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Sharing the spirit of St. Francis with the world V O L . 1 2 5 / N O . 8 • JANUARY 2018


JANUARY 2018 • $3.95 StAnthonyMessenger.org

Our new music review column! PAGE 53







n one of his most fascinating books, Anglo-French writer Belloc presents in bold colors the twenty-three principal characters of the Protestant Reformation. He focuses on those figures who changed the course of English history, analyzing their strengths, mistakes, motives and deeds. Belloc vividly paints the portraits of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Thomas More, Mary Tudor, Thomas Cromwell, Mary Stuart and many others. He illustrates how the motives of Protestant leaders were rarely religious in nature, but usually political or economic.

“Hearing the stories of those who played instrumental roles in the divisions caused by the Reformation can open us to a better understanding of why these divisions occurred and how the unity that our Lord prayed for can be reestablished.” — Marcus Grodi, EWTN Host; from the Foreword CHRE-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $15.95



cclaimed theologian Bouyer examines the underlying principles and teachings of the 16th century Protestant reformers. The topics include Scripture alone as source of Christian belief, justification by faith alone, God’s free gift of unmerited salvation, the sovereignty of God, and the Christian responsibility toward good works. He also presents certain problematic areas of Protestant thought, such as the denial of the efficacy of the sacraments, a conflict between various interpretations of Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, and the rejection of Church authority. He then shows how these same principles gradually weakened the various forms of Protestantism, while, at the same time, provided impetus for later reforms and renewals. Bouyer challenges Catholics and Protestants to better understand the issues that both separate and unite them. SFOC-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $19.95

♦ THE GREAT HERESIES — Hilaire Belloc


he great Catholic apologist and historian examines the five most destructive heretical movements in Christianity: Arianism, Mohammedanism (Islam), Albigensianism, Protestantism, and Modernism. Belloc describes how these movements began, how they spread, how they continue to influence the world and are still with us today. He accurately predicted the re-emergence of militant Islam and its violent aggression against Western civilization. “Heresy is a perennial problem. ‘All men desire to know’, said Aristotle, but many are incapable of knowing well or of thinking clearly. The result is religious error. To deal with it, we must learn its origin and history. There seldom has been a better teacher than Belloc.” — Karl Keating, from the Foreword; Author, Catholicism and Fundamentalism GRHE-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $14.95

♦ CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS What Can We Learn from Each Other? Peter Kreeft


he widely read author and philosopher Kreeft presents a unique book about the important beliefs that Catholics and Protestants share in common. Inspired by Christ’s prayer for unity in the Gospel of John and St. John Paul II’s encyclical Ut Unum Sint, Kreeft demonstrates that Christian reunification is possible. While acknowledging there are still significant differences, he emphasizes that they agree on the single most important issue: justification.

“No one has taught me more about what healthy ecumenism looks like than the brilliant and eloquent Peter Kreeft. — Eric Metaxas, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Bonhoeffer CPSF-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $16.95

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Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility. ~ Francis of Assisi

VOL. 125 NO. 8



COVER STORY 30 Friars of the Future

By John Feister | Photography by Karen Callaway

The next generation of friars will certainly be smaller than the current one. What might that mean?

18 A Pro-Life State of the Union By Ann M. Augherton

From abortion to stem-cell research, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life committee is working hard to educate and empower Americans to save lives.

22 New Life for Catholic Schools

COVER: Friars John, Jim, Joshua, and Abel talk about what lies ahead for the Franciscans.

38 StarShine: Love Has No Limits By Carol Ann Morrow

This pediatric hospice models respect for life, brief as it may be.

44 Fiction: Decision By Juliana Gerace

She found her answer in the stars.

By Kathy Coffey

The Alliance for Catholic Education meets the needs of underresourced, inner-city Catholic schools.

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 1

Robert Ellsberg invites you to meet …

The Franciscan Saints




VOL. 125 NO. 8


14 SPIRIT OF ST. FRANCIS 14 Ask a Franciscan Humor in the Bible?


Your Voice

Letters from Readers

16 Franciscan World

12 Editorial

16 St. Anthony Stories

28 At Home on Earth

17 Followers of St. Francis

58 Faith & Family

Welcome to the Family

It’s Time to Speak Up

Lost among the Suds

Investing in Creation

Brother Sam Nasada, OFM

What Do You Stand For?



MEDIA MATTERS 50 Reel Time Wonder

52 Channel Surfing Unrest

53 Audio File

Arcade Fire: Everything Now

54 Bookshelf

To Light a Fire on the Earth

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 4 A Glimpse of the Past

53 Pete & Repeat

8 Church in the News

59 In the Kitchen

5 Dear Reader

57 Catholic Sites to Explore

48 Silent Union with God

60 Reflection

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 3



A Glimpse of the Past


ince 1893, St. Anthony Messenger has been helping readers grow in their faith in the spirit of Sts. Anthony, Francis, and Clare. Most writers then were friars; now they are laypeople. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII had issued his encyclical “On the Condition of Labor,” affirming that the Catholic Church supports the interests of both workers and employers. Industrialization had brought new strains on families and the practice of their faith. The country was taking on new responsibilities internationally.


St. Anthony appeared on the cover of our first issue and remained there for many years. Contents included news about the Third Order of St. Francis (now the Secular Franciscan Order), national Franciscan news, an invitation to send thanksgivings, a liturgical calendar, woodcuts of biblical figures and Franciscan saints, and information about the Holy Family Association. By July 1929, the magazine had dropped the ’s in its title. The redesign to launch the magazine’s 37th year saw increased page size. The magazine now presented short stories, poetry, ads, drawings, and photos. It also offered conversion J A N U A RY stories, book reviews, and “The Wise Man’s Corner” (answers to faithrelated questions). Another redesign had been introduced by the June 1937 issue. The 10 regular columns now included recipes and a feature directed to children. More international stories had begun appearing. Ads for patterns to make dresses had already appeared. In the midst of changes brought about by Vatican

M AY 1 9 9 9

II, our November 1964 issue also introduced some changes, with a new editorial team (Fathers Leonard Foley and Jeremy Harrington, OFM) and the magazine’s first in-house art director (Kieran Quinn, OFM) and designer (Lawrence Zink). Editorials became a regular feature; a blank half page announced a new “Letters to the Editor” column. Movie and TV reviews made their first appearance, as did cartoons, a humor column, and “Words to Remember” (a photo meditation). Book reviews were reintroduced. Several women soon began working as editors. Our May 1999 cover featured Associate Editor Susan Hines-Brigger with her newborn daughter, Maddie 2018 (now a first-year college student). Interviews of extraordinary people had become much more common. To prepare for the Jubilee Year, our annual column was based on phrases from the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis. Thanks to you, our loyal subscribers, we are still doing our best to promote deeper faith, stronger family life, good citizenship, and greater economic justice—all in the spirit of St. Francis.






J U LY 1 9 2 9




Daniel Kroger, OFM PRESIDENT



Mary Catherine Kozusko MANAGING EDITOR

Daniel Imwalle


Susan Hines-Brigger Christopher Heffron


John Feister


Sharon Lape


dear reader Redesigned for All of You


ociety and our Church have changed tremendously since the first issue of St. Anthony Messenger in June 1893. But in a sense, our mission remains the same: to be good companions on your faith journey as citizens trying to promote the common good of this country and our world. How our faith is connected to our civic responsibility is much more obvious than when we began publication 125 years ago. On the opposite page, we present five covers that show a small fraction of our design and textual changes over the years in order to serve you better. The pages that you are now holding—or reading online—have been redesigned to deliver a refreshed visual experience, but with the same fine articles and columns supported by the high-quality photos and graphics that you have come to expect from us. Major credit for this redesign goes to Creative Director Mark Sullivan, Art Director Mary Catherine Kozusko, John Feister (previous editor in chief), and Daniel Imwalle (managing editor). With this issue, John begins his new duties as our editor at large. You will find below more information about three of this month’s contributors. We have expanded our Table of Contents to two pages, added columns on recipes and music, and renamed or refocused five columns. In future issues, more space may be available for our “Church in the News” and “Ask a Franciscan” columns. We thank you for subscribing, for inviting us to share our faith with you.

Ray Taylor


Pat McCloskey, OFM, Franciscan Editor

Kingery Printing Co. Effingham, IL ST. ANTHONY MESSENGER (ISSN #0036276X) (U.S.P.S. PUBLICATION #007956 CANADA PUBLICATION #PM40036350) Volume 125, Number 8, is published monthly for $39.00 a year by the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-6498. Phone 513-241-5615. Periodicals postage paid at Cincinnati, Ohio, and additional entry offices. U.S. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: St. Anthony Messenger, P.O. Box 189, Congers, NY 10920-0189. CANADA RETURN ADDRESS: c/o AIM, 7289 Torbram Rd., Mississauga, ON, Canada L4T 1G8. To subscribe, write to the above address or call 866-543-6870. Yearly subscription price: $39.00 in the United States; $69.00 in Canada and other countries. Single copy price: $3.95. For change of address, four weeks’ notice is necessary. See FranciscanMedia.org/subscriptionservices for information on your digital edition.

Member of the Catholic Press Association Published with ecclesiastical approval Copyright ©2017. All rights reserved.



Writer’s guidelines can be found at FranciscanMedia.org/ writers-guide. The publishers are not responsible for manuscripts or photos lost or damaged in transit. Names in fiction do not refer to living or dead persons.






Pro-Life State of the Union

Friars of the Future PAGE 30


Ann is the managing editor of the award-winning Arlington Catholic Herald (Virginia) and its website. Writing assignments have taken her to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the developing world. She says that over the years pro-life issues have expanded into many newer areas.

CAROL ANN MORROW writer Starshine Hospice PAGE 38

Karen is the photo editor for Catholic New World, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago. She worked for 20 years as an assistant editor for Northwest Indiana Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of Gary. She has enjoyed taking professional photographs for three decades.

Since 2008, Carol Ann has been a court-appointed advocate for children (CASA) in Boone County, Kentucky. As an advocate for abused and/ or neglected children, she has felt privileged to engage with the StarShine staff and the parents whom they serve, especially Artrez and Kiana, who gave her hope aplenty.

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 5

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… and become the woman God meant you to be.



POINTSOFVIEW | YOUR VOICE Undoing the Knot of Racism Susan Hines-Brigger’s article in the November issue of St. Anthony Messenger, entitled “Race and Religion,” was very thought-provoking for me. I grew up in an all-white, small town in Wisconsin. I developed many racist attitudes and beliefs as a child that I gradually became aware of while attending college and beginning my career. I am now in my 60s, and, until recently, I thought I had overcome my racist beliefs and attitudes. I have come to realize that I still have a way to go. However, I believe I am making progress because I am beginning to understand the underlying feelings of fear and anxiety that allow racist attitudes and beliefs to grow in my heart. Reflecting on Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, I wonder how he overcame his fear and anxiety. Taking Jesus’ example, I decided to try to overcome my fear and anxiety and encounter the other. The fear of meeting and getting to know people of different races, faiths, and cultural backgrounds has caused me to say no in the past. I now take the example of Jesus and say yes sometimes. I discovered that my fear of the other has no legs to stand on. Can we overcome the fear of the other, allowing us to love one another as Jesus loves all of us? Charles Koenings Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

shut you down because they claim you are a hate group? If you really want to advance the cause of civil discourse among people with differing political points of view, perhaps you should start by suggesting that—as a precondition for civil discourse—we stop labeling traditional middle-class morality as a form of white supremacy and hate speech. Bob Miller Washington, DC

An Old Friend On looking through the November issue, it was wonderful to come across the “Catholic Sites to Explore” column about an old friend, the Joan of Arc Chapel on the Marquette University campus. I remember when space was cleared for reconstruction of the chapel, and I have attended many Masses there. I also remember just stopping by—inside and outside the structure. Thank you for bringing back memories of my Marquette days. However, I also want to point out an error. It was the Marc Rojtman family (not “Rojman”) who donated the chapel to Marquette. Being a writer and editor myself, I understand that a spelling error proves only that we are human. Please accept my correction in the same humble spirit with which it is offered. Cheryl J. Marshall Naperville, Illinois

Left and Right Not on Equal Ground I’m writing regarding the editorial in the November issue, “Let’s Watch Our Language,” by Pat McCloskey, OFM. This is a worthwhile editorial subject, yet, ultimately, I found his take unsatisfying. Yes, a civil discourse between individuals with differing political opinions is to be desired. But I disagree with the notion that the left and right are equally at fault for the lack of civility. This is an example of moral equivalence. Just look at what happened on the Georgetown University campus concerning the efforts by the LGBT campus community to shut down a Catholic club devoted to promoting and preserving the concept of marriage being between a man and a woman. How can we have a civil discussion with people who don’t want to debate, but just want to

False Witness One of the Ten Commandments is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Christopher Heffron’s August editorial, “Inconvenient Truths,” was obviously a slam against President Trump. All the negatives about him—a good man—are lies and bearing false witness in order to destroy him and his family. Where were you and all the other Churches the past eight years when Barack Obama was trying to destroy our country? He almost succeeded. I am still waiting for my Church to speak out against the hatred of this fine man and his family for the purpose of destroying him. Bill Kane Burlington, Massachusetts

DISCLAIMER: Letters that are published do not necessarily represent the views of the Franciscan friars or the editors. We do not publish libel. Please include your name and postal address. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.

CONTACT INFO We want to hear from you!

QUESTIONS: To better serve you, please have your address label and/or invoice available before calling. MAIL LETTERS: St. Anthony Messenger: Letters 28 W. Liberty St. Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498 E-MAIL LETTERS: MagazineEditors@ FranciscanMedia.org WEBSITES: StAnthonyMessenger.org StAnthonyMessenger.org/subscribe PHONE NUMBERS: (866) 543-6870 (toll-free) (845) 267-3051 (Canada toll-free) FAX NUMBER: (845) 267-3478 (subscriptions) FACEBOOK: Facebook.com/ StAnthonyMessengerMagazine TWITTER: Twitter.com/StAnthonyMag SUBSCRIPTION PRICES: $39 (US) • $69 (other countries) For digital and bulk rates, visit our website. MAILING LIST RENTAL: If you prefer that your name and address not be shared with select organizations, send your current mailing label to: SUBSCRIPTION HOUSE: St. Anthony Messenger PO Box 189 Congers, NY 10920-0189

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 7

church IN THE NEWS

people | events | trends By Susan Hines-Br ig ger



8 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

Archbishop Albino Luciani (right), the future Pope John Paul I, stands beside Pope Paul VI in September 1972. Pope Francis recently declared John Paul I venerable.


ope Francis started Pope John Paul I on the road to sainthood when, on November 9, he declared the late pope venerable, reported CNS. He was known as “the smiling pope,” though his papacy lasted only 33 days. Stefania Falasca, vice postulator of John Paul I’s sainthood cause, said one “presumed extraordinary healing” had already been investigated by a diocese, and a second possibility is currently being studied. The Vatican does not begin its investigations, however, until a sainthood candidate is declared venerable. Pope Francis would have to recognize a miracle attributed to the late pope’s intercession in order for him to be beatified, the next step toward sainthood. A second miracle would then be needed for canonization.


ore than 60,000 people gathered at Detroit’s Ford Field on November 18 to witness the beatification of Capuchin Franciscan Friar Solanus Casey, reported Catholic News Service (CNS). Prior to the Mass, Father Michael Sullivan, provincial minister of the Detroitbased Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, welcomed those in attendance, saying, “What a witness was our beloved brother Solanus! He opened his heart to each person he met, he prayed with them, appreciated and loved them, and through him God moved powerfully again and again.” Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, celebrated the Mass, accompanied by Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron; Cardinal Adam J. Maida, retired archbishop of Detroit; Boston Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, himself a Capuchin Franciscan; Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, who is a Detroit native; and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, among others. Also in attendance were about 35 bishops, 400 priests and deacons, and more than 200 Capuchins, as well as 300 members of the Casey family. In his homily, Cardinal Amato said of Casey: “Witnesses affirm that ‘love, faith, and trust were the three points that he always preached to people.’ Faith, hope, and charity were for him the seal of the Trinity in our souls. “His favorite sons were the poor, the sick, the emarginated, and the homeless,” the cardinal said of Blessed Solanus, the Wisconsin-born priest who served as a monastery doorkeeper in New York, Detroit, and Huntington, Indiana, over his 60 years as a Capuchin friar. By virtue of his beatification, Blessed Solanus can now be publicly venerated in Detroit and in Capuchin houses worldwide. Beatification is the last step before sainthood, which would allow Blessed Solanus to be venerated by the worldwide Church. His feast will be celebrated July 30, the vigil of the anniversary of the friar’s death in 1957.








mmigration and racism were two of problems, is right not only for immithe issues that the US bishops disgrants but “for our society as a whole. cussed during their annual fall meet“We can make America great, but ing this past November in Baltimore, you don’t make America great by makaccording to CNS. ing America mean,” he added, referring In his opening address, conference to a slogan of President Donald Trump president Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo without naming him. of Galveston-Houston told the bishops The bishops also discussed the issue that they should not be overwhelmed of racism. Bishop George V. Murry by the problems of of Youngstown, the day, but should Ohio, head of recognize signs of the bishops’ Ad new hope in the Hoc Committee Church. Against Racism, “We are facing said the issue has a time that seems found a “troumore divided than bling resurgence” ever,” Cardinal in recent years, DiNardo said. referring to a white “Divisions over supremacist rally health care, conin Charlottesville, science protecVirginia, last tions, immigration August, where he and refugees, aborsaid racial hatred tion, physicianwas “on full disassisted suicide, play.” gender ideologies, He said that the meaning of when it comes to marriage, and all racism, the Church the other headlines must recognize continue to be Bishop George V. Murry spoke to the US bishops at “and frankly hotly debated. But their fall meeting about the resurgence of racism. acknowledge” its our role continues failings. to be witnessing the Gospel.” On the second day of meetings, At the beginning of the meeting, the bishops examined ways they can Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, continue to uphold the Catholic faith, who is chairman of the Committee including specific wording in the on Migration of the US Conference of baptismal rite, a review of catechetiCatholic Bishops, began the discussion cal materials, and a pastoral plan for on immigration, saying there needs to marriage and family life that will give be a “path to legalization and citizenCatholic couples and families resources ship for the millions of our unauthorto live out their vocation. ized brothers and sisters who are lawThe bishops also voted to move forabiding, tax-paying, and contributing ward the sainthood cause of Nicholas to our society.” W. Black Elk, a 19th-century Lakota Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of catechist who is said to have introduced Miami said the bishops’ defense of hundreds of Lakota people to the immigrants as brothers and sisters, not Catholic faith.

Pope Francis autographs a Lamborghini presented to him by representatives of the Italian automaker at the Vatican on November 15.


he Italian automaker Lamborghini presented Pope Francis with a oneof-a-kind white and gold Lamborghini Huracan. The vehicle, which the pope signed and blessed, will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s, with the proceeds given to the pope. The Vatican said the pope has already chosen to fund three projects: the resettlement of Christians in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain, support for women rescued from human trafficking and forced prostitution, and assistance to the suffering in Africa.



eginning this year, cigarettes will no longer be sold to employees in the Vatican City State. In a November 9 statement, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the reason for Pope Francis’ decision was simple: “The Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people.”

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 9

church IN THE NEWS



‘WE NEED PRAYERS,’ SAYS ARCHBISHOP FOLLOWING TEXAS SHOOTING Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who is Catholic, takes part in a candlelight vigil following the deadly shooting at the First Baptist Church in rural Sutherland Springs.

n November 19, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the first World Day of the Poor, followed by a lunch with about 1,500 people in the Vatican’s audience hall, reported CNS. Between 6,000 and 7,000 poor people attended the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as special guests, the Vatican said. While almost all of them live in Europe, they include migrants and refugees from all over the world. In his homily, the pope said, “What we invest in love remains; the rest vanishes.” He pointed out that where the poor are concerned, too many people are guilty of a sin of omission or indifference, thinking it’s “society’s problem” to solve. They look the other way when passing a beggar or change the channel when the news shows something disturbing, and these are not Christian responses, he said.




ast November, the US bishops launched a new website to coincide with National Bible Week. The site features daily readings, the lectio divina—a prayerful way of reading Scripture—in both English and Spanish, and other resources.


10 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

Pope Francis offers a prayer before lunch in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall with 1,500 guests on the first World Day of the Poor.

“God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation,” he said, “but whether we did some good.” Prior to lunch, Pope Francis recited the Angelus with a large crowd in St. Peter’s Square. He told those in the crowd that he hoped “the poor would be at the center of our communities not only at times like this, but always, because they are at the heart of the Gospel. In them, we encounter Jesus, who speaks to us and calls us through their suffering and their needs.” Following the Mass, the other special guests received lunch at the Pontifical North American College—the US seminary in Rome—and other seminaries and Catholic-run soup kitchens nearby. WANT MORE? Visit our newspage:



n the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in Texas, which left 26 people dead—nearly half of them children— and more injured, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo GarciaSiller, Pope Francis, and other Church officials offered their prayers and support to those affected, reported CNS. On the morning of November 5, Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire during Sunday services at First Baptist Church in rural Sutherland Springs, Texas. The same day, Archbishop Garcia-Siller issued a statement saying, “We need your prayers! The evil perpetrated on these [families] who were gathered to worship God on the Lord’s Day—especially children and the elderly—makes no sense and will never be fully understood.” Calling it an “act of senseless violence,” Pope Francis asked the archbishop to convey his condolences to the families of the victims and to the injured. Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich called for change, saying it “would dishonor those lost and those who mourn to simply participate in the routine exchange of sympathies underpinned by the sense of futility and hopelessness that has befallen our country. “We must recognize that the factors that produce these tragedies will not change unless we take direct action to change them,” he said.

We are grateful


Your gift to the friars supports our work among the poor in domestic and foreign missions, care for the elderly and infirm friars and seminary training for young men discerning life as a friar. To make a Christmas offering, visit stanthony.org or call 513-721-4700.

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It’s Time to Speak Up


ook at any newspaper, magazine, or any type of social respect of the transcendent dignity of the human person.” media these days, and you would be hard-pressed to not And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The find some story or post about sexual assault or harassment. dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the The floodgates opened last October after The New York image and likeness of God” (1700). Times published allegations of sexual harassment and assault Surely, one could find other quotes in which the bishops against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Soon after, or the Catholic Church speak to the importance of standing the pool of those being accused quickly widened, ranging up for human dignity. So, if it’s an issue that is addressed in from actors to politicians to corporate executives. Every day these various sources, shouldn’t it be important enough to it seems there’s another headline highlighting yet another speak up right now when so many people are paying attenallegation. tion to the topic? So why haven’t they? In the aftermath, actress Alyssa Milano reignited the Me Too (#MeToo) campaign— WHY THE INACTION? “Sexual originally begun in 2007 by Tarana Burke to It is not fair to speculate as to why the bishops aid sexual assault survivors in underprivileged have not addressed the issue. But it is clear that harassment communities. Milano shared a Tweet from her the current climate offers them a perfect opportuor abuse friend that said, “If all the women who have been nity to reaffirm the intrinsic value of each person. is a sin sexually harassed or assaulted wrote, ‘me too’ With their silence, the bishops are sending a mesagainst the as a status, we might give people a sense of the sage, just not the right one. dignity of magnitude of the problem.” Milano then wrote: Having gone through the horrors of the clergy the human “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted sexual abuse crisis, one would have hoped the person.” write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The bishops had learned the power of speaking up, campaign spread like wildfire, with individu­—US Conference of of making their voices heard in the face of abuse als—female and male—recounting their own and injustice. They have, unfortunately, seen up Catholic Bishops experiences of sexual assault and harassment. It close the pain that such harassment and abuse can suddenly became abundantly clear that this was cause. not only a Hollywood issue or a political one. Those stories On so many issues, the bishops seem to have no problem are certainly the ones grabbing the headlines, but many other making their voices heard. Why, then, should this one be any people have begun sharing their experiences. different? It seemed as if everyone was talking about the situation.


One group that didn’t make a loud and clear denouncement of the situation was the US bishops. They had a perfect opportunity when they gathered in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting November 13–14. During the meeting, the bishops discussed many different topics. Unfortunately, sexual harassment or abuse was not one of them. A look at their website shows statements the bishops have made on issues such as immigration, gun violence, racism, and tax reform, among others. But not one about the current situation regarding sexual assault or harassment. Why? The bishop’s Human Life and Dignity page on the website states, “As a gift from God, every human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The life and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage and in every condition.” The concept of human dignity is also addressed in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: “A just society can become a reality only when it is based on the


While it is disappointing that the US bishops have not spoken up in the face of this situation, they are not responsible for bearing the weight of this crisis. As is evident by the wide range of people speaking out about their own stories of harassment or abuse through the Me Too campaign, we know that this is not a problem confined to the entertainment, sports, or political worlds. Those stories will grab the headlines, but, unfortunately, this is an everyday problem for far too many people. And it will continue after the stories drop off the front page. So what do we do? Well, first and foremost, we need to say something. If you have had an experience of harassment or abuse, tell your story. If you haven’t, let people know that you will not tolerate any behavior that in any way demeans or takes advantage of a person. The current headlines should serve as an example of our responsibility to be a visible and vocal reminder to all that we must respect and honor the dignity of every person. —Susan Hines-Brigger

12 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org 101⁄2 103⁄4 1013⁄16 107⁄8

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Humor in the Old Testament?

Where in the Old Testament do we find even a hint of humor as we know it? I’m guessing that there just wasn’t much humor in those days! Was everything taken seriously then?

Pat McCloskey, OFM

Father Pat welcomes your questions! ONLINE: StAnthonyMessenger.org E-MAIL: Ask@FranciscanMedia.org


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WE HAVE A DIGITAL archive of “Ask” Q and A’s, going back to March 2013. Just click: • the Ask link and then • click the Archive link. Material is grouped thematically under headings such as forgiveness, Jesus, moral issues, prayer, saints, redemption, sacraments, Scripture—and many more!


n fact, there is a fair amount of humor in the Old Testament, which many Christians mistakenly think has only thunder, lightning, and punishment. What follows is only a sampling of humor in the Old Testament. Nelson’s Complete Concordance of the New American Bible has the following: laugh (14 Old Testament entries), laughed (5), laughingstock (12), laughs (9), and laughter (12). Mirth occurs four times. In Psalm 59:9 we read, “But you, Lord, laugh at them [pagans]; you deride all the nations.” In chapters 22 through 24 of the Book of Numbers, King Balak of Moab asks Balaam to curse the Hebrews who are on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Balaam tries four times, but each time only a blessing for the Hebrews comes forth. There is also a section where Balaam’s donkey protests the beatings he receives from his master. In Isaiah 46:1–2, the writer points out the irony that once-powerful pagan idols need to be carted off for protection when a city is under attack. This entire chapter mocks the seemingly all-powerful gods of Babylon. According to the psalmist, pagan idols “are

14 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell. They have hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk; they produce no sound from their throats. Their makers will be like them, and anyone who trusts in them” (115:4–8). The Book of Jonah has a large fish swallow a prophet trying to escape an urgent assignment from God. Jonah is the most successful prophet in the Old Testament (all the Ninevites converted) yet one of the unhappiest prophets, precisely because all the Ninevites converted. God causes a gourd plant’s leaves to give shade for Jonah and then sends a worm to destroy that plant. Jonah complains, and God replies that Jonah did nothing to create the plant. Why shouldn’t God be concerned about the pagan Ninevites? Isn’t the idea of animals wearing sackcloth pretty funny? In Proverbs 10:26 we read, “As vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, are sluggards to those who send them.” In the Book of Job, the nine speeches


All questions sent by mail need to include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

The Book of Jonah is both serious and humorous. The need to repent is certainly serious. This book also humorously challenges the assumption that God loves only the Jewish people and no one else.


MAIL: Ask a Franciscan 28 W. Liberty St. Cincinnati, OH 45202

Humor in the New Testament? Is there any humor in the New Testament? Everything seems extremely serious.


ike the Old Testament, the New Testament has a fair bit of humor, much of it rather subtle. Isn’t there humor in Jesus’ image of a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle (Mt 19:24; Mk 10:25; and Lk 18:25)? Some Scripture commentators conjectured Jerusalem had an “eye of the needle” gate, but no one has found any evidence of such a gate. Jesus points out the hypocrisy of his opponents who felt John the Baptist was too ascetic and yet criticized Jesus for eating and drinking with tax collectors and prostitutes (Mt 11:18–19). There is both irony and humor in Mary’s proclamation, “The hungry [God] has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty” (Lk 1:53). The Letter of James says that it

would be laughable if a Christian effusively welcomed to the community’s worship a well-dressed rich man wearing five gold rings yet that same Christian ignored a poor person who approached the same assembly (2:1–4). St. Paul compares himself to a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal if he should speak with human and angelic tongues and yet not have love (1 Cor 13:1). The Bible is all about God’s selfrevelation. Although that is serious business, who are we to forbid God from using humor as part of that selfrevelation? G.K. Chesterton famously wrote that angels can fly because they don’t take themselves seriously. Lucifer’s lack of a sense of humor got him in trouble.


On the go? St. Anthony Messenger has a digital edition that is available to all print subscribers. Friars

of the


The next generation of friars will certainly be smaller than the current one. What might that mean? By John Feister | Photography by Karen Callaway


e hear all sorts of statistics about the closing and merging of parishes, the crisis of priestly vocations, the shrinking of religious orders. Those things all are happening, but there’s new life brewing too. Ask a young or new Franciscan today about the future, and you hear a lot of hope. “We’re not thinking, It’s going to be terrible around here. What are we going to do? No, we just have to work all together,” says Abel Garcia, OFM. Friar Abel lives at St. Joseph Friary, near Catholic Theological Union, one of the largest Catholic theology schools in the English-speaking world. We are in Chicago’s South Side, a community well known for its struggle against gang violence and murder, but we’re in Hyde Park, an oasis of sorts. The University of Chicago is a few blocks south; the Museum of Science and Industry is a few blocks east; a few hundred feet farther are joggers, walkers, and cyclists on the 18-mile Lakefront Trail—at least when weather permits anyone to recreate by Lake Michigan. As you read this, Chicago’s blistering winds and inches of snow are more likely. PHOTO CREDIT HERE

The warhorse laughs at fear (Jb 39:22), and the crocodile laughs at spears (Jb 41:21). Certainly there is humor when God asks: “Will one who argues with the Almighty be corrected? Let him who would instruct God give answer!” (Jb 40:2). I am indebted to Father Hilarion Kistner, OFM, a wise confrere and retired Scripture professor, for suggesting some of these examples.


of his friends are somewhat humorous in the desperate lengths these three friends employ to protect God’s honor, which they feel Job threatens. The young Elihu then appears and promises to give a better explanation of innocent human suffering than Job’s three friends, but Elihu fails to do so. Job wants to take God to court but withers under divine questioning and finally repents “in dust and ashes.”

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StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 31

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Want more inspiration? Visit the website FranciscanMedia.org for: • Saint of the Day • Minute Meditations • Family resources



• Prayer downloads • Information on the seven sacraments

Jesus had a great talent for creating memorable word images.

FranciscanMedia.org StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 15

SPIRITOFST.FRANCIS “Let us begin again, for until now we have done nothing. May each of us do our share to spread the Gospel, the true Catholic faith! —St. Francis of Assisi


Welcome to the Family


HAVING MULTIPLE jobs in a short period of time usually looks bad on a person’s résumé, but in Anthony’s case, it was a question of how his considerable and varied talents could best serve the friars and the Church. He served in Morocco as a missionary; in Italy as a chaplain for a hermitage and as a teacher of Scripture; in France as a preacher; and then as the head of the friars in northern Italy and as a preacher and writer. He learned to deal with change and helps us do the same! —Pat McCloskey



Lost among the Suds


ast summer, I organized a parish car wash. At some point during the day, I realized that my wedding ring had slipped off in the frenzy of washing cars. I was devastated! I’ve been married for 19 years, so it was obviously precious to me. After days of praying to St. Anthony, the parish office called to say that a wedding ring had been turned in. Lo and behold, it was my ring! God is good—and so is his servant, St. Anthony! —Patricia

WANT MORE? Learn about your saints and blesseds by going to: SaintoftheDay.org

16 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org


In 11 years as a Friar Minor, Anthony held six jobs in three countries.

one another? The Franciscan family includes friars (a generic term that includes priests and brothers), Poor Clares, Secular Franciscans, and Third Order Regular Franciscans. Each of these groups has several subdivisions. Also, friar is a generic term used for male members of the Dominicans, Augustinians, Carmelites, and Trinitarians. Increasingly, people speak about a Fourth Order: people not formally part of one of these groups but who are inspired by Francis and his way of living out the Gospel. You may be surprised to learn that there are even Anglican Franciscans and Lutheran Franciscans. Hold on! It’s a wild ride.



his column will focus on the Franciscan world, past and present. For 2018, I will focus on this large and lively family— “amiable anarchists,” as I affectionately call its members. The style will resemble that of the “Dear Reader” columns that I wrote on Franciscan topics between January 2013 and December 2017. I have chosen to write under the heading “Franciscan World” because, although Sts. Francis and Clare couldn’t have predicted it, the roots of Franciscan spirituality go deep. And it is worth celebrating. Encountering the Franciscan family for the first time is a bit like being a new in-law at the reunion of an extremely large family: Who are these people and how do they connect with

By Pat McCloskey


Mission in the Desert He was an engineer who heard a Franciscan call. Now he’s helping in a new outreach to the poor.



in Indonesian liturgical music and came to St. Stephen’s to hear the choir. “He heard of my interest in the priesthood,” says Brother Sam, “and asked if I had ever considered the Franciscans.” Sam had talked with the archdiocese but he knew nothing about the friars. Before he knew it, Sam was on an adventure with Brother Rufino, traveling to Franciscan locations in California. It worked; Sam was hooked. He was completing graduate theological studies when he took this break to respond to the missionary call. The friars have been well received in the Elfrida mission area, where a pastor from Pearce, 20 miles away, could visit only twice per week. When the friars were scouting locations, St. Francis of Assisi Parish was a natural pick. In addition to serving the needs of the local Catholic community, “we friars join in placing water bottles on the ‘immigration trail,’” an act of mercy to migrating families suffering deadly desert conditions, “and other support work for those who arrive and don’t know what to do next.” Even as numbers of people fleeing oppression south of the border have decreased, due to tightening by US authorities, still people arrive, afraid for their lives. “It’s all tied to St. Francis’ love for creation,” he says. “If we truly regard all God’s creation as brothers and sisters, then it is our calling to care for each one of them, especially those who have been neglected by and pushed to the margin of our society, just like the lepers in Francis’ time.” Indeed, Brother Sam and his fellow friars have gone forth to proclaim the Good News. —John Feister




rother Sam Nasada, OFM, was on his way to ordination when he took a detour to the US-Mexico border. The friar, solemnly professed more than a year ago, himself moved to the United States from afar—in his case, from Indonesia. In formation still, he heard a call for friars to start a new type of community among the poor, and felt it was the right thing to do. His provincial, David Gaa, OFM, agreed. As of last summer, he’s been living as a Franciscan brother in a new friary in the remote town of Elfrida, Arizona—population 459—in the Diocese of Tucson. Another friar from his OFM Province of St. Barbara in California, David Buer, initiated this outreach of mercy to immigrants; they were just joined this past month by Luis Runde, OFM, of St. Louis’ Sacred Heart Province. “We’re responding to a letter from the OFM Minister General in Rome, Ite, Nuntiate, ‘Go, and Proclaim.’” In it, Minister General Michael Perry calls for the Franciscans to join together in new ways of outreach to the poor. Brother Sam first came to the United States in 1997 to study industrial engineering, getting an undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University, then completing graduate studies at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. His first job out of school was in Los Angeles, designing pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. It was there he heard the stirrings of religious calling. “I attended St. Stephen Martyr Parish in Monterey Park, a Los Angeles suburb, and sang in the choir at the Indonesian Mass,” he says. It was there he ran into Friar Rufino Zaragosa. Brother Rufino, an accomplished liturgical musician, had become interested



The National Shrine of St. Anthony is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Consecrated in 1889, it includes a first-class relic of St. Anthony and serves as a center for daily prayer and contemplation. The Franciscan friars minister from the shrine. To help them in their work among the poor, you may send a monetary offering called St. Anthony Bread. Make checks or money orders payable to “Franciscans” and mail to the address below. Every Tuesday, a Mass is offered for benefactors and petitioners at the shrine. To seek St. Anthony’s intercession, mail your petition to the address below. Petitions are taken to the shrine each week. viSit our webSite to:



mAil poStAl communicAtionS to:

St. Anthony Bread 1615 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498


StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 17



18 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org



From abortion to stem-cell research, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life committee is working hard to educate and empower Americans to save lives.

By Ann M. Augherton


orty-five years after the US Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion, the pro-life movement has a lot more on its plate. With capital punishment, assisted suicide, embryonic stem-cell research, reproductive technologies, and the ever-changing biomedical research field, the Catholic Church’s efforts to defend life are being met with heavily funded groups working in opposition to the Church’s goal to “protect human life from conception to natural death.” For the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Committee on Pro-Life Activities is central to the work of advocacy, public policy, education, resources, and empowerment. “The bishops seek to further the cause to approach the day when abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and attacks on embryonic life would be not only a thing of the past, but would be unthinkable,” says Deirdre McQuade, the USCCB’s assistant director for pro-life communications. “Sadly, we are not putting ourselves out of business anytime too soon.”

“Choosing life is not always easy, but it is the loving, empowering, and self-sacrificial option. Love saves lives in countless ways,” says March for Life President Jeanne Mancini, who, last October, revealed the theme for this year’s annual pro-life rally: “Love Saves Lives.” Although the USCCB is not a sponsor of the January 19 march, it does cosponsor the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington the night before. First held in 1979, the event includes the National Rosary for Life and a schedule of all-night prayer and adoration, leading up to the Mass of the Vigil, which draws an overflowing crowd the morning of the march. “The pro-life movement is a beautiful, strong, and diverse community,” McQuade says. “We are praying for and advocating for an end to abortion by talking with our feet to protest the unjust state of abortion law in our country. Abortion is legal in every state of the country through the nine months of pregnancy. People think there are more regulations and limitations on abortion, and, sadly, that is not the case. The only meaningful limitation is the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, which went into effect in 2008. “It’s harder these days to be pro-abortion because we now see what it involves,” she continues. “Our children’s first photos are ultrasounds.” But McQuade believes there is reason for hope. “This is a pro-life generation.”




StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 19


“The bishops will continue to track and monitor and fight where necessary for the defense of life in biomedical research,” McQuade says. Genetic engineering, human-animal chimeras, three-parent human embryos—years ago, these would be considered science fiction, but today this research raises serious ethical questions. “No use of embryonic stem-cell research is justified,” she says. “The Church has been very wise and right in promoting adult stem-cell research because that’s where the cures and treatments are coming from—not embryonic.”

Abortion funding is a hot-button issue, according to McQuade. “It is absolutely essential to fight the expanded funding of abortion because wherever abortion is funded, abortion numbers go up. Abortion advocates are pushing hard to get rid of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal taxpayers’ money to fund abortion, with the exception for the life of the mother, rape, and incest. The Hyde Amendment saves lives,” she says. Despite what abortion advocates say, McQuade points out, abortion is not part of health care for women. “Destroying life is not health care. Ending a pregnancy is not a service to women.” What is a service, she says, is the work of the pregnancy help-center movement, which she notes has grown tremendously over the past few decades. “Having medical centers associated with them means it’s not just counseling and advice, which is a beautiful thing, but practical things to help women facing their pregnancies with real challenges: relationships, income, caring for other children. I personally find it really offensive when people say we need to underwrite abortion for the poor, as a preferential option for the poor,” McQuade says. “We are called to stand in solidarity with those living below the poverty line and the disenfranchised. Women who are pregnant don’t need to be rendered violently un-pregnant to be empowered. They need support to be the best mothers they can be. “To say [that] people living in poverty need abortion to be on equal standing, that is discrimination against a whole class of unborn human beings—that they don’t deserve to breathe their first breath because their parents are of a lower socioeconomic status.” 20 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org


According to its website, “The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, under the guidance and direction of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, works to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death, and



“There has been such a wave of attempts to legalize assisted suicide in states across the country, but the majority have resisted, either by letting it die in session or voting it down,” McQuade explains. “Sadly, there are a small handful of states that have legalized it. The pro-assisted-suicide effort is very well funded and continues to fight in state after state after state. They are not meeting with the success that they want or might have expected. Assisted suicide advocates are pushing for physicians to prescribe a deadly cocktail of drugs for patients to commit suicide on their own, without any medical supervision or notification of family members.” Some bills propose an expansion of who could provide the prescriptions to allow nurses or nurse practitioners to prescribe the drugs, according to McQuade. “We are concerned about this from every possible angle. Suicide is suicide,” she says. “It’s not that some people are worthy of it and others are worthy of protection from it. Every suicide is tragic.” McQuade says there are many dangers for abuse, that this will single out and exploit or put at greater risk those in the disabled community: “The disability rights community is front and center speaking out against this. Their presence is vital to this fight.” Fears include that people deemed nonproductive, including the elderly, would be targeted for assisted suicide, and that health insurance might not cover some therapeutic care.





organize for its protection.” New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, committee chairman, said in an October 2017 statement: “Building a culture of life isn’t something we just do one month of the year, or with one event or initiative—it’s essential to who we are. It happens through our daily actions, how we treat one another, and how we live our lives.” The website is a one-stop resource for all things “Respect Life”—in English and Spanish— including educational materials, fact sheets, a biweekly column for Catholic publications, monthly liturgical suggestions for parishes, updates on public policy efforts, and practical tips to help implement pro-life programs to reach pregnant women and their children, the disabled, the sick or dying, and those affected by abortion. One of the articles on the website is titled “What to Do When a Friend Is Considering Abortion.” The four-step approach begins with listening to the woman about her concerns, and provides practical things to say or not say. “They are written in such a way to be accessible for folks in the pews, youth ministry, young adults, faith formation settings, and certainly the Catholic press, to draw attention to issues throughout the year,” McQuade says. “There are teachable moments that come up, and the articles are meant to be useful.” This year, the bishops’ yearlong Respect Life program, which kicked off last October, centers on the theme “Be Not Afraid.” “A lot of people have fear even thinking about these issues,” she says. Instead, McQuade suggests that people should feel encouraged, empowered, and equipped to do something. “Our faith gives us strength to inform ourselves and to speak out in love on these often controversial topics. People are hungry to know the truth. If we are good ambassadors and help people communicate the beauty of human life, people will join us to the benefit of many helpless people. Lives are at stake. “We have a duty to all vulnerable people—the poor, imprisoned, elderly, unborn—but we are also called to stand with people throughout the life span,” she says. Building on the foundational right to life, fighting hunger, and advocating for good housing, clean water, and education are both social justice and pro-life issues. “Catholic social teaching can’t be put in liberal or conservative categories,” she contends. “It’s richer than that. What we have to offer is unique and important.” McQuade says that everyone is called to build a culture of life and defend it. She suggests some practical ways: sign up with Human Life Action, which helps Catholics take action on the federal level by contacting their elected representatives; sign up to receive alerts from your state Catholic conference; participate in prayer campaigns leading up to and surrounding the March for Life; sign up for the USCCB’s e-newsletter; and check out the People of Life Facebook page. “The bishops have long since laid the blueprint for this culture of life; many people are participating,” she says. “We still need more. We run up against budget concerns and challenges when we face well-funded groups, but there are so many stories in Scripture where the little guy wins.” Respect Life program: usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program

Ann M. Augherton is the managing editor of the Arlington Catholic Herald, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia.

POPE FRANCIS ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT The pro-life movement includes a strong stance against capital punishment, a position also supported in the Catechism (2267). Pope Francis recently reaffirmed this aspect of Catholic pro-life teaching on the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at the Vatican on October 11. The pope said that the death penalty “heavily wounds human dignity” and is an “inhuman measure.” In his speech, he reminded the audience that the Church has only formally denounced capital punishment since 1969, when Pope Paul VI banned the death penalty in the Papal States. However, the death penalty had not actually been imposed since 1870. Pope Francis said capital punishment “is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor.” —Daniel Imwalle

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22 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org



New Life for

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS The Alliance for Catholic Education meets the needs of underresourced, inner-city Catholic schools.

By Kathy Coffey




OPPOSITE PAGE, clockwise from top left: The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) enriches teachers and students alike. At St. Mary Magdalen School in San Antonio, Texas, one student gets his week in order. One St. Mary Magdalen student wears an enthusiastic smile on her face and carries an armful of school materials during a November 2016 visit from ACE educators. A hallmark of the ACE program is the hands-on attention students receive, which is excellent training for the teachers too. Technology and academics go hand in hand these days, as witnessed by ACE teacher Megan Fink at St. John Berchmans School in San Antonio.

hoosh! Was that a gust of fresh air blowing through Catholic schools? Life-giving as the Spirit’s breath, that’s the invigorating work of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), based at the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana. This lively bunch is committed to giving every child, especially the most vulnerable, an opportunity for an excellent education. What began as a program to train teachers for children at risk has become education for principals, the rescue of failing schools, an initiative to enroll more Latino students, and several other efforts. All the branches of the program bring practical help to underresourced, inner-city Catholic schools. It’s a Catholic tradition in our country: education at its best has always been transformative. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was a pioneer, educating African Americans and girls, whom many at the time thought should simply learn to sew. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini’s schools for Italian immigrants, who at the time were a despised group, even utilized an abandoned saloon in the East Bronx. The lineage of those two saints continues today in a new form with ACE, which, since its founding over 20 years ago, has touched one in four Catholic schools in the United States. Cofounders Tim Scully and Sean McGraw, both Holy Cross priests (CSC), laugh about their shaky beginnings. “With no office, no faculty, and no budget, we invited Notre Dame seniors to take a risk,” says Scully. “We

knew this much: they’d live in community, teach in needy schools, develop their prayer, and do something intensely meaningful with their lives. Amazingly, 200 students came to the initial meeting, 100 applied to be teachers, and 40 formed the first cohort.” THE ACE EXPERIENCE

Like all teaching fellows, Deonna Smith, a graduate of the Jesuits’ Gonzaga University, spent a summer at the University of Notre Dame studying teaching to prepare for her first year. She continued her full-time studies online, immediately applying those skills in the classroom. One year after teaching fifth grade at St. Jarlath’s in Oakland, California, she returned to the Notre Dame campus for a summer of graduate courses. After a second year of teaching, she will earn a tuition-free master’s in education from Notre Dame. The fellows seem to agree: it’s the hardest and best thing they’ve ever done. By their first December, the cohorts stumble into an Austin, Texas, retreat center, described by Smith: “battle-scarred, crying, war-wounded. And there’s Father Joe [Carey, CSC] with cookies.” ACE nurtures teachers and restores sanity with laughter, encouragement, and mutual support. During the retreat, the fellows swap stories about factors beyond their control that hinder their students’ success: absences and tardies, parents who for various reasons aren’t more supportive, lack of resources, instability in StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 23

homes and neighborhoods. Then they turn all those challenges and issues over to God. LEMONADE FROM LEMONS

As Smith says, “We can’t teach our kids resilience if we aren’t first resilient!” She speaks with gumption of her “worker bee” students who reach the highest expectations she sets. “What I love most is, I can invest in their moral and character development.” She teaches them to work, both independently and in groups, to focus, think critically—in short, to become students. Taking the attitude of making lemonade from lemons, she projects English text on a screen for students to copy into their notebooks to punctuate. The lemon? The classroom has only one copy of the book. She assures students who need reliability, “I’ll be there every day, 7:30 to 4, September to June. You can count on me.” She says, “In urban schools, students need amazing teachers. They have enough obstacles already. I could teach fifth grade for the next 50 years, but they get it only once. So I want to do it right.” Fellow David Chang, the son of pastors in the Salvation Army, teaches seventh-grade English and eighth-grade social studies at St. Elizabeth’s in Oakland. He’d always dreamed of being a teacher and joined ACE after his graduation from Vanderbilt University. “I’m a nondenominational Protestant from Chicago,” he says, “who admires how the Catholic Church stands on the front line with urban schools.” He likes being in a place where Christianity is not frowned upon. “I’ll be passionate about Catholic schools for the rest of my life—I am where I am through their program.” He has his students repeat three times daily, “I’m going to college,” explaining, “I want them to realize that a world beyond high school is possible.” They confront formidable obstacles. Most parents don’t speak English and view graduation from grade school as a big deal. That’s a far cry from his own upbringing: “In my Korean culture, that rates a pat on a head and a, ‘What’s next, Harvard?’” One of his students is the daughter of a single mother who works at Quizno’s and doesn’t return home until 11 p.m. So, every day, the eighth-grader goes home to an empty house and cooks dinner for herself. “Our students struggle with various forms of trauma,” Chang explains. “One saw a dead body, shot in gang warfare, outside his home.” For their own protection, students want to look financially secure. “So they wear Jordans [expensive shoes] and use iPhones they can’t afford.” JESUS, THE TEACHER

“The deepest force driving all this activity,” says Father Lou DelFra, CSC, ACE’s director of pastoral life, “is the call of Christ, the teacher. Everything centers on our goals: excellent 24 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

With the support of ACE’s teacher pr ogram, this youn promise than a ho g student’s sign is pe. more a

education and formation into Christ.” That foundation is echoed in the sign at St. Elizabeth’s in Oakland: “Be it known to all who enter here that Christ is the reason for this school.” Every new teacher tries to develop a rigorous spirituality that can withstand failure, enable risk-taking, and assure cooperation with those who may be less gifted (a sensitivity especially important for the college high achievers). The fellows’ prayer lives give them stamina for the roller coaster of first-year teaching: from elated breakthroughs to the splat of spitballs. Gradually, they come to realize that success comes not from their efforts, but from God’s grace. While much Catholic spirituality has been developed by and for religious communities, ACE wisely recognizes the need for a lay style and vocabulary. Centered on Christ, the Gospel, and the Eucharist, how do lives of service take shape around other legitimate demands of career and family? Smith praises her colleagues who “intentionally model Christ-like behavior: with each other, the lunch lady, the parents, the custodian.” So her student Ricky, who has autism, is never made fun of, feels safe and supported, and has real friends.


The show of hands at St. James the Apostle School in San Antonio speaks volumes about the students’ eagerness to learn and succeed in school.

TODAY’S IMMIGRANTS CLEARLY THERE IS A DEMOGRAPHIC imperative to find creative ways to increase Latino enrollment in Catholic schools. Previous waves of immigrants were formed and educated there. The same need exists with immigrants today.

On the American Catholic Blog: • • • •

Messages from Franciscan friars Recommended reading Thoughtful reflections Prayers and inspiration


Multiple factors deter enrollment, but the worst are fears about cost and lack of information. In many Latin American countries, only the rich can afford Catholic schools. Here, a pervasive misconception leads parents to believe that tuition is double or triple the actual cost. Some families are undocumented, hesitant to fill out forms, and unfamiliar with banks in the United States. In response, dioceses such as Joliet, St. Petersburg, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles have successfully increased Latino enrollment. Their strategies include recruitment of Spanish-speaking staff, tuition assistance through the Catholic Education Foundation, personal invitations, and full-time field consultants to educate the Latino community. Many schools now display welcome signs in Spanish and culturally sensitive religious imagery throughout the campus, with Our Lady of Guadalupe prominent. Religious education and sacramental preparation classes are held in the school, so parents discover it’s a friendly environment. A network of madrinas and padrinos—influential community members who become liaisons between families and schools—helps parents navigate systems that might seem formidable. To inspire leadership, since 2011 the University of Notre Dame has sponsored the School Pastors’ Institute for almost 800 pastors, and the Latino Enrollment Institute, in which 63 schools participated last year. By October, attendees reported enrolling 660 new Latino students and increasing Latino enrollment by 25 percent. StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 25

• Some may think that underresourced schools floundering in urban neighborhoods with high crime and poverty sound depressing. For cities and states with parental-choice scholarships, though, ACE provides resources and support in Catholic identity, finance, professional development, family, and community engagement. • Take St. John’s in Tucson, for instance, the school that makes Principal Keiran Roche (see accompanying article) proud. In 2009, they were on the brink of closing. After becoming a Notre Dame ACE Academy, their enrollment has grown, and annual revenue has increased by more than $500,000. STAR Math Results (2011–2015)

• Their mathMath and NPR reading scores are impressive, as(Spring) Median (Fall) Median Math NPR illustrated in the graphs below:


70 STAR Math Results (2011–2015) 60

Median Math NPR (Fall)

Median Math NPR (Spring)

80 50 70 40 60 30 50 20 40 10 300









20 10 0

St. John the Evangelist, Tucson, Arizona ITBS Reading Results (2011–2015) New Students


After 1 Year

After 2+ Years

St. John the Evangelist, Tucson, Arizona ITBS Reading Results (2011–2015)

40 New Students

After 1 Year

After 2+ Years

50 30 40 20







All Grades


All Grades

Grade Levels 10 26 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org


Success in training inner-city teachers led ACE leaders to develop a similar program for principals. Chilling statistics underscore the challenges of directing a school: more than 1,800 Catholic schools closed or consolidated between 2004 and 2014. Notre Dame counters with its own mission-driven and data-informed corps of hope. Leaders study academic excellence, strong school culture, and executive management skills. They also learn finance, human-resource management, education law, and policy. They make five retreats and have many other opportunities for spiritual growth. To date, more than 300 education professionals have graduated with master of arts degrees in educational leadership. Today 75 percent of those graduates lead schools in 38 states. Keiran Roche, an Australian who became principal of St. John the Evangelist in Tucson, Arizona, during his first summer in the program, says enthusiastically: “The best formation I received from the leadership program was to never accept, ‘We’ve always done it that way!’ With that mantra, I took what I learned and in four years moved our school from 160 to 425 students. There is no greater work than what we do: putting students on the path to college and heaven.” Especially, he speaks of how helpful the cohort model has been: “I had at least 30 other passionate Catholic educators to call upon in an instant. The intensive focus of a leadership summer drove us together,” he says. And it brought them to their knees too: “Collaboration and prayer were skills not listed on the syllabus, but they got me through my first year!” He describes the program in the most Catholic of terms—sacramental. “After one summer at Notre Dame, I returned to Tucson ready to lead with zeal,” seeing his school in a new light. “Everything from the artifacts in the rooms, to the people in the building, to the budgets being drafted, became an area where God can be known, loved, and served.” He speaks from the heart of the Church, saying, “Only aspiring leaders who want to change the world should apply.” He compares the ACE teachers’ motivation to that of the development of Catholic education in America by (primarily) women religious. “It’s the same spirit at work here,” he says. The late author Brian Doyle once described the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which sponsors Notre Dame, as “sworn agents of the wild idea that light defeats darkness and hope hammers despair, when we know the evidence everywhere is to the contrary.” Living the Gospel demands bite and boldness; ACE proves it can be done with flagrant joy. Kathy Coffey is a widely published, award-winning freelance writer. Her latest book is When the Saints Came Marching In (Liturgical Press). She is grandmother to “6 under 6,” writes, and gives workshops and retreats. For more info, see KathyJCoffey.com.

30 10 20 0







Grade Levels



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StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 27


Investing in Creation

Kyle is the executive director of the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center, which offers interfaith educational programming in meditation, ecology, and social compassion. He serves as a Catholic climate ambassador for the US Conference of Catholic Bishopssponsored Catholic Climate Covenant and is the author of A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt (Ave Maria Press, 2010). He speaks across the country on issues of ecology and spirituality. He and his family spent 15 years as organic farmers and homesteaders in Spencer County, Indiana. EarthandSpiritCenter.org


WANT MORE? Visit our website: StAnthonyMessenger.org


t’s the holiday hangover period of early January. Our sobering December bank statements and credit card bills have arrived, and we realize that even as we’re loosening our belts after all that great Christmas food, we’d better tighten them after all that Christmas shopping. Bring on the New Year’s resolutions—not only for diet and exercise, but also for financial restraint and thrift. As my Scandinavian family says in our polite Midwestern substitute for four-letter words: Uff da! Most of us, I suspect, aren’t on the easiest terms with money. Why is it such a challenge to make, save, and spend it in a responsible and life-giving way, both in our personal finances and in our society at large? The problem is partly human nature: we aren’t the rational, benefit-maximizing creatures of economics textbooks. We tend toward short-term satisfaction rather than long-term discipline. As a result, the vast majority of us are in debt, have inadequate savings for a rainy day and retirement, or both. We also tell ourselves the wrong stories about money. We believe the twin myths of scarcity and consumption: there’s never enough, so we’d better get (and spend) whatever we can. Assuming this as the inevitable status quo, we perpetuate an economy that is deemed healthy only if it is growing. That means consuming more energy and raw materials—and creating more pollution and

28 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org



We all need sufficient savings, but imagine that money is like water, which becomes stagnant if it doesn’t flow. How can you let it flow responsibly through your life?


Lynn Twist’s The Soul of Money is a great book to help you examine your relationship with money.


Take a month to track all­—­­yes, all­—your expenses. Ask yourself what values you express in your saving, spending, and sharing.


Kyle Kramer

waste, which our Earth can’t sustain. There is good news in all of this, however. Jesus had a lot to say about our relationship with money, and he invited us into freedom: not to demonize or idolize money, but to have it serve us, rather than the other way around. He also countered the myth of scarcity with the gospel of sufficiency, assuring us that God would give us our daily bread, but not extra barns (or bank accounts) to hoard more than we need. Being at home on Earth means making money choices that create and support the world we want—where all have enough, and where God’s creation thrives. With God’s help, we can make peace with money and become its master—rather than its servant—through our personal attitudes and choices, and in our broadscale cultural assumptions and the fiscal policy of our government. Then we’ll have a world where the birds of the air and lilies in the fields will still be around to teach us the meaning of trust.


Looking for a quiet moment in your busy day? Minute Meditations is a free daily resource to feed your spirit.

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of the


The next generation of friars will certainly be smaller than the current one. What might that mean? By John Feister | Photography by Karen Callaway


30 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org



e hear all sorts of statistics about the closing and merging of parishes, the crisis of priestly vocations, the shrinking of religious orders. Those things are happening, but there’s new life brewing too. Ask a young or new Franciscan today about the future, and you hear a lot of hope. “We’re not thinking, It’s going to be terrible around here. What are we going to do? No, we just have to work all together,” says Abel Garcia, OFM. Friar Abel lives at St. Joseph Friary, near Catholic Theological Union, one of the largest Catholic theology schools in the English-speaking world. We are on Chicago’s South Side, a community well known for its struggle against gang violence and murder, but we’re in Hyde Park, an oasis of sorts. The University of Chicago is a few blocks south; the Museum of Science and Industry is a few blocks east; a few hundred feet farther are joggers, walkers, and cyclists on the 18-mile Lakefront Trail—at least when weather permits anyone to recreate by Lake Michigan. As you read this, Chicago’s blistering winds and inches of snow are more likely.



StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 31

On the preceding pages we see the friars in front of their Hyde Park friary; on the opposite page is John Boissy in the bookshop next to St. Peter’s Parish, in the heart of Chicago. He’s a jack-ofall-trades, it seems, a woodworker at heart. The bookstore puts him squarely among the people of the parish.

There are 18 friars from various states at is speaking of how he is preparing to be in St. Joseph’s, a thriving community where, in the smaller Franciscan Order of the future, a large red brick house-turned-friary, they even in the midst today of a larger, older gather early in the morning and again in the group of friars, most of whom joined in the evening, between ministry, classes, and study, years before so many people from all over left for Liturgy of the Hours and daily Eucharist. celibate ministry, after which so few younger It’s a far cry from the isolated, huge institumen joined. A nearby friar nods in affirmations of the past. tion. The days of high school seminaries are a “O Lord, open my lips,” proclaims today’s distant memory. cantor. As these friars are seated around a Friar John is an aspiring lay brother—24 front room to form a simple choir for prayer, years old, a woodworker by interest who one hears through the window every so hopes to continue in that direction. He was often the brakes, the doors opening, the bell on a waiting list to go to furniture-making and announcement, the doors closing, then trade school and working two jobs (ski the muffled roar of the city buses on Route instructor and parking garage assistant) when 55. The stop is just beyond the he responded to a deeper calling. front porch. “And my mouth will Among the Franciscans, Friar proclaim your praise,” responds John sees a place where he will be Friar John the group in unison. Thirteen appreciated for who he is: “The sees a friars-in-training, guided by the friars respect each individual’s place for example of the other five, are gifts.” That didn’t seem always to be simplicity, learning their new lifestyle among the case when he looked at other for working the people of God, in the heart of orders. “The friars were definitely a bustling city. the most open to me and my desire wood with What is it about being a for woodworking and furniture his hands. Franciscan? We gathered a group making.” So, in future Franciscan of four relatively new friars life, Friar John sees a place for simat a table in the corner of St. plicity, for working with his hands Joseph’s basement recreation room and asked with the respect of the friars around him. He’s them. Three of these men are in their 20s a member of Cincinnati’s St. John the Baptist and 30s, and one is just over 50, all of them Province. in the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), the Friar Jim, at age 51 the oldest of the friars Franciscans who sponsor this magazine. at this table, was a New York banker. His All have completed the earliest stages of home parish is St. Francis of Assisi in lower formation and now are professed for one year Manhattan. In his pre-friar days, he walked by at a time as they move through this proit each day on his way to work as an executive, gram of study and further discernment. At managing 70 people at a multibillion-dollar each man’s final, solemn profession, he will banking firm. He fidgets with his Franciscan promise a lifetime of poverty, obedience, and cord occasionally during our discussion; celibacy, in Franciscan community, for one perhaps he’s just getting used to wearing it. purpose: spreading the good news of Jesus in In Manhattan, he found time to do volunteer word and deed. work at the parish, including serving on a Rite Meet Friars Joshua Critchley, Jim Bernard, of Christian Initiation of Adults team (trainAbel Garcia, and John Boissy. A few months ing incoming Catholics) and working in some ago, just before All Saints’ Day, we talked of the community outreach programs, among about their hopes and dreams for the future. them the friars’ famous St. Francis Soup These friars look to a future living in a Kitchen. “I was inspired by the friars who I changing Church, and are moving toward a worked with there,” he says. time when there certainly will be far fewer His future seems a bit unclear at this point: Franciscans. “To be honest, I haven’t met a ministry I haven’t liked yet, which is kind of a problem ‘WHERE PEOPLE HAVE THE MOST NEED’ when you’re discerning about what you want “There are almost two different cultures going to do in the future!” he says. But, “I think, nathere,” says Friar John, quickly qualifying, “I’m urally, you want to help somebody.” So he sees not pushing that; I’m just observing that.” He his future as a priest in those terms. “I think

32 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

Friar John Boissy

age: 24 | St. John the Baptist Province, Cincinnati, Ohio

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 33

Friar Abel stands outside Cook County jail, home to 1600 inmates in 800 cells. Here he ministers to the men, hearing their stories, praying with them, being an instrument of mercy as he trains for his future in the Franciscans.

the idea is that we need to strategically position ourselves where the people are who have the most need.” There are many different populations at this point who are suffering social injustices, he observes. “That is something that’s very close to our Franciscan hearts, and so we want to be there for those people.” Especially in a political climate that has created an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty, and division among people, he says, Franciscans are “about being bridge builders and about being instruments of peace.” Those are places where he sees a Franciscan future. Friar Abel, tall and energetic, draws on his family experience most deeply. He is Salvadoran by birth, an immigrant, also from New York’s Holy Name Province. He

Friar Abel Garcia

age: 36 | Holy Name Province, New York City

34 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

came to the United States, to North Carolina, at age 19 (he’s now 36) “like many immigrants, to help the family and provide a better life for them.” In that fearful journey into the unknown, he sees St. Francis. “He did that, to move from something to something else, to give for others,” Friar Abel says, waving his arms for emphasis. At his North Carolina parish, Abel found the Franciscans, then joined them. What he sees in the future of the Franciscans is not so much a what as a how. Francis challenges all of us to step into the unknown on our own journey, he says, and along the way, to be hospitable. “I say that because I’m an immigrant—one of them— and I know what that means, the experience. I know what it is to live with uncertainty. You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.” He echoes what another friar at the table says, about moving from fixing things with certainty to being with people and all of the uncertainties of their situations: “I can listen to them. I can be with them, and I can try to put myself in their shoes, but I never would have the same experience because each experience is different.” His appreciation for uncertainty translates in this group’s unpredictable experiences as Franciscans today. Finally, there’s Friar Joshua, a member of Immaculate Conception Province, also based in Manhattan. He is steering toward parish ministry as a priest, possibly with some role as a teacher too. He’s 23 years old and wears a thin, rust-colored beard. He’s from Connecticut and now five years a friar. Immaculate Conception friars do some of their formation in Italy (a strong European ethnic identity remains at the core of that province). He visited Assisi occasionally while studying in Rome. There he came to appreciate the sense of beauty that surely will continue to drive Franciscans. He speaks of a visit to the cave near Greccio, Italy, where, long ago, St. Francis asked villagers to reenact the Nativity scene. Today there’s a chapel built into the cave. “I had the chance to go to the little chapel. There’s the story of the Nativity, of the angel coming, of the birth of Jesus, and it was just such a beautiful moment for me. Just to think of Francis being there and wanting to create this scene in this imposing mountainside!” That sense of awe and beauty runs deep, feed-

“I kind of feel like I’m going to be pulled and moved to where people need me. I think it’s kind of exciting—an adventure, really.” —Friar Jim

ing the quality of Franciscan spirituality not only for Friar Joshua, but also for Franciscans everywhere. That spirituality, along with collaboration with laity, will be key in the order’s future, says Friar Joshua. First will come each friar’s identity as a Franciscan. “For the Franciscan life, in particular, maybe it’s not a new challenge, but it’s going to be how we balance our fraternal life—our life together as brothers—with our ministry.” That will be especially important, he says, “maybe with fewer numbers than we have today.” Along with that, Friar Joshua predicts a need for Franciscans to cominister all the more closely with others. There’s always work to be done, he says: “There’s always going to be a parish somewhere; there’s always going to be the poor that we can assist.” But having fewer Franciscans means the laity “are going to be more and more essential to the Franciscans in all of our mission.” THE COMPASSION OF FRANCIS

Simplicity, solidarity, trust, beauty—all in the context of the how, the Way of the Gospel— these will be key values driving who the Franciscans will become in the hands of this next generation. “I think my future is really going to be something like a priest in transition or in motion,” says Friar Jim. He doesn’t see himself in terms of friars from recent generations who have been assigned to parishes for many years. “I kind of feel like I’m going to be pulled and moved to where people need me. . . . I think it’s kind of exciting—sort of an adventure, really.” Perhaps he speaks for the others when he tempers that with a desire to follow the lead of the Franciscan family—especially his provincial (who, no doubt, reads this magazine). “I think the key to this life is to stay open,” Friar Jim says. Friar John’s perception is that the past might have offered more of a cookiecutter approach. Friar Abel picks up on that,

Friar Jim Bernard

age: 51 | Holy Name Province, New York City Friar Jim, once a Wall Street banker, now is selling simpler wares, surrounded by saints, in a ministry of care. He’s working at the friars’ St. Francis Book Shop, not far from his banking office. Talking to customers, pointing them to resources, he has become a spiritual guide. StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 35

“There are difficult things, challenges that arise from being a Franciscan. But with a little compassion for each other as brothers . . .”

—Friar Joshua

Friar Joshua Critchley

age: 23 | Immaculate Conception Province, New York City Friar Joshua helps with campus ministry at St. Xavier University, where he also takes classes. He is standing next to the unique bronze tabernacle in McDonough Chapel, inspired by the translation from the first sentence of the Bible, “and the spirit hovered over the waters.” 36 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

acknowledging a challenge “to see where there is really the most need.” None of these four is worried about numbers, though Friar John admits, “I would like to see it turn around.” Each of these men takes inspiration from the stories of St. Francis, this one from Friar Joshua. It’s a story from St. Francis’ early days when the friars were fasting. He retells the story: “Suddenly this one friar starts moaning, ‘Oh, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I’m hungry.’ So Francis breaks the fast and the friars eat. They feast, and then they all go back to bed, and the friar is content. Then the next night, according to one retelling, another friar starts moaning and Francis says, ‘Go to bed. That’s enough.’ I just love that story.” Friar Joshua loves that story, he says, because it shows the compassion of Francis. “You know, maybe it’s Francis acknowledging that this life is hard. There are difficult things, challenges that arise from being a Franciscan and all these things. But with a little compassion for each other as brothers, we can help each other to kind of walk through the difficult times, to journey with each other.” But why did he tell the friar on the second night to go back to bed? “I don’t really know,” he admits. “I just love that detail, though. I think it’s hilarious!” Back home from a Sunday evening Mass at the University of Chicago’s Newman Center, Friar Joshua brings his Kierkegaard textbook to the TV room to read as he watches Game 5 of the World Series. Another friar texts away on his cell phone. Somebody mentions how hard the philosophy courses are. “I understand what all of the words mean, until you put them together!” Friar Joshua quips, to a roomful of laughter. That’s a bit of joy, shared in community, in the face of adversity. St. Francis would approve. John Feister is editor at large of this publication. He has master’s degrees in humanities and in theology from Xavier University, Cincinnati.

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Love Has No Limits This pediatric hospice models respect for life, brief as it may be. By Carol Ann Morrow | Photographs courtesy of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital 38 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org




iana Carter was a youthful first-time mom. Her husband, Artrez, had the same optimistic credentials. They were excited, but the obstetrician cut a wide swath of alarm into their anticipation. The doctor told them at the gender reveal that their son-to-be was unlikely to live. Kiana remembers the moment. “Why, why, why, God? I don’t know if I can handle this. But let me raise him. Let me love him. I will serve you the rest of my life.” AJ is her miracle baby. HOSPICE FOR INFANTS?

Hospice is the gold standard for end-of-life care. But it’s designed for those of us who have lived long enough to share in life’s adventures. Elders have known life’s wear and tear, have made lots of choices, and may even be ready to surrender. But what if the end comes all too close to life’s beginning? What if the child you’re expecting faces a challenge? What if the delicate nature of this new, welcomed life is threatened by extreme limitations? What if the first meeting outside the womb might also

be the last? Where is the hospice for stillborns or fragile newborns? Who will walk with those who cannot walk themselves? Who will help their parents and caregivers? Who will prepare the family? For families across the Midwest, it would be StarShine. AJ PUTS THE STAR IN STARSHINE

AJ (Artrez Jr.) Carter is one face of StarShine. When AJ faces front, his is a typical littleboy face, if a bit tiny. But change the angle even slightly and AJ’s life-limiting burden becomes all too apparent. AJ was born with a rare occipital encephalocele at the back of his head. It resembles a gauze-covered balloon. AJ’s encephalocele has increased in size, as has AJ, though not in keeping with the growth charts. Delicate and susceptible to leaks and infections, his encephalocele is heavy enough to prevent this little boy from lifting his head. He is subject to brief seizures. So, while he is 3 years old, he can’t crawl or walk, run or climb. What he can do is steal your heart. Developmentally, AJ cannot speak but shows affection for his parents and grandparents with a happy agitation. This love is

OPPOSITE PAGE: AJ talks with his bright eyes. His mom helped him look his best for these photos, while his dad had to leave early for work. When Kiana herself is at work, AJ’s grandmother cares for him. ABOVE: AJ gets expert attention from social worker Mary Dwyer and the entire StarShine team, including therapists and Julia Schrand, RN, who is checking his vitals.

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 39

AJ lies on the couch, which supports his heavy encephalocele. Happily, the fluid-filled sac was detached by a team of surgeons in a daylong effort last August. While postsurgical complications kept him hospitalized for more than a month, AJ is now back home with his parents.

mutual, shown in soothing caresses, careful holding, and superb care. A still larger circle of care embraces this toddler who can’t yet toddle. That circle is called StarShine. COMFORT AND CARING

StarShine, a hospice focused on pediatric palliative care, is one of only a few in the United States. It’s part of the home health-care department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. It’s no stretch to call it a ministry. It’s no exaggeration to call it extraordinary. Staff members, without exception, exude an optimistic enthusiasm and dedication to partnering with their tiny clients. They embrace their careers as a vocation. When called, they rise in the middle of the night to be StarShine to a child in crisis or a family fearful of a new symptom, or to provide comfort in the presence of dying and death. The constellation called StarShine is shaped by many talents. The pediatric nurses are experienced specialists in chronic, life-limiting, or terminal conditions. But StarShine also offers social services, a Once thought too delicate to surchaplaincy, counseling, vive a lengthy surgery, AJ received physical therapies so much love from his parents and including massage, and from StarShine that he grew into a assistive equipment like special beds or lifts, as viable candidate. A new transition well as music and art in his young life has begun. therapies. “We meet 40 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

you where you are” is their watchword. PREPARING FOR BIRTH

Young AJ and his parents are familiar with almost every facet of StarShine. When their first child-to-be was 18 weeks in utero (and very playful there, his mother says), they learned of his life-threatening diagnosis. The expectant parents were referred by their obstetrician to StarShine’s perinatal program, which accompanies the parents from diagnosis to delivery. Kiana and Artrez were prepared both to meet their child and to say goodbye to him. Marcella Meyer, bereavement coordinator, and chaplain Judy McBride met with them to consider a birthing plan. Did they want aggressive measures? Did they want to have a religious ritual—a Baptism or a blessing—in their faith tradition? StarShine knows whom to call. Without a plan, Meyer says, “The default is to whisk the baby away.” When AJ was born at 39 weeks, Kiana got to hold him right away. The extended family took photos, and imprints were made of his tiny hand and tiny foot. His parents were encouraged to decorate them and to record all their impressions of their highly anticipated firstborn. They made a memory box. They chose to keep their baby out of the operating room and in their arms. Why consider a surgical intervention for a child too delicate to survive it? They were prepared to initiate

funeral arrangements. But they didn’t need them. AJ lived. HOSPICE IS DERIVED FROM HOSPITALITY

Kiana and Artrez got to take their newborn home. Instructions went far beyond the usual feed/sleep/change/repeat cycle, but StarShine is well equipped to care for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions. StarShine’s Hospice Program anticipates about six months or less. But rather than spend this precious time in a clinical setting, StarShine enables newborns to sleep in their own cribs, explains Susanne Evans, StarShine’s clinical director. “Whatever their journey entails, the family can be together in their home. The nurse sometimes stays with them because the family knows the baby will die in their home. This can be scary. The team can handle all the details so that the family can focus on the child.” Denise Gaige, nursing coordinator, says, “I love the pace of StarShine. The focus is on family comfort, not cure.” She finds her Catholic faith central to her work at StarShine. “I found our parish church the place where I could contemplate the first [infant] death I was experiencing.” She stops there to pray and process. “I am helping with a person’s final transition—to heaven. It’s important work! “Our nurses do a lot more than take a temperature,” Gaige says. “Usually we begin

or end our visits by sitting at the kitchen table and asking, ‘How’s things?’ We are part of their team.” TRANSITIONS

AJ long ago exceeded those six months of hospice care, so he was “transitioned.” That’s what StarShine calls it. Physician-ordered skilled medical attention continues, with support from the extensive StarShine team. The Transitions Palliative Care program is also available to young people diagnosed later in their lives with a serious and/or chronic illness that may limit the number of their days, but need not require them to live in pain and sadness. Child life specialists work with siblings. For AJ, StarShine Transitions includes skilled-nurse visits as well as on-call visits when needed. Social worker Mary Dwyer visits him monthly and helps to coordinate or suggest other services. StarShine team members can provide many services at the home that might otherwise require a hospital or clinic visit, such as blood draws and even transfusions. When the StarShine music therapist visited AJ and his parents, AJ made some music on a keyboard with his feet, which delighted him—and everyone present. For Dwyer, this arena of social services is “life-giving and inspiring.” She has seen Kiana and Artrez grow in love for one another and in the strength they offer to AJ. She sees it

The help StarShine has given the Carters helped his busy parents to rejoice in their son and to feel confident that they were caring for him properly and giving him every chance to progress, despite his life-limiting condition.

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 41

RIGHT: Christina Weinel and her son Caden found their hearts lighter after a weekend at Camp LionHeart. OPPOSITE PAGE: Greta Yusko flew through the air with the greatest of ease on a zipline at Camp LionHeart.

as “the gift we get.” Susanne Evans, clinical director, believes that the StarShine team has contributed significantly to AJ’s longevity by enabling his parents to care for him at home. ‘A SACRED JOURNEY’

It may appear unseemly to speak of funerals when a child is alive. For the moment, AJ’s parents have been able to file away the plans made when they didn’t expect to bring their baby home. StarShine frequently works with parents who don’t have this opportunity. Marcella Meyer uses her PhD in sociology and her 12 years of on-the-job experience to serve as bereavement coordinator at StarShine. When a baby dies in a clinical setting, StarShiners empower parents with a sense of control. Do they want time with their newborn? Whom do they wish to have present? What kind of care do they want for an infant born with a terminal condition? Medical interventions will probably take the child from them, StarShine points out. Do they want that? Will they want photos? StarShine can make arrangements. Chaplain Judy McBride describes the death of a child as the “worst loss anyone can endure.” She confesses that she has learned a lot from parents about how to cope with such a loss. She relies on David’s psalms of lament as scriptural proof that God can handle human anger—even at an “out-of-order” death. McBride says, “I meet the most amaz-

42 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

ing people. . . . For me, it’s a sacred journey.” Meyer recalls a father who was firm about excluding an older brother from the experience of the birth of a little sister not expected to live. As she and McBride worked with the family, that resolve evaporated and the brother became a part of both the joy and the sorrow. He even wrote a story for his little sister, a story he read to her during the few hours of life she shared with her family. StarShine continues that journey of bereavement with families for two years. While this may seem like the natural conclusion of StarShine’s involvement, they do still more. Camp LionHeart is a weekend grief camp for kids, teens, and parents in families who have lost a child. It has all the hallmarks of any summer camp with swimming, hiking, and the like, but it also offers structured group counseling with licensed facilitators. StarShine finds that having fun can be hard for family members who are grieving, but gathering with others who have had the same experience can help to ease that burden. THE NEXT CHAPTER

Kiana Carter says that every child writes his or her own story. AJ is writing a new chapter as the surgeons at Children’s Hospital removed the encephalocele in a daylong operation last August. Because he is stronger than at birth, his prognosis is promising, though his recovery from the surgery was complicated due to


LEFT: Smiles come more easily in the sunshine, as Will, Natalie, Cason, and Kennedy Lundstrom can attest. A little more than a year ago, they went to Camp LionHeart grief camp to help them deal with the loss of a child.

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Carol Ann (Munchel) Morrow is the oldest of nine children. Her youngest sister, Lara Ellen, was born with a life-limiting condition and died on Mother’s Day at the age of 10 months. This experience is the lens through which she came to appreciate StarShine and to honor its mission.


Counting the Stars StarShine’s census averages 100 patients a year. Last summer’s census follows:

8 in hospice 25 in perinatal program 45 in transition

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Worldwide Marriage Encounter

th 50North Anniversary American Convention

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infections that kept him hospitalized. Kiana and Artrez Carter know that StarShine will continue their journey with them, making memories together and providing guidance and courage as tough decisions are required. The multifaceted team pledges to meet the Carter family—and all the families whom they serve—where they are. That means the world to families who find themselves in a place no one wants to be—facing fatality where only new life was expected. StarShine indeed gives light in the darkness.

Save the Date

June 22-24, 2018 The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, Lombard, IL

We Remember. We Celebrate. We Believe. We ask all couples, Priests and Religious who have attended the Worldwide Marriage Encounter to please join us by registering for the 2018 WWME 50th Anniversary Celebration Convention at wwme2018.org

For information on attending the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend visit: www.wwme.org StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 43



She found her answer in the stars.

44 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org


By Juliana Gerace



Yes, I’ll be back before the clock strikes midnight. Promise!” She gave her older sister a hug and left the large cabin with Amber—her husky—and a sleeping bag. Jen had assembled some logs and tinder earlier in the day, and now the cold, crisp air and the irregular crackling of the fire offered a restful break from the overstimulation of holiday socializing with family and colleagues. Looming close was the disappointment that her two-year relationship with Evan had not resulted in their spending Christmas together. Yes, there was that. In fact, he had moved on before Thanksgiving, when it seemed that her life breath had been sucked from her. At the time, she couldn’t imagine going on alone. The strain for her was still real. She had to stand strong at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and now through New Year’s Eve and beyond. She would. She was still whole and undiminished, though changed, even amid the unspoken questions she read in the faces of her family members. After too many years of wondering when, if, and how she would get married, they had stopped asking. Nevertheless, the questions hovered like the creamy and peppered smoke from Evan’s pipe. She had always chosen a different path, it seemed, and they usually honored her differentness with respectful space. A mere glance at her with a soft tilt of their heads, and she felt the questions freeze on their tongues. That’s just Jen, was what they were probably thinking. When she had chosen the path of science and study—never dreaming it would have the corollary of hardly fitting in anywhere else—she clearly distinguished herself with brilliance. Never did she realize that her pursuit of excellence in research would mean she hardly had time to account for the years that had passed and how she had evolved into a very driven academic. The spark and crackle of the fire reflected the tenuousness of it all. Only her childhood friend Simone had found a way to name the singleness she was feeling right now. Successful, married, and now serving in the medical profession, Simone was stable, like the rocks that clung to this rugged New England coast. She really had the gift of

understanding and naming experiences like this. Her perspective was personal and spoton. It wasn’t only that she didn’t have a committed life companion, though that was part of it. Simone had put it this way: “Jen, you have not yet found your niche for this season of life. When you do, you’ll know it. You’ll see yourself in it, like a picture.” “Simone, you have a knack for finding the words for what otherwise seems like a bunch of mad electrons swirling in my mind.” he former scene dissipated as the warmth of the fire brought her thoughts back to the present. “Aren’t we lucky, Amber?” Stroking the soft forehead of her contented companion, she could hear the beating of the dog’s tail as it hit the cold ground and see the silver hues of her coat glistening in the fire’s light. Amber licked her hand, concurring agreeably. Time melted into the night air. If not for some snapping of twigs—along with the clinking of glass—Jen would not have heard the soft stepping of her good friend as she approached on this forest carpet. “Hope I’m not crashing in, but I felt too confined in there. The kids are all asleep in the game room, and John is there. Your family is having a great time and I didn’t think anyone would mind. Anyway, John knows where to find me.” “Not at all! We hardly get together anymore, what with work and your kids.” “Brought some wine and two glasses in case you’re cold.” Simone loved the night sky, too, and wrapped in a blanket, joined Jen in the upward gazing. As they leaned back to absorb the dazzling, jeweled firmament, Jen felt as if she was soaking in the glowing energy of the universe. The quiet was intoxicating. “So, some say we’re stardust, formed with basic carbon, originally and uniquely, like stars. On nights like this, I’m OK with that, but only if we add the important distinction of our souls. We have souls, and because of that, we’re complex, transcendent beings with a unique purpose. We look at the sky and wonder how marvelous and beautiful, intricately designed and intelligently operative all of creation actually is, while at the same


StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 45

fiction time acknowledging that none of it had to be. There is nothcommunity would not sway her. There would be protests ing here that could have caused itself to exist, nor caused the from some—and disappointment—along with jockeying for the vacuum she would leave. Nevertheless, her mind was existence of something out of nothing before there was time. made up. But, boom! It all exists in intricate and elegant order!” “Well, first of all, I haven’t declared my intentions yet, Simone was happy to listen. Jen had seemed so pensive except to you. Tell no one! But I’m firm. I’ll finish the acaand a bit reclusive over Christmas. This was better. “Are you with me, Simone?” demic year. That’s not a problem, and, in fact, it’s just right for me in terms of time.” “You bet. . . . I’m listening.” “Jen, you’re serious, aren’t you? What on earth are you “Why? Why is it all here when it didn’t have to be? Why is going to do after resigning? I hardly know what to think!” it all so gratuitously beautiful?” “Simone, listen to me. You know I’ve talked about a simJen seemed to see her students, colleagues, and mentors pler, less prominent profile. My heart has been saying that in a vast procession on the carpet ride of space. She felt so fortunate to share the wonder of inquiry with others who to me for some time. What you don’t know is that I have an offer from the observatory in Chile to follow my heart and doggedly wrestled to uncover the formulas underlying the devote my time to the space theory I more than intuitively physical universe. But far more, she felt blessed to be able sense but cannot prove . . . yet.” to contemplate it all, like shepherds and wise men of old, “You are serious. Wow, I had no idea this plan of yours through the eyes of faith. With that gift she could see that all was already in the works.” of it bore the signature of the consummate communicator “Yeah, it didn’t seem like a good thing to talk and Divine Artist, who seemed to design it all so about until I had some clarity and peace in my beautifully in order to say, “It’s for you, with love.” own mind—and heart.” Simone was captured by the thoughts Jen Let it “Is this why Evan left?” shared. As she gazed at the night sky, she thought be, she Jen missed a breath, and felt a little heavy. of her children and how they would discover the thought. “No, not really. He knew I had been offered majesty and mystery of the stars. Maybe it was This is a grant for research in Chile. It flattered both of time for their first trip to a planetarium. right, but us, I think. He even said he’d follow me there. ime was ticking on some clock, but this place God help Imagine. Anyway, it was my personal decision. was a still point. me, it’s a As I considered the offer, two things became “Sure is a great night for stargazing. Glad I leap—or a clear. More than anything, I really want to devote came out. Hey, Jen, now that the New Year is here, myself to research. It might even require the rest have you decided what you’re doing? Last time I free fall! of my life, I know. But secondly, I want to give called, you said you were close to a decision.” some of my life to aspiring young scientists and Jen zipped down the sleeping bag, jumped up, feel I could provide educational opportunities to and started pacing exuberantly. She had taken the students there. So, research for posterity, service for real-time better part of a year to come to the answer, but she was now needs.” certain. “Yes, I have! You might as well be the first to know.” he said nothing more for a while. Her mind and heart Amber dutifully followed her pacing, her bushy gray tail embraced in peace, and she felt more free and alive than wagging joyfully beat for beat. she thought possible. “Want it like a headline? I think this calls for a toast! Hey, Part of what had precipitated the present decision was a it’s not midnight, is it?” growing realization over time that, in striving to stay on top “Midnight? Nah. Anyway, I set the phone in my pocket to of her game as a preeminent scientist and theorist, the need get us out of here around 11:45.” to beat the competition had actually overtaken the pursuit of “Good enough. Hey, hold the wine, we’ll toast inside. For truth. Increasingly, she had become more intent on pursuing now, you and only you get the news.” fresh discoveries for her own sake, that is, for the position she After a cautious pause and glance around, Jen continued, wished to defend in the scientific and academic community. proclamation-style: “Dr. Jen Haverstock has submitted her There it was—she had to admit it. That motive had raced resignation to be effective at the end of the spring semester. past her vision of a greater, higher good. It had been subtle She is stepping down as department chair of the university’s and somewhat driven by the need to excel from behind, a graduate studies program in astrophysics!” pressure many women in science feel in a largely maleSimone gasped. “Jen, you’re kidding, right? You’re not . . . dominated field. But essentially, it was an intellectual race for you didn’t . . . did you? How on earth? I did not see this com- the sake of staying in first place. It had affected her relationing! You loved being one of the few women leading in your ships and her own peace, but she had come to recognize it field. What happened? Are you sure?” and found the inspiration to turn from it. Grace had interJen was more than sure. The buzz and publicity that vened. would follow within the tightly knit academic and scientific Now she breathed deeply and felt liberation and empow-



46 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

erment with clear determination. She also realized that if she had been in the thick of a progressing relationship with Evan, she would not have had this clarity. In spite of the tailspin it had sent her into at the time, that loss now fueled the personal freedom she needed to make her break—emotionally and realistically. She thought for a moment, wondering how he would take the news, which would surely reach him. She cared for him, but he had left her, and that was telling enough. Let it be, she thought. This is right, but God help me, it’s a leap—or a free fall! “Simone, my mind has been made up for about a month now. After all, I struggled with it for about a year. It’s probably near midnight. When we go in and toast, no one will know of this but you, and I’m not announcing it tonight. Will you celebrate with me when we raise our glasses?” “You bet I will! With every clink, I want you to hear ‘Go for it, Jen!’ This is quintessentially you! You described it all like a picture. I can see it too. This is the next season of your life! But don’t think I won’t visit you in Chile. You know I will!” Smiling and refreshed, Jen gazed upward. Though the future was as mysterious as the sky, she was happy to move in its direction. Her hypothesis beckoned. The rest would emerge as she moved forward. The heavens did indeed proclaim the glory of God this night, and she was anxious to give herself over to that. She wanted to dive in fully, swim in that light, and drink in the grandeur of her dreams and longings. Nothing could compare with that. The two friends stretched, put the fire out, and made their way back to the cabin. One year was about to end, and a new one would begin. It would be a season wrapped in the promise of mystery and hopefulness—the journey to discovery. Juliana Gerace, DMin, is a married writer and educator living in Palm Desert, California. An avid traveler and music lover, she is the author of Gem Babies Odyssey: A Journey to the Discovery of Hope (Westbow Press).

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StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 47

Silent Union O

nce again, Christmas has come and gone. If your yuletide has been filled with lots of hustle and bustle, you are probably ready for some quiet time. You may be longing for a little time of silence and contemplative prayer. What you and I may need at this juncture is what some spiritual guides and writers call the “Prayer of Inner Quiet.” One of the richest forms of prayer can occur when the heart is quiet. As the psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:11)! Several years ago, Dominican Sister Sylvia Rosell explained it to me this way: “If you still your mind, you can hear your own heart. And at the core of your heart is the indwelling of God. It’s like when you love someone. You just sit there and you look at each other. God is present and you are present—to each other.

48 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

It’s a matter of just being there.” For example, we might start out with the reading of a short passage from Scripture, but gradually our words and thoughts simplify. The natural drift of prayer is often from words to silence, according to Father William Johnston, SJ, who wrote several books on prayer. At times, he said, we may feel led, as if by a hidden compass, into this kind of silent union with God. Prayers that rely on words may be the best form of prayer for us. It’s important that we refrain from striving too hard to get rid of words and thoughts. We should be conscious of those times when the Spirit is moving us to silence. When we feel drawn to silent union, it is good to go there and rest in God as long as the Spirit invites us.


By Jack Wintz, OFM

n with God Similar to the “Prayer of Inner Quiet” is what we might call the “Prayer of Listening.” In this prayer, the focus is on listening to God, who reveals himself in our inmost being. You listen at the core of your being to the deepest voice of all, the voice of God. Thomas Merton describes this kind of prayer as “finding one’s deepest center, awakening the profound depths of our being in the presence of God, who is the source of our being and life.”



You may find it rewarding to try this simple prayer exercise: Sit down and, keeping your back straight, begin quieting your mind and your body by taking a few relaxing, deep breaths. Close your eyes. Center your awareness on the silent and

infinite presence of God within your heart. Let the Spirit lead you beyond the noisy world of space and time and into the silent realm where God dwells as the source and ground of your being. Center your attention on that hushed point within you where the human touches the divine, where you and God are one and dwell in each other. Let yourself sink into the silent immensity of God. Simply let your prayer be a silent presence with God. Without any need for thoughts and words, exchange quiet love with God for as long as you feel inspired to do so. Have a happy and prayerful New Year! Jack Wintz, OFM, is a retired Franciscan friar in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was on the editorial staff of St. Anthony Messenger for over 40 years. StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 49



By Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP

Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP



STRONG WOMEN The Help (2011) He Named Me Malala (2015) Steel Magnolias (1989) Hidden Figures (2016) Whale Rider (2002)


en-year-old August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) has been homeschooled his entire life because of Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects his hearing, sight, and appearance. He loves science and wants to go to the moon someday. Though he’s had 26 reconstructive surgeries, he still wears a NASA space helmet everywhere to hide his face. His mom, Isabel (Julia Roberts), enrolls him in a prep middle school because all the fifth-graders will be new there. His dad, Nate (Owen Wilson), is supportive, as is Olivia “Via” (Izabela Vidovic), his older sister. Despite a warm welcome from the principal (Mandy Patinkin), all the kids pick on him, save two: Jack (Noah Jupe) and Summer (Millie Davis). It’s heartbreaking when Auggie overhears Jack say disparaging things about him to the other kids. Added to this is Via’s sadness that the family’s focus seems to be exclusively on Auggie. When Via’s best friend abandons her, she and Auggie realize they are their own best friends. Throughout the school year, the bullying

50 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

increases when the main perpetrator, Julian (Bryce Gheisar), is suspended for continually harassing the very smart Auggie. His parents refuse to believe their son is a bully. Wonder is skillfully adapted from the 2012 children’s novel by R.J. Palacio. Tremblay, who was incredible in 2015’s Room, inhabits his character with empathy for the burdens he shoulders. The connection between bullies and entitled parents is starkly drawn. I highly recommend this film, which restarts the conversation about what it means to be a kid who does the right thing when no one is looking. A-2, PG • Mature themes.


Sister Rose’s FAVORITE



Sister Rose Pacatte is a Daughter of St. Paul and the founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies. She has been the award-winning film columnist for St. Anthony Messenger since 2003 and is the author of several books on Scripture and film as well as media literacy education.







hen his law partner dies suddenly, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Denzel Washington), has to step up. Roman is probably on the Asperger’s spectrum: He is a savant who does poorly in social settings, but he knows the law. When a client asks him what esquire means, he replies, “It designates something above a gentleman and below a knight.” A big-league attorney, George Pierce (Colin Farrell), takes over Roman’s cases, but he only wants what he can get from the latter’s brilliant mind. Roman, instead, tries to enlist George in a federal class-action case against prosecutors who overcharge suspects— and judges who fast-track pleas to avoid trials. George is uninterested. Roman tries to change law firms, but is stuck at George’s firm. For once in his life, he has had enough and does something so uncharacteristic of himself because it is against the law.

Writer/director Dan Gilroy has created a unique movie with a film noir quality. If you look carefully, Roman will often appear to be a Christ-figure in his approach to justice and concern for others. Oscar-winner Washington is brilliant, as always. Even though the film is a bit heavy on dialogue, I was intrigued. A-3, PG-13 • Mature themes.

Not yet rated, R • Pervasive language, violence.

Catholic News Service Media Review Office gives these ratings. A-1 General patronage

A-2 Adults and adolescents

A-3 Adults

his new dark comedy from director Martin McDonagh tells the story of Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), a divorced mother whose only daughter was raped and murdered seven months previously. The police, led by Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), have gotten nowhere in the investigation, so Mildred rents three billboards on a back highway that read: “Raped while dying,” “And still no arrests,” “How come, Chief Willoughby?” Her son, Robbie (Lucas Hedges), is mortified, as is the entire town, but none more than Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), who has a reputation for arresting and beating black people in custody. He fixates on Mildred and the billboards, and his idiotic actions carry the story along. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is like watching a Flannery O’Connor novel. It is about the South, its prejudices, and the quirky people who make up the community, told through episodes of violence, sin, dark humor, and transcendent grace. This is an all-around awards contender with brilliant performances.

L Limited adult audience

O Morally offensive

Source: USCCB.ORG/movies


WANT MORE? Visit our website: StAnthonyMessenger.org

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 51

reel time | channel surfing | audio file | bookshelf

By Christopher Heffron


January 8, 10 p.m., Independent Lens on PBS


magine being too tired to pick up a telephone or pour a glass of water. What if everyday chores such as brushing your teeth or taking out the garbage were as difficult as running a marathon? For those suffering from ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis, more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome), even the most mundane task can be herculean. The documentary Unrest, directed by and featuring ME sufferer Jennifer Brea, is, ostensibly, about her fight with the disorder, but she makes it clear early on— she is not alone. One million people are affected by ME in the United States alone, yet research to combat the disorder is sadly underfunded. For those who suffer from chronic illness or love somebody who does, Unrest, perhaps the most revealing documentary on health and wellness in recent years, is appointment television. Harvard student Brea’s future was as boundless as her lust was for life, until a fever sidelined the PhD student. Doctors first insisted that the symptoms were entirely psychosomatic. In time, she was diagnosed with ME. Thus, her story begins. She started a video diary to record her journey, which became this documentary. And it is a powerful, honest look at illness, community, and the power of the human spirit. Aided by her devoted husband, Princeton University professor Omar Wasow, Brea documents her struggles and those of other ME sufferers, giving viewers a multidimensional glimpse into the emotional and physical toll of sickness. What makes this documentary so galvanizing an experience is its realness: Brea, totally unafraid to be vulnerable, short-tempered, and messy, puts a human face on a mysterious illness. An award winner at the Sundance Film Festival, Unrest is an unflinching look at health in its totality. Brea, an indomitable new voice in documentary filmmaking, isn’t interested in a soft, safe look at her struggles. Unrest is at once invigorating, shocking, funny, and human. She and the other participants in this documentary show us that the body may weaken, but the spirit is untouchable.

52 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org


Animal Planet, check local listings


young woman living alone in Colorado suspected burglars were gaining entry into her home when she was away. But all that was bothered was her food pantry. Perplexed, she set up an in-house surveillance system. What she discovered wasn’t burglars. It was a black bear who managed, time and again, to sneak in through a window looking for food. The sight of a bear breaking into a home, pounding on a piano, and raiding the food pantry was enough—this channel surfer was hooked. Intruders is not groundbreaking television, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t absorbing. Each episode tackles essentially the same formula, save a few changes. Homes are invaded by all unwanted creatures great and small, and the owners wage war to reclaim their homes and their sanity. But this is more than just an hour of shock television. A closer look at the series reveals a sad truth: human beings are ever-encroaching on the territories of the insects and wild animals around us. And they are blind to boundaries. Intruders takes a humane look at what happens when our worlds collide.




By Daniel Imwalle

Editor’s Pick: Best Album of 2017 ARCADE FIRE | EVERYTHING NOW




ontreal’s Arcade Fire has always made music that sounds and feels urgent, almost as if the day they recorded the song was the last day on earth. They took the music world by surprise with their 2004 debut album, Funeral, fusing lyrics dealing with loss and suburban isolation with anthemic guitars, heartfelt vocals, and, yes, even the occasional accordion. With their 2017 album, Everything Now, the same urgency is present as it is on their other albums, but this time, the band sounds looser. In short, they sound like they’re having fun. St. Francis, one of God’s most joyful messengers, would approve. This album has critics divided, though, with some saying it’s a serious creative misstep and self-indulgently ironic, while others have praised it as nearing perfection. Perhaps the final word should be left to musicians, not the critics. In an interview with NPR, Arcade Fire’s singersongwriter Win Butler said, “I don’t know that we’ve made a more earnest record.” In a culture inundated by cynicism, it’s no wonder that the band’s sincere effort might be misinterpreted as mere hipster irony. However, what makes this the best album of 2017 is the deft combination of culture critique with an unabashed catchiness. The approachable—at times, even danceable—sound of Everything Now is due in no small part to it being produced by Thomas Bangalter (half of the French electronic/dance duo Daft Punk). If you’re looking for an album that will make you think, get up and dance, or, better yet, both, give Everything Now a listen—now!

These scenes may seem alike to you, But there are changes in the two. So look and see if you can name Eight ways in which they’re not the same.

(Answers on the flip)

a different hat. 8. One of Sis’ boots is now taller. 4. Sis no longer has a glove on her left hand. 5. An extra branch is on the snowman’s arm. 6. The collar of Pete’s jacket has stripes on it. 7. The snowman is wearing ANSWERS to PETE & REPEAT: 1. There are birds in the sky. 2. The trunk of the tree is showing. 3. The buttons on the snowman are now clear.


ifty years ago, in January 1968, the world was a very different place. Or was it? There was civil strife, racial tensions ran high, and the possibility of nuclear war was in the headlines. Then, just as now, we needed a voice to hold on to, to heal our souls. Enter Aretha Franklin’s Lady Soul. From righteous indignation in “Chain of Fools” to deep-seated faith in God in the Curtis Mayfield-penned “People Get Ready,” Franklin solidified herself as the Queen of Soul with this album—if she hadn’t done so already. Producer Jerry Wexler, who coined the term rhythm and blues, provided Franklin with some of the best session musicians available, many of whom would go on to form the production powerhouse Muscle Shoals. As an added bonus, listen for Eric Clapton playing guitar on track seven, “Good to Me as I Am to You.” Lady Soul is as relevant and necessary as it was 50 years ago.


StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 53


reel time | channel surfing | audio file | bookshelf

By Carol Ann Morrow

Flames of Faith

“The sure sign that God is alive in you is joy.” —Bishop Robert Barron

TO LIGHT A FIRE ON THE EARTH By Robert Barron, with John L. Allen Jr. Image Books


f you were looking for a beige book review in this first of our redesigned column, you may be disappointed. Matches, the kind you light fires with, after all, are binary things: they are either lit or they aren’t. Bishop Robert E. Barron is the former. In To Light a Fire on the Earth, a dean of Catholic journalism, John L. Allen Jr., has crafted a biography in cooperation with the bishop, an auxiliary in the

Archdiocese of Los Angeles. If you’ve seen the PBS documentary Catholicism, you know Bishop Barron. Allen describes him as a modern Fulton Sheen. Venerable Fulton Sheen was a bishop and television evangelist who used mass media two generations before Facebook and Twitter. Allen— talented at offering objective, nuanced reporting— is unapologetically a fan of Bishop Barron here, just as he was when he wrote his biography (and sequel) of future pope Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Bishop Barron is a digital evangelist for a new era. He’s savvy in social media, and he correctly sees that no one wants to be served the Gospel along with a spoonful of peas. A gifted teacher, his presentation is in an accessible, friendly style, leading with the

deep beauty of Catholic expression— the art and architecture, the poetry and literature the Church has catalyzed over the centuries. Allen, basing his work on interviews and Bishop Barron’s written work, gives a broad, readable, and interesting look at this strong voice among Catholics in America. Along the way, a probing intellectual himself, he presents Bishop Barron’s philosophical underpinnings: the classical categories of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth. Whether you appreciate Bishop Barron’s ringing style of the new evangelization, or are suspicious of a return to classical categories as a kind of retrenchment, this book is a great read. Reviewed by John Feister, editor at large of this publication

Colorful, Comedic Perspective

“I would like to share the Gospel with the people in the language of the streets, with no fancy scholarly mumbo jumbo.”


ot too far-fetched, is it, to think that readers of this magazine might love and emulate St. Francis of Assisi? This is also true of Dario Fo, who died at 90, still imitating his version of a sometimes-unholy jester. Fo’s Italian is translated by Mario Pirovano, his apprentice and admirer, and perhaps the only person who could render the work as lively as Fo clearly intended. Fo, 1997 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, was an Italian left-wing revolutionary. That’s what drew him to Francis! He posits that familiar stories of the saint were sanitized by his 54 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

successors, including St. Bonaventure. Since biographers left in Francis’ stripping before the bishop, I’m not going to swallow that notion whole. Still, I can delight in the lively vignettes in this posthumous work. His fables include the wolf of Gubbio and the visits to Pope Innocent and to the sultan. His final chapter is “Francis on the Road to Death,” reminiscent of the official sources, but considerably embellished. Fo’s other fables were unknown to this reader, but consonant with the spirit of the Little Man of Assisi. Fo’s illustrations are as colorful and modern as his text. Like reading


Written and Illustrated by Dario Fo Opus Books

21st-century retellings of scriptural parables, his renditions can reawaken anyone no longer startled by this truly radical saint. Reviewed by Carol Ann Morrow, an Associate of the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana, with whom she joins in trying to follow in the steps of St. Francis



Sorin Books

Ave Maria Press

By Joyce Rupp


By Scott Weeman

Edited by Leach, Keane & Goodnough Orbis Press

“Awaken the undying song of hope in my soul as I carry my unwanted cross each day.”

“I am open to a new way of life designed by your grace and mercy.”

“I am alive, I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it.”




f spontaneous prayer doesn’t come easily to you, Joyce Rupp is a comfortable companion for every occasion that calls for a contemporary word of devotion and inspiration. While it’s safe to say that every book by this Servite sister contains seeds of prayer, her newest volume covers not only various liturgical seasons, but also life challenges such as grief and the joys of anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and the equinoxes. Some pages are most helpful for groups. Others offer personal whispers of support when life seems uncertain or dark. Sister Joyce offers seeds for all seasons, including cold, snowy winter.

hile the 12 steps of AA and other programs of recovery based on AA have a consistent spiritual theme, the publisher claims that this is the very first to link these steps to the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation. It’s a natural pairing that can serve well to alleviate any confusion between “God as I understood him” and Catholic teaching as understood throughout the centuries. Using AA’s Big Book and this not-so-big volume is an inspired pairing, since the author has traveled both the path of faith and the path of sobriety toward an integrated life.

WHAT SAM READERS RECOMMEND • The Last Four Things: A Catechetical Guide to Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, by Father Wade Menezes • Living Prayer: A Simple Guide to Everyday Enlightenment, by Bishop Robert F. Morneau • Everything Is Grace: The Life and Way of Thérèse of Lisieux, by Joseph F. Schmidt • 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration, by Michael E. Gaitley • The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O’Connor, by Jonathan Rogers

his trio of editors have already collected anthologies for Advent/ Christmas and Lent/Easter. Now they give readers a book for every moment of every waking hour: seasons of joy. Lest anyone think this book will hold no joy for them, consider the assemblage of bedfellows (book fellows) in these 200 purse- or pocket-size pages: Buddhist, Maryknoller, Jesuit, Benedictine, Anglican, Presbyterian; Harry Potter’s creator and Lake Wobegon’s founder; poets, psychologists, and teachers; contemplatives, parents, and politicians. Who can’t find a page that gives them joy for life’s journey?



Text by Ben Alex Illustrated by José Pérez Montero

f the New Testament seems too big, both in heft and in vocabulary, here’s its graphic equivalent in color and content. Pauline Books offers 138 pages with scriptural references at the bottom of each lively page. The style should engage the wary.

Books featured in this section can be ordered from:

St. Mary’s Bookstore & Church Supply

1909 West End Avenue • Nashville, TN 37203 • 800-233-3604

web: www.stmarysbookstore.com e-mail: stmarysbookstore@gmail.com

StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 55

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catholic sites TO EXPLORE

Monastery of Christ in the Desert



s was the case with the first Christian monasteries founded in the deserts of Egypt more than 1,700 years ago, it’s not easy to get to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. This magnificent Benedictine house of prayer is set in New Mexico’s Chama Canyon at the foot of a high bluff, and stands at the end of approximately 13 miles of unpaved road—to get to Christ in the Desert you’ll be better served using a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Granted, it takes some effort to reach the monastery, but the location guarantees that here you will experience the profound silence that is essential for an intimate communion with God. The monastery’s architecture—the work of architect George Nakashima—is a masterpiece: it will probably remind you of traditional Pueblo architecture, and even the mysterious cities of the ancient cliff-dwelling tribes of the American Southwest. In his Rule—the model for all subsequent monastic rules in the West—St. Benedict instructed his monks, “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ.” And so day visitors as well as those making a retreat at the monastery are welcome at Christ in the Desert. Guests are invited to join the monks in their life of prayer, which begins at 4 a.m. and concludes at 7:30 p.m. The motto of the Benedictine community is ora et labora (prayer and work), and the monks hope their guests will join them in the day-to-day tasks necessary for the upkeep of the monastery. The setting of Christ in the Desert is so spectacular that you will be drawn to exploring the area, but remember that you are in the wilderness, so be ruled by common sense. The

mesas behind the monastery can be dangerous, especially to novice climbers. If you want to go hiking, discuss the matter with the guest master—he can recommend the best and safest routes based on your fitness level and experience. The monastery is beautiful. The church—dedicated to St. John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus Christ and the model of Christian monasticism (he lived in the desert near the river Jordan)—is constructed of a harmonious blend of adobe brick, stone, and wood. Large plate-glass windows flood the chapel with natural light. Another highlight of the monastery is the cloister, built around a lovely garden with a fountain in the center. Water gurgles up through the fountain via a solar-powered water system. In fact, Christ in the Desert has adopted many solar-powered initiatives, making it one of the greenest monastic communities in the United States. The monks are also careful to preserve the biodiversity of the surrounding area, including nearby watersheds and wetlands. To make a reservation for a retreat—and reservations are necessary—consult the monastery website. Adapted from 101 Places to Pray Before You Die, by Thomas J. Craughwell (Franciscan Media).


MONASTERY OF CHRIST IN THE DESERT PO Box 270 Abiquiu, NM 87510 575-613-4233, 575-613-4274 www.ChristDesert.org StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 57


What Do You Stand For?

Susan has worked at St. Anthony Messenger for 23 years and is an associate editor. She and her husband, Mark, are the proud parents of four kids—Maddie, Alex, Riley, and Kacey. Aside from her family, her loves are Disney, traveling, and sports.


Susan welcomes your comment and suggestions! E-MAIL: CatholicFamily@ FranciscanMedia.org MAIL: Faith & Family 28 W. Liberty St. Cincinnati, OH 45202


WANT MORE? Visit our website: StAnthonyMessenger.org

Years later, I have been blessed with four children who have their own very unique personalities and ways of doing things—as well as their mother’s strong will. I can’t count the number of times I used to tell them of their hardheadedness: “One day this will serve you very well. Right now it will just get you into a lot of trouble.” As they get older, they are being served very well by their beliefs and convictions. A lot of times those ideas do not fall in line with the way that I or my husband, Mark, see things. I respect that. In fact, I take great pride in that. Having said that, I find one of the hardest parts of being a parent to be the reality that eventually I’m going to have to let go and step aside in order to let my kids become who they are truly meant to be. Part of that process is allowing them to be themselves and state their opinions on things, the same way that my parents always did for me. For instance, I’ve never taken a hard line on things like my kids’ wardrobe choices—as long as it’s appropriate. That led to an entire year of our second youngest, Riley, wearing a

58 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

Allowing kids to express themselves in various ways, such as their personal style, is a good lesson for them about owning the choices they make.

Minnie Mouse dress every day. If she was OK with it, we were OK with it. Mark and I have also tried to listen when our kids speak out on their perceived injustices of our house rules or their responsibilities. With our oldest two, the issues are often bigger, such as school policies, politics, environmental issues, or Church teachings. All we ask is that they are prepared and willing to defend their stance. If you’re going to take a stand on things, we tell them, you need to understand why and be willing to stick with your belief. STICK TO YOUR STORY

But that is within the secure boundaries of our home. The trick is to teach them to carry it with them wherever they go, whether that be at school, on social media, or hanging out with friends. Most of all, I tell them, I want you to ask yourself if you’re willing to go to the mat for the message you’re sending through your words and actions. If not, I hope they ask themselves why and then are prepared to stand by what they do and believe. Actually, that’s not such a bad message for all of us to think about.


Susan Hines-Brigger

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” You could say that quote from Dr. Seuss summed me up when I was growing up. To say I had a very individual style is an understatement. At an age when most girls were busy playing dress-up and fixing their hair, my hair was covered with a baseball hat. While my friends were playing with Barbies, I was outside tossing a tennis ball against the side of our house. And when my friends covered their walls with posters of the latest teen heartthrobs, I was putting up posters of football great Walter Payton. My mom and dad always respected that I was my own person and had no trouble putting my true self or opinions out there, but they also told me that if I was going to do that, I needed to be ready to defend both and be confident in doing so. It was advice I carry with me to this day—both personally and as a mom.

in the kitchen

with Amy Heyd

St. Clare’s Chicken Saltimbocca Meal

yield: 6 servings • prep time: 15-20 min. • cook time: 1 hour • preheat oven: 350 degrees

What you will need: 1½ lbs. chicken tenders, pounded to ½-inch thickness (12 tenders) 12

paper–thin slices of prosciutto

4 oz.

provolone cheese, sliced into 12 portions



2 tbls.

olive oil


sweet onion, chopped (around 2 cups)


carrots peeled and cut into ½–inch coins (around 1½ cups)


large red pepper, chopped into ½–inch rectangles (around 1½ cups)

1 tsp.

minced garlic

8 oz.

baby bella mushrooms, sliced


14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic

salt and pepper to taste Optional garnish: fresh, chopped Italian parsley FIND THIS AND OTHER RECIPES AT: FranciscanMedia.org/Recipes


METHOD: Pound chicken tenders flat. Take each chicken tender and place enough prosciutto on top of the chicken to almost cover it. Then place a slice of provolone cheese on top. Taking the smaller side of the chicken, roll up the chicken and close with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat until all are rolled. Place a large skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Put the chicken in the skillet and quickly brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Using the skillet where the chicken was browned, sauté the onions and carrots over med-high heat for five minutes. Lower heat to medium and add the red peppers and garlic for another five minutes. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle the mushrooms on top. Finally, pour the tomatoes over everything. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir the vegetables and juices after 15 minutes of cooking and again before serving. PLATING: To serve, place two chicken rolls on a plate and top with vegetables and juices. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.


lare of Assisi (1194– 1253) might have prepared this dish before she became a nun at San Damiano monastery outside Assisi. The food there was extremely simple. Clare was a revolutionary in many ways, especially in rejecting the custom that new nuns must bring a dowry (land that could be rented out or cash) in order to provide the monastery’s income. Also, in other monasteries, only the daughters of nobility could become choir nuns, who chanted the office each day. Extern sisters greeted visitors and did any shopping. Clare was the first woman to write a Rule for religious women, and had a 40-year struggle until Pope Innocent IV confirmed the “Privilege of Poverty” for San Damiano two days before she died.



Go online to order the book: Shop.FranciscanMedia.org For 20% OFF Use Code: SAMDINNER StAnthonyMessenger.org | January 2018 • 59


“this is christian hope: that the future is in God’s hands.”


~Pope Francis

60 • January 2018 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

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St. Anthony Messenger January 2018  

St. Anthony Messenger January 2018