New JerseyORADELL, N.J.  - Sitting in his office at St. Joseph parish in Oradell on a warm afternoon, Fr. Tom Iwanowski became emotional as he recounted his memories from Sept. 11, 2001.

But it wasn’t the events of the cataclysmic date itself that brought him to tears; rather, it was an unexpected encounter with a woman in 2006 who gently knocked on the door of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the parish in Jersey City where he had served.

'Social business' plan aims to create social change

YunasOTTAWA - The Nobel prize-winning pioneer of the micro-credit movement is developing a concept he calls “social business” to lift people out of poverty and perhaps help revitalize Haiti.

Mohammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, said his social business model could transform Haiti, still reeling from its devastating earthquake, by creating a problem-solving environment that addresses deep-rooted issues such as employment and housing.

Families believe 'miracle' saved 33 Chilean miners

Chile mineSANTIAGO, Chile - Diana Olivares' husband, Daniel Sanderson, had one foot out the door before a gentle nudge from his wife convinced him to stay with the family instead of heading to the mine for work.

Later that day, the couple received word that the San Jose mine where Sanderson worked had collapsed, trapping 33 miners, including Olivares' cousin, Carlos Buge.

For 17 days and nights, the families of the trapped miners crowded in tents at Camp Hope outside of the mine, many of them turning to the Church and praying that their loved ones would be rescued from the belly of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.

Belgian cardinal admits to naiveness, not cover up

Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels.OXFORD, England - A spokesman for Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels said the transcript of an April meeting with a victim of clergy sex abuse has been interpreted out of context.

“There was no intention of any cover-up,” said Toon Osaer, spokesman for the cardinal, who retired in January as archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels.

Pakistan flood aid picks up

Pakistan floodTORONTO - After a slow start, Canadian Catholics have responded, online and in parishes, to the flood crisis in Pakistan.

Contributions over the Internet pushed the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace disaster relief fund for Pakistan over the $100,000 mark on the Aug. 22 weekend. In the archdiocese of Toronto, the ShareLife Pakistan Flood Relief fund went from less than $11,000 on Aug. 16 to $38,497 as of 3 p.m. Aug. 23.

With the federal government giving in to pleas from Development and Peace and other agencies to establish a dollar-for-dollar program to match private donations, Development and Peace is hopeful Canadian generosity will begin to equal the massive scale of the floods in the Indus River valley.

9/11 mosque controversy echoes era of anti-Catholic bias

NYC mosque demonstrationWASHINGTON - The controversy over plans to build an Islamic cultural centre and mosque a couple of blocks away from ground zero in New York is but the latest manifestation of a historic cycle of distrust of immigrants — and their faith.

Public outcry erupted this summer over plans to convert a former Burlington Coat Factory store, located a little more than two blocks from the World Trade Centre complex, into a nine-storey Islamic cultural centre, with a mosque included. The area’s Muslim community already uses the vacant retail space for worshippers who overflow from the al-Farah Mosque, about a dozen blocks north of the trade centre property, according to The Associated Press.

Priest reports anti-Christian bias in Pakistan aid distribution

Pakistan food handoutVATICAN CITY - Christians and other minorities affected by severe flooding in Pakistan are being discriminated against in government-run rescue and aid programs, said the director of pontifical missionary societies in Pakistan.

Fr. Mario Rodrigues, the Lahore-based director of the mission awareness and funding agencies, said, "While Caritas and the pontifical mission societies are working on providing humanitarian relief to displaced persons without discrimination of origin, race or religion, in other areas, the Christian refugees, even in the midst of this tragedy, are being treated as second-class citizens.

Honduras charges three linked to Canadian-owned mine

LONDON - Honduras' environmental prosecutor has filed criminal charges against two mining executives with a Canadian company and a former government official after a British Catholic aid agency provided evidence to show that they ignored the alleged pollution of rivers.

The mining officials, Christian Pineda and Renan Santamaria, could face up to six years in jail if convicted of contaminating water and polluting the environment around the San Martin gold mine, the largest open-cast gold mine in Central America until its closure in 2008. Pineda and Santamaria are employed by Entre Mares, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Goldcorp Inc., a gold-mining company based in Vancouver.

Pope does not accept resignation of Dublin auxiliary bishops

Archbishop Diarmuid MartinDUBLIN  - Pope Benedict XVI has decided not to accept the resignation of two Dublin auxiliary bishops who resigned in the wake of the Murphy Report investigation into clerical child abuse in the archdiocese.

Auxiliary Bishops Raymond Field and Eamonn Walsh resigned Dec. 24 after coming under intense pressure because they served as bishops during the period investigated by the Murphy Commission.

In a letter to priests of the Dublin archdiocese Aug. 11, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin confirmed the development.

Canadians ramp up Pakistan flood relief

Pakistan floodPakistani Christians are looking at a long road to recovery after the worst flooding in 80 years. Catholics in Canada and the United States are stepping up to help them rebuild.

Canada's Caritas partner, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has contributed an intial $50,000 to Caritas Pakistan efforts to aid 13.8 million people affected by the floods. The Canadian agency is accepting further donations at 1-888-664-3387 and at People can make cheques out to Development and Peace and mail them to Pakistan Floods, Development and Peace, 1425 René-Levesque Blvd. W., 3rd Floor, Montreal, QC, H3G 1T7.

D&P, Catholic aid agencies at forefront of rebuild

Haiti July 2010Six months after the earthquake, nobody wants to rebuild Haiti — at least not the Haiti from before the earthquake.

That Haiti was a country in which 30 per cent of its 9.2-million people suffered malnutrition, barely half the population over 15 could read and write, 80 per cent lived below the poverty line and 54 per cent lived in abject poverty. Infant mortality ran at 58.07 per 1,000 live births, about 12 times the rate in Canada.