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Salsa, salvation, and Homeboy Industries

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The hottest-selling food item in Southern California's largest supermarket chain is made by a Jesuit and his team of ex-gang members and their girlfriends.

It's called "Homeboy Salsa," and went on sale at the beginning of the year in Ralph's markets all over the Los Angeles area. According to The Los Angeles Times it is outselling pretzels, cheese puffs, bagel chips and their various cousins.

This is music to the ears (fire to the tase-buds?) of Jesuit Fr. Greg Boyle -- who's been helping young people move out of gangs in L.A.'s poor neighborhoods for the last twenty years. Boyle runs Homeboy Industries, which puts ex-gangster to work making t-shirts, tortillas, and salsas.

It always been and Mom-and-Pop operation, and Boyle has struggled to keep the doors open. But then, last year, Ralph's markets agreed to distribute Homeboy salsa and chips -- they hit the shelves just a few weeks ago and have been flying off those shelves ever since.

Vietnam church: Product of divided country

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Imagine a county in which half its people lived through and enacted the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and the other half never heard the council had been held. Imagine again two sets of bishops, one formed by colonial France and the other shaped under the auspices of an archbishop - his name was Nguyen Ban Binh – who passionately believed in the renewal spawned by Vatican II.

Of course, that country was Vietnam and Vietnam today still feels the effects of the split into north and south that was the political divide in the fifties, sixties and on until 1975 when the North conquered the South.

I spent more than five years living in Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s, first as a volunteer working with war refugees, and later and a correspondent for The New York Times, Time magazine and, most importantly, the National Catholic Reporter.

SNAP objects to Dolan's statement on false allegations

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The following is a media statement from Survivor's Network for those Abused by Priests

SNAPnetwork.org
 
Dolan's false claims about false allegations
 
Also says his fellow bishops have “branded” innocent priests as child molesters
 
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee)
CONTACT:  414.429.7259
 
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has apparently not read a single report or yearly audit which he and his fellow bishops have paid over a million dollars to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct. 
Astonishingly, Dolan, in a recent interview reported by John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter, said that his “perception” is that the majority of allegations against priests for child sexual assault are false.  Dolan also said that the number of false allegations appear to be increasing each year.  (link to story:  http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/campaign-builds-rethinking-zero-tolerance-sex-abuse

Apple computer admits to toxic chemicals at Chinese factory

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Apple, the computer company behind the iPod and iPad, offically admitted today that 137 workers "suffered adverse health effects" from exposure to a toxic chemical in cleaning agents used at one of its factories in China, according to a report on the technology Web site cnet.

The chemical, n-hexane, was found at a plant in the city of Suzhou in eastern China which is operated by the Wintek corporation. The admission comes in Apple's Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report.

From the cnet report:

"Apple considers this series of incidents to be a core violation for worker endangerment," the report, available online, reads. "We required Wintek to stop using n-hexane and to provide evidence that they had removed the chemical from their production lines. In addition, Apple required them to fix their ventilation system. Since these changes, no new workers have suffered difficulties from chemical exposure."

Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahasse to resign

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Bishop John Ricard of the Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla. diocese, has submitted a request for early retirement to the Vatican for health reasons, according to a statement posted to the diocese's Web site.

NCR contributor Judy Gross, a resident of the Florida diocese, says in note this morning, that Ricard, 70, experienced a series of strokes beginning in December 2009, leaving him with impaired speech.

Ricard has led the diocese, spanning 18 North Florida counties for the past 14 years. He has also served as president of Catholic Relief Services, traveling to many war-torn countries and as chairman of the Office of International Justice and Peace (2002 to 2005) for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Vatican has yet to respond to Ricard's request.

Here's biography of Ricard.

On this day: St. Elias and Companions

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On this day we celebrate the feast of Sts. Elias, Jeremias, Isaias, Samuel, and Daniel, Egyptian converts who were tortured and martyred in Caesarea in 310.

They had gone to visit and comfort the enslaved workers in the copper mines of Cilicia. On their way back, they were arrested at Caesaria and taken to Firmilianus, the governor. When asked their names, they gave the names they had received at baptism. When asked their country, they said Jerusalem, meaning their heavenly destination.

Nuns using social media for social good

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The online version of Advertising Age has an article by Bernhard Warner, an expert on social media influence: What Nuns, Yes Nuns, Can Teach You About Social Media.

He talks about values, ethics, and the power of listening in the world of tweeting and goes on to praise charities, NGOs and especially women's religious communities for "the genuineness of their approach and their creativity ... To lay out tough messages -- sacrifice, vocation, mercy and charity" through a medium filled with endless distractions.

Warner only mentions a couple of religious communities of sisters, but asks that if you know more who are using social media, to let him know.

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