News Briefs

Mary Jo Copeland, founder of Sharing and Caring Hands and Mary’s Place for the homeless in Minneapolis, Minn., was honored on Feb. 15 with the Presidential Citizens Medal. • A Pew Research survey reports Americans favor President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour by almost 3 to 1. • Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, urged House members on Feb. 15 to extend federal conscience protections to the new mandates for private health plans. • In one of his last efforts to clean up the image of the Vatican bank, Pope Benedict XVI approved the hiring of the German industrialist Ernst von Freyberg, 54, as the bank’s new president. • To support prayer for Pope Benedict XVI and the selection of a new pope, the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship is offering liturgical and musical resources and specific prayers at bit.ly/UScb1w. • The Holy See and the Republic of South Sudan established diplomatic relations on Feb. 22 as tensions continued between the new republic and the nation of Sudan to the north.

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