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Alabama's vanishing students


Hispanic Students Absent From Alabama Schools Following Controversial Immigration Law

The Huffingtonpost is reporting that Hispanic students are "vanishing into thin air" because of the harsh, new immigration law in Alabama.

There are no precise statewide numbers. But several districts with large immigrant enrollments – from small towns to large urban districts – reported a sudden exodus of children of Hispanic parents, some of whom told officials they planned to leave the state to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students' immigration status.

The anxiety has become so intense that the superintendent in one of the state's largest cities, Huntsville, went on a Spanish-language television show Thursday to try to calm widespread worries.

On this day: Saint Mother Theodore GuÈrin


On this day we celebrate the feast of Saint Mother Theodore Guérin who came to Indiana from Brittany in 1840 with five other Sisters of Providence to found Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Like so many other founders of women's congregations, Mother Theodore was abused by her ecclesiastical superior.

"The carriage was empty. Sister Mary Xavier was walking slowly and sorrowfully over the bridge. 'Where is Mother?' we asked. 'Where is Mother?' Sister Mary Xavier pressed the hand of Sister St. Francis; it was some time before she could speak. At last she said, 'O mon Dieu! she could not come; the Bishop has excommunicated her and expelled her from the Congregation, and forbidden her to come back to St. Mary's.'

Churches lose fight over Ala. immigration law


The Washington Post reports:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A federal judge jolted the national immigration debate on Wednesday (Sept. 28) by approving most parts of Alabama’s aggressive immigration law that religious leaders had called the “meanest” in the nation.

In a ruling hailed by many state officials, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn refused to block much of Alabama’s far-reaching immigration law from going into effect.

Blackburn’s decision came after three separate challenges were filed by the U.S. Department of Justice; Catholic, Episcopal and United Methodist bishops; and a coalition of civil rights groups, unions and individuals who said they would be harmed by the law.

The Christian Post reports that the judge's decision wasn't a total loss for the churches:

Solidarity and the Red Sox


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


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


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


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.


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In This Issue

February 10-23, 2017