Irish Christian Brothers file for bankruptcy; abuse lawsuits blamed
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CNS) -- The Christian Brothers Institute, the legal arm of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, filed for bankruptcy protection April 28 amid rising expenses for sexual abuse lawsuits. A brief statement by the institute April 29 said the trustees voted unanimously to file for bankruptcy reorganization, after "extensive, prayerful and difficult" deliberation. It said "deficit spending and litigation costs" forced the action. The institute had been running an annual "seven-figure deficit," said the statement, without elaborating on the amount. It added that the economic situation was "exacerbated by legal expenses involving lawsuits" particularly in Seattle and St. John's, Newfoundland. The brothers are the second religious order to file for bankruptcy protection in the United States because of expenses related to sexual abuse cases. The Oregon province of the Society of Jesus agreed in March to pay about $166 million in settlements to 500 people who have sought damages for abuse they said they suffered under Jesuits at schools and parishes in the Northwest. That settlement was part of the order's bankruptcy proceedings.
New Washington seminary to be named for Blessed Pope John Paul II
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington has announced that the new archdiocesan seminary opening for the fall semester will be named for Blessed Pope John Paul II. The seminary, which will be located in Northeast Washington will serve as a college-level pre-theology house of formation, with seminarians attending classes at The Catholic University of America nearby. Cardinal Wuerl said the seminary will be blessed on Oct. 22, the feast day of Blessed John Paul and the anniversary of his installation as pope in 1978. Plans for the seminary were announced in October 2010, and the permits necessary to complete the renovation of the structure that will house the seminary were recently finalized. Seminarians for the archdiocese will begin their formation through the new seminary in August, and renovation of the building is scheduled to be completed in October. Currently, 67 men are studying for the priesthood of the Archdiocese of Washington, including 29 in college and pre-theology studies. Renovation work is under way at the new seminary, which formerly housed archdiocesan offices for Carroll Publishing and the Office of Youth Ministry, which are now in downtown Silver Spring, Md.
Southern dioceses cope with aftermath of worst storms in decades
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Southern U.S. Catholic dioceses are seeking aid for those shattered by the violent storms and devastating tornadoes that tore through their region in late April, killing more than 350 people. Officials from several dioceses told Catholic News Service that they are also busy assessing damage to church buildings and schools, and several special collections have been started to help those in need. In an April 29 letter, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala., asked all pastors in his archdiocese to hold a second collection at Masses over the weekend to assist tornado victims, especially in the neighboring Diocese of Birmingham, which covers the northern portion of Alabama, home to the hardest hit cities of Birmingham, Cullman and Tuscaloosa. Birmingham Bishop Robert J. Baker has toured some tornado-ravaged areas in his diocese and comforted survivors of the devastating storms, but diocesan officials are still determining the extent of the damage, said Mary A. Crockett, managing editor of One Voice, newspaper of the Diocese of Birmingham. Pope Benedict XVI also sent his prayers and support to victims and those engaged in relief and rebuilding efforts in the region in a May 2 letter to Archbishop Rodi from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.
A year after Nashville floods survivors relive memories, vow to move on
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) -- With strong storms tracking through Middle Tennessee all too often in recent weeks, bringing tornado watches, power outages and flash flood warnings, many are reliving painful memories as the anniversary of the great flood of 2010 looms. "It's like a flashback. It's very unnerving," said Mary Margaret Lambert, whose father, Joseph Formosa, and stepmother, Bessie Formosa, died in the flood. She is executive secretary to Nashville Bishop David R. Choby. The Formosas were two of 11 people in the Nashville area who lost their lives when the floodwaters quickly swallowed entire neighborhoods that first weekend of May last year. The floods also damaged 68,000 homes and caused an estimated $2 billion in damage to the city. With the help of regular counseling, journaling, the strong support of family and friends and her faith in God, Lambert is slowly making her way through the grief. "I don't understand how people who don't have faith get through something like this," said Lambert, a parishioner at St. Henry Church. "There was such a tremendous response from Catholic parishes in the diocese and beyond that was really touching."
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