Suburbs worry about churches on prime property
Milwaukee Large new churches consuming prime real estate have drawn less praise and more scrutiny from some suburban officials, who say it's not heresy to suggest religious institutions are eroding the local tax base.
In the fast-growing city of Pewaukee, Wis., officials concerned about the number of existing and proposed churches are taking an inventory, with the intent to compare the number with those of comparably sized communities.
"Maybe I am wrong, but it appears to me that we have a lot of churches," said Alderman David Mokros, who suggested the survey. "It seems to me that some of these big churches are taking up prime real estate. I can't imagine why they need to be in some of these locations."
Similar questions are being asked nationwide as municipalities struggle with how much of their diminishing property should be tax-exempt.
Contest seeks spiritual poems
A $1,000 grand prize is being offered in a special religious poetry contest sponsored by New Jersey Rainbow Poets. Poems may be written on any subject, using any style, as long as there is a spiritual inference. The deadline is April 20.
To enter the contest which is open to everyone, not just members of the Garden State send one poem of 21 lines or less to: Religious Poetry Contest, PMB70, 103 N. Wood Ave., Linden, N.J. 07036.
In the name of diversity
Santa Ana, Calif. Latino parishioners expected to hear "Juan Diego" or "Guadalupe" announced during Spanish Masses as the name of their planned new church.
Instead they learned that the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes will become Our Lady of La Vang, a Vietnamese name foreign in both sound and meaning to the congregation, which is 99 percent Latino. She is an image of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, said to have appeared more than 200 years ago in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese name is a first for the Diocese of Orange and an adjustment for the congregation of 2,000 in west Santa Ana.
The congregation will move into the newly named church building by 2003, and will be joined by Vietnamese Catholics from throughout the area who are expected to start attending.
Orange County is home to 40,000 Vietnamese Catholics and 12 of its parishes hold Sunday Masses in Vietnamese.
Author urges new tests on Shroud of Turin
One of America's foremost experts on the Shroud of Turin is calling for a new round of scientific investigations into the 14-foot-long linen cloth, above, that contains the faint image of a remarkably Christlike individual.
Mark Antonacci, author of the book "The Resurrection of the Shroud of Turin," is urging new studies to refute a decade-old report that placed the shroud's origin in medieval times.
Antonacci also wants researchers to test advanced theories that the image on the cloth was created by particle radiation coming from Jesus' body at the time of the resurrection.
Antonacci, a St. Louis-based attorney, is convinced that the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.