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ST. ANTHONY Messenger

Paulina Cerrilla

Rising Star Planting with Bible Herbs Are We Losing Our Religion? Secrets of the Knights Templar


Custodians of God’s Gift


REATION is not some possession that we can lord over for

our own pleasure; nor, even less, is it the property of only some people, the few. Creation is a gift, it is the marvelous gift that God has given us, so that we will take care of it and harness it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude. . . . We must protect creation, for it is a gift which the Lord has given us; it is God’s present to us; we are the guardians of creation. When we exploit creation, we destroy that sign of God’s love. To destroy creation is to say to God: “I don’t care.” And this is not good: this is sin. Custody of creation is precisely custody of God’s gift, and it is saying to God: “Thank you, I am the guardian of creation so as to make it progress, never to destroy your gift.” This must be our attitude to creation: guard it—for if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us! —Pope Francis, General Audience, St. Peter’s Square, May 21, 2014


ST. ANTHONY Messenger

❘ APRIL 2017 ❘ VOLUME 124/NUMBER 11


26 Paulina Cerrilla, Rising Star

Showcasing her abilities as both an actress and a musician, the versatile Paulina Cerrilla strums a guitar in a scene from Down from the Mountaintop, a 2015 TV movie from Catholic-based Family Theater Productions.

A strong faith is guiding this multitalented, young artist. By J.D. Long-Garcia

Photo courtesy Family Theater Productions



14 Walking with God

2 Dear Reader

This simple meditation on four psalms can put you on the path to better health—body and soul. By Colleen Arnold, MD

3 From Our Readers 4 Followers of St. Francis Dan Horan, OFM

6 Reel Time

20 Secrets of the Knights Templar They’re shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories. A history scholar unpacks their real story. By Christopher Bellitto

A United Kingdom


An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story

10 Church in the News

32 Spiritual, Religious, or None of the Above?

18 Catholic Sites to Explore

Most of us have friends or family members who have left the Church. How do we respond in faith? By William F. Kraft, PhD

36 Companion Planting with Bible Herbs

8 Channel Surfing

Fr. Wm. Corby Monument, Gettysburg

25 Editorial


One Nation, Under God

41 At Home on Earth Let’s Not Blow the Budget

With roots in Scripture, these popular plants can help your garden grow. By Rita Heikenfeld

46 Ask a Franciscan Use a Cross or a Crucifix?

42 Fiction: Living Memory

48 Book Corner What Do You Seek?

What did he have to lose? By Christine Venzon

50 A Catholic Mom Speaks An Easter Story


53 Backstory


ST. ANTHONY M essenger

Generous Seculars Luchesio and Buonadonna were one of the first couples to join the Secular Franciscan Order. They probably met Francis in 1213. Once a greedy merchant, Luchesio became very generous; Buonadonna initially disapproved. Once when she answered the door and found a poor man seeking food, Luchesio asked her to give the man some bread. In the pantry, she found more bread than she had observed the last time she was there. Her zeal in serving the poor soon matched her husband’s. Their farm supplied what they needed; they gave the rest to the poor. Once when Luchesio was carrying a disabled man on his back, a young man mocked him for doing so. Luchesio responded, “I am carrying my Lord Jesus Christ.” The young man begged pardon for his mockery. Luchesio and Buonadonna died on the same day: April 28, 1260. He was formally beatified in 1273; local people quickly called her blessed. It’s always easy to tell ourselves that we don’t have enough of this world’s goods. May Buonadonna and Luchesio help us to see our genuine needs more clearly.

Publisher Daniel Kroger, OFM President Kelly McCracken Editor in Chief John Feister Art Director Jeanne Kortekamp Franciscan Editor Pat McCloskey, OFM Managing Editor/Advertising Daniel Imwalle Assistant Editors Susan Hines-Brigger Kathleen M. Carroll Digital Editor Christopher Heffron Editorial Assistant Sharon Lape

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(U.S.P.S. PUBLICATION #007956 CANADA PUBLICATION #PM40036350) Volume 124, Number 11, is published monthly for $39.00 a year by the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-6498. Phone (513) 241-5615. Periodicals postage paid at Cincinnati, Ohio, and additional entry offices. U.S. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: St. Anthony Messenger, P.O. Box 189, Congers, NY 109200189. CANADA RETURN ADDRESS: c/o AIM, 7289 Torbram Rd., Mississauga, ON, Canada L4T 1G8. To subscribe, write to the above address or call (866) 543-6870. Yearly subscription price: $39.00 in the United States; $69.00 in Canada and other countries. Single copy price: $3.95. For change of address, four weeks’ notice is necessary. See for information on your digital edition. Writer’s guidelines can be found at Franciscan 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 ©2017. All rights reserved.

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St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


Remembering the Alamo I especially enjoyed reading “St. Junípero Serra’s Camino,” by Stephen J. Binz, in the February issue of St. Anthony Messenger. It reminded me of an annual trip my family used to take to San Antonio, where we toured all of the missions there. We stayed at the Menger Hotel, which is across from the Alamo. Then we’d take a bus tour, which included the San Antonio River Walk, the Alamo, Mission Concepción, and Mission Espada. Thank you for your wonderful magazine. I have enjoyed reading all of your articles. Mary MacDonald Dallas, Texas

Gratitude for St. Junípero Stephen J. Binz’s article in the February issue, “St. Junípero Serra’s Camino,” brought back many fond

What’s on Your Mind? Letters that are published do not necessarily represent the views of the Franciscan friars or the editors. We do not publish slander or libel. Please include your name and postal address. Letters may be edited for clarity and space. Mail Letters, St. Anthony Messenger 28 W. Liberty St. Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498 Fax 513-241-0399


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memories. Over the course of three trips, my late wife and I visited all of these historic churches. A miniature version of the highway bell-marker has graced our home ever since—a reminder of this wonderful experience. We, too, lit candles in support of prayers for our daughter’s successful adoption of a baby girl from Latin America. Our prayers were answered, and this little one will be entering high school next year. Jack Stein Kirkwood, Missouri

‘Reflection’ on the Mark I always enjoy the “Reflection” page in St. Anthony Messenger. The artwork is very good, and the words of wisdom hit the mark. I very much appreciated the “Reflection” page in the February issue. The look on the teacher’s face as she read her card was wonderful. But the look on the little girl’s face as she watched the teacher read it was priceless! Gail Noeth Fremont, California

Martyrs of La Florida Missions I’m writing regarding Susan HinesBrigger’s “Church in the News” column in the February issue. Thank you for including the three news items concerning Father Stanley Rother, Julia Greeley, and Father Augustus Tolton. I hope that in a future issue you might include an article about the Martyrs of La Florida Missions, whose sainthood cause has been opened. This is an interesting story and one that is not well known. Take a look at MartyrsofLaFlorida, a website dedicated to sharing their history and promoting their sainthood cause. A number of Franciscans are among the martyrs. Keep up the good work! Dan Thomas Coral Gables, Florida

Straight to the Heart I’m grateful that you published “I Will Remember for You,” by Amy Ekeh, in the January issue. I read it while dealing with my adult daughter’s struggle with her faith. Ekeh, writing about her children’s Baptisms, said, “We believed. We had faith for them.” This truly spoke to my heart. Venita Gorneau Severn, Maryland

Compassion Rooted in Strength John Feister’s editorial in the December issue, “Syrians on the Run,” drew comments from multiple viewpoints, and I’d like to add mine. He presented an excellent altruistic perspective on this terrible problem. However, if adopted fully, or even partially, it would result in a further weakening of our ability to help all people in great need. We are a country of compassion, but one with massive debt and global responsibilities. The more we follow the same strategies of the past eight (or more) years, the more our strength will continue to evaporate. There are millions of needy people right here in the United States: poor, undernourished, and homeless, as well as millions more receiving government assistance. This has caused an ever-decreasing tax base. Our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be burdened with our misguided policies. Ultimately, preparation is the real solution. Define the problems, eliminate them one by one, and grow stronger together as a result. Only from a standpoint of strength can we—a compassionate and loving society—spread our largesse around the world. Harry Yorgensen Mount Dora, Florida April 2017 ❘ 3

F O L L O W E R S O F S T. F R A N C I S

Running the Good Race


ranciscan Father Daniel P. Horan grew up in a Catholic family who went to Mass regularly and valued Catholic education. His Catholic school attendance meant that he knew a little bit about St. Francis. However, he says, “It wasn’t until I went to college at St. Bonaventure University, a college founded by the Franciscan friars, that I really came to know anything about who St. Francis and St. Clare were and what the Franciscan tradition was really all about. Almost immediately, it was the rich and diverse spiritual and theological tradition that attracted me to the Franciscan charism—it was both intellectually engaging and spiritually enriching for me. I love how much the Franciscan outlook is shaped by the Incarnation.” Father Dan is the author of a popular blog ( and several successful books. Writing is not his first passion, though. He says, “Writing is something that just sort of happened to me, rather than something I set out to do. I studied both theology and journalism in college, so I had some training in writing, but I was always more drawn to photojournalism than being

Dan Horan, OFM

a reporter. After I became a Franciscan friar, I found myself writing about the Franciscan tradition and theology and spirituality more broadly. I have never felt drawn to writing for writing’s sake, nor am I interested in writing fiction. Writing has always been an expression of where faith and life meet for me, and I’m grateful to be able to share that with others.” St. Francis is certainly an inspiration, but so is the 20th-century monk and author Thomas Merton. Father Dan serves on the board of directors of the International Thomas Merton Society, saying: “Thanks to Merton’s prolific writing, we get a firsthand glimpse at a brilliant mind, a profoundly spiritual soul, and a person deeply committed to social justice. I really appreciate his transparency, which puts on display both his struggles and his joys. He is the kind of Christian model that one can easily relate to, which is not always the case with our typical saints.” Along with his writing pursuits, Father Dan can often be found putting in long hours in his academic work and long miles preparing for marathons. He describes his



Learn more about Catholic saints and their feast days by going to source/saint-of-theday.

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My husband and I, both 89 years old, were dog-sitting while my daughter and her husband went on vacation. The day they were coming home, and for no apparent reason, the dog suddenly took off. She looked at me and kept going into the street and disappeared. She had never ever done anything like that before. To make a long story short, we had the whole neighborhood looking, and, of course, we prayed to St. Anthony! At dark, a lady called from a mile away and said she had my daughter’s dog, Carley. What made her go down their street? She was taken in by a 10-year-old boy because he thought she looked lost. A phone number was on her collar, and the lady contacted my daughter, who had just gotten off the plane. St. Anthony works again! I knew he would—wow! —Mrs. C., Michigan

St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


Walking the Talk In Admonition VI, Francis warned the friars about a possible distortion in honoring the saints. The friars might very selectively forget that every saint suffered in some way for following Jesus. “It is a great shame for us, the servants of God,” said Francis, “that the saints have accomplished great things and we want only to receive glory and honor by recounting them.” We all need to “walk the talk” when we praise any saint.—P.M.


scholarly pursuits as “a hobby that grew out of control. After becoming a friar, I found myself diving more and more deeply into research about theology and spirituality.” This hobby has earned Father Dan the master of divinity degree required for ordained ministry, as well as an MA in systematic theology, and a PhD in theology. As for running, Father Dan says, “I tend to be someone who operates at high energy, so running helps bring balance to my life; it clears my mind and gives me peace. I love the spirit and energy the running community has. There are very few sports where you can regularly take part in the same event as Olympians, cross the same finish line, and say, ‘I did that, too!’” For Father Dan, running and the spiritual life share the same formula—one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. “I just try to do what I can do each day. St. Francis told his fellow friars that they should not do anything that gets in the way of their ‘spirit of prayer and devotion.’ I think that is the foundation that governs my activities.” —Kathleen Carroll

To learn more about Franciscan saints, visit

S T. A N T H O N Y B R E A D

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Send all postal communication to: St. Anthony Bread 1615 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498

April 2017 ❘ 5


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. To post your petition online, please visit, where you can also request to have a candle lit or a Mass offered; or you may make a donation to the Franciscans or sign up to receive a novena booklet.



A United Kingdom



Films © 2017 FOX


Hope Chocolat (2000) The Shawshank Redemption (1994) The Blind Side (2009) The King’s Speech (2010) The Lunchbox (2013)

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April 2017

Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo star as Ruth Williams and Prince Seretse Khama in A United Kingdom. In postwar London, Muriel (Laura Carmichael) convinces her sister, Ruth (Rosamund Pike), an office worker, to accompany her to a dance at the mission society. There Ruth meets Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), a law student and prince of the African country of Bechuanaland (now Botswana). They bond over a mutual love for jazz, and soon Khama proposes marriage. But their interracial union evokes resistance from her family and the British government. Bechuanaland is a protectorate of England with deep mineral interests in nearby South Africa—a country implementing apartheid into law. The couple make their way to Bechuanaland to find more resistance from the regent, Seretse’s uncle Tshekedi (Vusi Kunene). When the people choose Seretse, despite their initial dislike for Ruth, Tshekedi leaves the village with his followers to begin a new settlement. The British manage to lure Seretse back to London to settle things, but then he is exiled. Ruth, who stayed in Bechuanaland, is pregnant, and it is almost

two years before Seretse can join them. Things are not going well in England, however. Prime Minister Winston Churchill goes back on his promise to the prince to allow him to return home. Seretse fears that if diamonds are found in his country, it will never be independent. This politically charged love story is beautifully told even as the timeline of events is rearranged and compressed for a two-hour film. Based on the 2007 book Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation, the narrative draws the audience into an almost impossible romance, while addressing racial bias, interracial marriage, and reconciliation, as well as European colonization and exploitation of Africa. Not yet rated, PG-13 ■ Mature themes, racial violence, and explicit bigotry.

I Am Not Your Negro In this stirring, poetic, yet unsettling documentary by Raoul Peck, American author St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


James A. Baldwin is the subject of Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated feature documentary, I Am Not Your Negro.


James A. Baldwin (1924–1987), through the narration of Samuel L. Jackson, tells us: “There are not more white people in the world; there never was. White is just a metaphor for power.” This documentary, produced by Amazon Studios, looks at the history of race in America. Using powerful images, the film pushes the genre in a new direction by folding the past and the present together. Baldwin’s words are taken from notes from his unfinished memoir (Remember This House). They bind centuries together by telling the story of how Baldwin knew and understood the lives of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.—all of whom were assassinated before the age of 40. Most jarring is how much Baldwin’s literary and philosophical genius are unknown to many in this country—and how little things have changed. His words, over 40 years old, rightly eviscerate the notion that white America can absolve itself of racism today. Baldwin invites us to step into the lives of black people and see what they see. This is how social transformation begins. Not yet rated, PG-13 ■ Racial violence, police brutality, bigotry.

take her final exams for a scholarship to study in the United Kingdom, is assaulted. Desperate that Eliza should leave Romania for a better life, he is afraid she will fail the exams due to the trauma. He visits an official and arranges for her to cheat on the exams. She is confused because he and Magda have taught her to be honest. But everyone in Romania, from customs officials to investigators, rationalizes cheating to get ahead. Then someone throws a rock through Romeo’s windshield—a metaphor for his life—shattering glass all around him. Graduation is an interesting and intricate film from the accomplished young director Cristian Mungiu, who won the best director award at Cannes in 2016 for this film. Graduation, like all Mungiu’s films, addresses the depths of the heart caught up in moral uncertainty and the choice to do wrong even when the protagonist teaches the opposite. Romeo is good at finding flaws in others but is blind to his own. Eliza is the child teaching the parent. Not yet rated ■ Infidelity, mature themes.

Adrian Titieni (right) and Maria-Victoria Dragus play a father and daughter caught in a moral crisis in Graduation.

Catholic Cl assifications A-1 A-2 A-3 L O

Graduation One morning, someone throws a rock through the window of the apartment where Romeo (Adrian Titieni), a physician, his depressed wife, Magda (Lia Bugnar), and teenage daughter, Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus), live. They reside in a decaying Sovietera apartment complex in Romania. Romeo is with his mistress when Eliza, about to Fr

General patronage Adults and adolescents Adults Limited adult audience Morally offensive

The Catholic News Service Media Review Office gives these ratings. See

For additional film reviews, go to

April 2017 ❘





April, PBS, check local listings Reinhold Niebuhr, the Missouri-born theologian and philosopher, is widely known as the author of the Serenity Prayer, but in some ways that undercuts the breadth of his contributions to 20th-century thinking and religion. Niebuhr’s influence on our culture cuts deeper. This moving—if a bit heady— glimpse into his life should deepen the understanding of some and introduce this American original to others. Born in 1892 to German immigrants, Niebuhr grew up idolizing his father, Gustav, an Evangelical pastor. Niebuhr was educated at Yale Divinity School, earning a master’s in 1915. The roots of his religious and philosophical views spread—and this is where the documentary picks up steam. Niebuhr was a moral narrator throughout the century’s most tumultuous moments: World War II, the civil rights movement, and Vietnam. Niebuhr, a gifted orator and teacher with his fingers on the pulse of justice, understood that humanity is capable of greatness and corruption in equal measure. Director Martin Doblmeier, a gifted documentary filmmaker, gives viewers a quietly poignant narrative of a complex man in fear of and in service to a God he loved.

Birth of a Movement


Available at The Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith’s 1915 landmark motion picture, revolutionized the medium of silent film. The pacing, story, cinematography, and innovative balance of action/adventure and social commentary were radical and awe-inspiring for its time. Conversely, the film was also a dangerously irresponsible, historically inaccurate tribute to the Ku Klux Klan. Codirected by Susan Gray and Bestor Cram, Birth of a Movement is a pitch-perfect documentary that tells several stories almost simultaneously: it takes a hard look at Griffith’s blemished masterpiece; at the film’s influence, both good and bad; and into the fiery heart of William M. Trotter, a brilliant African American editor and activist who waged war on the film and its director upon release. Gray and Cram interview heavy hitters such as Spike Lee, Reginald Hudlin, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., who give commentary on just how dangerous the film was. Membership in the KKK grew because of Nation’s popularity. African Americans in 1915 were horrified and mobilized at the same time. And the documentary captures it all beautifully. Birth of a Movement may have aired in February to commemorate Black History Month, but its message is evergreen: hatred may slyly lurk behind art, but it cannot withstand the righteous forces that seek to destroy it.

Reinhold Niebuhr is the subject of Martin Doblmeier’s thoughtful, stirring documentary airing on PBS. 8 ❘

April 2017

St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story


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Cardinals Express Support for Pope

Pope Francis leads the 18th meeting of his international Council of Cardinals at the Vatican February 13. They will meet again this month. At the beginning of their 18th meeting this past February, the members of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals—also known as the “Council of Nine”—expressed their full support for the pope and his magisterium, according to a statement released by the Vatican press office on February 13. The statement said that the cardinals’ support was offered “in relation to recent events,” though no specific events were mentioned. A few days prior to the meeting, a fake version of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, was e-mailed to Vatican officials. The week before that, posters were put up around Rome questioning the pope’s mercy in dealing with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and other groups over which the pope had placed special delegates. Last November, US Cardinal Raymond L. Burke and three retired cardinals publicly 1 0 ❘ Ap r il 201 7

questioned Pope Francis on the teaching in “Amoris Laetitia,” his apostolic exhortation on the family. During the meeting, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the council, also thanked Pope Francis for the way he explained the council’s work on the reform of the Roman Curia to Vatican officials. Just before Christmas, the pope met with members of the Curia and told them, “We cannot be content simply with changing personnel; we need to encourage spiritual, human, and professional renewal among the members of the Curia.” He said the reform “is in no way implemented with a change of personnel—something that certainly is happening and will continue to happen—but with a conversion in persons. Continuing formation is not enough; what we need also and above all is continuing conversion and purifica-

tion. Without a change of mentality, efforts at practical improvement will be in vain.”

Bishops Urge Trump to Protect Religious Liberty Committee chairs of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on February 16, encouraging President Donald Trump to move forward with an executive order to protect religious freedom, reported Catholic News Service (CNS). In January, a leaked draft version of the executive order, titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” began circulating in the media and among federal staff and advocacy groups. “As Christians, our goal is to live and serve others as the Gospel asks. President Trump can ensure that we are not forced from the public St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r



Msgr. Jean-Marie Mupendawatu, secretary delegate for health care in the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the charter is not only for those directly involved in providing medical care, but also for researchers, pharmacists, administrators, and policymakers in the field of health care.

The Diocese of Coimbra formally closed the local phase of the sainthood cause for Carmelite Sister Lúcia dos Santos on February 13. Sister Lúcia was one of the three children who saw Our Lady of Fátima in 1917.

The “New Charter for Health Care Workers” was released by the Vatican on February 6. The document is an expanded and updated guide to the Church’s teachings on abortion, contraception, genetic engineering, fertility treatments, vaccines, frozen embryos, and other life issues.

square,” the committee chairs wrote. They went on to say that an executive order would “implement strong protections for religious freedom across the federal government in many of the areas where it has been eroded by the preceding administration, such as health coverage, adoption, accreditation, tax exemption, and government grants and contracts. “We ourselves, as well as those we shepherd and serve, would be most Fr ancisca n Media .org


Pope Francis has named Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga as his special envoy to Medjugorje. According to the February 11 Vatican announcement, Archbishop Hoser will be working to gain “a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there and, above all, of the needs of the faithful who go there in pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.” The role is separate from the work of a commission set up in 2010 by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary had appeared to them daily, beginning in 1981. Some of the six say Mary still appears to them and gives them messages each day. Others say they see her only once a year.

More than 15,000 people attended 229 rallies held in 45 states on February 11 to call for defunding Planned Parenthood. Eric Scheidler, executive director of the ProLife Action League in Chicago, was the national organizer of the rallies. He said the goal was to convince Congress to “do a better job meeting the real health-care needs of women and families without specializing in abortion.”

The Benedictine Church of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, Israel, also known as the Church of the Multiplication, reopened on February 12 (20 months after it suffered serious damage from an arson attack). Two suspects have been held under administrative detention since July 2015 for involvement in the arson, which police are treating as a hate crime. For more Catholic news, visit catholic-news.

grateful if the president would take this positive step toward allowing all Americans to be able to practice their faith without severe penalties from the federal government,” they said. After the draft was leaked, the bishops launched an online letterwriting campaign. The letter, found at Campaigns, urges the president to “restore the federal government’s respect for the religious freedom of

individuals and organizations” with an executive order that establishes a “government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom.” Individuals can sign the letter and submit it to Trump.

Norma McCorvey, Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, Dies Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff “Jane Roe” in the Supreme Court’s 1973 April 2017 ❘ 11


national controversy brings additional challenges. It also brings additional consolations.” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, released a statement on February 19, in which she said, “Norma became an outspoken advocate for protecting the lives of mothers and their unborn children. . . . (She) was a friend and valued ally in the fight for life, and she will be deeply missed.”

President Trump Speaks at National Prayer Breakfast Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff known as “Jane Roe” in the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion in the United States, died February 18 at age 69.

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Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand, died on February 18 at an assisted-living facility in Katy, Texas. She was 69, reported CNS. In 1969, when she was 21, McCorvey became pregnant a third time. She tried to obtain an illegal abortion, but state authorities had shut down such operations. She was referred to lawyers seeking a plaintiff for an abortion suit against the state of Texas. The case took three years to reach the Supreme Court. McCorvey gave her baby up for adoption. She had previously given birth to a daughter in 1965, and a year later gave birth again, and put the child up for adoption. McCorvey became a pro-life supporter in 1995 after spending years as a proponent of legal abortion. She also became a born-again Christian. A couple of years later, she said she felt called to join the Catholic Church, and after instruction in the faith, she joined the Church in 1998. Priests for Life released a statement from McCorvey’s family on February 19, which said, “Losing a loved one is always a difficult time for a family. Losing a loved one who was also a public figure at the center of a

At his first National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on February 2, President Donald Trump told participants that freedom is not “a gift of government,” but a “gift of God,” reported CNS. The 65th annual breakfast was attended by 3,000 politicians, religious leaders, and dignitaries, including King Abdullah of Jordan. “America is a nation of believers,” Trump said. “In towns across the land, we see what we so easily forget: the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success but by our spiritual success. I speak that as someone who has had great material success and who knows many people

who have had great material success. . . . Some of them are very miserable, miserable people.” The president went on to say that he “will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.” The amendment, attached by thenSenator Lyndon Johnson to a 1954 bill, bans federally recognized nonprofits from making political endorsements. “Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is also a right under threat all around us,” said Trump. During his speech, the president also talked about his January 27 executive memorandum that bans refugees hailing from seven majorityMuslim countries—Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia— for 90 days. His action suspends the entire US refugee resettlement program for 120 days. “Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world. But there are those who would exploit that generosity,” he said. “We want people to come into our nation, but we want people to love us and to love our values, not to hate us and hate our values. We will be a safe country; we will be a free country, where people can practice their beliefs without fear of hostility and without fear of violence.” A

US President Donald Trump prays during the National Prayer Breakfast February 2 in Washington, DC. Over 3,000 political and religious leaders from around the world attended. St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r

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Walking with God This simple meditation on four psalms can put you on the path to better health—body and soul. BY COLLEEN ARNOLD, MD


S A DOCTOR, I consistently tell people that walking is one of the best exercises for health. Anyone can do it at any time of the day, and it requires nothing more than a comfortable pair of shoes. As a pastoral minister, I consistently tell people that praying is one of the best exercises for spiritual health. Anyone can do it at any time of day, and it requires nothing more than desire. What could be better than walking and praying at the same time? Here you will find a sample walking meditation. It is divided into sections correlated with each of the senses and punctuated by prayer, using a psalm. In addition to focusing within, you will be guided to focus on the glory and presence of God all around. You don’t need to walk fast or far, although you can if you like. Print out the reflection to carry with you.

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You may not need the whole thing, but you will at least need the psalm prayers between each section unless you know them by heart. It might be good to have the rest for reference in case you get stuck. You can even record them on your cell phone and take them with you. If you are on a time limit, set the timer on your watch or cell phone to three minutes for each section. If you are not on a strict schedule, allow each part of the meditation to spontaneously conclude on its own.

Introduction Start your walk simply by inviting God to show you his creation. Thank him for this time together. Stand still for a minute and take a few deep breaths to clear your head and engage your body. Then start walking at a comfortable pace. St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


Seeing God’s Gifts

Hearing God’s Gifts

During the first three minutes, concentrate on everything you see. Let go of any other thoughts or sensations that pop into your head. Notice the sky and its shades of blue. Notice the trees. How many colors of green are there? Do you see any buds or flowers? How about insects—flies, beetles, mosquitoes? Look in all directions. Look up close, out to the horizon, and between the trees. Search out small details—the veins in a leaf, the wings on a dragonfly. Survey the broad picture: the hills in the distance, the clouds at the skyline. Keep walking and looking until your timer goes off at three minutes or you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you into the next phase. Remind yourself that God has given you all these treasures as signs of his love; imagine the joy he feels showing them to you. Finish the visual meditation by reciting Psalm 8:4–10:

During the next three minutes, concentrate on everything you hear. Stop looking intently and listen instead. Once again, let go of any other thoughts or sensations that pop into your head. Listen for traffic. Can you hear cars on a city street or an interstate? A lawnmower? An ambulance? How about air traffic, such as a plane or helicopter? Are there birds? How many different bird calls do you hear? Are there people nearby? Children playing and laughing or people chatting with each other? Are there animals—a dog barking, a rooster crowing, a horse whinnying? As before, walk and listen until your timer goes off or you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you into the next phase. Remind yourself that despite all this noise, God hears you whenever you call out to him. Finish the listening meditation by reciting Psalm 86:1–7:

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place— What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet: All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!

Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and oppressed. Preserve my life, for I am loyal; Save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; pity me, Lord; to you I call all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul. Lord, you are kind and forgiving, most loving to all who call on you. Lord, hear my prayer; listen to my cry for help. In this time of trouble I call, for you will answer me.


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Try to feel your feet connect with the ground beneath you.

Touching God’s Gifts

Tasting and Smelling God’s Gifts

During the next three minutes, concentrate on everything you feel, not on the inside, but on the outside. Remember to let go of any other thoughts that pop into your head, and walk until your timer goes off or the Holy Spirit nudges you into the next phase. Can you feel a gentle breeze on your face or a stronger wind? Is sunshine warming your face or rain tickling your skin? Is the surface upon which you are walking hard like pavement or soft like grass? Look down and study whatever is at your feet. A pebble? A stick? A leaf? Gently pick it up and hold it in your hand. Roll it between your fingers, sensing its texture, shape, and detail. Try to feel your feet connect with the ground beneath you. Notice as your heels touch first and concentrate as the rest of your foot connects with the sturdy ground. Concentrate on each step and on the subtle differences in the terrain. Even when it’s irregular, notice how the ground is solid and reliable. Remind yourself that God is sturdy and reliable and will not let you down. Finish the touch meditation by reciting Psalm 91:1–12:

These two senses are intricately connected, so we will focus on them together. Open your mouth slightly and touch your tongue to the back of your teeth. For the next three minutes, breathe through your mouth and nose, allowing each fragrance to evoke a taste. Are there city smells, such as exhaust or tar? What does tar taste like? Is it pungent or bitter? Are there smells of other people around you? Is there body odor that smells like pizza, or perfume that smells like vanilla? Are there country smells like manure or hay? Does the hay smell sweet? What about fresh-cut grass or flowering buds? Do they smell like onions or mint? Remind yourself that no earthly food or pleasure can fill your heart’s deep longing for God. Finish the taste and smell meditation by reciting Psalm 42:2–6:

You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, Say to the Lord, “My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.” God will rescue you from the fowler’s snare, from the destroying plague, Will shelter you with pinions, spread wings that you may take refuge; God’s faithfulness is a protecting shield. You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness, nor the plague that ravages at noon. Though a thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, near you it shall not come. You need simply watch; the punishment of the wicked you will see. You have the Lord for your refuge; you have made the Most High your stronghold. No evil shall befall you, no affliction come near your tent. For God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

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As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, as they ask daily, “Where is your God?” Those times I recall as I pour out my soul, When I went in procession with the crowd, I went with them to the house of God, Amid loud cries of thanksgiving, with the multitude keeping festival. Why are you downcast, my soul; why do you groan within me? Wait for God, whom I shall praise again, my savior and my God.

Closing Stand in place for a few minutes, or even for only a few seconds. Thank God for this time you shared and the gifts he revealed. Resolve to carry this mindset of gratitude and awareness through the rest of your day. If you have a few extra minutes when you get home, jot down the ideas that came to you during your walk. Keeping a prayer journal is a great way to remind yourself of God’s work in your life. And remember, this meditation is only a sample—adapt it to suit your needs in whatever way is most helpful. With God’s help and your imagination, walking and praying can be a regular part of your day! A Colleen Arnold, MD, is a physician and writer residing in Lexington, Virginia, who also holds a master’s degree in pastoral ministry. Her blog can be found at Colleen St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


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Battlefield Shrine


here are a lot of monuments and memorials on the Gettysburg battlefield, but this one is unusual. The man depicted is Father William Corby, a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and faculty member at the University of Notre Dame. He left the college to serve as one of the chaplains to the renowned Irish Brigade. The sculpture depicts one of the most dramatic and memorable events in Father Corby’s military career. It was almost noon, July 2, 1863, and the 530 men of the Irish Brigade were resting on the eastern slope of Cemetery Ridge above the town of Gettysburg when the order came for them to prepare to go into battle. As the men assembled, Father Corby climbed atop a large rock and called for the men’s attention. There was no time for him to hear the confession of every man of the brigade individually, he explained, but in such an emergency the Catholic Church permitted a priest to grant general absolution. He instructed them to recall their sins, beg God’s pardon, and recite silently the Act of Contrition, just as they would if they were in a confessional. Then Father Corby drew

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from a pocket of his black frock coat a violet stole. Raising his right hand, he made the sign of the cross over the brigade as he recited the words of absolution. While granting general absolution to soldiers going into battle was common in the Catholic countries of Europe, this was the first time it had ever occurred in the United States. When Father Corby finished, the men marched down the slope of Cemetery Ridge toward farmer John Rose’s wheat field. The Irish would lose about 200 men that afternoon. A Adapted from 101 Places to Pray Before You Die by Thomas J. Craughwell (Franciscan Media). Next: The Basilica of St. Louis



Fr. Wm. Corby Monument Gettysburg National Park Hancock Avenue Gettysburg, PA 17325 717-334-1124, ext. 8023 www.Gettysburg

St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


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Secrets OF THE

Knights Templar They’re shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories. A history scholar unpacks their real story. BY CHRISTOPHER BELLITTO


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a Hollywood movie, which doesn’t have to make things up to be true.

Monk-Warriors The story starts at the time of the Crusades. In 1095, Pope Urban II called for European Christian knights to stop fighting each other and to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims. The pope’s speech sent thousands of knights, infantrymen, and a large supporting workforce streaming across Europe, resulting in the taking of Jerusalem in 1099. But these were not unified armies under a tight leadership team. Many knights behaved shamefully and certainly did not live up to the standards of chivalry and charity—even toward fellow Christians. Clearly there was a need for order, control, and standards. The Templars had their origins at just this point in time. At first, there were about 10 French knights with their retinues escorting pilgrims from the Mediterranean coast to the holy city of Jerusalem and other sites in the area, such as Bethlehem, Bethany, Nazareth, and the Jordan River. The Muslims quickly regrouped, however, and began to take land back in this same period. Their victories led to the Second Crusade (1147–1149), which was promoted by that same Bernard of Clairvaux. By this time, it was clear that in order for the European Christians to maintain their hold on Jerusalem and keep the passages to Jerusalem safe, a more organized and permanent military presence needed to be set up. St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


UST MENTION the Knights Templar and the conspiracy theories start flying. But just who were the medieval Knights of the Temple? What was their job and what happened to them? Why do they still capture our imaginations? The Knights of the Temple—the Templars, for short—were established in the early 1100s under a Rule written by Bernard of Clairvaux, a famous Cistercian abbot. He modified existing Rules for religious monastic communities to fill the need for an armed order in light of the Crusades. This Rule and the Templars’ lifestyle became the model for about a dozen other religious military orders in the Middle Ages. There are versions of these orders today, some of which can trace their lineage directly back to medieval ancestors. Others have chosen to emulate the original orders but adapt them to our times. These contemporary communities, now often composed of men and women, have turned to massive charitable and philanthropic projects and to protecting endangered Christians. One example of an adapted version of the medieval Templars is the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. Other modern expressions of medieval orders are the Knights of Columbus, the Knights and Dames of Malta (who trace their lineage back to the Hospitallers of St. John), and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Let’s take a look at the history behind the legend of these highly influential knights. It is a tale of medieval palace intrigue worthy of


An abbot and famous Cistercian, Bernard of Clairvaux was pivotal to the founding of the Templars and wrote the Rule for the knights’ order in 1128.

Most of the knights from the First Crusade simply left Jerusalem after taking the city in 1099. That group of French escorting knights, then, became the seed for the Templars. In his Rule for the order, In Praise of the New Knighthood, written in 1128, Bernard of Clairvaux called these fighting men “knights of Christ.” He envisioned them as monkwarriors. The Templars and other orders at first saw their task as fighting to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land, even if that meant taking up arms while still holding to the three traditional monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Later, it meant protecting the faith from internal threats caused by heretics, once again by violence, if necessary. Bernard captured the paradox when he said that the knights must be “gentler than lambs, yet fiercer than lions. I do not know if it would be more appropriate to refer to them as monks or as soldiers, unless perhaps it would be better to recognize them as being both.” He described the model Templar as “truly a fearless knight and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armor of faith just as his body is protected by armor of steel.” Bernard also drew on the just-war tradition to say that, in certain circumstances, Templar violence was permitted and not sinful. “If he fights for a good reason,” Bernard wrote, “the issue of his fight can never be evil.” Elsewhere in his Rule for the Templars, Bernard stated, “To inflict death or to die for Christ is no sin, but rather, an abundant claim to glory.” So for the Templars, fighting the infidel (literally, “the unfaithful ones”) meant the Muslims in the Holy Land.

The World of the Templars The Templars took their name from their headquarters, situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This is where Solomon’s Temple had stood from about 970 BC until it was destroyed in 587 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar, who took the Israelites back to Babylon and left Jerusalem a backwater. Centuries later, about 20 BC, the client-king of the Romans, Herod, began to rebuild the Temple, which has come to be known as Herod’s Temple, Jesus’ Temple, or the Second Temple. It was 22 ❘

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barely completed before it was destroyed by Roman imperial forces in AD 70. Over a thousand years later, the elite knights envisioned by Bernard established their command center in what some still called Solomon’s Temple or Palace. At its height during the crusading centuries, the Knights of the Temple included about 300 knights who had taken the three standard vows. Many of these vowed knights were in their 20s when they joined. They were supposed to be unmarried, free of debt, and of legitimate birth. They wore a distinctive tunic and wielded shields painted white with a prominent red cross. The knights were joined by as many as 900 soldiers who were not noble and fought on foot—an infantry to complement the knights’ cavalry. There would have been hundreds of others, which we would call support staff, employed by the order: blacksmiths, squires, women to cook and take care of clothing, and armorers. Some of the men among this support staff were like lay brothers in other religious orders, such as the Benedictines or Cistercians. The Templars, like medieval monasteries and convents, were run very collaboratively. They held property and goods in common, making decisions about them and all other matters by vote. They were led by a grand master chosen by the vowed knights in an election. At the same time, however, elements of Templar life drew attention and led to rumors about them. They reported directly to the pope. They were also exempt from paying taxes, which increasingly became a big deal as they amassed huge areas of land. The Templars also attracted patrons quickly and in large numbers across western Europe. They eventually enjoyed a network of nearly 2,000 castles, houses, and estates. (A modern-day analogy might be America’s super-wealthy robber baron families who built huge mansions they called cottages in the days before income tax.) We can see the mysteries that persist today started early.

Behind Closed Doors Above all, the Templars held all of their deliberations and votes in secrecy. When they were fighting the infidel and protecting pilgrims, this was not an issue. But when the Crusades ran their course and Muslims systematically took back Holy Land territory and negotiated treaties for safe passage for Christian pilgrims, the Templars began to lose their reason for St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


CONSPIRACIES AND THE TEMPLARS ECAUSE OF THEIR SECRECY and power, the Templars says they magically appeared to turn the tide of a battle in have refused to die—in myth if not in fact. In part Scotland. Another claims they crossed the Atlantic Ocean because people want to believe nearly anything before Columbus. Some of the wilder stories tie the Temabout the Church (witness the legplars to President John F. Kennedy’s end of Pope Joan, which was covassassination in 1963 and even ered in the January 2016 issue of St. Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation in Anthony Messenger), the Templars 2013—and that’s before we get to are ripe for exploitation. Spend 10 the video games and The Templar minutes searching the Internet with Code for Dummies. the words Templars and conspiracy. Perhaps all of this spookiness can The Templars show up as mysteribe brought back to their end. It ous and shadowy figures in Hollyhappened that the Templars were wood movies like The Da Vinci Code, Some of the more outlandish theories peg the rounded up on Friday the 13th of Templars with involvement in JFK’s assassination where they are linked with the PriOctober, 1307, which some people and Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. ory of Sion as guardians of Jesus’ claim is the root of that feared calalleged descendants with Mary endar date. Moreover, as he went Magdalene. Take nearly any mysterious group or object and to his death at the stake, Grand Master Jacques de Molay the Templars are linked by innuendo and rumor: the Temple supposedly issued a curse that he would meet Pope Mount, the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the True Clement and King Philip with God within a year—and Cross, the Shroud of Turin, and the Freemasons. One legend indeed both pope and king died shortly after.


being there. When Muslims took Acre in 1291, threat, perhaps as a result of the shock of the Holy Land crusading effectively ended—lead- ugly episode. ing to the next and final chapter for the TemPhilip continued to pressure the papacy, plars. this time in the person of the weak Pope With no need to fight in the Holy Land, Clement V (1305–1314), the first of the line the Templars largely turned from military of 14th-century popes who resided in Avignon affairs to the worlds of finance, estate man- and not Rome. This royalty-versus-papacy fight agement, trade, banking, and overseeing invest- impacted the Templars because Philip was in ments along their network of tax-exempt a towering pile of debt to the military order. properties in Europe. They were likely the rich- Trying to get out of repaying, the French king est operation in the Middle Ages, essentially accused the Templars of losing the Holy Land making them Europe’s ATM. and not living up to their own high standards. They were not without enemies, and their Now he had the pope as a powerful tool to worst one was Philip IV, king of France. He is attack the Templars. also known to history as Philip the Fair (le To take them down, Philip exploited the Bel), who reigned from 1285 to 1314. He had been trying to control the papacy and Church in France for some Your Digital time by taxing the clergy without papal Edition permission. Effectively, he was trying to separate • Free to print subscribers Catholic France from papal authority • Does not change your (later known as Gallicanism). Philip print subscription had particularly tangled with a stub• Many digital extras born pope named Boniface VIII • Register at Franciscan (1294–1303). The king had even sent armed men to intimidate Boniface subscription-services/ because the pope planned to excommunicate him. Boniface died shortly after this verbal assault and physical Fr

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mystery behind the Templar practice of secrecy. He accused them of black magic, sodomy, and desecration of the cross and Eucharist. The French king engineered an overnight mass arrest of Templars in October 1307. Over the next four years, nearly all Templars were exonerated at trials held across Europe with the notable exception of France. There, after being tortured, some Templars confessed to doing things like spitting on the cross or denying Jesus during secret initiation rites. Many later took those confessions back, saying they had admitted such things only under pain and fear of death.

The End of an Era The final act took place at the general Church council held at Vienne from 1311 to 1312. Philip was in charge and made sure only bishops supporting him and not Pope Clement were present, to the point of knocking the names of anti-royal bishops off the list of those invited. Even under pressure from the French king, the bishops still voted in a large majority against abolishing the Templars and said the charges against them were not proven. Philip played his hand by threatening violence against a pope once again. He pressured Clement to condemn his papal predecessor Boniface as a heretic. What the French king really wanted was to get out of debt to the


The 23rd and final grand master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay met the fate many heretics faced after medieval inquisition: being burned at the stake.

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Templars and seize their assets. Pope Clement allowed the Templars to be railroaded by trading off that threat against Boniface, which would endanger his own position as a papal successor. Clement went against his bishops and suppressed the Knights of the Temple on his own papal authority. Quite simply, the pope had been bullied by the king and he gave in. Clement praised “our dear son in Christ, Philip, the illustrious king of France,” adding remarkably, “He was not moved by greed. He had no intention of claiming or appropriating for himself anything from the Templars’ property.” But instead of handing their money and property over to Philip, as the king wanted, the pope showed some courage and assigned the Templar assets over to the Knights of the Hospital (the Hospitallers). Philip got his cut, of course, and was out of debt to an order that no longer existed, but he didn’t win entirely. Pope Clement never said whether or not the Templars were guilty of heresy or other crimes. In fact, in 2001, Vatican researcher Barbara Frale discovered in the archives there a misfiled document that has come to be called the Chinon Parchment. This collection details trial and investigation records in Latin from 1307 to 1312. A measure of the continuing interest in the Templars may be found in the fact that a limited reproduction edition of the Chinon Parchment was produced in 2007. Titled Processus Contra Templarios (“Trial against the Templars”), each of the 799 copies cost over $8,000. The 800th copy was given for free to Pope Benedict XVI. The Chinon Parchment proves that Pope Clement definitely believed in 1308 that the charge of heresy against the Templars was not true, although they were guilty of other, smaller crimes. But Clement just wasn’t strong enough to protect the Templars from annihilation. Finally, in 1314, the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake as a lapsed heretic after he retracted his tortured confession and asserted his innocence. The history of the Templars had come to an end, but its reputation for secrecy and all of this palace intrigue seemed destined to make the myths about them continue to live on. A Christopher M. Bellitto, PhD, is a professor of history at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. His books include 101 Questions and Answers on Popes and the Papacy (Paulist Press) and Church History 101: A Concise Overview (Liguori Publications).

St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


One Nation, Under God When Catholic principles are trod upon, the Gospel demands that we speak out. We are by definition a nonpartisan publication. We don’t endorse candidates, and in the months leading up to elections, we are doubly careful not to get into the fray. For one thing, it’s not the Church’s place to choose candidates. The Church is a place of unity, not division. Candidate loyalties, especially proclaimed loudly from pulpit or pew, tend to foster division. There’s another practical concern: although President Trump has promised to change this practice, long-established federal guidelines prohibit religious organizations from partisan activity if they want to remain tax-exempt. Freedom from tax, access to discounted postage rates, and other exemptions enable us to use all of our resources to fulfill our mission. After the election, when once-candidates become officeholders, there are different standards. Within a state, a governor is not just of one party, but governor for everyone in the state. The same is true for senators, representatives, and, yes, the president. These people, and their offices, concern everyone, not just one party. Federal rules aside, it is not wise for us in the Church to be personally attacking people in office, of whatever party. They are supported by some, most, or all of the Church’s membership. It is divisive to attack persons, whether we agree with them or not.

Policies Are Different We in the Church are outspoken in defense of the powerless, with whom we share Godgiven dignity. We clearly advocate for public policy that builds the common good. We advocate for policies that protect our Godgiven environment. Once again, there could be differences among Catholics about how to achieve these goals, but there are religious principles that must be respected. When Fr ancisca n Media .org

they are trod upon, the Gospel demands that we speak out. Such is the case for one of our nation’s most controversial policies. One could argue that none is more urgent than our national policy toward immigrants—both those of our brother and sister Muslims, and those of our close family from the Hispanic lands to our south. Lest there be any confusion, our bishops— and our pope—have clarified what our faith, the teaching of Jesus himself, tells us about loving our neighbor—especially those who are somehow different from us. As most Gospel truths do, it probably will challenge us. Pope Francis talked to us about immigrants in September 2015, when he addressed the US Congress: “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories . . . to respond in a way which is always humane, just, and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome.” Jesus is clear: we are to welcome the stranger; we are to act with mercy; we are to withhold our judgment of people. In particular, our Church leaders tell us not to reject people because they are Muslim or Mexican. Yes, we can incarcerate terrorists and other criminals. But if we paint with so broad a brush as to include everyone from a particular ethnic group, nationality, or faith tradition, we are acting as bigots. When those people are in danger for their lives, we are acting even more disgracefully. Our policies of rejecting refugees unlike us because we are afraid that some might be dangerous, “bad hombres,” or “Muslim terrorists,” are not just. They are based on lies about the character of these immigrants. As Catholics, as Christians, as people of goodwill, we must speak out against those policies. We must speak in the interest of justice. We are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.—J.F. A p r il 2 0 1 7 ❘ 2 5

Paulina Cerrilla’s career launched onto the national stage when she appeared on The Voice in 2012, landing a spot on Christina Aguilera’s team.

Paulina Cerrilla Rising Star A strong faith is guiding this multitalented, young artist. BY J.D. LONG-GARCIA


aulina Cerrilla captured the nation’s attention four years ago with her appearance on The Voice, a television show that features top-notch talent competing for a recording contract. Chosen by musical artist Christina Aguilera to join her team, the Mexican American Cerrilla did well, though she did not make it through the battle rounds of the show’s third season. Since then, Cerrilla has racked up more than 124,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, with more than 28 million views of her music videos. She starred in a short film, String Theory, and is a CoverGirl spokesmodel. Her bilingual abilities and ethnic background make her appealing to a variety of demographics. Additionally, a Christmas song she composed was picked up by Girls’ Generation, the biggest K-pop (Korean pop music) group in Korea, and at least one of her songs will be featured on the next album from Reik, a Latin Grammy Award-winning group from Mexico. Through it all, the 21-year-old Cerrilla has maintained her faith, starring in several faithbased productions made by Family Theater Productions. “I do a lot of my praying in Spanish. I carry my Bible everywhere. I journal, too. I write down my thoughts and what I’m reflecting


on for the day. The way that I pray, it’s just kind of . . . interesting,” Cerrilla says in an interview with St. Anthony Messenger.

A Star Is Born Her mother and father, Mexican immigrants, raised the young Paulina in Texas. She began singing opera and Andrea Bocelli songs when she was 3. She would sing at family and friend gatherings. “I just loved performing,” she says. She began receiving vocal lessons when she was 7. “I feel like it was something that just came so naturally to me,” Cerrilla says of her musical gifts. “There was never a moment or something that happened in the middle of the night. I know that happens for some people. But for me, I feel like I was born knowing what I needed to do.” When Cerrilla was 9, she discovered that she also wanted to act. She auditioned for an off-Broadway play in Houston. It is customary for touring shows to audition local children to be part of the production in the city where they’re performing rather than travel with the children. “I came in with no acting experience whatsoever. I got the role. ‘What acting school do you go to?’ they asked me. I said, ‘I don’t.’ And they said, ‘You should. Because you’re April 2017 ❘



In the TV film Down from the Mountaintop, Cerrilla comfortably fit into her role as a musician on a youth retreat, composing an original song for the movie. Cerrilla (right) played a high school girl in 40 Hours, showing the insights discovered during 40 hours of community service at a soup kitchen.

kinda good.’ ‘Thanks.’” When she tells stories, Cerrilla does different voices for the different characters. When she was 12, she moved to Los Angeles with her mother to start her career. She signed with music manager Joe Simpson, Jessica Simpson’s father, and began working with music and film producers. Her father stayed in Texas to support them. “My parents—I have never met two people with so much selfless love, grace, and just . . . they’re just the most wonderful people,” she says, searching for words to describe her parents’ generosity, but feeling as if she’s fallen short.

Struggling with Rejection It was a trying time for her and her family. She says the most challenging part of her work was rejection at auditions. “I took these meetings [when I was] 13–14 years old; it makes you grow up really fast.” The rejections were difficult because she still believed she was called to share her talent. “But then you look back at your track record. ‘OK, eight years.’” The ratio of meetings and auditions to actual jobs is dismal. Cerrilla, who is lively and smiles a lot when she talks, is more still when she talks about the rejections. “Here it’s very tough. There are no numbers. There’s no spreadsheet for success,” she says. “When it comes to acting, auditioning on a daily basis: No. No. No. No. And it’s all right. Honestly, I’m used to it. I go to an audition and know not to expect a call back, whereas in a job interview they at least have the 28 ❘

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decency to call you and tell you that you didn’t get the job. It’s brutal.” It wore on her in her early teen years. She channeled some of that into her music. Yet Cerrilla wasn’t new to adversity. She had to face it from an early age. Spanish was her first language, and teachers at her elementary school threatened to hold her back because they mistook the light-skinned Latina’s accent for a speech impediment. “There are tons of us of every color. Mexicans—we can be black, we can be white, but people tend to think of us as brown,” Cerrilla says. She dyed her hair black for some of her roles, but it’s naturally red. “At all these auditions [the roles] are for non-Spanish-speaking Latinas. So you would have brown girl, brown girl, brown girl, white girl with a spray tan, brown girl, brown girl . . . and it doesn’t make me any less Latina,” she says of her light skin and red hair. “I speak more Spanish than half of these girls do. I’m not ‘half.’ I’m Mexican.”

Heritage-Inspired Faith She credits her heritage for her devotion to San Judas Tadeo—St. Jude Thaddeus—and to Our Lady of Guadalupe. She’s visited the tilma (cloak) at the Basilica of St. Mary of Guadalupe in Mexico City many times. It inspires her to see the faith of the pilgrims who walk on their knees for hundreds, if not thousands, of feet to see the image of the Blessed Mother. “You can’t not feel close to her when you see something that amazing,” she says of the faith of the pilgrims. She also notes the devoSt . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r

tion of the Mexican people to St. John Paul II, recalling how they greeted the late pope when he arrived in Mexico: “Juan Pablo Segundo . . . te quiere todo el mundo.” (“John Paul II, the whole world loves you.”) Yet while the family passed on the faith to her at an early age, she continues to grow into it. “Yes, I grew up in the Catholic faith. But I feel like, you’re Mexican, you’re Catholic. So I feel like I’ve kind of had to find it by myself. That’s not to say that my family isn’t Catholic. My grandmas are so intensely Catholic, like let’s-have-10-children Catholic. CatholicCatholic.” Working with Family Theater Productions on faith-based projects strengthened her faith, she says. Cerrilla noticed a difference from the moment she stepped on the set. Holy Cross Father David Guffey stopped all the work and prayed over the production. “It was something that completely changed the tone. We were working for something that was much bigger than ourselves,” she says. “We wanted the film to be a way for people to find their path, so, you know, we had to put our personal interests aside to create a truly wonderful, impactful project. That’s what made working on this series of films so special, because it wasn’t necessarily for us.” While she’s always been Catholic, working with Family Theater was a turning point. “I always knew how to light the candle, and pray the rosary, and who to pray to when I needed it,” she says. “But I didn’t understand what it was like to have a day-in, day-out relationship. Fr


That’s what I’m working on now. That’s why I have my Bible.” She has a large wooden crucifix that hangs in her bedroom, a present purchased by Family Theater’s Susan Wallace during last year’s Religious Education Congress. Being strong in her faith is as important to her as her aspirations to share her musical and acting gifts through various platforms.

Cerrilla says working at Family Theater Productions took her faith to a new level because her projects extended beyond herself, serving to inspire others to find their paths.

Plans for the Future While she plans on continuing to do faithbased projects, she believes she can reach a far broader audience through other avenues. She sees herself as a mainstream artist, hopefully opening for a major artist on tour in the next year or two. “I think we can create a career that isn’t a singer trying to be an actress or an actress trying to be a singer,” Cerrilla explains. “We can truly create two credible, stable careers in both facets.” “I kind of want to be like Justin Timberlake. He does his music; he’s awesome. He does his films; he’s awesome. He’s a very credible actor. But I want to extend beyond that. I also want to do fashion. I want to touch as many people as possible and just share my passions. Yeah, I have big ambitions.” Her drive for success is apparent in her many projects. In 2015, Cerrilla starred in Family Theater’s 40 Hours, which depicts the lessons a high school girl learns during her 40 hours April 2017 ❘


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of community service at a soup kitchen, based on André House in Phoenix. In another role, Cerrilla was a natural fit to play a musician on a youth retreat in Down from the Mountaintop, a TV film for which she composed an original song. These two roles followed Family Dinner, in which Cerrilla played the lead in a film about the true meaning of love. Films and music that deal with darker subject matter can serve a purpose, too, Cerrilla says. “People need to see where life can take [them] so that they don’t necessarily feel curious to take that path themselves. So if we keep on creating all this bright and sunny content, they’ll think, That’s cool, but that’s normal. Let’s try this. They don’t necessarily realize where that can take you. There’s definitely a place for darker content, and that can be used for the light. “Thankfully, I haven’t been exposed to really terrible things. I’m actually kind of sheltered, and I think that’s a good thing. Because I’ve seen the way Shining as a role model, Cerrilla strives equally to grow in certain things have affected people in her faith and develop her acting and musical career. the industry, I don’t need to experiment,” she says, adding that she never “felt at Family Theater. Whatever roles she takes on, she’s committed to staying true to herinclined to break the rules.” Family Theater Productions Having worked with her on different projects self. has showcased Cerrilla’s “As long as I’ve been in the business, I’ve at Family Theater, writer-director Tony Sands talents in many films. believes Cerrilla could be on the cusp of a never been as excited to work with an artist,” Family Theater director says Richard Ellis, Cerrilla’s manager. “When breakthrough. Tony Sands believes she “No one ever knows, but some people just she walks into a room, it’s not put on; it’s not could be “a major star in kind of have ‘it.’ And I would say she does,” rehearsed. She has an attractive, engaging qualthe near future.” says the Hollywood veteran, who worked on ity that everyone responds to.” Ellis, who’s been in the business for decades, special effects for Space Jam and Titanic. “Here you have a person who has the discipline and describes Cerrilla as “a really good kid who the drive and the gifts to make it,” Sands happens to have a lot of talent.” With the explains. “Obviously, God alone knows. But strength of her convictions, she can be a role you have someone here who has every possi- model to young Latinas. “In this industry you can get lost in the bility of being a major star in glamour and the music. And the films can the near future.” If that happens, Cerrilla portray things that you don’t necessarily ANSWERS TO PETE AND REPEAT wants to follow in the footsteps believe in,” Cerrilla says. “I take pride in the 1. The sky is darker. of Taylor Swift. “She’s very fact that I’m not going around with guys. I 2. There are now buttons on Pete’s jacket. accessible, girl next door. She’s would like people to know me, and despite 3. One of the windows has moved. kind of dorky. She’s not afraid whatever I end up doing or being portrayed 4. A bush is peeking out from behind the house. to be herself. But she’s also a as in the media, I’m going to fight very hard 5. There is less smoke coming out of the very confident, empowering to maintain my integrity. I would want people chimney. figure for girls. And I really to know that there can be a person just like 6. The yard is bigger. them fighting the fight and trying to be a admire her for that.” 7. The curve on the end of the umbrella handle Cerrilla is confident, too, and good person.” A is gone. comfortable with herself. She 8. The tree has grown taller. gives her full attention when Journalist J.D. Long-Garcia is the editor-in-chief of Angelus catching up with her friends for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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Most of us have friends or family members who have left the Church. How do we respond in faith? B Y W I L L I A M F . K R A F T, P H D

, l a u t i r i p S , s ❑ u o i g i l e R ❑ or e n o ❑ N the of ve? o b A

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F YOU WANT to increase your stress and anxiety, or fear and sadness, peruse some of the research on the status of religious beliefs and behaviors in our country. According to a recent Pew Research Survey, there has been a drop in the number of people who pray daily, regularly attend services, and consider religion “very important in their lives,” with the belief in the existence of God also dropping from 71 percent in 2007 to 63 percent in 2014. While approximately 75 percent of US adults are religiously affiliated, a growing minority do not belong to any organized faith, identifying as atheists or agnostics, or describing their religion as “nothing in particular.” And as the latter group, known as nones, increases in size, their level of religious observance is declining, which, according to the study, “is tugging down the nation’s overall rates of religious belief and practice.” With regard to the Catholic Church, dioceses are undergoing significantly fewer Baptisms, Confirmations, and marriages. Moreover, these numbers are rapidly decreasing. This has been difficult for many of the older generation to understand, as this woman, mother, and grandmother shares: “I don’t understand what’s going on with my kids. All five of them went to Mass every Sunday, never missed CCD classes, four were altar servers, and two of them went on Catholic youth conferences. Moreover, we were a religious family, like saying meal, Advent, and Lenten prayers. Christmas and Easter were holy days, not just holidays, and we tried to be open to religious questions and dialogue.” She continues: “Since college, four of my five kids went from being religious to nonreligious, and their children have no formal religion or practice. It seems that the more educated they get, the less religious they are. Only one and her spouse and children regularly go to church. The four others only go to church for weddings and funerals, and haven’t even had their children baptized. Their mantra is that they can be spiritual without religion. I just think my kids are taking the wrong path and cheating their kids. I wonder what’s going to happen to our Church and religion when our grandchildren are adults. What will they give to their children in regards to religion and God? I don’t know what to do.” St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


What can we do to get our religion and the Catholic Church to resonate in our families and friends? To be sure, authors and speakers, diocesan headquarters, and local parishes have offered us a plethora of information and programs for evangelization. Yet, despite enthusiasm and some positive results, it seems that many priests and parishioners are becoming weary and disenchanted under the strained pressure to bring people to God and the Church. We read the negative statistics of decreasing Mass attendance, reception of sacraments, and the number of priests. We know that special programs and communal events often draw relatively few people. Furthermore, we get discouraged when we see that the majority of supporters are senior citizens, with the young and educated in the minority. Asking elderly people for their time, talent, and treasure evokes dispiriting weariness. Church and school closings fuel the dismal atmosphere, Fr

while political setbacks, periodic scandals, and too many leaders who fail to walk their talk add to our pervasive and unspoken fear. Some people think that part of our crisis is due to our theologies, pastoral letters, and homilies being too abstract and not very relevant or helpful to most people. They want their leaders to show how religion helps them to manage more effectively and to live more meaningfully. Others argue that we subscribe too much to business and social media models rather than to spiritual ones, or point to Church scandals, inept leadership, and cultural or political secularization. They feel that the Church leaders still whitewash their dark side, choosing expediency over mercy.

As Mass attendance numbers continue to decline, priests are challenged to find innovative ways to communicate their message, both to members and the community as a whole.

Connecting with the ‘Lost Sheep’ With utmost respect for the people who are doing so much in and for the Church, I would like to offer some ideas that challenge and hopefully help some of our existing apApril 2017 ❘


Bringing God to the Nones Here are seven suggestions to bring nones, inactive Church members, or anyone to God, religion, and Church.

1 2

Strive to connect in love with one another. Go to their places to walk and talk, laugh and cry, party and mourn, live and die.

3 4 5

Encounter and dialogue with nones and inactive Church members with a sincere attitude of learning what they can teach you.

Accept (neither condone nor condemn) and understand their vision. Affirm what makes sense to you, and honestly question and learn from someone with whom you disagree.

Manifest and offer examples of how God, religion, and Church make a significant difference in your everyday living. If some think that God is unnecessary, ask them what they mean by God. You may find that you, too, do not subscribe to the version of God they describe. If they want to know, share your notions and experiences of God. After educating without preaching, explain how God, prayer, reading, communal worship, and religious practices help you to be a better spouse, parent, adult child, sibling, friend, worker, or simply a better human being.


No matter what, be mindful of and present to God in yourself and in others. Be a member of Christ’s body, the living Church.



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proaches. My perspective comes from my experience as a clinical psychologist and belief that spiritual or God stuff is the paramount dynamic of a healthy, happy, and holy life. So, let’s start. I think that we may make a mistake when our focus is on bringing them into the fold. With good intentions, we can risk setting up an us-them dichotomy that turns people off or pushes them away, the opposite of what we want. With benevolent arrogance and stubbornness, we may believe that we have the truth, and they don’t. It may behoove us not to be so sure. Before getting them to come to our welcome centers, programs, or liturgies, it may often be better first to go to their fold. Instead of luring the lost sheep, we can search for them. Maybe we can discover why they avoid us or refuse our spiritual nourishment. I suggest we first join and simply be with them, manifesting God without saying anything about religion or God. We can, however, strive to see, hear, and respond to God’s truth and love that abides within our nonchurched, nonreligious, and religiously inactive. In short, we initially visit them, keeping our mouths shut and our ears and hearts open. In love, we may come closer to becoming one and more likely to dialogue.

Preparing for Hard Questions As that dialogue begins, we need to be ready for the questions that may arise—asked not to challenge us but for their own enlightenment. The following are questions we might find necessary to answer: Why can’t I live a good life without religion and a church? How is religion worth my time, energy, money, and commitment? Can you show me how Catholicism or any religion and its God can help me and others live better lives? How do we respond to our inactive and unchurched brothers and sisters (the lost sheep) who criticize our messy, sinful, and arrogant Church? How do we respond to their questions about birth control, homosexuality, male dominance, double standards of justice, celibacy, sex scandals, etc.? How do we dialogue with people who think that religion is an illusion, the opium of the masses, or an unnecessary or irrational belief to ameliorate our existential anxiety of death? Finally, what can we learn from the nontheistic philosophers, psychologists, scientists, popular speakers, and best-selling authors of books on atheism and agnosticism? St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r

Before speaking, we must be aware of and avoid acting on ambivalent thoughts and feelings that accuse nones of being arrogant in their self-sufficiency, foolish in not needing religion and its communal worship, and naïve in acting as if they are the center of the universe. By suppressing our own demons, we are freer from pulling rank, criticizing, correcting, blaming, or shaming. Instead of fighting or fleeing, we are freer to listen and learn. Standing together on common ground, we are freer to explore our differences. Remember, although Christ always made an impact, he never changed anyone without their cooperation or dialogue. While we can’t change anyone, like Christ, we can be merciful and patiently available. While we can and should offer our points of view firmly and kindly, like Christ, it’s not about being right. It’s about manifesting God. When someone asks me why and how I, as a health scientist and provider, can believe in God and support a Church and its religion, I might say, “It’s not always easy.” But I add that, after considerable searching and study, as well as uncertain journeys, I have found and am finding that God, religion, and its activities are the best imperfect systems that

help me to be and do better. For me, faith (God) takes the lead in its dance with reason (science). So, are we losing our religion? Looks like it. Will matters get worse before they get better? Probably. Will we suffer in order to progress? Yes. Will we revive and improve our religion? Eventually. Will nones become more formally religious? Some. Will the inactive religious become active? Potentially. Will we be better off? Hopefully. Regardless of what happens, let us dance with our nones, inactive Church members, and actively religious people. Let us listen and move to our individual and common music. However we believe, our most important way is to keep on dancing to God’s silent music. Then maybe someday, someone (your spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, friend, or a stranger) might pause and look at you dancing. They may wonder how you came to this divine dance. Though reluctant, they may want to learn how to dance as you do. God only knows who may give it a try. A William F. Kraft, PhD, is an author of numerous books and articles. His latest book is Coming to God: A Psychospiritual Approach (Wipf and Stock).

Can we light a candle for you at the National Shrine of St. Anthony? Fr. Carl lights the candles for your intentions. Each burns for five days, a reminder of St. Anthony’s attention to your prayer. Candles dispel the darkness and offer hope. In lighting a candle, you are asking St. Anthony to intercede with the Lord for your intention. Can we light a candle for you? Visit us at The Franciscan Friars 1615 Vine St., Ste 1 Cincinnati, OH 45202-6492

Visit us at Fr

April 2017 ❘


Companion Planting with

Bible Herbs With roots in Scripture, these popular plants can help your garden grow. B Y R I TA H E I K E N F E L D


OMPANION PLANTING is not a new idea in the gardening world. There is evidence of farmers using these same techniques dating back to biblical times. When I think of gardening before, during, and after the time of Christ’s life, I realize just how important gardening was to biblical people. Growing healthy produce and flowers with companion plants makes for exceptional growth and nutrition. Since people grew and preserved just about everything they ate or drank, having healthy crops was a necessity for eating well through the seasons. What they knew instinctively and what has passed down through generations is the knowledge that certain plants grown together act as helpmates. Like people, plants need good “friends,” or companions, to thrive. Today there’s a renaissance of sorts going on with companion planting in the garden. Think of an ancient Native American technique that is gaining popularity. Corn, beans, and squash are grown together as “sisters.” Each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. As the corn grows, the beans find support by climbing up the stalk. As legumes, they fix nitrogen in the soil, and that supports the nutritional needs of corn. The squash are quick growers, and their large

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leaves shade out weeds. Together, the sisters provide a balanced diet from a single planting. I learned early on that Bible herbs are good flower and vegetable companions. My mom would take a clove of garlic—a common Bible herb—and push it into the soil near the roses. The garlic helped deter bugs. And no, the roses didn’t smell like garlic! There’s a bonus when planting Bible herbs among your garden plants. Pests find them more difficult to seek out, since the scent, color, and texture of herbs are thought to confuse them. Certain herbs attract beneficial insects to your garden, as well. St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


A companion planting plan integrates Mother Nature’s traits, as well as your choice of what you want to grow. Here are some of my favorite plants grown and used during biblical times and what they can do to help your garden grow better. If you have little ones in your life, have them help. They will enjoy digging up God’s good earth and learning how Bible plants make good friends in the garden.

BASIL Of all the herbs I grow that have biblical significance, basil is my favorite. It’s not mentioned specifically in the Bible, but legend has Fr

it that basil was first seen springing up outside Christ’s tomb after the resurrection. Growing up, we called it hobbit (Lebanese for “basil”). The basil of the Bible was probably what is known as sweet basil. It’s the common green basil easily grown. Basil is a good companion for tomatoes. It makes tomatoes taste better, acts as a fungicide, and is also good for peppers. Basil grows well next to oregano. Because bees love basil, good pollination is assured for anything planted near it. Basil’s aroma repels flies and mosquitoes: place some potted basil on your outside decks and by house entrances, and you will also be protected.

Basil and tomatoes go great together in all sorts of dishes. But did you know growing them as companions in your garden makes your tomatoes taste better?

April 2017 ❘


When the Israelites fled Egypt, they missed the vegetables grown in their home gardens. In Numbers 11:5, the Israelites cry out to Moses in hunger, “We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” Chives and garlic are members of the same onion family. Chives help carrots, tomatoes, and members of the cabbage family thrive. Chives also repel cabbage worms. You can make a spray out of chives steeped in water to kill powdery mildew. Butterflies, good pollinators, are attracted to the flowers of chives. Garlic improves growth on roses and raspberries, deterring Japanese beetles. It’s also a good companion to carrots, cucumbers, peas, beets, and lettuce. Garlic is especially beneficial when planted near apple, pear, and peach trees. It also repels ants.

CILANTRO/CORIANDER Coriander is referenced several times in the Old Testament, and many of us are familiar with the verse in Exodus 16:31: “The Israelites called this food manna [meaning ‘food from heaven’]. It was like coriander seed, but white, and it tasted like wafers made with honey.” Cilantro is one of the herbs that I know of as a spice, too. The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds coriander. Cilantro helps spinach and repels or distracts white flies and aphids. When it’s grown alongside anise, they act together as a good deterrent for snails and slugs, common pests on plants during early spring, when there’s a lot of moisture in the ground.

DILL Dill is mentioned only once in the New Testament, in Matthew 23:23–24. It tells about the Pharisees paying tithes of herbs, including dill: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees. . . . You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. . . . [You] strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!” Scholars believe that dill was wrongly translated as anise in English-language Bibles. Dill improves the growth and health of vegetables in the cabbage family, repelling those nasty squash bugs and cabbage loopers. Cucumbers, lettuce, and onions grow better with dill planted nearby. I love the way dill looks among the red and yellow onions in the garden. 38 ❘

April 2017

The flower heads of dill are among the best nectar sources for beneficial insects in the garden. Plant dill in an appropriate spot for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars to feed on. Even their caterpillars are beautiful. They become orange-yellow and black butterflies.

FENNEL The name fennel is not used, but the word galbanum is mentioned in Exodus 30:34–38. Botanists believe this is a giant fennel, which is native to the Mediterranean region and southern Europe. Here’s the Bible passage: “The Lord told Moses: ‘Take these aromatic substances: storax and onycha and galbanum, these and pure frankincense in equal parts; and blend them into incense. This fragrant powder, expertly prepared, is to be salted and so kept pure and sacred.’” Fennel attracts ladybugs and repels aphids. It’s also a host for beneficial pollinators and insects. I grow fennel in the back portion of my Bible garden where it sits away from other plants, creating a beautiful curtain of feathery greenish bronze.

MINT When each of us nine children left home, Mom gave us two heirloom items: a cast-iron skillet and sprigs of her precious “nana peppermint.” As in Matthew 23, mint is also mentioned in Luke 11:42 as a tithing herb: “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others.” Peppermint helps members of the cabbage family, including kales. It repels the cabbage fly. Plant a container near the kitchen door to keep ants away. The white flowers of peppermint attract pollinators like bees, and beneficial insects love mint.

MARIGOLDS This is another beautiful, useful flower not specifically mentioned in the Bible. Marigolds are a flower that I always include when teaching little ones how to plant a Bible garden. The reason? Think of the name and you’ll see why I call these flowers “Mary’s Gold,” which reminds us of the bright yellow sunshine that surrounds our Blessed Mother, along with her halo of golden hue. Tomatoes love marigolds, and so do peppers, cucumbers, and even cabbage. Plant them St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r



Marinated Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Mango Salsa Here are some of my favorite recipes using some of the delicious vegetables and fruits grown with companion Bible herbs.

Jessie, my daughter-in-law, makes this, and it’s a favorite at everyone’s house now. The salsa is great with just about any kind of grilled meat. If you can’t find mango, papaya will work well.

Salsa Cruda

MARINADE Mix together: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dry oregano 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon chili powder blend 3/4 to 1 teaspoon cumin 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt 3 nice-sized garlic cloves, minced 4 chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each Put chicken in a bag and pour marinade over. Marinade will be quite thick. Squeeze the chicken in the bag to coat with marinade. Squeeze air out and seal. Let marinate in refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight. Grill over medium-hot coals, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Mix together and add more (or less!) of any one item according to your taste:


3 large tomatoes, diced

Mix gently and put on top of grilled chicken:

4 green onions, sliced

2 cups watermelon, diced

Jalapeño peppers to taste, seeded and diced

1 cup mango, diced 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion PHOTOS BY RITA HEIKENFELD

This is such a healthy appetizer— better than anything you can buy. Be careful when handling hot peppers. It’s best to wear gloves.

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped 2 tablespoons jalapeño pepper, diced Lime juice, sugar, and salt to taste


1 large garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoons sweet onion, diced Handful of cilantro, chopped Salt and lime juice to taste

April 2017 ❘



My Mother’s Tabouleh Fresh parsley is a must. This is a real season-to-taste recipe, since nothing written was ever handed down in my family. We use young wild grapevine leaves or leaf lettuce to scoop it up. It’s a tradition in our family to use corn or olive oil, but use what you have on hand. I have to chuckle when I say to “rinse the bulgur wheat three times.” Why three times? Well, that’s what my mom and generations before her did. Actually, long ago there was a good reason to rinse the wheat that many times. Wheat back then was not processed as cleanly as it is today, and bits and pieces of chaff could have been in with the wheat, floating to the top as it was rinsed. 1 cup cracked bulgur wheat—make sure label says cracked bulgur wheat, not just cracked wheat** 4–6 garden tomatoes, chopped 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves only, chopped Several radishes, chopped (optional) 1 English cucumber or 1 large garden cucumber, chopped with skin left on 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped Cumin to taste—start with a teaspoon Several sprigs mint leaves, chopped Several sprigs basil leaves, chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1/4 cup canola, corn, or olive oil—or to taste— start with less and go from there Several squeezes fresh lemon juice, if you like

**Tips from Rita’s Kitchen: Bulgur Make sure you buy cracked bulgur wheat, which is wheat that is cooked, dried, and cracked, and needs only to be reconstituted. Whole wheat berries are sometimes labeled as bulgur, but it’s the cracked, creamy, tan-looking grain you should buy. There are three grinds of cracked bulgur wheat: fine (#1), medium (#2), and coarse (#3). I usually use fine or medium grind in this recipe.


sop to be a type of oregano. This makes sense to me, since hyssop was not known as a native plant in the Mediterranean area during biblical times. Oregano provides general pest protection. Cucumber beetles will stay away if oregano is grown close by. And aphids won’t bother your tomatoes. You’ll have good melon production with oregano growing near. A

In Exodus 12:22, Moses tells the Israelites to prepare for the 10th biblical plague by dipping a branch of hyssop in lamb’s blood to mark their doorposts, thus sparing the lives of their firstborn. Some scholars believe hys-

Rita Nader Heikenfeld is an award-winning syndicated journalist, inductee into Escoffier Hall of Fame, President’s Medal ACF, Appalachian herbal scholar, accredited family herbalist, author, and the founding editor of

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April 2017

St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


everywhere! Certain varieties of marigolds, like the French marigold, produce a pesticidal chemical from their roots, so strong it lasts years after they are gone. One of the reasons marigolds are so good as companion plants is their scent. Pests don’t like their aroma at all.

Place wheat in bowl and rinse under cool water three times. Leave a film of water (about 1/8 inch) on top of wheat after third rinse. Let sit until water is absorbed and wheat has softened a bit and swelled. Squeeze to drain remaining liquid out if necessary. Mix vegetables together. Add cumin and herbs and mix. Add wheat and mix. Add oil and mix. Add salt and pepper, and more cumin and lemon juice if you want.



Let’s Not Blow the Budget


Recession? Now there’s talk about a carbon bubble. We can’t expect fossil-fuel companies to do the right thing for the environment when it would mean economic suicide for What You Can Do them. And given the priorities of the current federal Ask your retirement fund administration, we can or investment manager expect little governmental about mutual funds or pressure on them, like regulaexchange-traded funds tion or a carbon tax. that avoid investing in The pressure, then, will fossil fuels. need to come from us, especially us billion-plus If you do own stock in Catholics, whose Church fossil-fuel companies, advotakes climate change sericate as a shareholder for ously, and whose pope has them to shift their investtold us we need to move ments toward renewables. away from fossil fuels. We can use less fossil fuel Leverage your influence. through efficiency measures, For example, encourage alternative energy sources, your parish, Catholic and lifestyle changes. Those school, or diocese to fortunate enough to have promote alternative energy retirement or other investand socially responsible ments can ensure that our investing. portfolios don’t include fossil-fuel companies—both to avoid personal financial risk of carbon bubbles and to send a signal to these companies that they need to shift their business model or watch their stock prices plummet. We can’t afford to blow our carbon budget right out of our car tailpipes and power plant exhaust stacks. To borrow a phrase from Martin Luther King Jr., we once again face the “fierce urgency of now.” A

As Pope Francis reminds us, we have a moral obligation to protect the earth, our common home. Fr ancisca n Media .org




Kyle Kramer is the executive director of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville, Kentucky. A p r il 2 0 1 7 ❘ 4 1



few years back, financial analysts and scientists alike began to figure out a “global carbon budget” we would need to stick to if we want to avoid radically overheating our planet. In other words, there’s a fixed amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide we can emit globally by 2050— at the time, it was about 565 billion tons (gigatons, or Gt) total. Currently, human activity produces about 36 Gt of carbon dioxide a year. That means that at our current rate, we’ll blow through our budget decades before 2050, since the global emissions rate keeps growing. At the same time, researchers determined that there were enough proven coal, oil, and gas reserves to produce almost 2,800 Gt of carbon dioxide—five times our global carbon budget. To avoid serious harm to the environment, 80 percent of these reserves need to be left in the ground, unburned. Unfortunately, that’s not happening because leaving the reserves unburned means fossil-fuel companies would have to write them off their books as worthless “stranded assets.” Doing so would tank a company’s stock price. Put simply: it’s a business necessity for them to burn these reserves, but an environmental necessity for them not to. Remember the overinflated housing bubble that caused the recent Great


Memory What did he have to lose? FICTION BY CHRISTINE VENZON


WAS CRAWLING under my neighbor’s evergreen shrub, shining a flashlight into the prickly thatch of branches—a grown man looking for a black cat in the middle of a cool spring night. Of all the stupid things. Fortunately, the neighbors were familiar with my afterhours safaris. It was just Stevie Metz, Harry and Sonya’s youngest boy, poking around the garden, peering into the shed. Especially on Tuesday, my mother’s Bible-study night, when I was charged with keeping my father, and her cat, out of trouble.


ou would think by now I’d have learned. I’d been back seven months, after Molson Capital Management merged with the Altamara Group and I was made redundant. But, with 10 years as a certified financial planner and glowing recommendations from the vice president, certainly I would catch on somewhere else. Instead I found myself competing with every other financial planner who’d been let go by banks, brokerage firms, and insurance companies. It was a buyer’s market. About that time, Mom started calling more often. It was Dad. First, he’d taken a wrong turn coming home from church. “I asked where we were going. He didn’t know what I was talking about.” Then he mistook the cable TV box for a digital clock and tried to set the time with the remote control. He locked the doors at 5 in the afternoon and asked why she was fixing dinner—it was bedtime. He put birdseed in the cat’s food dish. He got hopelessly tangled in his T-shirt when he got dressed. “Have you talked to Frank and Liz?” I asked. They were my brother and sister. One lived in Houston, the other in Philadelphia. “Oh, they have enough to worry about.” Frank was help-

4 2 ❘ Apr il 201 7

ing his in-laws downsize to a condo, remember? And Liz was working full time now that Aiden had started first grade. Her point was so obvious she didn’t have to make it. What did I have to lose? With hope running low, and severance pay lower, I eliminated my own redundancies: I moved back with my parents. Jumpstarting my career took a back seat to helping my mother navigate the meandering river of doctors and tests and St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


drugs. Of insurance agents and Medicare benefits coordinators and nursing home directors. Sandbags against the flood. My father’s dementia progressed, his mind unraveling like a knitted sweater, his character mutated into a sad parody of the man we knew. Through it all, I was trying to get set up as a freelance consultant. This was a gig economy, a make-your-ownjob economy, the career gurus assured. Certainly, some of those e-tradeFr ancisca n Media .org

empowered investors (who had helped make me redundant) needed some professional advice.


hat Tuesday night, like most every night, I’d planted myself in my “home office,” a corner of the family room my mother had partitioned with folding bamboo screens. It wasn’t necessary—the room was little used—just her attempt to show she respected me as a grown

adult, the same way my father would send me articles like “Where to Stash Your Cash This Spring,” from AARP The Magazine, “Thought this might be helpful” on a Post-it note. My project that night: creating my brand. You need a brand, the gurus assured—you are your brand—an identity to distinguish you from all the other hapless schmoes who’ve set up as freelancers. I scribbled on a notepad, dutifully brainstorming my strengths, April 2017 ❘ 43

my goals, my philosophy of . . . whatever. Drought-brained, I lapsed into salting the wounds of self-pity. I was 36 years old, single, and childless—no professional or romantic prospects in sight. Living with an invalid father and a mother consumed by caring for him. Sponging off his Teamsters pension and Social Security and guilt money from Frank and Liz. (They were getting off easy.) How was that for a brand? Finally, I stood, stretched, and went to the kitchen for something to drink. I eyed the orange juice in the refrigerator and thought of the bottle of cream sherry Mom kept for company in the pantry. That’s when I heard the telltale creak of the front door opening, and the click of it closing. I flew into the living room. On the TV, Wheel of Fortune, which usually held my father’s attention, had given way to America’s Funniest Home Videos. A baby giggled in delight as a Siberian husky slobbered over him. Adorable, until someone got bitten in the face. The TV tray with a plastic tumbler of apple juice and bowl of animal crackers Mom had left him stood beside his rocker. His lap throw had fallen off one arm. The old man himself was closing the front door, leaning into it with all 140 pounds of chalky bone and shrunken muscle. The porch light was on, evidence of a capital crime. “Did you let Sable out?” I accused. He turned. Crumbs clung to his navy cotton sweatpants and hopelessly stained jacket. With hooked nose, black-framed glasses, and wrinkled, leathery neck, he resembled a bookish, beaked tortoise. He shuffled toward the chair in rubber-soled slipper socks, smiling benignly. “She’ll be back.” “She’ll be back when I bring her back,” I snapped. I ran to the kitchen for the flashlight and barged past, feeling him totter in my wake.


’d been prowling maybe 20 minutes when I pawed through those pine needles for a touch of feline fur, grown more sullen as one hiding place after another proved empty. Disgusted 4 4 ❘ Apr il 201 7

with the whole business, I begrudged that Dad, like a broken clock, was right: Sable always came back. Our family cats had always come and gone as they pleased. But Mom worried about many things these days. Losing Sable was one of them. I stood, stiff-backed, and started back toward the alley. Weeds, run riot after recent showers, ensnared my ankles. I pitched forward, cracking my shin on the crumbling cobblestone steps. I staggered down the alley, rubbing my shin, hissing out the pain between gritted teeth. The schoolteacher who had lived there would be aghast to see her place so run-down. My father certainly was. But the new owner, some IT guy with a multinational headquartered downtown, had ignored his advice and offers of help. If he only knew. My father had been a green-thumbed Midas. Our backyard produced a cornucopia: tomatoes and green beans, eggplant and peas and butternut squash. Peach trees’ heavily laden branches were propped with tent poles. The grapevine he planted before I was born grew a shady arbor beside the house; the trellis stretched the length of the yard. From its Concord grapes he had bottled sweet jug wine; Mom canned quarts of jelly. Until I was 10, I never knew that people bought grape jelly in stores. Last spring, he took hedge trimmers to that arbor, littering the lawn with soft green leaves and baby bunches of grapes. Mom said he’d stood looking at the carnage, with just a flicker of realization—too late and mercifully brief—at what he’d done. That harvest was a sorry one. At the corner house I stopped. They were renters, reclusive as cockroaches. Pit bulls staked in the yard by day wore rings in the grass with their constant orbiting. If Sable had wandered in there . . . I waved the beam about the yard. No sign of the dogs or pieces of cat. But she was black, and small to start with. My father had a way with dogs, even strange ones—a good thing in a man who made his living in door-to-door sales. He was a route man, delivering

frozen foods to homes throughout town, staking out new territories in the city as it grew, chatting up potential customers as the moving van pulled away. The last time he was behind the wheel, the car belonged to a neighbor’s boyfriend. The cops found him after he’d forced his key into the ignition and popped the hood to see why it wouldn’t start. Someone thought he was hot-wiring it. I came around to the street. I should have started canvassing the other side, but I’d been at it the better part of an hour and was tired. I sat on the brick border of someone’s front yard, shoulders sagging.


ovement on the opposite corner roused me: a man with a dust-mop creature trailing on a leash. Even in darkness, jauntiness defined him: pleated trousers, shirt collared and cuffed, mushroom-domed driving cap. The Rev. Rufus Hubbard, pastor emeritus at Mount Zion Baptist Church, and Topsy, an almost Lhasa apso. The Hubbards lived near the four-lane street at the other end of the block. Their yard was fenced, and I hadn’t checked it. Sable typically avoided high-traffic zones. I hoped she had exercised that wisdom tonight. We exchanged waves. “Cat get out again?” I nodded. “I wish Sable was gray like Topsy.” He chuckled. “Maybe you should get her one of those reflecting vests road workers wear.” I laughed. “Or a GPS tracker.” “Well, good luck. Say hello to your mama and dad.” “Will do. You say hi to Miriam.” Rev. Hubbard continued on his way, tugging at Topsy’s leash, cajoling, singing softly. He was one of the few people who still acknowledged my father’s existence. Most were—what? afraid? embarrassed?—to mention him. And, I admit, I rarely brought him up unless they asked. Still alive, he was already becoming a memory. I wondered what sense of himself he had. As much as a child? As much St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r

as Topsy? I was ashamed to even think that. What of his past self did he remember? He knew Mom. Did he know he was her husband? That I was his son? I’d never asked. Maybe I was just a presence to him—as he was to me. An ache rose in my throat. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d cried. Or had wanted to. Crying was pointless. Crying didn’t solve anything. Neither did this. I headed for home. Darkness had swallowed the neighborhood, except for a streetlight spotting the sidewalk through maple leaves and a few porch lights. With luck, Sable would return before my mother did, might even be there now. Mom need never know. From one house down, I saw a figure on our porch, silhouetted by the living-room light, someone sitting in the plastic Adirondack chair. My heart thumped. My mother? No. My father. Alarmed, I hiked across the lawn, suddenly realizing I’d left him alone. He could have wandered off anywhere. Could have tumbled over the rail into the garden. Fallen down the steps, cracked his skull. I imagined him, bleeding, struggling, reedy voice calling for help. Would he know to call for help? Or would he just cry, not knowing why, like a child? I reached the porch. He was as I’d left him: serene, unharmed. Oblivious—focused, rather: his head cocked, looking away, as if he saw or heard something discernible only to him. “How long have you been here?” As if I expected him to know. “You found her?” Still he looked past me. “She’ll be back.” “What are you doing out here?” “Waiting.” He made it sound obvious. “For Sable?” “Hmm-hmm.” I didn’t know whether he knew the cat’s name anymore. Who then? Me? Doubtful. Mom, more likely. And she wouldn’t be home for an hour. I shivered. It was an unsettled time of year, the change of seasons. Like the dark, the chill descended quickly. “Well . . . we’d better get you inside.” Fr ancisca n Media .org

He was insistent. “I can wait.” “You can wait in . . .” But I didn’t want a fight. My voice was hoarse from calling, my jaw tired from clenching. Inside, outside—what did it matter? “Let me get your blanket, then. Mom’ll kill me if you catch cold.”


slipped behind him into the living room. A few animal crackers remained in the bowl. The tumbler was tipped over, juice soaking into the carpet. I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and bent to blot the stain. The remote was lying on the floor, and I noticed the station had been changed to one of those classics networks that tugged the nostalgic heartstrings of us Gen Xers with TV shows from our youth. On the screen I recognized the characters: Kevin, Winnie, the Wonder Years gang. Time stopped. Decades dissolved. I was 11 years old and it was summer, morning, and the day stretched ahead vast and shimmery as a highway in the heat. Promising nothing but good, nothing but . . . promise. My Schwinn 10-speed got me anywhere I needed to go, and fast. A Rawlings Kirby Puckett fielder’s glove slung on the handlebars (and knowing how to finesse a mouthful of sunflower seeds) made me an all-star, for sure. The sizzle and aroma of hamburgers, crusts blackening in the skillet, welcomed me home. At night, sleep came with the chirping of crickets, drifting off on cool sheets, suffused with the certainty of doing it all again tomorrow. Was that where Dad was now? After decades of fathering and husbanding,

early-morning risings, meting out dollars and half-dollars for root beer floats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, digging weeds, replacing roof shingles and broken windows, saying good-bye—so many good-byes, graduations and new jobs and weddings. Was he, now, cocooned in his own endless summer day? A life gilded with the patina of innocence, safe from ravening, ravaging age. From bitterness. From selfishness. From impatience and ingratitude. My chest quaked. I hiccuped with sobs. Tears blurred my sight, overflowed my eyes. I hoped he was. More than anything, I hoped he was. It was my only hope for forgiveness.


mopped my face with the hanky, sniffling, aimed the remote, and punched off the power. Crying was useless. So was this. “Here. Lean forward.” I tucked the lap throw down his back and wrapped it around his shoulders. I sat on the porch at his feet, scanning the sky, the few diamond chips of light. “Look at the stars.” I turned to him. “Do you see the stars?” He might have looked up. He nodded. “Hmm-hmm.” And we sat, silent and still, each of us waiting for something in the dark— something unknown, that didn’t come when it was called but always came home. A Christine Venzon lives in Peoria, Illinois. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, where she was twice runnerup in the Great American Fiction contest.

So that his work might continue... Please remember FRANCISCAN MEDIA in your estate plans Our legal title is: Franciscan Media LLC 28 W. Liberty Street ■ Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498 For more information, call: 1-800-488-0488 April 2017 ❘ 45



Use a Cross or a Crucifix? During the Good Friday liturgy at our parish, we venerate a plain cross and not a crucifix with a representation of Jesus’ body on it. The crucifix is kept out of sight in the sacristy. Because this doesn’t seem right to me, I wrote a note in the parish’s suggestion box, recommending that we use a crucifix rather than a cross. A member of the parish staff responded that we are venerating the wood of the cross on which Jesus died, not a replica of Jesus’ body. Also, our parish uses not the Way of the Cross composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori, but a text written by a parishioner. A booklet that has the St. Alphonsus text notes that a plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions. Does that apply to the text written by this parishioner? As far as I know, that text

does not have a nihil obstat or imprimatur. In the Third Edition of the Roman Missal (2010), the rubrics for veneration on Good Friday use the term cross 26 times and never use the word crucifix. I realize that many places once used or may still use a crucifix for veneration, but that is not required. In fact, the ritual calls for the priest or deacon to proclaim three times before the veneration begins: “Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world. Come, let us adore.” Regarding your question about a plenary indulgence for praying the Way of the Cross, Concession 13 of the 2006 Manual of Indulgences addresses the conditions with no ref-

erence to a particular text to be prayed. You are free to prefer the one by St. Alphonsus, but that text does not enter into the gaining of the indulgence or not. What is required is that the 14 stations be legitimately erected and have at least a cross on each one, that people meditate devoutly on Our Lord’s passion, and that at least the presider move from station to station. The same indulgence is available for similar pious practices established by Church authorities. Confession and holy Communion are required either two weeks before or after the act to which an indulgence is attached. Also, praying the creed and remembering the pope’s intentions are expected. God sorts out all questions or doubts concerning indulgences.

Homily? Eulogy?


Some dioceses allow eulogies at funerals, and others do not. Why is this?

Parishioners in Mississauga, Ontario, venerate a cross on Good Friday. This devotion reflects a deep appreciation for the gift of the Incarnation. 4 6 ❘ Apr il 201 7

This question arises frequently. According to the 1989 Order of Christian Funerals (the ritual book used by Catholics in the United States), “A brief homily is given after the Gospel reading” (#166). The Order of Christian Funerals earlier instructs: “A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the Gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy. Attentive to the grief of those present, the homilist should dwell on God’s compassionate love and on the paschal mystery of the Lord, as proclaimed in the Scripture readings. The homilist should also help the memSt . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r

bers of the assembly to understand that the mystery of God’s love and the mystery of Jesus’ victorious death and resurrection were present in the life and death of the deceased, and that these mysteries are active in their own lives, as well. “Through the homily, members of the family and community should receive consolation and strength to face the death of one of their members with a hope nourished by the saving word of God” (#27). A eulogy, on the other hand, aims to summarize a person’s life and may include praise of the deceased person’s golf prowess, culinary skill, or the speaker’s favorite memory of the deceased. All these things may be true, but they do not necessarily help those present to see the paschal mystery at work in the life of that person. Some parish funerals invite a family member or friend to offer a few words of remembrance after Communion. I have been to Catholic funerals where a eulogy was very effectively offered before the Mass began.

Mixing Church and State In the United States of America, we have separation of church and state, especially during election years. Why were Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton invited by Cardinal Timothy Dolan to a highly publicized dinner last October 20? Something is not right. The Church cannot have her cake and eat it, too! The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation sponsors an annual dinner to raise money “for the poor, sick, and underprivileged of the Archdiocese of New York.” It was founded by Cardinal Francis Spellman in 1945 and is named for the four-term governor of New York and 1928 Democratic Party’s nominee for president, who died in 1944. The archbishop of New York hosts the dinner, which last October raised more than $6 million—a new record; Fr ancisca n Media .org

costs for the dinner are covered by the foundation’s board of directors. Seats last year cost between $2,500 and $15,000, depending on inclusion in the reception beforehand or afterward. All but two people elected president since 1945 have attended this dinner. Candidates are free to attend or not.

Help for Nurturing a Franciscan Spirituality I need some practical advice for how to live and grow in Franciscan spirituality as a layperson. Because I am not close to a Secular Franciscan group, I need to do this on my own.

strongly inspired by St. Francis but not formally a member of the Franciscan family. For example, that column last month featured Gary Francisco Keller, a professor at Arizona State University who maintains an extensive website about Franciscans in the United States. This magazine regularly has articles on individual Franciscans or groups of them. I count at least eight articles published in 2016 that would directly help someone seeking to grow in Franciscan spirituality—not to mention editorials, book reviews, and other columns. Franciscan Media publishes many print and audiobooks on Franciscan topics. A

Subscribing to St. Anthony Messenger may be your best place to start. Every month, the “Dear Reader” column addresses a Franciscan theme. Our “Followers of St. Francis” column usually features a Franciscan priest, brother, sister, or Secular Franciscan; but sometimes it includes a person

Father Pat welcomes your questions! Send them to: Ask a Franciscan, 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or All questions sent by mail need to include a selfaddressed stamped envelope.

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April 2017 ❘ 47



What Do You Seek?

Our Readers Recommend Resisting Happiness Matthew Kelly God’s Doorkeepers Joel Schorn Immortal Diamond Richard Rohr Pope Francis Among the Wolves Marco Politi Jesuits Telling Jokes Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ

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The Questions of Jesus as Challenge and Promise By Michael J. Buckley, SJ Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 160 pages • $18 Paperback Reviewed by DAVID PROFITT, deacon in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, and director of its St. Anne Retreat Center. He has a master’s degree in church management from Villanova University. I recently completed a demanding program that integrates business principles with pastoral ministry. Needless to say, most of what I had been reading for that period was academic in nature. I wanted to get back to some reading that I could enjoy, and I certainly wasn’t looking for anything too deep. I picked the wrong book for that! What Do You Seek? is a wonderful work that drives you deeper into an understanding of Jesus and how the questions he asks help us to look at our own lives. Father Buckley has written a work that certainly helps one see the brilliance of the questioning Jesus. As Father Buckley points out, “Through these questions, Jesus directs those who encounter him back upon themselves, back into their own world.” This, in my opinion, is the genius of this book. It forces one to look into his or her own life in the contemporary world. It calls for a more reflective and, yes, contemplative approach to life without stating that very thing. Father Buckley is certainly qualified to present the topics covered in this book. He

has written numerous academic works in philosophy, ecclesiology, and Jesuit studies, as well as works that analyze and refute atheism. He has served in numerous positions at the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, and Santa Clara University. He was appointed to the faculty at the Gregorian University in Rome and the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. He also served as chair of the Jesuit International Theological Commission and the president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. This book’s premise is that Jesus uses questions to get us to look into our own thoughts and feelings about particular issues. Father Buckley uses 14 questions from the Gospel of John to accomplish this task. Each question is unique in the way it helps probe into a particular topic with the author guiding the process. This is a deep book. I found it most useful to read only one chapter on any given day. This is not a book to read quickly, cover to cover.If you do so, you will miss the benefit of the reflection that accompanies each chapter. This would make an excellent self-guided retreat. While the book is not hard to read, theologically speaking, it does require concentrated focus. Make sure you set aside ample time not only to read, but also to reflect on the questions Jesus asks through these pages. These questions are ideal if you’re looking to deepen your relationship with Jesus from a distinctively Ignatian perspective. The chosen questions are brilliantly selected and each individual chapter stands alone. As you progress through the book, you begin to develop a sense of appreciation for the beauty of the Gospel of John, especially if you read the Scripture passage from which each question is taken. This book is ideal for someone on a quest to know Jesus. Before opening it, though, be ready to look deeply into your life, because this work will certainly lead you on a profound journey. Father Buckley has put together a brilliant work, one well worth the searching reader’s time. St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r


Beautiful New Children’s Bibles Page-a-Day Children’s Bible Written by Rhona Davies Illustrated by Marcin Piwowarski 382 pages • $21.95 Pauline Books & Media

Around the Table Retelling the Story of the Eucharist through the Eyes of Jesus’ First Followers By R. Scott Hurd Ave Maria Press 144 pages • $14.95 Paperback

These one-page stories are organized from creation to the new heaven and earth of Revelation. Charmingly illustrated and in engaging, child-friendly language, these are the perfect length for bedtime stories. The durable cover invites years of abuse from tiny hands. Parents and grandparents may find this book as delightful as little ones will.

My Little Hands Bible Reviewed by CAROL ANN MORROW, editor of “Book Corner.” Come Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Author R. Scott Hurd offers 14 perspectives on this holy meal. Eight of his book’s chapters are couched in the voices of apostles, men we know were present in the Upper Room. The other five are in some ways more intriguing: Cleophas (of the Emmaus walk), Paul, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Longinus, the name tradition gives to the centurion who pierced Jesus’ side on Good Friday. Hurd writes in the second person, inviting us to enter into each subject’s experience of Jesus and Eucharist. Each chapter concludes with questions, prayer, and Scripture references. While these will facilitate group discussion, they could have been even more effective had they been focused more keenly on the Eucharist. Hurd might have couched these chapters in the first person (I) rather than second (you) to ensure that readers would become the actual subject of each chapter in turn. Even so, it’s easy to adopt each persona because of Hurd’s descriptive detail and accessible language. One can hear the cicadas, see the full moon, recline at the table, stand under the cross, walk with Jesus, and get knocked senseless into latecomer apostleship. Two final questions emerged for this reader: Who is around my table, and how do we share Eucharist? These are Holy Thursday questions, inspired by R. Scott Hurd’s book. Fr ancisca n Media .org

Bethan James and Krisztina Kállai Nagy 128 pages • $14.99 Sophia Institute Offering equal emphasis on the Old and New Testaments, these stories are short enough for very young children. This is an easily portable storybook that might make a good travel companion for long car trips or overnight visits. It’s ideal to keep handy for those times when children need something to occupy their attention.

My First Bible Marion Thomas Illustrated by Paola Bertolina Grudina St. Paul’s Publications 160 pages • $14.95 Lovely watercolors enhance this storybook, best for readers with strong vocabulary skills and a tolerance for some violence—biblical stories are not overly watered down in this offering. Still, this an enchanting entry in a crowded genre. —K.C.

Books featured in Book Corner and Book Briefs can be ordered from

St. Mary’s Bookstore & Church Supply 1909 West End Avenue • Nashville, TN 37203 • 800-233-3604 • Prices shown in Book Corner do not include shipping. A p r il 2 0 1 7 ❘ 4 9



An Easter Story



ecently, my family and I took advantage of a rare long weekend with nothing planned and headed to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It is a place near and dear to our hearts. When I was growing up, my family used to go there and stay in my uncle’s chalet in the mountains. After Mark and I married, we would take off on a Friday night after work and get in some hiking in the Smoky Mountains. Once we had kids, we introduced them to the wonders of the mountains. As we watched news reports of the fires in Gatlinburg last November, both Mark and I felt drawn to return. We wanted to do our part to find some way to help. The only way

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we knew how to do that was to heed the call of the people of Gatlinburg and show up. I was anxious about the trip. I wanted to go, but, at the same time, I didn’t.

Love and Loss As we drove up the mountain to where my uncle’s chalet was, I stared out the window at all the homes I had passed so many times. “I remember that one.” “That one was beautiful.” “I can’t believe this.” Some homes were completely gone. Others still stood, but bore the unmistakable signs of the fire. Every once in a while, a lone chimney would stand amid the rubble. We had heard that the chalet was lost to the fire, but no one had visited to see for St . A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r

on the front porch. I gazed out at the mountain view we used to take in while sitting on the back porch early in the morning. Now it was gone, all gone.



And Yet . . .

For all the signs of rebirth I witnessed during my visit, there is still much work to be done. I was reminded of that when I attended Mass at Saint Mary Catholic Church, established in 1935 and located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. Before Mass, the deacon reminded those in attendance—some regular parishioners, others out-of-town visitors—about the ongoing efforts in the parish to help those affected by the fires. Some of the things that were needed in addition to the tangible items, he reminded us, were prayers. It is a good reminder for all of us that, even though the situation is out of the headlines, it should not be forgotten.

sure. Now there would be no mistaking the reality. We turned onto the street as we had so many times before. This time, though, there was no welcoming chalet. Instead, we were greeted with empty space and burned surroundings. The once full

street was now empty, except for one lone home—right next to the site of my uncle’s chalet. A pile of rubble sat next to a burned tree. I got out of the van and walked on what I could tell was the turnaround in front. I stood where we once sat

I wandered around for what seemed like forever. Many of the trees had already been taken down in the cleanup efforts, offering a wide-open view of the landscape. As I looked around, I suddenly noticed something that seemed out of place. Nailed to one of the charred trees was a wooden star. On the star, which had been painted bright blue, were the words love, faith, and hope. Such prophetic words! I wandered some more and saw a patch of bright green off to the side of the road—a sign of new life. For the remainder of our trip, I started to see signs of rebirth rather than only destruction. We passed a business sign with the message “Gatlinburg Strong. We will rebuild.” We drove by construction vehicles on their way to help rebuild destroyed structures. Yes, out of the rubble was emerging new life, a true Easter story. A

Do you have comments or suggestions for topics you’d like to see addressed in this column? Send them to me at “A Catholic Mom Speaks,” 28 W. Liberty St., Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or e-mail them to CatholicMom@Franciscan

PETE AND REPEAT These scenes may seem alike to you, But there are changes in the two. So look and see if you can name ILLUSTRATION BY TOM GREENE

Eight ways in which they’re not the same. (Answers on page 30)

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An Easter Prayer B Y J O Y C E R U P P, O S M

Risen One,

I turn to you as my model of spiritual growth. Open my entire being to your grace-filled presence, and teach me repeatedly how to enter into my own tomb-times. Grant trust in my ability to abide in the tomb of indecision and uncertainty, those times when I encounter confusion and do not know where I am going or what might happen next. Remind me of the need for patience when I want to hurry through the tomb of my sorrow instead of acknowledging and tending to the unwelcome aspects of grief residing within me. Give me courage to enter the tomb of physical suffering, to find inner strength by uniting with and learning from your experience of bodily pain and the absence of relief. Wrap your heart around my own when I choose to reside in the tomb of the world’s growing violence. Restore hope when my longings for global peace disappear from view. Be the quiet whisper of anticipated liberation when the tomb of unshakable discouragement robs me of my inherent gladness and enthusiasm for life. Take my hand when I dwell in the tomb of identity transition and am unsure of who I am. Assure me that, no matter how I might change, you and I are united at the core of my being.


Breathe your love into me when I experience the tomb of relationship breakage, so that I have the bigness of heart to forgive others and the confidence to keep on believing in myself. Support me when I am in the tomb of doubt, and my questions of faith scare me. Confirm my trust that you know the intention of my heart to remain always united with you.


Sweating the Small Stuff


eauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Well, not exactly. Sometimes beauty is in the eye of a writer, a photographer, an illustrator. It’s an editor’s job to discern if the author, or other, has communi-

cated that vision adequately before we publish his or her work. When it comes to writing, we try to improve it. If we improve it a lot (in our eyes),


we consult with the author to be sure we haven’t changed the meaning. Ah, but there’s the rub! When should we just leave things alone and respect the author’s voice? After all, it is our rich offering of so many voices—experts, observers, people with moving personal experiences, and more—that makes St. Anthony Messenger worth reading. This all came up at a recent editorial meeting, as we talked through one of the expressions that occurred in last month’s “Six Lenten Pitfalls.” In writing about how to avoid getting discouraged and giving up on our wellintended Ash Wednesday promises, freelancer Patricia M. Robertson mentioned her own dilemma. Attending a lunchtime meeting well into Lent, she found, in her lunch, a very large chocolate chip cookie. “I slipped it back into the box lunch,” she wrote, “trying to avoid eye contact with the temptress as others around me munched on their cookies.” “Wait a minute!” one of our editors exclaimed. “You can’t make eye contact with a cookie, even one with chocolate chips!” That was enough to ignite, once again, our editors’ spirit of debate, honing the quality of your magazine. “No, cookies don’t have eyes,” said another. And someone else wondered about calling a cookie a temptress. But you have to admit, isn’t it a colorful analogy? Wouldn’t we be, to use another analogy, sticks in the mud, squelching this author’s voice? After hearing ourselves out, we decided to leave it alone. Or, in the language of copy editors, we marked it stet, “let it stand.” Sometimes our debate at editorial meetings is about the weightiest of issues, but, as you can see, we sweat the details, too. Each of us wants this magazine to be the best it can be; we want you to enjoy something of the highest quality. Looking forward a few weeks, it’s the difference between a discount egg and the finest of Easter chocolates. Bon appétit!

Editor in Chief @jfeister

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April 2017 ❘ 53

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April 2017  
April 2017