St. Anthony Messenger May 2020

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Sharing the spirit of St. Francis with the world V O L . 1 2 7 / N O . 1 2 • MAY 2020

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

A Franciscan Response to the Coronavirus

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SELFLESS LOVE:

ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE

MAY 2020 • $4.99 StAnthonyMessenger.org

GRACE BEHIND BARS FINDING GOD IN YOUR PAST ANCIENT PRAYERS FOR TODAY

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PHOTO: CNS/PAUL HARING

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POPE’S PRAYER

TO MARY DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm. You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen. Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. PHOTO: CNS/PAUL HARING

—Pope Francis

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VOL. 127 NO. 12

2020 MAY

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COVER STORY

32 Selfless Love: Adoption & Foster Care

ABOVE and COVER: Over 400,000 youths are in the US foster care system, and 140,000 of those children are eligible for adoption. Now more than ever is the time for Christian adults to discern the vocations of foster care and adoption.

By Shannon Evans

A consistent ethic of life extends to every corner of society, including the call to care for children in the foster care system.

22 Keeping Hope Alive on Death Row By Sister Patricia Schnapp, RSM

Prisoners on death row find hope and humanity by sharing their stories with readers on the inside and outside in a newsletter called Compassion.

28 Finding God in Your Past

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By Mark Mossa, SJ

Throughout the tough times in our lives, God has always been by our side. By looking back, we’ll come to recognize that.

38 A New Encounter with the Psalms By Maureen O’Brien

The inspiring words of these biblical songs helped me navigate some of life’s biggest challenges.

COMING NEXT

MONTH

A special issue on the the challenges of staying hopeful in the digital age, with articles on teen suicide, ministering to seekers, and much more

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Saint Day

of the

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he saints were real people with real stories—just like us! Their surrender to God’s love was so gen-

erous that the Church recognizes them as heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration. Join Franciscan Media in our daily celebration of these holy men and women of God. Sign up for Saint of the Day, a free resource delivered right to your inbox. Go to SaintoftheDay.org to start your journey.

St. Joseph the Worker

St. Damien de Veuster of Moloka’i

May 1 Pope Pius XII emphasized both Catholic devotion to St. Joseph and the dignity of human labor when he created the celebration of St. Joseph the Worker. Work, our Church teaches, should be for the good and benefit of humanity. Joseph is our model and patron in our work endeavors.

May 10 St. Damien de Veuster became so well known for his work among the lepers in Hawaii that Moloka’i almost became his surname. Dedicating his life to those suffering from Hansen’s disease, Damien made the world aware of their plight. He succumbed to the disease and died in 1889.

St. Joan of Arc May 30 The life of St. Joan of Arc is riddled with legend. But we know that she was a very spiritually centered young woman who led the French in battle against the English. In a politically motivated trial, Joan was condemned to death and burned at the stake.

www.FranciscanMedia.org Go to www.FranciscanMedia.org/Alexa to learn how to add Saint of the Day to your Alexa-enabled device.

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Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary May 31 This feast is about two women and two babies. The Virgin Mary goes to visit Elizabeth to assist her in her final days of pregnancy. But as Mary greets Elizabeth, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb—John the Baptist—leaps for joy at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb.

LEFT TO RIGHT: GEORGES DE LA TOUR: ST. JOSEPH, THE CARPENTER/PUBLIC DOMAIN; CNS PHOTO/PAUL HARING; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS; ZATLETIC/FOTOSEARCH

Saints featured in the month of May include . . .

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VOL. 127 NO. 12

“We become what we love, and who we love shapes what we become.”

2020 MAY

—St. Clare of Assisi

14 SPIRIT OF ST. FRANCIS

20 POINTS OF VIEW

12 Ask a Franciscan

16 I’d Like to Say

How Are Mass Readings Chosen?

Welcome the Stranger—Every Stranger

14 Franciscan World

18 At Home on Earth

14 St. Anthony Stories

20 Faith Unpacked

15 Followers of St. Francis

21 Editorial

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Rocca Maggiore

Seeing the World as Kin

Anthony and the Lost Lenses

Works in Progress

Theresa Diersen

A Franciscan Response to the Coronavirus

46 Faith & Family

The Ministry of Caregiving

45

CULTURE

42 Media Reviews

Podcast | Clouds and Sun Music | Tame Impala TV/Streaming | White Savior: Racism in the American Church

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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

44 Film Reviews 1 Pope Francis’ Emma. A Fall from Grace Lost Girls

6 7 8

Prayer to Mary Dear Reader Your Voice Church in the News

11 47 47 48

A Special Update on the Amazon Synod Lighten Up Pete & Repeat Reflection

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dear reader

The Many Faces of Motherhood

PUBLISHER

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his month we will be celebrating Mother’s Day amid an unprecedented and very unsettling time. As a mom, my first instinct is to protect my children from anything that could hurt them. What makes the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis even more unsettling, though, is all the unknowns. There is no medicine or vaccine I can give them for protection. There is no time line for when it will be over. Even without this added challenge, Mother’s Day can be tricky for some. For as many women who will bask in their children’s love, there are others who will mourn this day due to the loss of a child or the longing for one. Others will face the day having lost their own mothers, myself included. In this month’s issue, we address both Mother’s Day and the coronavirus pandemic in the spirit of bringing hope to all. In her article “Selfless Love: Adoption & Foster Care,” author Shannon Evans writes about the important and very needed ministry of parenting through adoption and caring for children in the foster care system. And Father Mark Soehner, OFM, provincial of the St. John the Baptist Province, offers words of wisdom and comfort to deal with the health challenges currently facing the world. He reminds us to turn to Christ in our time of need. Let us also look to his mother to hold us in her loving embrace.

Daniel Kroger, OFM PRESIDENT

Kelly McCracken EXECUTIVE EDITORS

Christopher Heffron Susan Hines-Brigger

FRANCISCAN EDITOR

Pat McCloskey, OFM ART DIRECTOR

Mary Catherine Kozusko MANAGING EDITOR

Daniel Imwalle

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Sandy Howison

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Sharon Lape

Susan Hines-Brigger, Executive Editor

DIRECTOR OF SALES, MARKETING, AND DEVELOPMENT

Ray Taylor

PRINTING

Kingery Printing Co. Effingham, IL

MAUREEN O’BRIEN

Welcome the Stranger— Every Stranger

writer

A New Encounter with the Psalms

SISTER PATRICIA SCHNAPP, RSM

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PAGE 38

Keeping Hope Alive on Death Row

writer

Columnist Patrick Carolan is the Catholic outreach director for Vote Common Good. Prior to that, he was executive director of the Franciscan Action Network for 10 years and is a cofounder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. He was the recipient of the 2015 White House Champion of Change Award for his work in the climate change arena.

Maureen O’Brien is a member of the Franciscan parish of St. Patrick-St. Anthony in Hartford, Connecticut. She is the author of the novel B-mother and the poetry chapbook The Other Cradling. One of her greatest joys is teaching creative writing to teens at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Full Day program.

writer

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Patricia Schnapp, RSM, is a Sister of Mercy and professor emerita at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, where she is an associate professor of English. She coedited the book Best American Short Stories with her colleague Dan McVeigh. She is currently a volunteer prison teacher and chaplain.

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: $4.99. For change of address, four weeks’ notice is necessary. See FranciscanMedia.org/subscriptionservices for information on your digital edition. 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. Member of the Catholic Press Association Published with ecclesiastical approval Copyright ©2020. All rights reserved.

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ST. ANTHONY MESSENGER (ISSN #0036276X) (U.S.P.S. PUBLICATION #007956 CANADA PUBLICATION #PM40036350) Volume 127, Number 12, is published 10 times per year 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. US POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: St. Anthony Messenger, PO Box 189, Congers, NY 10920-0189. CANADA RETURN ADDRESS: c/o AIM, 7289 Torbram Rd., Mississauga, ON, Canada L4T 1G8.

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POINTSOFVIEW | YOUR VOICE A Personal Connection on Page 1 I was delighted to receive my March issue of St. Anthony Messenger, featuring “St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland,” by Daniel Imwalle. There, on the first page of the table of contents, was a photo of a statue of Ireland’s patron, St. Patrick, on the Hill of Slane. But, more importantly for me, and, on a personal note, the Hill of Slane is the resting place of my maternal grandparents, Nicholas and Mary Crilly. I’ve spent many an hour up on the Hill of Slane, where, according to legend, St. Patrick lit a paschal fire in 433. On a side note, I reside in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where we host one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States. Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig (St. Patrick’s Day blessings)! Daniel Patrick McCavick, Holyoke, Massachusetts

Prophets’ Messages Ring True Today

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Mary Ann Getty’s article on Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah in your March issue (“The Social Justice Prophets”) is great! Many challenges that our society struggles with today have existed for many centuries, and we are called by God through the prophets to do what is right. The article makes the wisdom of Old Testament prophets relevant to the 21st century. I hope that St. Anthony Messenger will include more articles down the road that help summarize and explain Scripture writing in such a meaningful way. Don Pellegrino, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ideas Worth Sharing After receiving my March issue, I’d like to start by just pointing out how much I enjoy your magazine. The letter by Judy Roy, “The Sanctity of Life at All Its Stages,” which appeared in the “Your Voice” column, was outstanding! In the end, aren’t we all called to be pro-life in all its forms? However, in political and moral discussions, there seems to be a line that neither side will cross. Roy could have not been clearer and more concise, while also offering real food for thought. We must look at issues from all sides to make intelligent and informed decisions. I was glad to encounter a sane, unbiased voice to make clear the way. Roy’s thoughts are ones to save and share. Elaine Macaluso, Batavia, Ohio

Maintain the Line Drawn between Church and Politics I am in agreement with the letter in the March “Your Voice” column titled “The Sanctity of Life at All Its Stages” on all that concerns the sanctity of life, except in the last paragraph. There, the writer states that pro-life positions should be deciding factors when voting for president. Both St. John Paul II and Pope Francis have strongly objected to allowing the Catholic Church to be involved in our politics, while they both maintained the sanctity of the unborn child. For the past several elections, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has published its voting guide, titled “Faithful Citizenship.” In it, the bishops encourage Catholics to vote with a number of moral issues in mind, including racism and poverty. However, the bishops state that “abortion remains our preeminent priority.” The only political solution is for Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution. Besides the overwhelming requirements for the creation and approval in Congress of such an amendment, a two-thirds approval vote from the states is needed. It is my humble opinion that the role of our Church is to open facilities to assist those considering abortion and teach them, Catholic or not, the value of the unborn child and that adoption is the only real, true solution to their wish to not raise a child. Marching in front of the White House is not an effective way of solving this divisive problem. Rafael Rivera, Wesley Chapel, Florida

News Network Cast in Negative Light Sister Rose Pacatte’s movie review of Bombshell in the March issue is spot-on. No woman should go through the harassment depicted in the movie, which was based on the real-life experiences of newscasters Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and other women at the network. But one little thing bothers me: the way Sister Rose describes FOX News. I sometimes watch FOX News, and I don’t believe, as she intimated, that I’m being instilled with fear and outrage. Anthony Visconti, Stoughton, Massachusetts

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church IN THE NEWS

people | events | trends

By Susan Hines-Brigger

POPE MAKES MINI-PILGRIMAGE TO PRAY FOR END OF PANDEMIC

THE CHURCH AND CORONAVIRUS: LOURDES AND OTHER SHRINES CLOSED

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Pope Francis prays before the icon “Salus Populi Romani” (left) for the health of the Roman people during the coronavirus pandemic. He also prayed before the crucifix referred to by Romans as the “Miraculous Crucifix” (right).

n the afternoon of March 15, during the coronavirus pandemic that had Italy on lockdown, Pope Francis left the Vatican and made a mini-pilgrimage to an icon and to a crucifix associated with miraculous interventions to save the city and its people, reported Catholic News Service (CNS). The Vatican reported that the pope was driven, with a small police escort, to the Basilica of St. Mary Major where he prayed before the icon “Salus Populi Romani” (health of the Roman people). The pope laid a bouquet of yellow and white flowers on the altar and sat in prayer in front of the chapel’s famous icon of Mary and the child Jesus. The pope prays before the icon often, including before and after every trip he makes abroad. The pope then went to the Church of St. Marcellus on Via del Corso, a usually crowded street of shops leading to the central Piazza Venezia, to pray before the crucifix that Romans call the “Miraculous Crucifix.” It is a 15th-century wooden crucifix that survived a fire in 1519 in which the original church burned to the ground. In 1522, in the midst of the great plague in Rome, the faithful processed throughout the city for 16 days, carrying the crucifix. According to an article on the website for TV2000, the Italian bishops’ television station, devotion to the crucifix led the city’s people to defy “the authorities, who for fear that the contagion would spread further, had banned all gatherings of people.” When he approached, the pope had his car stop on the Via del Corso and made a point of walking to the church “as in pilgrimage,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office. “With his prayer, the Holy Father invoked the end of the pandemic striking Italy and the world, imploring healing for

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CNS PHOTOS: TOP: COURTESY GREG FRIEDMAN, OFM; BOTTOM: GREGORY A. SHEMITZ

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CNS PHOTOS: LEFT: GUNTHER SIMMERMACHER, THE SOUTHERN CROSS; MIDDLE AND RIGHT: VATICAN MEDIA

or the first time in its history, the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes closed this past March 17 in adherence to the measures that were being taken at the time by the French government to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country, reported Vatican News. Msgr. Ribadeau Dumas, rector of the shrine, made the announcement in a message The Assumption of Mary is represented above on Twitter. Weeks an altar in the Basilica of Our Lady of the earlier, the shrine had Rosary in Lourdes. announced that “as a precaution, the pools have been closed until further notice.” The shrine, which attracts roughly 6 million pilgrims annually, marks the site where, in 1858, the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844–1879) in Lourdes, France, in 18 separate apparitions. Msgr. Dumas insisted that the shrine will remain “a place of prayer” in spite of the trying times. He also invited the faithful to continue to send in their prayer intentions via the shrine’s website—lourdes-france.org. Lourdes was not the only shrine to close during the coronavirus pandemic. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, also shut down due to the illness. The shrine is the largest Catholic church in North America and one of the largest churches in the world. According to a press release, the closure is believed to be the first time in the nearly 100 years since its founding that the shrine has closed for a non-weather-related event. Msgr. Walter R. Rossi, rector of the shrine, said that the decision to close the shrine was difficult “because we know that the faithful rely on Mary’s shrine for the peace and solace that is found in this sacred place. Still, we also recognize that we must listen to scientific and medical experts and do our part to help prevent the spread of this virus.” During the closure, the shrine continued to celebrate its Sunday noon Mass, livestreaming it at NationalShrine.org/ mass.


the many people who are sick, remembering the many victims, and asking that their family and friends find consolation and comfort,” Bruni said. The pope, he added, also prayed, as he did that morning at Mass, for health care workers, doctors, nurses, and all those who are still working in Italy so that necessary services are guaranteed even amid the lockdown.

FRANCISCAN FRIAR VICTIM OF CORONAVIRUS

CNS PHOTOS: TOP: COURTESY GREG FRIEDMAN, OFM; BOTTOM: GREGORY A. SHEMITZ

CNS PHOTOS: LEFT: GUNTHER SIMMERMACHER, THE SOUTHERN CROSS; MIDDLE AND RIGHT: VATICAN MEDIA

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he first coronavirus fatality in Washington, DC, and the first known US Catholic cleric to die after contracting the coronavirus, was a Franciscan friar who was preparing to join a new province in New York when he contracted the disease, reported CNS. Brother John-Sebastian Brother John-Sebastian Laird-Hammond, 59, was soon to join the Franciscan Friars of Laird-Hammond the Immaculate Conception Province in New York. Until last fall, he had served as the secretary of the Commissariat of the Holy Land USA and Franciscan Monastery, a facility that seeks to educate the public about the land of Christ. Father Larry Dunham, the monastery’s local superior general, told the Washington Post that Brother JohnSebastian had been at the monastery since the late 1980s and had for the last 14 years run its day-to-day operations as the business manager. Father Dunham also said that the friar had battled leukemia for several years. In a Facebook post, Franciscan Father Greg Friedman said that Brother John-Sebastian had not lived at the monastery since October, when he moved out as part of the process of transition to his new community.

ST. FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI REPLACES COLUMBUS IN COLORADO

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n March 20, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a law into effect that replaces the state’s observance of Columbus Day with Frances Xavier Cabrini Day, in honor of St. Frances Xavier

Cabrini, the patron of immigrants, reported CNS. The bill passed 19–15 in the Senate and by a vote of 37–26 in the House. The holiday, which will be observed the first Monday of October, will be the first paid holiday in the state named after a woman. According to the bill, the move “creates an opportunity to promote an appreciation, tolerance, and understanding of the different cultures that make up our state.” Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the effort to replace Columbus Day in Colorado began in 2007. She told CNN: “This truly is a decades-long effort by so many people. There have been so many negotiations, groups of people over the years that never gave up; this is so important to the communities that are impacted by this.” At least 11 states and dozens of US cities have done away with observing Columbus Day and instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in recognition of the indigenous populations displaced after Columbus and other European explorers reached this continent.

DEAD SEA SCROLL FRAGMENTS FOUND TO BE FAKE

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apyrus fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were on display at the privately owned Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, have been determined to be fake, reported CNS. On March 11 of this year, the museum confirmed that all of the fragments were fake. Independent researchers concluded that the fragments were probably made of ancient Roman leather—from sandals—artificially aged even more with chemicals, with the script added in the 20th century. The fragments were bought by Steve Green, the museum’s chairman, for an undisclosed amount. The Green family are the billionaire founders of the Hobby Lobby craft stores. Curatorial specialists said that the fragments were “nonprovenanced,” other than the “guarantees” made by those who had sold the fragments to Green. Also, they had some indications of their being forgeries, including, to use another curatorial term, the existence of “paleographic anomalies.” Scholars compared the museum’s fragments with the texts of the 100,000 real pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls first discovered in the Qumran Caves in 1947, which reside at the Shrine of the Book in Israel. This is not the first time items at the museum have come into question. In 2017, the family paid a $3 million settlement after a Justice Department investigation found that 3,500 artifacts bought in 2010 had been stolen from Iraq. The Green family returned the artifacts, and five Jerusalembased Palestinian dealers were arrested and charged with tax evasion. StAnthonyMessenger.org | May 2020 • 9

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people | events | trends

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he University of Notre Dame announced on March 22 that it will present its 2020 Laetare Medal to Kathleen McChesney, reported CNS. McChesney, a former FBI executive assistant, was the first person to lead the US bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection. In announcing the award, Notre Dame’s president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, Kathleen McChesney said, “It is often the Church’s darkest moments that call forth great faith and courage.” He said the university is recognizing McChesney’s “courage, tenacity, and love for the Church in a tireless pursuit of justice for victims, accountability for abusers, and measures that prevent this crisis from continuing.” McChesney released a statement, saying: “I think there is a significant responsibility with such an honor that one has to live up to every day forward. The Laetare Medal will inspire me to work harder, more effectively, and with greater compassion on behalf of those who have been wounded by persons in Catholic ministries.” The medal, which has been given to Catholic leaders since 1883, is presented during graduation ceremonies in May. This year’s ceremony is currently in question, though, due to coronavirus. Past medal recipients include President John F. Kennedy; Dorothy Day, cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement; Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin; labor activist Msgr. George G. Higgins; jazz composer Dave Brubeck; Jesuit Father Greg Boyle, founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries; and Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and a longtime advocate for immigrants and refugees.

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n conjunction with the 25th anniversary of “Evangelium Vitae” (“Gospel of Life”), the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities is asking Catholics to join a nationwide effort from March 25, 2020, to March 25, 2021, entitled: “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service,” according to a press release. The initiative was introduced last November at the annual bishops’ meeting by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chair of the committee. The archbishop spoke about the need for improved pastoral responses to women facing unexpected or challenging pregnancies. “The challenges can be immense for women in difficult or unplanned pregnancies. Seventy-five percent of women who choose abortion are low income,” said Archbishop Naumann. “Pregnant and parenting moms in need are in our parishes and our neighborhoods. Women facing challenging pregnancies should see the Church as a place where they can find help, especially with its myriad of social services and organizations dedicated to meeting the needs of people in crisis,” he continued. He noted that parishes are better able “to identify the local pregnancy help resources that are currently available and to identify potential gaps that need to be addressed. The parish community is uniquely positioned to encourage a collaboration of resources at the local level and to increase awareness of help available to mothers and families in need.” In that spirit, as part of the yearlong effort, the committee will be developing educational, pastoral, and action-oriented resources for parish use, such as: • tools for documenting an inventory of local resources for pregnant mothers in need; • ideas for improving parish responses; • prayers for building a culture of life and a civilization of love; • and reflections on the teachings of “Evangelium Vitae,” “Evangelii Gaudium,” and “Laudato Si’.” More information about the program is available on the website for the US bishops’ conference: usccb.org.

‘SYNODALITY’ IS THEME FOR 2022 SYNOD

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he Vatican announced in early March that Pope Francis has chosen the theme for the next Synod of Bishops to be held in October 2022. That theme, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, announced, will be “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” reported Vatican News. In 2018, when speaking to the International Theological Commission, Pope Francis said the theme of synodality, which means “walking together,” “is very close to my heart: Synodality is a style, it is walking together, and it is what the Lord expects of the Church in the third millennium.”

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CNS PHOTO/VATICAN MEDIA

KATHLEEN MCCHESNEY TO RECEIVE LAETARE MEDAL

BISHOPS LAUNCH YEARLONG PARISH SERVICE PROJECT

CNS PHOTOS: TOP: COURTESY KATHLEEN MCCHESNEY; BOTTOM: VATICAN MEDIA

church IN THE NEWS


SPECIAL UPDATE

By Pat McCloskey, OFM

Genuine Ecology for the Amazon and Our Planet

Querida Amazonia” (“Beloved Amazon”), Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation for the September 2019 special bishops’ synod on that region, has much to teach each of us, no matter where we live. The synod addressed people in the vast Amazon region—and everyone else on earth! All of us are already “walking together” (which is what synod means) in terms of caring for earth, our common home, and all its inhabitants (what Pope Francis calls “an integral ecology”). In a sense, we are like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13–35), seeing from a new perspective many things we once assumed that we already understood very well. The synod’s theme (“The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology”) indicates a readiness to change. Published this past February, this apostolic exhortation generously praises the synod’s unprecedented, extensive consultation. Over several years, an estimated 87,000 people attended territorial assemblies, thematic assemblies, or other gatherings to offer suggestions for this synod. Although the Amazon includes parts of nine countries, the entire Church was represented at this synod through bishops, auditors, experts, and 16 representatives from among the Amazon’s 110 indigenous groups. US Cardinals Kevin Farrell and Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap, and Bishop Robert McElroy attended, along with two lay experts from our country. Breaking sharply with recent tradition, Pope Francis allowed the synod members to publish their own final document instead of simply voting on recommendations to pass on to him. He also broke precedent in choosing not to cite the synod’s final document but rather encouraging everyone to read it along with this apostolic exhortation; both documents are available at the Synod of Bishops section of vatican.va. Photos and testimonies from the 2019 synod are available at SinodoAmazonico.va.

CNS PHOTO/VATICAN MEDIA

CNS PHOTOS: TOP: COURTESY KATHLEEN MCCHESNEY; BOTTOM: VATICAN MEDIA

FOUR GREAT DREAMS

“Beloved Amazon” is organized around four dreams (social, cultural, ecological, and ecclesial). The pope warns against an environmentalism that emphasizes a region’s rich natural resources while ignoring its peoples: “The challenge, in short, is to ensure a globalization in solidarity, a globalization without marginalization” (17). According to Pope Francis, factors such as consumerism, individualism, discrimination, and many others “represent the weaker side of supposedly more developed cultures” (36). Respectful dialogue enriches everyone’s respective culture. “Querida Amazonia” echoes “Laudato Si’” in its insistence that everything is connected. Although the Amazon region is rich in resources, mines, forests, and hydroelectric projects, these must be developed responsibly. Indigenous people

Pope Francis meets José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal, a member of the Curripaco indigenous community, during the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican.

here and elsewhere are not simply “in the way,” constituting obstacles to progress. Ironically, Catholics who have the easiest access to the Eucharist can still be deaf to its calls for social justice, for a faith “working through love” (Gal 5:6). Pope Francis notes that the faith and devotion of women have kept the Church in the Amazon alive for centuries. NEW PATHS FOR CHURCH AND SOCIETY

Ecclesial base communities have combined the defense of social rights with missionary evangelization. The Church needs to listen better to its members, to be more synodal. In fact, a month after “Beloved Amazon” was released, the pope announced that the synod’s October 2022 ordinary assembly will address the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” According to the 2020 apostolic exhortation, conflicts must be overcome “at a higher level, where each group can join the other in a new reality, while remaining faithful to itself ” (104). This document has been criticized by some Catholics because Pope Francis did not approve the priestly ordination of married men, a recommendation that 128 voters favored, while 41 did not. One part of the synod has ended, and another is only beginning. Later this year, a new apostolic constitution on the reform of the Roman Curia almost certainly will be released; its changes will be phased in. For the first time, the 2022 synod may include women as voting members. A more synodal Church will lead to changes on the parish, diocesan, national, and international levels. “A sound and sustainable ecology,” Pope Francis writes, “one capable of bringing about change, will not develop unless people are changed, unless they are encouraged to opt for another style of life, one less greedy and more serene, more respectful and less anxious, more fraternal” (58). Are we ready for such change? StAnthonyMessenger.org | May 2020 • 11

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SPIRITOFST.FRANCIS | ASK A FRANCISCAN By Pat McCloskey, OFM

How Are Mass Readings Chosen? A non-Catholic friend asked me how the Scriptures at Mass are selected. Who started this and when was the present system adopted?

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Co-Redemptrix?

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I’ve heard Mary may soon be officially declared “Co-Redemptrix with Christ.” Why hasn’t that already happened?

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

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ome Catholics were advocating this in the 1960s. It has not happened because Pope Francis and his six immediate predecessors have thought that doing so could confuse people about the uniqueness of Christ’s role in redemption. One of the biggest debates at Vatican II was whether the council should develop a separate document on Mary or summarize Church teaching about her within the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.” By a narrow margin, the majority of voters favored the second option, which became chapter 8 of that document. Zeal for a particular cause is not always a good indicator of what the Catholic Church has believed for centuries and what it should be proclaiming today.

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Father Pat welcomes your questions!

TOP LEFT: MC KOZUSKO/SAM; TOP RIGHT: PIPPOCARLOT/FOTOSEARCH; BOTTOM: NUIIKO/FOTOSEARCH

Pat McCloskey, OFM

atican II’s 1963 “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” called for a wider selection of biblical texts to be used at Mass. The current Lectionary (book of those readings) was prepared by an international committee of experts and went into use in 1970. The cycles for Sunday readings (A, B, C) use continuous readings from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, respectively. The Gospel of John is used in the Easter season, some Sundays in Cycle B, and at other times. On Sundays, the first reading is from the Old Testament and is coordinated thematically with that day’s Gospel. The second reading, a continuous one from other New Testament books, is not coordinated with that day’s Gospel and first reading. The weekday readings have a cycle for even-numbered years and another for odd-numbered years. In fact, the Gospels are the same in each cycle, but the first reading is from the New Testament some weeks and from the Old Testament other weeks. My confrere, Father Tom Richstatter, OFM, a former professor of liturgy, informs me that the Lectionary cycles present 14 percent of the Old Testament and 71 percent of the New Testament. In contrast, the readings in the 1963 Roman Missal used 1 percent of the Old Testament and 17 percent of the New Testament. Before I graduated from grade school in 1962, the same readings were often used several times a week, repeated from those of the previous Sunday, which had the same readings for the First Sunday of Lent, etc. Few people realized this because the readings were in Latin, and they did not have their own missals to follow along in English. This much wider selection of readings helps people better understand God’s unique selfrevelation in the Bible. More of the Bible is now used at Mass and for private prayer based on the Lectionary.


Quick Questions and Answers Why do some people in line for Communion have their arms crossed over their chest?

That signifies that they are coming for a blessing and not Communion; they are usually not Roman Catholics. I can’t tell you when or where this custom began, but I don’t remember that it existed when I was ordained a priest in 1975.

What is the best way to handle petitions such as prayers for children, family, and others? I have a prayer list, but I don’t feel right reading the same list every day.

There’s nothing wrong with having such a list; Pope Francis has one. Of course, you are probably adding new people as you become aware of new needs. And some of the older intentions have changed because of improved health or changed circumstances.

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Where can I get more information about the writings of St. Clare and other women saints?

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New City Press has published Clare of Assisi: The Lady (Early Documents). Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love, by Ilia Delio, OSF, is available from Franciscan Media. Robert Ellsberg’s book Blessed Among All Women: Women Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (Crossroad) has 136 entries, each including a reference to one or more books about that woman. Not all have been formally canonized, but each one is well worth knowing.

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Our prayers are not so much instructions given to God as they are ways to remind ourselves of all the reasons to be grateful for what God has already done. Although God knows our needs before we voice them, we may not realize our needs until we express them. In that sense, prayer is more for our benefit than for God’s.

A friend of mine says that because Vatican II documents are not dogmas, they don’t need to be believed or followed. She also says the council lessened respect for the Blessed Sacrament by allowing Communion in the hand while standing.

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At the start of Mass, why do we say, “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy”? Shouldn’t we be thanking God for mercy already shown?

She is mistaken on both counts. Although the documents of Vatican II are authoritative teachings, the Church has moved beyond them in areas such as condemning capital punishment. Your friend is free to receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue, but she is not free to judge one option as pious and the other as disrespectful. You might want to recommend a prayerful reading of 1 Corinthians 11:17–34.

Light a candle in memory of a loved one, or for your special intention. When you light a candle on StAnthony.org, it will burn for three days at the National Shrine of St. Anthony in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Franciscan friars are ready to light a candle for you!

Visit StAnthony.org

The Franciscan Friars, Province of St. John the Baptist 1615 Vine St., Ste 1 • Cincinnati, OH 45202-6492

www.StAnthony.org 513-721-4700 ext. 3219

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SPIRITOFST.FRANCIS “Let us love God and adore him with a pure heart and a pure mind.”

—Margaret of Cortona

FRANCISCAN WORLD

Rocca Maggiore

By Pat McCloskey, OFM

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WHEN MARGARET (1247– 1297) was 7, she lost her mother. Life with her stepmother was so difficult that Margaret entered a commonlaw marriage with Arsenio that lasted nine years; they had a son, who eventually became a friar. Arsenio’s murder prompted Margaret to become a penitent, eventually becoming a Secular Franciscan and later establishing a congregation of women to care for sick people. Many people consulted her about their spiritual life. She was canonized in 1728; her feast is May 16. —Pat McCloskey, OFM

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ST. ANTHONY STORIES

Anthony and the Lost Lenses

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n a recent vacation in Florida, I was photographing various flora and fauna around my resort when I lost my glasses. Since they were expensive trifocals, I searched for them multiple times, retracing the route I had taken while photographing. I looked for them at different times of the day in order to have different lighting conditions. I looked from different vantage points. I separated bushes to see if they had fallen in. Other vacationers saw me searching so many times that they also helped me look. I prayed to St. Anthony for his help and intercession. Despite all my efforts, the glasses had not been found by the time I left Florida. On my drive back north, I received a call that my glasses had been found. The frames were flattened, and one lens had come out. A friend of mine picked them up and mailed them to me. I took them to my eye care clinic, and they were able to reassemble them. All praise and glory to God, and thank you, St. Anthony, for the gracious help given to this clumsy old photographer! —Bob Gilmartin, St. Charles, Illinois

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PHOTO: KATE MESSER PHOTOGRAPHY

Repentance led her to a life of prayer, penance, and great compassion.

FAR LEFT: GWYNNE ANDREWS FUND, 1968/WIKIMEDIA; TOP LEFT: BERTHOLD WERNER/WIKIPEDIA/PUBLIC DOMAIN; LOWER RIGHT: RACORN/FOTOSEARCH

MARGARET OF CORTONA

he ruins of this fortress high above Assisi remind us that Francis lived during a turbulent time when the feudal system was starting to fall apart and merchants in cities such as Assisi sought to avoid control by the pope or the Holy Roman emperor. Although Assisi was allied with the emperor, its citizens rose up in 1198 and tore down the Rocca Maggiore. A 16-year-old Francesco Bernardone joined in the attack that led to a civil war forcing the city’s noble families to ally themselves with the comune or go into exile. St. Clare’s family went to live in nearby Perugia (loyal to the pope) for several years. Captured in 1202 during a war with Perugia, Francis spent a year as a prisoner of war in that city. The Rocca fortress was rebuilt in the 14th century. Several scenes for Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon were shot there. According to Jesus, power is for service. When it is used for other purWith great enthusiasm, Francesco Bernardone joined in tearing down poses, things never end well. this symbol of imperial authority over the citizens of Assisi.


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FOLLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS

ST. ANTHONY

The Unsinkable Theresa Diersen

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PHOTO: KATE MESSER PHOTOGRAPHY

FAR LEFT: GWYNNE ANDREWS FUND, 1968/WIKIMEDIA; TOP LEFT: BERTHOLD WERNER/WIKIPEDIA/PUBLIC DOMAIN; LOWER RIGHT: RACORN/FOTOSEARCH

Theresa Diersen

family lived across from and were members of St. Bonaventure Parish. The friars, she says, were always on the periphery of her life growing up— and their influence took root. “I truly believe that growing up as a Franciscan Catholic has made me who I am today.” And though Diersen may not fully understand the depths of poverty SFSM’s guests face every day, struggle is nothing foreign to her. In fact, it informs her work. “I thought everyone ate ketchup sandwiches and pancakes for dinner. I didn’t realize that my mother was doing her best to make sure we survived,” she says. “When I reached high school, I decided I would work to make people’s lives better, starting with my family. Working at SFSM makes me feel a little better about the world we live in.” The work can be taxing, but Diersen never loses sight of the bigger picture. “The challenge is staying positive. With so many people needing assistance, it can be emotionally draining. We’re not just providing food or teaching cooking classes. SFSM is a safe haven, a resource for help, an ear to listen, or encouragement that they are not alone.” Diersen knows SFSM is changing lives. Last year, a former client approached her to express his gratitude for the many meals SFSM provided him. Because of this ministry, he was able to save money for an apartment. Now, he’s off the streets and employed at a cold shelter. He went from being homeless to helping the homeless. Diersen deflects the credit to a higher power: “That is God working through me.” To learn more about the work of St. Francis Seraph Ministries, go to SFSMinistries.org. —Christopher Heffron

FRANK JASPER, OFM

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erhaps the most famous survivor of the RMS Titanic disaster of 1912 is Molly Brown, the socialite and philanthropist whom the press would later christen “unsinkable.” Known for her warmth and dry wit, Brown could be gracious but tough, accommodating but firm. When Theresa Diersen walks into the Mother Teresa of Calcutta dining room at St. Francis Seraph Ministries (SFSM) in Cincinnati, Ohio, she radiates those same qualities. Guests immediately take notice: Faces light up; hugs are in abundance. Diersen, indeed, navigates the challenges of her job with unsinkable joy. As the volunteer services director at SFSM, Diersen is many things to many people. SFSM is one of six ministries within the Saint Anthony Center in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The center’s goal, its website states, is to provide a “safe environment where our community’s most vulnerable can find refuge and restoration.” That kind of noble work requires many volunteers. Enter Diersen. In her role, Diersen works with upwards of 600 volunteers in a given month. She might be managing volunteers at the dining room for breakfast or dinner, making sandwiches for the center’s popular Bag Lunch Program (which feeds 600 day laborers in the area, some of whom make less than $35 a day), or helping with Cooking for the Family or Sarah Center, two additional ministries sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province. “I believe that working here is truly the work of God,” she says. “I love working with all demographics in hopes that each person leaves our facility a little bit happier than when they walked in.” Diersen’s history with the Franciscans stretches back decades. A Cincinnati native, both of her parents worked at St. Francis Hospital. The

BREAD s 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:

StAnthony.org

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mAil poStAl communicAtionS to:

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

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POINTSOFVIEW | I’D LIKE TO SAY

By Patrick Carolan

Welcome the Stranger—Every Stranger

Patrick Carolan

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ext to abortion, immigration is probably the most divisive issue in our country. As Christians, we find ourselves torn between protecting our borders, upholding the laws, and caring for and welcoming refugees. The COVID-19 pandemic, which picked up steam in this country last March, added a deeper level of complexity to the immigration discussion. We often hear people comment that they have no problem with immigration if folks would just come legally. Priests are often criticized for talking about welcoming the stranger in their homilies. They are told that they shouldn’t be talking about political issues at Mass. We debate and argue, accuse and demonize each other. Through it all, we lose sight of the human face of immigration. FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE

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I recently had the opportunity to spend some time at the US-Mexico border. I stayed with a group of faith leaders from across the country at Holy Cross, a Franciscan retreat center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We experienced the human face of immigration. At the border, we could reach through the

fence to touch hands with and listen to the stories of mothers and their children escaping from violence and rape in their home villages. We met at a church with folks who are trying to help the refugees. We heard a story from one of the workers about a case she was involved with. A woman from Guatemala, afraid for herself and her daughter, was trying to seek refuge in the United States. She told the worker that if she returned, both she and her daughter would be raped. In fact, she herself had experienced sexual assault. When her hearing came, she was denied asylum and returned to her country. A few weeks later the worker heard that she had been raped and murdered. How much of her blood is on our hands? We went to court to witness hearings for those recently arrested for trying to enter the United States. They were marched in with handcuffs and ankle chains like hardened criminals. When the judge told them, one by one, to raise their right hands even though they were shackled, I was reminded of pictures I have seen of slaves shackled and chained as they were sold in slave auctions. I was particularly moved by one young woman

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CNS PHOTO/TYLER ORSBURN

CatholicClimateMovement.global

The human face of immigration is evident above. The author contends that we cannot hide behind unjust laws; instead, we must take action through Jesus’ mandate of peace and love.

UPPER LEFT: COURTESY PATRICK CAROLAN; TOP: CNS PHOTO/DAVID MAUNG

Patrick previously served as executive director of the Franciscan Action Network. He is also a cofounder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. He currently serves as director of Catholic outreach for Vote Common Good. He is a recipient of the 2015 White House Champions of Change Award and is personally dedicated to social justice through individual and societal transformation.


who had been separated from her two young children. She wanted to know where her children were, but the court could not tell her anything. A PERSONAL HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION

I am the son of immigrants. My parents came to America in 1950. They landed on Ellis Island with nothing—no money, no education, no real job skills—just a dream that their children could have a better life. My mother would often tell the story of getting off the boat with one baby in her arms and another on the way. When I saw the woman in court asking about her children, I thought of my mother. What would have happened when she got off the boat if the authorities took my brother away from her? I sat in the courtroom with tears in my eyes, thinking about their circumstances. My parents went on to have six children. Two of their children went on to get PhDs. One served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. One became a cardiac nurse and helped thousands of patients recover from heart attacks; another was a schoolteacher and principal. My parents had 19 grandchildren, four of whom were adopted. One of their grandchildren served two tours in Afghanistan; another did a tour in Iraq and Korea. When my simple, humble mother died, there was a line several blocks long of relatives, friends, and neighbors coming to pay their respects. I often think about what would have happened if, at the border, they told her she was not welcome, separated her from my brother, or saw that she was pregnant and sent her back immediately. This would have been the case under the recently enacted Trump policy that prevents any woman who might be pregnant from entering the United States.

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UPPER LEFT: COURTESY PATRICK CAROLAN; TOP: CNS PHOTO/DAVID MAUNG

GOD’S LAW SUPERSEDES HUMAN LAW

It’s easy for us to sit back in our space of comfort and say these people are breaking the law. It’s easy to demonize and unjustly classify them as rapists and murderers. It comes naturally when we view people different from us as other, not sister and brother. We can believe immigration is a political issue for politicians to solve. We can hide behind the law without ever seeing the face of God in the refugee or seeing the suffering Jesus in the eyes of a woman whose children are torn from her. Pope Francis encourages us “to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors” (“A Stranger and You Welcomed Me”). He points out that immigration is not a contemporary phenomenon: “The history of mankind is the history of migrations on every latitude; there is no people that has not known the migratory phenomenon.” In just the first five books of the Bible, welcoming the stranger is mentioned over 50 times. In Matthew 25:35 Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” In the story of Cain and Abel, God asks Cain where his brother is. Cain’s response: “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” We know God’s answer to that. I sometimes think our history is

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” —Matthew 25:35

Panic and suspicion over the spread of COVID-19 challenges our Gospel call to welcome and love “the least of us.” We are one body, one family.

about asking God over and over, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” while hoping that at some point God is going to say, “No, I was only kidding.” In the middle of the 19th century, slavery was the law of the land. Helping slaves escape was against the law. At that same time, a number of Catholic churches and leaders joined with their evangelical, Quaker, and Protestant sisters and brothers in offering sanctuary as part of the Underground Railroad. These fearless people were not blindly obedient to the law of the land. In 1928, Adolf Hitler said, “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the idea of Christianity; in fact, our movement is Christian.” But the Holocaust was the law, and helping Jews was against the law. A few years later, a group of young Catholic, Lutheran, and evangelical students formed an underground, nonviolent resistance movement called the White Rose Society. As one of the founders, Sophie Scholl, was being led to her execution, she said, “What does my death matter if, through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?” St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that “an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” If we truly believe the message of peace and love, and as Jesus taught us, to take up our cross and be one with God, then we need to rewrite our story to one of connectedness, not one of separateness. As people of faith, we must have a story where people are not undocumented immigrants, where families are not separated. Rather, we need a story where we are all brothers and sisters, all part of the one family of God. StAnthonyMessenger.org | May 2020 • 17

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POINTSOFVIEW | AT HOME ON EARTH

By Kyle Kramer

Seeing the World as Kin

Kyle Kramer

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engineering seem utterly elementary and crude. Healthy forests model frugality, resilience, and adaptation as they weather adverse conditions. At the same time, they are generous and hospitable, providing homes, food, and plenty of other benefits for countless other creatures. And in all of this, they are patient on a scale that we humans can hardly fathom. A year or even a decade is a blink to an oak that can live centuries or a redwood that can live millennia. A LEARNING JOURNEY

But good things don’t necessarily come to those who wait. Over the last few months, our rural electric co-op, as part of a project of relocating power lines to a more convenient location along our rural highway, has cut down scores of trees. Beech trees and sycamores a century old, healthy cedars, shagbark and slickbark hickories, oaks, maples—all of them got the death penalty for the mere crime of being in the way of human plans. Whenever I think of it or drive along our stretch of highway, my heart hurts. Lest you think that I’m overly romantic or impractical, I should admit that in more than two decades of heating exclusively with wood, plus some selective timbering, I’ve logged plenty of hours with a chainsaw myself. It has been a journey for me to come to appreci-

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EarthandSpiritCenter.org

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egular readers of this column will know that I love trees. Our home is nestled in the rolling woods of southern Indiana, so I have plenty of opportunity to spend time among these woody companions. Though I have but scratched the surface of what can be learned from and about trees, they constantly amaze me. I’ve come to believe firmly that trees, like all of the natural world, are a sacrament of God’s being and a model for the possibilities of what human life could look like, well-lived. From their deep roots to their skywardreaching branches, they bridge the gap between heaven and earth. Healthy forests, as forest ecologists have increasingly proven, are so interwoven among and across species that it is probably more accurate to think of a forest as a single organism. In sharing nutrients, in working together to moderate microclimate and to ward off pests, they show us what a healthy, diverse, pro-social, highly cooperative human community could be. Trees create immensely strong structural material out of water, sunlight, a few minerals, and thin air—all the while, sequestering carbon and building up topsoil. Doing so, they rival any manufacturing process ever conceived. In their elegant, solarpowered design, they make our human

LEFT: COURTESY OF KYLE KRAMER; RIGHT: SMILEUS/FOTOSEARCH

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.


ate trees as much as I do now, to see them as creatures with their own intrinsic worth, rather than simply as scenery or as board-feet of lumber or cords of firewood. On some level it has been a learning journey but, really, it has been a journey of affection and love, of allowing my heart to be gradually opened, much as it has been in my marriage, to the beautiful, particular reality of another creature—even nonhuman creatures like trees. It’s that journey that has helped me to begin to doubt the myth of progress that is behind what happened on our highway. The natural world is disorderly and dangerous, goes this myth, so we need to bring all of nature under our control, ensuring and increasing our comfort, convenience, and safety—and generating plenty of profit in the process, as we turn natural resources into money. Nature may be nice, but the priorities of human beings shall not be thwarted. If you want a power line to go in a certain place, you cut down the trees that are in its way.

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LEFT: COURTESY OF KYLE KRAMER; RIGHT: SMILEUS/FOTOSEARCH

WHAT IF?

More and more, I think that myth is just plain wrong. What if, instead, we realized that control, comfort, convenience, and safety are not the be-all and end-all of a good life, and that in pursuing them so maniacally, we’re actually guaranteed to end up with the opposite? What if we began to place our faith in a different sort of progress, whose markers are the diversity, health, and resilience of both ecological systems and human beings? What if we stopped trading community for commodity? What if we directed our collective intelligence and willpower toward integrity, patience, and gentleness, rather than efficiency, speed, and power? Here is my prediction: We would be quite a bit happier, and our planet’s oceans, atmosphere, forests, prairies, creatures, and topsoil would be in far better shape. We’ll learn this new faith by starting to look with eyes of love, which is the only way we’ll truly see the beauty and mystery and wonder of God’s creation. Through the eyes of love, we would see a tree as kin to us, a fellow God-made creature, with its own dignity and its own right to live and grow. So when we did cut trees, we would do it with respect and reverence, cut no more than we absolutely had to, cut no more old-growth primary forest, waste nothing, and try to make of those trees something at least as lovely and useful as what we took. Treating the world with this kind of loving care will probably mean that we end up with fewer material goods than we’re used to, or less convenient access to our power lines (or, egads, fewer power lines and less power). But on the other hand, maybe we’ll also end up with true beauty instead of mass-produced ugliness, true community instead of loneliness and isolation, true meaning instead of addiction and endless entertainment. For us Christians, maybe we will end up truly following Jesus, who pointed our gaze toward the lilies of the field rather than the power of Rome or Jerusalem. It doesn’t seem like a bad trade at all.

HELPFUL

TIPS

THE MORE YOU KNOW

1

For a mind-bending treatment of the human relationship to the rest of the natural world, read Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Overstory.

2

Globally, a forest area the size of a football field is clear-cut every two seconds. Since humans started cutting trees, we have lost almost half of the earth’s original forest cover.

3

Did you know that the olive trees planted by Christians in the garden of Gethsemane are over 900 years old? There are many articles online where you can read about these trees.

“Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these, they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.” —St. FranciS oF aSSiSi

Please remember Franciscan Media in your family’s estate planning. For more information please call Lisa at: (513) 241-5615 ext. 104

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POINTSOFVIEW | FAITH UNPACKED

By David Dault, PhD

David Dault, PhD

David hosts the weekly radio show Things Not Seen: Conversations about Culture and Faith. He also cohosts The Francis Effect podcast with Father Dan Horan, OFM. He lives with his family on the South Side of Chicago.

Want a certain topic covered? Send us your request. E-MAIL:

FaithUnpacked@ FranciscanMedia.org MAIL:

Faith Unpacked 28 W. Liberty St. Cincinnati, OH 45202 PODCAST:

The Francis Effect podcast can be streamed live at FrancisFXPod.com.

y son and I are working on a project together. He is trying to keep his room clean, and so am I. To be honest, keeping things clean is a never-ending effort in our home. All four of us—my wife, my daughter, my son, and me—struggle with keeping things tidy and organized. But, lately, my 8-year-old and I have tried to make a game of it. He reminds me about my piles of unread magazines, and I remind him to put away his shoes. Slowly, over time, we’re both getting a little better. When you are a parent, it can be frustrating to revisit the same moment again and again with your kids. You find yourself continuously reminding them at dinner to keep their elbows off the table or to close their mouths when they chew. You might even catch yourself thinking: I just told them this. Why aren’t they listening? You want it to be like a switch: You flip it, and they get it. But it never works like that. That’s why working on this in tandem with my son is so helpful. You see, at the dinner table, I might think he’s the only one who needs to work on things. But giving him permission, even encouragement, to call me out on my magazine piles and unread mail helps to keep me humble. It’s not a one-way street. We’re in it together. BIBLICAL CHALLENGE

Lately I’ve been reading the Gospel of Matthew, and I got stuck on the beatitudes, right there in chapter 5. In particular, I got stuck on the eighth verse: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Hearing that verse with modern ears can be a tough pill to swallow. I mean, I live with myself. I know how messed up the inner

recesses of my heart can be. And worse, there are other versions of the Bible that render the verse, “Blessed are the pure of heart.” That is frankly terrifying. Keeping my heart clean is hard enough, but pure seems impossible and simply unattainable. It feels as though the verse is asking me to flip a switch, and I am fumbling along the wall in the dark, trying to find it. As I’ve been meditating on this verse, I dug back into the Greek I learned when I was at seminary. The word that we are translating as “clean” or “pure” is the primitive Greek word katharoi. When it shows up in the Bible, the word is often associated with actions like pruning vines or burning off dross with fire. But more importantly for me, that word is closely associated with the root from which we get the modern word catharsis. In psychology, catharsis is the act of confronting deep emotions associated with events from the past that have never been adequately expressed. And that helps. JOURNEYING TOGETHER

You see, in the ancient world, nothing ever showed up in its pure form. If you wanted salt, for example, it meant you had to work to dry out saltwater. And there were no washing machines, which meant you couldn’t just press a button and clean your clothes. If you wanted them clean, it took effort. With katharoi, it’s a process, not a switch. So what I’ve learned in this process with my son, when I get impatient with reminding him to clean his room for the umpteenth time, is that he’s working on it. And then he points at my piles of mail and magazines and reminds me that I’m working on it too. There is no switch. It’s hard work. It’s heart work. But we’re getting there—together.

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FATHER FRANK JASPER, OFM

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Works in Progress


POINTSOFVIEW | EDITORIAL

By Mark Soehner, OFM

A Franciscan Response to the Coronavirus

FATHER FRANK JASPER, OFM

TOP LEFT: PHOTO COURTESY OF CHICAGO SUNDAY EVENING CLUB/KHIEM TRAN; MIDDLE: PEOPLE IMAGES/ISTOCK

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y now, no one needs to tell you about the impact of the pandemic we’re experiencing. There “In Christ Jesus, are a great number of we know that we inconveniences. There is also a lot of fear and confuare connected by sion. Social distancing and genuine bonds that the rate of change make all social distancing of our daily lives more difcannot break.” ficult. —Mark Soehner, OFM Sometimes we need to go back to our faith, though, to get perspective. Our faith tells us what to do with our feelings, our fear, our inconsufferings, large or small, with Jesus became veniences, our reduced options for social the road to transformation. connection. My brother Richard Rohr recaps This is not a situation of our choosing, a dictum from psychology when he states: but a situation that’s been given to us. In the “Any pain that is not transformed is always Morning Offering, we used to say, “We offer transmitted.” our prayers, our works, our joys, and our sufThis fear and loneliness could be a worse ferings of this day” to Jesus. We can still say contagion that we spread unwittingly. It’s OK that prayer! For Christians, the coronavirus to have feelings, but not to let the feelings pandemic is an opportunity for transforming have us. I get grumpy and fearful, for examour sufferings. ple, and then maybe I snap at the brother who’s making dinner for us. He doesn’t know CONNECTING AMID SOCIAL DISTANCING what to do with his feelings. He goes out and This Lenten practice reminds us of our conkicks the dog. That’s not a good thing. That’s nection with all those other people who are suffering throughout the world: the poor, the the kind of contagion I’m talking about. On a dispossessed, the forgotten. In Christ Jesus, we massive level, it leads to poverty, mass shootknow that we are connected by genuine bonds ings, and war. that social distancing cannot break. Our Baptism into Christ is not a flu shot So let’s check in on our elderly neighbors, against such feelings of fear and confusion let’s practice caution around large groups, and that are part of the human condition. It’s let’s wash our hands. Then—only then—put what we do with our feelings that can change those washed hands into the hands of Christ. things. No hardship, no disease, no fear can stop us from experiencing the love of Christ. THE ROAD TO TRANSFORMATION I’d like you to know that the Franciscans This experience reminds us how to transform care about each one of you. Your daily pain. The secret is not to waste this suffering prayer requests through Franciscan.org, but allow it to be transformed by the love of FranciscanMedia.org, or St. Anthony.org Christ. St. Francis of Assisi himself felt pain. are reaching us. We’re reading those prayer He felt a lot of these feelings. But he learned requests. We’re praying for each of you and how to take his own hurts and pains directly with each of you. to Christ. He touched his nailed hands to the For a video of Father Mark speaking about nailed hands of Christ. this topic, go to info.franciscanmedia.org/en/ St. Francis practiced this to such a high healing-and-hope-the-covid-19-pandemic. degree that his own body bore the marks of [This editorial was written in mid-March, durhis friend Jesus, the crucified, out of a desire ing the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.] to share that love with his friend. To share his

Father Mark Soehner, OFM

Father Mark Soehner was born in Dayton, Ohio. He entered the Franciscan Order in 1980 and professed vows in 1981. Father Mark has worked as a university campus minister, homeless minister, spiritual director, and licensed professional counselor. From 1995 until 2008, Father Mark was the pastor of St. Aloysius, in the heart of Detroit’s downtown business district, serving the homeless and the elderly poor. In 2008, Father Mark became a formation director and the guardian of St. Joseph Friary in Chicago. That same year, he was elected to his provincial council. He continued to work with young friars in formation in Cincinnati and Detroit until 2017, when he was elected provincial minister for St. John the Baptist Province. Father Mark currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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on

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Keeping


on Prisoners on death row find hope and humanity by sharing their stories with readers on the inside and outside in a newsletter called Compassion. By Sister Patricia Schnapp, RSM

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ensively, George Wilkerson sits in his prison cell and works on an editorial. Then he will choose the other articles and poems for the next issue of Compassion, a newsletter written by and for men and women on death row. Wilkerson, 37, is on death row in Raleigh, North Carolina. His crime: murder. His mission: Christian discipleship. For Wilkerson, who has been editor for four years, Compassion is a ministry. It is a way, through his column and his editorial choices, to reach a largely neglected audience with a much-needed message of compassion. Compassion originated 18 years ago at the request of Siddique Abdullah Hasan, an inmate on death row in Ohio. Eventually, through Hasan’s lawyer, his request reached Fred Moor, a member of the Peace and Justice Committee of St. Rose Parish in Perrysburg, Ohio. A subcommittee was formed and got to work. Its first challenge was to solicit material for the newsletter. This entailed making numerous phone calls to state prisons with death rows and requesting lists of those awaiting execution. While not every institution responded, Moor got additional lists by contacting organizations opposing the death penalty.

Hasan also passed the word to those he could, and six months later, the first issue of Compassion was published. Moor, who coordinates the Compassion subcommittee, recalls that, as a young boy, when he saw newscasts about executions in Ohio, he was “struck by the inhumanity of killing others.” He found his parish’s Peace and Justice Committee a “perfect platform” for developing a ministry to those on death row. With financial support from thenBishop James Hoffman of Toledo and other contributors, the newsletter Compassion was, and still is, sent bimonthly to the 3,100-plus men and women on death row in the United States, as well as to all members of Congress, governors of death-penalty states, and subscribers. Bishop Hoffman died in 2003, but the Diocese of Toledo remains a lead donor. “Since 2001,” Moor adds, “hundreds of those on death row have opened their hearts to impart their feelings, share a poem, expose a tormented soul, or offer a simple thank-you.” The newsletter, he says, “is fortunate to be the recipient of their thoughts and allow them to tell their story.”

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TO ANY WHO WOULD HEAR, Thanks to God I have found freedom. No, not from this place of concrete and steel, but from my prison of hate. I had known anger and fear for so long that I built a prison of hate around me to hide and protect myself. I had conned myself into believing that the fear I instilled in people was respect. I hated the world and it hated me right back. My freedom came from God in the form of an 80-year-old volunteer named Austin. He would come to visit the cells every Tuesday. And every Tuesday I would say the most vulgar things to him. Even the other guys would ask me why I spoke like that. Which led to more violence and hate. One Tuesday he came to my door with a veterans’ hat on (WWII US Navy). I had served in the US Navy for five years. We talked about the (continued on page 26)

‘COMPASSION IS OUR MEGAPHONE’

Wilkerson attends Bible studies and Sunday services facilitated by outside volunteers. But his great passion and focus is editing Compassion, to which he is deeply committed. He explained this commitment in a recent editorial titled “How Does Compassion Help Death Row Prisoners?” First, Wilkerson says, Compassion gives prisoners a voice. “Living under a death sentence is a unique, alienating experience that only other death row prisoners can fully relate to,” he writes. “Compassion allows them to meet, to say to each other, ‘You are not alone.’” In the newsletter, they share their often hard-won wisdom. A sample of this includes the spiritual insight that

Untitled, by Kevin J. Marinelli, Pennsylvania Death Row (9” x 12” pastel)

“adversity is universal. . . . We get to choose whether we will manacle our potential or embrace our adversity to develop into the people God created us to be.” Less specifically religious maxims include “You can’t complain your way to happiness” and “People will be rude and inconsiderate. Yet that does not have to stop you from finding something to value and appreciate about those people.” Publishing the prisoners’ insights assures them that what they think is important, gives them a sense of accomplishment, and helps negate their “looming sense of worthlessness,” Wilkerson says. Compassion has an implicit spiritual mission, he believes. Giving prisoners a voice allows them to accept responsibility for their past and say they are sorry for their actions. In the editor’s words: “We need to be able to express remorse publicly, to scream it as loud as possible. Compassion is our megaphone.” One prisoner voiced his remorse in these words: “I planted wickedness and Death sprung up!” yet “I still call out to you, O Lord, in repentance, seeking your mercy and forgiveness.” Another: “I have hurt so many people, especially when I murdered two. How could I have? I pray that in eternal life I will see everyone I have hurt and then we will cry tears of joy for all that the Son of God has done for us.”

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from HATE

Compassion also features artwork, letters to the editor, and even the occasional cartoon—which surprises many—all contributed by prisoners on death row. They may not write about their specific cases. Since Compassion is published in a death penalty state, it cannot publicly oppose executions without losing its 501(c)(3) status, which would make its cost prohibitive. Instead, the newsletter’s mission is simply “to help death row inmates live connected and fruitful lives.” For subscribers on the outside, it also provides a window into a place few readers really want to visit, and it reflects in vivid ways the humanity of the inmates. Those on “the row,” Wilkerson says, “need to know practical ways” to live well and ethically in the toxic environment of prison. Since the newsletter is not a specifically Christian publication, readers who are not Christian are likely to be more receptive to his words. “Compassion is my cover,” he says. Wilkerson has always claimed Christianity as his religion, but “only began living it when sentenced to die.” His daily routine starts with prayer and includes reading, exercise, study, and writing “all day.” A clearly gifted thinker and writer, he has recently won two literary awards, the first for a memoir/essay published by PEN America in a collection titled The Named and the Nameless: 2018 Prison Writing Awards Anthology. The second was a thirdplace award in the Cathy Smith Bowers Poetry Chapbook Contest for a poem about Christmas on death row (see page 27).

COURTESY COMPASSION

FREED


Because of laws still enforced in 29 states, Luis has been executed. But, thanks to Compassion, his story lives on and may continue to move hearts and change minds about the death penalty—and those who have been sentenced to it. That would be good news not only for Wilkerson but also for the other men and women who still wait for the grace of compassion to touch legislators and other citizens. THE VOICES OF VICTIMS

Part of Compassion’s outreach, at the suggestion of a prisoner, is using a portion of the funds from subscriptions and donations for college scholarships to family members of murder victims. Many inmates on death row contribute to this, though they do not personally handle the disbursements. In addition, prisoner-artists can—and do—donate their work to be sold, with the proceeds used for this purpose. These are a few ways of making amends, an important component of healing. At this point, almost $52,000 in college scholarships has been awarded. Besides its varied articles and letters to the editor, Compassion has a feature called “Victims Voice.” It contains excerpts from letters by people who have lost a family member to murder. These writers have found ways to forgive and to oppose executions. One, for

“There is so much good in the worst of us, And so much bad in the best of us, That it ill behooves any one of us To find fault with the rest of us.” Every rose has its flaws, But why examine its flaws, When you can enjoy its beauty? —Wesley I. Purkey Federal Death Row Terre Haute, Indiana

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COURTESY COMPASSION

From his years on death row, Wilkerson notes that, at present, various departments of correction seem to follow a philosophy more geared to retribution than rehabilitation. While economics, in part, dictates this focus, it tends to reinforce “destructive attitudes and behaviors.” Still, the humanity of the inmates becomes clear in the poignant poetry in Compassion, as well as in many of the articles and stories. A few years back, an inmate named Luis wrote in Compassion about his first day on death row. He had a “tsunami of emotions” as he sat down on the cot in his bleak cell and worried about the “Hannibal Lecters” around him. That night, the inmate who swept his corridor pushed a brown paper bag into his cell. Worried about what it contained, Luis opened it carefully. In it were stamps, envelopes, a notepad, pen, soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, a pastry, and soda. The other men, knowing that Luis had nothing, had pitched in and given him something of the little they had. Luis was overwhelmed at this act of kindness. How could these men who just showed me such humanity be considered “the worst of the worst”? he asked himself. What he’d found in the brown paper bag, he wrote, were “caring, kindness, love, humanity, and compassion on a scale that I’ve never seen before.”

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(continued from page 24)

Written by Death-Row Prisoners HELPING PRISONERS ON DEATH ROW LIVE CONNECTED AND FRUITFUL LIVES

—Robert Fry Penitentiary of New Mexico Santa Fe, New Mexico

Publishing compassionate and introspective articles written by death-row prisoners.

IN THIS ISSUE: u Editorial: At the Limits

of Speech, Words Fail

u Letters to the Editor u Rehabilitation

Excerpt for the book Involuntary Servitude u Victims’ Voice u Freed from Hate u Train of Life u It Takes More Than One u A Convict’s Dream u Just A Thought u The Last Laugh u What’s the Point? u And More...

T

March 2020 | Vol. 25 | Issue 113 (Bi-monthly)

Wherever You Are

he most memorable times I have from my childhood are those I spent with my dog Nikki. I always believed we’d be together for a very long time. Then a day came that changed my life. Nikki (who treated everyone as her friend) would go off with all the kids and I’d have to drag her home. We had the perfect relationship and good communication between the two of us. A year went by and I loved Nikki even more. We spent all of our quality time together. One weekend I went to stay with my cousins so we could go see the college football game on Saturday. Nikki wanted to come but could not, and she whined, but I think she understood. I returned home Sunday, anxious to see Nikki and tell her all about the game and the fun we had, and how much I’d missed her. But when I walked into the yard I saw everyone but Nikki, and my family did not look happy to see me. I asked what was wrong and no one said a word. My Mom came to me and told me Nikki was missing. I couldn’t believe it! I ran out front and started calling her name over and over and over as I walked down the street.

As I got to the corner my sister showed up and that is when I realized I was crying. Nikki was nowhere around. My Mom had called the police and asked all the neighbors, but no one had seen anything. Then Mr. Byford showed up and hold us he saw Nikki climb in the car with some people. When the police arrived Mr. Byford gave a description of the car and we added Nikki’s description. My Mom felt I knew Nikki’s features better than anyone, so she had me give the description. I think they wanted me to feel I was doing more. Now I know why they call dogs “Man’s best friend.” Nikki was truly my best friend. I was the only one in my neighborhood with a Great Dane. I loved Nikki and I always think of her and who her new owners are and if they are treating her right. I have never owned another dog since. I loved that dog!

“How could these men who just showed me such humanity be considered ‘the worst of the worst’?”

—Luis, death row prisoner who has since been executed

Antonio L. Doyle Ely State Prison Ely, Nevada

The True Measure of Any Human Being is Found In Their Empathy and Compassion for Others and Self There is so much good in the worst of us, And so much bad in the best of us, That it will behoove any one of us To find fault with the rest of us. Every rose has its flaws, But why examine its flaws, When you can enjoy its beauty! Wesley I. Purkey Federal Death Row Terra Haute, IN

www.compassionondeathrow.net

Compassion, March 2020 issue

instance, whose brother was killed, says: “If we can judge people as worthless or having no right to live, we become very much like the murderers we condemn. The death penalty is about vengeance, not justice.” Another, who lost his son to murder, wrote that he decided “not to become the enemy of my son’s killers but of the forces that put a young boy on a dark street holding a gun.” Such testimonies give evidence that many who have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one eventually find in themselves the capacity for forgiveness. This is important for prisoners to see, Wilkerson says, and tends to promote their own repentance. Finally, Wilkerson says Compassion is a “beacon of hope.” It is a concrete way that “society supports us even as we support each other.” And many of the prisoners have written expressions of their gratitude for it. In a recent issue, one of the prisoners wrote, “Over the years of receiving your Compassion newsletter, there were many, many times when reading this helped lighten my load here on Nebraska’s Death Row.” (Since writing this, he has been executed, as have two previous editors.) Another said, in his article titled “What Compassion Means to Me,” that in the “dreadful confines of our unfortunate [situation], Compassion remembers us. It reaches out to us in friendship, fellowship, humanity, kindness.” His article concludes: “Your benevolence helps us endure, persevere through penitence, and transcend ignobility. For all this and more, I am immeasurably grateful.” Such testimonies confirm Wilkerson’s belief in the value of this newsletter.

THE PATH TO REDEMPTION

The death penalty continues to be a highly debated issue in the United States. From a faith perspective, the National Council of Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Churches, which represents 35 Protestant and Orthodox churches in the United States, strongly oppose it. In 2018, Pope Francis called for a revision of Church teaching that declared the death penalty “inadmissible” since it is “contrary to the Gospel.” He said further, “It is an offense against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person.” Yet, 43 percent of Catholics still support the death penalty, despite the words of Pope Francis and the fact that a sentence of life without parole achieves the same purpose as that of all prisons—keeping the community safe. Moreover, it allows for the possibility of spiritual growth and redemption, something Wilkerson deeply believes in. In each issue, Compassion attests to the irrepressible humanity of these “banished children of Eve,” those condemned to death and awaiting execution. Wilkerson continues to “witness the ‘small’ miracles of God all throughout my day” in his writing. Through Compassion, he and the other men and women on death row communicate with each other and with many on the outside. They remind us that no prison bars, even those on death row, can block the workings of grace. And they remind us that our compassionate God sent us his son, Jesus Christ, who suffered with us to establish a community of compassion and love, a mission to which all of us are called. Sister Patricia Schnapp, RSM, is a writer and professor emerita of English at Siena Heights University who resides in Toledo, Ohio. She volunteers at prisons as a teacher and chaplain. Along with writing articles and poetry, she enjoys playing the banjo and listening to jazz and classical music.

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After six months of regular visits I accepted Christ into my life and heart. That old man had dug the first chip into that rock wall of hate I put around my heart. Though Austin has since departed this world, the love he shared with me through his love of Christ saved me. I share that love with everyone now, even those who want me dead. I’m still on death row, pending the outcome of a decision in the courts. [Fry was later resentenced to life in prison, following the court’s decision.] Hate put me here, and here I will live. But I will live here and share the love that God gave me through the heart of that old man.

140 W. South Boundary Street | Perrysburg, OH 43551

COURTESY COMPASSION

Navy. Then for the next month we talked every week about everything but God. Finally he broached the subject again. This time I was more amiable. I began to look forward to his visits and so did everyone else because I was calm and not so angry.


‘The Knowledge of Good and Evil’ by George Wilkerson SCENE: Death Row; a Christmas tree, ornamented, tinseled, well-lit, complete with phony gifts beneath. It crowds one half of the hall as we shoulder on around en route from and to chow. Most guys walk on by—eyes ahead; but some press close to thump a tiny colored light bulb hard enough to darken it, pinch needles into zees, or brazenly slap the crap out of plastic decorations, as if to say, “I’m hurting you because you’re hurting me.” Still other men ooooo and aahhh, like little kids, eyeing mint-condition memories that are kept shelved except for special occasions.

YELLOW SARAH/ISTOCK

COURTESY COMPASSION

Nevertheless, the Lord is my shepherd—I shall not want.

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Finding God in Y

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Your Past

By Mark Mossa, SJ

Throughout the tough times in our lives, God has always been by our side. By looking back, we’ll come to recognize that.

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hen I was a little kid, whenever my siblings and I got a little whiny, my parents would respond with something along the lines of, “I wish I was your age again; you don’t know how easy you’ve got it!” Of course, I thought they were nuts! Who would want to be a powerless 9-year-old when you could have all the privileges that came with being an adult? Of course, I can see now something of what my parents were saying, but I still wouldn’t want to be a kid again. Except, perhaps, for one reason: When I was in the single-digit age range, it was a lot easier for me to sense God’s presence in my life. Now, you might say that this was just the power of a child’s imagination. And, though I will talk about the importance of the imagination to the spiritual life later, I think it was more than that. It was a greater openness to the reality of God, uninhibited by “maturity” and the cumulative traumas that inhabit one’s past as one grows older. I think a lot of us would be better off in the quest to know God’s love for us, and have a sense of his presence in our lives, if we were more easily able to return to a time of relatively unencumbered innocence. Jesus said that if we were to truly understand what he was all about, we would have to become like little children. Of course, it is impossible for us to become children again, but we can remember what it was like. And I can’t think of a major religious tradition in the world in which remembering is not somehow crucial to the way its members understand themselves and their relation to God. Indeed, for Christians, remembering is in many ways the center of our worship. The memorial acclamation or, as you might know it, the “mystery of faith,” which we proclaim in the Catholic Mass, kind of sums it up. REMEMBERING GOD’S LOVE

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n

Without the remembering, our spiritual life, our relationship with God, is going to be a lot like the beginning of the 2004 movie 50 First Dates. In it, the main character, Henry (Adam Sandler), meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore), and they hit it off. Indeed, Henry thinks he might have just met the girl of his dreams. However, when he meets up with Lucy again the next day, she doesn’t know who he is. This must be a joke, Henry thinks. How could she not remember me? Worse, it’s not only that she doesn’t remember him, but today she doesn’t even seem to like him! I expect, if we’re honest, most of us can see that this is how we often treat God. God never abandons us. God is always eager to pick up where we left off in our relationship. But when we see God again, too often we can be like Lucy, not remembering who he is and wishing he’d just go away. In the movie, we learn that it’s not that Lucy is being mean. Rather, she has a brain injury that causes her to live the same day over and over again. For her, yesterday is always what she remembers about the day before her accident. She can’t help that she StAnthonyMessenger.org | May 2020 • 29

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doesn’t remember Henry. When it comes to God’s presence FACING LIFE’S PAINFUL MOMENTS I won’t pretend to tell you that if you look hard enough into in our past, sometimes we seem to have a similar injury. It’s your past you will see all the ways in which God was with not that we hate God; sometimes it just seems that we can’t you, even though you didn’t recognize it. Many Christians help it either. will tell you that this is how you must feel, if you really have At first, Henry finds this an interesting challenge. Not faith. But most of us know that as much as we would like unlike how God deals with us, each day he tries a different approach to making Lucy fall in love with him. Some days he that to be the case, it’s just not that simple. There are painful moments in our lives in which to imagine God present succeeds. Other days he comically and even painfully fails. would seem to imply that God is just an uncaring spectator. But after a while Henry finds that it’s no longer just about If God is good, if God was there, God couldn’t possibly have the game of making Lucy fall in love with him. He realizes that he has fallen in love with Lucy. People discourage Henry, just stood by as I was betrayed, beaten, or abused. To imagine God there would seem to make God an abuser too. insisting that it would be too painful and difficult to have a Over the years, enough people have shared with me their relationship with Lucy, and a doctor assures him that there stories of being abused that I know there is no simple answer is no cure. But he will not be moved. Henry starts to keep a that can account for the apparent inaction of record of their relationship and their days God in those situations. But when we encountogether—he even makes a video—for her to If we are to fully ter the God who loves us at other moments of review each morning when she wakes up, so appreciate our our lives, like the prayers of the Psalms, like that she’ll know that this seeming stranger is relationship with Jesus on the cross, we are at least moved to no stranger at all. Lucy also starts to keep her God, we have look back and say to the God of love: “Why own journal about their life together. did you forget me?” That’s a prayer, too, and a I think this is kind of the way that God to shore up our start. approaches us. Not able to stop loving us, he memories and Don’t be afraid, either, to be angry with gives in. God is willing to do whatever it will constantly recall God. Not only does the Bible give us permistake to keep our relationship going, as long as the way that sion to be angry with God, but God can take we allow God to do it. To make his relationGod has been it! A stumbling block that many encounter ship with Lucy work, Henry realizes that present—or when looking for God in their past is that they every day he has to retell the story of their seemingly not feel guilty, or even feel they’ve committed a love and life together. It’s a beautiful image of sin, because they are angry with God. self-giving love and devotion. present—in our I have had my own anger issues with We, too, if we are to fully appreciate our lives. God, about the story I’m about to tell you, relationship with God, have to shore up our and about the disease from which I suffer memories and constantly recall the way that (epilepsy). I also know the anger that I’ve felt about people God has been present—or seemingly not present—in our close to me who have been victims of abuse (How could lives. And, as I hope I’ve illustrated, sometimes we’ll be surGod have allowed that to happen to them?), which I know prised by our forgetfulness, the times that we rejected God can’t even come close to the justifiable anger they might feel for something else—material gain, another person, our own toward God. If you are a victim of abuse or some other grave egos—but, more importantly, we must also see the times in injustice, and you believe in a loving God, I can’t imagine which, though we didn’t realize it, God was already there. how you wouldn’t feel some anger toward God, unless you’ve In order to deepen our spiritual lives, then, we must already managed to arrive at some healing and reconciliacknowledge that to one degree or another we are all like a ation. Not only would that not be sinful, but it would be bunch of brain-damaged Lucys in constant need of remindpretty normal! ers of God’s love for us. This is why we have to chip away at What I would suggest is that you not just read about it our past, not only to thaw our hearts, but also to put our new but find someone you trust, maybe someone who has had a way of seeing to work, finding God there with us. similar experience, and talk about it. Just that might be the At Christmastime, we sing “O Come, O Come, beginning of a new relationship with God you might not Emmanuel,” which reminds us of one of Jesus’ most have thought possible before. And if you find the trauma is important names. In Advent, the four weeks leading up to getting in the way of living a full and healthy life and enjoyChristmas, this song is sung every week in some parish coming the love of friends and family, don’t hesitate to seek some munities. It would certainly get my vote as one of the most psychological counseling as well. oversung Catholic hymns. But perhaps this isn’t just due to a lack of creativity. Maybe it’s because we know of our need THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE to be reminded of what we all desire, deep down. Emmanuel As much as I can look back and see the presence and action means “God is with us.” This wasn’t just a fancy name for of God at many moments in my life, I find I still cannot Jesus; Jesus was God’s response to our desire to be with God, account for God’s seeming inaction at a crucial moment in and a promise to all of us.


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my life. I think just about everyone finds middle school to be a difficult time, but I had an especially difficult time getting through it. I can confidently say that those years from sixth to eighth grade were the worst years of my life. Every day, it seemed, brought a new torture from bullies. My relationship with my father was going quickly downhill, and my self-esteem was falling even faster. My best friend stopped talking to me. I didn’t know how to make things better at home. I found myself just feeling more and more alone. When you’re that age, it seems as if it might be this way forever. And who would want to live a life like that? God never seemed so absent from my life as he did then. I seriously considered taking my own life. I still can’t tell you what stopped me. Perhaps it was because I was the least violent person you could imagine; I even refused to fight back when someone tried to start a fight with me. And if I did finally try to defend myself, I put so much energy into it that it was likely to reduce me to tears. My parents begged me to fight, but I never could see that as the right answer. Perhaps it was my cheerful disposition, which was both a blessing and a curse. It helped me to enjoy certain things in my life, and thus avoid falling too deep into despair, but it also masked how much I was really hurting. I’m not sure the people around me always realized how serious things were, and, as is typical of that age, I didn’t always want to talk about it. I eventually wound up exasperated, and, much like in the psalms of lament, I spoke my frustration. It had been a particularly trying day, and once again I had been punched in the stomach for no reason but meanness. I arrived home and announced to my mother that I couldn’t take it anymore. Perhaps she heard the exasperation in my voice, perhaps she sensed that I had reached the point where I might end it myself if no one else did, but that day she acted where before she hadn’t. The week finished out, and when I returned home on Friday my mother told me the news: Despite the fact that it was the middle of the school year, on Monday I would begin at another school. GOD WAS THERE

I still have a hard time looking back on that period of my life and imagining that God was there. Despite the reassurances of pious stories like “Footprints in the Sand,” if I remember those days of getting picked on, I see no Jesus there with me,

carrying me. The only way I can connect myself with Jesus at that time is to remember his words from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Even now, some 30 years later, while in faith I know that God was there somehow, if I identify with that 12-year-old boy that I once was, I find myself still asking, “God, did you forget me?” And while that is still true, when I look back at that time, I also see something else. The day I arrived at the new school, which was in a neighboring town, I was introduced to Barry, who, because he was from the same town as I, had been assigned to help me get adjusted. He was kindhearted, welcoming, and fun to be around. We quickly became friends, which caused even our parents to wonder, because we were very different. Barry was good-looking, popular, athletic. I was none of those things, at least not in the eyes of most of my fellow students. Changing schools didn’t change the fact that I didn’t quite fit in. Yet, where others had abandoned my friendship for fear of becoming similarly unpopular, Barry seemed unfazed. This illustrates why facing the scary stuff from our past can be so important. I certainly didn’t appreciate all this as it was happening. And I didn’t even allow myself that opportunity when I was denying my past had anything to do with my present. But once I had the courage to look for where God might have been with me during that time, I saw God’s hand in my mother’s intervention and in the gift of one of the truest friends I’ve ever had. Though Barry and I have lost touch over the years, the memory of his friendship has only taken on greater importance as I’ve become more aware of the ways God was with me in my younger years, especially at the time God seemed most absent. This article is adapted from the book Already There: Letting God Find You, from Franciscan Media. Mark Mossa, SJ, is the director of Catholic campus ministry at St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan.

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Selfless Love

ADOPTION & FOSTER CARE By Shannon Evans

elson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” It’s common knowledge that Catholics are known for our vocal opposition to abortion. Our comprehensive pro-life ethic teaches that unborn babies have the same dignity and human rights the rest of us enjoy and that those rights should be conscientiously protected within a society. But what happens when parents do choose life yet eventually find themselves unable to fulfill the commitment of parenthood, whether temporarily or permanently? Children go into the foster care system, and, all too often, Catholic voices and participation die out. This discrepancy may be seen as hypocrisy by those outside the faith who are watching carefully to see how the Church treats the children it claims to love.

While these social issues may be complex and devoid of simple solutions, we can’t allow ourselves to be daunted into doing nothing. The suffering of innocent children demands our most earnest action. There are many helpful ways to respond to the crisis of children in foster care, yet most of us are likely to only practice those that allow for a safe distance from pain and messiness—actions such as donating money, volunteering during the holidays, or casting a vote. And while those things may be important, the hurting children in our communities need more from us. A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS

There is generally no shortage of Christian couples willing to adopt a healthy newborn baby. But when it comes to older kids, those with special needs, or infants of minority races, our track record isn’t as good. Many of us cannot name even

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A consistent ethic of life extends to every corner of society, including the call to care for children in the foster care system.

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one Catholic family we know who has adopted out of such circumstances, much less considered doing it ourselves. It could be argued that this is the greatest pro-life need of our time. And we are missing it. If Mandela is right and a society’s soul is revealed by the treatment of its children, then the soul of the United States of America is in sad shape. According to the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), there are over 400,000 youth in US foster care in a given year, about 140,000 of whom are eligible for adoption. These are children who have been victims of neglect and abuse, many for an extended length of time. Some have witnessed unspeakable tragedy. All have experienced some degree of trauma. The injustices these children have survived are exactly what the Bible depicts God raging against and weeping over, time and time again.

Conversely, there are roughly 50 million Catholic adults in the United States—many times more than enough to adopt 140,000 children. As a Mother Church, what do we do in the face of numbers like those? How are we called to respond? When it comes to the example of Jesus and the teaching of Scripture, God’s desire for the care and well-being of vulnerable children is clear. Psalm 68:6 refers to God as “Father of the fatherless.” James 1:27 says that pure religion is “to care for orphans.” Psalm 10:14 speaks to God, “You are the defender of orphans.” The Bible abounds with examples of just how seriously God takes orphan care. But the question is, do we? A CULTURE OF CARE

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When it comes to the example of Jesus and the teaching of Scripture, God’s desire for the care and well-being of vulnerable children is clear.

But tragically, there are more children in foster care than there are foster parents to take them. This discrepancy results in the need for group care facilities—modern versions of orphanages—despite the fact that research proves children grow and heal far better in family homes. About 12 percent of the children in US foster care live in group homes. Even worse, it’s not unheard-of for children to spend the first night away from their parents sleeping in a caseworker’s office because no available local foster family could be found in time. Already traumatized first by neglect or abuse at home, then by the necessary separation from their parents, these children spend their first night away from familiarity in sleeping bags on an office floor. It is not uncommon for children to then be placed with foster parents in a different county, further traumatizing them with more change because there were no homes available in their own community. The shortage of foster parents is a crisis that demands the response of Christians.

Catholic Church is for us to create a culture of adoption. This doesn’t mean that everyone should adopt a child— some people can better serve by actively supporting those who do—but it does task each one of us with making it a serious discernment in our lives. All too often within the Catholic community, the call to adoption is assumed to be only for married couples facing infertility. We need to expand our view. Adoption is not primarily about a couple getting a child, although that is inarguably a holy and beautiful result; adoption is primarily about a child getting a safe and loving family. Seen from that lens, it is incumbent upon all Catholics, married and single, to seriously discern whether we might be used by God in this way. In the same way that a call to permanent adoption should be discerned, so, too, should be the call to foster care. Most children in the system are not eligible for adoption and will eventually be reunited with parents or other family members after fewer than two years in foster care, on average. Research indicates that if safety allows, it is most beneficial for children to remain in their families of origin rather than be adopted into new families. Therefore, family preservation is always the goal in foster care if it’s in the best interest of the child. Sometimes he or she just needs a safe place to heal and grow while the parents work through the necessary changes in their own lives.

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TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH

Catholic Charities Community Services works with prospective parents throughout the process of fostering or adopting through the Department of Child Services by certifying homes, matching children with families, and providing post-placement support. Kylee Cosgrove, of Catholic Charities Community Services in northern Arizona, acknowledges that adopting through foster care can seem intimidating at first, but taking the leap is worth it. “Foster and adoptive parents are helping our communities’ most vulnerable citizens,” she says. “It’s a way to let these children know that kindness, support, and love are out there.” So, for all our sincere pro-life rhetoric, why don’t more Catholics foster and adopt? One common misconception is that adoption is too expensive to be a realistic option for most people. While this is often true of international or private newborn adoptions (for example, being matched with an expectant mother by a private agency), it is far from the case when adopting from foster care, which is not only free or low-cost but often comes with financial assistance over the course of the child’s life. According to the NACAC, about 90 percent of US children adopted from foster care are eligible for this subsidy. Benefits vary by state, but generally include Medicaid coverage and monthly payments to provide for the child’s basic needs. Some states even offer free tuition to any public university. But perhaps fear, more than finances, is actually what holds us back. When considering the temporary nature of foster care, many of us feel immobilized by our fear of say-

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ing goodbye to children we have come to love. Though the truth of that emotional toil can’t be denied, it’s important to instead prioritize the pain of the children, who have suffered much more. If we say things like, “I could never be a foster parent because I couldn’t handle the heartbreak of saying goodbye to a child,” we are essentially saying the child’s pain is second to our own. This is not the way of Christ, who modeled for us what it is to lay down one’s life for another. As Christian adults, we have access to the comfort of the Holy Spirit and our faith communities, as well as the peace that comes from knowing we have done the will of God, even at great personal cost. We adults have the ability to withstand the pain of saying goodbye; even if it’s hard, we can handle it. The child shouldn’t have to. They never asked to be in this position, and their pain takes precedence. If we can follow the footsteps of Jesus and alleviate the suffering of the afflicted, if we can fill their lives with love and safety even if only for a time, isn’t that worth our grief when they’re gone? If having too compassionate a heart is our reason for not fostering, who exactly do we prefer to take up the task—people who are not compassionate? That’s not what any Christian would want for an already abused or neglected child. We cannot wait around for someone else to rise to the occasion. We are being called.

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‘BUILT FOR COMMUNITY’

Dan and Annie Tillberg are one couple who have answered the call and, after six years of fostering, can confirm the blessing outweighs the hardship. There is no question about it, Annie says: “Fostering will be more than you can handle. But where your strength fails, there you’ll find a life of radical love.” The Tillbergs have had five long-term placements over the years. Two children were eventually reunited with their birth families, and three were adopted by the Tillbergs, who have three biological children as well. Reflecting on her family’s journey of fostering and adopting, Annie explains that the experience has taught her much about the Christian life. “Fostering has taught me that if we are not deeply relying on God and our community, we are not yet fully living the radical love into which God is calling us,” she says. “We are built for community, to be intertwined, break with the broken places of this world, and let God’s grace rebuild our hearts.” Those who embark on the journey of orphan care— whether that be foster care, adoption, or both—must begin with a mindset that is as realistic and flexible as possible. It is

common for foster and adoptive parents to have to unlearn the strategies they used with their biological children or with which they themselves were parented. The brains of children who have experienced neglect, abuse, or other forms of trauma do not often respond to traditional parenting techniques in the same way that a typical child’s developing brain does. It takes humility of heart for a parent to be willing to be educated and to utilize approaches that better align with trauma research. Establishing a mutual attachment with a foster child can be a long process, and healing a child from early trauma requires hard work from everyone. Since every person and every circumstance is different, the spectrum of experience is wide and without a textbook time line to consult. Parents Derek and Sarah Thomas say that, while their two adopted daughters felt like “miracle babies” after a life-threatening fertility crisis, it still took over two years after their placement for the dust to settle fully—a much longer time line than the easier foster placements they had welcomed in the past. Due to the girls’ sleep and behavioral difficulties stemming from their early trauma, Sarah describes the adjustment period as “the most exhausted, busy, afraid, and frustrated I’d ever been.” Yet the emotional investment was clearly worth it because both parents’ delight in their children is obvious. “My little girls make our family stronger and better,” Sarah explains. “They are lively and interesting and make me laugh every day. They know they are loved by their family and Jesus. Foster care and adoption are not to be feared. Our experiences weren’t perfect but were good overall, and God was in them with us all the way.”

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Donating money and casting votes are good, but they are not enough. We must honestly ask ourselves whether we are willing to boldly affirm the dignity of the human person if it requires personal sacrifice from us. Are we pro-life only with our words? Or are we following Jesus in the repairing of society, willing to embody an incarnational faith to see it made whole? Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children are awaiting our answer. Shannon Evans is a mother of five—including one child through adoption—and author who has written numerous articles for St. Anthony Messenger and other Catholic publications. To learn more about her work, visit ShannonKEvans.com.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

—Nelson Mandela

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TOP: SPUKKATO/FOTOSEARCH; BOTTOM: COURTESY MANDI RICHARDS/EMILY DAVIS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY

Indeed, most Christians can attest that, in our lives, God is often revealed through the cycle of life, death, and resurrection. Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit is with us provides the strength to walk into the unknown, where a child stands on the other side, waiting to be loved. To hold a comprehensive pro-life ethic is to care not only for preborn or deathbed life, but also for a dignified quality of life at every stage in between. This requires us to pay attention to the suffering in our society, to live wide awake to the pain of the world that we are called as Christians to alleviate.

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BEYOND WORDS


Mandi Richards’ Fostering Testimony

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WHEN WE INITIALLY became certified as foster parents, we had two children. Now, as we prepare to recertify for what will be our fourth year as a foster family, we have four biological children, ages 6 weeks, 2, 4, and 8. As our family grows and our children get older, fostering has become our family mission and an integral way that we experience our life and faith together. While it does present challenges for our family, it has also presented us with opportunities for great joy and for teaching and learning about the true meaning of love. In many ways, fostering has leveled the playing field in our family, showing us that our children are much more versed in unconditional love, acceptance, and even sacrifice than their parents. It has also shown our children that, despite their young ages, they are able to serve God and others in very real ways. We are not foster parents who have children at home but rather a foster family, and I believe that is a real advantage to the children who come into our home. They are welcomed not only by a foster mom and foster dad, but also by foster siblings, and usually the bond between children develops much faster than between child and adult. Often our foster children are wary of new adults in their lives but quickly warm up to other kids. Our young children, for their part, are amazing at welcoming newcomers—they love their foster siblings immediately and without reserve. Unlike adults, who are quick to put limits on their love, children simply love those who are in front of them. Despite some real challenges to themselves—sharing toys and rooms, less attention from parents, even physical aggression—they love their foster siblings deeply and mourn when they leave. Watching these foster sibling relationships develop is one of the most beautiful gifts of fostering.

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We have had four foster children, and all of them have left our home to go back to their parents. There is great pain that comes from watching them go. Years later, our kids still talk longingly about their foster siblings. Through this process, they have gained something invaluable: the understanding that God made us to love and care for one another, and that it is good to love all those he brings into our lives for however long they are with us. We have also learned together as a family that to truly love someone is to will their good over our own, which in this case means reunion with their families. We’ve also come to realize the power of prayer as we continue to hold our loved ones as part of our family by praying for them long after they have left our home. Our hope is that, through our love for their foster siblings, our children also come to understand our unconditional love for them—and in turn, God’s unconditional love for all of us.

Mandi, with baby Maria in her arms, sits with her husband, David, and their three other biological children: Cici (2), Davey (4), and Lucia (8).

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A NEW ENCOUNTER with the

PSALMS

The inspiring words of these biblical songs helped me navigate some of life’s biggest challenges. By Maureen O’Brien

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s a writer, I believe not just in the power of words but repair. So in the bare space where my husband’s dresser once also in their necessity and beauty. I think one of the stood, I placed an old bookshelf, a lamp, and a rug, and on the wall I thumbtacked a jewel-toned postcard of a beloved main aspects of Catholicism that has kept me coming back is the lushness, the intensity, and the fervor of how language Blessed Mother painting by Lippi. I set an intention that each is used within the faith. Not just in the liturgy of a daily or dawn I’d sit cross-legged on the floor and read 1 Corinthians 13:4, the timeless passage about love. I lit a candle and Sunday Mass, but especially in the sacraments. There are few begged God for more hope and more words that have ever meant as much to patience. me as the wedding vows that I spoke; But what happened is that the paperfor over 23 years as a wife and mother, I My once-solid world built a life upon those promises. back I was using—my fat New English was—to use Psalm And then, suddenly, it seemed— Bible from college—was so old, the glue imagery—swept away so stiff and dried out, that the spine though it was not really sudden—my in a flood. But there was husband no longer lived in our home. broke apart. It permanently opened right something about these to Book 1 of the Psalms. Psalm 23, to be poems . . . that kept me LOST IN THE WILDERNESS exact. I believed if I prayed as hard as I could, Despite my openness to the power from going under. and beauty of words, I initially resisted I could pray our marriage into finding a new beginning. It seemed to me the most famous psalm because of how popular it is. If this “greatest hit” appealed to comthat, since Jesus was with us on that altar when we became husband and wife, he was with us still and would do everymon people, how could it possibly apply to my particular thing to help us mend the ever-widening tatters. I myself was circumstances? How ridiculous my arrogant suspicion was: I decided to read it out loud and could hardly see the verses tattered—a recent struggle with cancer spurred me on to keep fighting for my life with my husband and two children, through my tears as my voice wavered. He makes me lie down in green pastures: How exhausted I was, how alone and the only adult life I had known. I figured that if I went back to all the words spoken at in need of care, suffering each night with insomnia. Even our ceremony, I could find the golden thread and begin the though I walk through a valley dark as death: I was terrified

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of having to enter the courthouse to face a judge with our separate lawyers. Dwell in the house of the Lord: I could no longer afford our home; where would I go? Did I already have a place of shelter with God? When the closing sentence used the words love unfailing, something shifted in me. I’d never considered God’s love as abiding. Lasting. Unshakable. So, even though I was still unable to admit that my marriage was lost, my eyes were drawn to this new pairing of words. My concentration skills were weak then, so I read lines in wild, random order. Psalm 140, then 91, back to 6, skipping to 144, thumbing backward and forward, from the bottom of the pages to the top. Those words kept popping out, sometimes reversed as unfailing love. I was just an ordinary, heartbroken woman whose life took two parallel, contemporary turns— divorce and cancer. I was in over my head, and I knew it. My once-

solid world was now—to use Psalm imagery—swept away in a flood. But there was something about these poems penned over 2,500 years ago, confidently trusting in the embankment of this enduring love, that kept me from going under. A NEW LOOK AT ANCIENT WORDS

How had I never found their artistry before? In my lifetime of sitting at Mass, I’d listened to sopranos sing them from the lectern and then lift their open palms inviting me to join in the response. More often than not, I had stayed silent. I began to think about all the women who sang the Psalms to me. I pictured their pantsuits, the pastel beads of their necklaces, hair fixed up nicely, swept back from their faces. How earnestly they worked to enunciate This 15th-century painting—The Madonna in Adoration of the all the words so we would hear them Child, by Filippino Lippi—inspired the author as she recovered fully and clearly: deer, water, broken, rescue me. I thought of the way from a heartbreaking divorce. Praying the psalms every day, they waited for their cues by gazing she found comfort in their wisdom and understanding.

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understood the pattern. I would read many lines of anguish. Once the painful truths are expressed in detail, not rushed, there’s a sense of being deeply heard and listened to—heard by God. Once that internal, intimate ache is honored, we find space in our heavy hearts to move around. We can take that leap of faith and trust, again and again. What the Psalms taught me is to stay true to my human grief, to articulate it, to bring the fear and frustration straight to God. By doing that, faith will appear, often suddenly, always the balm we have been seeking. Because I was going through such a raw time, I often found passages about disgrace. I will simply say that I was thunderstruck by the events that unfurled. Sometimes I

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back at the choir loft and all the long moments of watching them walk down the side aisles of the church, always shy and humble with their three-ring music binders clutched in their hands. When at last I discovered the Psalms, I think it was those gifted cantors who led me on that path with their soulful, motherly voices filling the rafters, the pews vibrating with long, sustained notes. They had shown me those words are meant to be sung. So, as the divorce drew near, I made a new promise to read one psalm aloud as the very first thing I did each morning. I did not check my e-mail, read the newspaper, or speak on the phone until I had spent time in contemplation. Instead of just reading the Psalms in my head, I found that my emotions flowed when I spoke the words, ensuring I did not rush. Speaking them all alone in my bedroom was a form of simple singing. I had no lute, harp, or lyre; I was without a pipe organ or a grand piano. I had only my wavering voice accompanied by the rustle of the tissue-thin pages. What startled me over and over in so many of the psalms was the emotional contrast. First there’s a lament, not minimized or sugarcoated, not swept away or judged. Instead, the suffering is eloquently described. For example, the early lines of Psalm 69: “I am wearied with crying out, my throat is sore.” Guilt, shame, reproach, and bitterness follow. Then, a but appears. “But I lift up this prayer to thee.” Over and over I found these sudden reversals. How did they make sense? After a few months of this daily morning practice, I

Gratitude & Praise

Words of Comfort & Joy The Book of Psalms articulates many of life’s experiences, both good and bad. The following psalms may bring comfort to those in need of God’s help, as well as give voice to those who are thankful for God’s aid.

• 34:2–3 “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord; let the poor hear and be glad.” • 47:2 “All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with joyful cries.” • 66:2 “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; sing of his glorious name; give him glorious praise.” • 96:1–2 “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth; sing to the Lord, bless his name.” • 100:4–5 “Give thanks to [God], bless his name; good indeed is the Lord, his mercy endures forever.” • 146:2 “Praise the Lord, my soul; I will praise the Lord all my life, sing praise to my God while I live.” • 147:1, 3 “How good to sing praise to our God; how pleasant to give fitting praise. . . . [The Lord heals] the brokenhearted, . . . binding up their wounds.”

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underlined words that might have once seemed archaic but now rang true: enemies, lowly, ambush, abyss. Yes, I was ashamed. On the page with Psalm 25, my deep blue ink jumps out: shame, shame, shame. Other, more hopeful words impacted me. In particular, refuge became the most medicinal word of all. Flip those pages back and forth; there is refuge throughout.

HOBO 018/ISTOCK

A TIME FOR EVERYTHING

My life moved on. To say I never wanted to be a divorced Catholic is not just an understatement, but also, I’m surmising, how almost all divorced Catholics feel. I freely admit that I’d once judged people who got divorced as not working hard enough, not fighting for it, not going the distance. It was quite the humbling wake-up call to realize I was entering a category of people whom I used to look down on. There’s a good chance that I have been judged the way I once felt superior to others. Did you try everything to save your marriage? In my heart I know I did. There were factors far beyond my control. As another year went by, I continued with the daily practice of reading the Psalms. In Psalm 56, I read, “I have bound myself with vows to thee.” Was it possible for me to focus on a new vow? I believed that it was. I was alone, but I was alive. “For thou has rescued me from death/ to walk in thy presence, in the light of life.” As the darkness in my life receded, I began to see the lighter aspects of the Psalms. Like the opening of Psalm 116,

Distress • 25:16–17 “Look upon me, have pity on me, for I am alone and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart; bring me out of my distress.” • 34:18 “The righteous cry out, the Lord hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions.” • 46:2–3, 8 “God is our refuge and our strength, an everpresent help in distress. Thus we do not fear. . . . The Lord of hosts is with us.” • 69:2 “Save me, God, for the waters have reached my neck.” • 102:2–3 “Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress.” • 121:1–2 “I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From whence shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” • 130:1–2 “Out of the depths I call to you, Lord; Lord, hear my cry!”

“I love the Lord, for he has heard me,” there is so much joy, praise, and celebration. Admittedly, it has been a long road. When I was first separated, a very good friend of mine, who is a therapist, said, “It can take five years to heal from this.” I thought, Oh, no, that’s not going to be me. But I was wrong—it has taken that long. I have been given much grace, including the stamina to continue with this spiritual practice these past five years. I still have a place on the floor of my bedroom and I use my still-falling-apart Bible. I just can’t give that paperback up; it has been with me for so many years, and I still love the soft sound of its pages. Each morning I wake up and try to have a connection to God before doing anything else. As for the soprano who lifts her hand and invites me in? Yesterday at Mass, after contemplating all this, I decided I should thank the cantor. She does such a stunning job for our very lively inner-city Franciscan church. As she clutched her binder, I started to go up to her, but she stepped toward an elderly man hunched crookedly in a wheelchair near the altar. She greeted him warmly and kissed him on the cheek. He lifted his head, eyes shining, and opened his mouth, ready to sing. Maureen O’Brien is a novelist and poet who has been published in a variety of literary magazines and journals. She resides in Connecticut and teaches creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She is currently working on a book for Franciscan Media on the Psalms.

Fear & Anxiety • 4:9 “In peace I will lie down and fall asleep, for you alone, Lord, make me secure.” • 27:1–3 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” • 38:22 “Do not forsake me, O Lord; my God, be not far from me!” • 41:4 “The Lord sustains him on his sickbed, you turn down his bedding whenever he is ill.” • 56:4–5 “When I am afraid, in you I place my trust. I praise the word of God; I trust in God, I do not fear. What can mere flesh do to me?” • 62:2 “My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation.” • 91:5 “You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day.” StAnthonyMessenger.org | May 2020 • 41

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PODCAST

By Susan Hines-Brigger

Clouds and Sun

Find it on Apple Podcasts and Google Play Music.

Hello, my friend.” That is how Father Dan Riley, OFM, begins every installment of his podcast, Clouds and Sun. The podcast, which is published every few weeks, is a feature of the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Community in western New York. In an article about the podcast in the Holy Name Province newsletter, Father Riley said the title of the podcast “reflects both nature, the truth in our lives, and the beauty in both the light of the sun and the shadows of the clouds.” On the podcast, which Father Riley began in 2011 with layman Greg Licamele, the Franciscan priest offers reflections about the canvas of life at Mt. Irenaeus and other locations, including the shores of California, from the Finger Lakes in New York to New Mexico, and from Las Vegas to Florida. If you’re looking for a highly polished podcast, this is not the one for you. The podcast is more of an intimate conversation with an old friend. Father Riley’s soothing voice gives the program a very meditative feel. At times, he will stray off topic and talk about things such as the chickadees eating outside his window. His brilliance, though, is his ability to then flawlessly weave those moments back into what he was just saying. The podcast can be found on the Mt. Irenaeus website (MountainOnline.org) and listened to through Apple Podcasts and Google Play Music.

MUSIC

By Daniel Imwalle

or the past 10 years, Kevin Parker has been pushing the loosely defined boundaries of the genre of pop rock by way of his musical vehicle, Tame Impala. In The Slow Rush, the fourth Tame Impala album, there is a sense of being at a crossroads in life and experiencing a time of transition, which is often when musical lightning is captured in a bottle. At 34, Parker is young, but he’s not new to making music. In these 12 songs, we find an artist preoccupied with time. Even the album’s title and cover art point to our deceptive experience of time: hours that seem to crawl at a snail’s pace and years that pass by in the blink of an eye. In songs such as the opener, “One More Year,” Parker presents a remedy to the existential dilemma of being stuck between a past we can’t return to and a future we’re not guaranteed to see. And that is to embrace the present as fully and energetically as we can. Parker can look forward to “one more year/Of livin’ like the free spirit I want to be,” but only because of his carpe diem attitude. There are moments of struggle and darkness in The Slow Rush, but they’re always tempered with Tame Impala’s trademark blend of psychedelic rock and exuberant electronica made accessible through a keen pop sensibility.

ICONS

music

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books

podcast tv & streaming

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Tame Impala | The Slow Rush


TV/STREAMING

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By Christopher Heffron

White Savior: Racism in the American Church Amazon Prime

A Further Look at Hate

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acism and racial reconciliation are themes widely explored along the television landscape. Here are three streaming options worth revisiting.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL PBS

THIS AWARD-WINNING documentary looks at the life and death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi in 1955. His murder— and the acquittal of the two white men accused of committing it—was the spark that started the civil rights movement. Unforgiving and unforgettable.

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alle

You and I did not start this system of race and white supremacy, but if we do not actively work at uncovering our own inherent bias—and tearing down this system—we are guilty still of supporting it.” These bold words frame Amazon Prime’s penetrative plunge into the roots of racism in our cultural, political, and religious foundations. The following 55 minutes illustrate that position. It’s impossible to condense the sinful institution of racism in our country’s history here, but know this: It is alive and well—and its roots go deep. Slavery predates the birth of our nation and was eradicated by the 13th Amendment in 1865. But the years following the Emancipation Proclamation—through Jim Crow and up to the Black Lives Matter movement—prove we are no closer to the promised land cited by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. The documentary covers a lot of ground in 101 minutes but really soars when it addresses the racist threads in our country’s religious tapestries. From the African American experience with organized religion to the forced conversions of indigenous people, the documentary uncovers ugly truths that we as Christian Americans are forced to confront. The Catholic Church is implicated

as well. In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued a papal bull called “Dum Diversas,” which authorized Afonso V of Portugal to consign pagans and Saracens to perpetual servitude, specifically to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the enemies of Christ.” “That papal bull,” Rev. Joan Conroy, a featured expert in the documentary, says, “is the birth of [the] white Christian relationship to indigenous people. It allowed nonindigenous people to put themselves on a higher level in their relationship with God.” It took decades for the Catholic Church to remedy this. It wasn’t until 1537 that Pope Paul III released “Sublimis Deus,” a papal encyclical that forbade the enslavement of indigenous peoples of the Americas. Our own religion’s history, the documentary shows, is wildly uneven. So, where do we go from here? The film offers no clear direction but says, flatly, that we are not OK. And perhaps that in itself is OK if we work together to move our culture forward. God, as one commentator in the film adds, cannot be limited to a single cultural expression. God is limitless. God is perfect. God’s followers are far from it.

THE POLITICS OF HATE Amazon Prime

AT 16, CHRISTIAN PICCIOLINI became a leader of a Chicago-based skinhead group and later fronted a white supremacist punk band. But fatherhood forced him to rethink his ugly lifestyle. The Politics of Hate looks at Picciolini’s redemption journey and the rise of the alt-right movement in the United States that provides fertile ground for hate to grow.

HELLO, PRIVILEGE. IT’S ME, CHELSEA. Netflix

STREAMERS BEWARE: Chelsea Handler is an acquired taste. But this punchy documentary looks at how white privilege impacts our culture and, most tellingly, Handler’s own career. Funny, though at times profane, Hello, Privilege asks uncomfortable questions that penetrate the heart. It’s time well spent.

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CULTURE

FILMS

By Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP

Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP

FAVORITE

JANE AUSTEN ADAPTATIONS From Prada to Nada (2011) Bride & Prejudice (2004) Austenland (2013) Sanditon (2019) Persuasion (2007)

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Emma had lived nearly 21 years in the world with very little to vex her,” Jane Austen wrote in her 1815 novel about a rich, spoiled, entitled young woman whose imagined matchmaking skills eventually bring her complacence in the town of Highbury, England, to an end. And thus begins the latest, and perhaps most elegant, reiteration of Austen’s comedy of class and gender, directed by Autumn de Wilde. The lovely and fashionable Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) tries to console her father, Mr. Woodhouse (Bill Nighy), who bemoans the loss of her governess (Gemma Whelan) to holy matrimony with Mr. Weston (Rupert Graves). After the wedding, Emma boasts that it was she who brought the pair together. Now she sets her sights on a new match. When she and Harriet Smith (Mia Goth), the ward of a local schoolteacher, become friends, Emma sets her up with the rector, Mr. Elton (Josh O’Connor), who is very sweet on Emma herself. But Emma is blind to this and to the fact that Harriet has a most suitable prospect, Mr. Martin (Connor Swindells), a farmer tenant of Mr. Knightley (Johnny Flynn), who owns the estate next to that of Mr. Woodhouse. When Mr. Martin proposes to Harriet, Emma encourages her to refuse him.

Meanwhile, when Frank Churchill (Callum Turner), Mr. Weston’s son, who took the surname of the aunt who raised him, returns home, Emma seems interested and he in her. As the months pass, love interests emerge, and it remains to be seen where authentic relationships will form. At a picnic one afternoon, with all her friends and acquaintances present, Mr. Knightley challenges Emma’s superiority when she humiliates Miss Bates (Miranda Hart). Emma is forced to face her own shortcomings. My enjoyment of this film has only increased because it is the last film I saw in a theater before everything closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The gorgeous costumes are inspired by the Regency period, but the schoolgirls, dressed in deep red capes, look like they are from The Handmaid’s Tale. At times, de Wilde’s film goes beyond Austen’s original descriptions to peer behind social curtains. All the characters have funny foibles, and themes of kindness, forgiveness, generosity, and love abound to offset the selfishness of the rising British upper class. A-3, PG • Brief nudity, gossip, gross unkindness.

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A FALL FROM GRACE: EPK.TV/NETFLIX/CHARLES BERGMANN (2); LOST GIRLS: EPK.TV/JESSICA KOURKOUNIS

Sister Rose’s

EMMA.

LEFT: COURTESY SISTER ROSE PACATTE, FSP/MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS; EMMA.: EPK.TV/FOCUS FEATURES (2)

Sister Rose 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.


LOST GIRLS

B A FALL FROM GRACE

A FALL FROM GRACE: EPK.TV/NETFLIX/CHARLES BERGMANN (2); LOST GIRLS: EPK.TV/JESSICA KOURKOUNIS

LEFT: COURTESY SISTER ROSE PACATTE, FSP/MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS; EMMA.: EPK.TV/FOCUS FEATURES (2)

J

asmine (Bresha Webb) is a young public defender who has never argued a case at trial. Her boss, Rory (Tyler Perry), assigns a simple murder case to her. He directs her to offer a plea bargain because the defendant, Grace (Crystal Fox), confessed to killing her husband, Shannon (Mehcad Brooks), though his body has never been found. Jasmine, all business, meets with Grace, who looks haggard, hard, and sad. When Jasmine urges Grace to take the life sentence plea, Grace sees that the young woman is wearing a rosary around her neck. She asks if she is Catholic and if she prays the rosary. Jasmine nods her head and begins to wonder if there is more to the case than is obvious. Grace insists on the plea as long as she can be in a prison near her son and granddaughter. Jasmine tells her disapproving boss that she is going to investigate and meets with Sarah (Phylicia Rashad), Grace’s best friend and neighbor. She vouches for Grace’s character and agrees to testify on her behalf. But at trial, Sarah betrays her friend. When all seems lost, Jasmine presses on with her investigation to reveal crimes no one could imagine. This Netflix original is a well-told cautionary tale. Webb and Perry are very good. The performances by Rashad and Brooks draw you into the story, but you know right away something isn’t quite right. This is definitely one of Perry’s better scripts. Not yet rated, TV-MA • Violence, physical and mental cruelty, suicide.

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

A-2 Adults and adolescents

A-3 Adults

L Limited adult audience

O Morally offensive

ased on the 2013 nonfiction book by Robert Kolker and with unflinching direction by Liz Garbus, the film explores the 2010 disappearance of 24-year-old Jersey City aspiring actress Shannan Gilbert and her mother’s search for her. When her mother, Mari (Amy Ryan), doesn’t hear from her daughter, on whom she often depends for money, she makes calls but to no avail. Finally, Mari files a police report. She discovers her daughter was working as an escort and driven to a gated community on Long Island. When Shannan ran out of the house screaming, the driver abandoned her. The Long Island police commissioner, Richard Dormer (Gabriel Byrne), shrugs off Shannan’s disappearance and the 911 call she made, but Mari persists. Her actions keep the police involved and unite the families of more young women who have disappeared in the area. Then, more bodies are discovered. You may have already seen the story of the “Lost Girls” on true-crime shows, but this film makes the loss of so many young women, whose killer or killers have never been caught, so much more tragic. This is not an easy film to watch, as it makes us look at family life today as well as mental illness and sex trafficking. Not yet rated, R • Language, murder, mature themes.

Source: USCCB.org/movies

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POINTSOFVIEW | FAITH & FAMILY

By Susan Hines-Brigger

The Ministry of Caregiving

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

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THE HANDS OF GOD

I started writing this column prior to the coronavirus pandemic here in the United States, but that situation seems to make the topic of this column even more important and timely now. That is because, over the course of the past few months, I have watched as people have selflessly stepped up to care for those who need help. For instance, for the safety of the residents, my dad’s nursing care facility restricted all visitors, including family members. Because of that, not only are the nurses and workers continuing their normal job routines, they have also offered to go above and beyond to do things like help the residents FaceTime

OUR CAREGIVING ROLE

My point is that we so often get caught up in our daily lives that once we slow down— either by choice or by quarantine—and look around, we have time to witness the caregivers around us and the good they do, often quietly and without recognition. And while there are the obvious caregivers—medical professionals, emergency personnel, teachers—let us also not forget the less obvious ones, such as the people at our grocery stores working tirelessly to keep up with the rush on in-demand products. Every day, these people serve as the hands of God, and we just don’t see it. Perhaps if there is anything positive that can come out of this crisis, it is that we will all take a closer look at the ways we can become caregivers for others. We never know when we might be on the receiving end of that mercy. Trust me, I know.

46 • May 2020 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

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TOP RIGHT: LINDSAY HELMS/ISTOCK; PETE & REPEAT: TOM GREENE

Susan has worked at St. Anthony Messenger for 25 years and is an executive 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.

with family members during the separation. Friends and family in the medical field are putting in extra time to get ahead of the crisis and “flatten the curve”­—a phrase we have all heard many times. In Italy, neighbors have brought the gift of music to others amid a very frightening and isolating time. On my Facebook feed, my friends who are teachers have been offering their help as students adjust to at-home schooling brought on by the closing of schools. It is an offer that this mom, who still doesn’t understand the concept of “new math,” greatly appreciates. One mom in our parish organized a daily praying of the rosary via Facebook for families. Other people are offering to get groceries or run errands for elderly neighbors. And small, family-owned restaurants are getting a bit of a boost from people buying gift cards to use once the crisis subsides.

TOP LEFT: MC KOZUSKO/SAM; TOP RIGHT: MARISCHKA/FOTOSEARCH

Susan Hines-Brigger

f you visited our house, on our refrigerator you would see a neatly typed schedule detailing every piece of our family’s life for the upcoming week, from work, school, and sports schedules to what we’re having for dinner each day. I wish I could say that I’m behind this, but I’m not. It’s my husband, Mark. Each week, he meticulously types—and often retypes—the schedule to make sure nothing is missing. I would say he does this simply because of his obsessive-compulsive tendencies—well, he partly does—but the truth is, he mostly does it for me. You see, thanks to my multiple sclerosis, my memory just isn’t what it once was. On more than one occasion, I’m embarrassed to admit, I have forgotten to pick up one of my kids when I was supposed to. I would have also missed long-scheduled appointments were it not for that calendar. I know how much I rely on Mark when it comes to helping me navigate life with a chronic illness. I also know there are thousands more caregivers out there doing the same thing for loved ones on a daily basis. And they’re not getting the love and attention they deserve. So I write this as the beneficiary of this loving caregiving. I also have been on the other end. As a proud member of the sandwich generation, I have the honor of caring for my four kids at the same time I walk alongside my dad as he ages gracefully.

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ADOPTION

DOGMA

AMAZON

FIRST COMMUNION MARY

BELOVED

ELLIS ISLAND

BLESSED

GRACE

NETFLIX

CINCO DE MAYO HUMILITY CORONAVIRUS

LIPPI

MEMORIAL DAY

GUATEMALA

CATHARSIS

LECTIONARY

FORESTS FOSTER

BIBLE

JESUIT

MOTHER’S DAY NEWSLETTER ORGANIZE PODCAST

PETE&REPEAT

WINNING CAPTION!

CARRIE HUTCHINS, OF MOUNTAIN HOME, IDAHO, wrote the winning caption for the image below from our February 2020 issue. Keep an eye out for the next Wordsmith Contest and send in your idea. You could be the next winner!

“Why, yes, I am a bird dog! How did you know?”

TRIVIA QUESTIONS

QUAKER

1: Who said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”?

SYNOD

2: Who painted The Madonna in Adoration of the Child?

TREES

3: When was Margaret of Cortona canonized?

VATICAN

HINT: All answers can be found in the pages of this issue. ANSWERS AND CAPTIONS: E-mail your answers and captions to: MagazineEditors@FranciscanMedia.org, or mail to: St. Anthony Messenger, 28 W. Liberty St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

PSALMS SPRING

TAME IMPALA UNITY

ZEFFIRELLI

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 below)

GET THE BOOK

FUN FOR ALL AGES!

Go online to order: Shop.FranciscanMedia.org For ONLY $3.99 Use Code: SAMPETE ANSWERS to PETE & REPEAT: 1) Sis is wearing a headband. 2) The flowerpots have rims on the bottom. 3) Some of the dirt has been cleaned up. 4) The red flower on the far left has grown. 5) The clouds are fluffier. 6) There are white bands on Pete’s sleeves. 7) The hill behind Pete and Sis is lower. 8) There is another leaf on the red flower on the right.

TOP RIGHT: LINDSAY HELMS/ISTOCK; PETE & REPEAT: TOM GREENE

Name:

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brainteasers | games | challenges

StAnthonyMessenger.org | May 2020 • 47

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reflection

“Seek refuge in Mary because she is the city of refuge.”

J. PARK/ISTOCK

—St. Anthony of Padua

48 • May 2020 | StAnthonyMessenger.org

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Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day.

Exclusive Hamilton Figurine Debut

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A special little “bear” hug to help comfort a hurting heart. Featuring Hamilton’s adorable Faithful Fuzzies® teddy bear, “A Love So Dear” is a wonderfully heartfelt tribute to someone whose memory you’ll always hold in your heart.

Memorial bench shares a comforting sentiment. Fastest way to order: HamiltonCollection.com/LoveBear

Sweetly crafted by hand.

From teddy’s bouquet of delicately sculpted lilies to the stone-look of the memorial bench that’s graced with a tender, uplifting sentiment, every detail is crafted and painted by hand. And just as this teddy bear takes comfort in the

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sight of a visiting cardinal friend, you will too ... knowing that the spirit of your loved one is near.

Special 30-day Free Preview.

Limited to only 95 casting days, “A Love So Dear” is individually hand-numbered and sent with a matching Certificate of Authenticity. Whether to cherish and take comfort in yourself, or to share with someone who could use a little “bear” hug, simply mail in the coupon below for a no-risk Free Preview.

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SEND NO MONEY NOW! ❑YES! Please accept my order for “A Love So Dear” for the low issue price of just $39.99*. I need send no money now. I will be billed with shipment. *Add $8.99 for shipping and service, and sales tax; see HamiltonCollection.com. All orders are subject to product availability and credit approval. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for shipment.

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