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8 Works of Mercy Through its social services and charitable works, the Church lives out its mission to serve those in need. BY ANDREW AND REBECCA SICREE

14 Catholic health care: A vocation of love A frontrunner in the advancement of health care, the Catholic Church participates in Christ’s healing ministry. BY AMBER DOLLE

20 Global Charity Catholic organizations play a major role in humanitarian efforts worldwide. BY SCOTT ALESSI

22 America’s Catholic education Throughout history, the Church has promoted the cultivation of knowledge and faith. BY JOSEPH O’BRIEN

PAINTING: St. Lawrence Giving Alms, by Enrico Pollastrini (1817-1876)/© DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY

29 The Battle for Liberty The Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Church in America have fought tirelessly for religious freedom.

St. Lawrence, a third century deacon and martyr, is depicted giving alms in one hand and holding a crucifix in the other. His feast day is celebrated Aug. 10.





In all her work, the Church seeks charity, unity and fraternity in Christ. BY ALTON J. PELOWSKI


Instituted by Christ, the hierarchy and visible structure of the Church are part of God’s plan.

Building a Better World The pope’s new encyclical illuminates the great commandments of love. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON

Learning the Faith, Living the Faith


Fathers for Good Five steps to a better (eternal) life. BY FATHER LARRY RICHARDS


Year for Priests


Father McGivney and the call to help those in need.

PLUS Catholic Man of the Month





Knights of Columbus News 32

Columbianism by Degrees



Charity, Man and Society MOST KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS know that charity, unity and fraternity are the founding principles of the Order. Yet, one may wonder, why these three where selected. Some might be tempted to think that they were chosen arbitrarily among countless other virtues, or that they are merely positive sentiments or ideals that some people decide to embrace and others do not. However, upon closer reflection, we see that the Columbian virtues pertain to fundamental truths regarding man’s origin, destiny and role in the world. Pope Benedict XVI brings to mind the themes of charity, unity and fraternity in his latest encyclical, Caritas inVeritate (Charity in Truth), when discussing a key idea that he calls “the logic of gift.” In part, the pope writes, “The unity of the human race, a fraternal communion transcending every barrier, is called into being by the word of God-who-is-Love” (34). In other words, the very foundation of our identity — both as individuals and as a society — consists in the fact that we receive our existence from God and are created in his likeness. By contrast, Pope Benedict observes, “Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society” (ibid). Indeed, the modern world has inherited the false idea that the family, religion and society itself are voluntary, rather than natural, institutions. This understanding was perpetuated by the influential 17th century thinkers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, who con-

ceived of man first as an individual who enters into social contracts out of fear of injustice or inconvenience. This, however, has never been the Church’s understanding of human communities. Even several centuries before Christianity, in his book Politics, Aristotle famously wrote that “man is by nature a political animal.” The gift of life and the unity of the human race find a natural expression in society, the basic cell of which is not the individual, but the family. In view of this, one might say the first three virtues of the Order are not disconnected from the principle of the Fourth Degree — patriotism — which consists of generous service to one’s country and the common good. This special issue of Columbia celebrates the contributions of the Catholic Church to society, and as such, it is good to recall what makes the work of the Church unique. With Christ came the revelation of the Father and the Holy Spirit, illuminating the supernatural origin and purpose of man’s natural relationships. Thus, in addition to recognizing the call to charity, unity and fraternity as basic and essential to our humanity, the believer finds a new and definitive expression of this call in the Gospel message. In whatever form the Church’s service takes, then, it is ultimately meant to be a manifestation of “charity in truth.” ALTON J. PELOWSKI MANAGING EDITOR

Supreme Knight’s Book Club - Aug. 25 Join Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and Msgr. Eduardo Chávez Sánchez, postulator for the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego, online for a discussion of their new book, Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of a Civilization of Love (Doubleday). For more information about the book, proceeds from which will be donated to Knights of Columbus Charities, visit Submit your questions online at and take part in the discussion Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m. (ET). 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦



Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney (1852-90) — Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. ________ HOW TO REACH US MAIL COLUMBIA

1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 PHONE 203.452.4398 FAX 203.452.4109 E-MAIL INTERNET CUSTOMER SERVICE 1.800.380.9995 ________ MOVING Notify your local council. Send your new address and mailing label to: Knights of Columbus Membership Records PO Box 1670 New Haven, CT 06507-0901 ________ Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans holds the hand of a resident of Wynhoven Health Care Center, a Catholic nursing home facility in Marrero, La., in September 2008. The woman and other evacuees returned after Hurricane Gustav forced them from their homes.

COVER: Frank Methe, Clarion Herald


BU building ILDING A a better B E T T E R world WO R L D

True Charity The pope’s new encyclical illuminates the great commandments of love by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson POPE BENEDICT XVI’s recent encycli- ply amassing as much wealth as we cal, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), can. Instead, the actions we take should serve as a reminder of the im- should reflect the reality of our familportance of the first principle of our ial connection to our neighbor, and Order. we should take stock of how everyIn his introduction to the encyclical, thing we do affects others. In fact, to the pope writes, “Charity is at the heart be a Christian is to be a man or to life is at the center of true development. of the Church’s social doctrine.” He woman for others. When a society moves towards the dethen makes clear that our charity must This is the beautiful message of the nial or suppression of life, it ends up be true charity. “Without truth,” he says, encyclical. no longer finding the necessary mo“charity degenerates into sentimentalSadly, not everyone will focus on tivation and energy to strive for man’s ity.” On the other hand, “practicing this message. Some will try to view true good. If personal and social sencharity in truth helps people to under- the encyclical as a political document, sitivity towards the acceptance of a stand that adhering to the values of as support for their policy preferences new life is lost, then other forms of Christianity is not merely useful but es- or political philosophy. But to do that acceptance that are valuable for socisential for building a good soety also wither away” (28, ciety and for true integral emphasis in original). development.” Additionally, the Holy Father We should take stock of how We might look at this in points out that religious liberty light of the Lord’s Prayer. is a key component to developeverything we do affects others. Pope Benedict quotes the first ment. He wrote, “The ChrisIn fact, to be a Christian is to be a tian religion and other two words of that prayer — “Our Father” — at the end of religions can offer their contriman or woman for others. his encyclical. If we take bution to development only if those two words seriously, God has a place in the public realm, we must realize the truth that specifically in regard to its culall of us are members of one family. would miss the point. As the docu- tural, social, economic, and particuFrom this perspective, it is easier for ment itself states: “The Church does larly its political dimensions” (56, us to see how the law and prophets are not have technical solutions to offer emphasis in original). summarized in Christ’s two great com- and does not claim ‘to interfere in any In this issue of Columbia, we explore mandments — that we love God totally way in the politics of States.’ She does, the contribution of the Catholic and love our neighbors as ourselves however, have a mission of truth to Church in the areas of health care, so(see Mt 22:37-40). Thus, we are able to accomplish” (9). cial service, education and religious speak of “caritas in veritate.” The question is not whether this en- freedom. The success of each of these When we understand that we are all cyclical validates our viewpoint, but ventures has been a result of the commembers of the same human family rather how it can help us to grow in mitment by individual Catholics to and accept these two commandments, our faith as children of God and mem- charity in truth. we can no longer ask Cain’s question: bers of the human family. All human Let us honor their legacy, and the “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen beings, including the unborn, are part pope’s call, by renewing our commit4:9). Instead, we must realize that our of that family. The pope made this per- ment to true charity. freedom cannot take the form of sim- fectly clear in his encyclical: “Openness Vivat Jesus!




The Christian Faithful Instituted by Christ, the hierarchy and visible structure of the Church are part of God’s plan by Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori IN COMPANIES, an organized structure is HOLY ORDERS intended to foster unity and encourage Among the different vocations, “by diteamwork. Likewise, members of a loving vine institution there exist sacred ministers family have varying roles and responsibil- who have received Holy Orders and who ities, which are complementary and con- form the hierarchy of the Church” popes down through the ages, are “the tribute to the unity of the family and to (178). These ordained ministers include visible source and foundation of the unity the common good. bishops, priests and deacons. Christ in- of the Church” (182). As Vicar of Christ Something similar can be said of the stituted the Church hierarchy to nurture and head of the college of bishops, the visible structure of the Church, which has his people in truth and love. He chose, pope manifests, embodies and fosters the its origin in Christ. St. Paul taught us to called and formed the Apostles. Above all, unity that the Lord willed for his followsee how varying vocations, ministries and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon them and ers. The pope is the supreme pastor of gifts of the Holy Spirit work together in commanded them to feed his flock. In God’s people and by God’s will exercises love to build up the Body of Christ. These exercising their ministry, bishops and “supreme, immediate, and universal vocations exist for the unity and common priests speak and act in the very person power” over the whole Church (ibid). good of God’s family. of Christ, so as to nourish Christ’s people The college of bishops, always in union The members of the Church, called “the with his own divine life. Deacons serve with the pope, “also exercises supreme Christian faithful,” are those inand full authority over the corporated into Christ by baptism Church” (183). Every diocese is and who thus become a part of a local manifestation of the uniAs Vicar of Christ and head of the the “People of God” — a phrase versal Church, and the diocesan that has its roots in the Old Testa- college of bishops, the pope manifests, bishop governs with a view toment notion of the chosen peoward the good of the Church as embodies and fosters the unity that ple. In fulfillment of God’s a whole. Thus the Church is like promises, Christ established the the interconnected parts of a sinthe Lord willed for his followers. new and definitive covenant in his gle living organism. blood. The baptized partake in Christ’s sacrifice of love and are called to God’s people by preaching and teaching THE MAGISTERIUM proclaim and live the truth of the Gospel. the Word, by assisting in the liturgy, and In union with the Holy Father, bishops This call to holiness is universal. We speak, by charity, especially service to the poor exercise a three-fold office of teaching, therefore, of “a true equality among all the and needy (179). sanctifying and governing. By teaching, members of the Church in their dignity as As successors to the Apostles, bishops together with priests, bishops lead peochildren of God” (Compendium of the Cat- are called to serve in a unity of faith and ple to explicit faith, to the sacraments echism of the Catholic Church, 177). love as part of the worldwide college of and to obedience to Christ’s commandbishops in communion with the Holy Fa- ment of love. ther. Priests are the closest co-workers of The baptized, for their part, have reThe 18th installment of Supreme bishops. They exercise their priesthood as ceived from the Holy Spirit a supernatural Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori’s part of the “presbyterate” of a diocese, sense of the faith, which helps them acfaith formation program addresses united with their fellow priests “in com- cept and live the faith in accordance with questions 177-193 of the Communion with their own bishop and under the Magisterium, the living teaching ofpendium of the Catechism of the Catholic his direction” (180). fice of the Church (184). The MagisChurch. Archived articles are at We recall that Jesus appointed St. Peter terium is charged with authentically as head of the Apostles. His successors, the interpreting God’s Word in Scripture and



Tradition, and serves to ensure that the faith of the Apostles is handed on. Sometimes, this teaching office is exercised infallibly, such as when the pope and the college of bishops definitively proclaim a doctrine regarding faith or morals. The faithful are to accept such teaching with the obedience of faith (185). Even when doctrines are not infallibly proclaimed, they are to be accepted “with religious submission of intellect and will” by all members of the Church (see Lumen Gentium, 25). It is important for us to reflect on this aspect of Church teaching, for we live in a time when many people casually dissent from what the Church believes and teaches.

Hholy O LY FAT father’s HER’S P R AY E R I N T E N T I O N S

PHOTOGRAPH OF POPE: CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters

ILLUSTRATION: Detail of Saint-Jean Eudes (1955), by Claude T. Picard

Offered in solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI GENERAL: That the world may become aware of the plight of the millions of displaced persons and find solutions to their tragic conditions. MISSION: That Christians who suffer persecution and discrimination may be granted human rights, equality and freedom to live their faith.

LAITY AND CONSECRATION Most members of the Church belong to the laity, a term that comes from the Greek word for “people.” While members of the laity participate in the pastoral life of the Church, their principal vocation is to foster the growth of the kingdom of God in this world even as we look forward in hope to eternal life. With reason illuminated by faith, they seek to build a civilization of love in accordance with God’s plan (Compendium, 188). The laity also shares in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ. Often, this is done by parents who teach their children the faith or by the quiet but effective witness of a holy life at home and in the workplace.

Last, but surely not least, are those members of the faithful, both ordained and lay, called to consecrated (“religious”) life. These men and women take vows and dedicate their lives to God by the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. They often live in common, wear some form of distinctive dress (habit) and pursue a common apostolate such as teaching, health care, service to the poor or a life of contemplative prayer. By their way of life, the consecrated faithful foretell the perfection of love that awaits us in heaven. They lead all members of the Church to greater holiness and dedication to Christ and to his mission (192-193).

C ATbuilding H O L I C M AaNbetter O F T H Eworld MONTH

St. John Eudes (1601-1680) Feast day: August 19 ST. JOHN EUDES was born into a farming family in the Normandy region of northern France. He demonstrated signs of holiness at a young age and even took a vow of chastity at age 14. Eudes joined the Oratorians at age 21 and was ordained to the priesthood at 24. He spent his early priestly life ministering to plague victims and brought the Gospel to desolate women who had fallen into licentiousness. After a devout woman accused him of empty piety, Eudes established housing and a religious community for converted prostitutes. In 1643, Eudes founded the Society of Jesus and Mary, commonly known as the Eudists. The society’s priests did not take religious vows but strove to make the diocesan clergy more effective from within. To this end, they improved the formation of priests and laity alike, through seminaries and parish missions. Eudes established seminaries in four major French cities between 1653 and 1670. He also preached 110 missions throughout his life — no small feat considering that one mission could last up to 10 weeks. Eudes’ preaching and writing were

especially marked by devotion to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. He authored liturgies for the celebration of these feasts, as well as devotional books. He firmly believed that Jesus is the source and center of holiness and that imitation of Christ should penetrate the most interior dimensions of one’s own heart. Eudes insisted, “Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desires and his disposition live and reign there.” The witness of St. John Eudes directs us back to our ultimate purpose and to the heart of Jesus. As his clarion call to keep Christ as the center echoes to us today, let us listen and respond.




Order observes ‘Year of the Volunteer’ and ‘Year for Priests’ THE 2009-10 FRATERNAL YEAR will be one of changing hearts, changing minds and changing the culture, said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, addressing new and returning state deputies at their annual meeting in New Haven, Conn., June 11-14. In his keynote address, Anderson highlighted the Order’s achievements over the past year and set the Knights’ direction for the year to come. He particularly praised members for setting an all-time record of volunteer hours and charitable donations (see article on page 12). Discussing the Knights’ “Year of the Volunteer” initiative, Anderson noted the Order’s widespread presence, as well as its history of responding to crises. “We are the preeminent organization that can lead this,” he said. “We have the network, we have the resources that have made a tremendous contribution, and we have the opportunity to make an even greater contribution at a time when our communities need it.” ‘GREAT FRATERNAL BENEFIT’ The supreme knight also praised the Order for its continued strength as an insurance company. Calling Knights of Columbus Insurance a “great fraternal benefit,” he said that out of hundreds of insurance companies in the United States, the Knights is among only four to receive both certification from the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association and top ratings from Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best. Anderson also discussed a new addition to the company’s products: the New Member Annuity Plan, which is available to new members, ages 18-83, and their wives. Finally, he encouraged state deputies to work closely with field and general agents, who he said are committed to the Order and are an integral asset to membership growth. ‘THE STRONG RIGHT ARM OF PARISH PRIESTS’ In addition to 2009 being the Knights’ “Year of the Volunteer,” Pope Benedict XVI has also inaugurated the “Year for Priests,” which began June 19. “The Church grows or diminishes based on the vitality of parish life,” said Anderson. “And so if we are to be the strong right arm of the Church, we must also be the strong right arm of our parish priests.” The Knights should be present in every parish, the supreme knight added, as well as supporting seminarians within their jurisdictions. “I urge you [to] connect the Knights of Columbus to every single future priest in all of our countries,” he said, citing examples of councils that raise money for the Refund Support



Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson addresses state deputies at their organizational meeting in New Haven, Conn., June 12. Also pictured (left to right) are Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori, Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis A. Savoie, Supreme Treasurer Jack O’Reilley and Supreme Advocate John A. Marrella.

Vocations Program (RSVP), that pray regularly for seminarians and that invite seminarians to participate in council activities. Lastly, theYear for Priests is an opportunity to increase awareness of the cause for canonization of Venerable Michael McGivney. “His witness, his virtue is a contribution to the universal Church,” Anderson said of the Order’s founder, stressing that Father McGivney’s example is not just for Knights. ‘WE HAVE TO CHANGE HEARTS’ A significant part of the supreme knight’s address was dedicated to the Order’s involvement in key social issues. While polls are showing a decrease in the number of people favorable toward unrestricted abortion, “it is not enough to change minds,” Anderson said. “We have to change hearts. We have to change the culture.” He added that he was encouraged at last year’s Supreme Convention when delegates voted unanimously to establish the Culture of Life Fund. The Order’s subsequent sponsorship of ultrasound machines at pregnancy resource centers is a tangible example of how Knights can transform the culture. In addition to defending the dignity of life, the Knights “can’t step aside” from defending marriage, Anderson said, recognizing each of the state deputies who has recently found himself at the forefront of this fight. “We’re going to build a better culture,” Anderson concluded, and it will take “courage to stand up for life and marriage.”♦


Pope Benedict XVI signs a copy of his encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), at the Vatican July 6.

nspired by faith and recognizing the deepest truths about the

PHOTOGRAPH: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Catholic Press Photo

Ihuman being, the Church has historically been at the fore-

front in meeting a myriad of human needs in the United States and throughout the world. The contributions of the Catholic community have been vital, for instance, to the development of education and health care systems, countless charitable programs and the promotion of human rights and dignity. Pope Benedict XVI explained in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), the Church’s mission is that of the Good Samaritan: a heart which “sees where love is needed and acts accordingly” (31). In his most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the pope further noted that “the whole Church, in all her being and acting — when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity — is engaged in promoting integral human development” (11, emphasis in original). In the pages that follow, Columbia takes a look at some of the many ways that the Church practices charity in truth and works to build a civilization of love.♦




MERCY Through its social services and charitable works, the Church lives out its mission to serve those in need by Andrew and Rebecca Sicree roblems come in all sizes, and through the Church, Catholics are equipped to

Phandle nearly any form of difficulty: A single mother struggles to pay rent and

PHOTOGRAPH: Thomas Upshur

buy clothes for her baby; a refugee arrives from his war-torn homeland, alone and overwhelmed; or an elderly woman lives year after year in a nursing home without visitors, calls or cards. In these and countless other cases, Catholic organizations and individuals step in to follow Christ in performing the corporal works of mercy — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. The scope of the Church’s charitable work in the United States alone is staggering. Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is a national membership organization that represents different Catholic Charities programs in more than 170 dioceses across the country. More than 300,000 people, three-quarters of whom are volunteers, work with the organization, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2010. Approximately 8 million people were helped by diocesan Catholic Charities in 2008. This does not include work performed by other Catholic organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or by Catholic parishes, religious communities and families. LOVE THY NEIGHBOR The magnitude of the Church’s charitable activity, however, is not what makes it unique. Rather, at the heart of the Church’s work is the Gospel imperative to love one’s neighbor and a recognition that each person is made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus warns that at the Last Judgment we will be told, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). Works of charity, therefore, are not optional, but inseparable from one’s baptismal call and the very nature of the Church. This emphasis separates Christian charitable efforts from bureaucratic programs.

Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Father Pio Maria Hoffmann (right) serves men at the Padre Pio Shelter in the Bronx, N.Y.



SERVING INDIVIDUAL NEEDS The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which is perhaps the most visible private Catholic charity in the United States, is based at conferences at the parish level. Although their thrift stores generate millions in revenue for charitable work — not counting clothing and goods given to the poor — fewer than one in ten of the more than 4,700 St. Vincent de Paul conferences nationwide operate stores. Rather, they are funded completely by parish collections and poor boxes. The society donated more than $573 million worth of goods and services to the poor in 2008. Despite this impres-

Vincentians grow in holiness while helping neighbors in need sive fact, Mike Syslo, associate executive director of the National Council of St. Vincent de Paul, explains that the society is primarily a spiritual organization, one that helps its members grow in holiness by giving them a way to reach out in charity to those in need.

A volunteer cuts strawberries at a Society of St. Vincent de Paul facility in Phoenix. “The actual act of giving a cup of soup to a hungry person may be the same, but the motivation and the dignity and respect with which it is given may be different,” explained Patricia Hvidston, senior vice-president of communications for CCUSA. “We are ‘Catholic Charities,’ not ‘charities for Catholics,’” Hvidston added. “We serve all people based on their human dignity, as the Church teaches. We are morally obliged to do so.” Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI made it clear in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), that the Church’s charitable work is not just another form of social assistance. Rather, “Those who work for the Church’s charitable organizations must be distinguished by the fact that they do not merely meet the needs of the moment, but they dedicate themselves to others with heartfelt concern, enabling them to experience the richness of their humanity.” For this reason, the pope said, “while professional competence is a primary, fundamental requirement, it is not of itself sufficient” (31). Religious orders perform many of the same charitable works that other Catholic organizations do, but they bring a special charism to their labors because of their religious vows and community life. Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Father Pio Maria Hoffmann lives next to the Padre Pio Shelter that he directs in the Bronx, N.Y. “The Church has a preferential option for the poor. Franciscans have a preferential option for being poor,” Father Hoffmann joked. “This shelter is much better than where I live. I sleep on a sleeping bag on the floor! When the men who come here realize that, you can see that it makes a difference to them.” 10 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


Unlike most charities, which are program-oriented, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul simply focuses on meeting the needs of each person. “Most organizations will typically have budgeted limits on what they can do. They are required by the federal government to treat all people the same way,” Syslo explained. “Within a private organization like St. Vincent de Paul, we can make decisions based on individual cases,” he continued. “That’s what we strive for — to adapt our charity to the needs of the individual. It’s part of our rule: No work of charity is foreign to the society.”

Father Richard Roemer, a fellow Franciscan who directs the St. Anthony Residence for Renewal across the street, agrees. “The guests form a little community over here. Our brotherhood as Franciscans is a foundation for their brotherhood at the shelter,” he said. “You learn the ropes of forgiveness and communication. Religious are called to be experts in communion.” EFFECTIVE SERVICE The Church’s structure, and the motivation of her work, is an efficient model to help those in need. Consider the fact that in the year ending October 2009, the Migrant and Refugee Services (MRS) of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will have resettled approximately 20,000 refugees, more than one-quarter of all who arrive, in addition to assisting foreign victims of human trafficking. Todd Scribner, educational outreach coordinator for MRS, notes that the Church is better organized to deal with nationwide problems than other agencies. “The Catholic Church has its mission and vision buttressed by its institutional structure — its parish system, its dioceses, its religious orders and non-profits,” he said. “Its institutional capacity is more diverse and broader than other resettlement agencies.” In fact, MRS not only resettles more refugees than any other organization — it resettles more refugees than any other country except Canada. Al Barber, director of Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, Conn., said that the Church also provides a good model for taxpayers. Though individual Catholic Charities act as the charitable arms of their dioceses, surprisingly, only 4 percent of their operating

PHOTOGRAPH: CNS photo/Theresa Laurence, Tennessee Register

A representative of Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services helps a new refugee from Cuba plant lettuce at a community garden at Holy Name Church in Nashville, Tenn. A refugee elder from Somalia (left) takes an active leadership role in the garden project, which aims to give refugees who are isolated from the community a space outside their home to call their own.

budgets, on average, comes from diocesan support. On the other hand, an average of 65 percent of the budget comes from government revenue. “We are a low-cost provider,” explained Barber, who is a member of Father John H. Stapleton Council 2287 in New Canaan. “We can deliver services more efficiently than other providers. People believe in what we are doing.” Kurt Bartley, director of Catholic Charities of Denver and a member of Ave Maria Council 7880 in Parker, Colo., likewise explained that charitable programs with high overhead are more easily handled by large institutions. “You need buildings for homeless shelters and teacher certifications for Head Start programs,” he said. Paperwork for government grants or corporate energy programs is less of a burden at the diocesan level than it would be for individual parishes. Catholic Charities of Denver, for instance, had the resources to build and open Samaritan House. Staffed by Capuchin friars, it is one of the first homeless shelters in the Rocky Mountains that is not just a converted warehouse, but rather was designed specifically as a shelter. Bartley noted that each person served there is “wrapped in Christ’s love.”

CENTER OF NECESSITY The Merton Center provides a wide range of social services Al Barber, director of Catholic Charities in Fairfield, Conn., considers the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport to be a showcase program. Located at the former site of St. Joseph Church, a Polish-German parish that closed 20 years ago, the campus now houses a soup kitchen, food pantry, family center, medical clinic and subsidized housing units for both individuals and families. There is even a fund to pay Catholic school tuition for some of the children served by the program. Guests to the soup kitchen eat surrounded by stained-glass windows in the former nave of the church. “They have a lot of respect for the building,” said Mark Grasso, director of the Merton Center. Despite all the social services offered by the Merton campus, it has a different philosophy than most service agencies. “Often, social service workers are locked into what a foundation or contract requires them to do,” Grasso explained. “They want to fix everybody. At the Merton Center, we operate with the Catholic Worker philosophy: We want to help everyone, but we serve people where they’re at.”


♦ C O L U M B I A ♦ 11

DR. ANDREW SICREE and his wife, REBECCA, write from Boalsburg, Pa., where they live with their 10 children. Dr. Sicree is a member of Father O’Hanlon Council 4678 in State College.

THE RESULTS ARE IN Knights of Columbus sets new records for financial contributions and volunteer service

St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Andover, Kan., gave $55,000 and provided volunteers to assist with construction of a home in Wichita, organized through Habitat for Humanity International.

ALL KINDS OF GOOD WORKS Some types of problems affect people who are not in one geographic place. Private Catholic charities specialize in helping people who have specific problems and are spread out across the country. For instance, the Calix Society helps recovering alcoholics renew their spiritual lives through the sacraments.The Coming Home Network (CHN) assists Protestant ministers and their families who risk their livelihoods by converting to Catholicism. Moreover, not all the charitable work in the Church is done by charitable organizations. Catholic schoolchildren collect items for Thanksgiving food drives; youth and young adult groups go on mission trips with Habitat for Humanity and volunteer with Special Olympics; and pro-life committees sponsor baby showers for young mothers who need assistance. Activities such as these are as much a part of the Church as its official charities. In addressing the world’s various needs, the Church practices the principle of subsidiarity, which states that communities of different sizes have different abilities and can solve different problems. In his recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), Pope Benedict explained that this “fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility.” He added, “Subsidiarity respects personal dignity by recognizing in the person a subject who is always capable of giving something to others” (57).The charitable work of the Church is itself a beautiful, living illustration of this principle.

Ron Charles (left) and Dan Hayes of Our Lady of the Hills Council 5959 in Martinsville, N.J., load donated food into a van for delivery to the Food Bank of Somerset County. Knights held an emergency food drive that collected more than 2,000 pounds of food to help restock the pantry after the economic downturn forced a sudden increase in demand. 12 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


As the largest Catholic fraternal service organization in the world, the Knights of Columbus has an unparalleled ability to organize and participate in charitable works. Last February, the Order hosted a summit on volunteerism in New York City, launching an initiative called the “Year of the Volunteer.” But for Knights at the grassroots level, every year is a year to give back to the communities where K of C units are present. On June 12, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson announced the results of the Order’s annual Survey of Fraternal Activity during a presentation to board members and state leaders in New Haven, Conn. Despite the worst economic downturn in decades, the Knights once again broke records for charitable and volunteer service. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2008, total charitable contributions reached $150,036,865 — exceeding the previous year’s total by more than $5.1 million. Knights also volunteered 68,783,653 hours of service — an increase of 87,885 hours compared to the 2007 total. During the past decade, the Order has donated more than $1.325 billion to charity and provided nearly 626 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable initiatives.

construction PhotograPh: cns/christopher M. riggs, Catholic Advance

The sheer size of the Catholic Church in the United States — more than 68 million Catholics or 22 percent of the population — and its hierarchical structure guarantee that no matter what the size or scope of a human problem, there is a part of the Church that is positioned to address it.♦


Making a difference Five steps to a better (eternal) life

PHOTOGRAPH: CNS photo/Mary Ann Wyand, The Criterion

by Father Larry Richards THERE ARE LITERALLY THOUSANDS of “self-help” books for us. If God is love, then his followers must be people of on the shelves, but almost none deal with the most important love. If you are married, I would encourage you to start by day of our lives: the day we die and stand before the God of writing a letter to each of your children and to your wife, the universe. What are you doing to prepare for that day? Are telling them you love them. Then decide to tell them that you living your life with your eyes focused on the goal of you love them every day. It won’t kill you — and it may eternal life, or are you just seeking the good life for now? give you a whole new perspective on life. I think the problem today is that most men are not taking 4. BE A MAN OF SERVICE. You should be able to say that you up the challenge to become the men performed at least one unselfish act that God created them to be. Are you each day. Too many men waste their a man or a spiritual wimp? To be a time focusing on themselves — man means that you have to stop concerned only about a big home, a being spiritually lazy and start living nice car and the latest gadgets. But your life for God and for others. Here the Lord tells us, “Whoever seeks to are five steps that will help you move keep his life will lose it, and whofrom spiritual wimpiness and put ever loses his life will preserve it” you on the road to eternal life. (Lk 17:33). Do you believe this? Remember that with each step, the Then live a life of service. You can Church can offer you the greatest never outgive God in generosity! help through Mass and the sacra5. CHANGE THE WORLD FOR CHRIST. ments. In fact, a great place to start When I was in the seminary, I comwould be to make a good sacramental plained to my spiritual director confession and then receive the Euabout how bad the world was. He charist. turned to me and said, “Larry, you 1. SURRENDER. Doesn’t sound very curse the darkness more than anymanly, does it? But surrendering to one I know. Why don’t you light a God may be the toughest thing you light and be different?” will ever do. Who is in control of I believe one of the questions that your life — is it you or is it God? I Jesus will ask when we stand before hope you know that being a Christian him on judgment day will be, Jeff Ellenberger of Greenfield, Ind., kisses his son “Where are your brothers and sisis not about doing nice things or just while his daughter kneels beside him during Mass ters?” What will be your answer? You living a moral life. It is about letting Christ live his life through you. This at Holy Spirit Church in Indianapolis. can bring others to Christ by praying only happens through daily surrender for them, by loving them and by to God. telling them about him. 2. PRAY DAILY. No excuses! When I preach men’s conferThese are five basic steps that will lead you to a better ences and hear confessions, I always ask: “Do you pray life — eternal life. The question is, will you implement every day?” The most common response is, “I try.” Then I these steps and be the man God created you to be? Jesus ask the penitents if they simply try to eat every day. Of and your family are counting on you.♦ course, they say that they always make time to eat. Gentlemen, praying is much more important than eating! Commit FATHER LARRY RICHARDS, a pastor in Erie, Pa., is a popular yourself to spending at least five minutes alone with God speaker and author. He is also a member of Francis V. every day. Never fit God into your day; instead, build your Kloecker Jr. Council 13602 in Erie and the founder of day around God. The Reason for Our Hope Foundation 3. BE A MAN OF LOVE. I’m not talking about mushy movieWWW .REASONFOROURHOPE.ORG screen love, but the kind of love that took Jesus to the cross FIND ADDITIONAL ARTICLES AND RESOURCES FOR CATHOLIC MEN AND THEIR FAMILIES AT WWW. FATHERSFORGOOD. ORG .


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Catholic health care: A vocation of love A frontrunner in the advancement of health care, the Catholic Church participates in Christ’s healing ministry by Amber Dolle hat began as a dangerous voyage across the ocean to a foreign land laid

PHOTOGRAPH: Courtesy of archives of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul, Minn.

Wthe foundation for a thriving health care system that today serves the U.S. population with compassionate care. On Aug. 7, 1727, twelve Ursuline Sisters set sail from their cloistered convent in France to New Orleans. After overcoming many difficulties, the sisters opened Charity Hospital, the first privately owned Catholic hospital in what would become the United States. Thus began the tradition of Catholic health care in America, which has since devoted itself to helping those most in need. The Catholic Church, by its nature, has a deep awareness of what it means to serve one’s neighbor. This understanding is manifested eloquently in the Church’s teaching on the works of mercy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines these as “charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities” (2447). Guided by this mandate, the Church has dedicated herself to the healing mission of Jesus Christ through word and deed. Much has changed since the Ursuline Sisters took their maiden voyage in 1727. Today, there are approximately 60 Catholic health care systems throughout the United States, including more than 600 Catholic hospitals. Together, they serve some 90 million patients each year. According to the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHAUSA), one in six patients is cared for in a Catholic hospital, and Catholic facilities account for more than 20 percent of admissions in about 20 states across the country. Furthermore, Catholic hospitals and practitioners regularly care for individuals that have nowhere else to turn. The Catholic Church views health care as a basic human right and, from its introduction into American culture, has consistently protected that right.

The operating room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., is seen in this 1906 photo. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet established the hospital on the banks of the Mississippi River in 1853 in response to a cholera epidemic. AUGUST 2009

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A brief history of Catholic Health Care in the United States

Since the 18th century, religious communities and other Catholic institutions have been instrumental in the development of the U.S. health care system. By 1872, there were 75 hospitals operated by the Catholic Church in the United States; within 50 years that number grew by more than five-fold. Today, there are more than 600 Catholic hospitals and nearly 1,500 Catholic long-term care ministries across the country. 1727 – Ursuline Sisters arrive in New Orleans. A year later, they founded the first Catholic hospital in the United States. 1842 – Sisters for the Holy Family, a religious community for women of

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color, is founded. The sisters establish Lafon Asylum of the Holy Family, the first Catholic long-term care facility in the United States. 1847 – The Sisters of Mercy open the world’s first Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh. 1861 – President Abraham Lincoln charters Providence Hospital, operated by the Daughters of Charity in Washington, D.C. 1886 – First Catholic nursing school in the United States opens at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Springfield, Ill. 1900 – St. Rose’s Free Home for Incurable Cancer, the first U.S. hospice, is founded in New York by the

Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of St. Rose of Lima. 1915 – Catholic Hospital Association is founded. Its name is later changed to the Catholic Health Care Association of the United States in 1977. 1933 – St. Mary’s Infirmary in St. Louis is dedicated as a hospital for African Americans, becoming the first in the area to accept black patients. St. Mary’s Infirmary School of Nursing for Negroes opens the same year. 1939 – Alcoholics Anonymous is cofounded by Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin, C.S.A., at St. Thomas hospital in Akron, Ohio. Adapted from Catholic Health Care Association of the United States,

A nurse attends to a child at Provena St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, Ill. The hospital is part of a Catholic health system sponsored by Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

PHOTOGRAPH: Courtesy of the Catholic Health Association of the United States

AT THE FOREFRONT OF HEALTH CARE EXPANSION The Catholic Church has been a driving force behind the spread of heath care in the United States. Beginning with Charity Hospital in New Orleans, religious orders paved the way for other medical institutions. “As this country was beginning, there was a great need for health care — especially from the immigrant community — and the Church responded to that need,” said Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of CHAUSA. “Religious sisters were on the front lines of this response, caring for the individual’s medical, emotional and spiritual needs.” The Church was soon in the midst of a rapidly growing mission field. By 1920, there were 412 Catholic hospitals in the United States and Canada, with this number growing to include medical training centers. “It became very clear that the Church should expand beyond simply helping a neighbor who was sick,” said Sister Keehan. “The Church’s role in health care is important to the integrity of her core teachings.” Among some of the religious orders that were instrumental in ushering Catholic health care into the United States were the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of St. Joseph. These women, along with Catholic clergy and laypeople, were essential in nursing the country through wars, epidemics and the racial segregation of hospitals. “The manner in which the Catholic hospitals cared for patients was unique,” Sister Keehan added. “This loving approach of attending to the patient’s body and soul has defined Catholic health care throughout history.” TENDING TO BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT Today, Catholic hospitals and physicians are set apart by the rich tradition established early on. “In addition to being shaped by our distinctive beliefs in the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Eucharist, Catholic hospitals, physicians and other health care providers benefit from the traditionally strong organizational nature of the Church,” said Dr. John Brehany, executive director and ethicist of the Catholic Medical Association and a member of Blessed Sacrament/Msgr. Newman Council 11038 in Sioux City, Iowa. “This continues to make possible a stable, comprehensive witness to Catholic values in medicine.” Catholic facilities currently offer services that range from assisted living, home health and hospice ministries, to acute care, advanced treatments and surgeries. But top quality care is not the only goal of the Catholic system. “In addition to following basic ethical teachings, and offering competent health care, Catholic physicians are called to embody the merciful, healing grace of the Gospel in their interactions with

A CHANGE OF PRACTICE One physician gave up a profession to embrace a vocation Dr. Tim Field, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Bryan, Texas, has experienced true transformation through his profession. After running a successful practice for more than 25 years, Field made the decision to stop prescribing birth control — a courageous move in today’s pro-contraception society. He left his practice in East Texas and moved to Bryan to focus on natural family planning (NFP) services. Working with the St. Joseph Regional Health Center, Field, who is a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Council 11530 in Jacksonville, now offers complete OB/GYN care, as well as rural health care services throughout the region. “It has been an amazing — but not always easy — journey,” said Field. “My children had a tremendous impact on my decision to change my practice. Witnessing their fidelity to the Church’s teachings made me stop and think. It was time for me to fully embrace my Catholic faith in my professional life.” Under the guidance of Dr. Thomas Hilgers at Creighton University in Nebraska, Field has been certified to teach the Creighton Model of natural family planning. Hilgers, who is director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and a member of St. John Vianney Council 7740 in Omaha, has spent more than 30 years researching natural fertility regulation and reproductive medicine. “In medicine, we should always strive to seek what is best for the patient,” explained Field. “And as Catholics, we should strive to live out our faith in all aspects of our lives. Understanding this truth has helped me to embrace my profession as more than a job, but as a vocation. “It is easy to get caught up in the scientific advances, but we must remain tied to our spiritual roots,” he continued. “Catholic hospitals and practitioners have an opportunity to serve as beacons of hope and change.”

Dr. Tim Field, seen with his grandchildren Bailey, Seamus and Bridget, was inspired to change his approach to medicine.


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A statue of St. Catherine of Siena stands at the entrance to the medical center that bears her name in Smithtown, N.Y. The not-for-profit hospital and care center is operated by Catholic Health Services of Long Island.

A HISTORIC IMPACT ON MEDICINE While the beginnings of Catholic health care in the United States date back to the early 1700s, the Church was making an impact on the medical community much earlier. Throughout the Roman Empire, many turned to religious communities for medical care. In the third century, Sts. Cosmas and Damian, twin brothers, studied medicine in the region of Syria and cared for the sick, never taking money for their services.These holy men, who later died as martyrs, today serve as the patron saints of medical professionals. As the Church grew in number and organization, so too did her practice of

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AMBER DOLLE is a freelance writer from McKinney, Texas.

Catholics have long been pioneers in health care worldwide

charity. Where plagues, wars and natural disasters paralyzed society, religious communities assumed their role as caregivers by creating hostels to take in the sick and needy. By the turn of the first millennium, abbeys and monasteries throughout the world were serving as hospitals. It is believed that the first Catholic hospital in the Americas was Hospital San Nicolas in the Dominican Republic, built in 1503. The Hotel-Dieu de Quebec, erected in 1639 and run by the Augustinian religious order, was the first hospital in present-day Canada. While religious orders have contributed tremendously to the spread of

health care worldwide, there are countless individual Catholics who have made an indelible mark on the world of medicine. Among them are French chemist Louis Pasteur, the well-known Catholic who made discoveries in disease prevention through his study of bacteria in the 1800s. More recent examples include Jerome Jean Louis Marie Lejeune (1926-1994), a French pediatrician and geneticist who was pivotal in the study of prenatal care. Lejeune, a close friend of Pope John Paul II, is credited with discovering the link between diseases and chromosomal abnormalities, among other breakthroughs.

PHOTOGRAPH: CNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic

patients, colleagues and the public,” said Brehany. The definition of a “Catholic doctor” includes a strong adherence to Church teachings in the matter of morals and ethics. For this reason, conscience protection efforts for health care workers are vitally important in the ever-changing world of medicine. “As Catholic physicians, we should seek truth in all that we do,” said Dr. Joseph Garcia-Prats, professor and practicing neonatologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “[Conscience protection clauses] allow practitioners — not just Catholics — to uphold a Christ-like approach in our work and recognize that every human life is valued.” As times change, so do the challenges. Despite the dynamic shifts society has undergone throughout history, the Church’s response remains constant. She has continually stood at the vanguard of caring for the sick and needy worldwide. “As Catholic health care workers, we must always adhere to the Gospel mandate to serve the least of his people,” explained Sister Keehan. “When we do, we are truly serving Christ.”♦


In Service to One, in Service to All Father McGivney and the call to help those in need by Dominican Father Peter John Cameron IN 1880, THE N E W H AV E N E V E N I N G R E G I S T E R ran a niary assistance to the families of deceased members.” story that read, “In New Haven today, there are not a few Some individuals were more personally affected by Father children of Irish birth who need help, moral as well as McGivney’s actions. Alfred Downes, for example, was a physical help. Hundreds of Irish youth of both sexes are teenager whose father left several children and no money growing up in our midst, in abject poverty, in filth, after his death. According to the law of the time, when a wretchedness, and crime for want of help and sympathy.” family had no source of income, the probate court assumed One wonders if this article was read by the young curate the right to assign the family’s children to public instituof St. Mary’s Church, Father Michael J. McGivney, who tions. That would have been Downes’ fate on Feb. 6, 1882, founded the Knights of Columbus in the basement of that unless someone volunteered to serve as the 19-year-old’s church just two years later. guardian. Father McGivney did just that. Father McGivney possessed a keen sensitivity to the world To Father McGivney’s mind, there was no reason why the around him; he recognized what was needed and how to full force of faith could not compel the everyday life of the respond. And the need for such “help and sympathy” was American Catholic layperson. As a spiritual father, he generdire. New Haven, an inated in others the condustrial capital, harviction that Catholic bored 216 factories citizenship should bewhere nearly 5,000 come the standard of men and 3,000 women civic solidarity, social labored and faced brutal service and societal and dangerous condistrength. tions. Crippling acciAll of this is dents and work-related summed up in the deaths occurred on a words of a testimony daily basis. given at the first meFather McGivney’s morial service for Fafaith told him that such ther McGivney in conditions demanded 1890: “He was a man concrete, compassionate of the people. He was action. “Man’s vocation zealous of the peoto eternal life,” the Catple’s welfare, and all FOUNDING VISION: Father Michael J. McGivney and the Knights of Columbus, echism of the Catholic the kindliness of his by Antonella Cappuccio (Knights of Columbus Museum) Church teaches, “does priestly soul asserted not suppress, but actuitself more strongly in ally reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the his unceasing efforts for the betterment of their condition.” energies and means received from the Creator to serve jusIn this Year for Priests, we thank the Lord that we have tice and peace” (2820). Father McGivney modeled this vo- come to know Father McGivney and we pray that all God’s cation to the world. holy priests will be blessed to share in the increasingly cruIn October 1882, Father McGivney read a well-publicized cial charism of this Venerable Servant of God.♦ report by a Yale professor that stated: “In New Haven you will find many widows with from three to nine children each, who are struggling along in the hopeless endeavor to DOMINICAN FATHER PETER JOHN CAMERON is editor-in-chief of properly support themselves and their families.” That is, MAGNIFICAT, director of preaching for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph they were “hopeless” until they met Father McGivney, who and author of Jesus, Present Before Me: Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration said he founded the Knights to “aid each other in time of (Servant, 2008). He is a member of St. Thomas More Council 13500 sickness; to provide for decent burial, and to render pecu- in New Haven, Conn. O B S E RV E T H E Y E A R F O R P R I E S T S W I T H A S P E C I A L P R AY E R C A R D AVA I L A B L E AT W W W. KO F C . O RG / Y E A R F O R P R I E S T S




Global Charity Catholic organizations play a major role in humanitarian efforts worldwide

or Catholics, the commandment to love one’s neighbor ex-

Ftends far beyond their immediate surroundings. Throughout

the world, Catholic organizations have a long history of showing God’s love to millions faced with injustice, poverty, hunger and other forms of human suffering. One of the first such relief organizations, Caritas, was founded in Germany in 1897. Similar groups began springing up in other countries, leading to the creation of Caritas Internationalis, a network of 162 national members. Caritas today is made up of 440,000 employees and 625,000 volunteers serving 24 million people in more than 200 countries. One of the most well-known members of Caritas Internationalis is Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official humanitarian aid organization of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Founded in 1943 to assist European refugees after World War II, CRS has evolved into an organization that serves the poorest of the poor in areas of health care, education, agriculture and peacebuilding. Headquartered in Baltimore, CRS operates local offices in countries around the world and partners with local agencies — both Catholic and non-Catholic. The organization provided $488 million in aid to more than 100 million people worldwide in 2008 alone. According to CRS president Ken Hackett, the organization’s work is a manifestation of the Church’s social teaching. “We have taken the elements of Catholic social teaching — promotion of the common good, preferential option for the poor, solidarity — and tried to find in a very conscious way how they play out in terms of what we do in countries

A young girl is pictured in the Diocese of Pondicherry, India, during a distribution of food and other items that was sponsored by Catholic Relief Services. The diocese, located on the country’s southeast coast, was hit hard by a tsunami in 2003. 20 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


around the world,” he said. Additional Church organizations, including the London-based Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, share in the common mission of addressing the broad needs of the poor and marginalized. Others are more focused in their efforts, such as the Catholic Medical Mission Board, which provides medical supplies


by Scott Alessi

and healthcare programs in 40 countries, and the International Catholic Migration Commission, which works toward refugee resettlement and combats human trafficking. LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY While immediate relief in the case of natural disasters or food shortages are part of the work of humanitarian organizations, many of their projects are geared toward providing long-term solutions to ongoing problems. For example, in the war-torn country of East Timor in Southeast Asia, CRS works with Caritas agencies and local diocesan groups to bring peace to what has been termed a “culture of violence.” Catholic organizations have been instrumental in opening dialogue between opposing sides in the conflict. They have placed a particular emphasis on working with young people to move toward a more positive future. “We are trying to address [youth] first and get them engaged in constructive activities, hopefully before they get engaged in a lot of this violence that the older youths and young adults are in-

volved in,” said Jason Belanger, CRS country representative for East Timor. “These are very much long-term initiatives and this is a commitment to the future of this country.” CRS has also played a large role in turning around the lives of families in poverty-filled rural areas of southern Egypt. Through a microfinancing program for women, many have been able to help support their families by starting their own businesses. According to Laura Sheahen, CRS information officer for Europe and the Middle East, it only takes a few small loans for women to begin a chicken farm, open a food stand or sell homemade handicrafts, which in turn improves their overall quality of living. “It really helps people lay a financial foundation for their lives so they’re not living completely hand to mouth and they’re not as afraid of the future,” Sheahen said. SMALL-SCALE EFFORTS The Church’s involvement in international aid doesn’t necessarily require a large, multinational organization to carry out works of charity. Parish and diocesan programs are often just as effective in changing lives. St. John Vianney Parish in Prince Frederick, Md., has developed a relationship with three parishes in the Diocese of Huejutla, Mexico, where they have assisted in the building of two chapels, distributed clothing and purchased school supplies for children. The parish has also helped to construct community wells in Cameroon, West Africa, and is working toward building 18 houses for people in San Juan Limay, Nicaragua. The local Catholic Charities office in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., has established a Solidarity Team comprised entirely of volunteers who have made trips to the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Guatemala, and the Diocese of Thanjavur, India. In the past five years, the team has delivered medical care to local residents in Santa Rosa and brought running water to two small villages. In India, what began as a rebuilding effort following a 2004 tsunami has led to a strong partnership between the two dioceses. “We feel that the Catholic Charities Solidarity Team bridges that very wide gap between being a donor or supporter in the United States and a field staff member overseas,” said Father Joseph J. Kerrigan, director of the team. “We’re involved in projects, we travel and we’re in an ongoing relationship with the key players in the host country. We’ve tried to miniaturize the principles of Catholic Relief Services to fit our group of volunteers.”♦

SCOTT ALESSI writes from New Jersey.


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PHOTOGRAPH: CNS photo/courtesy of Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Research Center

America’s Catholic education Through the centuries, the Church has promoted the cultivation of knowledge and faith by Joseph O’Brien t could be said that the Catholic Church invented education — at least as we know it today. No other institution in the world has had such a historical impact on the elementary, secondary and higher education systems. In the 12th century, the high-water mark of the Middle Ages, a particular kind of institution began appearing in places like Oxford, Paris and Bologna. According to Thomas E. Woods Jr., author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Regnery, 2005), secular learning as we know it today would not be possible without this medieval invention — the university. “The university was an utterly new phenomenon in European history,” Woods writes. “Nothing like it had existed in ancient Greece or Rome.” From the structure of courses, examinations and degrees, the Western world soon became engaged in the great formal pursuit of knowledge as a means to better understand human nature, the natural world and the Catholic faith. As Catholics came to the New World, they brought this same mindset with them. While grammar and secondary schools were already well established, Catholic educators proved the form could be adapted to accommodate those students who wished to be good citizens in both this world and the next.



THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM The desire to seek knowledge and truth led to the establishment of Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Many of the first Catholic immigrants seeking to be educated were accompanied by memContinued on page 26.

Left: Teenage girls at St. John Villa Academy Catholic School in Staten Island, N.Y., ca. 1960s. Above: Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore (1735-1815) is seen in a painting by Gilbert Stuart. Archbishop Carroll was the first bishop for the United States and instrumental in establishing the nation’s Catholic educational system. AUGUST 2009

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PHOTOGRAPH: CNS photo by Nancy Wiechec

Above: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is shown in a window at a chapel in Emmitsburg, Md. A pioneer in Catholic education, Seton became the first native-born U.S. citizen to become a saint when she was canonized in 1975. Left: A student teacher in the University Consortium for Catholic Education program assists one of his students.

EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH. National program instills sense of vocation and serves the underserved in Catholic education Realizing the importance of Catholic education in the United States, the academic community has built a bridge between higher education and the school systems from which many of their own future graduates will come. Since 2002, the University Consortium for Catholic Education (UCCE) has been helping students realize their potential by supplying Catholic schoolteachers where they’re needed most. According to UCCE chairperson Joyce Johnstone, the UCCE finds its roots in Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Educators (ACE). This group formed in 1994 to ensure that underserved Catholic schools — mostly in impoverished areas of the United States — had a supply of Catholic fac-

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ulty. Soon after, Boston College, University of Dayton, Ohio, and University of Portland, Ore. — all Catholic institutions — began similar programs. Johnstone, who is also the director of educational outreach for ACE, said that with the help of federal and private grants, the UCCE has drawn together these programs, along with 11 others. Each program sends its students out for two years of service to underserved schools in North and South America. Unlike the usual student-teaching experience, UCCE participants live in community, usually four to six participants in housing provided by the host diocese. The teachers live a simple life

with a steady regimen of prayer, borrowing heavily from the traditions of religious orders. They receive an average $1,000 monthly stipend (plus free housing), which is used to defray tuition and other costs. Although the consortium is only seven years old, it already has an excellent record of success among its students, including more than 1,800 graduates. “One of the indicators we’ve looked at is completion rates among our students,” Johnstone explained, adding that 95 percent of UCCE’s participants remain teaching in their designated school for the two years of the program. Of those, more than 80 percent continue as teachers in Catholic schools.

THE FIGHT FOR SCHOOL CHOICE We must work to uphold the rights of parents who want Catholic education for their children Enrollment in Catholic schools nationwide has steadily dropped by more than half since its peak 40 years ago. For some time now, Catholic schools have faced serious financial pressures caused by various factors — the movement of many Catholics from larger cities to suburban areas where there are no Catholic schools; the shift in staffing from faculties made up mostly of religious to an almost entirely lay staff; the decreasing ability of parishes to provide financial support to their schools; and rising tuition costs. In many cases, recent sharp decreases in enrollment are attributable to the downturn in the economy, which has further affected parents’ ability to pay tuition and parishes’ ability to provide support. In response to these pressures, parishes and dioceses have in recent years responded with great energy in a variety of ways. Development programs have become broadly understood as involving not just fundraising but also the clarification of identity and mission, strengthening of academic programs, expanded recruitment efforts, and long-term financial planning. As worthwhile and successful as these efforts may be, there has often been a glaring omission: the matter of government aid to parents. Every increase in tuition and every drop in enrollment forces more parents to relinquish their choice of Catholic education. Of course, forms of government assistance have been in place in some states for a number of years. These include busing, textbook loans, state tax credits, and some limited forms of vouchers and health services. All of these efforts are laudable, but limited compared to more substantial and equitable forms of assistance for parents, such as federal tax credits and especially vouchers covering a significant percentage of tuition costs. Why should this be? The millions of parents whose children attend Catholic and other nonpublic schools could become a potent political force. Constitutional objections can be met, especially if the focus is kept on assisting parents and not the schools directly. In the 1925 case Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned an Oregon law that would have required all children to attend public schools. That ringing affirmation of the rights of parents in education was a landmark. However, little action has been taken to make the exercise of those rights possible for parents, who have to assume almost all the costs of a nonpublic education. For millions of parents the exercise of these rights has proved impossible. In effect, they have been, and are now being, forced to send their children to public schools — the very thing that the Pierce decision intended to prevent. More than 30 years ago there was a national campaign to obtain federal tuition tax credits for the parents of nonpublic school students. It was a well-organized, broadly based effort led by a coalition representing most nonpublic schools across

the country. However, the coalition ended its campaign when it failed to get the proposed legislation approved by Congress. This left only state- and local-based efforts for public assistance. Some felt it was impossible to overcome opposition to the federal tax credits, and there was no long-term effort to organize and sustain advocacy over years. By comparison, the passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s was the result of a well-organized and persistent effort to educate the public and to make legal challenges in the face of disappointments and defeats. There are many who claim that financial assistance to parents cannot be considered in times of such economic pressure. Yet, according to figures released in January by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), Catholic schools alone save the nation $19.1 billion annually, just in operational costs. In reality, the closing of these schools and the transfer of their students to public schools would greatly increase the cost of education for state and local governments. In any case, the effective recognition of parental rights should outweigh financial objections. In addition to financial concerns, the closing of Catholic schools would cost the public far more in terms of the education they provide to thousands of students. The success of Catholic schools has frequently been shown by standardized test results, formal reports and research studies. Catholic and other nonpublic schools have made enormous contributions to the well being of countless individuals and to society as a whole. Moreover, Catholic schools serve as outstanding communities that facilitate the moral and personal development of young people. Integrating faith with learning and moral values, Catholic schools retain an emphasis on personal responsibility, character formation and a sound academic program that features high achievement and low dropout rates. Still, unlike other Western nations, the United States does not provide substantial help to parents in the choice of schools. In recent times, popes and bishops have repeatedly emphasized the importance of Catholic schools as our most effective educational instrument. Ultimately, it is a matter of saving an immensely valuable educational and moral force, and obtaining justice for parents. It is a struggle whose outcome depends especially on the millions of parents now deprived of equitable treatment in public policy. How then will we respond to this crisis? Will we limit our efforts to pursuing good but limited forms of assistance? Or will we fight for the rights of parents as the primary educators of their children?

FATHER JAMES G. FANELLI is a former superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn. Now retired, he resides in Bloomfield and is a member of St. Christopher Council 4 in East Hartford.


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bers of various religious orders — the Jesuits, the Sisters of Mercy, the Dominicans, the Franciscans and the Christian Brothers, to name a few. There were also homegrown Catholic educators, such as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) and Archbishop John Carroll (1735-1815), both of whom were instrumental in establishing the country’s Catholic school system. According to Thomas Hunt, a historian of education and professor at the University of Dayton, Ohio, the Catholic school system in the United States was nothing short of miraculous in its success. The people who contributed to early education in the United States were those “who didn’t have a lot of money, and yet they supported the schools and dedicated their entire lives to working on a voluntary basis,” Hunt explained. Today, Catholic schools at all levels of learning have weathered some tough times — buffeted by cultural, economic and even spiritual challenges. Nonetheless, these same institutions continue to serve new generations of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. During the 2008-09 academic year, there were 7,248 Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the United States with a total of 157,615 professional staff members. Roughly 2.2 million students were taught at these schools; about 15 percent were non-Catholic and 29 percent were minorities. “Catholic schools historically protected the faith of a besieged immigrant population,” said Hunt. “That’s not the case anymore, but many are evangelizing and serving as witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in inner cities. The social justice thrust of the schools hasn’t been lost, but it has changed.” BUILDING COMMUNITIES “A Catholic school has an opportunity to be a real community,” said Karen Ristau, president of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). “Parents selected this mode of

TIMELINE 1606 – Spanish Franciscans open the first Catholic School in St. Augustine, Fla., “to teach children Christian doctrine, reading and writing.” 1634 – English Jesuit missionaries found the Maryland Province and soon establish their first school at Calverton Manor. Although Calverton is eventually forced to close, it paves the way for the first Catholic university in America — Georgetown University — to open in 1789. 1718 – Franciscans open a school for boys when French settlers establish the city of New Orleans. The Ursuline Sisters open a girls’ school there nine years later. 26 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


education for their children. They made a conscious decision that this Catholic school is the place where they want their kids to receive their education.” In fact, the decision to send children to Catholic school is rooted in the Church’s recognition of parents’ rights and responsibilities, as stated in canon law (703): “Catholic parents have the duty and right of choosing those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of their children.” Despite the hard times that Catholic schools have faced in recent years — school closings and economic pressure to send one’s children to public school — Catholic schools are building strong communities both inside and outside the classroom. According Father Sal Pilato, superintendent of secondary schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and a member of Hollywood Council 2406 in Los Angeles, Catholic education is in the midst of a sort of renaissance. A recent study conducted by Loyola Marymount University’s (LMU) School of Education shows that the city’s urban Catholic schools are meeting challenges head-on. Released in May 2008, the study indicates that underprivileged students are succeeding in schools that receive funding from the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF), which provided approximately $80 million to 88,000 students between 1987 and 2007. Shane Martin, dean of LMU’s School of Education and one of the study’s co-authors, believes the commitment among Catholic teachers and administrators to focus on the individual student establishes important relationships. He further argues that Catholic schools are better equipped to address the negative effect of inner-city culture and poverty by presenting a cultural counterbalance. “The religious identity of the school works not just for Catholic students but also for students of other faiths who at-

A history of Catholic education in America 1749 – Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra (beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988) begins to establish a mission system in modern-day California, a substantial part of which includes educating Native Americans. 1782 – St. Mary’s School, considered the first parochial school in the United States, opens in Philadelphia 1792 – Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States, issues a pastoral letter about Catholic education. 1809 – With the aid of now-Archbishop Carroll, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton founds the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, the first native religious order

in the United States, and begins to establish the Catholic parochial school system. In 1975, Mother Seton became the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized. 1829 – The First Provincial Council of Baltimore reminds parents of their duty as primary educators of their children, especially in matters of the faith. 1831 – Elizabeth Lange becomes Mother Mary Elizabeth as head and founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. The granddaughter of a Haitian plantation owner, Lange establishes the order to educate African Americans at a time when slavery is still a way of life in the South.


tend Catholic schools and actively participate in the rituals and traditions of a Catholic school,” Martin explained. “It has a powerful way to bring a community together.” Combined with a commitment to academic excellence, this positive environment has astounding results. The NCEA reports that Catholic schools in general do substantially better than their public counterparts, noting that 99 percent of Catholic secondary students graduate and more than four out of five go to college. A HIGHER CALLING Ultimately, the success of Catholic education is not measured in standardized tests and academic statistics, but in its ability to

1834 – With an increase in Catholic immigrants to the United States (almost 2.5 million from 1821-1850), the Know-Nothing Party leads antiCatholic mobs against Catholic institutions. 1852 – At the First Plenary Council of Baltimore, U.S. bishops adopt the preference of Catholic education as official policy, directing every able parish in the nation to open a Catholic school. 1875 – The Vatican’s Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith issues an instruction to U.S. bishops on the importance of Catholic education. 1885 – Pope Leo XIII issues his encyclical Immortale Dei in which he defin-

Left: Vincentian Father David M. O’Connell, president of The Catholic University of America, greets Pope Benedict XVI upon his arrival to the campus in Washington for a meeting with Catholic educators, April 17, 2008. Top: Elementary school students from St. Raphael Catholic School in Rockville, Md., wait for Pope Benedict to drive by along a Washington street. Above: Graduating seniors from Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, Utah, stand outside of Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine.

itively reaffirms that the rights of the Church surpass those of the state, thus lending further papal approval to the Catholic school system. 1887 – U.S. bishops establish The Catholic University of America with the approval of Leo XIII. Independent of any religious order, the school is the only university of its kind in the country. 1893 – After much contention about whether Catholics can attend public schools, Leo XIII writes a letter to Cardinal James Gibbons granting individual bishops the right to decide when public school attendance is prudent.

1906 – The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is formed to give Catholic educators an opportunity to further improve Catholic education. 1925 – The U.S. Supreme Court decision Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary overturns an Oregon law that required mandatory attendance at state public schools. It thus establishes the rights of parents to determine their children’s education. 1965 – In its concluding year, the Second Vatican Council issues its document on education, Gravissimum Educationis. Sources: NCEA, Thomas Hunt


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J OSEPH O’BRIEN is a freelance writer who lives on a rural homestead in Soldiers Grove, Wis. He is a member of St. James the Greater Council 12606 in Gays Mill.

Students from a Diocese of Memphis Jubilee School play during recess.

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A JUBILEE CELEBRATION OF EDUCATION How Catholic education was rejuvenated in the Diocese of Memphis The Jubilee Schools program of the Diocese of Memphis, Tenn., is demonstrating that the future of Catholic education remains a promising venture for the Church in the United States. A Catholic educator for more than 40 years, Mary C. McDonald was chosen in 1998 by Bishop J. Terry Steib of Memphis to serve as superintendent of schools. At the time, according to McDonald, the Diocese of Memphis had only 15 Catholic schools in operation. The same number of schools had already closed and more were in danger of closing within a year. These difficulties were compounded by other factors: The diocese had no money to alleviate the situation, and Bishop Steib wanted to enlarge the diocese’s commitment to Catholic education to include all children in Memphis — Catholic and non-Catholic alike. While McDonald did not know it at the time, Bishop Steib’s decision to broaden the mandate of Catholic education would eventually attract some of the city’s wealthiest business leaders and philanthropists. In May 1999, McDonald received a phone call: A group of anonymous donors were going to donate “in excess of $15 million” in seed money to help reopen schools to benefit the poor children of Memphis. In July of the same year, the Diocese of Memphis announced that it was reopening its first school in the Jubilee Schools program. Aside from funding, McDonald said that the diocese also attracted religious orders to the area to help staff the schools, including the De La Salle Christian Brothers and the Sisters of the Holy Family. Since then, seven other Jubilee Schools have reopened, and two schools at risk of closing were saved through the program. In addition, the Jubilee Schools have had a “trickle-up” effect on the diocese’s three Catholic high schools. Ninety-nine percent of Memphis Catholic high school students graduate — which translates into a virtual zero percent drop-out rate — and 95 percent continue their education into college.

PHOTOGRAPH: Courtesy Diocese of Memphis

integrate faith and intellectual formation. In this context, Pope John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae (“From the Heart of the Church”) discussed the responsibility of Catholic universities to make institutional commitments to the pursuit of truth and to authentic Catholic teaching. Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Catholic educators on April 17, 2008, at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., likewise reflected the Church’s desire to see that her schools at all levels maintain a strong Catholic identity. “Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice,” the pope said. “This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church’s Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution’s life, both inside and outside the classroom.” Father David M. O’Connell, president of CUA, is thankful the pope reaffirmed the need for Catholic educators to constantly renew their mission to teach the faith in all its facets. “Catholic identity marks our Catholic schools and makes a distinct contribution to the process of learning by harmonizing life, culture and faith,” said Father O’Connell. Catholic schools are called to “impart a unique vision of faith that enables students to seek the truth…about God, nature and the human person. Catholic education, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, is ‘integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News.’”♦


The Battle for Liberty The Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Church in America have fought tirelessly for religious freedom by Andrew Walther LIBERTY TODAY is often taken for granted in the United States, where Americans enjoy freedom of speech, press and religion. Yet, historically the Catholic Church in this country has fought an ongoing battle to secure religious liberty and civil rights. Intertwined with this fight for liberty has been the Knights of Columbus, which was established barely 100 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Together, Knights and other Catholics have faced off against anti-Catholic sentiment from ignoble and xenophobic groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Nativists such as the Know-Nothings, and eugenicists. A few general examples make this clear. New York’s 1777 state constitution, written by John Jay, the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, explicitly forbade citizenship for Catholic immigrants who did not renounce the pope. Seven decades later, in 1855, the Putnam Bill in New York forced members of the clergy to cede their rights in the management of their parishes.

Despite prominent Catholic patriots, including Bishop John Carroll, who served as an American delegate to Canada during the Revolutionary War, the Catholic Church has often struggled for acceptance. In fact, the name “Columbus” was chosen for the K of C because Christopher Columbus was the only well-known and lionized Catholic figure from American history at the time the Order was founded in 1882.

From left: Luke E. Hart, Martin Carmody and then-Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty meet with President Calvin Coolidge and others to discuss the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico in 1926. Hart and Carmody each served as supreme knight in the decades that followed.


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doctors could practice. This venture, St. Raphael Hospital, ANTI-CATHOLIC BIGOTRY A combination of massive Catholic immigration and high- drew the support of the entire Catholic community, with profile patriotic and social service initiatives, including the area parishioners providing financial support. Just as Catholic hospitals were meeting the needs of the Knights of Columbus Army Hut program during World War I, helped change the negative view that many had of the marginalized and the poor, Catholic educators were breaking new ground in protecting religious liberty as well. Church. In 1922, the future of Catholic education faced uncerNonetheless, hostility continued. When Alfred E. Smith, a Catholic and a Knight, ran for president in 1928, he faced tainty when an Oregon referendum threatened to outlaw the burning crosses of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) simply be- parochial schools. The measure passed with strong support from the KKK. cause of his faith. Later, However, the Catholics in 1960, John F. of Oregon weren’t so easKennedy, who was also ily bullied, and the Sisters a Knight, had to defend of the Holy Names of his religious beliefs Jesus and Mary — who against those who had been teaching in Orethought they made him gon since it became a state ill suited to be presiin 1859 — filed a lawsuit dent. Kennedy’s elecwith help from the Archtion in many ways put diocese of Portland. Archthe “Catholic issue” to bishop Alexander Christie rest, and today Ameriof Portland appealed to cans find it unremarkthe Knights for help. With able that Catholics serve financial support from the in every branch and at Order, the sisters took every level of our govtheir case all the way to ernment. the U.S. Supreme Court, If the obstacles faced which ruled unanimously by Catholics in the in their favor on June 1, United States have been 1925. great at times, the Pierce v. Society of Sisters Catholic contribution has was one of the most vital been even greater. The court decisions for U.S. Church’s battle against Catholics, since the Oreprejudice is an often ungon referendum was not sung — if important — an isolated incident. In part of U.S. history, and it New York, the discriminais clear that courageous tory hiring of teachers in Catholics laid the founpublic schools was not redation for the rights that solved until 1918, after we cannot imagine livAl Smith, a Catholic and Knight, waves during a train trip to the Knights of Columbus ing without today. promote his campaign for the presidency, ca. 1928. His campaign brought the issue to the For example, it is state legislature. The redifficult to envision a met fierce opposition from the Ku Klux Klan and similar groups sulting law went beyond time when American because of his faith. outlawing anti-Catholic Catholic and Jewish bigotry — it forbade disdoctors were not allowed to practice medicine. Yet, this situation was a reality crimination of public employment on the basis of race, just blocks from where the Knights of Columbus was color or creed. founded in New Haven, Conn. As described in City: Urbanism and Its End (2003), a book WITHIN AND BEYOND BORDERS by Yale professor Douglas Rae, Catholic and Jewish physi- Throughout the early decades of the 20th century, the cians in the area were largely excluded from employment Order frequently spoke out against the deteriorating sitat local hospitals. In 1907, Dr. William Verdi and the Sisters uation faced by Catholic immigrants, who comprised of Charity of St. Joseph established a facility where these nearly 75 percent of the Catholic population in the

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United States by the 1920s. Such efforts were often documented in the pages of Columbia and its predecessor, The Columbiad. In one article, Edward McSweeney condemned the 1924 Immigration Law as “fundamentally based on the theory that certain racial groups, especially the Jews, Italians and Japanese, are ‘inferior.’” Responding to common prejudices of the day, McSweeney — who led the Knights of Columbus historical commission in the 1920s — oversaw the Order’s racial contribution series. The books in this series discussed the contributions of Jews, African Americans and Germans to the United States, at a time when these groups were often treated with hostility and few considered racial tolerance important. It is also important to note that U.S. Catholics extended their fight for religious liberty beyond the borders of their own nation. The Order responded when the Mexican government began persecuting the Catholic Church in 1926, killing many priests — including several Knights who are now beatified or canonized. U.S. Knights initiated a $1 million fund and immediately sought to raise public awareness of the situation south of their border. The Order also worked with dioceses throughout the United States that were receiving Mexican refugees The KKK — which at the time counted more members than the Knights of Columbus — wasted no time in taking the side of the Mexican government. According to historian Jean Meyer, “The Klan denounced the Knights’ plan and offered to give $10 million to the Mexican government in its fight against ‘papism.’” Taking the side of the Klan against the Church was Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. She praised “the attempt of President Calles to shake off the stranglehold of a medieval institution [the Catholic Church].” Meanwhile, the Calles regime supported the distribution in Mexico of hundreds of thousands of copies of one of her most popular, and controversial, pamphlets on birth control. Articles from Columbia in the 1930s were outspoken about Sanger’s birth control agenda and especially about the forced sterilization of women deemed “unfit” to be mothers. CONTINUING THE FIGHT While the anti-Catholic sentiment of the 19th and 20th centuries is largely a thing of the past, the Church still strives to preserve religious liberty and the rights of the defenseless. The Church and Knights have worked together with determination to promote pro-life issues and conscience rights for health care workers. They have likewise fought successfully to protect the Church from discriminatory laws, as happened this year when Connecticut legislators proposed to remove administrative authority from priests and bishops. Were it not for the courageous men and women of yesterday, who stood up with their Church, the world would look very different today. We must continue this legacy — combining charitable work with a strong commitment to religious liberty — to ensure that the Church can continue her great works tomorrow. ♦

ANDREW WALTHER is the director of media relations for the Knights of Columbus and a member of Holy Family Council 8882 in New Haven, Conn. MAUREEN HOUGH AND ELIZABETH ELA also contributed to this article.


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Fraternity NEW FOURTH DEGREE MEMBERS of Cardinal Carter Assembly in Woodbridge, Ont., prepare to receive their swords. The assembly hosted a sword blessing ceremony offered by Father Gregory Ace for newly exemplified Fourth Degree members. The new Sir Knights also sang in a choir at the exemplification Mass. • BISHOP CLEMENT SMITH Council 838 in Webster City, Iowa, hosted an omelet breakfast to benefit a council member who has pancreatic cancer. The event also included a bake sale and silent auction, and raised $7,500.




CHARLES DURKEE of Cardinal Bernardin Council 12263 in Bluffton, S.C., and his wife, Victoria, repair a banister during an outing with Catholic Heart Work Camp. Knights provided supervision and volunteer manpower as young people performed repairs on homes owned by the elderly and impoverished. Knights also donated construction materials to the project. • ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL Council 13227 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, donated $500 to West Hawaii Foster Families to fund an appreciation lunch for foster parents and foster children.

AN HONOR GUARD from Mary Magdalene Assembly in Humble, Texas, stands in formation while Father Rafael Becerra of Father Angelo Moscota Council 11438 in Houston dedicates a new prayer garden at St. Leo the Great Church. The grotto and garden were funded and built by Council 11438. • ST. JOAN OF ARC Council 13051 in Boca Raton, Fla., held its semiannual food drive to benefit needy members of the community. Knights distribute paper bags to parishioners, encouraging them to fill the bags with nonperishable food items and monetary donations. Annually, Knights collect several tons of food and approximately $9,000.

MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE ARMY bring the gifts to the altar during an appreciation Mass hosted by Maria Cristina Council 3343 in Iligan City, Mindanao. Knights sponsored the event in honor of the anniversary of the founding of the Philippine Army and to thank the country’s armed forces for their service. • SHEPHERD OF ARS Council 6028 in Hacienda Heights, Calif., hosted a council rosary in solidarity with the St. Thomas the Apostle Round Table at Camp Victory, Iraq. Knights in both countries prayed for an end to conflict in the Middle East. The round table is sponsored by St. Paul Council 11634 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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Building a better world one council at a time Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a difference — whether through community service, raising money or prayer. We celebrate each and every Knight for his strength, his compassion and his dedication to building a better world.


Bishop Michael F. Burbridge applauds as Msgr. Jerry Sherba (right, podium) prepares to bless the new courtyard at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh, N.C. Father Thomas F. Price Council 2546 donated $2,500 to purchase one of five benches for the courtyard, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of Sacred Heart Cathedral School. The bench purchased by the Knights is dedicated to Msgr. Sherba, who has served at Sacred Heart Cathedral for more than 30 years and is presently the rector.




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IN PARTICULAR, MUST RADIATE JOY IF OTHERS ARE TO DISCERN THIS WORTHY CALL’ When I was a child, my parents invited priests to our home frequently. Current and former pastors, and other priest friends often found themselves in our dining room for a delicious home-cooked meal followed by a lively game of cards. These men were the happiest people I knew. They spoke with fervor about the importance of faith and the joy of their priestly ministry. From an early age, they made a favorable impression on me. Now, 12 years after my own ordination, it is my constant hope that I am able to inspire and assist other young men in discerning a call to the priesthood. One of the defining marks of a Catholic Christian must be joy in one’s redemption in Jesus Christ. The priest, in particular, must radiate this joy if others are to discern this worthy call. As a Fourth Degree Knight, a past grand knight of my council and a former state chaplain of Iowa, life and ministry with the Knights of Columbus have brought tremendous joy to my life. As we pray, serve and learn together I continually discover the face of Christ in the Knights and experience the fulfillment of my priestly vocation.

FATHER DENNIS QUINT Holy Family Parish, Parkersburg Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa

Columbia August 2009  
Columbia August 2009  

The August 2009 edition of Columbia is a special issue, which incorporates a new design and focuses on the contributions of the Catholic Chu...