World Youth Day Celebrated in Toronto
Toronto is the scene for World Youth Day, a biennial initiative of Pope John Paul II launched in 1984. Other international gatherings with the pope have taken place in Argentina, Spain, Poland, Philippines, France, Italy and Denver, Colorado. The July 23-28 event features a 13-foot wooden cross which was carried across much of Canada and to ground zero in New York before reaching its final destination in Canada in early June. World Youth Day will focus on different themes, including baptism and Christian identity, evangelization and transforming the world, and reconciliation with other cultures and generations. The program consists of speeches, musical performances, a prayer vigil, appearances by the Holy Father, and an assortment of social service opportunities. "World Youth Day is a great chance for young people who have grown up with Pope John Paul II to come together and connect with him and their peers and express their faith on a personal level," says Richard McCord, Executive Director, USCCB Office of Famly, Laity, Women and Youth. "More than ever, events of the last year have inspired interest in the faith and in connecting with others. The growing numbers registering for World Youth Day reflect that."
Richard McCord may be reached at 202/541-3043.
Week in July to Center on Natural Family Planning
National Natural Family Planning (NFP) week, July 21-27, is intended to focus attention on and promote the natural methods of family planning. Most people do not know that there are methods to plan their families that are totally healthy, non-intrusive, and effective. The Catholic Church has been promoting these methods because of its teachings on marriage and birth control. "The natural methods," said Theresa Notare, Assistant Director of the Diocesan Development Program for NFP, USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, "are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle." "NFP is not Rhythm," said Ms. Notare. "Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy use periodic abstinence to space and limit conception, based on their observation of the woman's signs of fertility." Ms. Notare also said that NFP is "the only authentic family planning because it can be used to both achieve and avoid conception." Dates of the celebration of National NFP Week were chosen to highlight the anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the famous papal encyclical on birth control.
Theresa Notare is available at 202/541-3240.
USCCB Urges Accountability in Liquor Advertising
In an effort to boost the responsibility of local and cable TV stations and to discourage promotion of under age drinking, the USCCB Offices of General Counsel, Communications and Government Liaison have launched a campaign promoting Congressional hearings on the suitability of distilled spirits ads during prime time programming. "The public's interest in protecting the health and welfare of youth and discouraging them from illegal and unsafe behavior should outweigh TV broadcasters' interest in profits," says Monsignor Francis Maniscalco, Director, USCCB Department of Communications. To hold licensees accountable to the communities they serve, Diocesan Communications Directors and State Catholic Conference Directors are encouraged to meet with representatives over the summer in their home districts to remind them of the well known detrimental effects of underage drinking and to promote holding formal hearings when Congress reconvenes.
Monsignor Francis Maniscalco is available at 202/541-3200.