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Dreamer wants Congress to save DACA so she can minister at her parish

12/18/2017 - 8:48pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jessica Able, The Record

By Ruby Thomas and Jessica Able

SPRINGFIELD, Ky. (CNS) — Holding the Lectionary high, Mirna Lozano processed into St. Dominic Church in late October during the parish’s first young adult Mass, which she organized with the help of her father, Rodrigo.

The father-daughter duo recently earned certification in youth ministry through the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Youth and Young Adults. They are looking forward to seeing youth ministry grow at the parish.

But Mirna’s future in Springfield is uncertain. The 19-year-old native of Mexico was brought to the United States without proper documentation when she was 4 years old. The U.S. is the only home she knows.

For now, she’s protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the program — which protects 800,000 young people from deportation — leaves an uncertain future though.

What’s more certain for Mirna and other young Hispanics is fear.

Trump called on lawmakers in Washington to pass a measure to preserve DACA. To that end, advocates around the country have rallied to urge passage of the DREAM Act — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — to provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries, but Congress has yet to act.

The young people who would benefit from the act’s passage, known as “Dreamers,” are afraid they will have to give up their lives in the U.S. and be forced to return to countries they barely remember.

Mirna, who hopes to be a teacher and youth minister, said she feels her future lies in the hands of the federal government. She has voluntarily registered under DACA.

“This is our country. This is all we know,” she told The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Mirna, her father and a group of six other young people, including her younger sister Dora, shared their journeys after the Mass at St. Dominic.

Rodrigo Lozano said his family moved to the U.S. 15 years ago, trading the suffocating violence of Mexico City for the sleepy rural community of Springfield, 59 miles southeast of Louisville. Mirna was 4 and Dora only 3.

He said he came looking for a “better … more peaceful life” for his family. “It’s every parents’ dream,” he said.

Despite a tough economy in Mexico, he had managed to hold a decent job, but Mexico City had become inundated with violence, he said. After being assaulted at gunpoint several times, he felt he had no choice but to leave his homeland. Traveling to the U.S. without documents is a major decision because it’s dangerous, he admitted.

The elder Lozano said he initially traveled north alone to prepare a life for his family. His wife and two daughters joined him about a year later.

When Rodrigo arrived, he did not speak English, had nowhere to live and no clothes to wear. But he found work on farms and sometimes cleaned streets.

“You don’t care how much you’re paid, you just want to work,” he said.

As for regrets, Rodrigo has none.

Since moving to Springfield the family, including a son born in the U.S., have found a home in St. Dominic Church, where they are active parishioners.

Despite the looming threat of deportation, Mirna continues to look ahead. She and her father are proud of their youth ministry certificates and are forming a multi-ethnic youth group at the parish.

Mirna also is active in the community, helping other young people understand their options for higher education despite their legal status. Undocumented young people, even those protected by DACA, do not qualify for federal student aid.

She said he hopes to foster unity and a better understanding between Hispanics and the larger community in Springfield.

DACA is not just a political issue, she noted. It’s about people “striving for a better life.” She wants to help others understand that.

Mirna hopes that Congress will pass the DREAM Act and that there will be a path to legalization for the parents of Dreamers.

Since the president’s decision in September to cancel DACA — he gave Congress six months to act before formally ending the program — Mirna has felt the Catholic Church’s presence and support because it has helped her feel safe.

Father Pepper Elliott, pastor, who celebrates Mass in Spanish for the Hispanic community at St. Dominic Church, said it would be a tragedy to lose the Dreamers.

“They’re just as much our young people as any other in our parish and they’re just as close to our hearts,” Father Elliott said.

He held up Mirna’s leadership in organizing the young adult Mass. She graduated from Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, Kentucky., where she was elected president of her senior class, he said.

Young Latinos such as Mirna have grown up in the community and some attended St. Dominic School, he explained, noting that many now are of college and working age, contributing to the community by holding jobs, paying taxes, rent and utilities, buying necessities, such as clothing and cars, and even helping create jobs.

On top of that, Father Elliott added, they add to the community through their family life and values.

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Thomas and Able are on the staff of The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

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EWTN Television Christmas Mass Schedule and Christmas Specials

12/18/2017 - 3:51pm

EWTN Christmas Schedule

Saturday December 23, 2017

12:00 a.m. Father Spitzer’s Universe: Gospel and the Historicity of the Nativity
2:00 a.m. Christmas in Harvard Square: The Boys of St. Paul’s Choir
4:00 a.m. Savoring our Faith Christmas Special
5:30 a.m. Keep Christ in Christmas: A Catholics come home special presentation
9:30 a.m. My time with Jesus Christmas Special
10:00 a.m. Feast with the Friar: Christmas Special
1:00 p.m. Mysteries of the Rosary: The Nativity
2:00 p.m. On Assignment Magazine: Holiday Edition
2:30 p.m. EWTN’s Vatican Report: Christmas Special
7:30 p.m. Mother Angelica’s Live Classics: A little child shall lead them
8:30 p.m. Theatre of the Word: Morning Star
10:00 p.m. Living Right with Dr. Ray: Celebrating Christmas

Sunday December 24, 2017

12:00 a.m. Christmas with Collin Raye featuring Andrea Thomas
5:00 a.m. Luke: Meek Scribe of Christ: The Birth, Presentation & his Messianic Identity
9:30 a.m. Mystery of the Magi: The quest to identify the Three Wise Men
1:30 p.m. The Catholic University of America’s Christmas Concert
3:30 p.m. Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve Live from Rome
6:00 p.m. Jesu the Joy of Man’s Desiring with the Dominican Sisters of Mary
10:00 p.m. Choral Meditations on the Nativity
10:30 p.m. Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve Live from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.

Monday December 25, 2017

1:00 a.m. Midnight Mass from the Holy Land
4:00 a.m. Mother Angelica’s Live Classics: What is your spirit of Christmas?
5:00 a.m. Mystery of the Magi: The quest to identify the Three Wise Men
6:00 a.m. Urbi et Orbi Live from Rome: Pope Francis Message and Christmas Blessing
6:30 a.m. Flowler Sisters: Christmas Gift
8:00 a.m. Solemn Christmas Mass: The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word celebrate the Solemn Christmas Mass from EWTN’s Chapel in Irondale, Alabama, USA.
10:00 a.m. Image of God: Christmas
10:30 a.m. Catholic Family: St. Joseph
11:00 a.m. Women of Grace: Christmas Song with Barbara Padilla Part I
Noon Solemn Mass Christmas Day: The Solemn Mass of Christmas from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
1:30 p.m. Joy of Music from the HolyLand
4:00 p.m. Mother Angelica’s Live Classics: Christmas Message
5:00 p.m. Mysteries of the Rosary with Father Daley: The Nativity
5:30 p.m. Mystery of the Magi: The quest to identify the Three Wise Men
6:00 p.m. On Assignment Magazine: Christmas Edition
6:30 p.m. Joy of Music from the HolyLand
7:00 p.m. Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve from Rome
9:00 p.m. Urbi et Orbi from Rome: Pope Francis Message and Christmas Blessing
11:00 p.m. Keep Christ in Christmas: A Catholics come home special presentation
11:30 p.m. Women of Grace: Christmas Song with Barbara Padilla Part I

Monday January 1, 2018

Midnight Solemn Mass of Reparation: The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word invite all to begin the new year by repenting for past sins during a special Mass of Reparations.

4:00 a.m. Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God: Pope Francis presides at Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Noon Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God: Pope Francis presides at Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

6:30 p.m. Solemn Mass of Reparation: The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word invite all to begin the new year by repenting for past sins during a special Mass of Reparations.

As pope turns 81, kids entertain with song, dance and 13-foot pizza

12/18/2017 - 2:14pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Celebrating his 81st birthday, Pope Francis blew out the candles on a 13-foot long pizza after being serenaded with song and dance by children and employees from a Vatican pediatric clinic.

A group of children receiving assistance from the Vatican’s St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic, had given the pope a birthday party Dec. 17 marked with singing, dancing and a cake adorned with gold and white fondant decorations.

They also rolled out a large pizza with a single lit candle on it. The pope was joined with several children from the clinic and counted down before blowing out the candle.

“Eat the 4-meter pizza: Eat well, it will do you good and make you grow,” the pope told the children.

The pope said their joy was a gift and is like “good earth that makes life grow with good fruits.”

“Do not make children sad. When children see that there are problems at home, that their parents are fighting, they suffer,” he said. “They must always grow with joy.”

After meeting the children, Pope Francis greeted an estimated 25,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address.

After reciting the Angelus prayer, the pope was about to greet several individual groups present in the square before the crowd burst into song, singing “Happy Birthday.”

Touched by the gesture, the pope said: “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Celebrating the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, Pope Francis invited Christians to prepare for Christ’s coming through “constant joy, persevering prayer and continual thanksgiving.”

“Joy, prayer and gratitude are the three attitudes that prepare us to live Christmas in an authentic way,” the pope said before inviting the crowd to repeat the words: “Joy, prayer and gratitude.”

Pope Francis also blessed the statues of baby Jesus that will be at the center of Nativity scenes in Rome schools, churches and homes.

Addressing the children who brought their figurines to the square, the pope said, “When you pray at home, in front of the creche with your family, let yourselves be drawn toward the tenderness of the child Jesus, who was born poor and fragile in our midst to give us his love. This is the true Christmas.”

With Christmas also around the corner, the pope also met with members of the Italian branch of Catholic Action’s children’s section, parish-based groups of young people, ages 4-14, for his traditional pre-Christmas audience with them.

The pope said the Christmas season is a reminder of helping those in need who are the “image of the child Jesus who was turned away and who did not find a place to stay in the city of Bethlehem.”

He called on them to ask themselves how they can better serve the suffering Christ in those who are cast aside by society.

“Here are your ‘peripheries;’ try to fix your goal on companions and people that no one sees, and dare to make the first step to meet them, to give them a bit of your time, a smile, a gesture of tenderness,” the pope said.

“In this upcoming feast of holy Christmas, you are called to always make him known more and more among your friends, in the cities, in the parishes and in your families,” he said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.


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Today’s Video: The Spirit of the University of Dayton Flyers at the Christmas Tree

12/18/2017 - 11:50am

On Friday, December 8, 2017, it was Christmas at UD. Today’s video is the University of Dayton Pep Band “Flyer Spirit” at the Christmas Tree.

For coverage of Christmas at UD, click here

Obituary: Glenmary Father Richard Kreimer

12/18/2017 - 11:29am

CINCINNATI, Ohio (Dec. 15, 2017) – Father Richard Kreimer, a native of Cincinnati and a 60-year member of the Glenmary Home Missioners, died Dec. 15 at Heartland of Woodridge in Cincinnati. He just turned 80 on Dec. 9.

Known for his sense of humor and talent in the kitchen, Father Richard worked throughout the United States as a religious brother and priest. The son of a grocery owner, Father Richard began his career cutting meat for his father’s deli in Westwood.

After hearing the late Father Joseph O’Donnell passionately speak about his work in rural America, Father Richard joined the Glenmary Home Missioners. He was captivated by the idea of serving in priestless counties in Appalachia and the South and personally connecting with Catholics in the small chapels scattered throughout Glenmary’s mission areas.

“Father Richard was a very dedicated priest,” said Glenmary president Father Chet Artysiewicz. “He was terribly disappointed when he could no longer maintain a regular schedule assisting in various local parishes. Even as his own health issues created limitations, he was still able to celebrate Mass and anoint the sick at Heartland of Woodridge.”

Originally a Glenmary Brother, Father Richard took the name Brother Roger when he joined in 1955. For the first 10 years of his service, Father Richard manned the kitchens in the novitiate house in Aurora, Ind., and Glenmary’s lodge in Buck Creek, N.C. Among his many tasks as cook and maintenance man at Buck Creek Lodge was preparing the building for Glenmary meetings and the annual summer camp Glenmary hosted for children in the area.

After studying nutrition at Good Samaritan Hospital, Father Richard began running the Glenmary kitchen, where he served as kitchen manager for three years before joining the late Father George Mathis in St. Louis, Mo., who directed the Glenmary House of Studies.

But, Father Richard wanted to deepen his faith. An avid scholar of American history, he knew the rich culture and history of the South and longed to serve in a different capacity.

On May 19, 1979, he was ordained a Glenmary priest and began his assignment as an associate pastor in Jefferson, N.C., followed by stints as the associate director of the Mission Office in Cincinnati and a pastoral assignment in West Union, Ohio

In addition to cooking, Father Richard enjoyed stamp collecting. He also loved to learn. Originally told not to pursue high school because he was dyslexic, Father Richard discovered during his Glenmary studies and service that he had a high IQ. He spent much of his free time poring over history books and studying for his nutrition certificate at Good Samaritan Hospital, bachelor’s of humanities at St. Louis University and clinical pastoral education certificate at Andover Newton Theological Institute. He did his theological studies at Washington Theological Union.

The eldest of 10 children, Father Richard is survived by brothers, Lawrence Kreimer, Leroy Kreimer and David (Julie) Kreimer, all of Cincinnati; sisters, Lois Nickels (Charles), Karen (Edward) Menkhaus, Linda (the late Alfred) Stoffran, Mary Kay (William) Espelage and Diane Meyer, all of Cincinnati; and many nieces, nephews, fellow missioners and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Dorothy Kreimer and brother, Steven Kreimer.

Reception of the body will take place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19, at St. Matthias Catholic Church, 1050 W. Kemper Road, Cincinnati, Ohio. Visitation will follow until 7 p.m., at which time the wake service begins.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, at St. Matthias Catholic Church, 1050 W. Kemper Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, with interment following at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 11000 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Memorials may be made to Glenmary Home Missioners, P.O. Box 465618, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246. Newcomer Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.

About Glenmary Home Missioners
Glenmary Home Missioners (aka the Home Missioners of America) are a Catholic society of priests and brothers who, along with coworkers, are dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of people living in mission counties throughout Appalachia and the South.

Celebrating at the Stable: Nativity scenes help us understand the Incarnation

12/18/2017 - 8:28am

It’s the little clay baby in the manger – or maybe the empty manger, waiting until Christmas morning for the figure to appear. It’s the watchful figures of Mary and Joseph (“Mary always has to go on Jesus’s right, and Joseph always has to hold a lantern or a staff,” explained Cathy Nagy, of St. Columban parish in Loveland). It’s the Holy Family at the foot of the mountain – or in the stable – or in a cave. It’s the set passed down from Grandma, or bought in France or Germany or Africa or Guatemala, or collected piece by piece.

Whatever its materials and size and style, the Nativity set is a well-loved Christmas tradition in homes around the world. But it isn’t ancient, at least as the Church measures traditions. The first Nativity scene was set up by St. Francis more than 1,000 years after the birth of Christ. And for many centuries the displays remained at churches, only becoming a tradition for homes in the last 200 years.

Though collecting Nativity scenes has become a hobby for many Christians, the reason the sets exist is far more profound. For Franciscan Brother Tim Sucher, collecting and displaying hundreds of Nativity sets from around the world has been a hobby since childhood – but it’s also a way to evangelize, and a way to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

“The heart of St. Francis’s spirituality was Incarnation,” he said. “For him, salvation came because of incarnation – by God becoming one of us, Creation was raised to a whole new level.”

St. Francis invented the Nativity scene in 1223, when he set up an outdoor replica of the scene of Christ’s birth. There were no figures or actors at this first crèche, just an empty manger and some farm animals. Legend says that the local bishop allowed him to celebrate Christmas midnight Mass at a makeshift altar beside it.

“His desire was to experience the birth of Christ,” Brother Tim said. “Tradition goes that it was such a profound experience that some people there saw the baby Jesus in Francis’s arms.”

As a boy, Brother Tim said, he loved Christmas. His father’s unhappy childhood made him determined to give his family a festive holiday, and “the sky was the limit at Christmas,” he said. It still is, for the friar whose collection has expanded from Nativity sets to trains, Father Christmas and Santa Claus figures, and more, and has moved from the basement of St. Francis Seraph Church in Over-the-Rhine, where it had been displayed for years, to a series of rooms at Christian Moerlein Malthouse Taproom down the street.

On display for more than a month, the collection includes a giant display of figures from Italian manufacturer Fontanini, as well as hundreds of crèches from all over the world. The rooms are open during the taproom’s hours, and each year more people come to see them. The Franciscans leave brochures on their ministries and on Christmas for those who come upon it by accident, using the family-friendly display as a way to reach people who might not visit a church.

“The number of people who come back, and then come back with other people, tells me that this is needed,” Brother Tim said. “The greatest compliment I can hear is people saying, ‘thank you for doing this for the community,’ or ‘I brought my children so they can experience what Christmas is all about.’ People are looking for symbols of the real meaning of Christmas.”

Marianist Father Johann Roten knows the importance of Nativity scene displays. He’s built the crèche collection at the University of Dayton’s Marian Library to more than 3,500 sets, some of which are displayed at Christmas each year (this year’s display will be smaller than usual, because of construction at the library).

“The reason I did this collection is to highlight the importance of the Incarnation,” he said. “For Catholics, God is not above the clouds. He came all the way to meet us where we are.”

In the annual displays and his book “God Still Comes: From the Manger to the Heart,” Father Roten explores traditions in various countries, as well as the way each culture portrays people and animals, and what each group of people find beautiful. “In some countries, the display includes a mountain,” he said. “God isn’t at the top of the mountain, he comes down to the very bottom, to a cave, to incarnation.”

In some countries, the figures include only the Holy Family. In others, many more figures are expected. “In the Latin and German traditions, the Magi are an important part of the display,” he said. “There, it’s not a celebration of the close-knit Holy Family, but an announcement to the whole world through the Magi. In Latin America, a rooster is an important figure at the manger. It’s a symbol of redemption. And in France, there are 146 figures! Each figure has a story, and they’re village stories of people stealing things, or fighting with each other. But at the end of the stories, they all come to the manger. The figures represent the people of a village, with its checkered characters, making peace and celebrating together at the manger.”

Collections tend to grow. The Nativity set collection at St. Columban Church in Loveland has grown so large that it takes eight people an entire day to set them up, and so many people want to see them that the parish now schedules tours. “They’re from all over the world,” said Nagy, the parish’s coordinator of communications and events, and are made from materials as fine as stained glass to as simple as newspaper. “Each artist and country interprets them differently.”

While figures may fascinate, for some people, nothing compares to live animals – or to real people. St. Francis Seraph has hosted a live animal in its walled courtyard in the heart of the city for decades. And though many parishes and schools hold Christmas pageants, there’s nothing in the archdiocese quite like the pageant that has taken place at St. Gertrude for 50 years.

“It was composed completely by one of our Nashville Dominican sisters, and is robustly informed by the shape of the Mass,” said Dominican Father Gabriel Toretta, one of the Madeira parish’s parochial vicars. Human beings, he said, have “a need to enact” the Nativity and the Passion, both of which are celebrated with pageants at St. Gertrude. This need “comes from the Mass, “ he said. “We are so in love with our faith that we are compelled to enter into it.”

Like medieval mystery plays, which would often include entire villages, the St. Gertrude play includes more than 100 students from the school. Generations of the same family have now participated, “and there are some people who have been to every single one,” Father Torreta said. The evening production is usually standing-room only, he said, with only slightly more room at second and final production the next morning. “It draws you into it really, really deeply, because it’s not just on a stage – it happens all around you,” he said. “It’s being part of the living tradition of the Church.”

Whether singing about a silent night or carefully setting out cherished figures, Catholics love to celebrate that long-ago day when Christ was born. Whenever they do, Father Roten said, they’re celebrating the Incarnation of God. “There’s a saying from the Church Fathers: What has not been assumed cannot be redeemed,” he said. Each reenactment or representation of the Nativity communicates that message “from the Manger to the heart.”

St. Columban Creche (Courtesy Photo)St. Columban Creche (Courtesy Photo) St. Gertrude (Courtesy Photo) Bro. Tim Sucher Soutwest Creche (Courtesy Photo)Bro. Tim Sucher Soutwest Creche (Courtesy Photo)

Advent Tradition: Rorate Mass at Old Saint Mary’s

12/18/2017 - 6:14am
6:40 a.m. Old St Mary, The Second Saturday of Advent. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

While many in the Ohio Valley on an early Saturday morning were just awakening, a faith filled Old Saint Mary Parish awaited the Rorate Mass. I found it a moment in this Advent where darkness was interrupted by light. The Sunday readings have reflected that theme, along with being in the wilderness. In the darkness, I found myself wayward trying to acclimate myself in a darkened church, trying to understand the Latin Mass.

The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet. In the dimly lit setting, priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.

The readings and prayers of the Mass foretell the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a Son called Emmanuel, and call on all to raise the gates of their hearts and their societies to let Christ the King enter; asking for the grace to receive eternal life by the merits of the Incarnation and saving Resurrection of Our Lord.

Below is a witness in pictures and video of the Rorate Mass at Old Saint Mary in Over the Rhine, Cincinnati.

The Blessed Mother in candlelight (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The Blessed Mother in candlelight (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The darkness is broken by candle light. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The darkness is broken by candlelight. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Points of light in a darkened church (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Points of light in a darkened church (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Father Bevak giving his homily (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Father Bevak giving his homily (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Where Darkness, light, and fragrance collide during the Rorate Mass (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Where Darkness, light, and fragrance collide during the Rorate Mass (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The faithful pray on a cold late fall morning at Old Saint Mary (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The faithful pray on a cold late fall morning at Old Saint Mary (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Rorate Mass censing (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Rorate Mass censing (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Consecration of the Blood of Christ (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Consecration of the Blood of Christ (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

A video during communion (Note quality not the best) however where darkness, light, fragrance, and beautiful music meet during the Old Saint Mary Rorate Mass

Morning has broken (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Morning has broken (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The altar bathed in candlelight (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The altar bathed in candlelight (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Daughters of Saint Paul in prayer after the Rorate Mass (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Children or Mary sisters in prayer after the Rorate Mass (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Old Saint Mary Church (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Old Saint Mary Church (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Morning in the OTR (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Morning in the OTR (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) 05, December 16, 2017 (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)8:05, December 16, 2017 (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The Verdin Bell Company bathed in morning daylight, which used to be Saint Paul's Church. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The Verdin Bell Company bathed in morning daylight, which used to be Saint Paul’s Church. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

Locals attend the Beatification of Bl. Solanus Casey

12/18/2017 - 6:00am
John Leyendecker with his wife, Lisa, their children, and a friend at the beatification of Franciscan friar Solanus Case. Ten-year-old Solanus Leyendecker was  featured in an EWTN news story. (Courtesy photo)

Among the area people who traveled to Detroit last month for the beatification of Franciscan friar Solanus Casey were a 10-year-old boy, three seminarians, a priest, and a Dayton family whose daughter (now a religious sister) once lived in an Indiana Catholic center that was once home to the Capuchin priest.

Young Solanus Leyendecker, the son of John Leyendecker (who runs School of Faith in the archdiocese) and his wife Lisa, traveled to the beatification at Ford Field with his family and was interviewed by EWTN news for an article about people named “Solanus.” Here is an excerpt:

“…. The entire Leyendecker crew – including seven children and one on the way – made the five to six-hour van trip all the way from Cincinatti [sic], Ohio to be present for the beatification.

“John said he first learned about Blessed Solanus after picking up a book about his life during his years as a youth minister. At the time, his wife Lisa was pregnant with their second child, and he was so inspired by Fr. Solanus’ life that he told his wife if their child was a boy, they’d name him Solanus.

“’And she said you’re nuts, we are not, because that name is a little far-fetched,’ John recalled. ‘And I said, you gotta read this book, you’ll love him.’

“Halfway through the book, Lisa was also convinced that they would name their child Solanus, if it were a boy. At the same time, she discovered her family had a personal connection to the holy friar: her mother told her the story of her great-grandfather who was cured of cancer after visiting Fr. Solanus when he was stationed in Indiana….
‘It’s awesome,’ John said. ‘We played Catholic roulette on a saint’s name, he wasn’t even a saint yet, but we said we’re going to name him after this guy because he’s going to be raised to the altar one day. And here we are ten years later and in fact he is.” (Click here for the complete article)

Father Eric Bowman, pastor of Transfiguration Parish in West Milton, drove to Detroit for the beatification. So did three seminarians studying at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Mt. Washington: Robert Healy, a seminarian for Tulsa; Brother Gabriel Heidbreder, a seminarian for the Fathers of Mercy; and Kevin LeMelle, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Seminarians Robert Healey (Tulsa), Br. Gabriel Heidbreder, CPM (Fathers of Mercy) and Kevin LeMelle (Cincinnati) made the trip to Detroit for the beatification. (Courtesy photo)

The Athenaeum of Ohio published remarks on the beatification by Brother Gabriel, who grew up near Bl. Solanus.

“Certainly, it is an awesome thing to go to the beatification of any holy man or woman, but this case was especially important to me since I grew up just over an hour away from where this saintly friar lived, worked, and prayed,” he wrote. “It was so impressive to be at a nearly packed Ford Field to celebrate the life of a lowly friar who struggled through school, held the door open to those in need, and never turned a deaf ear to those who asked for advice, consolation, or intercession. He simply gave of himself totally to Christ and to his fellow man.

“As a seminarian and consecrated religious it was an impressive sight to witness the impact of one man, who lived out a humble life of simple fidelity to Christ through obedience to the duties asked of him in his state of life, as well as the power of God’s Love when It is allowed to move through those who willingly cooperate with It.

“It rained and poured our entire trip up to the beatification and was snowing when we walked out of the stadium. Yet, I couldn’t help but smile at God’s magnificent sense of humor in His perhaps subtle reminder of one of my favorite scriptural passages: ‘For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout… So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;

It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it’  
(Isaiah 55:10-11)”

Ascension Parish (Kettering) members Tim and Lynn Bete took their daughter Grace to the beatification, and met up at Ford Field with another daughter, Dominican Sister Maria Benedicta, of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother the Eucharist (the “Nashville Dominicans”).

For the Bete family, it was another case of a “Solanus” traveling to the beatification of his namesake: Tim and Lynn are both secular Carmelites, and Tim’s name in region is Lawrence Solanus of the Child Jesus (after Brother Lawrence, Blessed Solanus Casey and St. Therese). Their Dominican daughter too has a connection to the Franciscan friar.

“Sister Maria Benedicta lived for a year at the Saint Felix Catholic Center in Huntington, Indiana, where Father Solanus Casey also lived for many years,” said Tim Bete. “His cell has been preserved there.”

Blessed Solanus Casey, pray for us!

Lynne Bete with two of her daughters, Dominican Sister Maria Benedicta, and Grace. (Courtesy photo). Dominican Sister Maria Benedicta and her father, Time Bete, at Ford Field for the beatification of Bl. Solanum Casey. (Courtesy photo)

Jeanne Hunt: Holy night – or hectic night?

12/17/2017 - 11:18am

Tis the season to be merry. Or is it? Too often, we dread the holidays because of all the hassle involved in making merry. Not the least of which is getting gifts for family and friends. Thanksgiving is so simple: great food, great company and not a worry in the world about the perfect gift, decorated trees, family events, etc. It comes down to making a choice between a hectic or holy night. As Advent begins, let’s make a mindful choice to honor the church’s version of the holidays.

Advent are days of preparation. What God considers getting prepared and what the culture thinks prepared is all about are two very different things. God wants quieted souls ready to receive the Christ once again. Our world wants perfectly decorated homes, gourmet cuisine and beautiful holiday clothes. Hmmmm… big difference. Again, it is time to make a choice. If we go with God’s plan, we are switching from hectic to holy.

These Advent days are riveted with surprises if we are looking. The problem is that we are so distracted with all the chaos of December’s Christmas noise that we barely recognize a good surprise when it comes. Each day, God will reveal His presence within us in the people and places around us. “You must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Luke 12:40).
“Be prepared,” Jesus tells us, or we will miss the surprise way in which He is popping into our vision, speaking through the voice of another, embracing us in the hug of a child. How can we prepare for this?

A sure-fire way to clear the air of holiday smog is to start the day with a few moments of quiet meditation. When we sit in a still place and become aware of the God within us, the worries and distractions of the day seem to become less of a hassle. If we need to, we can repeat the words of St Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing disturb you. All things are passing, only God remains.”
When we pause and realize that God is walking with us through our day, we begin to notice strange things: the frosty air when we walk out the door in the morning that greets us with the Advent wind of the Spirit; the smile of the maintenance guy at church as he shovels the church steps; the Christmas carol on the radio sounds like a heartfelt prayer. It is as if we are in a different dimension and we can see the people around us and ourselves more clearly.

Next, let us give simple, heartfelt gifts that do not cost a fortune. Luke puts it this way “ Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions” (Luke 12:15). Gift giving is an expression of love for the other as we celebrate the incarnation. We want to honor the goodness and God presence in the receiver. A gift that affirms their unique talents or what they delight in is the good gift. Too many of us desire “more, more, more” in order to be happy at the holidays. Nothing is farther from the truth. Expensive gifts, money, gift cards cannot bring joy.

Luke tells us that greed is toxic to the soul. I love to give a simple gift that tells the receiver that I know them and love their spirit: a new paint brush for my artist friend; birthday cards and stamps for my thoughtful aunt who is unable to get out; some feisty, hot sauce for my chili loving brother. This method takes thoughtfulness and is not meant to impress. Yet, it speaks deeply of our care and love.

If you keep the gift giving, decorating, social times simple and spend more time sitting with God each day of Advent, I promise you a remarkable Christmas. And, you can bet that our remarkable God will be sparkling each day of your Advent with one of His delightful surprises.

Stuff Luke Carey Found for December: Encounter in the Ordinary

12/16/2017 - 10:47am

Two different people shared the same article with me last month. My charismatic roots tempt me to take that it as a sign it should be this month’s topic, so here goes.

The article came from the Catholic website Aleteia, and is titled, “Hey, pastors, want to bring us Millennials back to church?”

The thesis is simple enough. If you want to bring Millennials back to the Church, it says, give them what the world does not offer: beauty, mystery, and prayer. The author makes a good point but
fails to say anything new. There’s been a movement amongst Millennials for more traditional liturgies since at least 2010. More incense and chanting, less tambourine and guitar.

But the end of the article struck me. The author quoted Luke 11:1,”Teach us to pray.” I whispered an emphatic yes reading that line. But why?

If you’ll allow me to have a Millennial moment (he said, wearing a U.S. Soccer t-shirt at a hipster Protestant coffee shop), I’d appreciate it.

This is why. Last weekend I went to a vinyl store in Oakley. The amount of options overwhelmed me. I found the following in the first five minutes: every Sufjan Stevens album, “The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend” for only $18, “1989” (both the Taylor Swift original and the Ryan Adams cover), and “Awaken My Love” by Childish Gambino — for $7 less than Amazon. I know! Crazy.

I needed to limit my options. Bravely, I decided to purchases only all-time favorites. It took half a second to see that they had “Clarity” by Jimmy Eat World. Released in 1999, “Clarity” is a masterpiece. The first song, “Table for Glasses,” changed me. Specifically, the first 30 seconds of the song. I can still remember feeling goosebumps at the sound of the snare drum. Those seconds shaped my musical taste for the next decade. That song is beautiful in its simplicity. The almost-hidden two-part harmonies, the cellos and strings, the xylophone, the tubular bells, and the lyrics express an earnestness more at home in post-2010 America than the cynical 90s.

“Table for Glasses” drew me out of myself. It affirmed long-held desires, and challenged me to keep seeking beauty in simplicity. Reflecting back on it, it strikes me now as something akin to the “encounter moment” described by Pope Benedict XVI. This parallel between encountering beauty and encountering Jesus still intrigue me.

So how do you teach a Millennial to pray? Doctrine and ideology are not enough. The faith, in all its beauty, must be experienced. We must hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it, let it touch the core of who we are. I wonder if there are more evangelization opportunities found in exploring the themes raised in the song “Appointments” by Julien Baker than there are in sharing a Bishop Barron article on Facebook.

“Teach us how to pray.” It means: Draw us into the mystery that transcends space and time. Provide opportunities for encounter with the Alpha and the Omega, God made man, the Logos, the Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Let forever encounter the present. Give space for death to be conquered, for the Paschal mystery to be experienced and not simply mentioned. Let Jesus be encountered, proposed, and wrestled with. Don’t discuss the woman at the well, be the woman at the well. That changes a person.

That impacts a lifetime.

Stories, tears flow freely for descendants of slaves Jesuits owned, sold

12/15/2017 - 8:05pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Peter Finney Jr., Clarion Herald

By Peter Finney Jr.

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — Inside the parish hall of St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in New Orleans, the personal stories flowed as freely as the tears.

One by one, descendants of the 272 enslaved men, women and children sold as a group in 1838 to a Louisiana plantation by the Jesuits who ran Georgetown University in Washington partially to relieve the school’s debts, described what it was like upon learning — through the meticulous records kept and maintained for nearly 200 years by the Society of Jesus — their hidden and bitter family story.

The sale of the 272 — known as the GU272 – placed them on a plantation in Iberville Parish in the town of Maringouin, located between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Others were placed on plantations in Ascension and Terrebonne parishes, which are like counties.

The first name on the slave manifest was Isaac Hawkins, who was 65 when he was sold from the Jesuits’ plantation in southern Maryland.

On Dec. 9 at St. Gabriel, Myrtle Hawkins Pace, Isaac Hawkins’ great-granddaughter, and her husband, Johnny Pace, described how their world was turned upside down when they received a telephone call in April from a cousin, who told her Georgetown University was renaming a building “Isaac Hawkins Hall” in honor of her ancestor.

They were living near San Francisco and had never had an inkling of Myrtle’s ties to the 1838 sale.

“I was absolutely astonished,” said Johnny Pace, “because here I am, married to Myrtle Hawkins, Isaac Hawkins’ (III) first born, and when I met her, I met her father and met her grandfather and they both were Isaac Hawkins. I said, ‘Wait a minute, this is astounding.’ It’s like having the sky drop in on you.”

The gathering at St. Gabriel was one of two listening sessions organized by the GU272 Descendants Association and the Society of Jesus, which was represented by Jesuit Father Tim Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, and Jesuit Father Bob Hussey, provincial of the Maryland Province.

Father Kesicki said the listening sessions with the Louisiana descendants of those who were enslaved were just the beginning of a lengthy dialogue process, “one of many visits moving forward.”

He reiterated what he told a large group at Georgetown April 18, when several campus buildings were renamed to honor the memory of those who were sold south.

Referring to the penitential rite at Mass, Father Kesicki said: “As Jesuits, we have greatly sinned, in what we have done and in what we have failed to do. Father Hussey and I are here today because we are profoundly sorry.”

“We share a history — a history that is the history of slavery,” Father Hussey added. “Jesuits in my province almost 200 years ago owned and sold enslaved people, and they were your ancestors, your family. It is hard for me to say that, but it is the truth, and we need to continue to face that truth.”

Father Hussey said one of the purposes of the Jesuits’ visit was to “extend the meaning and the grace and the conversation of those events” to a wider audience of descendants.

After meeting in New Orleans, they traveled to Maringouin, about 105 miles northwest of New Orleans. They also toured the Whitney Plantation, which gives an unvarnished account of the slaveholding economy in Louisiana in the 1800s.

“The history we share is painful,” Father Hussey said. “It is painful to remember the denial of human dignity and the suffering of slavery, imagining what your ancestors must have known. It is painful for us as Jesuits to recognize that our brothers, in blindness, would treat people in a way so contrary to the values we profess. We are all deeply ashamed by that.”

When the descendants took the floor, they described a variety of feelings and emotions. Linda H. Elwood said she found out about the slave sale only last year and wondered why it had not been made known more prominently.

“My mother is 92 years old and she just found out at 91,” Elwood said. “I’m 76 and I was 75 when I found out, and we were terribly hurt by this. I think there should be a way made that our children could be taught more about black history so they can know what’s going on in their lives, then and now.”

Sandra Green Thomas, president of the GU272 Descendants Association, said the Jesuits must seek reconciliation through concrete acts beyond renaming buildings on the Georgetown campus or giving descendants the regular benefits that the children of any Georgetown alumni or professors would receive.

“You have a tremendous amount of resources that you could use to uplift and support,” she said. “In Maringouin, they don’t even have a high school. People live in poverty. There are things you could do to ameliorate this.”

Walter Bonam, an associate with the New Orleans archdiocesan Office of Religious Education who moderated the discussion, said one of the sad ironies of the history of the GU272 is that the story is so well known now “because so many (of the descendants) have remained loyal to the Catholic Church that has not always been loyal to them, and it’s through baptismal records, marriage records and things like that that many of their names have become known.”

V.P. Franklin, editor of the Journal of African American History, said any eventual reconciliation has to include the idea of concrete reparations to descendants, particularly in educational benefits.

“So far it appears that the issue of reparations has been avoided by the people of Georgetown,” Franklin said. “(The Jesuits) need to be thinking in terms of how they can be making restitution, monetary restitution, for what they gained, what they stole from these enslaved people, and make restitution to those people.”

He said one idea would be to guarantee education for descendants — at schools beyond Georgetown — so that those students don’t “graduate in debt.”

Father Kesicki and Father Hussey said the Jesuits and the GU272 are working on a process for future dialogue and consensus.

“This is a long time coming, and it’s a long road ahead,” Father Kesicki said. “I hope that we don’t wait until we’ve agreed on everything before we do anything.”

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Finney is executive editor/general manager of the Clarion Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

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In #MeToo movement Catholic Church can play role in discussion, healing

12/15/2017 - 7:36pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Lucy Nicholson, Reuters

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The wave of accusations of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault from Hollywood to Capitol Hill and many places in between in recent months has been described as a revolution, a moment and a time for national reckoning.

The accused — abruptly fired or resigned — have issued apology statements or denied wrongdoing. Those who have come forward — predominantly women, but also some men emboldened by the solidarity of the #MeToo movement — were named “Silence Breakers” by Time magazine and honored as its 2017 Person of the Year.

“We’re still at the bomb-throwing point of this revolution,” the Time article points out, stressing that for true social change to happen, private conversations on this issue are essential.

And that’s where some say the Catholic Church has something to offer both from its lessons learned — and how it could do more — to support victims and foster healing.

The U.S. Catholic Church — tarnished by the clergy sexual abuse scandal that made headlines in 2002 – has taken steps in all of its dioceses to address and prevent the abuse of young people and will keep doing this forever, according to Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.

As it continues its training, education, background checks and reporting, the church must similarly “face the reality of sexual harassment,” said a Dec. 11 editorial in America magazine, pointing out that what the church went through with the abuse crisis shows “it is possible to begin turning even an organization as large and as old as the church toward primary concern for victims. “

But the church faces hurdles in just getting into this discussion, acknowledged Helen Alvare, a law professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School and consultor for the Pontifical Council of the Laity, noting that people can accept church teaching on global warming or refuges but its teachings on sexuality “is the thing that gets people mad.”

With papal encyclicals such as “Humanae Vitae” (“Of Human Life”), she said the “church was onto something” when it spoke of what would happen when sex was separated from love and responsibility, stressing that if “sex is robbed of its full meaning, it is bound to hurt someone.”

And that’s what the country is seeing now. As she points out: “We are not talking about women complaining that men stomped on their feet or slapped them really hard, it’s sex,” which explains the “depth of humiliation and anger” these women feel who have come forward.

“This is not a moment for triumphalism. I don’t see anyone in the church taking that approach,” Alvare said. “What I do see is people saying: ‘Let’s look at what’s happening, let’s name what we’re seeing and think about how to fix it.'”

“We’re part of that solution,” she added, noting that the experience of the church reaching out its hand and saying: ‘We’re here if you’re suffering,’ is very powerful.”

Part of the church’s role can’t help but stem from lessons learned in the abuse crisis.

As Deacon Nojadera said: “Clergy sexual abuse should not have happened, but it is part of our history and our landscape” and the church is “healthier and holier” for taking stock of what went wrong and learning to “listen intently” to victims, something he said it didn’t do initially.

He also knows the current abuse allegations go beyond the worlds of entertainment and politics and are closer to home with people coming forward in recent months under the tagline #ChurchToo to share their experiences of abuse in church environments of all faiths. These victims have often expressed the added pain of being told they did something to bring about the abuse.

He said the Catholic Church needs to help all who have been abused, not just address wrongs of its own past. When he gives talks around the country, people often pull him aside to talk about spousal abuse, domestic violence and bullying.

He told Catholic News Service that the church’s policies, adopted across the board in 2002 in its “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” put protocols in place for anytime someone calls a parish or diocesan office seeking help with ongoing or previous abuse or assault. For starters, they are offered resources and contact numbers to report the problem.

Dawn Eden Goldstein, an author who has written about finding healing after abuse, said some dioceses and parishes need to do more.

She said if someone contacts a parish priest to say they have suffered abuse, they should not be immediately given a list of local therapists which they could find on their own, or books with “vague platitudes.” Instead, she said, victims need clear spiritual guidance and reading recommendations tailored to their specific needs. Most of all, Goldstein said, “they need someone to listen to them with an open heart and say: ‘I’m very sorry to hear what was done to you. It wasn’t your fault.'”

In short, there needs to be more collaboration, to connect those who’ve suffered with spiritual care and with priests who are specifically able to help. Victims also need community, she said, pointing out the importance of Catholic outreach groups like the Maria Goretti Network,

Goldstein, who goes by the pen name Dawn Eden and is an assistant professor of dogmatic theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, speaks from experience. She was sexually abused as a child and when she became a Catholic as an adult, she said, she was “carrying all of this misplaced guilt,” imagining that she should have done something to stop it.

Part of her own path to healing came from the examples of the saints, which she writes about in her book: “My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints.”

She told CNS that the saints model a path forward for the country’s current crisis because they were “bold and courageous in speaking the truth and speaking when they saw people being abused and oppressed in any way.”

They also practiced mercy and justice and didn’t see a conflict between the two.

For example, St. Maria Goretti — an 11-year-old Italian girl stabbed in 1902 while resisting a sexual assault — forgave her assailant on her death bed, but she also gave a detailed description of what happened to her to the police.

As Goldstein sees it, St. Maria Goretti, canonized in 1950, is the “model we need to follow” because she shows those who suffer “that to forgive is in no way to excuse the abuser.”

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Tim Reilly Named New President of St. Xavier High School

12/15/2017 - 5:52pm

The St. Xavier Board of Trustees, announced the appointment of Tim Reilly Class of ’76 as the next president of St. Xavier High School. He will join the school from St. Ignatius Loyola School, Cincinnati, where he currently serves as principal; he will officially assume his new duties beginning in July 2018, which coincides with Fr. Timothy Howe SJ leaving for his new assignment.

Tim is a nationally recognized educator who has served in key leadership roles with the National Catholic Education Association, Catholic Conference of Ohio, the Ohio Principal Center, and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He has received the National Inclusive Education Leadership Award, Serving All God’s Children; Exceptional Collaboration and Support of Safe Environment for Students Award from the Council on Child Abuse; Sr. Helen Lucille “Game Changer” Award; Media Civic Leadership Award from Venue Magazine; “Man of the Year” Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Greater Cincinnati Inclusion Network Leadership Award; and the Jennings Scholar Award. He is also past CEO and Co-Founder of Optim-ALL Services, whose mission, since its founding in 2016, is to empower Catholic schools to successfully engage exceptional learners.

He has also earned an impressive series of academic credentials beginning with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education at Miami University, then a Masters of Education degree at Xavier University, where he later completed his administration coursework. This was followed by a Catechist Certification from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. At various times the during the past 25 years, Tim has also been an instructor at Xavier University with his primary focus being Exceptional Leadership. In addition, Tim has a deep familiarity with St. Xavier High School, beginning as a 1976 graduate and later performing in a variety of roles as a member of the school’s Board of Trustees, with service on the Executive, Education, Mission Promotion and Facilities committees. And, he has been a St. Xavier parent.

Under Tim’s leadership, St. Ignatius’ impressive performance has been frequently recognized. The school was named one of Cincinnati’s BEST elementary and secondary schools in 2016, a Top 100 Work Places in Cincinnati in 2014 through 2017, and a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2008. During Tim’s 23 year tenure, St. Ignatius expanded its facilities, increased its enrollment, and significantly improved its development yield.

Tim was chosen following a rigorous national search led by a diverse committee consisting of board trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents. As we began the search, we did so with the mutual conviction that whomever we selected for the role must fully understand and embrace the values and traditions of Jesuit education, have the appropriate academic standing and credentials, as well as have an understanding of the complex and challenging landscape of college preparatory education. Tim Reilly has all these credentials; but most importantly, he values the Jesuit Catholic identity that is at the core of our mission as an institution, he feels a deep passion for St. Xavier, and he has the necessary leadership skills to propel St. Xavier forward for years to come. Our decision has been received enthusiastically by our Provincial, the V. Rev. Brian G. Paulson, SJ and Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr.

From Field to Dreams to new church: St. John the Baptist, Harrison

12/15/2017 - 10:31am
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, center, with stole, and other church, community, and civic leaders break ground for the new St. John the Baptist Church in Harrison Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, center, with stole, and other church, community, and civic leaders break ground for the new St. John the Baptist Church in Harrison Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

By Walt Schaefer

Since 2003, St. John the Baptist Church in Harrison has had its own field of dreams.

That’s when Father Edward Shine purchased 26 acres of former farmland near the intersection of New Haven and Carolina Trace Roads, preparing for parish growth in a part of far western Hamilton County hugging the Indiana line.

Father Shine, who still helps out at the parish, is a man of vision. He saw the future as he began to witness a migration of Catholics from neighborhoods nearer the metropolis to Harrison and Harrison Township.

Soon, a new church will rise in that field—a testament to dreams being fulfilled.

In September Shine, along with Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, current pastor Father Jeff Kemper, Father Bill Dorrmann, community leaders, and architects wielded shovels and broke ground on the new church site. Project completion date is January 2019.

“When the new church is finished, the whole parish will move up there for Masses. Right now we’re in phase one—building the new church. The old church will still be used for school Masses and the school will remain (in downtown Harrison) for at least 10 years,” Father Kemper said.

“Eventually, the rectory and parish offices will be moved in phase 2, which will be about six years from now. We have to pay off the church, but we also need breathing space” before starting another project.

Although the new church will cost $6.3 million, the parish had to raise almost $9 million. “We had to pay off the land bought in 2003, and there are no utilities,” Father Kemper explained. “We have to bring all of those in. And part of that $8.8 million we have raised or pledged includes our share of the capital campaign for the archdiocese.”

This will be the fourth church building for St. John, which built its first church in 1851. Today, the parish has 2,150 registered families. “The church will serve 800 at the start, and we can expand it without too much major work to 1,000, and then it could be expanded to 1,200,” Father Kemper said, adding that he plans to reduce the number of Masses in the new building “We have five Masses now on Sunday and one on Saturday because the current church holds only about 400 people. It’s really small.

“We’re almost doubling the size and there is a lot of building going on out here. When I came here in 2008 and the parish was 1,800 families. About 300 new houses just went up in the past five years; and there have been 900 new home sites approved for development.”

The parish school reflects that growth. Although the school currently has about 300 students, it also has a preschool with an enrollment of 241.

“What I find here is a very strong spiritual life with diverse spirituality,” Father Kemper said. “We have the charismatic people; we have the traditional people; we have people who are more liturgically prayerful. I’ve always been amazed at the number of men involved here in spiritual things and it’s a parish that reaches out to others. We twin with a parish in El Salvador, and then we have a twinning relationship with a parish in Jackson, Ky.—Holy Cross—in the southeast corner of Kentucky, in Appalachia. Then we have an informal relationship with St. Leo Parish in South Fairmount in Cincinnati.

Tom Gruber, chairperson of the Future Home Committee, said the fund drive has secured about $8.4 million with firm plans in place to raise the additional $400,000 needed. It took two drives to get to $8.4 million, and he said many parishioners were willing to open their wallets twice.

“We are (now) following up with some individuals and parishioners who said they planned to make a donation but needed a little more time. We are seeking support from some local businesses. As new parishioners register in the parish, we will make appeals to them. We plan to put together a booklet with furnishings and artwork needed in the church and give individuals the opportunity to make donations to purchase them,” Gruber said, noting that original stained glass windows and stations of the cross will be moved to the new church. “We think that will bridge the gap between what we raised already and have a debt-free church when we’re done.”

Lifetime parishioner Jeanette Losekamp, a Future Home Committee member, said the capital campaigns have gone well because of the pastor’s leadership. “Father Jeff did it the right way,” she said. “When he first came, he was told by the archbishop to build a church. He didn’t just come out and steamroll us and say, ‘We’re building a church this year.’ He got the parishioners together. He got to know the movers and shakers in the parish, and he did surveys, and voting, and town hall meeting—anything he could do to find out what the parishioners wanted.

“He’s the pastor, but our church is the parishioners,” she said. “He was smart enough to know that if he just came out here and said, ‘This is what we’re going to do’, no one would’ve gotten behind it. We would not have raised $8.4 million. The way he went about it was extremely important.”

And for Catholics in Harrison, in just over a year that 2003 dream will be a reality.

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr speaks during the ground breaking for the new St. John the Baptist Church in Harrison Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)Archbishop Dennis Schnurr speaks during the ground breaking for the new St. John the Baptist Church in Harrison Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

Chaplain says 40 years with bowl-bound Badgers ‘a wonderful experience’

12/14/2017 - 7:15pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Father Nate Wills

By Mary C. Uhler

MADISON, Wis. (CNS) — When the Wisconsin Badgers’ football team travels to the Orange Bowl to play Miami Dec. 30, the players will take a 12-1 record with them — one of the best in team history.

Accompanying them will be Msgr. Michael Burke — better known as “Father Mike” to the coaches and players. He has been the team’s chaplain for 40 years.

He began working with the team when he was on the faculty of Madison’s Holy Name Seminary. The Badgers used the seminary fields and facilities for their summer training camp for many years.

Father Mike was a faculty member, rector, and vocation director during the years from 1977 until the closing of the seminary in 1995.

He remembers the training camps well. “The team was usually at the seminary for over three weeks,” he recalled in an interview with the Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Madison. “They were locked in and had to stay there the entire time. They certainly got focused, since there were no distractions.”

Father Mike believes he was the first team chaplain in the Big Ten Conference. Now, all but three of the schools’ teams have chaplains.

Throughout his years as chaplain for the University of Wisconsin-Madison team, Father Mike has offered encouragement and support to the coaches and players of all faiths.

He has performed 104 weddings of players and of coaches and countless baptisms. “They still stay connected with me,” he said. “They send lots of pictures.”

“Football is very intense,” Father Mike observed. “The players have to balance going to school, practicing, and keeping their head straight when they’re 18 years old. Many of them have issues with their families.”

He said the current head coach, Paul Chryst, and the assistant coaches let Father Mike know if players have personal problems. “It could be a father who’s in jail or someone in the family has cancer. I can be there to offer support.”

Father Mike said his work with the team is really another parish. “It’s very rewarding,” he said. “They keep me young.”

Father Mike retired in July as pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison, where he served since 1996. Since retirement, Chryst told him, “We’ll keep you busy.”

The priest’s encouragement of players “has happened thousands of times,” Chryst told the Catholic Herald. “Father Mike really helps our team.”

Father Mike prays with players of all faiths before the Badgers’ games, including in position groups.

During the games, he stands on the sidelines with the players and coaches. He wears a clerical collar, and recently at the Wisconsin-Iowa game, he got hit and knocked down by an Iowa player.

He said the Iowa player noticed his collar and said, “Sorry, Father,” and helped him up.

Father Mike said he has been impressed by the spirituality of the Badgers’ players and coaches. He said the players’ parents have noticed the change in their children, with many of them going to church more frequently.

The coaches and players also put their faith into action. This became evident this year when Wisconsin played Florida Atlantic University when Hurricane Irma hit their state.

The Florida Atlantic coaches and players ended up staying in Madison from game day on Saturday until the following Wednesday.

Wisconsin’s athletic director, Barry Alvarez, and his wife, Cindy, along with Chryst’s wife, Robin, and the wives of other coaches, made the Florida Atlantic crew welcome, as did Father Mike himself, who was out every day meeting with the visitors.

“It was impressive to see how we all helped the Florida Atlantic people. Many of them were worried about their families back home. Some of them wrote me thank-you notes when they got back,” said Father Mike. “It was a win-win situation all around.”

Asked to comment on the Badgers’ best football season ever, Father Mike said, “This year, they are so focused. They are a determined group, care for each other, and work together. I’ve never seen a coaching staff and players who work so well together.”

He believes a lot of the success is due to the strong spirituality among the coaches and players, starting with Chryst, who is Catholic himself and attributes much of his success as a coach to the influence of his father, the late George Chryst, who died 25 years ago.

Ordained a priest in 1974, Father Mike said he has been happy. “I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to do what God wanted me to do. I’ve been blessed with wonderful parents, brothers, sisters and friends. I’ve made so many wonderful friends over the years.”

He retired in July but said he’s busier than ever, ministering at a Catholic high school as well as at a Catholic-run nursing facility and a hospice. And he still makes time to serve as chaplain of the Badger football team.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” he emphasized.

The Badgers’ coaches and players thinks he’s “the greatest” and hope he stays around for many more years.

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Uhler is editor of the Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Madison.

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Natural disasters prompt church to raise millions for aid, recovery

12/14/2017 - 4:22pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters

By Dennis Sadowski

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, California and Mexico City, recovery was slow and deep pain remained from a string of natural disasters as 2017 ended.

Hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes from August through December caused widespread destruction and claimed hundreds of lives. Rebuilding in the affected areas will take years to complete.

Catholic agencies responded with emergency aid and undertook fundraising campaigns to help people of different walks of life who lost homes and livelihoods.

Perhaps no other place was harder hit than Puerto Rico, which was slammed in September by Hurricane Maria, the 10th most intense Atlantic storm on record. Electrical power was at 70 percent capacity and many communities continued to have no access to clean water in mid-December.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago visited the island in early December at the behest of Pope Francis. He toured the island with representatives of Catholic Extension, the papal society that has supported the church in Puerto Rico for decades.

He found once-bustling town centers and business districts shuttered in cities large and small, signaling a massive loss of income and livelihood. Collapsed buildings, flooded homes and roofless structures offered testimony to the severity of the storm.

The official death toll in Puerto Rico stands at 64. However, data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting shows that at least 985 additional people died in the 40 days after the hurricane, which is a higher death toll than in 2016, a year without such severe storms.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Harvey, swamped southern Texas and southwestern Louisiana as it ambled offshore in the Gulf of Mexico for days in late August, dumping more than 50 inches of rain on some communities. Catholic parishes and schools were among entities affected by flooding. The storm was the first major hurricane to make landfall on the U.S. mainland since 2005 and caused nearly $200 billion in damage.

Then came the back-to-back storms in the Caribbean: first Hurricane Irma followed by Hurricane Maria. With winds topping 160 miles an hour, both storms devastated entire islands. Irma also caused flooding throughout Florida.

Beyond Puerto Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Turks and Caicos were battered by the storms.

About the same time, earthquakes of magnitudes 8.1, 7.1 and 6.1 jolted Mexico Sept. 7, Sept. 19 and Sept. 23, resulting in 474 deaths and more than 6,300 injuries.

The temblors were followed in October and December by wildfires in California, driven by hot winds and fueled by hundreds of thousands of acres of dry timber, a consequence of a dry summer.

The most recent round of fires near Los Angeles followed by two months more than a dozen wind-whipped blazes in California wine country that destroyed thousands of homes in urban neighborhoods, causing 24 deaths and leaving hundreds of families homeless.

In response to the disasters, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Relief Services mobilized to raise funds to assist with emergency relief and long-term recovery.

The USCCB collected $38.5 million for hurricane relief and another $1.3 million for Mexican earthquake relief. Catholic Charities USA raised $24 million for disaster assistance. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul also was on the scene in various locales coordinating its response through parish and diocesan councils.

Other donors included Catholic Extension, which provided $400,000 in immediate support to the church in Puerto Rico following the hurricanes, and the Knights of Columbus, which pledged $1.4 million for church repairs in Florida, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization earlier provided $100,000 to the Archdiocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Caritas Mexico by the end of October had raised $900,000 for earthquake emergency aid. Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency and a partner in the church’s Caritas Internationalis network, was on the ground providing disaster assistance.

The U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions made an emergency grant of $50,000 to the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, to help with its response to the fires. In addition, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles began collecting funds even as wildfires raged in early December for families, parishes and schools affected by the fires in Los Angeles and Ventura countries.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2017 was the seventh most active hurricane season on record dating to 1851 and the most active season since 2005.

Alan Betts, a Vermont-based climate scientist who has studied global weather and climate for more than 40 years, outlined his concerns about future weather patterns during a Nov. 2 Catholic Climate Covenant webinar.

Betts long ago concluded that earth is warming and that humans cause it because of their penchant for burning fossil fuels in large quantities.

During the webinar and a September presentation at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, Betts explained that a warming atmosphere holds more water vapor. More humidity in the atmosphere means a higher potential for downpours.

At the same time, the oceans are a storehouse for excessive heat. The Climate Special Report released by 13 federal agencies Nov. 3 found that the oceans have absorbed 93 percent of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gas warming since the mid-20th century, leading to altered global and regional climate.

The warmer the oceans, the more intense the hurricanes, Betts said.

The Catholic Climate Covenant and the Global Catholic Climate Covenant continued efforts throughout the year to call on people to advocate for action to cut carbon emissions, a leading cause of climate change.

In other climate-related actions, hundreds of Catholics from across the country joined the two organizations during the April 29 People’s Climate March in Washington.

In sweltering heat — the temperature reached 91 degrees at nearby National Airport, tying a record set in 1974 for the date — an estimated 200,000 people walked from the Capitol to the Washington Monument to protest President Donald Trump’s environmental agenda.

The Trump administration has begun the process of dismantling environmental regulations and rolling back the Clean Power Plan regulating carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants in the name of creating jobs and boosting the U.S. economy. Trump also followed through on a campaign pledge to begin the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The U.S. bishops issued several statements throughout the year calling on the president to remain in the accord and keep the Clean Power Plan in place.

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Follow Dennis Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Xavier and TriHealth Break Ground on Health United Building

12/14/2017 - 2:50pm

$54 million multipurpose “HUB” will be a model of collegiate health

Cincinnati (Dec. 11, 2017) – Xavier University and TriHealth, two long-time, faith-based organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for all in the Cincinnati community, broke ground today on the Health United Building (HUB) on the Xavier campus.

The HUB, located at 1714 Cleneay Ave. in Norwood, will include classrooms for health-related academic programs, a new state-of-the-art fitness and recreation center, and a holistic health and wellness center to provide expert care for students.

The goals for the four-level, 160,300 square-foot facility are ambitious. “We believe this building will play a critical role in shaping our students—who they become and how they live in the future,” said Xavier University President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “We know that today’s students want balanced and healthy lifestyles. This building is designed to meet the physical, mental and wellness needs of all students and the fast-changing, academic needs of our health sciences students. Partnering with TriHealth, we know we can meet and exceed these goals.”

“This affiliation is so uniquely focused, like no other in the country, on caring for the whole person—mind, body and spirit,” said TriHealth CEO and President Mark C. Clement. “Whether it starts in the classroom, leads to a great performance on the court, drives healthier behaviors or increases positive connections in the community, this affiliation will touch lives and transform people, not only on campus, but throughout the region and nation.”

Primary features of the HUB include:

• Fitness/Recreation Center (104,400 SF)
o 4-lane recreation pool
o 3 fitness studios
o 3 basketball courts
o 2-level fitness area
o café

• Health and Counseling Center (9,800 SF)
o 10 exam rooms
o 7 counseling offices
o pharmacy
o wellness coordinator rooms

• Health Sciences Academic Building (46,100 SF)
o 11 classrooms
o 5 nursing sim labs
o 3 nursing skills labs
o 3 occupational therapy labs
o 2 sports studies labs

In January 2017, Xavier and TriHealth, with the support of Beacon Orthopaedics, announced a 10-year, exclusive affiliation that includes building this national model of excellence for collegiate health and wellness. The affiliation builds on a highly successful, 20-year relationship between TriHealth and Xavier and advances their shared mission to physically, mentally and spiritually improve the lives of those they serve.

The cost of the HUB is $54 million. Xavier and TriHealth are partnering with Messer Construction and MSA Architects. In keeping with Xavier’s Jesuit values, its construction will offer opportunities for minority and women-led businesses, and it will be inclusive, exceeding ADA requirements to make it even more welcoming for all. In addition, the building will be designed and built to LEED Gold standards. The HUB is expected to open in August 2019 for the fall 2019-2020 semester.

Planning for and design of the building has been underway since 2015, led by Vice President for Facilities Bob Sheeran, Senior Director for Student Affairs Leah Busam-Klenowski and Dean of the College of Professional Sciences Paul Gore. “We got here with a lot of input from Xavier faculty, staff and students as well as health-care experts at TriHealth,” said Graham. “I want to thank all of them as we move forward toward making the HUB a national model for collegiate health.”

About TriHealth: TriHealth is hospitals, physicians and the community working together to help people live better. We provide clinical, educational, preventive and social programs through Bethesda North, Bethesda Butler, TriHealth Evendale, Good Samaritan, McCullough-Hyde and TriHealth Rehabilitation hospitals and more than 130 other locations throughout Greater Cincinnati. This includes an ambulatory network, physician practices, research division, employer-based health services, hospice care, and fitness and health facilities. Learn more at,, @TriHealth on Twitter and at

About Xavier University: Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, Xavier is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks it No.5 among master’s-level universities in the Midwest and The Princeton Review names it as one of the “Best 377 Colleges in America.”

Steve Trosley for December: Season’s greetings? Don’t be afraid to offend

12/14/2017 - 2:39pm

Steve TrosleyWhat are we saying this year? Season’s greetings? Holiday greetings? Merry Christmas?

Anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate that how we greet others at Christmas time has more to do with fear than with conviction. We fear that we will offend someone or instigate an unpleasant confrontation. So we default to the least innocuous of greetings. And so it goes with much public discourse in these tribal times. We surrender to the pressure of our secular culture.

“I want Catholics to feel unafraid. It’s such a shame that anyone would live their faith in fear … of making a mistake, fear of answering questions, fear of offending.”

That’s a quote from our newest columnist, whose story you will read elsewhere in this edition of “The Catholic Telegraph.” Nicholas Hardesty, a member of the team bringing the archdiocese’s new catechetical institute—Vocare—though its birthing process, physically bristles at the thought of a Catholic unable to evangelize because of fear.

Nicholas’ passion for the faith and for sharing the excitement he feels about Catholicism lead him to develop a vision he calls, “Seize the Moment,” which became the name of his new column. His envisions that through the column and the content of the Vocare, Catholics will be armed and ready to engage those occasional opportunities that arise for us individually to catechize – teach others about our faith. Vocare responds to the Great Commission: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). Jesus did not say, “Go make disciples of all nations, taking care not to offend anyone along the way.”

Learning more about your faith should help you conquer your fears, whatever they may be, and be “emboldened,” as Nicholas says, by the excitement you feel about what you have learned. It’s not up to just the clergy, religious and certified catechists. We should all be catechists.

We look forward to hearing from you as you apply the insights and scriptural support Nicholas presents in his column, coming in January.

One of the more interesting evangelizers I’ve encountered in the past several years is Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, Conn.

First, he looks a lot like he came from my boyhood neighborhood. Most appealing is his direct, no-nonsense, family dinner table delivery that brings the message home without the church-speak that burdens so much of today’s discourse on religion.

Bishop Caggiano spoke of another tool in evangelization: Humility. At the USCCB convocation in Florida last year, Bishop Caggiano urged individuals and groups within the church to come to a realization that an individual’s or even a group’s idea or program are not necessarily what’s going to save the Church from its many challenges in the modern world. He said, “The Church already has a savior and that one savior is Jesus Christ.”

While it might be painful to surrender our egos and our independence to others, the humility that enables that surrender becomes a tool for evangelization.

Knowledge, Seize the Moment, boldness, Vocare, humility. A very good start for the new year of evangelizing.

A member of “The Catholic Telegraph” family has decided to join the ranks of the retired. But even given that I have only known Michele Boullie-Nolan for five years, I cannot imagine her living life of disengagement. An excellent salesperson with a 20-plus year history of service, Michele will undoubtedly busy herself with family (including grand-parenting) and other pursuits when she leaves us Dec. 31.

She has been part of the social glue that holds the CT staff together and we thank her for her efforts. We will miss her gentle, positive and loving presence.

Merry and Holy Christmas and Happy New Year to
you and your family from “The Catholic Telegraph” staff and management.

Pope: Helping refugees means converting hearts hardened against them

12/14/2017 - 2:17pm

By Carol Glatz

ROME (CNS) — With so much suffering, poverty and exploitation in the world, missionary work must also include reaching out to people whose hearts are closed to receiving immigrants and refugees, Pope Francis told Jesuits in Myanmar.

“Unfortunately, in Europe there are countries that have chosen to close their borders. The most painful thing is that to take such a decision they had to close their hearts,” he said during a private audience Nov. 29 in the chapel of the archbishop’s house in Yangon.

“Our missionary work must also reach those hearts that are closed to the reception of others,” he told 31 Jesuits from different parts of Asia and Australia, who are based in Myanmar.

The Rome-based Jesuit-run journal, La Civilta Cattolica, published a transcript Dec. 14 from the private meeting in Myanmar and the pope’s private meeting Dec. 1 at the apostolic nunciature in Dhaka with Jesuits based in Bangladesh.

In both meetings, the pope listened to and answered their comments, concerns and questions, and the journal provided an English translation of the original Spanish remarks.

A Jesuit’s mission is to be close to the people, especially those who are suffering and forgotten because “to see them is to see Christ suffering and crucified,” he said in his meeting in Myanmar.

His approach, he said, is to try to visit these places and to “speak clearly, especially with countries that have closed their borders.”

“It is a serious issue,” he said, commenting on how that evening, they all would be sitting down to a full meal, including dessert, while many refugees will “have a piece of bread for dinner.”

He recalled visiting the refugees in Lesbos, Greece, and how the children he was greeting were torn between shaking his hand and reaching for candy that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was pulling out of his pockets.

“With one hand, they greeted me with the other, they grabbed the candy. I thought maybe it was the only sweet they had eaten for days.”

The situation of many of the refugees and stories they have told him have “helped me to cry a lot before God,” he said, particularly when a Muslim man recounted how terrorists slit the throat of his Christian wife right before his eyes when she refused to take off the cross she wore.

“These things must be seen and must be told,” he said, because news of what is happening does not reach most people, and “we are obliged to report and make public these human tragedies that some try to silence.”

The Jesuits he met in Bangladesh thanked him for talking about the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority being pushed from Myanmar’s Rakhine state and seeking refuge in Bangladesh.

“Jesus Christ today is called Rohingya,” as these people are their brothers and sisters, the pope told the Jesuits.

Just as St. Peter Claver ministered in the 17th century to slaves subjected to horrible conditions, such shameful conditions people endure still persist, he said.

“Today, there is much discussion about how to save the banks. The problem is the salvation of the banks. But who saves the dignity of men and women today?”

“Nobody cares about people in ruins any longer. The devil manages to do this in today’s world. If we had a little sense of reality, this should scandalize us.”

“The impudence of our world is such that the only solution is to pray and ask for the grace of tears,” he said.

Meeting the Rohingya refugees that same day at the archbishop’s residence in Dhaka, he added, made him feel ashamed. “I felt ashamed of myself, for the whole world!”

When asked “why such attention” for the small Catholic community in Bangladesh when he elevated their archbishop in Dhaka to the rank of cardinal, Pope Francis said that in naming cardinals, he looks to the “small churches, those that grow in the peripheries, at the edges.”

It’s not meant to give them “consolation,” but is “to launch a clear message: the small churches that grow in the periphery and are without ancient Catholic traditions today must speak to the universal church, to the whole church. I clearly feel that they have something to teach us.”

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Editors: The full text in English can be found online at:


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Obituary: Father Don Miller

12/14/2017 - 1:23pm

An indefatigable teacher and mentor, Father Donald Miller, OFM, died Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, at St. Margaret Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio.

His work as Vocation Director for St. John the Baptist Province was widely respected throughout the Order of Friars Minor. Born on Jan. 29, 1945, Fr. Don was one of three children of Raymond and Thekla (Bucher) Miller in Peoria, Ill. He attended elementary school at St. Thomas in Peoria Heights, Ill., before high school at Spalding Institute.

He entered the Franciscan Order in 1964, made Solemn Profession in August, 1969, and was ordained to the priesthood at St. Leonard in Centerville, Ohio, June 10, 1972. He did post-graduate studies in Psychology at Eastern New Mexico University and received a Ph.D. in Moral Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Father Don was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Mary E. Kaufman, and a Franciscan classmate, Tod Laverty, OFM. He is survived by his sister Dorothy A. O’Toole of Peoria and his friar-classmates Kevin Duckson, Dan Kroger, and Frank Jasper.

Father Don’s most recent ministry was with the Staff of Franciscan Media, but he also served in pastoral/educational roles in New Mexico, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. He served as Vocation Director for the Province from 2003 to 2015.

Father Don’s body will be received on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at 9 a.m. at St. Clement Church in Cincinnati, followed by the Mass of Resurrection at 10 a.m. Interment will be in the Friars’ Plot at St. Mary Cemetery, St. Bernard, Ohio.