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AT LEAST 130 DIOCESES in the United States have said they will encourage their parishes to take part in a pledge campaign to hold the media accountable for the messages they offer. The campaign, planned by the nation's bishops, kicks off the weekend of Dec. 16 and 17, coinciding with the Jubilee for Entertainers observance at the Vatican. In future years of what is a five-year campaign, parishioners will be asked to take the pledge in conjunction with World Communications Day in late spring. Those who make the pledge say they will "reject media that produce immoral content and demean the dignity of the human person."

MSGR. JOHN J. STRYNKOWSKI, 61, a priest of the Brooklyn diocese, will become executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices, effective April 16. Currently assistant secretary for Catholic higher education and campus ministry in the U.S. Catholic Conference's Education Department, he will succeed Dominican Fr. J. Augustine Di Noia, who held the doctrinal post since 1993. Di Noia has been named director of the newly established Intercultural Forum at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.

THE MEMBERSHIP and board of trustees of the National Association of Religious Brothers has voted to change the name of the organization to Religious Brothers Conference and authorized the hiring of a full-time executive director. The conference, which marks its 30th anniversary in 2001, will continue to be based in Chicago. The changes will be completed at the organization's annual convention in Tampa, Fla., June 23-26.

FR. JOHN G. BERGER, pastor of the Church of St. Paul in Nicollet, Minn., has been elected diocesan administrator of the New Ulm, Minn., diocese by its board of consultors. Under a provision of the Code of Canon Law, he will assume the day-to-day administration of the diocese until Pope John Paul II names a new bishop. The pope Nov. 17 accepted the resignation of Bishop Raymond A. Lucker, 73, who has led the diocese since 1976.

CONVENTUAL FRANCISCANS of Padua, Italy, honored St. Joseph Sr. Helen Prejean for her ministry to death row inmates and her work to abolish the death penalty. In giving Prejean the St. Anthony's International Award Dec. 3, the Franciscans described her book, Dead Man Walking, as an "eloquent cry of the heart against the death penalty." The friars said that "for more than 15 years, Sr. Helen has brought help and comfort to `men without a future' and has become a symbol of the struggle against the death penalty around the world."

THE CHIEF PHYSICIAN at a Ugandan Catholic hospital located in the midst of an Ebola outbreak area died of the virus. Matthew Lukwiya of St. Mary's Hospital in Lacor died Dec. 5 after reportedly contracting the virus from a patient. Ebola has claimed 156 victims in its latest outbreak in northern Uganda. The doctor, 43, was the first to sound the alarm when cases of hemorrhagic fever cropped up in mid-September. According to the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Lukwiya and his staff had saved more than half of the 200 people who checked into St. Mary's with Ebola.
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Title Annotation:Church appointments, National Association of Religious Brothers changes its name, Sr. Helen Prejean honored
Author:Malcolm, Teresa
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6UGAN
Date:Dec 15, 2000
Words:523
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