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BY John Lilly
Who Killed Priest, 28 Others, Gets Life
N.J. — A nurse who pleaded guilty to murdering 29 patients, including Father Florian Gall, received 11 consecutive life sentences from
Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong in Somerville March 2.
Wayne Forrest, Somerset County
prosecutor, told The Catholic Spirit,
newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen, that Charles Cullen was sentenced to two
life sentences for the 13 patients he murdered in Somerset Medical Center in
Somerville; five life sentences for five victims in Hunterdon
Medical Center in Raritan Township; three life sentences for his victims in
Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg; and one life sentence for a patient he
murdered in St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
Father Gall, who had served nearly
20 years at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Whitehouse Station, died June 28,
2003, at Somerset Medical Center. Cullen, a native of West Orange, admitted
that he intentionally administered lethal doses of the heart medication digoxin to the 68-year-old priest.
Expands Use of Female Altar Servers
Va. — New policies announced by Bishop Paul Loverde
of Arlington allow for greater use of female altar servers and expand the
availability of the 1962 version of the Latin Mass in the diocese. The
decisions were announced in separate letters to Catholics in the diocese.
“Recognizing the riches which the
1962 Latin Mass offers, I pray that the spiritual needs and aspirations of
those drawn to this liturgy will be met,” Bishop Loverde
said he reached the decision on female altar servers after months of reflection
and consultation during the Year of the Eucharist, which concluded in October
2005. “Since 1994, our diocese has permitted girls and women to serve at the
altar in several settings: university campuses, convents, nursing homes,
retreat houses, hospitals, and home Masses,” he wrote March 21. “In desiring to
make available those legitimate options endorsed by our Church, I am expanding
our previous permission to include our parish and high school communities.”
The Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., is
the only U.S. diocese to restrict service at the altar to males. The diocese
issued a statement March 22 saying it “has chosen to follow the centuries old
liturgical custom of having men and boys serve at the altar.”
Father Ciszek’s Cause for Canonization Advances
Pa. — More than 20 years after the death of Jesuit Father Walter Ciszek, a Pennsylvania-born priest who was a missionary and
a prisoner in the Soviet Union, officials in the Diocese of Allentown have
completed the preliminary phase of their quest to see him declared a saint.
Materials and documentation supporting the canonization cause were sent to
Jesuit Father Paolo Molinari, postulator general for
the Society of Jesus, in Rome Feb. 27. This closes the first phase of the
process of canonization — the diocesan inquiry into the priest’s reputation for
who was of Polish descent, was born in 1904, and entered the Jesuits in 1928.
In response to an appeal from Pope Pius XI to the Jesuit order, he volunteered
to work in the Soviet Union and was ordained in 1937. In 1940, he entered the
Soviet Union. He was arrested by secret police the following year and sentenced
to 15 years hard labor.