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Solidarity and the Red Sox

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I grew up close to Boston and started listening to Red Sox games on our cabinet sized radio when I was about 4. Short form: I'm a lifer.

But my contrary streak prevents me from joining that confectionary commercial known as "Red Sox Nation" which came into existence around the time the cursed tribe won the World Series in 2004 for the first time in eight decades.

Seton Hall University to cut tuition for high achievers

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Seton Hall University in New Jersey will be making the cost of its diploma substantially less for high achievers:

Seton Hall University will radically restructure its tuition for next year, slashing costs by more than 60% for all incoming students who have achieved a set of academic standards in high school, officials announced on Wednesday.

Some national education experts expressed concerns that the plan could accelerate a national trend: a shift in the focus of financial aid toward merit-based scholarships rather than awards based on need.

"There's only so much money, and at the end of the day every college needs to make decisions about who they'll subsidize," said Patrick Callan, the president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

Venice, Fla. diocese to build farmworker housing with government financing

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In the "uplifting news" category is a story of low-income housing being built through Catholic Charities of the Venice, Fla. diocese with financing by the State of Florida Housing Finance Corporation and the United States Department of Agriculture. Forty-four of the units will be designated as eligible for rental assistance through the USDA.

According to the News-Press:

The Diocese of Venice, through Catholic Charities, will be building 53 single-family homes on a 29-acre plot of land in DeSoto County for low-income farmworkers in Arcadia.

The housing complex will be called Casa San Juan Bosco, after St. John Bosco, the Catholic priest and educator known for his service to the poor and disadvantaged, the diocese said.

According to a news release, the diocese said construction is expected to begin Saturday and will likely take 12 months for completion. The homes will be built by Brooks & Freund LLC of Fort Myers, chosen after a bid process including 15 companies.

Ala. immigration law update

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Update from NPR on the immigration law in Alabama:


Alabama's toughest-in-the-nation law on illegal immigration went into effect Thursday, a day after a federal judge upheld some of its key provisions, but the court battle over the issue appears far from over.

State law enforcement can now question and detain without bond people they suspect may be in the country illegally, and public schools are required to verify students' immigration status.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn on Wednesday upheld those and other key aspects of the law. The Justice Department, civil rights groups and some Alabama churches had sued to stop the measure from taking effect.

Read more of the story here.

Five years later, a stunning story of forgiveness and hope

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On Oct. 2, 2006, Charles Carl Roberts IV shot 10 Amish schoolgirls before turning the gun on himself. Five girls died. Five others were seriously wounded. The shooting shocked this quiet, rural county and horrified countless outsiders glued to the nonstop media coverage.

Five years after the shooting, the other side of the story is not well-known—that of a grief-torn mother seeking the still, small voice of God in the aftermath of tragedy.

One place where Terri has found peace is at the bedside of her son’s most damaged, living victim—a paralyzed schoolgirl, now 11.

RNS's Daniel Burke beautifully portrays a powerful account of transformation. Read the full story here.

N.Ireland gov't to probe church sex abuse

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The Irish Time is reporting:

A major inquiry into the abuse of children in institutions run by the Catholic Church and the state is to be launched in Northern Ireland, it was announced today.

The Stormont Executive confirmed the investigation will be phased-in over the next two years and will be armed with the power to compel the release of records plus the cooperation of witnesses.

Read the full report.

Catholic education at its best: Wangari Maathai

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I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Greenbelt Movement in her native Kenya. She died of cancer after a lifetime working for social justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Because of her tireless organizing, she became a target of government opposition in Kenya over decades, suffering beatings, jailings and intimidation. But she never gave up.

The Green Belt Movement, which she established in 1977, mobilized hundreds of thousands of women and men to plant more than 47 million trees in Kenya. This was a way of restoring the environment and improving the lives of people in poverty at the same time.

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