May 1, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 1
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte
Perspectives Thank God for Susan Boyle; public faces, private hearts; letters to editor
Established Jan. 12, 1972 by Pope Paul VI may 1, 2009
Models for today’s Christians
| Pages 14-15 Serving Catholics in Western North Carolina in the Diocese of Charlotte
Mercy sister breaks mold, brings Catholicism to unlikely venue by
Photo by Katie Moore
WINSTON-SALEM — As the assistant chaplain at Wake Forest University in WinstonSalem, Mercy Sister Larretta Rivera-Williams serves as an ambassador for the Catholic faith — although that’s not technically in her job description. As a Catholic working predominately with Protestants, she is reguarly in contact with people who have never been around a Catholic nun. Her positions as assistant chaplain and as a pastoral resident in the School of Divinity allow her to represent Catholicism in an ecumenical environment, where she has plenty of opportunities to
Mercy Sister Larretta Rivera-Williams talks with Divinity School students Anne Jones and Reggie Mathis in her office at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem April 24.
See SISTER, page 8
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI canonized five new saints and said their dedication to the Eucharist, the poor and the world of work make them models for today’s Christians in an era of economic crisis. By orienting their lives to Christ, the five men and women show that “it is possible to lay the foundations for construction of a society open to justice and solidarity, overcoming that economic and cultural imbalance that continues to exist in a great
Vatican-Israeli commission reports progress on economic agreement
As swine flu spreads, Mexican cardinal prays to Our Lady of Guadalupe by
by JOHN THAVIS catholic news service
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican and Israel have reported significant progress in negotiations on an economic agreement on church fiscal and property issues. At the same time, sources See REPORT, page 6
KATIE MOORE staff writer
by JOHN THAVIS catholic news service
Making ‘meaningful progress’
LIKE NUN OTHER
Pope canonizes five saints, says they hold lessons for economic crisis
See SAINTS, page 6
CNS photo by Eliana Aponte, Reuters
People wear masks as they attend Mass at Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City April 26. Fears of the spread of the swine flu have kept millions of Mexicans indoors to avoid the virus.
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
MEXICO CITY — Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe and canceled Masses in the archdiocese April 26 due to the swine flu outbreak. The decision to cancel Masses followed instructions from the local health secretariat that all large gatherings be
canceled as authorities raced to contain an epidemic that threatened to spread well beyond Mexico. By April 29, more than 150 Mexicans had died from the flu and more than 2,400 were sick in the Mexican capital. Cardinal Rivera celebrated Mass April 26 behind closed See FLU, page 5
Around the Diocese
‘Like a burning ember’
Children’s book on pope; film about Columbine story
Knights, Columbiettes provide help to those in need
Pope visits quake zone to strengthen survivors’ faith
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May 1, 2009
2 The Catholic News & Herald
Current and upcoming topics from around the world to your own backyard
Shepherding change, one pastry at a time
CNS photo by Barbara J. Fraser
Volunteer Meghan Hurley, 23, of Medford Lakes, N.J., takes an order from a customer at the Good Shepherd Bakery in Cusco, Peru, March 24. The bakery, started 10 years ago by Good Shepherd nuns, financially supports the education of its young Peruvian waitresses.
Good Shepherd-run bakery opens doors for Peruvian women CUSCO, Peru (CNS) — It’s midmorning and the Good Shepherd Bakery is bustling. Customers sip coffee and snack on pastries served by teenage girls in spotless aprons. Most do not know that each purchase puts the waitresses a little closer to finishing their education. “We educate with just the bakery,” said Good Shepherd Sister Irene Roman Aranibar. “Every customer who comes in is a benefactor.” All income from the bakery, which the sisters started 10 years ago in this tourist center, is used to support the 20 young women who have come from remote rural areas to finish their studies. For the past year and a half, Meghan Hurley, 23, a Good Shepherd volunteer from Medford Lakes, N.J., has worked with the young women in the bakery, helping them with their studies and lending a friendly ear. Hurley’s mission vocation was sparked while at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. An internship at Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency, was followed by a six-month volunteer stint in rural El Salvador. “I learned so much,” she said. “It taught me about myself and what I wanted to do with my life. I really liked the cross-cultural experience and the chance to help people develop themselves and get out of poverty.” She also discovered that change comes slowly and cannot be driven by outsiders. “You have to go and listen to what people really need,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not what you do, but the relationships you build.” An emphasis on building crosscultural relationships and understanding was one of the things that attracted her to the Good Shepherd volunteer program. “You come (to another country) and don’t know anything. You have to start
from the bottom,” she said. Young women in rural areas around Cusco, in Peru’s southern highlands, face many difficulties. Some are lured to the city with offers of work in hotels or restaurants, but end up virtually enslaved by employers who invent reasons to withhold much of their pay. For others, waiting tables in bars or restaurants is the first step into prostitution. Girls as young as 12 and 13 have been found in brothels in Cusco, where tourism drives the sex trade. Drugs, street crime and gangs are other risks for young people arriving in the city from rural areas. Amid the problems, Sister Aranibar sees the Good Shepherd Bakery as a beacon of hope, although it cannot reach all the young women who need assistance. The bakery takes in females ages 14-20 and helps them learn marketable skills. “We’d like to be able to accept more, but we don’t have the capacity and the cost is high,” Sister Aranibar said. Income from the bakery and coffee shop does not always stretch to cover the girls’ expenses. Nevertheless, Sister Aranibar said, “We never lack the Lord’s providence.” When Hurley returns home in November, she said she will look at international issues differently. People in the United States “need to think more about how their actions affect people here,” she said. “It’s not just politics. (Things like) what you buy, where you go to dinner affects people here more than we ever realize. I don’t think people realize where their clothes come from or where their coffee comes from. But the people here know.” Despite the difficulties, she recommends volunteer programs like hers for laypeople her age. “It’s a growing experience and a learning experience,” she said. “If you’re thinking about doing it, do it.”
Cardinal urges House members to co-sponsor Pregnant Women Support Act WASHINGTON (CNS) — Whatever their position on abortion, any House members who agree that “no woman should ever have to undergo an abortion because she feels she has no choice” or alternatives should co-sponsor the Pregnant Women Support Act, said Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia. The legislation “provides an authentic common ground, an approach that people can embrace regardless of their position on other issues,” said the cardinal, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in an April 24 letter to House members. “An abortion performed under ... social and economic duress meets no one’s standard for ‘freedom of choice,’” he added. The bill provides “many kinds of lifeaffirming support for pregnant women and their unborn children,” Cardinal Rigali said, adding that it “reaches out to women with a helping hand when they are most vulnerable, and most engaged
Diocesan planner For more events taking place in the Diocese of Charlotte, visit www.charlottediocese. org/calendarofevents-cn. ALBEMARLE VICARIATE
MONROE — A parish retreat featuring guest speaker Augustinian Father Michael Sullivan will take place at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 725 Deese St., May 24-27, each evening at 7 p.m. Topics covered will include “To be born again,” “The healing love of Jesus,” “The call to be church” and “Our response to the call.” The retreat is free and open to the public. For more information, call Deacon Roland Geoffroy at (704) 289-2773, ext. 240.
CHARLOTTE — St. Vincent de Paul Church, 6828 Old Reid Rd., is hosting a series of eight talks by Father Rick DeClue on “The Mind of the Pope:Benedict the XVI on Major Topics.” The talks will be held the second and fourth Mondays of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the parish activity center. Upcoming dates are May 11 and 25. No pre-registration is required. For more information, call Ruben Tamayo at (704) 554-7088, ext. 222. CHARLOTTE — The 66th semi-annual rosary rally will be held May 3 at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick Cathedral, 1621 Dilworth Road, East. This 33year tradition will include recitation of the rosary, a eucharistic procession and Benediction. The
in making a decision about life or death for their unborn children.” The Pregnant Women Support Act would include providing grants to support centers offering alternatives to abortion; assisting colleges and universities in providing support for pregnant and parenting students; increasing support for adoption programs; and requiring abortion facilities to get informed consent, including providing information about alternatives to abortion. Cardinal Rigali praised the legislation for not raising “the entirely separate issue of seeking to reduce pregnancies through government promotion of contraceptives.” “That issue raises serious questions regarding priorities in health care as well as the conscience rights of patients and health care providers, which demand a serious debate of their own,” he said. “In the meantime, pregnant women need our assistance now so that abortion is not promoted to them as their only choice.”
homilist will be Father Brandon Jones. Children ages 7-17 who have received their first Communion are invited to participate in the procession. For more information, call Tina Witt at (704) 846-7361. CHARLOTTE — A special concert performance by Father Stan Fortuna will be take place at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 1400 Suther Rd., May 3 in the church at 7 p.m. Once a professional bass guitarist, Father Fortuna is a member of the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in the Bronx, N.Y. From traditional hymns of praise to jazz, reggae and rap, Father Fortuna proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a spiritual energy that appeals to all ages. For more information about the concert, contact the church office at (704) 549-1607. CHARLOTTE — A band concert will be held at Holy Trinity Middle School, 3100 Park Rd., May 17 at 2 p.m. For more information, contact David Shoff at (704) 906-9633 or e-mail email@example.com. CHARLOTTE — All adults are invited to attend the Christian Coffeehouse at St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, May 24, 7:309:30 p.m. in the parish center gym. Join us for energizing spiritual messages with live Christian contemporary music, snacks and drinks, all served in a candlelit atmosphere. There is no charge, however, donations are accepted. To reserve a table for six or more, call Kathy at (704) 400-2213 by May 22. 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 May 16 on the topic, “Nostalgia for God: Return.” Meetings will take place in the fellowship hall after Divine Liturgy at 6 p.m.
BELMONT — A Men’s Night of Reflection will be held at Belmont Abbey College, 100 Belmont-Mt.
May 1, 2009 Volume 18 • Number 25
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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May 1, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 3
FROM THE VATICAN
Pope meets Britian’s Prince Charles, duchess of Cornwall VATICAN CITY (CNS) — On a European tour to promote ecological initiatives, Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, met April 27 with Pope Benedict XVI. The three spent 15 minutes speaking privately before the prince introduced members of his entourage and exchanged gifts with Pope Benedict. The pope gave the prince a set of medals marking the just-entered fifth year of his pontificate and an etching of St. Peter’s Basilica from the 1500s. Presenting his gift to the pope, Prince Charles said, “I don’t know that these will be of any help to you.” The gift was a set of 12 dessert plates with paintings of flowers grown at his Highgrove Estate. The plates are part of a collection of items the prince sells at his Highgrove shop to raise money for charity. “Thank you very much,” the pope
said after receiving the plates. The prince and the duchess of Cornwall also gave the pope an autographed photo of themselves. Prince Charles, along with his first wife, the late Princess Diana, met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1985. He postponed his 2005 marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles in order to attend Pope John Paul’s funeral. As Pope Benedict walked him out of the library April 27, Prince Charles was overheard to say, “Such a wonderful man; we miss him terribly.” In a statement issued after the meeting, the Vatican said, “The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on certain questions of mutual interest, including the human promotion and development of peoples, environmental protection and the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue for furthering peace and justice in the world.”
Holly Rd., in Grace Auditorium on the 3rd floor of St. Leo Hall, May 3 at 7 p.m. Featured speakers will include Legion of Christ Father Todd Belardi, Formation Director for Pinecrest Academy Boys School in Atlanta, and Peter Freissle, President of Polydeck Screen Corporation which provides screening equipment to the mining industry. Father Belardi will speak on the topic “Faithful Catholic Fathers and Their Children.” Freissle will speak on the topic “Christian Values in the Workplace.” For more information, call Matt Ferrante at (410) 507-4329. This event is sponsored by Regnum Christi.
North Fulton St., May 16 at 7 p.m. in the Ministry Center. The seminar is free and light refreshments will be served. RSVP to Sharon Burgess at (704) 633-0591 to reserve your place.
GREENSBORO — A Mass of thanksgiving and celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Fatima will take place May 13 at Our Lady of Grace Church, 2205 West Market St. Participating priests will include Father John Putnam (homilist), Father James Ebright, Father Conrad Kimbrough, Father Richard DeClue and Father Christopher Roux. Recitation of the rosary will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the Mass following at 6 p.m. For more information, call (336) 765-1815. GREENSBORO — The Ladies Ancient Order of Hiberians will meet at 7 p.m. May 7 in the Kloster Center at St. Pius X Church, 2210 N. Elm St. For more information, contact Alice Schmidt at (336) 288-0983. GREENSBORO — St. Paul the Apostle Church, 2715 Horse Pen Creek Rd., has restarted its reemployment support group. The next meeting will be May 14 at 7:30 p.m. in room 9 of the Parish Life Center. For more information, call Colleen at the church office (336) 294-4696, ext. 226. GREENSBORO — The Men’s Early Morning Bible Study Group meets Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m. for an hour of prayer, sharing and discussion in the library at St. Paul the Apostle Church, 2715 Horse Pen Creek Rd. The group will start a month-long program on the Book of Joshua May 5. For more information, contact Gus Magrinat at email@example.com or John Malmfelt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SALISBURY — There will be an Estate Planning Seminar in Helfrich Hall at Sacred Heart Church, 128
CLEMMONS — Catholic homeschooling families in the Triad get together on Mondays at Holy Family Church, 4820 Kinnamon Rd., for enrichment activities such as hands on science, geography, Latin and art. Registration is now open for fall 2009. Interested families should contact Katie Knickrehm at (336) 996-2643 or e-mail katie_knickrehm@ yahoo.com, or Liz Ruiz at lizimagination@ triad.rr.com. For more information, visit www.holyfamilyhomeschoolenrichment.com. WINSTON-SALEM — Theological Tuesday, an evening with Father Herbert Burke, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Forest City, will take place May 26 at 7 p.m. in the Bishop Begley Parish Center at St. Leo the Great Church, 335 Springdale Ave. Father Burke is the author of “A Scriptural Catechism” and “The Rosary is the Answer.” His unique style and humor will inform and challenge you to better know Christ, through Mary, and to live your friendship with him. For more information, contact Mary Beth Young at email@example.com. WINSTON-SALEM — An open house at Our Lady of Mercy School, 1730 Link Rd., will be held May 4, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. To arrange for a student led tour of the school, call (336) 722-7204. For more information, visit the Web site at www.ourladyofmercyschool.org.
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 kmmoore@charlottediocese. org or fax to (704) 370-3382.
Bishop Peter J. Jugis will participate in the following events:
May 3 (1 p.m.) Sacrament of confirmation Divine Redeemer Church, Boonville
May 8 (7 p.m.) Sacrament of confirmation Holy Angels Church, Mount Airy
May 7 (7 p.m.) Sacrament of confirmation St. Leo the Great Church, Winston-Salem
May 9 (10 a.m.) Sacrament of confirmation Good Shepherd Mission, King
LCWR officers meet with Vatican officials, including Cardinal Levada VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Four top officers of the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious met at the Vatican in late April with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had ordered a “doctrinal assessment” of the group’s activities. The president, president-elect, past president and executive director of the organization of superiors of most of the women’s religious orders in the United States met April 22 with U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the doctrinal congregation. They also met April 24 with officials of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said Sister Annmarie Sanders, a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and LCWR director of communications. The leaders, who had been planning their Vatican visit before they learned of the doctrinal investigation, also met with officials of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, Migrants and Travelers, and Interreligious Dialogue. In a Feb. 20 letter, Cardinal Levada informed the LCWR about the
investigation, which will be headed by Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, a member of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Cardinal Levada asked Bishop Blair “to undertake in the coming months a study regarding doctrinal problems that have presented themselves in the area of female religious life in the United States.” The doctrinal assessment was presented as a follow-up to a 2001 meeting between LCWR leaders and officials of the doctrinal congregation. At the 2001 meeting, the women religious were asked to report on “the initiatives taken or planned” to promote acceptance of Vatican teachings on “the problem of homosexuality,” the ordination of women to the priesthood and the 2000 declaration “Dominus Iesus.” A statement issued April 23 by the four LCWR officers who were in Rome did not mention any of the subjects discussed with the Vatican officials. The members of the conference, which is based in Maryland, represent about 95 percent of the 67,000 women religious in the United States.
Morin in Mississippi
CNS photo by Frank J. Methe, Clarion Herald
Bishop Roger P. Morin raises the host during his Mass of installation April 27 in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral in Biloxi, Miss. He became the third bishop of Biloxi.
Sebelius confirmed, sworn in as Health and Human Services secretary WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Senate confirmed Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by a 61-35 vote April 28 and she was sworn in to the post hours later. During the Senate debate, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who is Catholic, attributed the delay in confirming Sebelius to “petty politics” and praised the Obama administration for its commitment to base department decisions “on the best available science, not the political ideology of the moment.” But Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., expressed fear that the health care reform plan promoted by President Barack Obama and Sebelius would lead to a government-run health system and
reduce consumer choice. Sebelius, who is Catholic, has drawn strong criticism from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., who said in 2008 that she should not present herself for Communion until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion. The archbishop said his decision was based on Sebelius’ “30-year history of advocating and acting in support of legalized abortion.” Even before Sebelius’ nomination was formally announced in early March, a group called Catholics for Sebelius launched a Web site touting the governor’s Catholic background and her actions in support of “the common good.”
4 The Catholic News & Herald
May 1, 2009
around the diocese
A knightly celebration Charitable recognition
Courtesy Photo Courtesy Photo
Members of Knights of Columbus Council 8509 at Holy Cross Church in Kernersville are pictured April 18 during an event at the Royal House Catering and Banquet Facility to celebrate the council’s 25th anniversary. The event included the presentation of awards and honors earned by members of the council. Pictured (from left) are Fred Schaefer; Thurman Dubose; Al Livelsberger, founding grand knight; Guy Harley, current grand knight; Ed Beiles; Dick Meyer; Tom Malechuck; Tony Petite; and Phil Lamendola.
Herb Pennington, a member of Knights of Columbus Council 8509; and Carol Pennington (right), a member of the Columbiettes at Holy Cross Church in Kernersville; present checks April 3 to Elizabeth Hedgecock, development and public relations director of Room at the Inn of the Carolinas. At the Knights and Columbiettes fourth annual recognition dinner Jan. 24, during which outstanding parishioners were honored, Marlene Dubose received the “Dave Reinhart Humanitarian” award, Bob Garlow received the “Parishioner of the Year” award and Carlos Russo received the “Junior Achiever of the Year” award. The winners received $200 donations toward the charity of their choice, and all three selected Room at the Inn of the Carolinas, which assists homeless, single pregnant women and their children.
Funds for a special family
Melanie Feeney-Lewis, a member
Keeping expenses in check
of the Columbiettes at Holy Cross Church in Kernersville, holds a check for $1,040 April 3. The money was raised during the Columbiettes’ first “soup and salad” fundraiser Feb. 20, and the check was presented to a family in the parish requiring financial assistance for their special-needs Courtesy Photo
Knights of Columbus District Deputy Marshall Perry (center) and Grand Knight Glen Marino of St. Pius X Council 11101 in Greensboro present a check to Franciscan Father Louis Canino, director of the St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, during a men’s spirituality Lenten retreat at the center Feb. 28. The money will be used to assist in defraying expenses at the center.
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 people who are living the tenets of their faith? Do you have photos of a parish-, school- or ministrybased event? If so, please share them with us. Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore at (704) 370-3354 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 1, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 5
from the cover
As swine flu spreads, Mexican cardinal prays FLU, from page 1
CNS photo by Jorge Dan, Reuters
Face masks are seen on a man and a statue of St. Jude, patron of desperate situations, during a prayer service outside San Hipolito Church in Mexico City April 28. Most churches in the city remained closed because of the swine flu outbreak. Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City had canceled Masses in the archdiocese April 26. SWINE FLU SYMPTOMS Symptoms of the swine flu are similar to those of the common flu and include fever, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. WANT MORE INFO? Continuously updated information about the swine influenza virus is available online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/flu/.
doors in the Metropolitan Cathedral for about 50 people who had been permitted to enter. In his homily, he called on the Mexican people to never lose hope and to assist each another during the crisis. He also prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe for intervention, noting that she had helped during pandemics four times since 1554. “We beg for your protection and help for quickly overcoming the epidemic that has affected our nation,” Cardinal Rivera prayed. “Cover us with your cloak; free us from this evil.” Later in the day, an image of Christ on the cross — known as the “Lord of Health” — was removed from its spot in the cathedral for the first time since 1850 and carried in a procession around central Mexico City. The “Cristo,” as the image is known, has been credited with past miracles, including intervention in an 1850 cholera outbreak. In Mexico City, as the disease spread, face masks were common, traffic was light and many businesses stayed closed. The swine flu forced the closure of schools, universities, museums and several other tourist attractions throughout the country. As the United States confirmed the flu-related death of a 23-month-old in Texas April 28 and more than 60 cases of the illness, Catholic bishops suggested ways that pastors could alter the celebration of Mass in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
Bishops in the dioceses of Dallas and Austin, Texas, encouraged pastors to avoid Communion under both species and offer only the host. They also highlighted the importance of good hygiene among eucharistic ministers. In the Diocese of Charlotte, at press time it was up to individual pastors to determine if changes during Mass were necessary in their parishes. At least one Charlotte-area church was encouraging parishioners to not shake hands during the sign of peace and to not hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer. While it remained up to individual bishops to decide whether or not they wanted to make changes to the Mass, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship said in a statement in late April it did not feel that widespread liturgical adaptations were necessary at that time to prevent the spread of the swine flu. In England, where at least three cases have been reported, the Diocese of Lancaster April 29 published an online booklet called “Sustaining Pastoral Presence: Influenza Outbreaks,” with information about the swine flu and preventive measures for chaplains and clergy. Cases have been confirmed in Canada, Germany, Austria and Israel. Although no cases have been reported in Egypt, the government there announced April 28 that it would begin slaughtering pigs as a preventive measure. According to the World Health Organization, the swine flu cannot be contracted by eating well-cooked pork products. The WHO’s pandemic alert level is phase 4, two levels below a full pandemic outbreak. No cases had been confirmed in Asia as of April 29. Initially, New York City’s cases were related to St. Francis Preparatory School, which closed the week of April 27 “because of the number of students with flulike symptoms,” the school said on its Web site. “The New York City Health Department is working closely with your school’s administration to ensure that measures are in place to provide you with up-to-date information on how to protect yourself from infection,” the department said in a note to students distributed by the school.
6 The Catholic News & Herald
May 1, 2009
FROM THE COVER
Vatican-Israeli commission reports progress REPORT, from page 1
CNS photo by Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters
Tapestries depicting five new saints hang from the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica during a Mass of canonization led by Pope Benedict XVI April 26 at the Vatican.
Pope canonizes five saints SAINTS, from page 1
part of our planet,” the pope said. The pope celebrated the canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square April 26, joined by tens of thousands of pilgrims who held up photos or drawings of the saints. Four of the new saints were Italian and one was Portuguese. In his homily, the pope said the saints’ life stories hold valuable lessons for modern Christians. Each of the newly canonized had a special devotion to the Eucharist, and each transformed that spiritual power into social action, he said. The five new saints are: — St. Arcangelo Tadini, a parish priest from the northern Italian area of Brescia, who preached strongly in defense of workers’ rights during the industrialization period of the late 1800s. He organized an association to help factory workers, established a spinning mill to give young girls of the area gainful employment, and eventually founded a religious order of sisters who worked alongside women in the factories. Pope Benedict said his Gospelinspired social activity was “prophetic” and is particularly relevant in the current economic crisis. He said the saint taught people that a deep personal relationship with Christ is the key to bringing Christian values into the workplace. — St. Bernardo Tolomei, who, inspired by his love for prayer and for manual labor, founded a unique Benedictine monastic movement in Italy in the 14th century. Born in Siena, he was forced by an onset of blindness to give up a public career, and he decided to found a small hermitic community. He later founded the monastery of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and died in 1348 of the plague while helping victims of the disease; his burial place, in a common pit, has never been found.
The pope called him “an authentic martyr of charity” and said his service to others was an inspiration to all. — St. Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira, a Portuguese army hero in the late 1300s, who, after the death of his wife, abandoned his military career and gave up his wealth to enter a Carmelite monastery. In particular he helped the poor. He fasted in Mary’s honor three days of the week. The pope said he was happy to canonize a person whose faith grew while in the military, a context generally viewed as unfavorable to holiness. It demonstrates that the values and principles of the Gospel can be realized in any situation, especially when they are employed for the common good. — St. Geltrude Comensoli, born in the mid-19th century, who established a religious institute dedicated to the adoration of the Eucharist. In approving the institute in 1880, Pope Leo XIII asked her to include as part of its mission the education of young female factory workers. Pope Benedict said this connection of contemplative charity with “lived charity” was particularly important “in a society that is lost and often wounded like our own.” He said the saint’s life shows that adoration takes precedence over acts of charity, because “from love for Christ died and resurrected, and truly present in the Eucharist, comes that evangelical charity that pushes us to consider all men as brothers.” — St. Caterina Volpicelli, who founded a community of sisters centered on Eucharistic adoration and service to the poor, especially young orphans, in the slums of Naples in the mid-1800s. The pope said she correctly saw that in order to bring the Gospel to bear on society it was necessary to “liberate God from the prisons in which man has confined him.” The pope said he hoped the new saints would inspire people to witness the Gospel courageously in their daily lives.
ruled out the possibility that an agreement could be reached before Pope Benedict XVI makes his Holy Land pilgrimage in mid-May. The Vatican and Israeli members of a bilateral working commission met April 23 in Jerusalem and reported in a joint communiqué, that “meaningful progress was achieved after receiving a report from a working group.” The commission scheduled another meeting at the plenary level on April 30 and reaffirmed its “joint commitment to conclude the agreement as soon as possible.” Vatican sources said that although there was room for optimism in the talks, there was technically no way to finalize an accord before the pope makes his May 8-15 pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. The announcement of the papal visit late last year put “wind in the sails” of the negotiations, said one source, but the
issues have proven too complicated to rush an agreement in time for the pope’s arrival in Jerusalem. That was never the aim of the papal visit anyway, the source said. Both sides have avoided any comment on the substance of the talks, which began in 1999. But knowledgeable church sources said that the issues discussed in the negotiations included: — Protection of church properties, especially holy places, from government appropriation. — Restitution of some properties that have been confiscated, including the site of the shrine church in Caesarea, which was expropriated and razed in the 1950s. — Consolidation and confirmation of historic tax exemptions that have existed for church institutions in the Holy Land. The sources emphasize that the church needs these exemptions in order to survive, and that they are comparable to tax breaks offered religious entities in the United States. — Access to the Israeli court system for church institutions whenever property disputes arise.
Vatican, Arab League sign new agreement VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican and the 22-member League of Arab States have signed an agreement to strengthen joint projects to promote peace and dialogue, especially on political and cultural levels. The official memorandum of understanding was signed April 23 at the Vatican by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states, and Amr Moussa, secretarygeneral of the Arab League. Pope Benedict XVI met privately
with Moussa, a former foreign minister of Egypt, at the Vatican April 24. According to a Vatican statement, the new agreement “further consolidates the bonds of collaboration existing between the Holy See and the League of Arab States, especially on a political and cultural level in favor of peace, security and regional and international stability.” The agreement also “proposes instruments of consultation between the two parties with attention also to initiatives of interreligious dialogue.”
May 1, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 7
Joining the Sisters
CNS photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.
Women religious from seven Dominican communities formalize their merger with a service April 14 in St. Louis, Mo.
Seven communities of Dominican sisters merge to form one congregation by
MARNIE McALLISTER catholic news service
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Seven communities of Dominican sisters formally merged April 12 to form a new congregation called the Dominican Sisters of Peace. The congregation will be based in Columbus, Ohio, home to the former Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs, one of the founding communities. The sisters gathered April 14 for a ceremony in St. Louis to formalize the merger. “There is a great sense of hope, great energy and great commitment to the mission” among the 265 sisters who gathered in St. Louis, said Sister Joan Scanlon, who has been elected to the new congregation’s leadership council. Her community was the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, Ky. “It is very historic when seven congregations have ended and committed to come together,” she said. “We have hundreds of years of ministry behind us.” The new congregation is comprised of Dominican communities from five states. In addition to the 187-year-old St. Catharine community and the Columbus Dominicans, it is made up of the Dominican Congregation of St. Rose of Lima in Oxford, Mich.; the Dominican Sisters, Congregation of Mary, and the Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic, both of New Orleans; the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend, Kan.; and the Sisters of St. Dominic of Akron, Ohio. The Dominican Sisters of Peace has about 650 sisters serving in 29 states and
in Honduras, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania and Vietnam. The congregation also has about 500 associates — lay men and women who are partners in ministry with the sisters. More than a third of the Dominican Sisters of Peace attended the first chapter meeting April 15-21 in St. Louis to elect leaders and articulate their mission. Sister Margaret Ormond, formerly of St. Mary of the Springs in Columbus, was elected prioress during an April 19 election. Other sisters were elected to serve as councilors. They will take office Aug. 8 on the feast of St. Dominic. In the meantime, the former leaders of the founding communities have formed a transition team, said Sister Joye Gros, who was president of the St. Catharine community during the formation of the new congregation. She said the congregation’s leadership will work in central offices located in Columbus. Campus buildings at St. Catharine College, near Springfield, Ky., will also host some offices. Each of the motherhouses belonging to the founding communities will remain in use because sisters are living there. In determining how the new congregation will serve the church, the sisters pledged to devote themselves to studying Scripture, promoting nonviolence and justice, and creating welcoming communities. Sister Scanlon said the work of the newly formed congregation will focus primarily on the Dominican charism “to preach the truth.” “The call to preach the truth and give to others the fruits of our contemplation are at the heart of our Dominican life,” she said.
Franciscan Sister Joan Ann Gilsdorf (left) and Franciscan Sister Andrea Inkrott (right), director of Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Charlotte, are pictured with Lourdes Toribio, who was received as a candidate for canonical membership in the Sisters of St. Francis during a ceremony in a chapel at the motherhouse in Tiffin, Ohio, March 20. Since 2002, Toribio has volunteered in Hispanic ministry in Charlotte and Winston-Salem while discerning her vocation as a Sister of St. Francis. Toribio will minister in Chiapas, Mexico, with Franciscan Sister Linda Scheckelhoff, a former Hispanic minister in the Diocese of Charlotte, until August, when she will then take formation classes and work with the poor of Mexico City.
Answering God’s call to religious life is based on trust, says pope VAT I C A N C I T Y ( C N S ) — Embracing a religious vocation is not about feeling worthy or strong enough to be one of God’s privileged ministers and witnesses, said Pope Benedict XVI. It is about trusting God so much that one can answer God’s divine call without hesitation, he said in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. “What is asked of those who are called, for their part, is careful listening and prudent discernment, a generous and willing adherence to the divine plan, and a serious study of the reality that is proper to the priestly and religious vocations, so as to be able to respond responsibly and with conviction,” he said. The papal message for the day of prayer, which will be observed May 3 in most countries, was released March 31 at the Vatican. The 2009 theme is “Faith in the Divine Initiative — The Human Response.” In his message, Pope Benedict said it is God who chooses some to follow his Son, Jesus, more closely and to put themselves fully at the service of the church. Answering God’s call “is never patterned after the timid self-interest of the worthless servant who, out of fear, hid the talent entrusted to him in the ground,” the pope said, citing Matthew’s Gospel parable of the talents.
Rather, it is a prompt and “ready adherence to the Lord’s invitation,” which is rooted in complete trust in God’s plan, he said. The pope acknowledged the “worrisome shortage of priests” in some parts of the world as well as the difficulties and obstacles the church can encounter. However, God’s children can find strength in their unshakeable faith that God is firmly guiding the church toward the fullness of the kingdom and it is the Lord “who freely chooses persons of every culture and of every age and invites them to follow him according to the mysterious plans of his merciful love,” he said. While God calls some people to special forms of service, all Catholics have a duty to keep God’s appeal for vocations to the priesthood and religious life constantly in their prayers. “We must pray that the whole Christian people grows in its trust in God, convinced that the ‘Lord of the harvest’ does not cease to ask some to place their entire existence freely at his service so as to work with him more closely in the mission of salvation,” he said. Editor’s note: The text of the pope’s message in English is posted online at http://www.vatican.va.
8 The Catholic News & Herald
Heeding the call
Desire to enter religious life a lifelong ambition On a crisp and cloudy fall day last year, I stood atop the lighthouse in Cape May County, N.J., with my new boyfriend. The view was limited — all I could see was the retreat center for the Sisters of St. Joseph on the beach below. I burst into tears. “I was supposed to be a nun!” I exclaimed through sobs. My boyfriend was shocked, but I was relieved. Within two weeks, we broke up, I quit my job at a daily newspaper in Philadelphia and I headed back to North Carolina to answer a call that I had been pondering and praying about for about a year; a call that I sensed since childhood — the call to religious life. I started that year of discernment with a weeklong silent retreat and then went cross-country to visit five religious orders. At Easter, I heard from a friend’s brother about a monastery of nuns that “might move to North Carolina.” It took nearly six months to track down these cloistered sisters, who are currently living in Ohio. Upon discovering their phone number, I called and blurted out to the unsuspecting nun on the other end of the line, “I’d like to enter your convent!” After I made the required visit, I asked for entrance. When I walked back into the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament, gratitude to God and his Blessed Mother overwhelmed me. Only one obstacle remained: student loans. I had been careful to manage my money well, yet I still had about $10,000 remaining. Alas, I had to go back to work and got a job I had wanted since college graduation — writing for a diocesan Catholic newspaper! So, now at the “top of the game” in my writing career, I was working only to make the money to pay off a loan and quit the job! It reminds me of all that God calls us to detach from in order to hear his voice and answer his call. Car, clothes, vacations, Facebook — exchanged for a 5 a.m. wake-up call and the floorlength brown habit of St. Clare with coordinating hip-length black veil. Naturally, my suborned will and pride will be the hardest to forgo. I could clutch to some of it, like my goal of publishing a book one day, but a small voice beckons, “Is it worth your vocation?”
Guest Column MARY B. WORTHINGTON guest columnist
“No,” I answer. I’ll take none of these things with me when I die, so I’ll take none with me when I enter the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. For the past eight years, I have been active in the pro-life movement on local and national levels. Through my work, I realized it is prayer that is the most effective means of saving souls and ending abortion. I never imagined that would lead to a life of prayer in a contemplative, cloistered monastery. My mission territory will become the whole world. Praying and sacrificing for the salvation of souls — out of love for Jesus, my mystical spouse — is the “work” of a cloistered nun. The 1999 Vatican document “Verbi Sponsa,” the Instruction on the Contemplative Life and on the Enclosure of Nuns, describes the cloistered vocation as “a silent emanation of love and superabundant grace in the pulsing heart of the church.” To young women and men who are considering calls to the religious life, don’t be afraid to say “yes” to God first! Don’t fall for the pressure of our society to chase other dreams and goals first, especially if they may result in the loss of your soul. Most religious orders and dioceses accept young people at the age of 18 or 19 to begin formation. And if you’re not sure, talk to a priest, or read a book such as “Come and Follow Me” by Father Stefano Maria Manelli, founder and minister general of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Please pray for me, that I will be a good and holy nun. Our diocese will be close to my heart! Mary B. Worthington, a correspondent with The Catholic News & Herald, will enter the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration on May 3.
May 1, 2009
Mercy sister breaks m SISTER, from page 1
engage in theological discussions with students and faculty. “What brings me light and joy is being in dialogue with Divinity School students on theological issues,” she said. “She makes Catholicism ‘user friendly,’” said Ginny Ireland, director of admissions and student services for the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. “She is able to communicate the faith across denominational and cultural lines.” Catholicism is actually the largest denomination represented among undergraduate students on the WFU campus, according to Sister RiveraWilliams. There are approximately 100 to 150 students who attend weekly Catholic campus ministry meetings. However, within the School of Divinity, the religious representation is predominantly Baptist, followed by Methodist and Episcopalian. Within that realm, Sister Rivera-Williams is definitely the exception. However, as the only African American sister in the state of North Carolina, she is used to being somewhat of a novelty. Intrinsic yearning Sister Rivera-Williams celebrated her jubilee anniversary as a Sister of Mercy during a Mass at St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte in 2008. She believes her calling to religious life was intrinsic, dating back to the time “when I was being formed in my mother’s womb,” she said. A North Carolina native, Sister Rivera-Williams was born in WinstonSalem, where she attended Catholic school as a child. She remembers playing church with her friends in the neighborhood when she was 5 years old. “There was something in me way back then that was calling me to church ministry,” said Sister Rivera-Williams. “When I look back I can really see God’s finger on all of that,” she said. In middle school, she lived across
Mercy Sister Larretta Rivera-Williams stands outside of Wait C for the Divinity School and assistant chaplain at the univers the street from the Franciscan sisters who taught at her school, St. Benedict the Moor School, in Winston-Salem. “There was something really mysterious about them,” she said. “I was always curious.” When she was in seventh grade, there was one sister who used to play basketball and football with the students. That was when her perception of women religious began to change. That was when she realized they were human. When she attended Bishop McGuinness High School in WinstonSalem (now in Kernersville), she worked
May 1, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 9
mold, brings Catholicism to unlikely venue
Photo by Katie Moore
Mercy Sister Larretta Rivera-Williams meets with Tim Auman, chaplain of Wake Forest University, in his office April 24. In terms of providing a Catholic presence on campus, she said, “I feel that my being here has given people a whole different appreciation for the Catholic Church.”
Photo by Katie Moore
Chapel on the Wake Forest University campus in Winston-Salem April 24. Sister Rivera-Williams is a pastoral resident sity. in the school office and got to know the Sisters of St. Joseph, who ran the school at the time. During her junior year, one of the sisters asked if she had ever considered a vocation to religious life. At that point, she still had never seen a black sister. “I didn’t think it was something I could do,” she said.
After high school, she attended Sacred Heart College in Belmont. It was there she met Mercy Sister Pauline Clifford. “Everyone went to her room on Saturday mornings to eat cereal and watch cartoons,” said Sister RiveraWilliams. “She seemed so alive, so real. That was the first real experience I had with a Sister of Mercy.” In terms of role models, she said that there wasn’t one particular sister who had an influence on her. However, she does have a deep appreciation for the role of women religious in the history of the church in North Carolina. “A lot of the workings in the church would not have matured nor manifested had it not been for the sisters,” she said. Eight years after she graduated from college, Sister Rivera-Williams entered the convent of the Sisters of Mercy. Now, almost 26 years later, she feels confident in her decision to pursue her calling to religious life. “There is always something in every day that makes me grateful for what I’m doing,” she said. Education and ecumenism This year marks Sister RiveraWilliams’ seventh year on the WFU campus. However, she’s been an educator for much of her time as a Sister of Mercy. She taught religion at her alma mater, Bishop McGuinness High School,
from 1980-1982 and at Charlotte Catholic High School from 1986 to 1996. In 1995, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), which resulted in her having to step down from her teaching position. “I no longer had the energy to move around,” she said. It was at that point that she asked to come home to Winston-Salem. She returned to her home parish, St. Benedict the Moor Church, where she served as a pastoral associate. “I was the first Sister of Mercy to come to the Winston-Salem area,” said Sister Rivera-Williams. While she was working at the church, she began taking a course in clinical pastoral education. As part of her certification, she served as the weekend volunteer chaplain at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. With her MS in remission, she began teaching a course on the art of ministry at the WFU School of Divinity. From there, she took a position as a pastoral resident in the School of Divinity, where she served as “a liaison between students and faculty.” Then three years ago, she took the position as assistant chaplain of the university. She said she likes this position because it has provided her with “access and availability to the whole campus,” where as before, with her pastoral residency, she was limited to working with the 100 students in the School of Divinity. As assistant chaplain, she provides spiritual direction and counseling, or what she likes to refer to as “compassionate listening.” “She has a great sense of humor and she is a great listener,” said Anne Jones, a first-year Divinity School student. “We all come here and dump our worries on her and we leave laughing.” “She has been a true friend and a good mentor,” said Reggie Mathis, a third-year Divinity School student. “The space she creates with her presence is a wonderful respite,”
Photo by Katie Moore
For Mercy Sister Larretta Rivera-Williams making phone calls and responding to e-mails is an important part of her day. As assistant chaplain and pastoral resident for the School of Divinity, she serves as a “liaison between students and faculty.” like “a breath of fresh air,” he said. Powerful presence There isn’t anything typical about Sister Rivera-Williams. “She breaks every stereotype of a Catholic sister,” said WFU’s Ireland. “To witness and to live out the Gospel values, which I think were modeled and articulated by what we can grasp from Scripture,” that is the role of women religious in the church today, said Sister Rivera-Williams. “There is no wrong way, there is no right way,” she said, but “I’m constantly striving and hoping that we’re doing it God’s way.” In terms of her role at WFU, she said, “I feel that my being here has given people a whole different appreciation for the Catholic Church.” In that respect, her presence alone is one of the biggest parts of her ministry. “You can’t change or make an impression on anyone if you leave or walk out,” she said. Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore by calling (704) 370-3354, or e-mail email@example.com.
May 1, 2009
10 The Catholic News & Herald
Bird’s-eye view: Children’s book portrays personal side of pope by JOHN THAVIS catholic news service
VATICAN CITY — A new children’s book offers a bird’s-eye view of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, with insider tidbits on his daily routine and his personal interests. Published with the Vatican’s blessing, it’s the latest effort to humanize a pope who may seem a remote figure to many people around the world — and even to some inside the Vatican. “Max and Benedict: A Solitary Sparrow Recounts the Pope’s Day” was released in Italian and German to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s election April 19. The book’s narrator is a sparrow named Max who nests on St. Peter’s dome and eavesdrops from the pope’s window ledge. Illustrated with watercolors, the book’s 52 pages contain no startling revelations. But its sympathetic tone and its charming array of details provide a portrait of the pontiff that is largely missing from news coverage. This is a pope who listens to each of his guests with great attention, who strolls through the Vatican Gardens daily with friends and who, in the evening, enjoys a piece of apple strudel before sitting down to play the piano. Pope Benedict is timid and reserved by nature, something “that can be mistaken for coldness,” our narrator informs us. But in fact, he says, the pope has a subtle sense of humor that surfaces throughout the day. “He’s not the type of person who tells one joke after another, but he sees the amusing aspects of life,” according to Max the sparrow. One point hammered home early in the book is that the pope spends most of his day surrounded by people and is rarely alone. That echoes the words of Pope Benedict himself, who twice in recent weeks has rejected speculation about his supposed isolation and joked about the “myth of my solitude.” This seems to be a message the pope and his aides want to get out. In 2007, the book’s author, Jeanne Perego, wrote a similar account of Pope Benedict’s election as seen through the eyes of a cat, with the help of the pope’s personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein. The latest book includes a preface by Father Damiano Marzotto, who worked with the pope for 23 years at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “I can say he was a tireless worker, but was above all a likable and cordial person. I hope reading this book will help many people, especially children, to know the pope better,” Father Marzotto wrote. It may in fact be easier for a curious sparrow to track the pope’s day than for the thousands of Vatican employees who rarely, if ever, see the pontiff at work.
WORD TO LIFE
A roundup of Scripture, readings, films and more
Sunday Scripture Readings: May 10, 2009
May 10, Fifth Sunday of Easter Cycle B. Readings: 1) Acts 9:26-31 Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32 2) 1 John 3:18-24 Gospel: John 15:1-8
Catholic’s actions must be consistent with faith by
CNS photo by Donata Del Molin Casagrande, courtesy of Edizioni Messaggero Padova
A watercolor from the children’s book, “Max and Benedict: A Solitary Sparrow Recounts the Pope’s Day,” shows Max the bird narrator eavesdropping on Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The pope spends most of his time in his apartment or in his adjacent working studio, and access is strictly limited. The book outlines the pope’s average day: He rises at dawn and prays in his private chapel, followed by breakfast. At 8 a.m., he looks at important mail and peruses some daily newspapers, then turns his attention to important documents. Later in the morning begins a series of private audiences with visiting bishops and cardinals, world dignitaries and various groups. By 1 p.m. the pope is ready for lunch, which is a modest affair, and then he goes up to walk on his private rooftop terrace. At 3 p.m. he’s back at his desk, preparing documents and speeches. At 4 p.m., he takes a brisk afternoon walk with a few aides in the Vatican Gardens where, beneath the chatter of parrots, he prays the rosary and stops briefly at the Grotto of Lourdes at the far end of the gardens. Then at 5, he returns to his desk to write — these days, he’s working on his upcoming second volume of “Jesus of Nazareth.” He stops frequently to pull a book from the shelf of his private library. Later in the evening there are occasionally more private audiences with top Vatican officials. Finally, dinner arrives, and the pope can relax a bit. He watches some TV news, reads a book and plays the piano — “music is his great passion.” The feathered narrator reports that the pope is sometimes baffled by the gifts he receives from visitors and groups, which have included a racing bicycle, a portable pizza oven, a steering wheel from a Formula One race car and a traffic-ticket book. This is also a pope who loves animals. Presented with four hens at a general audience, the pope now keeps them at his villa outside Rome, where they are presumably safe from culinary dangers. Editor’s Note: Ignatius Press plans to publish an English-language edition of this book in the fall.
SHARON K. PERKINS catholic news service
When our 16-year-old daughter first earned her driver’s license, it was an occasion of great rejoicing on her part and more than a little anxiety on ours. As we watched her drive away by herself, we realized that she would fully exercise her newfound independence out of the range of our immediate supervision. We had to trust that she was going where she said she would, in the company of persons she knew we would approve of. When an incident in her senior year of high school tested those boundaries, it took several weeks of responsible behavior for her to prove she was trustworthy enough to regain driving privileges. Even then I had to renew my faith gradually in her integrity, that her future words would be consistent with her actions. Building, maintaining and sometimes regaining trust applies to other kinds of relationships as well — husband/
wife, employer/employee, friend/friend, public servant/constituent — and it is human nature to be cautious once that trust is violated. In the first reading, the Jerusalem disciples had plenty of reason to distrust Saul. After all, he had fanatically persecuted other followers of Jesus, and the account of his conversion, while compelling, was not immediately reassuring. But as Saul “spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord,” even to the point of endangering his own life, they were gradually convinced of the truth of his story and the depth of his conviction. The necessity of visible proof of one’s faith in Christ leads the writer of John’s epistle to admonish: “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” In the Gospel, Jesus speaks to his disciples about the importance of remaining in him and producing visible signs of his love in the same way that a branch attached to a vine bears much fruit. Historically, the behaviors of some who have called themselves “Christians” have given humankind many reasons to doubt the validity of their message. Only by fully uniting ourselves with Christ can we love with integrity — thereby regaining the trust of a world that desperately needs to see the evidence and know the truth of God’s love. Questions: In what way have your actions been inconsistent with your profession of faith? What would help you grow in your integrity as a follower of Christ? Scripture to be Illustrated: “Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth” (1 John 3:19).
WEEKLY SCRIPTURE Scripture for the week of May 3-9 Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Easter), Acts 4:8-12, 1 John 3:1-2, John 10:11-18; Monday, Acts 11:1-18, John 10:1-10; Tuesday, Acts 11:19-26, John 10:22-30; Wednesday, Acts 12:24-13:5, John 12:44-50; Thursday, Acts 13:13-25, John 13:16-20; Friday, Acts 13:26-33, John 14:1-6; Saturday, Acts 13:44-52, John 14:7-14. Scripture for the week of May 10-16 Sunday (Fifth Sunday of Easter), Acts 9:26-31, 1 John 3:18-24, John 15:1-8; Monday, Acts 14:5-18, John 14:21-26; Tuesday (St. Nereus, St. Achilleus, St. Pancras), Acts 14:19-28, John 14:27-31; Wednesday (Our Lady of Fatima), Acts 15:1-6, John 15:1-8; Thursday (St. Matthias), Acts 1:15-17, 20-26, John 15:9-17; Friday (St. Isidore), Acts 15:22-31, John 15: 12-17; Saturday, Acts 16:1-10, John 15:18-21.
The Catholic News & Herald 11
May 1, 2009
Student turned filmmaker tells story of Columbine shootings by JOHN GLEASON catholic news service
DENVER — Filmmaker Andrew Robinson hopes the movie he has made about the shooting tragedy at Columbine High School 10 years ago will have a positive impact on students who see it. Robinson’s film, “April Showers,” deals with the violence, death and r e c o v e r y C o l u m b i n e ’s v i c t i m s went through. It is a fictional account of an attack on a Midwestern high school and events that take place in the week that follows, as everyone deals with the trauma of loss, being a survivor and trying to make sense of something so senseless. Robinson was a student at Columbine when, on the morning of April 20, 1999, two fellow students entered the high school in the Denver suburb of Littleton with weapons and began firing on their classmates. By the time the two youths had taken their own lives, 12 other students and a teacher were dead and more than 20 other people had been wounded. Ranked as the fourth most deadly school shooting in the United States, Columbine remains the worst mass shooting to have taken place at an American high school. The massacre spurred debate on everything from gun control to violence among youths. On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the shootings, hundreds of people gathered at a park near the school to remember the victims with a candlelight vigil.
Robinson’s film stars Tom Arnold, Illena Douglas, Kelly Blatz and Daryl Sabara. Robinson, who wrote and directed the film, said the dramatized retelling of what it is like to be a Columbine survivor is a story he just couldn’t keep inside. “Truthfully, this came about by accident,” he told the Denver Catholic Register, the newspaper of the Denver Archdiocese, prior to an advance screening of the film for media and school officials in March. “I didn’t intend to write it,” he explained. “I was working on another project when it kind of wrote itself. Seventy-two hours after I began, the first draft of the script was finished.” Robinson showed the script to some friends who said it was about time a person with the point of view of someone who’d actually been at Columbine told the story. “I like to think I was healed enough to write this story,” he said. “But what I’ve discovered is the impact it’s had on people outside of Columbine. “I heard from students who never went through a Columbine-like experience, but who have had losses in their life,” he said. “They’re now getting something out of this film; they’re opening up to friends and parents about things they’ve never been able to talk about before. That wasn’t what I’d intended but I’ll take it,” he said. “April Showers” was released to theaters nationwide April 24, as well as other pay-per-view
Signis awards film prizes at film festival
CNS photo by James Baca, Denver Catholic Register
Filmmaker Andrew Robinson hopes the movie he made about the shooting tragedy at Columbine High School 10 years ago will have a positive impact on students who see it. “April Showers” was released to theaters nationwide April 24. digital services. Robinson said that all of the film’s proceeds from the first week the movie is released will be donated to schools in districts where the movie is shown, as will a dollar from every download of “April Showers” online. “Schools need our help now more than ever and if a film like ‘April Showers’ can help turn a negative into a positive by shedding light on aspects of a story never told and also give back to the community that supports it, then it’s a win-win,” Robinson said. “We want the movie to be a success of course, but we want it to have a positive impact on the students who see it,” he added.
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Signis, the international Catholic communications organization, has given the Signis Award to a Japanese film, “Departures,” at Filmfest D.C., an annual film festival in the District of Columbia. The Signis jury cited “Departures” for its “reverence for human dignity,” according to an April 27 announcement by jury chairman Frank Frost. The film’s title is derived from its Japanese title, “Okuribito,” or “one who sees people off.” The movie combines serious drama with human-foibles comedy to tell the story of an orchestral musician who loses his job in an economic downturn. Returning to his ancestral village, he stumbles into a job assisting a man who “encoffins” the dead. The practitioner he assists educates him in the meticulous rituals that lend dignity to the dead and consolation to the bereaved. The Signis jury also chose to honor two of the 70 other movies shown at Filmfest D.C., which ran April 16-26, with special commendations. “The Necessities of Life,” a Canadian film directed by Benoit Pilon, tells the story of an Inuit man torn from his family in his Arctic home to be hospitalized for tuberculosis at a Catholic hospital in Quebec, and the cultural gulf that must be bridged by both sides. The other film, a Japanese entry called “Kabei” directed by Yoji Yamada, tells the story of a man in 1940 Japan who is imprisoned for criticizing the country’s “crusade” against China. The problems that beset his family and relatives in the ensuing war years give a fresh perspective on the destructiveness war inflicts on the human fabric.
12 The Catholic News & Herald
May 1, 2009
AROUND THE DIOCESE
Sisters of Mercy celebrate renovation of 1899 chapel
Archival Anecdota For the month of May, here is a look at some of the closed Catholic missions in North Carolina
A mission, or quasi-parish, is under the care of a local parish and is a “definite community of the Christian faithful in a particular church, entrusted to a priest as its proper pastor but not yet erected as a parish because of particular circumstances” (Canon 516~1). While a mission may eventually become a parish, some missions are not so fortunate and close. Some known closed N.C. missions not highlighted below are Bessemer City mission, St. Agnes of Greensboro, Liberty mission, St. Patricia of Linville, St. Benedict of Lowell, Sts. Mary and Joseph of Mount Holly and St. William chapel of Texana. Charlotte, Our Lady of Providence Mission Originally a mission of Our Lady of Consolation Church, Our Lady of Providence started in 1964 and was located at 2640 S. Tryon St. A daycare, Little Folks Nursery, operated as part of the mission. In 1972, the mission was assigned to St. Patrick Cathedral. The daycare closed in 1978, followed by the chapel closing in 1979 and the property being leased. Cherryville, Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission The mission’s first building was purchased in 1950 while Gaston County remained under the jurisdiction of Belmont Abbey. A new chapel was needed and it was transferred to the Diocese of Raleigh in 1960. By October 1962, priests celebrated Mass in the newly constructed chapel and the mission came under the custodial care of Christ the King Church in Kings Mountain. In 1966, St. Therese Church in Mooresville took over the care of the mission. Due to declining attendance and the shortage of priests, it was no longer considered a mission — it became a station whereby only weekday Mass was offered. By the late 1960s, the mission closed and the property eventually leased. Dallas, St. Vincent Mission Belmont Abbey monks began ministering in Dallas in the late 1930s. By the time diocesan priests from Christ the King Church in Kings Mountain began serving the mission in the early 1960s, Mass was held in the private family chapel belonging to the Lay and Withers families. Sunday Mass was discontinued in Dallas in the summer of 1963. Elk Park, Sacred Heart Chapel Located near the Tennessee border in Avery County, Elk Park was a major station of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. Hence, Elk Park became a “boom town” in the early 20th century. This expansive growth led to the construction of Sacred Heart Chapel through funds from the Catholic Extension Society. Sacred Heart was dedicated in 1916 but fell into disuse by the late 1920s, and its altar was later placed in St. Bernadette Chapel (predecessor of St. Lucien Church) in Spruce Pine. Ghio, St. Francis Xavier Mission St. Francis Xavier Mission dates back to around 1890, when Francis Scholl, a German emigrant, donated three acres of land on the Scotland/ Richmond county border for the establishment of a church and cemetery. Throughout its 60 year existence, St. Francis Xavier was a mission of various parishes, including St. James the Greater Church in Hamlet. The mission’s chapel burned down in 1948 and was never
Sacred Heart Chapel in Elk Park is pictured in this undated black-and-white photograph.
Pictured is the 110-year-old Sacred Heart Chapel in Belmont, which was recently renovated.
Hundreds took vows in Sacred Heart Chapel rebuilt; however, the cemetery (now known as the Scholl Family Cemetery) still exists. Fontana, Our Lady of the Lake Mission With the construction of Fontana Dam in the early 1940s, priests from St. John the Evangelist Church in Waynesville periodically visited the village constructed near the dam to miniser to the Catholics among the 5,000 workers. About a decade later, Our Lady of the Lake became an official mission of St. John the Greater Church. St. William Church in Murphy became the caretaker of the mission by mid1950, when Fontana was becoming a popular tourist destination. Our Lady of the Lake was later re-assigned as a mission of Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, and priests continued to periodically serve the area through the summer of 1989. Lance Cove, Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission Chapel The first Lance Cove chapel was established in 1955 in an abandoned home near the banks of the Hiawassee River, seven miles outside the town of Hayesville. Glenmary priests assigned to St. William Church in Murphy served the Lance Cove mission area. In 1958, a different house was used as a chapel by the growing but poor Lance Cove community. Masses were discontinued in the chapel in September 1960, and the house reverted to being a private residence. Revere, Chapel of the Little Flower Constructed in 1931, the Jesuit priests stationed in Hot Springs served the Little Flower chapel. Approximately 30 people attended the first Masses offered in the chapel. The two priests having the greatest impact on the growth of the Catholic presence in Madison County were Jesuit Fathers L.L. Toups and Andrew Graves. In the beginning, Father Toups and his flock encountered much opposition from the mostly Protestant population. They made attempts to add a school and convent to the property, but due to financial limitations, the project never officially started. Father Graves served the people of Revere almost continuously from 1937 to 1984. Afterward, Masses were occasionally offered in Revere through the 1980s. The chapel property sold in 1997.
BELMONT — With memories still vivid and cherished, the Sisters of Mercy in Belmont celebrated April 15 the renovation of the 110-year-old Sacred Heart Chapel, where a number of sisters worshipped and made their vows. Taking part in the celebration — which included prayer, Scripture and reflection — were Mercy Sister Paulette Williams, Mercy Sister Michel Boulus, Mercy Sister Mary-Andrew Ray and Mercy Sister Kathy Green, as well as Benedictine Abbot Placid Solari of Belmont Abbey and Dr. William Theirfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College. “When I walk into the chapel now, I remember the way we were,” said Mercy Sister Rosalind Picot, who took her perpetual vows in the chapel in 1960. “I relive the ceremonies, rituals and prayers, and I relive the sense of community of being together in prayer,” she said. “The chapel represents the exterior symbols of internal realities to which we espouse.” Built in 1899, Sacred Heart Chapel, along with the original convent it adjoins, is the oldest building on the campus of the Sisters of Mercy in Belmont. The construction of the chapel and convent was funded by Susie Burns, who later became Mercy Sister Mary Mercedes Burns. Monks from Belmont Abbey helped clear the land and, according to legend, made the bricks. Until 1962, when a new convent and chapel were built, an estimated 200 sisters took their final
vows in Sacred Heart Chapel. Students at Sacred Heart College continued to use it for the next 25 years. Sister Ray, who took her final vows in the chapel in 1958, is the North Carolina archivist for the sisters. “I remember the beauty, the closeness and the many events that took place there,” she said. “The history delights me as an archivist. We want to preserve as much as possible of its memory and its heritage.” Sister Jerome Spradley, who took her final vows in 1956, reflected upon how times were different back then. “We didn’t have air conditioning. In the summer, we had two huge fans that almost blew you away, and of course, the windows were open,” she said. “In that time, all of us were in the traditional habits.” Fully restored, Sacred Heart Chapel contains many of its original features, including three altars, the hardwood flooring immediately surrounding them, stained glass windows and wooden pews. “You always want a place like that chapel to continue forever,” said Sister Spradley. “To have it restored to its original state is a wonderful thing to all of us who remember it.” “To go into that chapel brings back the commitment I’ve made to God and community,” said Sister Picot. “I remember the sisters who are now deceased who prayed in that chapel and with whom I prayed.”
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May 1, 2009
in our schools
The Catholic News & Herald 13
‘Three Pigs’ invade school
Performers from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Opera Theater perform “Jack and the Beanstalk” for students in kindergarten through third grade at Our Lady of Grace School in Greensboro Dec. 4, 2008. The students learned about opera during the interactive presentation.
Students watch “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” performed by the Tarradiddle Players at St. Matthew School in Charlotte March 24. The Tarradiddle Players is the resident touring company of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
Staging a musical
Buggy about bugs
Third- and fourth-graders of St. Leo the Great School in Winston-Salem show off their bug costumes for their performances of “Bugz” April 2. Both third- and fourth-grade classes had been studying bugs and their teachers decided to enhance the students’ learning by having them perform the play. One performance was for students and faculty; a second was for family and friends.
The St. Pius X Players are pictured in costume for their performances of “High School Musical on Stage” March 26-28. The cast included 40 students from sixth through eighth grades. The stage musical is based on the Disney Channel’s original movie “High School Musical.”
May 1, 2009
14 The Catholic News & Herald
A collection of columns, editorials and viewpoints
Thank God for Susan Boyle
Church is place to share struggles, kindness with those in need
She gave us a little taste of resurrection joy at Easter Thank God for Susan Boyle. Just when we need it, she gives our spirits a lift with a taste of “resurrection joy” in this Easter season. Unless you have been on retreat with the Trappists, you probably know about Susan Boyle. She is the 47-yearold spinster from Scotland. She is unemployed “but still looking.” She won the hearts of the world singing on Easter weekend on “Britain’s Got Talent.” In the two weeks following her performance she set a record for the most page views ever on the Internet, with more than 85 million “hits” to see her sing. Boyle is the most improbable of celebrities. She has the solid figure of a woman whose exercise is household chores. Her hair has rarely, if ever, seen a stylist. She does not own a car or have a driver’s license. She walks everywhere in her village of Blackburn. In 10 minutes she can reach all the essentials of her world: the grocery store, the Happy Valley pub where she sings karaoke, and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir. Susan lives alone with her cat, Pebbles. Until her mother died two years ago, she was the caregiver for her elderly parents. The youngest of nine children, Boyle lives in the rented rowhouse where she grew up. She told Scottish television that she has no boyfriend, had never been on a date and, sadly, has never even been kissed. The children of the neighborhood admitted on television that they tease her when she walks out in the village. Maybe that is why she kept her dignity when she walked out on that stage in Glasgow before a mocking audience. The lions. They were ready to tear her apart. The camera captured teenage girls in the audience rolling their eyes. The judges had smirks on their faces. Simon Cowell, the professional serpent on these shows, asked her why she had not achieved her dream of becoming a professional singer. She said simply, “I’ve never been given the chance, really.” He puffed. Then she sang. What a voice! Boyle sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables,” a sad song about lost innocence and shattered optimism. Cowell’s eyebrow went up. He leaned back in shock. The same smartaleck
Public faces and private hearts
Parish Diary FATHER PETER DALY cns columnist
CNS photo by David Moir, Reuters
“Britain’s Got Talent” contestant Susan Boyle gestures to onlookers in Blackburn, Scotland, April 21. teens who had rolled their eyes were suddenly on their feet, cheering. Piers Morgan, one of the judges said, “When you walked out on that stage, everybody was laughing at you. Nobody is laughing now.” Amanda Holden, the third judge, said, “Everybody was against you. That was the biggest wakeup call ever.” I watched the tape over and over again. I cried each time. The whole world is cheering for Susan Boyle now. But we aren’t cheering just for her. We’re cheering for all the girls who have never been kissed. For all the people who live alone with their cats. For all the unemployed people who are “still looking.” For every child who gives up youth and dreams to take care of elderly parents. For everyone who sings in church choirs for nothing more than the love of God. We are cheering for all the lonely people around the world who have never “been given a chance, really.” Boyle burst on the scene on Easter weekend. She gave us a little taste of resurrection joy when the impossible happens, when hope is renewed and dreams are realized. When the Brits are surprised, they say they are “gobsmacked.” I think the whole world was really “God-smacked.” Thanks, Susan.
Plato said: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. What a world it would be if we all kept that in mind. My friend’s husband was recently diagnosed with a heart problem that requires surgery. It was an unexpected diagnosis, falling into their lives like lightning on a still night. On top of the challenge of open-heart surgery, they were told it would be best to travel to a distant hospital where the procedure is done frequently. So they’ll leave home and their local support system and journey to a strange city. These are both people of faith and generosity, and as soon as they wrestled the news to the ground privately, they openly shared it with our church community. Yesterday this friend and I helped out with a welcoming reception for new parishioners at our church. At the end of the reception we talked about sharing our lives with others, not just perfunctorily but on the deeper level where we all fight our private struggles. My friend observed that it’s hard having their medical news disseminated far and wide because everyone who sees them inquires about the issue, and sometimes it’s wearying, repeating details and answering questions. Yet, she said, what she has discovered is that the predicament facing her and her husband has a positive aspect: Their trial and their openness prompt others to share their stories. During the reception, for example, a woman shared with my friend that one of her sons will be admitted to an assistedliving residence for a debilitating illness and another is dealing with a tumor. Imagine, we both thought, what an ordeal this is for this mom. Yet all I knew of her was her smiling face at church. Like all of us, she has a public face and a private heart. That’s why I love Plato’s quote. It reminds me that each person I meet has a story I really don’t know completely.
For the Journey EFFIE CALDAROLA cns columnist
It doesn’t sound like a quote from a Greek philosopher, does it? It sounds so earthy and Christian that I had to look it up again just to make sure Plato said it. Keeping that quote in mind helps me deal with a grumpy salesclerk or a moody teenager. How little I know of their battles or even those of my own teenager, who picks and chooses what she shares of her heart’s struggles. I’ve been in my parish for years, and I know a lot of people. So when I look around the church sometimes I can peek behind a facade: I see the man who recently fought a battle with colon cancer and the woman who is faithfully caring for her husband with dementia. I see a friend who suffered a devastating miscarriage and another whose daughter had a baby as an unmarried teen. I pray for them as we together receive the body and blood of Christ. But what I don’t see makes me lift my heart in prayer as well: Who struggles with a marriage that is falling apart? Who deals with depression on a daily basis? Who is battling alcohol or eating disorders? Whose child is at home, refusing to come to church? My church is the place where I should be able to find someone with whom I can share my private struggle, someone who will listen to my story. And it’s certainly the place where I should encounter people who are kind, because they know everyone is fighting a hard battle.
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May 1, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 15
Earth Day every day! Caring for God’s created world is a Catholic duty What did you do on Earth Day (April 22)? I took the pledge: the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. Promoted by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change (www. catholicsandclimatechange.org) in partnership with the U.S. bishops, the St. Francis Pledge asks us to: — Pray and reflect on the duty to care for God’s creation and for the poor and vulnerable. — Learn about and educate others on the moral dimensions of climate change. — Assess how we — as individuals and organizations — contribute to climate change (i.e., consumption and conservation). — Act to change our choices and behaviors contributing to climate change. — Advocate Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact the poor and vulnerable. Caring for God’s created world, giving special attention to the poor and vulnerable, is Catholic duty. And no one in the history of the church has lived this duty more faithfully and joyfully than St. Francis of Assisi. So naming the pledge after St. Francis is most appropriate. Thomas of Celano, a contemporary follower of the saint, wrote that everything of the natural world that met Francis’ eyes made him immensely happy!
Making a Difference TONY MAGLIANO cns columnist
Proclaiming St. Francis the patron saint of ecology, Pope John Paul II called the church’s attention to St. Francis’ “genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation.” Sadly, far too many corporations, political leaders and Christians do not strive to emulate the great saint. According to Greenpeace (www. greenpeace.org), a leading environmental organization, industrial facilities continue to contaminate our air, water and food with dangerous toxic chemicals. Forty percent of our nation’s rivers are too polluted for fishing or swimming. But the greatest threat to the natural world is climate change, caused principally by global warming. Burning fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal — for energy produces huge amounts of heat-trapping gases in the lower atmosphere, the main human source of global warming. The second principal source is deforestation.
Letters to the Editor
Restraint, prudence needed with profits
While not purporting to defend Tony Magliano’s entire message in “During Lent: What would Jesus do?” (Perspectives, March 20), I find Jack James’ criticism of it lacking and fallacious (“Magliano misinterprets greed, solutions,” letters to the editor, April 3). James seems to take the position that it doesn’t matter how you get it (profits) as long as you use some of it for the poor. This sounds like the faulty “ends justify the means” argument to me. James also likens “the drive to maximize profits” as “striving for excellence.” Perhaps germane here is that several popes’ encyclicals have for good reasons (some moral) severely criticized both unbridled
capitalism as well as communism as economic systems. — Bob Howarth Asheville
Obama does care about nuclear annihiliation
There has been much criticism directed at Notre Dame University for inviting President Obama to speak at its commencement ceremony. I understand the criticism as it centers around the president’s view on the life issue of abortion. But recent events offer a wider perspective. The president recently addressed an almost forgotten moral issue — the threat of nuclear annihilation. Obama wants an immediate end to nuclear tests, confirmed he would seek Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and would hold a global summit on nuclear security within the next year. His goals closely resemble the ideas expressed in a U.S. bishops’ 1983
According to the respected Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsusa.org), since preindustrial times the atmospheric concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has increased 31 percent. It warns: “This increase in trapped heat changes the climate, causing altered weather patterns that can bring unusually intense precipitation or dry spells and more severe storms.” Increased droughts, floods and catastrophic storms are hurting many people, especially the poor of the world, whose governments often have little resources to assist them. Please ask your congressional delegation to move forward legislation supporting deep reductions in globalwarming gases. Urge new additional funding to help poor nations cope with the painful effects of climate change. And encourage your legislators to aggressively advance clean alternative energy sources: wind, wave, geothermal and solar. Starting at the top, the Catholic Church is taking climate change seriously. Last November the first saplings of the Vatican Climate Forest were planted in Hungary. Some 125,600 trees will be planted to offset Vatican emissions of global-warming carbon dioxide, making it the world’s first carbon-neutral nation. St. Francis proclaimed, “Praised be you, my Lord, for our Sister Mother Earth.” But unlike Francis, we haven’t been giving our planet the respect due a sister who cares for us like a mother. Make a difference! Take the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. Let’s make every day Earth Day!
pastoral letter, “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response.” Obama does differ with Catholic teaching on the issue of abortion, and because of that difference he is called “anti-life.” But he agrees with Catholic teaching on the issue of removing a threat that could destroy the lives of billions of people on this planet. — James Doll Columbus
Obama fails life test President Obama’s speaking abilities get an A+ in my grading book, but his moral perception cannot possibly get a passing grade. Nor can I give the administration at Notre Dame University a passing grade. I find it difficult to believe, let alone accept, the administration’s choice to invite an individual who has very little affinity for human life. I realize most of the students welcome such a choice, but sensitivity to wisdom supersedes youth. — Joseph Di Lillo Bryson City
People can learn to see God in world, in others, pope says at audience The Pope Speaks POPE BENEDICT XVI VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People can get a glimpse of God in the world and in other people, but they must learn how to recognize it, Pope Benedict XVI said. “There is a certain visibility of God in the church and in the world, and we must learn how to see it,” the pope said April 29 at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. “God created humankind in his image, but this image is covered with so much dirt from sin that it is almost impossible to see,” the pope said. The pope’s reflection on images of God in the world flowed from his talk about the writings of St. Germanus, an 8th-century patriarch of Constantinople. Here is the text of the pope’s audience remarks in English. Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our catechesis on the early Christian writers of East and West, we turn to St. Germanus, bishop and patriarch of Constantinople, whose feast day is celebrated in the Greek church on 12 May. In 717, while Constantinople was under siege by Saracen armies, Germanus led a procession with the venerated image of the Theotokos, the Mother of God, and relics of the Holy Cross. The siege was lifted, convincing him that God had responded to the people’s devotion. Some time later however, Emperor Leo III initiated his campaign against the use of sacred images, judging them to be a source of idolatry. When Germanus opposed the emperor publicly in 730, he was forced to retire in exile to a monastery, where he later died. His memory was not forgotten, and in the Second Council of Nicea, which restored devotion to sacred images, his name was honored. The writings of Germanus, steeped in an ardent love of the church and devotion to the Mother of God, have had a wide influence on the piety of the faithful both of the East and the West. He promoted a solemn and beautiful liturgy and is also known for his insights in Mariology. In homilies on the presentation and the dormition of the Virgin Mary, Germanus extols her virtue and her mission. A text which sees the source of her bodily incorruption in her virginal maternity was included by Pope Pius XII in his apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus. I pray that through the intercession of St. Germanus, we may all be renewed in our love of the church and devotion to the Mother of God.
May 1, 2009
in the news
The Catholic News & Herald 16
‘Like a burning ember hidden beneath the ashes’ Pope visits quake zone to strengthen survivors’ faith, hope for future by CAROL GLATZ catholic news service
ONNA, Italy — In a visit aimed at strengthening people’s faith and hope for the future, Pope Benedict XVI called for concrete and immediate measures to rebuild towns and villages devastated by a deadly earthquake. The pope told survivors it had been his desire to come see them from the very moment the earthquake struck this mountainous Italian region April 6. “I would have liked to have gone to every town and every neighborhood, to all the tent cities and to have met everyone if it had been possible,” he said in the makeshift tent encampment a few miles outside L’Aquila. The pope’s April 28 visit took him first to Onna — a tiny village that had once been home to some 300 people. The magnitude 6.3 earthquake reduced buildings in the town to rubble, killing some 40 people and rendering the entire population homeless. Poor weather conditions forced the pope to travel to the affected areas by car instead of by helicopter. The severity and extent of the damage was evident even when viewed from the highway encircling L’Aquila. The city and its outskirts have become
ghost towns, with streets and parking lots empty of cars and entire apartment buildings dark and shuttered. Several buildings had enormous holes blown out of their walls, looking as if they had been bombarded with rocket fire. The quake and its aftershocks left some 65,000 people homeless, nearly 300 people dead and another 1,500 injured, according to authorities. Half of Onna’s residents relocated to hotels along the seaside or moved in with relatives. The other half stayed behind, living in government-issued tents. Many of them are elderly, preferring to tend to what little they have left: their chickens, farm animals and vegetable gardens. At the tent encampment in Onna, the pope expressed his sympathy for those living away from their homes and those living out of their cars or tents, especially with such cold and rainy weather. “Dear friends, my presence among you is meant to be a tangible sign that the crucified and risen Lord has not abandoned you,” he said. He said God is present and not deaf to their cries for help and their worries after having lost their homes, savings, jobs and loved ones. The pope said those who lost their lives are with God and that they would want to see their surviving friends and
CNS photo by Max Rossi, Reuters
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the destroyed town of Onna, Italy, April 28. The pope visited Onna, where 40 of the town’s 350 residents were killed in the earthquake that hit central Italy April 6. relatives go forward with courage and hope, and the outpouring of help and support cannot end with just emergency. Efforts must continue and “become a steady and concrete project” so that the city and surrounding towns can rise again, he said. The pope expressed his concern for the many young people who have been “suddenly forced to tackle a harsh reality,” children who can no longer go to school and elderly deprived of their homes. The pope then warmly greeted residents and aid workers. Mothers brought their babies and toddlers to the pope to be blessed. He then rode through the devastated village in a white civil defense minibus. One resident of Onna said 99 percent of the buildings are uninhabitable and need to be torn down. The pope then went on to L’Aquila to visit the severely damaged Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio. Surrounded by firefighters wearing helmets, the pope went inside to venerate the remains of St. Celestine V, a 13th-century pope who abdicated just a few months after his election. Heaps of debris were still sitting on the floor inside the basilica. Firefighters warned the papal entourage that it was too dangerous to linger inside. The pope was visibly taken
aback by the level of destruction. The pope then visited the site of a university dormitory that collapsed and claimed eight students’ lives. He met with about a dozen students, blessing them and talking with them. He told those who were majoring in engineering to help the town build good homes. The pope also called for an appropriate solution to be found soon for the thousands of people still living in tents. He made the comments during an outdoor gathering at a military school and barracks just outside L’Aquila. It was the same courtyard where a funeral Mass was celebrated April 10 for some 200 victims of the quake. To an audience that included local bishops, religious men and women, government authorities, aid workers, rescuers and survivors, the pope said he was deeply moved by their hospitality. He praised their unified and wellcoordinated efforts not only for dealing with the disaster and its aftermath quickly and efficiently, but also for having been motivated by love. Emergency efforts should never just be a well-oiled machine, he said, but should display “soul and passion.” Solidarity with those in crisis gives a sign of hope amid the darkness “like a burning ember hidden beneath the ashes,” he said.