Archive for Friday, December 7, 2001


December 7, 2001


New Episcopal diocese leader a former NFL player

A minister who played professional football and later served as a police officer will become the sixth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

The Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, left, will succeed the Rt. Rev. Frederick Borsch, right, who is stepping down Jan. 31 after 14 years in the job.

A ceremony marking the transition, above, was held last weekend during the diocesan annual convention. Bruno will take over all functions of the position but will not be given the title of bishop until after Borsch leaves.

The 55-year-old Bruno is a Los Angeles native and former Roman Catholic who played football for the Denver Broncos and served on the Burbank police force. He said he later found he was best at helping people "see the divinity within."

As bishop, he plans to focus on gay rights, diversity and ending domestic and street violence.

Interfaith group names first Muslim to board

The Interfaith Alliance has named Imam Mahdi Bray as the first Muslim member of the group's board of directors.

Bray is the national political director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a member of the advisory board of the American Muslim Council. The longtime civil rights activist is host of a weekly Washington radio show called "Islam in the Media," which invites experts to analyze Muslim issues.

The Interfaith Alliance has 130,000 members from 50 faiths and works to promote tolerance.

Priesthood commercial gets credit for easing shortage

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is crediting a TV commercial for helping draw more men to the seminary.

The diocese, which ordained no priests in 1999, now has eight seminarians, its largest class in seven years.

The ad features the Rev. David Bonnar describing a priest as "an ordinary man called to do extraordinary work." It first ran two years ago and has been picked up by the archdioceses of Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Baltimore had nine new candidates for the priesthood last year, the largest class in a decade. The commercial is part of Baltimore's wider effort to attract men to service, including a new full-time recruitment officer and a pop-up ad on America Online.

The Philadelphia archdiocese began using the Pittsburgh ads in January, running the spot during sports and other shows targeting males 16 to 45. Administrators say it's too soon to gauge the effect, but calls to Philadelphia's vocations office are up 30 percent this year.

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