Roman Catholic Archbishop Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has announced he has asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta to help diocesan health care personnel operate a hospice for dying AIDS victims in the Los Angeles area.

A similar church-run facility already operates in New York City and another is due to open in September in San Francisco.

Mahony, who became head of the nation's largest archdiocese last year, also announced he would establish a network of priests and other church personnel to meet "the need for special pastoral outreach to our gay Catholic community."

In a related development, New York Cardinal John J. O'Connor and Bishop Francis J. Mugavero of Brooklyn issued a joint denunciation of a proposed gay rights ordinance.

Two years ago the two prelates split in their response to an antidiscrimination executive order, which was struck down by the courts last year.

O'Connor and some conservative Protestant leaders have said they would forego multimillion-dollar contracts with the city -- largely for child care and other charitable services -- rather than comply with requirements not to discriminate against homosexual job-seekers. Mugavero agreed to comply with the order.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn diocese said the current bill "would seem to be a much broader measure than the executive order," which it is intended to supplant.

TV evangelist Pat Robertson, a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has acknowledged providing "chaplaincy service and Bibles" to the contras fighting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua.

Robertson told a private gathering in Washington hosted by the publisher of several of his books, Thomas Nelson, that he sent the aid at the request of Enrique Bermudez, a leader of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, the chief armed force fighting the Nicaraguan government.

"I believe that we owe it to every single one of these resistance groups that we, in the United States, at least give them some help," Robertson told the gathering of supporters and fellow evangelists.

Electric candles are out in Roman Catholic churches in England and Wales.

So are those gadgets that look like candles but have a refillable canister inside that burns with a wick on top.

In fact, says a statement from the Christian life and worship department of the British bishops' conference, all imitation candles are "unliturgical and do not have ecclesiastical approval."

Liturgy, the statement says, should "express more clearly the holy things it signifies . . . . " Wax candles must be used, the statement says, because they are "in the act of being consumed and yet giving light . . . a sign of Christ, the light of the world."

The Evangelical Church of West Germany is converting the West Berlin family home of theologian and World War II martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, into a museum and study center. The three-story house near the University of Berlin will be restored to look as it did in 1943, when he was arrested for his part in a plot to assassinate Hitler. The restoration project will add a library to include Bonhoeffer's extensive writings and other literature of his time . . . .

The Rev. Richard A. McCormick, professor of Christian ethics at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics, last week became the first American to receive an honorary doctorate from the prestigious Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium . . . .

The Rev. K. Bernell Boehm, formerly bishop of the Ohio District of the American Lutheran Church, is the new pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fairfax . . . .

The Rev. Al Fritsch, a Jesuit theologian and environmentalist who is research director of Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest, is scholar-in-residence at the Washington Cathedral for the next four months . . . .

The Rev. Melvin G. Brown, formerly pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass., will be formally installed next week as pastor of the Greater New Hope Baptist Church, 816