Catholic parishes asked to pray, act to offset violence


Jan. 15, the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., will mark the start of a week in which Roman Catholic parishes across Maryland will be asked to "pray, reflect and act to offset the growing culture of violence."

Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard announced the Baltimore archdiocesan effort, which is part of a national campaign. It is a response to the issues raised in a document recently issued by the nation's Catholic bishops.

The document is entitled "Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action."

A letter from Bishop Ricard to diocesan leaders throughout the United States accompanied liturgical materials and other suggestions of ways for parishes to engage in the week-long program.

In his letter, the bishop said, "The Catholic community has the values, presence and people to help overcome the violence which haunts our land." He is chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee of the U.S. Catholic Conference.

Noting that the anti-violence week concludes with the 22nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision creating a constitutional right to abortion, Bishop Ricard said, "The week which includes these two anniversaries can be a time to unite the Catholic community around a central commitment to confront violence in all its forms."

The Catholic hierarchy teaches that abortion is a form of violence.

"Celebrations and reflections on Dr. King's legacy," Bishop Ricard said, "can gain new urgency and visibility in light of our call to pursue nonviolence in our homes, nation and world.

"And our pro-life witness can be pursued as part of a consistent and comprehensive defense of human life."

& Information: 547-5452.

King celebration:

Baltimore Hebrew Congregation will celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at 8:15 p.m. Jan. 13 with an annual Shabbat Service honoring the memory and accomplishments of the slain civil rights leader.

This year's observance features music performed by the 50-voice Morgan State University Choir, directed by Nathan Carter.

The public is invited. Baltimore Hebrew's address is 7401 Park Heights Ave.

Rabbi Murray Saltzman, the congregation's spiritual leader, said, are delighted that members of the African-American community have, over the years of this annual service honoring Dr. King, joined us at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

"Many mutually satisfying relationships have been forged around these shared moments when distinguished African-Americans have spoken or performed at the Friday evening services of the )) congregation."

A scriptural account of the liberation of the children of Israel from bondage will be read during the service.

The "Song of the Sea", celebrating Jewish freedom, will be sung.

& Information: 764-1587.

New editor:

Ron Chaney, a 31-year-old graduate of Mississippi State University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been named editor of Baptist Life, newspaper of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.

Mr. Chaney had been acting editor since November 1993. The biweekly publication has offices in Columbia.

His selection by the Mission Board, representing congregations in Maryland and Delaware affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, was unanimous.

Christian education:

A three-day national meeting of the Christian Education Department of the AME Zion Church will conclude today at downtown Baltimore's Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The theme of the convention is "Called to be Committed Disciples on the Dawn of the 21st Century -- Envisioning Our Future." Workshops and seminars have been scheduled daily, beginning at 11 a.m.

Survey of U.S. Congress:

According to the National Council of Churches, the membership of the 104th Congress includes 145 Roman Catholics, by far the largest denominational representation.

The three next most numerous religious groups in the House and Senate, according to the survey, are 67 Baptists, 61 Methodists and 55 Presbyterians.

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