Bishop Commends Bush and Governor for Mine Laws

WHEELING, W.Va. — Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston commended President Bush for signing into law the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act June 15 to improve the safety of coal miners and to strengthen recovery efforts of miners who are trapped.

The MINER Act carries the first revisions to federal mine safety laws since the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

He also commended West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, who was present for the signing at the White House, for state legislation passed in January. “In the past months, because of the great catastrophes in West Virginia and the loss of life, we have seen improved laws concerning the protection of our miners,” Bishop Bransfield said. “It is to the governor’s credit and recently to the president’s credit that these mining laws have been updated.”

(CNS)

Katrina’s Effects Being Felt in Marriages

NEW ORLEANS — Ten months after Hurricane Katrina, gale-force winds are still buffeting marriages that might have been in trouble before the storm but now are reeling because of emotional, financial or other stressful problems, according to marriage experts in the New Orleans area.

The Family Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of New Orleans has been fielding many calls from couples seeking information on marriage counseling or on the Catholic program known as Retrouvaille (French for “rediscovery”) that helps couples overcome marital difficulties. “We sent out at least 15 applications last week to couples who are interested in Retrouvaille,” Deacon Drea Capaci, director of the Family Life Apostolate, said in a recent interview with the Clarion Herald, newspaper of the New Orleans Archdiocese. “That doesn’t mean all those couples will go on the weekend, but these people are not calling up sheepishly. They want to go on this weekend.”

There’s a simple reason for the increase in calls for help, Deacon Capaci said. Hurricane Katrina created an uproar in family life.

(CNS)

First U.S. Catholic-Sikh Dialogue Held

WASHINGTON — The first national Catholic-Sikh religious dialogue took place in New York May 20. Representatives of the World Sikh Council-America Region and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops discussed shared concerns such as secularism in America and problems facing immigrants during the landmark daylong meeting at the Church Center at the United Nations. Religions for Peace-USA hosted the meeting.

Sikhism, or Sikhi, was founded in northern India about 1500 by the guru Nanak. A monotheistic religion that rejects idolatry and the Indian caste system, it has 25 million adherents — mostly in Asia, but including about 600,000 in North America.

In opening remarks Manohar Singh, the chairman of the Sikh council and leader of the Sikh delegation, said: “The universal message of Sikhi respects pluralism, and we welcome our Catholic friends with open arms. This dialogue is an opportunity for our communities to begin a conversation at the highest level on how we may be able to work with each other in trust and friendship to make this world a more peaceful and just place for all.”

(CNS)