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Published: Saturday, 12/28/2002

Poster art by local student hits the Trail

BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

A poster by Dan Smith, a freshman at St. Francis de Sales High School, has been selected by the West Toledo Council, Knights of Columbus, as the winner in its “Keep Christ in Christmas” contest.

The poster has been enlarged and placed on a billboard along the Anthony Wayne Trail between South Avenue and the Toledo Zoo bridge. It will remain in place until mid-January.

Dan drew the poster, which depicts a Nativity scene with angels on either side and the message “Keep Christ in Christmas,” while he was an 8th grader at St. Catherine School. He is the son of Elise Smith and Robert Smith.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has chosen the city of Virginia Beach, Va., for its 2002 Ebenezer Award, which is presented annually for ridiculous affronts to the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays.

Virginia Beach was singled out for its effort to shut down Mothers, Inc., during the Christmas season for a zoning violation. The 15-year-old Christian ministry distributes food, household items, clothing, and toys to the poor.

“Ebenezer Scrooge himself couldn't have pulled off a more effective `Bah, Humbug!' attack on the spirit of Christmas than Virginia Beach has,” said Becket Fund President Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson. “Thousands of needy families will go without toys or a special holiday meal this Christmas because of the city's attempt to shut down Brenda [McCormick] and her little group of mothers.”

The group also gave “dishonorable mentions” to Franklin County, Ohio, for using a zoning complaint to try to shut down a charity operated by a man who distributes bread and other food to the poor, and to the Borough of Watchung, N.J., which initially prohibited a group of Jewish residents from putting up a menorah next to a community “Tree of Lights.” The New Jersey officials later agreed to allow the menorah after a protest.

The Baptist Ministers' Conference of Toledo and Vicinity has donated $2,842 to the Martin Luther King Kitchen for the Poor and has agreed to make quarterly contributions to the organization to help with operating expenses.

In addition, two members of the conference will serve on the Martin Luther King Kitchen's board of directors.

The Rev. Ken Klaus will talk about fear of the unknown in the year ahead on tomorrow's Lutheran Hour radio program, which airs at 7 a.m. on WPOS-FM (102.3.)

Also tomorrow, Getting over the Holiday Slump will be the topic on Woman to Woman, which can be heard at 9 a.m. on WDFM-FM (98.1.)

PHILADELPHIA - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has halted its $18 million Catholic Heritage Center project, saying the sex-abuse scandal and the weak economy have complicated fund-raising.

“It would have been insensitive and inappropriate to ask Catholics to contribute to something that is a tribute to the Catholic faith at a time when trust in the church has been shaken,” archdiocese spokesman Catherine Rossi said.

In a statement, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua said public fund-raising efforts had been postponed pending a review toward the end of next year, but stressed: “This is an important project for generations to come. Although this is a difficult economic time in our country right now, I am hopeful that when the economy shifts, the funds will become available to make this project a reality.”

The shutdown is bitter news to church officials, who presented the project with great fanfare in March, 2001, at its future site, a vacant office building that the archdiocese had purchased near Independence Hall.

The goal had been to dedicate the center, the largest diocesan showcase of its kind in the nation, in June, concurrent with the opening of the nearby National Constitution Center and Liberty Bell Pavilion.



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