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Published: Saturday, 6/7/2008

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FROM BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

SAN ANTONIO - In a sign of the changing face of American Catholicism, a 41-year-old of Mexican descent who grew up in Houston has been ordained the nation's youngest Roman Catholic bishop.

More than 1,000 people inside St. Mark's the Evangelist Catholic Church applauded the promotion of the Rev. Oscar Cantu as an auxiliary bishop of San Antonio, the equivalent of an assistant.

"This is our holy calling, my brother," Archbishop Jose Gomez said during his homily. "Are we worthy of it? Hardly. How could anyone be? And yet still he calls us."

Bishop Cantu grew up at Holy Name Church in Houston, where he returned as pastor to help run the school he once attended. He speaks four languages and taught at a Houston-area Catholic university.

Like the U.S. church as a whole, the 700,000-member San Antonio Archdiocese has been growing thanks largely to an influx of Mexican and other Hispanic immigrants. The shifting demographics make Hispanic candidates for bishop much sought-after.

Before his ordination, Bishop Cantu described himself as "a moderate conservative" - moderate on social issues, conservative on doctrinal issues.

"Above all, I call myself Catholic," he said. "I believe what the Catholic Church teaches."

First Congregational Church will continue a year-long celebration of its 175th anniversary with an outdoor service at 10 a.m. tomorrow, followed by music, children's activities, church tours, and promotional giveaways from noon to 5 p.m.

An ice cream social will be held from 3 to 5 p.m.

The celebrations will coincide with the Old West End Festival.

First Congregational Church, 2315 Collingwood Blvd., was founded in 1833 and is the oldest congregation in Toledo's original boundaries.

Pews and eight Tiffany stained-glass windows from the 1878 church were incorporated into the Collingwood Boulevard church that was dedicated in 1916.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday for a July 17 concert by Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich.

Chapman canceled a show that had been scheduled in Colorado last night, following the May 21 death of his 5-year-old daughter, Maria Sue Chapman. The girl was struck about 5 p.m. that day by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by one of Chapman's teenage sons in the family's driveway in Franklin, Tenn.

Police said no charges were filed. "It looks like a tragic accident," said a Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman.

Maria was one of three Chinese orphan girls adopted by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, who founded a ministry called Shaohannah's Hope to help promote more adoptions from China.

Condolences can be offered online at www.stevencurtischapman.com.

Chapman, who has won 50 Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association, is scheduled to start touring Friday in Portersville, Pa.. He and Smith will play the Detroit area show at 7:30 p.m. July 17. Tickets are $38.50 and $48.50 for pavilion or $20 for lawn seats, with a four-ticket lawn package for $50, available from all Ticketmaster outlets.

The Sisters of St. Francis are displaying a nine-foot banner that says, "Torture is wrong," on a fence near the front entrance to their grounds on Convent Boulevard in Sylvania.

The sign is part of the Banners Across America Project sponsored by the National Religious Campaign against Torture calling for a public witness against torture by congregations of all sizes, states, and faiths.

The Sisters of St. Francis said in a news release that they are taking a stance against torture because they believe torture debases the victims, perpetrators, and policymakers, and that all people are created in the image and likeness of God and their rights and dignity need to be upheld.

CAREY, Ohio - Indian Heritage Day will be celebrated tomorrow at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our of Consolation.

This second annual celebration begins with confessions from 10:30 a.m. to noon and a Syro-Malankara Mass at noon with the Rev. Shaji Thomas, celebrant.

Other Masses are scheduled at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The shrine is at 315 Clay St., Carey, Ohio. Information: 419-396-7107.

Three Toledo-area churches - St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Maumee, Vineyard Church of Toledo, and the Dwelling Place (formerly Glass City Fellowship - will join together for a worship and healing service at 6 p.m. tomorrow at St. Paul's, 112 East Wayne St., Maumee.

The service will include an extended time of worship led by Vineyard Church, followed by prayer for the sick.

More information is available by calling 419-866-5999.

ELLISTON, Ohio - A Creative Arts Camp for children ages 4 through ninth grade will be held at Elliston Zion United Methodist Church, 18045 West Williams St., from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 16 to 20.

Children will have a choice in creative arts areas including music, drama, hand chimes, cooking, crafts, musical instruments, Scripture, missions, woodworking, and more.

A performance of "The Parable Project" will be presented at 1:30 p.m. June 22, preceded by a chicken barbecue starting at 11:30 a.m.

The cost for the workshop is $20, and scholarships are available. Registration is due by Monday by calling Barb Smith, 419-270-4054, or the church, 419-862-3166.

The 21st annual Alive Festival will be held at Clay's Park in Canal Fulton, Ohio, from June 18 to 21, featuring such contemporary Christian music artists as Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Toby mac, Skillet, Hawk Nelson, Casting Crowns, and Family Force 5.

Total event tickets are $115 at the door or $105 if ordered by June 16, and one-day tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the gate. Tickets are available online at www.alive.org or by calling 330-899-0023.



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