Around the Church
June 2010

“Around the Church,” Ensign, June 2010, 77–78

Around the Church

Cardinal Lauds Efforts to Defend Religious Freedom

In the first address given by a cardinal at Brigham Young University, His Eminence Francis Cardinal George said Catholics and Latter-day Saints must stand together in defense of religious freedom.

“When government fails to protect the consciences of its citizens, it falls to religious bodies, especially those formed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, to become the defenders of human freedom,” he said.

Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, addressed 12,000 students and faculty members at BYU.

He expressed gratitude “that after 180 years of living mostly apart from one another, Catholics and Latter-day Saints have come to see one another as trustworthy partners in the defense of shared moral principles.”

Both churches have stood together on issues such as abortion, pornography, and gay marriage, he noted. With these issues, as well as other rising concerns, religious groups must stand together.

“Religious freedom cannot be reduced to freedom of worship, nor even freedom of private conscience,” he said. “Religious freedom means that religious groups as well as religious individuals have a right to exercise their influence in the public square.”

Romanian Members Celebrate 20 Years

Dressed as people from the scriptures, members of the Church in Romania shared stories about the Savior, the Apostasy, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon during a special program for members and friends. The program was part of a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the dedication of Romania for the preaching of the gospel.

The celebration was held in February 2010 and included a gathering at the place where Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the land in 1990. An excerpt from the prayer became the basis for the celebration’s theme, “Romania: A Beacon of Light to Neighboring Nations.”

“During the event we felt the Spirit and the happiness of members to be a part of this great work,” said Vasile Doru, president of the Bucharest Romania District. “We all pray that soon we will grow to become a stake in Zion and ‘a beacon of light to neighboring nations.’”

After the program, members divided into small groups and gave away copies of the Book of Mormon.

Couple Receives Madagascar Award

A senior missionary couple in Andrainarivo, Madagascar, recently received the country’s highest civilian honor for their humanitarian service.

During their 18-month mission, Elder Robert and Sister Susan Bird, from Fruit Heights, Utah, USA, helped provide humanitarian aid, including projects that provided potable drinking water to approximately 100,000 people.

The Minister of Water in Andrainarivo, the honorable Nhiry-Lanto Hery Andriamahazo, presented them with the Medal of Honor and offered kind words regarding the Church, saying missionaries in Madagascar are recognized as part of the Malagasy society.