WASHINGTON – Around the United States, Catholic organizations, parishes, clergy and laity are taking action and bolstering efforts to build peace and battle racism, following a summer of violence.

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Nearly 500 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door, the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. has approved a declaration recognizing “there are no longer church-dividing issues” on many points with the Roman Catholic Church.

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NEW ORLEANS – It didn't start out as a Father's Day present, but now the tables were turned.

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NEW ORLEANS - They are calling it "Kat 10" — Hurricane Katrina plus 10 years — which carries with it the double meaning of an ominous meteorological warning.

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NEW ORLEANS - Like many of his brother priests, Fr. Dennis Hayes decided to take his chances and stay put as Katrina teased the Louisiana coast, hoping the storm's Category 5 fury would spare his parish of St. Louise de Marillac in Arabi.

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NEW ORLEANS - An attorney for the Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington argued before a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals June 7 that a 1932 Louisiana law requiring anyone selling a casket to be a licensed funeral director is unconstitutional and has no rationale other than "pure economic protectionism."

The monks, who make about 30 cypress caskets a month at their St. Joseph Abbey Woodworks, received a favorable ruling last year from U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood Duval, who struck down the Louisiana law, saying it created an unfair industry monopoly.

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NEW ORLEANS - A major exhibit of the personal effects of Blessed John Paul II, titled "I Have Come to You Again," will open its three-city U.S. tour in the Archdiocese of New Orleans in February 2013, and the exhibit organizer who has handled four previous Vatican exhibits in the United States said he was bracing for record crowds.

Joining Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans April 13 to formally announce the exhibit was Father Malcolm Neyland, a priest of the Diocese of Lubbock, Texas, who also serves as director of the nonprofit National Exhibits Association.

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