Navy officer serving in Djibouti pays family surprise Christmas visit

An unexpected gift from overseas weighing several hundred pounds arrived a week before Christmas for a Maryland family.

Minutes into a Dec. 18 impromptu Christmas party in the St. Joan of Arc parish hall in Aberdeen, the father of St. Joan of Arc School third-grader Mia Benitez and Maddox, a kindergartner, came striding out of the kitchen.

Leafleters arrested at Baltimore basilica

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Two demonstrators were arrested for trespassing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore Sept. 14.

After two men affiliated with Operation Rescue, a national anti-abortion group, refused to comply with repeated requests that they cease distributing political literature on church grounds, they were taken into custody by Baltimore City police.

The literature included an image of Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party nominee for president, and read, "Is it immoral to vote for Obama for president?"

"Their literature was patently partisan, focusing on individual candidates, rather than issues," said Father Jeffrey Dauses, pastor of the basilica. "At no time were they inside the basilica, but they were on the patio in front of church. After repeated requests to leave church property, from security, a sacristan and myself, two of the four complied. The other two refused and were arrested."

Father Dauses said the protesters began distributing literature before the 9 a.m. Mass. The arrest report notes that the police responded at 10 a.m., as Father Dauses prepared to celebrate the 10:45 a.m. Mass.