the Archdiocese of Atlanta are especially grieved at her death. She was a noble resident of our city and a proud bearer of the heritage of freedom and justice that her husband epitomized and that she fulfilled with incredible determination. Dr. King could not have found a worthier spouse and colleague in the struggle for social change and civil rights,” Archbishop Gregory added.