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Society of St. Vincent DePaul: Breaking the heat wave

07/05/2018 - 3:30pm

Thousands suffer during extreme heat in the Greater Cincinnati area as they don’t have air conditioning or even fans. On Wednesday, July 11, at 1:00 p.m. at the St. Vincent DePaul  Liz Carter Outreach Center in the West  End, they will be giving away between 150-200 free fans to help people stay cool and avoid the dangers of this oppressive heat that we have been experiencing.

You can help by Donating online now, by phone at 513-562-8841, ext. 259, or at any Greater Cincinnati Huntington Bank location. A $20 gift will provide a fan and $100 will provide an air conditioner.

For more information, click here

Finding her vocation at UD

07/05/2018 - 9:25am
Dayton studies introduce Indiana woman to the Marianist Family

By Eileen Connelly, OSU

This story first appeared in our July, 2018 print edition

Marianist Sister Gabrielle “Gabby” Bibea (courtesy photo)

There was a time when career, marriage, and family were priorities for Marianist Sister Gabrielle (Gabby) Bibeau, but as is often the case, God had other plans. 

     One of five children, Sister Gabby grew up in Indianapolis, where her faith was nurtured at home. “No one ever asked, ‘Have you thought about becoming a sister?’ But my parents (Len and Mary Ellen) did encourage us to have a strong faith in God and to go where our gifts are. They wanted each of us to find our own vocation and to be happy.” 

     As a student at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Sister Gabby became actively involved in campus ministry. While her focus was still very much on a “career and making money,” a series of profound experiences led her to begin questioning what, until that point, had seemed important. During her senior year, Sister Gabby led a Kairos retreat. She went on to participate in a three-day silent retreat at St. Meinrad and took part in an immersion trip to El Salvador, an opportunity to learn more about the life and ministry of Blessed Oscar Romero and the six Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter, who were murdered on the campus of José Simeón Cañas Central American University in 1989. 

      “These experiences showed me that there was much more to my life than school and a career,” Sister Gabby recalled. “I started to feel within me a call to serve God more deeply, but I really wrestled with how that fit in with marriage and family.” 

     While God’s plans were unclear at the time, Sister Gabby was certain that she wanted to continue her education at a Catholic institution after high school graduation in 2007. “I applied to most Catholic colleges within a three-hour drive,” she said. “Having always gone to Catholic school, I wanted to go to a place where I could continue to explore and deepen my faith.” 

     Drawn by the Marianist’s emphasis on educating the whole person, as well as the images and statues of the Blessed Mother scattered throughout campus, Sister Gabby landed at the University of Dayton. A friend introduced her to the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (Marianist Sisters), who live just off campus. As she came to know the sisters, she was “impressed and intrigued” by their life in community, hospitality, and conversations about working with the poor. Sister Gabby also became acquainted with the Marianist priests and brothers at UD, and participated in a lay formation program for students.

      “I fell in love with the Marianist charism — to bring Christ into the world like Mary did, through formation in faith at schools and campus ministry, and service to the poor and to women,” she said. “We talk about being missionaries of Mary, and community is a big part of what we do — forming and supporting communities of lay people.” 

     While the attraction to Marianist life was strong, Sister Gabby wondered if she would still feel the same if she wasn’t immersed in it. After graduation, she returned to Indianapolis and secured a position in youth ministry. Her work was rewarding, “but I felt like something was missing,” Sister Gabby said. “I felt myself yearning for community and a life of structured prayer. It was a feeling that wouldn’t go away, and that said something to me.” 

     In response, Sister Gabby returned to UD and the Marianist community. She entered in 2014, and took her first vows in 2017. “It was totally overwhelming and I had a very humbling sense of unworthiness to profess the vows, but also a deep gratitude for the gift of my vocation, for my faith, and love from God and all the people who have accompanied me over the years,” she said. 

     Sister Gabby is currently pursuing a master’s degree in theology and has a graduate assistantship position at the North American Center of Marianist Studies in Dayton. She said the Marianist Sisters were “overjoyed” when their foundress, Blessed Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon, was beatified on June 10. They gathered for a regional watch party to mark the occasion, while two community members traveled to Agen, France, for the ceremony. “When a foundress is beatified, it really creates an opportunity for people to learn more about her, read her biography, and share her spirit. It’s very exciting for us,” Sister Gabby said. 

     She has the following advice for others discerning a call to religious life: “Pray, seek spiritual direction, visit a variety of communities, consider your gifts, and listen to what God is asking of you.” 

A social media post from the June 10 beatification of Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon, who founded the Marianist Sisters in 1816.

A prayer on Independence Day

07/04/2018 - 12:20am
Gracious and loving God, let your Spirit be with us today. Hear our prayers, and increase in us the will to follow your Son Jesus. Help us to draw on the resources of our faith as we use the opportunities of our democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, especially the poor and vulnerable. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

More of this, please: Reflection on the national convocation

07/03/2018 - 9:47pm

By David Cloutier

Cloutier, a professor of moral theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, provided the following reflection to Catholic News Service on last July’s “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America.” More than 3,200 Catholic leaders gathered for four days in Orlando, Florida.

Just about a year ago, the U.S. bishops held an enormous convocation in Orlando. I was invited to be on a panel discussing the environment and “Laudato Si’,” but I was not quite prepared for what I encountered.

As I stepped off the public bus from the airport, I saw the enormous convention center in which the convocation was being held. This was no tiny theology gathering, I realized!

What was it? For me, what I discovered there was the enormous and enormously diverse energy that the laity are bringing to the church. Among the most striking things were the huge number of exhibitors. They not only filled a large space in the main center, but a whole other set ranged along the walls of the gigantic dining space elsewhere in the center.

Hundreds of groups, all putting energies into so many different (Catholic) things. I had a spontaneous lunch with a guy who had started Creatio, more or less a Catholic outing club, with planned hiking trips and the like, but intertwined with Catholic beliefs and practices. You might call this a “Catholic start-up” and there were so many of them, almost all being run by idealistic young people trying to find new ways to live out their faith and help others do so, too.

While the large-group sessions were also effective, I found some of the breakout sessions particularly vibrant. The fact is, it is all too rare to have the various ecclesial stakeholders in a room together, really talking and listening to one another. The speakers in all the sessions were a mix of clergy and laity, with different interested bishops facilitating. We were instructed to keep presentations brief — they were a jumping-off point for discussion and shared wisdom. Each session I attended certainly lived up to that.

The 90 minutes on “Laudato Si'” were filled with laity ask tough questions about how to get better implementation of the encyclical. But possibly the most impressive session I attended was a full house on ministry to the LGBT community. Everyone knew the parameters of the discussions. So I was unprepared for the enormous honesty about the struggles involved in so many people’s lives — the bishops facilitating, the panelists and most remarkably the audience. People shared stories with a candor and honesty that I simply have never seen in any other church venue on this topic.

To do so in a room of 250 people with plenty of clergy and bishops — well, I just left thinking, we need more of this, much more! And it was all conducted with genuine respect and sensitivity — completely the opposite of the uncivil twitter battles that too often are seen to dominate the discourse of national Catholicism on difficult topics.

We need to have all the people of God gathered together, in joy, in mission, and in a face-to-face setting that both leads us to more charity and energizes us for more work on behalf of the Gospel. We don’t need to go to a national gathering in Orlando to do it, either. But we do need to gather as a people, in sustained and deeper ways.

One example in which I recently participated was the “Though Many, One” conference on overcoming polarization in society, sponsored by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown. Over three days spent together — talks, meals, socializing and Mass every day — a group of 75 Catholics, clergy and lay, bishops and women religious, practitioners and academics talked through our divisions. The gathering was intentionally ideologically diverse, and enabled productive conversations to happen in the future because we met and talked and prayed and ate together face-to-face.

But this sharing need not even require big-university programming. The point is to get committed people, people who are clearly committed to working in the church at all levels, and have them meet one another as members of the same Body.

One wonders if mini-convocations could be had for groups of dioceses, where we could cross over our usual communication groups in the local church, and experience some of that same energy. In the same way, lay and clerical and professional leaders could gather — preferably for more than just an afternoon or an evening — to pray, learn, and connect.

It might not have the initial visual impact I had stepping off the bus in Orlando and seeing that convention center. But it would continue to spread the energy for mission that I discovered inside that center — and that spiritual energy is what the convocation was really about.

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Cloutier also is editor of the group academic blog, catholicmoraltheology.com.

 

 

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Update: In Chicago, three auxiliary bishops named; two auxiliaries retire

07/03/2018 - 7:21pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Chicago Archdiocese

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has named three new auxiliary bishops for the Chicago archdiocese, Fathers Ronald A. Hicks, Robert G. Casey and Mark Bartosic, and he has accepted the resignations of Auxiliary Bishops George J. Rassas and Francis J. Kane of Chicago.

Bishops Rassas and Kane are 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope.

Bishop-designate Hicks serves as vicar general of the Chicago Archdiocese. Bishop-designate Casey is currently pastor of St. Bede the Venerable Church in Chicago. Bishop-designate Bartosic is currently pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Chicago and director/chaplain of Kolbe House near Cook County Jail.

The changes were announced in Washington July 3 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The ordination of the bishop-designates will take place at Holy Name Cathedral Sept. 17.

“We are blessed to have had the service of Bishops Rassas and Kane for so many years. They have made significant contributions both as priests and as episcopal vicars, and I express my gratitude for their ministry,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago in a July 3 statement.

He also noted that the bishop-designates were seminary classmates and “share a fluency and interest in Hispanic language and culture so vital in serving our parishioners. Each of them has distinguished himself through dedication, service and a lifelong witness to the Gospel. We welcome their ideas and energy as we renew the church.”

Bishop-designates Bartosic and Casey will serve as episcopal vicars once successors are named at their present parish assignments. Bishop-designate Hicks will remain in his role as vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Bishop-designate Bartosic was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, in 1961 and was raised in Ohio. He received a bachelor’s degree in theater from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, and a master of divinity degree and a licentiate in sacred theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois.

Like the other bishop-designates, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin in 1994. He served as associate pastor and then pastor at several Chicago parishes. Since 2016, he has served as pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chicago and director of the Kolbe House Jail Ministry.

Bishop-designate Casey, born in 1967, was raised in a suburb of Chicago. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Niles College of Loyola University Chicago and a master of divinity degree from the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

He was first assigned as associate pastor to St. Ita Parish in Chicago. Four years later, he was named associate director, and then director of Casa Jesus, a house of discernment for Hispanic priesthood candidates.

In 2003, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Tepeyac Parish in Chicago. Five years later, he co-founded Taller de Jose, a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph that offers accompaniment to people in need. It is described on its website as ministry to “connect people to services and services to people.”

In recent years, he has served as pastor at two other Chicago parishes. He currently serves on the placement board of the Archdiocese of Chicago, assisting with assigning priests to parishes. He also has been part of the Priest Steering Committee for the Chicago archdiocesan program “Renew My Church.”

Bishop-designate Hicks, born in 1967, also was raised in a Chicago suburb. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Niles College of Loyola University Chicago. Like the other bishop-designates, he received his master of divinity degree and his ministry doctorate from the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

He worked as an associate pastor at two Chicago parishes and was the dean of formation at St. Joseph College Seminary in Chicago.

In 2005, with permission from Cardinal Francis E. George, he moved to El Salvador to begin his five-year term as regional director of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos in Central America — a ministry dedicated to caring for more than 3,400 orphaned and abandoned children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

When he returned to the Chicago Archdiocese, he served as the dean of formation at Mundelein Seminary while assisting with weekend Masses at St. Jerome Parish in Chicago. He was appointed vicar general by Cardinal Cupich in 2015. Since then, he has celebrated Mass in a different archdiocesan parish each weekend.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Obituary: Rev. Edward Jach

07/03/2018 - 2:00pm

Fr. Edward Jach, priest, of the Siena Woods Support Community, Dayton, Ohio, USA, died in the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary on June 7, 2018 in Dayton, Ohio, USA, at the age of 86 with 67 years of religious profession.

Fr. Ed was a teacher, school chaplain, pastor and dedicated many years to Marianist formation.

Edward Martin Jach was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 10, 1931. He was the fourth of five children (3 brothers and 1 sister) born to Angeline (nee Worzala) and Peter Jach. In 1945, He graduated from St. Hedwig’s grammar school in Milwaukee and was one of the first to enroll in Don Bosco High School which had just been established by the Marianists in the south side of Milwaukee.

Fr. Ed’s vocational journey began when Bro. Anthony Sobocinski innocently asked him why he was studying Latin. Fr. Ed’s response planted a seed, “I responded that I might want to become a priest. Well, that’s all the brothers needed. On the last day of school, I finally asked Bro. Joe Konitzer for the necessary papers to start the novitiate.”

In August of 1949, Fr. Ed entered Marynook Novitiate in Galesville, Wisconsin. He professed his first vows on August 15, 1950. He graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He later received a master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton University in 1976.

Fr. Ed’s first teaching assignment was at St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis, Missouri, which he held for four years. In the autumn of 1957, he was assigned to his alma mater Don Bosco High School for a half year and then moved on to Provencher Collegiate in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada, where he taught until 1959. He made his perpetual vows in 1959.

Having felt a calling to the priesthood since his youth, Fr. Ed had requested and was approved to attend seminary at Regina Mundi in Fribourg, Switzerland, from 1959-1964. Fr. Ed was ordained
in 1964.

His first assignment after ordination was to return to Don Bosco High School where he was chaplain and religion teacher until 1968. He was then called to serve in formation at both St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and Marynook Novitiate in Galesville, Wisconsin. From 1971 to 1977, Fr. Ed continued his formation work as the director of the Chaminade Community House in San Antonio, Texas, while also serving as a part-time campus minister at St. Mary’s University. Sr. Laura Leming recalled, “My favorite memories of Fr. Ed were from my earliest days as an FMI when he was working with the SM aspirants. He was so warm, well read in spirituality and down to earth. He was a true pastor. He presided at my first vows and I will always be grateful for his accompaniment in my early days being an FMI.”

In 1978, Fr. Ed began his long career in parish ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Helotes, Texas. He served as the pastor for the growing parish for more than ten years. He was instrumental in building the Parish Community Center in 1984 and in initiating the process for building a new church.

In 1990, Fr. Ed was assigned to St. Francis De Sales Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he served as pastor for 20 years. Fr. Tim Dwyer wrote, “Fr. Ed was definitely a ‘people person.’ He was a warm and caring pastor, an effective and collaborative team member and a good community man. He combined a deep religious spirit with an earthly sense of humor. In later life, he faced numerous medical challenges with resilience and indomitable courage.”

In 2010, Fr. Ed began his path to retirement with a sabbatical in Texas before taking on the chaplaincy for the Siena Woods healthcare center in Dayton, Ohio. Bro. Bob Wiethorn noted, “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Fr. Ed is his total availability. He was always ready to respond to any request. He was a man who did simple things with great love as Mother Theresa
called us to do. He certainly loved well and was loved in return.” Fr. Ed remained as an active and beloved member of the Siena Woods Community until his death.

In his remarks at his Diamond Jubilee, Fr. Ed wrote, “The one gift that stands out for me was becoming a teacher. It was the path to self-growth and to living so many of the mysteries of Christ… As I review these notable events in my life, I am grateful to my family and friends and the many brothers who were part of my life… ’For the Glory of the Most Holy Trinity, the Honor of Mary, and the salvation of my soul’ best describes how my life as a Marianist has been fulfilled these past 60 years. My life and my Marianist vocation are very beautiful gifts. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Fr. Rudy Vela recalls, “Fr. Ed was a Marianist of ‘all heart.’ His warm and genuine smile always spoke of welcome and joy. He knew how to love and be loved. His Milwaukee upbringing filled him with a sense of family. Texas taught him the beauty of the abrazo and Cincinnati taught him how to practice justice and to welcome all.”

Today’s Video: The Church and Immigration

07/03/2018 - 1:05pm

While elaborating on the church’s teaching on immigration, in this video Fr. Mike also points out that a nation has a right and responsibility to protect its borders. While it’s impossible to avoid politics completely on this issue, Fr. Mike addresses primarily the Christian principles inherent in the immigration debate.

Bishops end border visit calling for urgent reunification of children

07/03/2018 - 2:32am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz Muth

By Rhina Guidos

SAN JUAN, Texas (CNS) — In less than 48 hours, a group of Catholic bishops saw the faces of triumph and relief from migrants who had been recently released by immigration authorities, but ended their two-day journey to the border with a more “somber” experience, visiting detained migrant children living temporarily within the walls of a converted Walmart.

During a news conference after the second and last day of their visit July 2, they stressed the “urgent” need to do something to help the migrant children.

“The children who are separated from their parents need to be reunited. That’s already begun and it’s certainly not finished and there may be complications, but it must be done and it’s urgent,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, celebrated Mass in Spanish with about 250 children at the facility on what once was the loading dock of the superstore.

“It was, as you can imagine, very challenging to see the children by themselves,” Archbishop Gomez said during the news conference. “Obviously, when there are children at Mass, they are with their parents and families ‘ but it was special to be with them and give them some hope.”

He said he spoke to them about the importance of helping one another.

The visit to the facility known as Casa Padre capped their brief journey to the border communities of McAllen-Brownsville near the southern border. Casa Padre gained notoriety earlier this year because it houses children separated from their families, as well as unaccompanied minors in a setting with murals and quotes of U.S. presidents, including one of President Donald Trump saying, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

The facility is run by Southwest Key Programs, a nonprofit that operates it under a federal contract. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, along with Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Rockville Centre, New York. also were part of the delegation July 1 and 2, led by Cardinal DiNardo.

The building houses about 1,200 boys ages 10-17, said Bishop Bambera, and though the care they receive seems to be appropriate — it’s clean, they have access to medical care, and schooling and recreational facilities — it was clear that “there was a sadness” manifested by the boys, he said in a July 2 interview with Catholic News Service.

“We can provide the material environment to care for a person and it’s provided there, but that doesn’t nurture life. That takes the human interaction with the family or a caregiver,” he said.

Though many of the boys held there are considered “unaccompanied minors,” some were separated from a family member they were traveling with, said Bishop Bambera. And when you see them, “those boys bear clearly the burden of that” separation, he said.

Bishop Bambera said the boys listened intently during Mass and seemed to have a particular devotion and piety, one not seen in children that age. During Mass, “I saw a few boys wiping tears,” he said.

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, head of the local Brownsville Diocese, accompanied the delegation, which included a visit on the first day to a humanitarian center operated by Catholic Charities. He said there’s a need to address the “push factors” driving immigration from Central America, a place where migrants are fleeing a variety of social ills, including violence and economic instability.

The U.S. border bishops have frequent communication with their counterparts in Mexico and Central America on variety of topics, he said during the news conference, but the problems driving immigration to the U.S. are complex.

He said he has spoken with parents in Central America about the danger of the journey but recalled a conversation with mothers in places such as Honduras and Guatemala who have told him: “My son will be killed here, they will shoot him and he’s 16. What am I supposed to do?”

“These are extremely complex and difficult situations,” he said. “This is a hemispheric problem, not just a problem on the border here.”

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Pope names new leader for Australia’s largest archdiocese

07/02/2018 - 8:50pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy ACBC

By

MELBOURNE, Australia (CNS) — Pope Francis has named Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli as the ninth leader of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The announcement came late June 29 in Melbourne.

Archbishop Comensoli, 54, the bishop of Broken Bay, Australia, since 2014, succeeds Archbishop Denis Hart, 77, who is past the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation.

The new archbishop said in a statement that he accepted the call “to be a new missionary among God’s people of the Archdiocese of Melbourne” while acknowledging “the great responsibility entrusted to me, along with the frailties I carry.”

The appointment comes as the Australian Catholic Church contends with the fallout from criminal charges against two high-ranking leaders within the church in regarding cases of clerical sexual abuse.

Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, is the most senior church official to face criminal charges in connection with child sexual abuse. He took a leave of absence from his position in the summer of 2017 to face charges of sexual abuse of minors from the 1970s, when he was a priest, and the 1990s, when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

Although Cardinal Pell has consistently denied the charges, in early May an Australian magistrate ordered him to stand trial, saying she believed there was enough evidence presented in connection with about half the original charges to warrant a full trial.

On May 23, Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide announced that he was stepping aside from his duties after being convicted of covering up allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

Archbishop Comensoli said the people of Melbourne had been in his prayers.

“I am deeply aware of the painful witness you bear because of the crimes committed in the church against the most innocent, our children and the vulnerable. I share the bewilderment and anger you feel at the failure of church leaders to believe victims and to respond to them with justice and compassion,” Archbishop Comensoli said in a statement released by the Diocese of Broken Bay.

He said it “is our solemn shared duty to right the grievous wrongs of the past and ensure that the future is very different.”

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, president of the Australia Catholic Bishops’ Conference, welcomed the appointment, saying the new archbishop “has a good mind, an engaging personality and the strong pastoral sense needed in our largest diocese at complex time like this.”

“He’s a man who can listen and a man who can speak not only to Catholic people, but to the wider community as well,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

The new archbishop was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Wollongong in 1992. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney in 2011 and served as the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese for eight months in 2014 until the appointment of a new archbishop.

Archbishop Comensoli was to be installed during a Mass Aug. 1 in St. Patrick Cathedral in Melbourne.

The Archdiocese of Melbourne is the largest in Australia, with 1.1 million Catholics.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Humble companions: Catholic-Anglican document sees healing in difference

07/02/2018 - 5:25pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A new document driven by a fresh approach taken by the official Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue commission reflects a major development in ecumenism where difference is not cause for suspicion or reproach, but is used as an enriching opportunity for mutual listening, learning and conversion.

This notable change is seen in the first agreed statement from the newest and third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, known as ARCIC III. The statement, “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church — Local, Regional, Universal,” was released to the public July 2 after seven years of joint meetings and consultations.

In their introduction, the Catholic co-chairman, Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England, and the Anglican co-chairman, Anglican Archbishop David Moxon, the archbishop of Canterbury’s representative in Rome, wrote that the document sought to develop the issues of authority and ecclesial communion “in a new way.”

Understanding how the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion structure authority and exercise authority in communion on the local, regional and global levels are key for understanding how each body discerns its teaching and practices on critical issues in ethics and moral theology.

It is also key for understanding and addressing questions, debates or divisions experienced internally within the churches. Which means the document also seeks to inform, enrich and help not just the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion on an ecumenical level, but also in dealing with their own internal debates and tensions.

This first agreed statement from ARCIC III “represents a significant methodological and substantive step-forward for Anglican-Roman Catholic formal ecumenism,” and it is also “in service of ecclesial reform within both Anglican tradition and Catholic tradition,” Paul Murray, professor of theology at Durham University in the United Kingdom and Catholic member of ARCIC, told Catholic News Service.

The commission members representing the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion focus on their “respective felt difficulties within their own ecclesial cultures, processes, structures and associated ecclesiologies, and ask how these difficulties might be helped by a process of receptive learning from relative strengths in the theology and practice of the other communion,” he said July 2.

This “receptive learning” lies at the heart of what has been called “receptive ecumenism,” that is, a method in which the churches stop asking what the other needs to learn from them and begin asking what they need to learn from the other. It is more about self-examination, inner conversion and discerning what the Lord is calling for rather than convincing or judging one’s partner in dialogue.

This method has its roots in how St. John Paul II saw dialogue as not simply an exchange of ideas or a removal of obstacles, but an “exchange of gifts.”

“This implies more than ceasing to judge the other tradition as mistaken or problematic but discerning what is graced” and can be “gratefully received,” the document said in its introduction.

The document marks the start of a new phase that emerged after the official Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue experienced a six-year hiatus.

Since ARCIC II finished its work in 2005, the Anglican Communion began experiencing strong internal tensions over the ordination of women as priests and bishops, the blessing of gay unions and the ordination of openly gay clergy. Differing positions on those moral issues also created a sense that Anglicans and Roman Catholics were growing farther apart rather than approaching unity.

As such, now-retired Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams, the now-former archbishop of Canterbury, England, and head of the Church of England, had identified two critical areas for ecumenical exploration in their 2006 common declaration: “the emerging ecclesiological and ethical factors making that journey more difficult and arduous.”

The two leaders authorized the new phase of the dialogue at their meeting at the Vatican in November 2009, just one month after Pope Benedict announced his decision to erect personal ordinariates for allowing former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican heritage, including a certain amount of governing by consensus.

Rather than put the brakes on dialogue, it gave both sides a chance to get a different look at the heart of lingering questions about authority and how decisions on moral issues are made. The two leaders asked ARCIC, which held the first of the new round of meetings in 2011, to focus on the church as communion, local, regional and universal, and how, in communion, the local, regional and universal church come to discern “right ethical teaching.”

At 34,000 words, the resulting document represents a detailed exploration of what structures, channels or practices exist that seek to give all the baptized — lay, religious, clergy, bishops — a voice or a role in how decisions are made.

While the commission has left the question of “the discernment of right ethical teaching” for its next document, “this exploration of the nature of communion has become vital in the light of current debates within the churches,” the document said.

Communion is essentially about having the right balance among the different members of the body of Christ. That would mean no excessive demand for autonomy by the local members — such as parishes and dioceses — and no excessive demand for centralization by the “trans-local” — such as national bishops’ conferences, regional federations, the Roman Curia or the papacy.

In his five years as pope, Pope Francis has already shown several major ways he is seeking to eradicate “clericalism” and expand ways the voice of “the people of God” gets heard at the top, for example, with presynod questionnaires and encounters; he is also shifting more weight from the Roman Curia to episcopal conferences by returning oversight of liturgical translations to them and citing their documents in his teachings.

Current issues — not detailed in the document but in the forefront of debate in the Catholic Church — that depend on the right use of authority and legitimate diversity include policies on Communion for Protestant spouses of Catholics and guidelines for the interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia,” Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family.

In a Catholic commentary published on the website of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity along with the document, Father Ormond Rush, an Australian theologian, highlighted a number of ways the document could contribute to “Catholic self-understanding and practice.”

“There are many parallels between the receptive learning possibilities for the Roman Catholic Church proposed by” the latest ARCIC document “and Pope Francis’s vision for renewal and reform according to the Second Vatican Council. In other words, the Anglican tradition has much to offer in making the Council a reality.”

A number of elements in the Anglican tradition — with its added emphasis on the mission of the laity, the power of the regional and the benefits of debate as something to be welcomed, not feared — “can assist the Roman Catholic Church to be more faithful to the vision of the Second Vatican Council,” he wrote.

Murray told CNS, “In the longer term this is the way that will take us to full communion because what will happen is that the differences between Anglicans and Catholics will ultimately cease to be communion-dividing differences but will be an ecumenically-enriching differences and communion-building differences. It is a growth to full communion by living in and through diversity.”

– – –

Contributing to this story was Simon Caldwell in Manchester, England.

– – –

Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

At Texas center, bishops join in a warm welcome for recent arrivals

07/02/2018 - 4:10pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz Muth

By Rhina Guidos

MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) — Some had been on the road for weeks, others for days, and some entered looking haggard and sunburned with little more than the clothes they were wearing, some holding the hands of their children as a group of Catholic bishops joined a chorus of hands applauding in welcome.

Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, who is executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, asked the bishops visiting the center during the arrival of the recent immigrants July 1 if they could help serve food to the children, whose eyes lit up when they saw fruit or soup and the smiling faces of volunteers replenishing their dishes and asking questions.

“Does the soup taste good?” Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville asked in Spanish, as some children shyly nodded toward the prelate.

Nearby, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston carried a tray with bowls of soup into the room filled with children’s voices. Cardinal DiNardo was leading the delegation of bishops toward the border communities in the Brownsville-McAllen area close to the southern border with Mexico July 1 and 2.

The visit to what’s known as the respite center run by Catholic Charities in downtown McAllen quickly took the prelates into the heart of the human drama of migration and its human toll.

A woman traveling with a 3-year-old said that along the way she’d heard children were being taken away from parents and she prayed that it wouldn’t happen to her because returning to her home country of Guatemala was not an option — either way she risked losing her child. 

But immigration authorities were kind and humane when she checked in, she said, and allowed her and her child to go free after filling out paperwork and a short detention. Then the welcome she received at the respite center, she said, was a sign to her that “God is so great and never abandons us.”

The center is a first stop for immigrants like her, fortunate enough to have a place to go to, such as the one in McAllen, after being released by immigration authorities. It, too, was a first stop for the bishops looking to understand the situation of family separation and other immigration issues along the border.

Cardinal DiNardo, along with Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, took the opportunity to speak with as many as they could in the room, addressing topics such as why they left home or simply asking the migrants where they were headed and how they were doing.

A 12-year-old girl sitting with her father nearby asked Bishop Brennan about snow because she had never seen it. He asked where they were headed and the father responded: “Philadelphia.”

“Vas a ver la nieve,” he told her in Spanish, telling her she would see snow.

Then they asked him about New York.

“Do you know the Yankees? And the Mets?” Bishop Brennan asked. And the father answered “yes” with excitement.

The girl’s father, who traveled from Honduras mostly by foot, later said he was grateful for the great kindness the bishops had shown, how they had treated him and his daughter as human beings and it made him feel that his load had finally lightened after a long and hard journey.

Bishop Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”

Though the room held a lot of smiles and optimism, there was a silence about the journey that had gotten them there but whose details many of the sojourners were not yet ready to share, said Bishop Brennan. He found the experiencing “very moving,” he said, and it made him think of those he knows in New York “who’ve come on the other side of that journey.” 

“This gives me a deeper understanding of the experience that many of our folks went through to get the point where I’ve come to know and love them on Long Island,” he said.

Volunteers, which included many young adults, zigzagged through the room during the visit, handing out clothes, playing with the children, showing those who had recently arrived the shower, giving out water and heating a home-cooked meal for them.

“In this room is the core of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of life,” said Bishop Bambera.

William Canny, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services for the U.S. bishops’ conference, who also accompanied the bishops on their visit, said the welcome was “a phenomenal act of charity by the church, to receive these people released by the government and helping them go onward to family and friends.”

“This is what we call welcoming, this is the act of welcoming that we all like to see,” he said, especially knowing about the incredibly difficult journey they had just made.

“It’s the moment when our American, our human values come forward and it was nice to watch, people were extremely grateful,” he said.

It was uplifting to see a group of people who’ve had a lot of bad things happen to them, “get a dose of good,” he said.

“It’s a moment when they’re feeling a small sense of safety. They’re also realizing that they’ve left people behind,” Canny said.

But few will forget that warm welcome, the cheers, the applause, the food and smiles, and the bishops who happened to be there that day to feed them and to ask them how they were doing. Along with others, they shared their migration journey that day in exactly the fashion Pope Francis has called for, Canny said, referring to a campaign by the Vatican that calls on Catholics and others of goodwill to build bridges of understanding and hospitality with migrants and refugees.

“It was heartening to see people of all ages come, the volunteerism, young and more experienced people, reaching out and sharing the journey as the Holy Father has asked us to do,” Canny said, recalling the images of the visit. “People stepping forward, welcoming, glasses of water, sandwiches, shampoo … and listening to their stories.”

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

July Bucket List

07/02/2018 - 8:58am

This month, The Catholic Telegraph Bucket List takes you to a center of Marianist spirituality and stewardship, a tiny museum hidden in our cathedral, and a parish whose members include many refugees:

  • restored native Ohio terrain
  • “behind the scenes” at the cathedral
  •  Mass at St. Leo

Go: Visit MEEC at Mount St. John, Dayton

Marianist Environmental
Education Center
St. Joseph Hall, Mount St. John
4435 E. Patterson Road
Dayton, OH 45430
(937) 429-3582
Meec.center

Recommended by: St. Anthony, Madisonville, parishioner Joe Krumm: “The Marianist Brothers, Sisters, and volunteers have done a fantastic job to restore, preserve and protect the gift of our natural environment.” Part of the Marianist’s Mount St. John complex, MEEC includes a 100-acre nature preserve that was named an Ohio National Landmark in 1988. The site is used for research and is open to the public; programs and hikes are held regularly. A guide to two acres of trail through the preserves is available to download at the website.

While at MEEC you can also visit Bergamo Center, Queen of Apostles Chapel, a Lourdes grotto, and other sites open during daylight hours or by appointment.

 

Do: Tour the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains

325 W. 8th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 421-5354
Stpeterinchainscathedral.org

Recommended by: John Stegeman, staffer at the Glenmary Missioners:“See the museum and old horse carriage!” Tours at Cincinnati’s cathedral, one of the most notable neo-Gothic buildings in the United States, include a “behind the scenes” trip to the archbishop’s private chapel and vesting area, a miniature museum with historic artifacts, and Archbishop John Baptist Purcell’s carriage. Found in Brown County in 1975. the carriage was restored for the nation’s Bicentennial and has been at the cathedral ever since.

Free tours take place on the second Sunday of each month after 11 a.m. Mass. To schedule a group tour any day, call the cathedral office.

 

Worship: Mass at St. Leo the Great

2573 St. Leo Place
Cincinnati, Ohio 45225
(513) 921-1044
Saint-leo.org

Recommended by: composer and musician Bobby Fisher. Historic St. Leo has a special mission to immigrant and refugee communities – 85% of parishioners come from Burundi or Guatemala, and many are refugees. A festive time to join the parish for Mass is its annual summer Culture Fest, hosted by Hispanic parishioners and featuring children’s activities and music and food from Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador. It is not a fundraiser (though a little cash is required) and stops for 6 p.m. Mass before resuming for the evening. The festival is held in the parking lot, which is bordered by a brightly painted prayer wall that combines murals with an area for parishioners and friends to leave prayers written on slips of paper. This year’s Culture Fest is set for July 14.

Culture Fest Mass (in Spanish with English), 6 p.m., July 14

Sunday Mass (in English with Spanish and Kurundi): 10 a.m.; Saturday Mass (in Spanish with English): 6 p.m.

 

Click here to download a Bucket List page to print out:Bucket LIst 7 2018
For the January Bucket List click here
For the February Bucket List click here
For the March Bucket List click here
For the April Bucket List click here
For the May Bucket List click here.
For the June Bucket list click here.

Bucket List Map for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Suggest an item for our Bucket List! Email your suggestions to gfinke@catholiccincinnati.org.

Ordination Traditions

07/02/2018 - 8:38am
Explore the traditions of this joyous time in pictures

For coverage of the ordination itself, click here.

Tradition of the first blessing

Waiting to receive a blessing from a new priest is a longstanding ordination day tradition. After Mass, the new priests are greeted by their former seminary classmates, who kneel for blessings.

Father Jacob Willig, followed by Father Jarred Kohn, blesses seminarians following his ordination to the priesthood. (CT photo/E.L. Hubbard) At the reception that follows the annual priest ordination, people line up to for first blessings from the priests they know. Here, before making his way down the stairs to the undercroft, Father Jarred Kohn stops to bless his mother waiting next to the cathedral’s baptismal font. (CT photo/E.L. Hubbard) Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr established a new tradition here: He kneels for a blessing from each new priest before the recessional. Here he receives a blessing from Father Andrew Smith. (CT photo/E.L. Hubbard) Tradition of the manutergium Each manutergium presented at the ordination was embroidered with the priest’s name. (Courtesy photo)

The cloth a priest uses to wipe the blessed chrism from his hands after being ordained is called the manutergium, and represents the burial cloth of Christ. According to a tradition many dioceses are reviving, priests present the manutergia to their mothers at their first Masses. The women are buried holding them, so that at the Last Judgment everyone on Heaven and Earth will know they are the mothers of priests and can present the cloths to Christ, saying, “my son, too, shared in your priesthood.” The manutergia for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are made by vestment maker and seminary volunteer Jaqueline Kaiser, who embroiders each with the name of the priest.

 

Tradition of the first Mass

A new priest’s first time presiding at Mass usually takes place at his home parish on the day after his ordination. It’s often especially elaborate, because priest friends and mentors, seminary companions, and parish servers are eager to take part, and parishioners, family, and friends want to be present for the historic day. This year, the day after ordination was Pentecost, one of the church’s greatest feast days, adding the splendor of red vestments, special music, and the annual sequence “Come, Holy Spirit” (Veni, Sancte Spiritus) to the celebration.

Father Jacob Willig celebrates his first Mass at St. Antoninus, Cincinnati. (CT photo/Greg Hartman) Father Craig Best celebrates his first Mass at St. Margaret-St. John, Cincinnati. (Courtesy photo) Father Andrew Smith celebrates his first Mass at St. Luke, Beavercreek. (Courtesy photo) Tradition of the first confessional stole

In another tradition being revived around the country, at his first Mass a new priest gives his father the stole he wore to hear his first confession. During the sacrament of penance the penitent receives God’s justice, mercy, and reconciling love. Because a priest first learns about mercy and justice from his father, the gift
is an appropriate one. According to this tradition, priests’ fathers are buried holding the purple stoles, and when raised on the last day can present them to Christ and say, “my son, too, shared in Your priesthood.” 

Father Jarred Kohn explains why he is about to give his stole to his father at his first Mass, celebrated at St. Mary, Philothea. (CT photo/Greg Hartman)

 

 

Near immigration’s ground zero, bishops begin border trip with Mass

07/01/2018 - 9:15pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz Muth

By Rhina Guidos

MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) — The bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States have for weeks expressed outrage and condemned the government’s recent practice of separating children from a parent or a family member if they’re caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without legal documentation.

On July 1, led by the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a delegation of prelates from around the country physically stepped into the ground zero of the immigration debate when they arrived in the Brownsville-McAllen area near the southern border to meet with those affected by the policy.

“This is a sign that the bishops of the United States are concerned about the situation and the circumstances affecting people, not just those who live in Brownsville but all along the border,” said the local bishop, Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville during a July 1 interview with Catholic News Service. “This is a moment to completely understand the reality of the situation, to meet, speak with people who are living this reality. It’s a message for the church.”

Bishop Flores welcomed the delegation led by the president of the USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, during a morning Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, also were present during the Mass. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who is vice president of the USCCB, is expected to join the delegation.

Referring to the Sunday Gospel readings from the Book of Mark, in which Jesus heals the daughter of the Biblical Jairus, Bishop Flores, who delivered the homily, said that what the bishops were doing near the border was similar. Jesus was attentive to the woman who touched him and wanted to be healed. Jesus was capable of stopping for a moment and listening to her and tending to her so he could heal her. The story provides the people of God an example of what God wants, he said.

“He is an example for us because of his capacity to tend to this person in his presence and allowing that woman to change his path,” Bishop Flores said. “What kind of people does the Lord want? He wants a people capable of looking at the reality in front of them and adapting to that reality. He didn’t say, ‘I don’t have time for you today.’ He didn’t say, ‘You’re not in the plan, you’re not in the calendar.'”

To be compassionate, one has to have his or her eyes open just as Jesus shows us in the Gospel, he said, and the bishops were visiting the border to listen and to see the reality in that area in a similar manner.

“The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,” he said, switching between English and Spanish. “That’s what the Lord taught us: to listen and then respond to the plan, the Christian plan, and to give hope to the poorest and neediest, to tell them that the Christian people have not forgotten them.”

Christ’s example, he said, was to respect the dignity of each person, “each one, and to hear their cry to tend to them. That is the purpose of the church.”

“We as a church have to hear where the reality is, we have to be the ones to say, ‘There’s a human face and that human face always points us to Christ.’ If we don’t say it, who will?” Bishop Flores asked.

He said he was glad the bishops would be able to witness the generosity of the people of the Rio Grande Valley, who with few resources always respond generously to those who have needed them over the years.

“Let’s ask the Lord to allow us to see with open eyes to respond with compassionate hearts,” he said. “We can be a country of laws without being a nation that lacks compassion.”

The start of the two-day visit began a day after mass protests around the U.S. demanded a stop to the separation of families. The prelates’ visit will be focused on family separation and they plan to visit a center for migrants run by Catholic Charities and also to meet with authorities near the border.

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Near immigration’s ground zero, bishops begin border trip with Mass

07/01/2018 - 9:15pm

By Rhina Guidos

MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) — The bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States have for weeks expressed outrage and condemned the government’s recent practice of separating children from a parent or a family member if they’re caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without legal documentation.

On July 1, led by the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a delegation of prelates from around the country physically stepped into the ground zero of the immigration debate when they arrived in the Brownsville-McAllen area near the southern border to meet with those affected by the policy.

“This is a sign that the bishops of the United States are concerned about the situation and the circumstances affecting people, not just those who live in Brownsville but all along the border,” said the local bishop, Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville during a July 1 interview with Catholic News Service. “This is a moment to completely understand the reality of the situation, to meet, speak with people who are living this reality. It’s a message for the church.”

Bishop Flores welcomed the delegation led by the president of the USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, during a morning Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, also were present during the Mass. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who is vice president of the USCCB, is expected to join the delegation.

Referring to the Sunday Gospel readings from the Book of Mark, in which Jesus heals the daughter of the Biblical Jairus, Bishop Flores, who delivered the homily, said that what the bishops were doing near the border was similar. Jesus was attentive to the woman who touched him and wanted to be healed. Jesus was capable of stopping for a moment and listening to her and tending to her so he could heal her. The story provides the people of God an example of what God wants, he said.

“He is an example for us because of his capacity to tend to this person in his presence and allowing that woman to change his path,” Bishop Flores said. “What kind of people does the Lord want? He wants a people capable of looking at the reality in front of them and adapting to that reality. He didn’t say, ‘I don’t have time for you today.’ He didn’t say, ‘You’re not in the plan, you’re not in the calendar.'”

To be compassionate, one has to have his or her eyes open just as Jesus shows us in the Gospel, he said, and the bishops were visiting the border to listen and to see the reality in that area in a similar manner.

“The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,” he said, switching between English and Spanish. “That’s what the Lord taught us: to listen and then respond to the plan, the Christian plan, and to give hope to the poorest and neediest, to tell them that the Christian people have not forgotten them.”

Christ’s example, he said, was to respect the dignity of each person, “each one, and to hear their cry to tend to them. That is the purpose of the church.”

“We as a church have to hear where the reality is, we have to be the ones to say, ‘There’s a human face and that human face always points us to Christ.’ If we don’t say it, who will?” Bishop Flores asked.

He said he was glad the bishops would be able to witness the generosity of the people of the Rio Grande Valley, who with few resources always respond generously to those who have needed them over the years.

“Let’s ask the Lord to allow us to see with open eyes to respond with compassionate hearts,” he said. “We can be a country of laws without being a nation that lacks compassion.”

The start of the two-day visit began a day after mass protests around the U.S. demanded a stop to the separation of families. The prelates’ visit will be focused on family separation and they plan to visit a center for migrants run by Catholic Charities and also to meet with authorities near the border.

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Pope Prayer intention for July

07/01/2018 - 12:01am
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry

That priests who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests. Pope Francis in 2017; Courtesy photo

Another busy year ends for Supreme Court with all eyes on next term

06/29/2018 - 9:32pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) — “That’s a wrap” could have been said late morning June 27 at the U.S. Supreme Court after the court issued its last two decisions of the term.

Except that it was not a wrap by a long shot.

Just a few hours after the court released its final decisions, longtime Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, which immediately got wheels of speculation spinning about his potential replacement and what that would mean for the future balance of the court.

Almost immediately, President Donald Trump said he would move quickly to fill the spot, saying he already has a list of candidates in hand.

And the day after this announcement, the court released another handful of cases on the docket for its next term that begins Oct. 1.

But before all attention shifts to the next session, there is still plenty to review from the court’s term that just ended — a busy nine months with more than 75 cases argued, and decided on, by the court.

Big cases this year involved the president’s travel ban, a same-sex wedding cake, gerrymandering, sports betting, cellphone tracking, union dues and pro-life pregnancy centers.

Catholic Church leaders weighed in on many of these cases, submitting friend-of-the-court briefs and issuing statements after the decisions were announced. Catholic newspaper editorials addressed sports betting and Catholic advocates spoke up on the court’s actions on the death penalty.

The court, near the end of this term, announced its 5-4 decision upholding Trump’s travel ban preventing people entering the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Legal Immigration Network expressed disappointment with the ruling and also had filed a combined friend-of-the court brief with harsh criticism of the president’s order, saying it showed “blatant religious discrimination” and was a major threat to religious liberty.

In the case of the same-sex wedding cake, the U.S. bishops sided with the court’s 7-2 decision in favor of the Colorado baker who cited religious beliefs in declining to make the wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The narrow ruling said the baker’s religious freedom had been violated by the state’s Civil Rights Commission, but it did not determine if a small business can invoke federal free-speech and religious-exercise rights to deny services to same-sex couples.

The Catholic bishops also sided with the court’s 5-4 ruling that a California law requiring pregnancy centers to tell patients about the availability of state-funded abortion services violated the First Amendment. They disagreed with the court’s 5-4 decision in the case about union dues where the court overruled its previous decision allowing state agencies to require their union-represented employees to pay fees to the union for collective bargaining costs even if they are not union members.

One case that might have seemed under the radar for Catholic leaders was the 6-3 ruling that cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law, but editorials in at least two Catholic archdiocesan newspapers warned about some potential dangers of this decision.

Catholic New York, archdiocesan newspaper of New York, and The Catholic Spirit, archdiocesan newspaper of St. Paul and Minneapolis, both pointed out how the ruling could bring about an increased addition to gambling.

In a death penalty case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a Texas death-row inmate, ordering a federal appellate court to reconsider his requests for funding to investigate his claims of mental illness and substance abuse. This decision, along with the statements made when the court announced it would not take up the case of an Arizona death-row inmate challenging the state’s capital punishment law, shows the court is taking notice of flaws in the death penalty, said Karen Clifton, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network.

In its next session, the court already has agreed to three death penalty cases.

In other abortion decisions, the justices threw out a lower court’s ruling that allowed a 17-year-old last year to obtain an abortion while she was in a detention center after an illegal border crossing. The court also said it would not hear a case against an Arkansas abortion law, thus letting the state’s restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs stand.

As the court catches its breath from the end of the busy term and awaits the transition period of its replacement for Kennedy, many of the justices will at least be able to get away from Washington with temporary teaching posts.

The scotusblog, a blog about the Supreme Court, reports that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be a guest lecturer in Rome for the summer law program of Loyola University Chicago and Justice Neil Gorsuch will teach two courses in national security law for the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University’s summer session in Padua, Italy. Justice Stephen Breyer is scheduled to give a talk at the Aspen Institute in Colorado in July.

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Pope at pallium Mass: Jesus wants disciples unafraid to aid others

06/29/2018 - 1:31pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God wants his disciples to bring his mercy and love to everyone, everywhere on earth, which means it may cost them their “good name,” comfort and their life, Pope Francis said on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Following Christ requires “that we open our hearts to the Father and to all those with whom he has wished to identify,” particularly the downtrodden, the lost and the wounded, “in the sure knowledge that he will never abandon his people,” he said during a Mass in St. Peter’s Square June 29.

“Jesus wants to liberate his disciples, his church, from empty forms of triumphalism: forms empty of love, empty of service, empty of compassion, empty of people,” he said.

The Mass was celebrated the day after Pope Francis created 14 new cardinals from 11 different nations.

Both new and old cardinals as well as 30 archbishops appointed over the course of the past year were invited to be in Rome to concelebrate the feast day Mass with Pope Francis. The archbishops came from 18 countries, the majority coming from Latin America and others from Africa, Asia and Europe.

As has become standard practice, Pope Francis did not confer the pallium on new archbishops during the liturgy, but rather, blessed the palliums after they had been brought up from the crypt above the tomb of St. Peter. As each archbishop approached him by the altar, the pope handed each one a small wooden box tied with a thin gold ribbon. The actual imposition of the woolen band was to take place in the archbishop’s archdiocese in the presence of his faithful and bishops from neighboring dioceses.

The pallium is a woolen band that symbolizes an archbishop’s unity with the pope and his authority and responsibility to care for the flock the pope entrusted to him.

Addressing the cardinals and archbishops during his homily, the pope spoke about what Peter teaches them about the life and risks of being Christ’s disciple.

It was Peter who recognized Jesus as “the Christ, the son of the living God,” and it was Peter whom Jesus turned to, saying “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.”

But, when Jesus showed his disciples he must go to Jerusalem, be killed and be risen, it was Peter who protested.

Jesus “kept bringing the father’s love and mercy to the very end. This merciful love demands that we, too, go forth to every corner of life, to reach out to everyone, even though this may cost us our ‘good name,’ our comforts, our status … even martyrdom.”

Peter reacts to this mandate of martyrdom by saying, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you,” which makes him become “a stumbling stone in the Messiah’s path,” the pope said.

“Thinking that he is defending God’s rights, Peter, without realizing it, becomes the Lord’s enemy; Jesus calls him ‘Satan.'” he said.

“Like Peter, we as a church will always be tempted to hear those ‘whisperings’ of the evil one, which will become a stumbling stone for the mission,” the pope said.

Sharing in Christ’s mission, which is to anoint the people, the sick, the wounded, the lost and the repentant sinner, so that they may feel “a beloved part of God’s family,” means sharing Christ’s cross, which is his glory.

“When we turn our back on the cross, even though we may attain the heights of glory, we will be fooling ourselves, since it will not be God’s glory, but the snare of the enemy,” he said.

Do not be Christians who keep “a prudent distance from the Lord’s wounds,” because Jesus touches human misery and “he asks us to join him in touching the suffering flesh of others,” the pope told those assembled.

It is failure to be immersed in “real human dramas” and in contact with people’s concrete concerns that prevents people from “knowing the revolutionary power of God’s tender love,” he said.

As is customary, a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople attended the Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul — the patron saints of the Vatican and the city of Rome.

Before the Mass, Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos, head of the delegation, joined the pope in prayer at the tomb of St. Peter inside St. Peter’s Basilica. The two also stopped before a bronze statue of St. Peter, which was adorned with a jeweled tiara, ring and red cope.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

Today’s Video: Celebrating the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

06/29/2018 - 12:59am

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul or Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a liturgical feast in honor of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed June 29. It is also the feast where the Pontiff conferrs the Pallium upon the Metropolitan Archbishop in Rome with their relatives, friends and a numerous representation of their diocesan communities. Today’s Video from Bishop Barron discusses this feast day.

A tale of two farm bills: House, Senate versions to be hashed out

06/28/2018 - 9:05pm

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — With House passage of a new five-year farm bill in the rearview mirror and passage of a Senate version looming straight ahead, it’s going to take a House-Senate conference committee to reconcile what is turning out to be considerably different versions of the farm bill.

“We’re in an interesting period,” said James Ennis, executive director of Catholic Rural Life.

The Senate version, which received a 20-1 vote in committee to send to the floor, where debate started June 28, “is very bipartisan,” Ennis told Catholic News Service. “The Senate version in its current state looks a lot like the 2014 farm bill.”

It’s the House version that has Ennis and other rural advocates concerned. It passed June 21 by just two votes, 213-211, and it took several minutes to break the deadlock while supporters rounded up two more members to vote for it. All those voting yes were Republicans; 20 Republicans voted no, as did every Democrat voting.

The Agriculture Nutrition Act, as the House bill is known, removes money from conservation programs found in previous farm bills, which are reauthorized generally twice each decade. The Conservation Stewardship Program was cut entirely. Access to capital for business training services also was slashed, Ennis said.

Anna Johnson, an Iowa-based senior policy analyst for the Center for Rural Affairs, is concerned with trends in rural life that see farms getting bigger, with fewer people to work on them. That leads to smaller town and the problems that come with it.

“There’s a bunch of factors at play,” Johnson said. “Obviously, the folks leave a rural town, businesses close, places of worship close, schools close, communities dwindle. Part of our mission is to support the thriving and vibrant rural communities.”

But she spied something in the House version of the farm bill that would add a new threat to rural life.

“It’s how policy works sometimes,” she told CNS June 28. “You bury things in the language and it’s hard to see, but what it’s going to do is open up a lot of loopholes in the farm payment structure and go against the farm safety net,” Johnson said. “It’s going to allow farms to reorganize into different structures and attract more subsidy payments.”

In so doing, she added, “it helps drive farm consolidation, which drives up land prices and rent prices.” Agribusiness concerns, Johnson said, will more easily be able exploit the loophole and grab a larger chunk of federal farm subsidy money.

“Government failing with impunity: that’s the farm bill,” said Dee Davis, executive director of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, Kentucky. He criticized Congress for “having the chance to do something decent, but always getting right up to the line with it.”

Davis asked, “What do we know?” before answering his own question: “What we do know is that one out of four kids lives in rural poverty. All the posing and all the preening by these congressmen is not going to help if it takes away food from poor people.”

He added, “Rural communities have been suffering. We have the food stamp program and its important impact in rural communities, not just in what it does for low-income families but what it does to support local economies. If they pull that away, and don’t replace it with anything for balance, then rural communities will suffer even more.”

The House version of the farm bill imposes stricter work requirements for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once known as food stamps. Some have predicted 2 million people would lose SNAP benefits were the House bill to become law, but the number of those affected in rural communities is not known.

“My feeling is they’ve got a job, they should do it,” Davis said of Congress.

More than 300 priests, women religious and lay leaders issued a letter June 21 to Congress to preserve SNAP. “As Catholics, you know that our church’s social teaching calls us to serve the common good, and that the government has an important role to play in supporting our vulnerable neighbors,” said the letter, released by Faith in Public Life. “There is nothing pro-life about making it harder for parents to put food on the table for their children.”

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Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.