March 27, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 1
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte
Perspectives The cross and joy; Easter hope; the disease of ‘a thousand things to do’
Established Jan. 12, 1972 by Pope Paul VI march 27, 2009
N.C. bishops call for help in defending health care workers’ rights
| Pages 14-15 Serving Catholics in Western North Carolina in the Diocese of Charlotte
In Africa, pope challenges attitudes, cultural trends by JOHN THAVIS catholic news service
LUANDA, Angola — Pope Benedict XVI’s in-flight statement opposing condom distribution in AIDS prevention drew sharp criticism and was seen by many as a distraction fr om his main mes s age in Africa. But a closer look reveals that very little of what the pope had to say during his March 17-23 African journey was easy or accommodating. On issues ranging from abortion to corruption,
KEVIN E. MURRAY editor
CHARLOTTE — Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis and Raleigh Bishop Michael F. Burbidge are encouraging local Catholics to help keep a regulation that gives federal protection to the conscience rights of health care providers and institutions. “The right to life and the freedom to exercise one’s religious and moral beliefs in the medical field without See HHS, page 6
Bringing Christ’s message to a ‘land of hope’
USCCB comments cite reasons for HHS to keep conscience regulation by
See AFRICA, page 7
CNS photo by L’Osservatore Romano via Catholic Press Photo
Pope Benedict XVI kisses a child as he leaves Amadou Ahidjo stadium following Mass in Yaounde, Cameroon, March 19. In his homily the pope urged African families to reject the “tyranny of materialism” and other social changes that risk eroding the continent’s traditional values. The service was attended by more than 40,000 people.
Festivities of green
Considering the alternative
Students spend spring break doing service projects in western North Carolina by
KATIE MOORE staff writer
Student volunteers, Becky Whaples and Kelly Laccinole, paint a wall at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center in Robbinsville March 12. As participants in Catholic Campus Ministry’s alternative spring break, the students spent a week doing service projects in western North Carolina counties.
M U R P H Y — A s m all group of college students and campus ministers from around the Diocese of Charlotte recently made a big impact on four rural mountain counties of western North Carolina. As part of an alternative
spring break, the students spent March 7-14 performing service projects with a Catholic agency and local nonprofit organizations. The project was a collaborative effort between diocesan campus ministry and the Office of Economic See SERVICE, page 5
Photo by Kevin E. Murray
The 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival was held in uptown Charlotte March 21. For photographs of participating Catholic schools and organizations, see pages 8-9.
In Our Schools
‘Beacon of hope’
Menus and saints’ lives; filmmaker works to help poor
Students experience styles of music, art in school
Catholic church reopens in New Orleans’ 9th Ward
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March 27, 2009
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Current and upcoming topics from around the world to your own backyard
WASHINGTON (CNS) — University of Notre Dame officials were standing firm on their choice of President Barack Obama as commencement speaker at the institution’s May 17 graduation, in spite of a large number of Catholics calling on them to rescind the invitation. The Indiana university, run by the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the White House announced March 20 that Obama would be Notre Dame’s 2009 commencement speaker and confirmed he will receive an honorary doctor of law degree at the graduation. “The invitation to President Obama to be our commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem cell research,” said Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame. “Yet, we see his visit as a basis for further positive engagement,” he said in
Mercy Beyond Borders
CNS photo/courtesy of Sister Lacey
Mercy Sister Marilyn Lacey is pictured in this undated photo with retired Bishop Paride Taban of Torit, Sudan, who invited her to southern Sudan. Sister Marilyn is founder of Mercy Beyond Borders.
Bishop’s stories of tragedy sparked Mercy sister’s outreach to Sudan ERIE, Pa. (CNS) — Eighteen years ago, Mercy Sister Marilyn Lacey was at a conference in Los Angeles and heard a Catholic bishop tell about life in Sudan, which at the time was in the middle of a civil war. Bishop Paride Taban of Torit told of 1 million displaced people and how he housed refugee children in his home. He said there were no schools, hospitals or clinics, and he described bomb craters on his front lawn. Unfamiliar with the situation in Sudan, Sister Lacey, who had been working to resettle refugees with Catholic Charities in San Jose, Calif., was stunned and felt compelled to stay behind and talk with the bishop. “I told him that I wanted to know more about what was going on in Sudan,” she recalled in a March 11 interview. A member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas West Midwest Community, Sister Lacey said the bishop’s response piqued her interest even more. “Come and see,” he said. She likened the invitation to what Jesus said in the Gospel. In 1992, Sister Lacey went to Sudan and what she saw there changed her forever. She described a scene similar to the passage about dry bones found in Chapter 37 of Ezekiel in the Old Testament. “There were about 10,000 people who were starving. I couldn’t understand how they were able to stand,” she said. She learned that the people had walked for two weeks fleeing a massacre and looking for water. “I was stunned at the devastation. I had not seen such extreme poverty,” said
Despite criticism, Notre Dame firm on Obama as commencement speaker
Sister Lacey. “From that point on, I was changed and knew that I would do for Sudan whatever I could.” Last year, Sister Marilyn founded M e r c y B e y o n d B o r d e r s , w w w. mercybeyondborders.org, a nonprofit agency that helps educate young girls and supports small entrepreneurial projects that can be run by displaced women in southern Sudan. The agency is working on projects such as providing grants for refugee women so they can cultivate vegetables, getting bicycles so the women don’t have to walk four hours to sell their vegetables at the market, and opening roadside cafes at which they can sell tea and bread to travelers in Sudan. Since then, she has been meeting Mercy sisters and associates, and traveling to Mercy colleges, universities and high schools to educate people on what is happening in Sudan and outlining how they can help. “I want to challenge folks to study the issues behind the many injustices and imbalances in the world. It’s not enough to give food and water to the poor; we have to find out why they are poor,” she said. In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended more than two decades of Sudan’s civil war, which left 2 million dead and displaced 4 million. But since then fighting has again intensified and threatens the agreement. To Sister Lacey, Mercy Beyond Borders is a natural fit for the Mercy tradition. “Being with the poor is our best chance to meet God face to face,” Sister Lacey said.
Diocesan planner For more events taking place in the Diocese of Charlotte, visit www.charlottediocese. org/calendarofevents-cn. CHARLOTTE VICARIATE CHARLOTTE — Solemn Vespers of Lent will be held at 6 p.m. every Sunday evening during Lent at St. Patrick Cathedral, 1621 Dilworth Rd. E. Vespers is the name given to the official liturgical evening prayer of the Church and completes the Divine Service for that day. The Evening vespers will include a reflection on the seven last words of Christ. On March 29, Father Brad Jones gives the reflection on the fifth word, “I thirst.” On April 5, Bishop Peter J. Jugis gives the reflection on the sixth and seventh words, “It is finished” and “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” For more information, contact the church office at (704) 334-2283.
a March 23 statement. The announcement was promptly followed by a flurry of criticism from Catholics, who said the president’s support of legal abortion and embryonic stem cell research makes him an inappropriate choice to be the commencement speaker at a Catholic university. The Cardinal Newman Society — a Manassas, Va.-based Catholic college watchdog group — announced March 26 it had collected more than 157,901 signatures so far in an online petition that calls for Notre Dame to rescind its invitation to Obama to be this year’s commencement speaker. Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said March 23 the university anticipated criticism, and that most students are pleased with this year’s choice of Obama as the commencement speaker and feel honored the first black U.S. president would accept Notre Dame’s invitation from among the many he has received. Lent at 6:15 p.m. For more information, call (704) 846-7753. CHARLOTTE —“Poor Prenatal Diagnosis: When Abortion Becomes Part of Routine Obstetric Care,” training for counselors to support parents in carrying to term will take place March 30 from 7-9 p.m. in Room 204 of the New Life Center Building at St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. For more information, contact Andrea Hines at HinesAL@aol.com or Tracy Winsor at ohboys@ carolina.rr.com. CHARLOTTE — The Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Basil the Great, 7702 Pineville-Matthews Rd., will host an introduction to Eastern Christian spirituality led by Father Deacon Daniel Dozier. All Catholics are invited to attend this free event to learn more about the diverse and universal nature of the Catholic Church. The next meeting will be April 4 on the topic, “Drama of Saving Love: Church.” Meetings will take place in the fellowship hall after Divine Liturgy at 6 p.m. CHARLOTTE — A Mass in Polish will be held at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., on Palm Sunday, April 5 at 3 p.m. Confessions will be available from 2 p.m. For more information, call Elizabeth Spytkowski at (704) 948-1678.
CHARLOTTE — The St. Matthew Columbiette’s are now accepting applications for the Gene Marie Alfaro Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a graduating high school senior who is pursuing a career in nursing or other health related fields. If interested, call Diana Congdon at (704) 814-0624. To be considered, applications must be received by April 14.
CHARLOTTE — St. Matthew Young Adult Life invites those in their 20’s and 30’s to Theology on Tap, “Lent: 40 Days in the Desert.” This series will be held once a month for four months at Mario’s Pizza/John’s Place, 3016 Weddington Rd., Suite 100 and will explore the various events associated with the Lenten season. On April 16, Chris Lynch will present the topic “The Resurrection and Easter Sunday.” Come for food and drinks at 6:30 p.m. Speakers will begin at 7 p.m. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
MINT HILL — Deacon Rafael Torres will lead The Stations of the Cross in Spanish at St. Luke Church, 13700 Lawyers Rd., Thursdays during
CHARLOTTE — All are invited to participate in the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday at St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons
March 27, 2009 Volume 18 • Number 21
Publisher: Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Editor: Kevin E. Murray STAFF WRITER: Katie Moore Graphic DESIGNER: Tim Faragher Advertising MANAGER: Cindi Feerick Secretary: Deborah Hiles 1123 South Church St., Charlotte, NC 28203 Mail: P.O. Box 37267, Charlotte, NC 28237 Phone: (704) 370-3333 FAX: (704) 370-3382 E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
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March 27, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 3
FROM THE VATICAN
Papal social encyclical should be published in May, says cardinal VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI’s first social encyclical is already completed and should be ready for release in early May, said a top Vatican official. The original aim had been to have the encyclical on social justice issues ready for publication in 2007 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on human development, “Populorum Progressio” (“The Progress of Peoples”), said Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. “Naturally, however, with the research and revisions necessary to create and have a text that would respond to today’s current situation, well, it got behind schedule a little bit,” he told reporters March 20. He said the new papal encyclical will offer “a beautiful response” to the new realities and the changes that
have occurred since the last papal encyclical on Catholic social teaching, “Centesimus Annus” (“The Hundredth Year”), was published in 1991 by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict’s social encyclical was tentatively titled “Caritas in Veritate” (“Love in Truth”) and will be his third encyclical in four years. The pope said one reason for the encyclical’s delay was the need to deal thoroughly with the current global economic crisis. “We were almost ready to publish it when this crisis erupted and we went back to the text in order to give a more adequate response” and to examine what the church sees as being the real problems underlying the financial crisis, he said March 17. He said he hoped the encyclical could play a part in helping the world overcome its economic woes.
Pkwy., at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 19. The celebration will include a traditional solemn Benediction and recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The sacrament of reconciliation will not be offered prior to the celebration. Individuals should check the times offered in their respective parishes.
Thursday, April 2 at 7 p.m. Father Check will speak on “The Mercy of Christ” followed by a Penance Service. Friday, April 3, at 5:30 p.m. we will begin with the Stations of the Cross, a simple soup & bread dinner, followed by a talk from Father Check on “The Passion of Christ.” Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place on both evenings. For more information, call the church office at (828)586-9496 or e-mail StMarys@dnet.net.
CHARLOTTE — The 40 Hours for Life prayer vigil is being held outside A Preferred Women’s Health Center, 3220 Latrobe Dr., Feb. 21 through April 5 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Parking is available along Latrobe Dr., on either side of the street. For more information or to sign up visit, www.40daysforlife.com/charlotte, or call Katherine at (704) 877-2551. GASTONIA VICARIATE GASTONIA —The Youth Group at St. Michael Church, 708 St. Michael’s Lane, will present the Living Stations at noon on Good Friday, April 10 at 12 p.m. They will take you through Palm Sunday, the Last Supper and then through the Stations of the Cross. All are welcome to join in this meditation on the Lord’s Passion. GREENSBORO VICARIATE GREENSBORO — Ladies Ancient Order of Hiberians will meet at 7 p.m. April 2 in the Kloster Center at St. Pius X Church, 2210 N. Elm St. For more information, contact Alice Schmidt at (336) 288-0983 SMOKY MOUNTAIN VICARIATE MURPHY ��� An ecumenical Lenten worship service will be held at St. William Church, 765 Andrews Rd., each Wednesday during Lent from 12–12:30 p.m. The reflection will be given by a local preacher and an offering will be taken for a local charity. It is free and open to the public. A soup and sandwich luncheon will be served following the service. For more information, contact Joan Kennedy at (828) 837-8519. SYLVA — A Lenten Mission will be held at St. Mary, Mother of God Church, 22 Bartlett St., April 2-3. Join Father Paul Check, from the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn. for inspiring presentations. On
SYLVA — “The Passion of Our Lord,” a living re-enactment by the Hispanic community will take place on Good Friday, April 10 at 1 p.m. at St. Mary, Mother of God Church, 22 Bartlett St. All are invited to attend this annual spiritual event. Praying the Stations of the Cross will be held in the church immediately following. For more information, call the church office at (828)586-9496 or e-mail StMarys@dnet.net.
April 2 (7 p.m.) Pastor installation of Capuchin Franciscan Father Martin Schratz Our Lady of Consolation Church, Charlotte
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The unbreakable bonds of marriage and the permanence of religious vows do not place artificial constraints on the freedom to love; rather they free a person to love forever, in good times and bad, said the preacher of the papal household. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa continued his Friday Lenten meditations for top Vatican officials March 20 even though Pope Benedict XVI and his closest collaborators were in Africa. Focusing on the writings of St. Paul about the Holy Spirit, the papal preacher looked specifically at the meaning of the passage from the Letter to the Romans: “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death.” If Christ’s death and resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit have freed people from the law, he said, “what sense do the Code of Canon Law, monastic rules, religious vows” and the church’s insistence on the indissolubility of marriage have? “Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it,” the Capuchin said. What the Holy Spirit adds to the law
is life-giving love, he said. “People today increasingly ask: What relationship there could be between the love of two young people and laws regarding matrimony, and what need does love have to bind itself when it is naturally free and spontaneous,” he said. If two people are really in love, Father Cantalamessa said, they do not see a promise to love each other forever as a burden, but as a joy. “This consideration is valid not only for human love, but also for divine love,” he said. “One could ask, ‘Why should one make a commitment to loving God, submitting to a religious rule, taking vows that force him or her to be poor, chaste and obedient?” The reason is that, “in a moment of grace, you felt attracted by God, you loved him and wanted to be with him forever, totally, and fearing that you might lose him because of your own instability, you bound yourself to him to guarantee your love,” he said. Religious vows and marriage vows help keep people steady through difficult times, guaranteeing that when the crisis is over, the relationship will still be firm, Father Cantalamessa said.
Joined in prayer
WINSTON-SALEM VICARIATE CLEMMONS — A Charismatic Prayer Group meets Mondays at 7:15 p.m. in the eucharistic chapel of Holy Family Church, 4820 Kinnamon Rd. Join us for praise music, witness, teaching, prayers and petition. For more details, call Jim Passero at (336) 998-7503. WINSTON-SALEM — The 40 Hours for Life prayer vigil is being held outside Forsyth Women’s Center/Planned Parenthood, 3000 Maplewood Ave. from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily Feb. 25 through April 5. The vigil is held on the public sidewalk directly across the street from the center. Parking is available on Bodford St. only, one block from the prayer site. For more information or to sign up visit www.40daysforlife.com/winstonsalem, or call Donna at (336) 940-2558.
Is your parish or school sponsoring a free event open to the general public? Deadline for all submissions for the Diocesan Planner is 10 days prior to desired publication date. Submit in writing to email@example.com or fax to (704) 370-3382.
Bishop Peter J. Jugis will participate in the following events:
April 2 (10 a.m.) Charlotte Catholic Women’s Group spring luncheon Carmel Country Club, Charlotte
Marriage, religious vows don’t limit freedom, papal preacher says
April 4 (7:15 a.m.) Mass for candidates of Deacon Formation Program Catholic Conference Center, Hickory April 5 (11 a.m.) Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion St. Patrick Cathedral, Charlotte
CNS photo by Karen Callaway, Catholic New World
Chicago Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz, Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George and Elena Segura, director of the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform for the Archdiocese of Chicago, pray during an interfaith prayer forum at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Chicago March 21. Cardinal George urged President Barack Obama and his administration to stop immigration raids and deportations that are separating families and to work toward more comprehensive immigration reform.
As floodwaters rise, bishop asks Catholics to pray, help one another FARGO, N.D. (CNS) — Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo has asked all Catholics in his diocese to pray for the protection of North Dakota residents and communities that may be affected by rising floodwaters, which threatened to destroy about 6,000 homes. “Please remember to pray for their protection, for the protection of their families, our communities and also asking the Lord to give us strength during this time of trial,” said Bishop Aquila at Mass March 22 at the Cathedral of
St. Mary in Fargo. The bishop also sent a similar statement by e-mail to all Catholic parishes, religious communities and officials with diocesan offices and Catholic Charities North Dakota. Several days of unrelenting rain caused the waters of the Red River to rise as much as 5 feet in one day. The city closed a number of bridges over the river. The rising floodwaters were threatening dozens of communities in the river basin in the southern part of North Dakota and in the neighboring state of Minnesota.
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around the diocese
March 27, 2009
Exploring learning styles
Photo by Deacon Gerald Potkay
Bishop Peter J. Jugis watches as catechumens, candidates and their sponsors stand during the Rite of Election at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Greensboro March 8.
The call to Catholicism Rites of election celebrated around diocese CHARLOTTE — Rites of Election are being held in churches around the Diocese of Charlotte. The rite, celebrated annually in churches around the world, formally acknowledges the readiness of those preparing to enter the church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA): candidates — who were baptized Catholic or in another Christian faith but have yet to receive the other sacraments of initiation of Communion and confirmation — and catechumens — who have never
been baptized. All will receive the sacraments during the Easter Vigil at their parishes. The rite of election marks the beginning of the candidates’ and catechumens’ final, and most intense, period of preparation. The ceremony also denotes their official reception as “members of the elect.” In the Diocese of Charlotte, the RCIA is a program of the diocesan Office of Faith Formation, which is funded in part by contributions to the annual Diocesan Support Appeal.
Courtesy Photo by Dr. Cris Villapando
Bishop Peter J. Jugis (right) and Deacon Carlos Medina of St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte watch as catechumens, their sponsors and others holding their parish’s Book of Elect stand during the Rite of Election at St. James the Greater Church in Concord March 1.
Courtesy Photo by Dr. Cris Villapando
Dr. Paula Grubbs, coordinator of elementary Education at Salem College in Winston-Salem, speaks to parish catechetical program leaders during a workshop on “Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences” at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory March 19. The workshop was to help catechists develop lesson plans for children’s faith formation classes.
March 27, 2009
from the cover
The Catholic News & Herald 5
Students spend spring break doing service projects SERVICE, from page 1
Opportunity (OEO) — a program of Catholic Social Services’ Office of Justice and Peace — and St. William Church, both in Murphy. “Part of our reason for partnering with OEO was so the students would have an opportunity to learn more about the state of North Carolina,” said Gloria Schweizer, Asheville-area campus minister. “This was the first time that I think anything like this has been done out in this part of the diocese,” said Claudie Burchfield, OEO director. St. William Church hosted the students and campus ministers. “The students really had a great experience with the parish,” said
Schweizer of the interaction between the parishioners and the students. By the end of the week, they “had a new level of appreciation for each other,” she said. “The retired people from the parish have been a big part of keeping the community together,” said Kelly Laccinole, a freshman at Central Piedmont Community College and UNC-Charlotte. Throughout the week, parishioners provided the students with a pancake breakfast and cookout and the students joined them for a game night and Lenten service at the church. “The trip involved lots of physical labor as a team, as well as focusing on understanding the deeper social issues involved in the four far-western counties of North Carolina,” said Schweizer. “The men’s group at the parish worked with us,” said Julie McElmurry, campus minister at Wake Forest University and Salem College in Winston-Salem. “I told them, ‘We have strong backs and good attitudes, but no skills and no tools,’” she joked. At the OEO, the students and parish volunteers worked on the exterior of the building — pressure washing, scraping and repainting. They cleaned out a home used by St. William Church for faith formation activities and they volunteered at two local thrift stores that specialize in providing goods to low-income families at affordable prices. “One of the students commented that it was cool that we didn’t go to some exotic location,” said Erin Leonard, campus minister at Appalachian State University in Boone. “It made a big difference to know
Students Kelly Laccinole and Will Geiger are pictured doing service work at the Office of Economic Opportunity in Murphy March 9. The students spent a week volunteering as part of a campus ministry alternative spring break. that we were helping people within our own diocese,” she said. Staying within the state also allowed them to save money on gas and accommodations. “We could do the trip economically and make more of an impact,” said Leonard. Throughout the week, the students went to daily Mass at St. William Church and met in the evenings for prayer and devotion. “The thing that I appreciate about a trip like this is the Catholic spiritual dimension,” said Schweizer. Another goal of the project was to provide an opportunity for Catholic students from the different universities to interact. In total, there were eight participants representing five universities. “I would say making the connection
with the parish and with OEO” was one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip, said McElmurry. “It made me realize that what we were doing was making an impact,” she said. “And there is more to it than just accomplishing these tasks for them.” “I think they just really enjoyed having us there,” she added. Burchfield agreed that the connection with the parish was an important component. “I think that was so important for them to be able to connect with that group and have an opportunity to share experiences,” said Burchfield. “It was beneficial to both the youths and the parishioners,” she said. Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore by calling (704) 370-3354, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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March 27, 2009
Bishops cite reasons for HHS to keep regulation HHS, from page 1
discrimination are being challenged in a new way, and we are asking for your help in contacting federal government regulators about this issue,” said the bishops in a March 23 statement. The Department of Health and Human Services opened a 30-day comment period March 10 on whether it should rescind a regulation that took effect two days before President Barack Obama took office. The rule codifies three longtime federal statutes prohibiting discrimination against health professionals who decline to participate in abortions or other medical procedures because of their religious or other moral objections. Rather than working to rescind the regulation, the Obama administration’s proper role is to enforce the will of Congress as already expressed in existing statutes, said attorneys for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Anthony Picarello Jr., USCCB general counsel, and Michael Moses, associate general counsel, filed public comments on behalf of the USCCB March 23 with HHS. “The question is not whether the policy to be pursued is the strong protection of conscience in health care — Congress has already decided that question repeatedly and decisively by a series of statutes — but how best to enforce the policy of conscience protection already expressed in those statutes,” Picarello and Moses said. The USCCB comments also said rescission of the regulation would conflict with the administration’s stated goals of promoting “choice” and reducing abortions; reduce health care options for the poor and other underserved populations; and perpetuate the “undisguised hostility to conscience rights” and widespread ignorance of existing law that are already rampant. “If the administration’s policy is one of ‘choice,’ it cannot, consistent with that policy, refuse to accommodate a health care provider’s choice not to participate in abortion,” the USCCB said. “Otherwise, the policy is simply one of unmasked coercion.” Similarly, it makes no sense to contend that one is working to reduce abortions by increasing access to abortion, the comments said. “Increasing abortion access increases abortion rates,” the USCCB lawyers said. “The administration cannot coherently — or in good faith — claim to stand for both policies at the same time.” In their joint statement, the North Carolina bishops ask Catholics in their two dioceses to visit the USCCB Web site at www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection during HHS’s 30-day comment period, which ends April 10, to learn more
about the proposal and to voice their opposition to it. “Please … let our government know that you do not want to rescind the regulation that was enacted last December and that you want to protect the right of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who make the life-affirming decision not to participate in abortions or other objectionable medical procedures based on their moral or religious beliefs,” the bishops said. Uncertain outcomes In soliciting public comment on the proposed rescission, HHS asked whether the regulation “reduces access to information and health care services, particularly by low-income women,” as some groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America have charged. The USCCB attorneys said rescinding the conscience regulation “would have uncertain effects on access” to abortion and sterilization, but “would certainly reduce access to life-affirming health care services, especially for poor and underserved populations.” Faced with a lack of conscience protections, health care providers and institutions opposed to abortion or sterilization could be forced out of business, thus reducing access to all health care, they added. “Indeed, the poorest and neediest patients will suffer the most from such reduction in access to life-affirming health care. “Those who allege a conflict between conscience and ‘access’ neglect to ask why rural and other underserved areas are so frequently served only by a Catholic or other faith-based provider,” the USCCB comments said. “This occurs because for-profit providers see no profit margin in serving poor or sparsely populated areas, while religiously affiliated providers ... see those patients as having inherent human dignity and human rights,” they said. “If these providers were barred from acting in accord with the moral and religious convictions that motivated them to provide life-affirming health care in the first place, the result will not be more comprehensive health care for these areas but, in some cases, none at all,” they added. Defending rights As evidence of the need for the current regulation, the USCCB attorneys said negative public reaction even before the rule took effect “demonstrates, at best, a deplorable lack of understanding about the federal legislative rights of conscience on which the regulation is based, at worst outright hostility to those statutory rights.” They also cited actions by groups such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Civil Liberties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America and various state and local governments to ignore or override conscience rights in
CNS photo by Paul Haring
Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago is assisted by employees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Digital Media office as he prepares to record a message in Spanish at the USCCB headquarters in Washington March 23. In the message, Cardinal George urged Catholics in the United States to tell the Obama administration to retain Department of Health and Human Services regulations governing conscience protections for health care workers. The message can be viewed on the USCCB Web site and on YouTube. violation of the current federal statutes. The USCCB called for outreach and educational efforts by HHS about the regulation “in addition to, rather than in lieu of, vigorous regulatory implementation of the existing conscience statutes.” “Public misperception about the conscience regulation and the statutes they enforce is, in and of itself, a testament to the need for regulatory enforcement and other guidance from HHS,” the comments said. “Congress has made its policy choice — a choice that respects and advances this nation’s founding principles of religious liberty and diversity, and that tends to increase patients’ ready access
to basic health care, regardless of their location or socio-economic status,” the comments concluded. “The administration’s regulatory actions should faithfully enforce that existing policy choice,” they said. Contributing to this story was Nancy Frazier O’Brien of Catholic News Service. WANT MORE INFO? For more info on the HHS proposal, visit www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection or www.catholicvoicenc.org.
March 27, 2009
challenges in africa
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“Do not let yourself be captivated by selfish illusions and false ideals.”
In Africa, pope challenges attitudes, cultural trends AFRICA, from page 1
from women’s rights to economic development, the pope preached the Gospel in a way that took issue with common practices and prevailing attitudes. His conviction, expressed on his first day in Cameroon, is that Christianity is the answer — the only real answer — to the chronic problems plaguing Africa. His fear is that Africa, caught up in economic and cultural globalization, will follow the secularized West and lose touch with its own best values. Condom campaigns are, to Pope Benedict, a small but very real part of this threat. But his concern extends to virtually every area of social, economic and political life. “At a time when so many people have no qualms about trying to impose the tyranny of materialism, with scant concern for the most deprived, you must be very careful,” he told Africans in Cameroon. “Take care of your souls,” he said. “Do not let yourselves be captivated by selfish illusions and false ideals.” News accounts usually leave out the words that inevitably followed these papal warnings, but for the pope they were the most important part of his message in Africa: “Only Christ is the way of life.” “The Lord Jesus is the one mediator and redeemer.” “Christ is the measure of true humanism.” Calling for conversion The transformation the pontiff asked of Africans was, as he described it, one that must begin with a radical conversion to Christ that redirects every aspect of life. “The Gospel teaches us that
reconciliation, true reconciliation, can only be the fruit of conversion, a change of heart, a new way of thinking. It teaches us that only the power of God’s love can change our hearts,” he said at an outdoor Mass in Angola. The pope kept reminding listeners that, in his view, inside and outside Africa the Christian message lived to the full is profoundly countercultural. That was eminently clear when he addressed young people in an Angolan soccer stadium, telling them that their power to shape the future was directly dependent on their “constant dialogue with the Lord.” “The dominant societal culture is not helping you live by Jesus’ words or to practice the self-giving to which he calls you,” he said. In fact, he said, today’s “individualistic and hedonistic” values prevent young people from reaching maturity. At his Mass the next day, the pope continued in the same vein, saying that “living by the truth” was not easy in the face of the “hardened attitudes” of selfishness that dominate much of contemporary social relations. Other challenges Abortion was very much on the pope’s mind in Africa. His first speech on the continent reminded Africans of their traditional values and said the church was the institution best able to preserve and purify them — unlike agencies that want to impose “cultural models that ignore the rights of the unborn.” In a speech to foreign diplomats, he laid down a direct challenge to international organizations that, in his words, were undermining society’s foundations by promoting abortion as a form of reproductive health care. The working document for next October’s Synod of Bishops, delivered by the pope to African bishops, said globalization “infringes on Africa’s
CNS photo by L’Osservatore Romano
A group of Pygmies from Cameroon’s Baka tribe dance for Pope Benedict XVI outside the nunciature in Yaounde, Cameroon, March 20. The Pygmies conferred a rare turtle, a traditional sign of respect in their culture, to the pope shortly before his departure for Angola. The pope and Vatican aides, who initially spoke about finding a home for the turtle in the Vatican Gardens, decided that the turtle should stay in Africa and asked staff members of the Vatican Embassy in Luanda to find a proper home for it. rights” and tends “to be the vehicle for the domination of a single, cultural model and a culture of death.” The pope hit hard on African wars and ethnic conflicts and repeatedly held out Christianity as the answer. If Africans grasp that the church is “God’s family,” he said in Cameroon, there is no room for ethnocentrism or factionalism. In effect, he presented the church as the only institution capable of bringing Africans together in a way that goes beyond political or economic expediency. Although the pope had two one-liners about corruption, typically portrayed in the West as the quintessential “African” problem, he did not engage in fingerpointing — even in Cameroon, which is usually at the top of the corruption charts of human rights organizations. Indeed, he called Cameroon a “land of hope” for Africa. The reason is that he knows local African church leaders are already on the front lines in denouncing political corruption. In Cameroon, for example, a year ago Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi of Douala took the unprecedented step of publicly opposing President Paul Biya’s constitutional meddling that allowed the president to serve yet another seven-year term — a position the cardinal reiterated
during the pope’s visit. Significantly, the pope treated corruption not as a problem to be eliminated in return for foreign aid, but as a practice incompatible with the demands of the Gospel. He added, however, that Africa deserves a similar change in attitude from the developed world — not “more programs and protocols” but “conversion of hearts to sincere solidarity.” His visit to the sick in Cameroon illustrated that the church must invest its resources in love and care for the needy, but with a special focus: Human suffering can only make sense in light of Christ’s crucifixion and his “final victory” over death, he said. Even the pope’s defense of women’s rights in Africa was very much a “Benedict” approach, based not on human rights declarations but on the biblical account of creation. Here, too, his point that men and women have “complementary” roles will no doubt find critics. The pope’s method in Africa was not to lay down the law but to lay down a challenge, asking people to examine their own lives and their relationships in the light of the Gospel. He believes that Christianity is a perfect fit for Africa but that, in view of cultural trends, it won’t necessarily be an easy fit.
8 The Catholic News & Herald
st. patrick’s day
March 27, 2009
Catholic churches, schools and organizations participate in Charlotte
Photo by Kevin E. Murray
Dancers from the Walsh Kelley School of Irish Dancing participate in the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown Charlotte March 21.
Above: Knights of Columbus lead the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade down Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte M for March 14, but the forecast for rain caused organizers to delay them one week
Photo by Kevin E. Murray Photo by Kevin E. Murray
Dancers from the Rince Na H’eirann Irish dance school participate in the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown Charlotte March 21.
Scouts and Scout masters from St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte ride in a float during the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown Charlotte March 21.
March 27, 2009
st. patrick’s day
The Catholic News & Herald 9
St. Patrick’s Day parade March 21
Photo by Kevin E. Murray
Members of St. Patrick School in Charlotte participate in the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown Charlotte March 21. The school won the parade’s “Most Green” entry.
Photo by Kevin E. Murray Photo by Kevin E. Murray
March 21. The parade and festival were originally scheduled
Volunteers with the Knights of Columbus hand out green beads along the St. Patrick’s Day parade route in uptown Charlotte March 21.
MORE PICS ONLINE Many more photographs from the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Charlotte March 21 are available at www.charlottediocese.org/catholicnews.html. Photos by Kevin E. Murray
Members of Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Brigid Division 1 (above) and Ancient Order of Hibernians Mecklenburg Division 1 (below) participate in the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown Charlotte March 21.
Photo by Kevin E. Murray
Members of St. Matthew School in Charlotte participate in the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown Charlotte March 21.
Photo by Kevin E. Murray
Members of St. Ann School in Charlotte ride a float during the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown Charlotte March 21.
March 27, 2009
10 The Catholic News & Herald
A roundup of Scripture, readings, films and more
Reflections and menus offer satisfying glimpse into saints’ lives reviewed by RACHELLE LINNER catholic news service
“Saints at the Dinner Table” is simple and satisfying in its idea and execution: to create and present menus inspired by reflections on the lives of 12 saints. The book is informed by author Amy Heyd’s gratitude for her family, her faith and her vocation as a wife, mother of three children and gifted cook. Heyd’s inspiration for the book was the realization that her prayers were more confident when she felt a connection with a saint’s life. She writes about praying to St. Joseph in the dark hours when her father was hospitalized with a serious stroke. “In that quiet and heart-wrenching moment, I felt that Joseph himself had stepped off the pedestal, took my hand and walked into my dad’s room with me.” In St. Joseph’s strength and presence she found a “wonderful listener” and “friend I could talk to in my time of need. In my quest to ‘relate’ to the saints, I started an intentioned journey to find a collection of saints on whom I could call.” She began with those who, like her, were interested in “food and caretaking.” The fruit of this journey is this lovely book of meditations and recipes that celebrate three biblical saints (Joseph, Andrew the Apostle and Martha); eight historical European saints (Brigid of Ireland, Isidore the farmer, Margaret of Scotland, Hildegard of Bingen, Clare of Assisi, Elizabeth of Hungary, Notburga and Didacus of Spain); and the recently canonized Sudanese St. Josephine Bakhita. Each chapter begins with several pages of text (an explanation of the saint’s historical or scriptural context, a reflection and a description of the meal) followed by the recipes (usually a main course, salad, vegetable and dessert) and concluding with thoughtful questions for dinner conversations and a prayer. The meals are well-balanced, though heavy on meat and dairy products and sometimes an unfortunate use of processed commercial foods. Many of the menu plans include traditional foods from a saint’s country or region, such as the chicken saltimbocca
WORD TO LIFE
Sunday Scripture Readings: april 5, 2009
April 5, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Cycle B. Readings: 1) Isaiah 50:4-7 Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24 2) Philippians 2:6-11 Gospel: Mark 14:1-15:47
Contemplating Jesus’ passion can help build our faith for St. Clare, colcannon for St. Brigid, and Sudanese beef and potatoes for St. Josephine. Other menu choices, like those honoring St. Joseph, are metaphorical. “The lamb chops remind me of how Joseph helped raise Jesus, the lamb of God. The breadcrumbs on top of the Carpenter Tomatoes resemble the sawdust that must have scattered the floors in Joseph’s workshop. “The mashed potatoes are a traditional comfort food and signify the comfort that St. Joseph has always given me. “The Rocky Road Cake is symbolic of the difficult roads, both literally and symbolically, that Mary and Joseph had to travel during Mary’s pregnancy and throughout Jesus’ childhood.” The best parts of this book are Heyd’s simple, well-crafted reflections on how the saints speak to her life. She writes about St. Josephine’s remarkable imitation of Christ in the ability to forgive those who abused her when she was a slave and the acceptance of God’s will in illness and infirmity. “As she neared the end of her life, she couldn’t walk and required a wheelchair to get around. The bishop approached Bakhita and asked her what she did while sitting in her wheelchair. Bakhita replied, ‘What do I do? Exactly what you are doing — the will of God.’” St. Josephine is an appropriate woman with whom to conclude a book that is ostensibly about cooking and saints, but is really about a joyful obedience to God’s will. The saints illustrate how a person can accept God’s will in any (and all) circumstances, and Heyd’s gentle book reminds us that charity, creativity and fruitful living flow from fidelity, whether one is a queen, a farmer, a cloistered contemplative, a fisherman or a contemporary homemaker. Linner, a freelance writer, lives in Boston.
by JEFF HENSLEY catholic news service
Last year Easter came early, and I found myself in Washington on the weekend of Palm Sunday at an annual meeting I have with other editors and the leadership of Catholic News Service. At a coffee shop near Dupont Circle that Sunday morning, I looked out on rain slick sidewalks, pondering some painful situations of people I care about very much. One of my fellow editors had shared stories of serious health problems in his family. Another friend I’d spent time with that weekend was facing a trip home to Fort Worth for his mother’s surgery to remove a large tumor, not knowing if it might be cancerous. I had just received word of a trauma in my own family the night before. We shared a sense of loss, a sense of fear of outcomes, a sense of powerlessness.
We also shared a mutual support. Peering out into the light rain, I realized that none of what we each faced could compare to the pain of our Lord as he faced physical persecution and ultimately his crucifixion at the hands of at least some of the same people who honored him on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. No palms covered the streets here, just rain. In the year since then, I have encountered the spirituality of the Focolare movement. One central element of that spirituality embraces the notion of focusing in prayer on the moment in which Jesus, on the cross, experienced separation from his Father, and seeking to identify with him in that moment of absolute abandonment. I must confess that I can only read the passion readings during Lent. They affect me too much to allow me to read them frequently throughout the year. But during the very hard year since last Palm Sunday, I have found strength in the practice of contemplating Jesus’ great isolation so that he could redeem us from our sins — a greater loss than any of us will ever experience. It is quite comforting somehow. I recommend it. Questions: Do you find contemplating Jesus in his last day difficult? How can you use contemplation of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection to build your own faith?
WEEKLY SCRIPTURE Scripture for the week of March 29-April 4 Sunday (Fifth Sunday of Lent), Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 5:7-9, John 12:20-33; Monday (Lenten Weekday), Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62, John 8:1-11; Tuesday (Lenten Weekday), Numbers 21:4-9, John 8:21-30; Wednesday, Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92,95, Daniel 3:52-56, John 8:31-42; Thursday (St. Francis of Paola), Genesis 17:3-9, John 8:51-59; Friday, Jeremiah 20:10-13, John 10:31-42; Saturday (St. Isidore), Ezekiel 37:21-28, Jeremiah 31: 10-13, John 11:45-56. Scripture for the week of April 5-11 Sunday (Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion), Mark 11:1-10, Isaiah 50:4-7, Philippians 2: 6-11, Mark 14:1-15:47; Monday (Monday of Holy Week), Isaiah 42:1-7, John 12:1-11; Tuesday (Tuesday of Holy Week), Isaiah 49:1-6, John 13:21-33, 36-38; Wednesday (Wednesday of Holy Week), Isaiah 50:4-9, Matthew 26:14-25; Thursday (Holy Thursday), Exodus 12:1-8, 1114, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-15; Friday (Good Friday), Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9, John 18:1—19:42; Saturday (Easter Vigil), Exodus 14:15-15:1, Romans 6:3-11, Mark 16:1-7.
The Catholic News & Herald 11
March 27, 2009
‘Riches to rags’
Filmmaker’s personal conversion a boon for groups helping the poor by BETH GRIFFIN catholic news service
MARYKNOLL, N.Y. — Gerard Thomas Straub recounted his “riches to rags” journey from atheistic, financially successful Hollywood television producer to secular Franciscan filmmaker documenting world poverty. During a Lenten meditation for 200 people March 8 at Maryknoll headquarters, he described how his unexpected conversion during a 1995 visit to Collegio Sant’Isidoro, a Franciscan friary in Rome, led him to devote his talents to “putting the power of film at the service of the poor” by making documentaries about unsung nonprofit organizations. He does not charge the groups for his work and he also travels the country showing the films and telling his conversion story to parish, high school and college groups and raising funds for the groups depicted. “My initial impulse was to give ministries that are serving the poor a tool to raise funds. Film is so emotional and people respond to it,” Straub told Catholic News Service. “Then I started to get invited to colleges and I realized a vital part is the educational component. I could show the plight of the poor and connect faith to poverty. Then the only option is to do something,” he said. The images in Straub’s films are raw and heartbreaking. He has documented grinding poverty in inner-city Los Angeles, Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. He said his experience living for a month with Franciscan friars operating St. Francis Inn, a soup kitchen in Philadelphia, challenged his preconceptions about the homeless and addicted. “I met real people, people just like me in so many ways,” he said. “It’s
easy to label a homeless person as lazy or an alcoholic or drug addict as weak. The labels removed my obligation to do anything about it.” “But Jesus did not label or judge people. He reached out to them and excluded no one,” he said. Straub, 62, was raised Catholic in New York City and briefly attended a minor seminary. He landed an internship with “The Ed Sullivan Show” on the CBS television network after high school and then moved into a clerical job there. He progressed rapidly to network executive and produced soap operas, including “General Hospital.” He said he was “a committed atheist” who enjoyed the material successes of his chosen industry. “I had reached a pinnacle in a very brutal, tough and competitive industry, but I began to slide away from God. I was very successful, but there was a deep emptiness,” he said. Straub said he walked away from an opportunity to produce yet another television program. “We pandered to the lowest and most base in human nature,” he said. “I knew TV was all about the commercials. And the commercials were about creating desires we don’t have. It’s all about pushing the envelope for rating points.” During a period of reading, writing and soul-searching, Straub explored the connection between Vincent van Gogh’s creativity and St. Francis of Assisi’s spirituality. He said he was more interested in van Gogh and thought that “Francis was a pious fairy tale from the Middle Ages who had nothing to say to my modern, skeptical, secular life.” Looking for free lodging on a 1995 trip to Rome, he asked a Franciscan priest friend for a lead and was invited
CNS photo by Jeremy Seifert, courtesy San Damiano Foundation
Filmmaker Gerard Thomas Straub is pictured in 2008 with a young girl in Serere, Uganda, whom he sponsors through the nonprofit agency Village2Village. During a Lenten meditation at Maryknoll headquarters, Straub described what led him to devote his talents to serving the poor by making documentaries about unsung nonprofit organizations. to stay at Collegio Sant’Isidoro, a Franciscan friary with the world’s largest English-language library of literature on St. Francis. When he arrived, he went to rest in the chapel and opened the Liturgy of the Hours randomly to Psalm 63, which begins “O God, you are my God whom I seek.” “An empty church and an empty man became a meeting place of grace,” Straub said. “God broke through the silence and everything changed. I felt his overwhelming presence and I was transformed from an atheist to a pilgrim.” He returned to the sacraments and redirected his talents to making films for groups working to alleviate poverty in the United States and overseas. A theme that runs throughout the films is: “The best way to love God is to relieve the pain and suffering of others.” Straub said he hopes the films will connect the viewers emotionally to the poor and help them look at the poor through the eyes of faith. “Slums in developing countries
are the cathedrals of the poor,” he said. “They are holy ground. Jesus is here — in the form of people suffering from curable diseases.” He also intends the films to call people to action. Straub challenged the audience at Maryknoll to take Jesus seriously and turn away from things that “block us from being fully united to God.” He said, “Christ isn’t asking us to be successful or productive, but to be present to each other in acts of love and mercy.” Straub established the San Damiano Foundation to finance his films. It is named for the church outside Assisi, Italy, that was rehabilitated by St. Francis at the beginning of his ministry.
Book focuses on pope as communicator
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope John Paul II’s ability to communicate was not primarily a result of his experience as an amateur actor, but was an expression of his theology, said the authors of a new book. In speeches and writings, whether the audience was religious or not, the late pope continually emphasized the role of Jesus Christ as both the creator of words and as the embodiment of the Word, the authors said at a round-table discussion launching the book in February. Christine Mugridge, a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and Salesian Sister Marie Gannon wrote “John Paul II: Development of a Theology of Communications,” which was published by the Vatican publishing house. In his almost 27-year pontificate, Pope John Paul “was known for his communicative gifts,” the authors wrote. After analyzing both the pope’s work and his communication style, the authors concluded that a principal theme of Pope John Paul’s pontificate was “the person of Christ, who not only reveals/communicates the salvific plan of the Father, but reveals/ communicates man to himself in the light of this divine revelation.”
12 The Catholic News & Herald
March 27, 2009
around the diocese
Oblate Father Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, 1932-2009 Longtime teacher, pastor remembered for service to church
Photo by David Hains
Bishop Peter J. Jugis looks on as Father Gnanapragasam Mariasoosai, parochial administrator of Our Lady of the Angels Mission in Marion, is incardinated into the Diocese of Charlotte March 24. Incardination, which dates back to the sixth century, is the term for the attachment of a priest or deacon to a diocese, religious institution or society, personal prelature or secular institute. Father Mariasoosai, who has served in the Diocese of Charlotte since 2003, originally is from the Archdiocese of Madurai, India. During the incardination, the priest recites the Apostles’ Creed, pledges fidelity to the teaching of the Catholic Church and pledges obedience to the local bishop.
CHILDS, Md. — Oblate Father Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, who had served in the Diocese of Charlotte, died March 16 at the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales community home in Childs, Md. He was 77. He had been retired in Childs after serving more than 25 years as a Catholic school teacher in Philadelphia and 20 years as a pastor in North Carolina churches. A Mass of Christian burial was held March 20 at Our Lady of Light Chapel in Childs, with internment in the Oblates’ cemetery. A native of Wildwood, N.J., Father Fitzpatrick entered the seminary of the Oblates after graduating high school. He earned graduate degrees in theology and French from Catholic University of America and Niagara University, respectively. He was ordained a priest in Wilmington, Del., in 1961. Father Fitzpatrick taught religion and foreign languages at Father Judge High School and Northeast Catholic High School, both in Philadelphia, from 1961 until 1987. He then became pastor of Holy Cross Church in Kernersville, N.C., where he served for 10 years. Next he became pastor of Our Lady of the Highways Church in Thomasville, ministering there for 10 years until his
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Oblate Father Thomas J. Fitzpatrick
retirement in 2008. “The death of Father Fitzpatrick is a great loss to the Oblates,” said Oblate Father James Greenfield, provincial of the late pastor’s religious community. “Father Fitzpatrick was known for his commitment to our community and willingness to serve the church. He was also famous for his deep laugh. We will certainly miss him,” said Father Greenfield. In addition to his fellow Oblates, Father Fitzpatrick is survived by a sister, two sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Father Fitzpatrick’s memory to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, P.O. Box 87, Childs, MD 21916-0087.
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March 27, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 13
in our schools
Sound Counsel, a barbershop quartet, sings “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” for students at St. Leo the Great School in Winston-Salem Feb. 11. The performance was part of a monthly lunch entertainment for students.
Attention Readers! Have a NEWS Story to Share? Do you have a news story to share with The Catholic News & Herald? Do you know of local people who are living the tenets of their faith? Do you have photos of a parish-, school- or ministry-based event? If so, please share them with us. Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore at (704) 370-3354 or email@example.com.
Students at Our Lady of Grace School in Greensboro hold instruments brought to the school by musician Boris Sichon (second from left) March 9. Sichon, of Vancouver, Canada, travels and performs a one-man “World of Music” show featuring instruments from countries around the world, including Nepal, Japan, Germany, Australia, Bulgaria, Tibet, Armenia and Vietnam. Students participated throughout the performance by clapping to the beat and some students were selected to play various instruments with him. Pictured (from left) are Marissa Walsh, Sichon, Sebastian Lucek, Caroline Byerly, Joseph Farley and Cooper Murphy.
Exploring abstract art
Ginny Boyd, an affiliate artist with McColl Center for Visual Art, directs third-graders in an art project at St. Patrick School in Charlotte Jan. 22. The project is part of a collaborative effort between the school and McColl Center to create abstract art panels exploring communities covered in the students’ social studies curriculum. Over several months, the students have been designing, painting, mapping, stenciling, stitching and journaling during the course of the project. The final product will be unveiled in May.
March 27, 2009
14 The Catholic News & Herald
A collection of columns, editorials and viewpoints
The cross and joy Jesus knew only way to find true joy was to empty oneself in loving others God wants you to be happy, even though life is filled with misery. There will always be crosses, and yet we are called to live joyfully. St. Paul helps us to master the Christian faith by understanding the relationship between God’s love for us and the trials we have to endure in this world. He suffered mightily in his day, yet he commanded us to “rejoice always”! We all suffer physical and emotional pain of some sort: Our bodies ache, people disappoint and abuse us, financial woes engender fear in us, and yet we are still called to live joyfully. I write about joy all the time, and I suppose I get on the nerves of some people, but I feel driven by the Holy Spirit! Occasionally St. Paul felt driven to boast about his many trials for the glory of God, and I feel that need right now. In my Army days, I fired an M-1 rifle for endless hours on a practice range. I was an MP, and the company commander wanted us to fire expertly. This bombardment of noise left me with a fierce buzzing in my ears to this day. I cope by uniting my inner buzzing with the song the angels sing before the Lord. My tinnitus is no longer my enemy, but has become my friend, enabling me to pray without ceasing. I have ulcerative colitis, and my 77-year-old arthritic knees give me fits. I’m a cancer survivor, so far that is, and I suffer from cardiac asthma. And yet, I get through it all by following St. Paul’s advice to thank God “in all circumstances.” St. Paul’s advice has kept me sane. All of my little miseries are under control with medication. I love my life and my vocation. I love to write, which is a vocation within a vocation, and I especially enjoy maintaining my Web site (www.messengerofjoy.com), which offers help on being more joyful. How do we know that God loves us?
Letter to the Editor I was pleasantly surprised to find an article on evolution (“Exploring God’s creation: After 150 years, evolution debate continues among people of faith,” March 6) that enlightens, stimulates and challenges — so different from lukewarm articles that fail to inspire our need to explore and learn.
Spirituality for Today FATHER JOHN CATOIR cns columnist
It’s simple really. Jesus Christ told us to call God “our Father.” Doesn’t every father want his children to be happy? That’s why St. Paul said, “Rejoice always. ... In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:16, 18). St. Paul took this magnificent idea from Jesus, who at the Last Supper said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). Pope John Paul II confirmed it: “Christ came to bring joy: joy to children, joy to parents, joy to families and to friends, joy to workers and to scholars, joy to the sick and to elderly, joy to all humanity. In a true sense joy is the keynote of the Christian message and the recurring motif of the Gospels. ... Be messengers of joy.” Our response ought to be, “I will delight and rejoice in you” (Ps 9:3). What about the cross? When Jesus told us to “love one another as I have loved you,” he led us to the cross. Wherever there is love, there is service; wherever there is service, there is sacrifice; and wherever there is sacrifice, there is suffering. Joy and the cross are not contradictory but complementary. Jesus knew that the only way to find true joy was to empty oneself in loving others. “The greatest honor you can give to almighty God is to live joyfully because of the knowledge of his love” (Julian of Norwich).
Suffering and death are not the end
Review of a pain study in light of Holy Week and Easter A recent study on pain gives us a glimpse of just how potent focusing on our faith is, and how blessed we are to practice our belief, especially when the days leading up to Holy Week and Easter are filled with powerful images of grace, suffering, fellowship and hope. The study, published in the Pain Relief Connection newsletter, was an interdisciplinary effort conducted at the University of Oxford. It featured specialists in clinical neurology, divinity, theology and philosophy. It aimed to determine whether religious belief had any influence on pain and/or the perception of pain. The subjects were a group of 12 practicing Roman Catholics and 12 other adults who were either atheists or agnostics. During the study, every participant was subjected to painful electrical stimulation on their hands while being shown one of two pictures, either Sassoferrato’s painting of the Virgin Mary (“The Madonna del Sassoferrato”) or a similarly styled, nonreligious image, “Lady With an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci. They then were given MRI scans to see what changes, if any, occurred to the pain- and perceived-pain-specific areas of their brains. Both groups were shown to have experienced significant real pain when undergoing the stimulation. But the Catholic group was shown to be able to “down-regulate” the perceived intensity of it when presented with the religious painting. The nonreligious group did not show modulation of pain when viewing either of the pictures, and thus felt the full impact of the pain stimulation. These results suggest that religious people are capable of reassessing their pain, that is, of putting it into a context that enables them to endure it more successfully. This is distinctly different from being cured of pain, which would suppose that the pain is no longer present.
Evolution article enlightens, stimulates I hope you are starting a new trend and will keep feeding our minds with articles that satisfy our desires to investigate and debate, and will incite discussions and exchanges of ideas between the readers. Challenge us and we will respond. The Catholic News & Herald is
important to me — it is one of the connections that keep me in contact with my faith — so from now on I am looking forward to opening my copy with anticipation and shaking the inertia I have experienced so far. — Ismini Frieser Newton
Living Well MAUREEN PRATT cns columnist
Pain, the study would suggest, can still be present if the sufferer focuses on the divine. That focus can bring greater calm and even peace in the midst of ongoing trauma. This also brings up another practical application for us. By reassessing pain in the context of a religious image, the study’s Catholic subjects were also engaging in an active, prayer-like relationship with the divine. “The other image was valued as positive by the nonreligious group,” said Miguel Farias, one of the study’s researchers, “but it did not activate a complex system of beliefs, like it did for Catholics.” We needn’t go through the rigors of a scientific test to benefit from the paintaming blessings of our faith. As we focus on God’s good gifts in our lives, including other people and prayer, then we can better put our pain in a workable context that allows us to live our lives with purpose, charity and dignity. This Easter season and beyond we can consider our pain in the context of Jesus’ last days as a man, his walk to Calvary, and his suffering and death on the cross. His was the ultimate expression of living with great pain while focusing on the divine. He did not withdraw from others or from the Father, even as he knew that each step was bringing him closer to agony. Jesus showed that suffering and death are not the end. Through the joy of the resurrection, he gives us hope and light — precious gifts that can sustain us no matter how painful our lives.
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March 27, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 15
Easter hope Our grief can blind us to God, who wants to remove it forever Grief does strange things to us. It can keep us from seeing what is really going on in our lives, and prevent us from recognizing some of the most significant people we know. On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene stood weeping by the tomb. Jesus himself stood there. But, St. John’s Gospel tells us, “she did not know him” and supposed it was the gardener. “‘Woman,’ he asked her, ‘Why are you weeping? Who is it you are looking for?’” The very cause of her grief was about to be removed by the one asking her about it. Little did she know that the reason for her weeping had already been destroyed. The Lord was present. On Easter afternoon, two of the first Christians were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, “discussing as they went all that had happened. In the course of their lively exchange, Jesus approached and began to walk along with them. However, they were restrained from recognizing him. He said to them, ‘What are you discussing as you go your way?’”
Again, the very reason for their grief had been destroyed by the one now asking them about their grief. The Lord was present and was walking with them. Their hearts began to burn within them. As the church continues to deal with the tragedy of abortion, it faces not only a sin against life but a sin against hope. We do not see abortion walking down the street. What we see is a woman, a child of God, who is caught in the grip of despair. Even if she knows abortion is wrong, as most do, she sees no other way out. She, too, is in grief. She feels she must choose between the baby’s life and her life. The prospect of having the child is, psychologically, like a “death” to her: a death to her plans, her freedom, her future. Grief does strange things. It can blind us to the value of the child. It can also blind us to the presence of the Lord. He walks with us in our grief, and he asks us to share it with him so he can remove it forever.
The Holocaust: It still rightly haunts us
Pope Benedict’s words disprove criticism, emphasize forgiveness I was appalled earlier this year when the media attacked Pope Benedict XVI as being a Holocaust denier when he lifted the excommunication of four schismatic Society of St. Pius X bishops. This gave fuel to the fire of such writers as “nonbeliever” Christopher Hitchens, as he calls himself. Writing in Newsweek, Hitchens jumped to an unproven conclusion that “by reconciling with extremist bishops, Benedict embraces the far-right fringe.” I have heard firsthand, however, how our pope never denied the Holocaust. I was invited to cover an unprecedented conference of Christians and Jews in Jerusalem in February 1994. The Catholic Church was represented by our pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. I have a copy of his talk, and I quote: “The history of the relationship between Israel and Christendom is drenched with blood and tears. It is a history of mistrust and hostility, but also — thank God — a history marked again and again by attempts at forgiveness, understanding and mutual acceptance. “After Auschwitz, the message of reconciliation and acceptance permits no deferral. “Even if we know that Auschwitz is the gruesome expression of an ideology that not only wanted to destroy Judaism
but also hated and sought to eradicate from Christianity its Jewish heritage, the question remains, What could be the reason for so much historical hostility between those who actually must belong together because of their faith in the one God and commitment to his will?” Cardinal Ratzinger, who was a youngster when the Nazis took over his land of Germany, spoke personally of forgiveness: “Already as a child ... I could not understand how some people wanted to derive a condemnation of the Jews from the death of Jesus because the following thought had penetrated my soul as something profoundly consoling: Jesus’ blood raises no calls for retaliation, but calls all to reconciliation” — which is where the forgiveness Jesus speaks of comes in. On that stage in an amphitheatre in Jerusalem, Cardinal Ratzinger concluded to thundering applause: “Jews and Christians should accept each other in profound inner reconciliation, neither in disregard of their faith nor in its denial, but out of the depth of faith itself. In their mutual reconciliation they should become a force for peace in and for the world.” There is more to remember. In the Jubilee Year of 2000, our late
Guest Column FATHER FRANK PAVONE guest columnist
Just as the Lord was present on the first Easter to those who thought they had lost him, so is he present today to those who grieve. He is present to those whose fear and despair are so great that they have their own children killed. The Lord is present to others through his church. We, the people of life, enter into dialogue with the mother tempted to abort. “Why are you weeping?” We learn her needs and fears, and we show her she is not alone. We walk with her, as the Lord walked with his grieving disciples. We provide hope. We speak her name, we break bread with her, we lead her to the company of the other disciples. We bring her to the strength of the Eucharist. Abortion will flee in the presence of Easter hope. The Lord still walks with his people. Father Pavone is national director of Priests for Life.
The Bottom Line ANTOINETTE BOSCO cns columnist
Pope John Paul II said in all honesty that our church needed to seek forgiveness for some of its wrongs done in the past. He, along with Cardinal Ratzinger, then the president of the International Theological Commission, proposed a study: “Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past.” Not forgotten in this document is the “tormented history” of the relations between Christians and Jews. Wrote Cardinal Ratzinger: “The Shoah was certainly the result of the pagan ideology that was Nazism, animated by a merciless anti-Semitism that not only despised the faith of the Jewish people, but also denied their very human dignity. “Nevertheless, it may be asked whether the Nazi persecution of the Jews was not made easier by the anti-Jewish prejudices imbedded in some Christian minds and hearts. ... “There is no doubt that there were many Christians who risked their lives to save and to help their Jewish neighbors. ... The hostility or mistrust shown by numerous Christians toward Jews over the course of time is a painful historical fact ... which requires repentance.” There is no way this good man — now Pope Benedict XVI — can be justly accused of denying the Holocaust!
The disease of ‘a thousand things to do’! Our Turn THERESE J. BORCHARD cns columnist
I’m the typical young adult: I have contracted an illness called “the disease of a thousand things to do.” That’s how author Abby Seixas describes it in her insightful book, “Finding the Deep River Within.” It’s a modern condition whereby human beings are always rushing, trying desperately to cross off every task on their to-do lists, and are bombarded by interruptions and information overload. Does this sound familiar? Consider these observations she makes to bolster her case of what has become a very unbalanced and frenetic culture: 1) The average working couple in America spends 20 minutes a day together. 2) Family time has become a goal, an achievement, rather than a natural consequence of being a family. 3) Most Americans are trapped in a viscious cycle of overwork and overconsumption. 4) Dropping in on a neighbor is practically nonexistent. 5) Keeping busy and multitasking are praised, and slowing down frowned upon. I’ve made my Lenten resolution to adhere to six practices that Abby offers as an antidote to this cultural epidemic of living so fast that we are blinded to the big picture, of having to multitask 24/7 and thereby squandering the opportunities to be present to the moment we are living. Here. Now. Her practices include: taking time for yourself each week, erecting important personal and work boundaries, befriending feelings, taming selfexpectations, practicing presence and doing something you love. In my life this means starting my day with 20 minutes of prayer (when I read the Lectionary texts for the day and a meditation from a saint or spiritual writer); staying offline until noon and keeping Sunday Internet work-free; cramming an hour of personal time into each week where I get to do NOTHING. I want these 40 days before Easter to be an exercise of jumping off the treadmill of my own packed schedules and expectations. I guess I want to stop living each day like a waitress taking orders, trying to remember all the special requests (skip the mayonnaise, skim milk only, coleslaw, no fries). I’m going after the results Abby promises if we are disciplined enough to slow down and take each minute at a time. She writes, “Access to the deeper realms within us gives back to us our juice, our vital energy and resilience. ... We find a sense of connection to something larger than our own individual concerns and a sense of meaning that makes what we do with our time feel worthwhile.”
March 27, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 16
in the news
A ‘beacon of hope in this community’ Catholic church reopens in New Orleans’ Katrinadamaged 9th Ward by
CHRISTINE BORDELON catholic news service
NEW ORLEANS — A trumpet blared the hymn “We Have Come Into This House” as about 400 people began singing and marching around the block to officially reopen St. David Church in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. The church had been closed for nearly four years after it was damaged by the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. “Sept. 8, 2007, was the official start of the rebuilding of St. David,” said parishioner Michael Gordon, referring to the day when parishioners installed a church subfloor in preparation for the renovations. That long road to reopening ended March 1 when New Orleans Auxiliary Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, the principal celebrant for the dedication Mass, handed the church keys to Josephite Father Joe Campion, pastor at St. David Church, who unlocked the main entrance to start the rite of dedication. The church stayed unlit throughout
CNS photo by Frank Methe, Clarion Herald
Auxiliary Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of New Orleans blesses the baptismal font at the restored St. David Church in New Orleans March 1. At right is Josephite Father Joseph Campion, pastor of the church. The church had been closed for nearly four years after it was damaged by the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. the readings, which included a passage from Genesis about Noah and the flood. “In a wonderful way now you have been very faithful to God even though
it has not been easy,” Bishop Fabre said, comparing the parishioners’ flood experience and faith to that of Noah. He called the reopening of St. David Church a “beacon of hope in this community.” “Just as hope is the first thing that is lost, hope is the first thing to emerge from all that has been broken,” Bishop Fabre said. The bishop told St. David Church parishioners and their friends that even though they returned to their physical church their faith proved to be larger than any building. At the end of the Mass, Father Campion reiterated the long journey home since Hurricane Katrina. He recalled his exile with other Josephite priests to Breaux Bridge where a Josephite Recovery Center was established. His current pastoral assistant, Holy Family Sister Teresa Rooney, helped run the center to aid hurricane victims and reunite parishioners. “It was there we began to bring our church together,” Father Campion said. He said St. David Church, which was renovated in 1990, had to be completely restored after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. The process began in December of that year when the Alleluia
Community Church from Augusta, Ga., gutted the church and rectory. Former St. David Church parishioners who had returned to New Orleans were worshipping at Blessed Sacrament Church, another Josephite parish, where Father Campion lived after the storm. Then, parishioners from St. David Church and nearby St. Maurice Church were asked to worship at St. Maurice Church, without utilities. An average of 80 to 90 people attended Mass, a number that steadily increased in recent months. A transitional leadership team was established at St. Maurice Church to jump-start basic ministries such as evangelization, social outreach and finances. By July 2008, after assessing storm damages and population counts at both parishes, the archdiocese announced that St. David and St. Maurice churches would merge and worship at St. David Church. The cost to reopen St. Maurice Church, which was established in 1852, was estimated at $2 million, compared to $600,000 for St. David Church, established in 1937. By August 2008, St. Rita Church in New York had shipped pews, a sound system, vestments, Stations of the Cross, a baptismal font and statues to St. David Church, making worship possible. “They sent everything to us that they had because their church was closed,” Sister Rooney said. “The pews were smaller and didn’t exactly fit, but it kept us going.” At the dedication Mass, Father Campion recognized many of those who had contributed to the reopening of St. David Church, including 21 parishioners from St. David of Wales Church in Willow Grove, Pa. The Pennsylvania parish, a sister parish of its namesake before Katrina, supported the New Orleans parish with fundraisers and donated a bronze replica of St. David of Wales for the rededication. Father Campion said the storm awakened many to being open to change. The church’s new motto, “Be joyful, keep your faith and do the small things in life,” was displayed on a banner at the Mass. Father Campion said he also hopes to rebuild the convent and community center and is considering adding a Spanish Mass or perhaps a Saturday vigil Mass. “We’re going to get out of our old patterns and evangelize beyond our boundaries,” he said. “The small things — that’s going to be our future.”