News from Around the World:
Healing Austin, Indiana: Faith lifts small town from depths of HIV plague
by Laura Ungar, Louisville Courier-Journal
Johnathon Clark’s head caves in deeply where his grandfather shot him.
He went to the elderly man’s home four and a half years ago hoping to steal money for drugs. An argument got violent. Now, as he sits in Dr. Will Cooke's exam room, he’s maimed for life at 28, a large slice of the right side of his head gone.
But while this visible reminder of his years-long addiction is horrific, a more insidious legacy hides within his body — HIV.
And if he and his doctor can’t keep it under control, it can kill him as surely as a bullet. ...
Cooke knows this. He’s cared for scores of HIV patients in his small-town family practice over the past two years...
This tiny city off Interstate 65 is the epicenter of a medical disaster. Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirms Austin contains the largest drug-fueled HIV outbreak to hit rural America in recent history, and "the largest concentrated outbreak ever documented in the United States." He says its 5 percent infection rate — 215 cases in a population of 4,200 — is comparable to some African nations. And like those countries, Austin has long struggled with scant medical resources. Cooke is its lone physician, caring for most of the HIV patients along with his staff and an ever-changing cadre of medical students. ...
Cooke — a 45-year-old wearing a Star Wars cap that matches his scrubs — peppers the usual medical instructions with a dose of humanity, advising students: “Listen to him and talk to him and show him compassion.”
A deep Christian faith guides the doctor, who closes all his emails with a quote from Galatians:
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
“It’s only when we’re purpose-driven that we are really living,” says Cooke, Austin’s lone doctor. “Otherwise, we can be of no earthly good.”
What happened here provides lessons for the entire country about preventing and halting a deadly disease. ...
An outside frenzy of government attention has died down. Now, it’s largely up to the community to minister to the 215 people with HIV who may live here for decades. And gradually, that’s happening. New connections among health workers, church volunteers and community leaders are spawning locally rooted solutions residents hope will endure. Many of Austin's young people are determined to avoid drugs and build different futures.
Slowly, a path toward healing is being paved, a path illuminated by the flickering light of compassion. ...
A short drive away, volunteers scoop potatoes, green beans and salad to feed a long line of hungry people at the Church of the New Covenant.
It’s part of a weekly program called Food 4R Souls,which provides free meals, clothing and canned food at the corner of a street notorious for drugs. Cooke’s practice and the AIDS foundation contribute money and volunteer time to this effort and the youth center next door.
Sunday News from around the world for New Yorkers
French bishops offer divided voters guidelines on presidential runoff
by Catholic News Service on April 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm
On Sunday the French people went to vote for the first round of presidential elections and left-leaning Emmanuel Macron and far-right Marine Le Pen, were the victors. Ahead of the final face off on May 7 Catholic voters are divided regarding who should win. […]
Faith leads to freedom, not compromise, pope says
by Junno Arocho Esteves on April 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm
The concreteness of faith "leads to frankness, to giving witness to the point of martyrdom; it is against compromises or the idealization of faith," Pope Francis said during his morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae. […]
Thousands rally for truth, evidence-based policies at March for Science
by Lilly Fowler on April 24, 2017 at 5:31 am
Scientists were some of the people most concerned about a Trump administration given everything Trump had said about global warming being a hoax on the campaign trail. Now that he has appointed climate change deniers, scientists decided that they have to become more political to fight back. […]
Marijuana scores badly in ‘entirely predictable’ report
by Mary Rezac on April 24, 2017 at 5:28 am
In 2016, a report was released that showed some of the negative impacts marijuana legalization has had on the state of Colorado overall and specifically on the city of Denver. Those stats, however, were not enough to deter other states from voting for legalization in the last election. […]
Lawmaker’s invocation reignites dispute over prayer in AZ House
by Associated Press on April 24, 2017 at 5:21 am
Arizona House Majority Leader John Allen issued an informal directive this year defining what constitutes a prayer. It should be "short, focused on a higher power, and serve no political platform." That definition of prayer is not agreed to by all the representatives leading to tension. […]
At Easter Mass, Cardinal Asks for 'Blessing Of Risen Lord' on City, Country And Persecuted Christians in World
by Catholic New York on April 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm
"Who has the last word?" Cardinal Dolan asked the joyful faithful gathered for Mass in a packed St. Patrick's Cathedral on Easter Sunday morning. […]
Virginia Catholic Bishops Praise Governor For Commuting Death Sentence
by Catholic New York on April 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm
The Virginia bishops said they "welcome with gratitude" the April 20 decision by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to commute the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz. […]
Pope to Canonize Fatima Seers May 13; October Date for Other Saints
by Catholic New York on April 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm
Pope Francis will declare the sainthood of Blessed Jacinta Marto and Blessed Francisco Marto, two of the shepherd children who saw Mary in Fatima, Portugal, during his visit to the site of the apparitions May 13. […]
Itinerary Set for April 28-29 Papal Trip to Egypt
by Catholic New York on April 21, 2017 at 3:15 pm
Pope Francis will meet with the leader of one of the world's leading Sunni Muslim institutions, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church and representatives of the Catholic Church on a two-day trip to Cairo. […]
Joseph Pearce Lecture Set for April 27 at Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven
by Catholic New York on April 18, 2017 at 5:14 pm
Internationally known author Joseph Pearce will deliver a talk at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn. Thursday, April 27 in conjunction with the museum's World War I lecture series. […]
Who Does the Anne Frank Center Represent?
by Emma Green on April 24, 2017 at 10:00 am
The organization has a flair for attracting media attention, but lacks a mass membership or scholarly expertise—and its connection to its famed namesake isn’t what it claims. […]
The Supreme Court Considers Whether Churches Should Get Taxpayer Dollars
by Emma Green on April 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm
Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer has the potential to shape everything from state constitutions to school-voucher policies—if it doesn’t get thrown out. […]
It’s Not Enough to Dismiss Islamophobia
by Emma Green on April 17, 2017 at 8:00 am
A new book argues that conversations about Muslims in America and Europe are about more than rights and freedoms. […]
How American Muslims Are Trying to Take Back Their Government
by Emma Green on April 16, 2017 at 8:00 am
With Trump in office, some people are experimenting with a new form of civic engagement: running for local office. […]
Americans See Discrimination in Radically Different Ways
by Emma Green on April 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm
People don’t agree on who is facing the most persecution in the country. […]
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