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ST. ANTHONY Messenger

The Pope and the

Preacher Thanksgiving with the Saints Flavors of the Bible Saints with Attitude


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28 The Pope and the Preacher

When Pope Francis addressed the US Congress in September 2015, he lauded the civil rights work of Martin Luther King Jr., whose dream of equality, the pope said, “continues to inspire us all.”

Pope Francis says Martin Luther King Jr. is a role model for Americans. A scholar of black Catholic history explains why. By Cecilia A. Moore

Photo of King monument © hanusst/ istockphoto; CNS photo of pope by Paul Haring



14 Thanksgiving with Saints Philemon and Apphia

2 Dear Reader 3 From Our Readers

This holy couple offers four lessons for your feast. By Theresa Doyle-Nelson

4 Followers of St. Francis John Grden

6 Reel Time

20 Lord, Teach Us to Pray At times, prayer can feel like playing hide-and-seek. So how do we find God? By Joe McHugh

Deepwater Horizon



10 Church in the News

36 Inspired by Sassy Saints These feisty and faithful women get a book of their own. By Donis Tracy

18 Editorial Our Disposable Culture

25 Year of Mercy Marching for Peace

40 Flavors of the Bible Spice up your Thanksgiving dinner with these Old Testament ingredients. By Rita Heikenfeld

8 Channel Surfing

26 At Home on Earth Falling Away


50 Ask a Franciscan Orthodox Acceptance of the Pope

46 Fiction: Road to Providence They lost everything and headed West. By Dianna Graveman

52 Book Corner St. Dominic

54 A Catholic Mom Speaks Everyday Mercy

56 Backstory



ST. ANTHONY M essenger

Cortona’s Le Celle Northwest of Perugia lies the mountain town of Cortona, outside of which is Eremo Le Celle (the cells), a hermitage very dear to Francis of Assisi. He first visited it in 1211 and was there not long before his death 15 years later. Here he wrote his “Testament.” Brother Elias, successor to St. Francis and organizer of the construction of the Basilica of St. Francis, added a few rooms and died here in 1253. He is buried in Cortona itself. At various times, Sts. Anthony of Padua and Lawrence of Brindisi lived at Le Celle. I had the opportunity to make a retreat there in 1982, at the end of a monthlong Franciscan pilgrimage program to Rome, the Rieti Valley, and Assisi—lovely setting, great hospitality. The Capuchin friars came in 1537. They were forced out shortly by Napoleon and later by the Italian unification movement, but these friars have been there permanently since 1871.

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

Click the button on the left to hear Father Pat’s further reflections on Le Celle.

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(U.S.P.S. PUBLICATION #007956 CANADA PUBLICATION #PM40036350) Volume 124, Number 6, 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 ©2016. All rights reserved.

2 ❘ Nov ember 2016

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


Law and Love Both Needed I was troubled by Mark Dorais’ letter to the editor in the September issue of St. Anthony Messenger, entitled “‘Pro-Life’ Politicians?” The letter writer asks, “How would making abortions illegal reduce our numbers?” First of all, our laws should protect all innocent human life, from conception to natural death. The law is a teacher and, therefore, the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, by permitting the killing of precious preborn babies, teaches that life can be disrespected in this country without consequence. Conversely, if our laws protect innocent unborn children, we teach greater respect for human life in general. Secondly, studies have proven that pro-life laws save lives. For instance, when the Pennsylvania Abortion

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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Control Act went into effect, abortion totals in the commonwealth were cut in half. Legal protections for women and babies, such as informed consent for abortion, parental consent for abortion, and 24-hour waiting periods for abortion, have led to dramatic declines in abortion, from a national high of 1.6 million in 1990 to 1.06 million today (according to the National Right to Life Coalition). I agree that pregnant women need compassionate counseling and assistance, which are provided by the many pregnancy help centers around the country. We need both protective laws and loving support to end the tragedy of abortion in our nation. Maria Gallagher Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Hearts without Borders I’m writing in response to Bob Miller’s letter in the August “From Our Readers” column. He states, “Either we are a country with borders, or we are not.” I would add that, although we are a country with borders, we are a people whose hearts do not have borders. Do we really see illegal immigrants as “home invaders”? Or do we see in them the face of Christ. Will Christ one day ask us if we clothed, fed, and housed these “home invaders”? And what will we answer? That we built a wall instead? Lois Anderson Burlington, Kentucky

Our Media Addiction I just wanted to pass along some thoughts, prompted by Christopher Heffron’s editorial in the August issue, “Hear Them Roar.” First, though, thank you for all the years of great reading. I actually got started with the magazine when I was in high school (in the late 1950s), going door-to-door selling subscriptions of

St. Anthony Messenger. I did this in the summer, in a suit and tie no less! Mr. Heffron refers to our society as “media-hungry.” I’d say it’s more like addiction than hunger—and a terminal addiction at that, unless there is a miraculous turnaround. I so often wish that Catholic publications in particular would come to see that modern “culture” is really a case of the “emperor’s new clothes.” No one, it seems, wants to call out this stuff for what it really is—a vast sewer, for the most part. One problem, perhaps, is that it has all taken place very gradually over several decades, slowly but surely dumbing us down, numbing us. The editorial refers to reality television (without quotes!). Remember the WWJD—What Would Jesus Do— bracelets? I used to think it was sort of overdone, but not anymore. So I’ll finish with this question: Would Jesus indulge in this swamp called the media, or the entertainment industry? I think he would recognize it for what it is. James K. O’Reilly Dearborn, Michigan

And the Award Goes to . . . I haven’t offered a pat on the back in a while, so I decided to do so again. Along with TIME and other magazines, I receive newspapers and St. Anthony Messenger. Guess which one I appreciate most? Your magazine is a major faith connection for me. I confess to first searching out “Pete and Repeat” to see if I can occasionally score a perfect eight for eight. I also enjoy John Feister’s “Backstory” column. After reading the column from the August issue, I wanted to pass along my congratulations on your Catholic Press Association awards. Please continue informing and enriching us! John E. Hallman Minong, Wisconsin Nov ember 2016 ❘ 3

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

Wired for Compassion


t might not seem like a natural progression, but a former electrical engineer named John Grden from the Detroit area is now the director of the Church of the Transfiguration’s Franciscan Outreach Program (FOP). He once studied signal flow and capacitors, but now he’s busy filling hungry stomachs. We may not see the connection (no pun intended) between his previous work and his current calling. But perhaps to Grden, humanity is like an integrated circuit: when one part is damaged, it affects the whole. What a Franciscan notion indeed! The oldest of five children, Grden grew up in a Polish-Catholic family in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, roughly 15 miles west of Detroit. From a young age, he had a talent for working with electronics. At 13, Grden started to help his uncle with his television repair shop, located in a low-income section of Detroit. “I learned a lot from my uncle about how to treat people honestly and fairly,” he remembers. After studying electrical engineering at Lawrence Technological University, Grden went on to work in the computer center at

John Grden

the prestigious school for 33 years. After retiring in 2005, he found himself with too much time on his hands and an urge to help those in need. He came across an article in his parish bulletin calling for volunteers for the FOP and got involved soon thereafter, starting by packing food. The more Grden helped with the FOP, the more responsibilities he took on. In February 2010, he became the director of the program. “So, what do I do? I recruit volunteers, coordinate fund-raising, buy food, plan for the future, clean, sweep,” he explains. The FOP operates out of the Church of the Transfiguration, a Franciscan parish located in Southfield, northwest of Detroit. There are no geographic boundaries to the program. “St. Francis instructed his followers to go and preach the Gospel, and use words only if they must. He didn’t say stop at this town or on this side of the street,” he says. The influence of St. Francis is pervasive not only in the work of the FOP but also in Grden’s own life. “I had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Assisi, learn about St. Francis, and walk in his footsteps. He showed us how we should live, how to take

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


An SOS to St. Anthony

4 ❘ Nov ember 2016

I went on a cruise and foolishly brought an expensive necklace with me. It wasn’t until at least two weeks after I arrived home that I realized I didn’t have the necklace, which had been stored in the safe in my cabin. I made a claim to my insurance company and received compensation, and I notified the cruise line. In the meantime, I fervently prayed to my favorite saint, Anthony, and decided that if the piece was lost I would just have to accept it and realize that it was meant to be. Four months later, I received a call from the cruise line stating that they thought they had found the necklace. After I provided additional information to them, they confirmed that it was, in fact, my necklace. They sent it back to me, and I subsequently returned the money to the insurance company. St. Anthony has never let me down. I pray to him every day and tell anyone who will listen to pray to him. —Carolina, Phoenix, Arizona

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


Humble Service At the process of canonization, Sister Pacifica, who had known Clare of Assisi for over 40 years, testified that Clare showed great compassion to sisters who were ill; she washed their feet and their mattresses. We know from other sources that straw for the mattresses was replaced periodically. Sister Benvenuta said that when Clare was washing the feet of an extern sister, she tried to pull her foot away and accidentally hit Clare’s mouth! Extern sisters served people visiting the monastery and sometimes went outside to beg. –P.M.


care of our brothers and sisters,” he relates. “So much has been given to us. It really is time that we do something for others.” For over 65 years, the FOP has provided food and other forms of assistance to anyone who walks through their doors. Completely funded by donations and staffed by volunteers, the program serves over 800 individuals every month. On Thanksgiving, 400 families enjoy a turkey dinner there. Their dependence on donations does present a challenge, however. “The current economic times are difficult for those without a steady income. Please find the compassion in your heart to support the FOP, even if it’s a few canned goods or a couple of dollars,” Grden requests. The line “For it is in giving that we receive,” from the Prayer of St. Francis, has special meaning for Grden. His work with the FOP brings to light the true meaning behind the phrase from the prayer. “There is something very special when you help people in need. There is a fantastic feeling when the day ends. You go home knowing that you made a difference in their lives.” —Daniel Imwalle

To learn more about Franciscan saints, visit

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

Nov ember 2016 ❘ 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.



Deepwater Horizon




True Stories Akeelah and the Bee (2006) Schindler’s List (1993) The Impossible (2012) The Straight Story (1999) Cry Freedom (1987)

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November 2016


Based on Dramatizing the worst oil spill in US history, the action-packed Deepwater Horizon stars Mark Wahlberg. Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) is the chief electronics technician for Deepwater Horizon, the offshore oil drilling rig 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. He has no idea of the disaster to come when he wakes early on April 20, 2010, and kisses his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter goodbye for a 21-day stint on the rig. Mike and his colleagues, including technician Andrea (Gina Rodriguez), land on the rig at the same time as three executives from British Petroleum (BP). They have come to present a safety award to “Mr. Jimmy” (Kurt Russell), the captain of the rig, and his workers. But a steady unease is spreading among the crew. They are being rushed to finish drilling. BP representative Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) listens to the list of over 300 items to be fixed on the rig. He insists that there’s nothing to worry about, including BP’s decision not to run an essential test on the stability of freshly poured concrete

due to time and cost. Pressure tests proceed and disaster strikes. The well explodes from beneath the ocean, causing the worst oil spill in history. Deepwater Horizon is a deeply disturbing film because of BP’s wanton disregard for human life and the environment—and the raw greed that drove executives to ignore every warning and best practice. This is an important film that should prompt us to find new sources of energy. Excellent performances enhance the film, but the disaster element dominates. This is quite hard to watch, but riveting as told through Williams’ experience. Deepwater Horizon is based on a true story. Not yet rated, PG-13 ■ Peril, greed, violence.

Sully When Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and copilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) take off from LaGuardia Airport St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g


Oscar winner Tom Hanks soars as a heroic pilot in director Clint Eastwood’s latest film, Sully, based on a true story.


with 155 souls onboard US Airways Flight 1549 headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, things seem normal. Then they collide with a flock of Canada geese that stall and then kill both engines. The pilots think about returning to LaGuardia or landing in Newark and Teterboro, New Jersey, but there is no way. In a little over 200 seconds, Captain Sully and crew bring down the plane safely on the Hudson River. This film is so moving. Tom Hanks is known as the most trusted actor in America. I think Captain Sully is the most trusted pilot in America. Bring them together and you have a beautiful story filled with character and courage. Director Clint Eastwood keeps the narrative spare. There are no embellishments here: he chose to make Sully, a true leader, the star over the drama and trauma of the ascent and descent of the airplane. When the FAA investigates and calls the pilots’ judgment into question, the drama is amplified. I loved this film, which is based on a true story. A-3, PG-13 ■ Peril.

alive, inside it. He intends to write a report and call for a boat to take the child to the authorities, but Isabel begs him not to. They conspire to raise the child as their own. No one on land questions the baby’s identity. Complications set in when, after a few years, Tom discovers the child’s mother (Rachel Weisz). His conscience has tortured him from the first day they found the girl, but to appease his lonely wife, he went along with the fraud. He is compelled to reveal what they did; what follows is heartbreaking and sad. But the inner logic of the film doesn’t quite work. The film’s cinematography is stunning and atmospheric. While I question the wisdom of ever making this story into a movie, it is worth seeing for Fassbender’s perfor-mance. Every torturous doubt, every decision, every emotion shows on his incredibly kind face. Though he and his wife made a bad choice, he starts to put things right. The film is based on the novel by M.L. Stedman. A-3, PG-13 ■ Some sexuality, brief peril.

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander play a husband and wife who wrestle with moral choices in The Light Between Oceans.

Catholic Cl assifications

The Light Between Oceans After World War I, a small town on the coast of western Australia hires the trustworthy Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) to tend the lighthouse on the isolated Janus Island. He meets the much younger Isabel (Alicia Vikander), and they marry several months later. She then miscarries twice. One morning, he finds a rowboat on the shore with a dead man and a baby girl, still Fr

A-1 A-2 A-3 L O

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

November 2016 ❘





Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m., ABC Minnie Driver is a formidable talent who has struggled to find a series that can accommodate her skills. FX’s brooding The Riches (2007-2008) showcased her dramatic prowess. The equally short-lived About a Boy (2014-2015), NBC’s underrated comedy with Driver at the helm, never caught on with audiences. ABC’s Speechless, about a family trying to navigate its way in the world, might be her best television role to date. Driver plays Maya, a mother of three, whose 16-year-old son, JJ, has cerebral palsy. She and her long-suffering husband, Jimmy, lead a vagabond life—uprooting their kids frequently in search of the perfect community. Fiercely protective of her disabled son, who cannot speak, Maya picks fights with bullies and gawkers the way others pick laundry detergents. This leads to cringeworthy moments that are heartfelt and hilarious. Maya is tough and loving, even as those outside her family see her as a monster—and Driver is pitch-perfect. In truth, not everything about the series works. The supporting players are underwritten, and sensitive channel surfers will chafe at some flyby sexual references. But those are distractions from the bigger picture. Ultimately, Speechless gives a voice to young disabled men and women—and to the mothers who love them.

Love It or List It


Thursdays, 9 p.m., HGTV The reason why this pseudo reality series has remained a staple on HGTV is that it has never wandered from its core formula. Part real-estate hunt, part renovation experimentation, Love It or List It is a fan favorite because of its witty hosts, the playfully combative interior designer Hilary Farr and real-estate agent David Visentin. In each episode, Hilary and David vie for the affections of a couple in crisis: one spouse wants to move out of their dysfunctional house; the other wants to stay. Hilary and her ragtag team of carpenters, engineers, and designers work to make the couple’s current home more functional, while David tries to find a new home that will better meet their needs. At the end of each episode, the homeowners choose to stay or leave. Longtime fans of the series have cried foul on social media and the blogosphere at how real this reality series is, but they’re missing the point. The fun of Love It or List It isn’t how rooted in reality it is. The hook is how Hilary and David nearly lose sight of their clients in order to win the “competition.” Though there is a genuine fondness and respect between the two hosts, they are in it to win it, and their caustic banter—very much like a sibling rivalry—is too fun to resist. And the work they do, particularly how Farr reimagines a livable space, is inspired.

Minnie Driver (second from left) shines as the matriarch of a loving but imperfect family in ABC’s new comedy Speechless. 8 ❘

November 2016

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Religious Leaders Gather in Assisi

Pope Francis and other religious leaders attend an interfaith peace gathering outside the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, September 20. Pope Francis and dozens of other religious leaders gathered in Assisi on September 20 to pray for peace and mark the 30th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s Assisi interfaith peace gathering in 1986, reported Catholic News Service (CNS). The theme of the event, which was sponsored by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio, was “Thirst for Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue.” The three-day meeting featured dozens of interreligious panel discussions on topics ranging from the environment and migration to dialogue and the media. On the afternoon of the final day, members of different religions gathered in various locations in Assisi to offer prayers for peace in their own traditions. Pope Francis gathered with 1 0 ❘ Nov ember 2016

Christian leaders, including Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, in the lower Basilica of St. Francis for a prayer service, during which all the countries at war were named and a candle lit for each one. At the closing ceremony, participants heard the experience of a victim of war from the Syrian city of Aleppo and prayed for those who had died in conflicts around the world. Pope Francis told those gathered, “We never tire of repeating that the name of God cannot be used to justify violence. Peace alone, and not war, is holy!” He challenged those present to “free ourselves from the heavy burden of distrust, fundamentalism, and

hate” and instead be “artisans of peace” through prayer and action. As religious leaders, he said, “we are duty bound to be strong bridges of dialogue, creative mediators of peace. “Let us assume this responsibility, reaffirming today our ‘yes’ to being, together, builders of the peace that God wishes for us and for which humanity thirsts,” the pope said.

Father Hesburgh to Be Featured on Stamp The US Postal Service announced on September 20 that Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, who was president of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years, will be featured as part of next year’s stamp program. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg



Prior to a United Nations special summit on the global refugee crisis, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and 30 other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) pledged $1.2 billion to help address the refugee crisis over a three-year period. The funds will provide urgent medical assistance, food and nutrition, security, shelter, education, and other essential services to displaced populations, according to CRS. The groups made the pledge as members of InterAction, the largest US alliance of international NGOs. Each entity will manage its own money, but report to InterAction as to how it is used. An exhibit featuring relics and artifacts related to St. Thomas More is on display at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC. “God’s Servant First: The Life and Legacy of Thomas More” will run through March 31, 2017, and features items from the Stonyhurst College Collections in England. Some of the items featured are the pectoral cross and saddle chalice that belonged to John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States; a religious garment embroidered by Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII; and first-class relics of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher.


For more than 130 years, the Postal Service stamp program has celebrated the people, events, and cultural milestones that are unique to United States history. Father Hesburgh was appointed to the US Commission on Civil Rights in 1957, and helped compile reports on racial discrimination and the denial of voting rights that resulted in the Omnibus Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fr ancisca n Media .org


Pope Francis recently approved revised norms for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles. The norms now require that the medical panel have a quorum of six experts and that a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a statement declaring that a healing has no natural or scientific explanation. Previously, the declaration required the approval of a simple majority of the consultation team members present. The new regulations also state that an alleged miracle “cannot be reexamined more than three times.”

As part of his message for World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation—“Show Mercy to our Common Home”—Pope Francis proposed adding care for creation to the traditional list of seven works of mercy. “Let me propose a complement to the two traditional sets of seven: may the works of mercy also include care for our common home,” he wrote. He noted that as a spiritual work of mercy, care for creation requires “a grateful contemplation of God’s world,” while as a corporal work, it calls for “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation, and selfishness.” For more Catholic news, visit catholic-news.

He worked on causes ranging from education to immigration reform to the plight of underdeveloped nations. The stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler with original art by Tim O’Brien. Other featured stamps include President John F. Kennedy, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, Uncle

Sam’s hat, and the California Dogface Butterfly.

Study Shows ‘Urgent Need’ for Dialogue with Other Faiths According to a recent study by Georgetown University on how Catholics regard Muslims, nearly half of the 1,027 Catholics surveyed can’t name any similarities between Catholicism and Islam, reported CNS. When asked about the overall impression of Muslims, three in 10 Nov ember 2016 ❘ 1 1

Pope Visits Neonatal Unit, Hospice

Catholics admit to having unfavorable views, and Catholics are less likely than the general American public to know a Muslim personally. Those findings, says Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, show an “urgent need” to “cultivate positive dialogue” not just among Catholics and Muslims, but with other faith traditions, as well. Archbishop Cupich is the Catholic cochairman of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue. “Experience has shown that when people of different faith traditions build personal relationships and engage in dialogue to learn about one another, they develop the capacity to work together; and they come to appreciate the positive elements in one another’s traditions,” the archbishop said in a statement released September 21. “It is incumbent upon Catholics to recognize and raise up the positive voices from the Muslim world who clearly reject violence by practicing and teaching an Islam of peace, compassion, and mercy.” The survey results were published September 12 in the study “Danger & Dialogue: American Catholic 1 2 ❘ Nov ember 2016


As part of his monthly Mercy Friday activities, Pope Francis made a visit to the neonatal unit of Rome’s San Giovanni Hospital on September 16, where he held and blessed ailing newborns. Later that day, he visited with terminally ill patients at the Villa Speranza Hospice. With visits to both places, the pope wanted to “send a strong signal about the importance of life from its first moment until its natural end,” according to the Vatican press office.

Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam.” It was conducted by a research group with Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, which studies Islamophobia.

Missing Mexican Priest Found Dead A pastor in the community of Janamuato, Mexico, who was abducted on September 19, was found dead on the side of a road days later, reported CNS. State prosecutors say Father José Alfredo López Guillén died of gunshot wounds shortly after being abducted. Mexican media reported that family members discovered personal items strewn across the floor of his home, and one of two vehicles stolen from his parish was found flipped over along a highway. A motive for the crime is still uncertain, but the family says they did not receive a ransom call, as might be expected in a kidnapping case. The murder came just days after two other priests were kidnapped and killed in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Father Alejo Nabor Jiménez Juárez and Father José Alfredo Juárez

de la Cruz were dragged at gunpoint out of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Poza Rica, a city consumed by crime in recent years, the Diocese of Papantla confirmed in a statement. The suspected motive for the crime has stirred controversy. Veracruz state attorney general Luis Ángel Bravo Contreras told reporters September 20 that the “victims and the victimizers knew each other” and added that the attack was “not a kidnapping. “They were together, having a few drinks; the gathering broke down due to alcohol and turned violent,” he said. Catholic officials in Veracruz rejected the explanation, calling it “an easy out” and saying it ignored the reality of a state notorious for crime and corruption. “We are hoping for more professional and careful inquiry, because this declaration the prosecutor is giving generates more doubts than responses to the issue of the murder of these two priests,” said Father José Manuel Suazo Reyes, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Xalapa. “It surprises us how quickly they’ve concluded an investigation that requires more time and care.” A St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg

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Thanksgiving with

Saints Philemon and Apphia This holy couple offers four lessons for your feast. BY THERESA DOYLE-NELSON 14 â?˜

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HANKSGIVING WEEK can be a hectic one: traveling, visitors, time with friends and family, an abundance of food preparation. It seems that most normal routines are set aside to gear up for a very special day of feasting, friendship, and giving thanks for blessings in our lives. Thanksgiving, however, can also bring stress. Not enough time to get it all done, exhausting shopping and travel, messes to clean up, and back-burner tensions heating up all threaten to deplete your spirit during this week of celebration. This joyful but demanding week is the perfect time to invite into your lives two November saints: Philemon (fuh-LEE-mun) and Apphia (AF-ee-uh). November 22 is the feast day of this New Testament husband and Fr

wife, and it happens to also be the earliest possible date for Thanksgiving; however, November 22 more frequently lands on a Thanksgiving preparation day. Sts. Philemon and Apphia, a couple from Colossae (an unexcavated city in present-day Turkey), are the recipients (along with their probable son, Archippus) of a letter from Paul, which has been named the Letter to Philemon, but is usually referred to as simply “Philemon.” The biblical book of Philemon is so short that it doesn’t have any chapters—only verses, 25 in all. Despite being such a short book in the Bible, some very handy insights can be gleaned from Philemon and Apphia within the letter and, with some effort, can be applied to Thanksgiving get-togethers.

This year, as friends and family gather around your Thanksgiving table, remember the example of hospitality provided by Sts. Philemon and Apphia.

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Lesson 1 Keep Your Home God-Centered

some space for God within the day wherever you go!

To Philemon, our co-worker, . . . to Apphia our sister, . . . and to the church at your house (Phlm 1-2).

Lesson 2 Pay Attention to Elderly Wisdom

We learn very early on in this letter (verses 12) that Philemon and Apphia had a house church at their home. Because there were no official church structures yet during this first century of Christianity, people’s homes were frequently used. This was a generous and impressive gesture on the part of Philemon and Apphia. Apparently, God was so important to this couple that they warmly welcomed the Christians of Colossae into their home so they could pray and worship as community. If you will be hosting Thanksgiving this year, try to remember Philemon and Apphia’s house church and see if you can work God into the picture. Arranging for a home Mass would likely be rather difficult, but maybe you can come up with some other ways to weave God into the festivities: saying a particularly thoughtful grace, placing holy cards or scripted thankful-related Bible verses at each place setting, or having inspirational music playing in the background. These steps might help to keep the day—and your home— marked with the Lord. If you will be visiting someone else’s house, consider bringing a God-honoring gift connected to thankfulness or a religious family game to play after dinner (just one example would be the Bible edition of Scattergories). See if you can somehow quietly, gently create

I rather urge you out of love, being as I am, Paul, an old man (Phlm 9a). Stop and be mindful of any elderly people at the Thanksgiving table. Perhaps they are not up-to-date with technology, clothing, or other current trends; however, they are living history and often full of classic wisdom. Rather than turning your head and rolling your eyes when they speak, maybe you should give them a listen for a moment or two. When Paul wrote his letter to Philemon and Apphia, he referred to himself as “an old man.” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary asserts that Paul was probably 50-60 years old when he wrote the letter; in those days, 50-60 certainly was elderly. In this letter (verses 7-21), Paul writes about a runaway slave named Onesimus (oh-NES-i-mus). When Onesimus fled Philemon and Apphia’s house, he found Paul and converted to Christianity. The great (and elderly!) evangelizer offered some suggestions to the couple on how to manage their deserting slave. Although slavery was perfectly acceptable even among Christians at the time, the olderbut-wiser Paul very gently nudged Philemon and Apphia to forgive Onesimus for having run away, and instead to accept him as a Christian brother. It seems reasonable to assume that this couple listened to Paul, for it appears that rather

Stories and wisdom are only two of the gifts older family members can share during our Thanksgiving meals. Grasp the opportunity to tap into their experiences.


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than reacting with resentment and destroying the letter, the letter survived and was copied over and over, and was eventually selected to be placed in the final form of the Bible. If you tend to automatically disregard Grandma’s counsel or discreetly chuckle at Uncle Frank’s long-ago stories, try to make yourself pause and wait a bit, pray a bit. There just might be some surprising wisdom in their words which might, in turn, offer a healthy opportunity for true growth.

Sts. Philemon and Apphia provide a wonderful example of the importance and benefits of being welcoming to others.

Lesson 3 Look at Others with New Eyes


Welcome him [Onesimus] as you would me (Phlm 17b). © JACKF/ ISTOCKPHOTO

Because Onesimus was a slave, he probably experienced a fair amount of snubbing and rejection. Paul’s encouragement to Philemon and Apphia to forgive and accept this person with such a lowly status may have been unthinkable to many in ancient Colossae. However, Paul’s urging to change their attitudes toward their slave could prompt us now to glance around the Thanksgiving table. Is there someone who tends to be disregarded, scorned, or discreetly (or obviously) ridiculed? Is there someone at the table whom you struggle to like or accept? If there is someone you have been impolite to, say a quick prayer, then try to look at him or her with fresh eyes, try to see Christ in that person, try to give that person a new chance in your heart. Tradition tells that Philemon and Apphia did so with Onesimus. They chose to accept him as a Christian brother, which in turn allowed Onesimus the freedom to fully embrace and promote the faith. Onesimus, by the way, also ended up being counted as a saint; his feast day is February 15.

Lesson 4 Offer a Warm Welcome in Your Home Prepare a guest room for me, for I hope to be granted to you through your prayers (Phlm 22). In one of the last verses in this letter, Paul expressed hope to visit Philemon Fr

and Apphia and requested a room to be readied for him. If you will be hosting Thanksgiving at your house, imagine expecting a guest like Paul and prepare your home accordingly. Welcome your guests warmly; think of Christ’s command to love one another and serve with grace. Ponder what matters the most. Avoid prioritizing food or elaborate table settings and focus on people first. If you will be going to someone else’s house, be a Christ-like guest. Be appreciative and helpful in any way you can. Treat your hosts with consideration and strive to help them enjoy the day, as well. Thanksgiving week can be a frenzied time, but try to remember that it’s about giving thanks to God. So let God guide your week and day, and on November 22, try to set aside a little bit of time to read the 25 verses that Paul wrote to Sts. Philemon and Apphia. See if this holy married couple might prompt a tweak here or there for your Thanksgiving. Ask these generous and open-minded first-century saints to pray for your Thanksgiving; that it may be filled with genuine gratitude to the Lord, and that kindness and acceptance may be more plentiful than food. A Theresa Doyle-Nelson is a freelance author from Pipe Creek, Texas. She is the author of Saints of the Bible (Liguori), More Saints of the Bible, and her blog at

1. The candle on the left has burned down. 2. Pete’s shirt no longer has a collar. 3. Grandpa’s place setting has moved. 4. The platter beneath the turkey is gold. 5. There is a wine glass by Grandma. 6. The mirror now has a frame. 7. Grandpa’s suit jacket has a pocket and handkerchief. 8. A roll is missing from the bowl.

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November 2016 ❘



Our Disposable Culture It’s time to say, “Enough!” This month is a time for Americans to celebrate both food and family in our land of plenty. But what happens when plenty becomes too much, when surplus turns into waste? Our faith calls for us to live modestly, but this can be a daunting endeavor. Consider the barrage of materialistic temptations showered upon us daily through the media. In this environment, which Pope Francis and others have referred to as the “throwaway culture,” human beings fade into a different entity: consumers. Amid the flurry of excitement the coming holidays bring, we consumers must regain our humanity and help restore it in others.

An Embarrassment of Riches In a strange twist, food waste, a symptom of the throwaway culture, exists alongside hunger. As children, we might have heard, “Clean your plate! Children are starving in China.” And though hunger certainly is a global issue, it’s important to remember that it’s a domestic one, as well. Seventy billion— that’s billion with a b—pounds of food are wasted in our country every year. That’s according to a report by Feeding America a nonprofit devoted to ending hunger in the United States.At the same time, 15 percent of the US population, nearly 50 million Americans, lives in poverty within foodinsecure households. On the agricultural level, food is overproduced and distributed to grocers, where a certain amount is already assumed never to make it to the customer’s table. However, once food gets to American homes, much of it will be wasted there, as well. A USA TODAY article from June 2015 reports that American households throw away $640 per year in food. We might not have power over corporate agriculture, but we can at least monitor our own buying and eating habits a little better. If the food pantry is getting a little full, maybe it’s time to share some non1 8 ❘ Nov ember 2016

perishables with a soup kitchen or food bank. Instead of buying something “just in case,” perhaps that money saved could be donated to a hunger-relief effort. Even refraining from throwing away extra food after dinner is a positive step.

A Dark Day The throwaway culture extends beyond food waste and hunger. It’s a cruel irony that Black Friday, with its mad rushes for toys and electronics, is beginning to overshadow the day before—Thanksgiving—when we say thanks to God for what we already have. Black Friday purchases often end up as gifts under the Christmas tree, to be hurriedly unwrapped on yet another holiday— one crucial to Christian identity—dwarfed to many by consumerism. The sacred, it seems, is only standing in the way of sales. Pope Francis hasn’t shied away from weighing in on the problem. In February 2015, he said the throwaway culture was “created by the powers that control the economic and financial policies of the globalized world.” Last year at midnight Mass he said, “In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, [Jesus] calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential.” It’s telling that the pope chose midnight Mass to speak those words—as the Christmas season ended for advertisers, it was just beginning on the Church calendar. If we take the pope’s words to heart, the veil of consumerism is lifted, and our eyes are opened to the world as it really is: broken but beautiful, hurt but not hopeless. Then we’re able to see society’s wounds and take action. It’s a good and blessed thing that we will break bread and feast with our loved ones this Thanksgiving. As we put the leftovers away, let’s strive to achieve the simplicity and balance Pope Francis calls for. And let’s share our nation’s cornucopia with those who need it most. —D.I. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg

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Lord, Teach Us to Pray At times, prayer can feel like playing hideand-seek. So how do we find God? BY JOE MCHUGH


HE GOD I know has a stubborn and mildly irksome, yet endearing, habit of seeking me out and showing up when and where I least expect. For example, I got an unexpected lesson in how to pray recently as I poked through discounted pants at Macy’s. That’s where I heard a confident little girl’s voice call out over and over, “Abba,” a word meaning “daddy,” and one that, until then, I had met only in the Gospels. The voice belonged to a little Middle Eastern girl, who was playing an impromptu game of hide-and-seek with her father. He was pre-

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tending to hide back by the Dockers, but was clearly eager to have her find him there. It was an unexpected glimpse into the playful intimacy the two shared. After they left and I found the pants I needed, I realized I’d just gotten a close-up look at the blurry boundary between our dayto-day experience and the sometimes startling appearance of God’s reign, times when opportunities for grace seem to open up for us, often just for an instant and most often without warning. As Christians, we live in that mysterious in-between place of opportunity with Jesus, and it’s also there that we’re taught how to pray. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g


After all, don’t we all repeatedly imitate the little girl by shouting out for God, humbly confident that we won’t be abandoned or our needs ignored? I shared an intimate moment between father and daughter, but we see something similar in the opening verses of Luke 11. It’s there that Jesus invites us to share the comfortable intimacy he has with the God he calls his father—his Abba and ours.

In Search of God “[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When Fr

you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test’” (Lk 11:1-4). These opening verses contain Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, and I’d encourage you to read it slowly, and then imagine Jesus whispering in your ear, “Here, let me show you how to pray.” Jesus invites us to pray with him to our shared Abba, a God who is always personal and inviting, seldom demanding, never standoffish. At the same time, our Abba also sends the Holy Spirit to us so we can pray through, with, and in Jesus. November 2016 ❘


Pray the Lord’s Prayer like this several times, until you are ready to move on to the rest of the chapter. As you do, put yourself in the place of the disciple who steps forward and boldly asks Jesus how to pray. Instead of a theoretical discourse on the finer points of contemplative prayer, Jesus simply tells you what to do and what to say. The words he teaches us come with a mysterious power that expresses the muted longing in our hearts that God’s reign will finally appear and our deepest hungers be satisfied, that we be given daily bread. Pray with the same confident playfulness that animated the relationship between the little girl and her father. After all, what kind of a parent would play a cruel game of hideand-seek with a child, one calculated to frustrate and disappoint rather than fondly engage and delight? Instead, we’re invited to approach our Abba with eyes and hearts open to see God’s reign when it appears, receive bread when it’s offered, and give and receive forgiveness when needed. What Jesus teaches us is that we never approach God as reluctant beggars hoping for a handout, but as persons and communities confident that winding up empty-handed is never our lot.

Keep praying with this Gospel until you start to hear what I’m calling “your words,” heartfelt words that the Lord seems to be speaking directly into your life. When you hear them, give them time to take root. They may come as a word or phrase or image; but however they come, notice how they strike a deep chord in you. Be patient and recruit the Holy Spirit’s help in finding your words— living words—that your Abba, your eager-tobe-found, anxious-to-delight God, offers— living words that both comfort and challenge. Keep a prayer journal and record your “living words” as you hear them, the mysterious, yet engaging, verbal miracles God sends your way as you pray. As you do, remember that the real word God often speaks to us is holy, silent presence, an experience that starts in God and returns to God, a presence that has a life of its own. Be sure to write down what comes to you: writing has a permanent quality to it that keeps us faithful in remembrance, accountable in practice. Writing like this is a form of prayer, so don’t rush your time with the Lord: let God take the lead and don’t be surprised if it takes a day or two to get your words on paper. As you write your words, which ones are

The real word God often speaks to us is holy, silent presence, an experience that starts in God and returns to God.


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familiar in both their comfort and their challenge, and which ones are new, fresh, and surprising? Think of the familiar words as the continuities of your life with God, and think of the words that seem new as the discontinuities of your life of faith.

Growing Our Faith

is that God’s business is grace, not magic. We need to keep our eyes open for tiny traces of God’s reign that are always opening up for us without fanfare in the all-too-ordinary places in our lives. For instance, have you ever had an opportunity to say something mean and ugly to somebody, but, for some reason, held your tongue and spared that person a verbal wound? Or what about when somebody you really dislike went out of his or her way to be kind to you, doing something so remarkably gracious it made you forget—even if only for a few seconds—how much you disliked that person?

It’s in the space between continuity and discontinuity, comfort and challenge that we grow in faith, hope, and love. After all, prayer and service are what faith, hope, and love do, yet they are also always God’s gifts—examples, perhaps, of how we’re called to accept daily bread from a faithful companion. To what dimension of your life do your words speak? Might God be trying to coax you into a fuller, deeper life? Do you find a different word each time you pray this Gospel, or do you keep coming back to the same word, phrase, or image each time? How might these words be opportunities of grace for you? Or, stated differently, what might love require of you right now? Instead of thinking of a word as a Frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom, mere abstraction, step into the fuller All Natural embarrassing leaks and the inconvenience Clinically-Tested biblical sense of word as how God of constantly searching for rest rooms Herbal Supplement speaks life into creation, the place in public – for years, I struggled with • Reduces Bladder Leaks bladder control problems. After trying where your life resides in God. The • Reduces Urinary Frequency expensive medications with horrible words God may be speaking into your side effects, ineffective exercises and • Safe and Effective – life right now may be people, situaNo Known Side Effects undignified pads and diapers, I was ready tions, relationships, and even conflicts • Costs Less than Traditional to resign myself to a life of bladder leaks, Bladder Control Options isolation and depression. But then I tried that hold possibilities of new life for • Sleep Better All Night BetterWOMAN. you. We’re also invited to imitate God • Live Free of Worry, by speaking our own words of love, When I first saw the ad for BetterWOMAN, I was skeptical. Embarrassment, and So many products claim they can set you free from leaks, Inconvenience justice, and creativity back into our frequency and worry, only to deliver disappointment. lives and all creation. When I finally tried BetterWOMAN, I found that it You don’t have to let In the end, the deepest word God actually works! It changed my life. Even my friends bladder control problems control you. speaks to us is our life, a life that is have noticed that I’m a new person. And because it’s Call now! all natural, I can enjoy the results without the worry seeking to come fully alive in faith, of dangerous side effects. Thanks to BetterWOMAN, hope, and love. How might God be I finally fought bladder control problems and I won! calling you into fuller life, life that comes with a quality we can only call Also Available: BetterMAN® eternal? In other words, what kind of The 3-in-1 Formula Every Man Needs – bread is God offering you today? Take Better BLADDER, Better PROSTATE, and Better STAMINA! time to let God suggest these words Order online at to you, and, when you’re ready, write Limited about them in your prayer journal. Time Call Now & Ask How To Get A I can’t speak for you, but I waste too Offer much time waiting for God to do something spectacular or even magical in my life. I keep thinking that someday CALL TOLL-FREE I’ll get knocked off my horse like Paul or order online: the apostle and find my life finally These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Use as directed. Individual results may vary. free of raggedness and difficulty. One BetterMAN and BetterWOMAN are the trademarks of Interceuticals, Inc. ©2016 Interceuticals, Inc. of the lessons we learn slowly, however,

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There comes a time when we want to be whole.

But we also have sufferings and disappointments, don’t we? No amount of pious hokum can magically take away the permanent suffering that surrounds our fragile hearts. We rail against irredeemable pain, but there comes a time when we want to be whole. It’s then, isn’t it, that we have to be taught, slowly and patiently, to let love from our Abba transform our isolating pain into redemptive suffering.

Perhaps we just need to let go of our delusory belief in self-reliance and embrace the deep-down need we all have for relationship, for not just giving, but also receiving—the fundamental rhythm of all real living. When we learn to live in this grace, we gradually start to see what God is really like, and, perhaps even more to the point, it’s then that our shared Abba teaches us who we really are. Go back over what you’ve written and see if you can identify one word that best expresses the new life God is offering to you right here, right now. Spend the time you need to learn the healing wonder of just spending time in God’s sheltering silence. And as you do, remember how God’s reign often shows up apparently out of nowhere and is waiting to be found, almost out of sight, way back there, back by the Dockers. A Joe McHugh is a spiritual director who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. He contributes frequently to this magazine, and his book, Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places, was published by Franciscan Media.


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Marching for Peace The Corporal Works of Mercy ■ Feed the hungry ■ Give drink to the thirsty ■ Clothe the naked ■ Shelter the homeless ■ Visit the sick ■ Visit the imprisoned ■ Bury the dead


The Spiritual Works of Mercy ■ Admonish the sinner ■ Instruct the ignorant ■ Counsel the doubtful ■ Comfort the sorrowful ■ Bear wrongs patiently ■ Forgive all injuries ■ Pray for the living and the dead Pam Bosley, cofounder of Purpose Over Pain, speaks out against gun violence outside Chicago’s St. Sabina Church. According to reports, the city has seen more gun violence in 2016 than in the previous 20 years.


Fr ancisca n Media .org

that there is nothing we can do, which means that violence wins. “This is a responsibility that belongs to all of us as citizens, especially to our elected officials. Let them hear our voices. Let us demand action today. Doing nothing is not an option.” A

tal Digi as t Ex r

Click here for a longer version of this article.

Joyce Duriga is editor of Catholic New World, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

POPE FRANCIS ON MERCY “Faith is born and reborn from a life-giving encounter with Jesus, from experiencing how his mercy illumines every situation in our lives. We would do well to renew this living encounter with the Lord each day.” —Pope Francis, Mass in Gyumri, Armenia, June 2016

Nov ember 2016 ❘ 2 5


ach Friday during the summer months, Chicago parishioners marched the streets for those who died from gun violence. On one occasion, for example, they marched for George Anderson, 17, Tyshawn Lee, 9, and Amari Brown, 7. While many doubted what marches would do to help curb the violence, Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church, said if they raised the consciousness of participants and gave people hope, they were a success. “Our children should not be afraid to go to the park, sit on their porch, or play with their friends on their block,” he said. “The laughter and voices of children should be louder than shots fired or sirens blaring in our streets.” Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich counseled city residents: “If we want to survive as a community that treasures life, we must act now to put an end to this carnage. Not to act only gives in to the despairing falsehood



Falling Away


be a strong and reliable partner for my mind and spirit. If we’re going to live peacefully with each other and with our Godgiven Earth, many of us are going to have to let some Embrace the things fall away. We have to Autumn Spirit let go of the idea that we can keep burning fossil fuels and This fall, focus on letting producing material goods go of one material thing without limit. We have to and one unhelpful attitude give up the notion that we or resentment. have a God-given right to luxury and convenience at Volunteer to help an elderly any social and environmental neighbor with raking cost. leaves. And as we face the consequences of our collective Join some kids and jump in choices—a changing climate, a leaf pile. the loss of habitat and species, landscapes irreparably scarred by human abuse, and human communities that suffer from poverty and injustice—we have to let go of the illusion that our presence on this planet has been merely benign. Letting go isn’t easy. Even many trees, like oaks, beech, and ironwood, cling to their dead leaves throughout most of the winter. In fact, I don’t think it can be done without trust—as Jesus had when he submitted to the cross—that we are held in strong hands, which will never let us go, and that our empty hands and open hearts might receive new and even more precious gifts. A




Kyle Kramer is the executive director of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The beauty of autumn offers us a valuable lesson in the power and necessity of letting go. 2 6 ❘ Nov ember 2016

tal Digi as Extr

Click the button on the right to listen to an interview with Kyle..

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



have always loved autumn. Here in the temperate Midwest, the deciduous trees put on a cloak of many colors that rivals Joseph’s. The maples flame in brilliant reds, the sycamores and poplars turn to burnished gold, and the oaks offer a stunning rainbow of hues. Up until recently, it has mainly been the crisp, cooler weather and the fall colors that I have savored about autumn. But now, I have also begun to pay attention to what happens after the spectacular show of technicolor leaves: the trees let them fall to the ground, to become nourishment for the soil. In this, the trees offer a valuable lesson about letting go as an essential part of a healthy life. Our kids grow up, and because we love them, we let them go. We are wronged by someone, but eventually, if we don’t want our grievance to consume us, we have to let it go. A job or a home or a relationship is right for a season, and then we have to let it go. In light of some recent health challenges, I have been struggling to let go of the idea that my body will always

Ever wonder why Jesus said, “I come to cast a fire on the earth”? His next words—“how I wish it were ignited”—suggest a certain impatience. Nevertheless: the sparks, His sparks, are all around us. For over 50 years, a Jesuit priest known simply as Father Frank preached on the syndicated “Catholic Quarter Hour” radio program. He selected his favorite talks to be published in a book, Sparks from His Heart. Father Frank passed on to eternal life, but his powerful, timeless messages still reach people nationwide and soon will reach many more globally. Just as Father Frank’s radio talks did for half a century, his book aims to bring the faithful closer to grasping the full meaning of Jesus’ words. The Heart of our Catholic Faith “It is that we become His other humanity—His resurrected life. He continues to live in His resurrected life through our humanities. To me this is the very heart and apex of our Catholic faith.” Father Frank

ISBN Quality Paperback 978-0-9910506-5-9 ISBN eBook 978-0-9910506-6-6

Fr. Frank’s Living Legacy— Eucharist Spirituality As a renowned retreat master, Father Frank promulgated the Mystical Humanity of Christ, encouraging the lay faithful to live with a heightened awareness of the living indwelling presence of Christ in the ordinary circumstances of their lives. His living legacy is the organization he founded to continue the mission that was entrusted to Servant of God Cora Evans.

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Pope Saint John Paul II greets Father Frank Parrish, S.J. in anticipation of the canonization of Saint Claude La Colombiere. It was Father Frank’s blessing with the relic of then Blessed Claude that resulted in the first class miracle needed to move Claude forward in the sainthood process.

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Pope and the Preacher Pope Francis says Martin Luther King Jr. is a role model for Americans. A scholar of black Catholic history explains why. BY CECILIA A. MOORE


Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress at the US Capitol on September 24, 2015, urging, “All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person.” Behind him are Vice President Joseph P. Biden (left) and former Speaker of the House John Boehner.



HEN POPE FRANCIS arrived at Joint Base Andrews on September 22, 2015, the families of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden led his greeting party. The Obama family’s presence in the party demonstrated how much the United States had changed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a voting-rights march from Selma to Montgomery 50 years earlier. In 1965, when wide swaths of African Americans were excluded from voting, the idea of an African American president was hardly dreamed of by the average American, black or white. Similarly, one of the central events of Pope Francis’ visit, an address to the US Congress, would also have been unheard-of in 1965. When Senator John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, he was compelled to assure the American public that if it placed its trust in him, he would not take his marching orders for governing from the pope. Although he was elected president, Kennedy’s religion continued to be suspect by many Americans. Not until the 1980s did the United States establish formal diplomatic ties with the Holy See. And, though the first papal visit to the United States took place in the fall of 1965 with Pope Paul VI’s address to the United Nations, and many other papal visits have happened since, Pope Francis’ invitation to address Congress signified a major shift in Fr

American thought about how the United States should relate politically to the Holy See.

Perfect Timing Whether or not the average American was aware of the historic significance of Pope Francis’ visit, most were simply happy to have him here. His visit came at the end of a summer that had its share of national sadness, anger, and bewilderment. The Black Lives Matter movement helped bring to national attention the killing of unarmed black men and women around the United States at the hands of police officers. Various state legislatures were working to undo safeguards designed to keep together families that included undocumented immigrant parents and to protect the future of “Dreamers,” undocumented youth who were raised in the United States. Mass shootings soared that summer with the racially motivated massacre in Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana. Poverty continued to dog many Americans. And political polarization intensified as Democrats and Republicans launched bids to become their party’s nominee for president in 2016. Pope Francis’ visit could not have come at a better time. For about a week, his presence, his interest in us, his attention to our problems, and his ability to personify the theme of his visit, “Love is our mission,” seemed to lift the November 2016 ❘



Pope Francis stands with President Barack Obama during the national anthem at the White House September 23, 2015.

spirits of Americans. During his many public and private events, Pope Francis reached out to us, reminded us that we are made in God’s image and likeness, and called us to remember times in our history when we transcended self-interest, hatred, and fear. It is no wonder the Monday after the pope departed from the United States, NBC weatherman Al Roker expressed what many of us felt: “I miss the pope.”

speak, or write about American Catholics, the setting, the singers, and the song were an affirmation of the place of black Catholics in the Church in the United States. In the days leading up to the visit, many media sources wondered how he would relate to issues of particular concern to African Americans. In particular, several articles speculated about whether Pope Francis would directly address ways that racism and its effects were still of consequence in America. Archbishop

Welcome to ‘Our Common Home’

Demonstrators outside the White House July 8, 2016, protest a series of police shootings. Catholics nationwide are responding to a violent year with calls for peace and tolerance.

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The morning after his arrival, President Obama formally welcomed Pope Francis to the United States on the lawn of the White House. During the Civil War, a group of black Catholic Washingtonians held a fund-raiser on this same lawn to build the first Catholic church in the nation’s capital for African Americans, St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. In his remarks on the lawn, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of protecting and defending “our common home” for our children and future generations around the globe. He admonished us to act on our responsibility to care for creation and our neighbors, saying, “To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we defaulted on a promissory note, and now is the time to honor it.” At the conclusion of the welcoming ceremony, St. Augustine’s Gospel Choir, the choir of that same historic church, sang for Pope Francis. For a group in the Catholic Church that is often overlooked when people think, St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g

Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, also expressed hope that the pope would address racism. In the summer of 2015, a small delegation from the Black Lives Matter movement accepted an invitation to meet with papal advisors in Vatican City. Pope Francis’ advisors wanted to learn more about the racial problems and situations in the United States that led to the creation of the movement. Black Lives Matter leaders informed the pope’s advisors about the various ways the lives of black people are devalued in American society and the purpose of their movement, which calls for investigations of the public shootings of black people, particularly those committed by police officers; the demilitarization of local police forces; and accountability for police violence in communities of color. Their hope in having these meetings was that Pope Francis would address America’s troubled racial relations. At the outset of his remarks to Congress, Pope Francis declared his intention to “dialogue” with us through “the historical memory of your people.” The people Pope Francis had in mind were Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton. In the pope’s view,

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(Opposite page) Thousands march on March 8, 2015, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when a violent conflict with police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, catapulted the civil rights movement into the American consciousness.

they tried “by hard work and self-sacrifice— some at the cost of their lives—to build a better future.” Pope Francis directed our attention to them because they provide models and methods that we can apply to our current problems.

Model of Justice and Freedom To dialogue with our “people,” Pope Francis could not have made a better choice than Dr. King. It is difficult to imagine an American born after 1930 or educated anywhere in the United States after 1986, the year that Dr. King’s birthday became a national holiday, who does not have at least a rudimentary understanding of his meaning to America. Dr. King is the American icon of freedom and justice. He is the single best American teacher of the power of love over hate. We hear his voice whenever any schoolchild steps up to recite from the “I Have a Dream” speech. We are beneficiaries of the revolution he led to make the United States more just and compassionate. Calling on Americans to be people of justice and compassion was very much on the mind of Pope Francis as he addressed Congress last fall. Readers of the text of Pope Francis’ address to Congress will be struck by how little he actually said about Dr. King. He recognized the role Dr. King played in the Selma campaign and the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. The pope said that Selma was part of King’s “campaign to fulfill his ‘dream’ of full civil and

political rights for African Americans.” This is the “dream” Dr. King shared with over 250,000 people on the occasion of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. Pope Francis then focused his remarks on the situation of immigrants and their treatment in the United States today. He said he was glad to know that America was still a “a land of dreams. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.” He also called attention to the plight of immigrants and refugees and called on the people of the United States to remember their own immigrant roots. The pope admonished us that when “the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their backs on our ‘neighbors’ and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident we can do that.”

A Dream Deferred? What was the connection between Pope Francis’ brief remarks about Dr. King and his more expansive commentary on justice for immigrants and refugees? How does the civil rights movement of the 1960s relate to today’s immi-

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Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. (center) lead 600 protesters on the 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capitol in Montgomery in March 1965 in an effort to secure voting rights for minorities. The third attempt, federally protected, was successful; earlier attempts were violently blocked.

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grants? How does Dr. King’s “dream” relate to the “Dreamers” of today? And what about racism and Black Lives Matter? I believe the answers to these questions lie in the “I Have a Dream” speech. The first thing Dr. King established in this speech is that they were gathered in Washington to demonstrate for freedom. As he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he turned to history and recalled the Emancipation Proclamation. He asserted that the promise of freedom that document gave to African Americans a century earlier was not yet a reality for them. King spoke of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as a promissory note for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But, he asserted, “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.” Then King declared that they were in Washington to ask the nation to make good on this promise to all people, regardless of race. Fundamentally, Dr. King was calling for the nation to respect the full citizenship rights of African Americans. This call resonates today with immigrants, documented and undocumented alike, who have come here seeking to make better lives for themselves and their families and who contribute to the good and prosperity of Fr

America in untold ways. It also reflects the situation of many American communities of color who still do not always experience the respect and privileges they are due as citizens. Dr. King warned that these rights must be respected. If not, he said, “there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro [African American] is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright days of justice emerge.” Next, Dr. King spoke of the “marvelous militancy” which is the work of African Americans and their allies who stand up for justice and civil rights. Today we have a “marvelous militancy” in the young “Dreamers,” who are organized with allies to work for their full citizenship and for reforms in our immigration laws and practices. We also have this “marvelous militancy” in the Black Lives Matter movement that draws much of its inspiration from the civil rights movement that Dr. King led. As Dr. King asserted, the “marvelous militancy” then and now benefits from “many of our white brothers [and sisters]” who “have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.” Finally, in the “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King emphasized that we are all made in God’s image and likeness and that we are all children of God. These concepts are deeply reso-

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A Catholic Response to Current Events B Y K AT H L E E N C A R R O L L


nant with the concept of dignity in Catholic social teaching. Our dignity is the foundation for our right to justice. But the truth is that we are not living in a society that respects these principles. The persistence of racism and ugly anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions are damning evidence of our failure to see God in our brothers and sisters. This troubled Dr. King, and it clearly troubles Pope Francis, too. That’s why I think Pope Francis wanted to make us remember Dr. King and his “dream” while he was here in the United States.

Sisters and Brothers in Christ Dr. King’s basic message was that we need each other. When one of us suffers, we all suffer. I am not free until we are all free. Our need to understand ourselves as deeply related to our sisters and brothers is what Catholic social teaching means by solidarity. Solidarity was central to everything Dr. King said and 34 ❘

November 2016


HAT HAPPENS to a dream deferred?” Langston Hughes asked 1950s America about black Americans. Most of us recall one possibility— that it shrivels up like a raisin in the sun—but few know his poem’s last, dark query: “Or does it explode?” That last option edged closer to reality with protests against police shootings and chants in the streets of “Black Lives Matter.” There is a Catholic response to the escalating violence and the cries of racial injustice. One example, in the accompanying story, is Vatican officials inviting representatives from the Black Lives Matter movement to meet with papal advisors. On the heels of an officerinvolved shooting in Milwaukee this past August, the archdiocesan Black Catholic Ministry Commission commented: “Every life in this country should mean something— from conception to natural death. ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not a declaration of self-importance; instead, it is more a declaration of vulnerability. . . . We are called to lend our support to the Black Lives Matter movement as we know that one of their foundational principles is to stand up for those who have been left out and unheard.” Other dioceses have taken sup-

Protesters march in Milwaukee August 15, 2016, following a police shooting the previous day. Rallies protesting police-involved killings hit their peak in July. portive stances, too. A national commission, headed by Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, is leading the way. The opinions of individual Catholics on reports of police violence and the responses to it are wide-ranging and often deeply personal. But, as an institution, the Church is calling us to listen with compassion to those who feel marginalized and victimized.

did, and it is what Pope Francis embodies and advances consistently today. Dr. King’s “dream” is rooted in our rights as sons and daughters of God. Among these are our rights to be judged by our characters and not by our skin colors, to be in each other’s company as equals, to experience justice and freedom, and to see “the jangling discord of our nation” transformed into “a beautiful symphony of brotherhood [and sisterhood].” I believe Pope Francis chose Dr. King because he wants us to wake up and remember that the “dream” is for us to become a real community rooted in love and respect for one another. A

Dr. King’s ‘dream’ is rooted in our rights as sons and daughters of God.

Dr. Cecilia A. Moore is a religious studies professor at the University of Dayton who holds a doctorate in American religious history from the University of Virginia. She grew up listening, every Sunday morning, with her grandmother, to the radio program Martin Luther King Speaks. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g


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Inspired by

Sassy Saints These feisty and faithful women get a book of their own. BY DONIS TRACY

H Author Maria Morera Johnson finds that you can relate to saints when you see them as regular people who led regular lives.

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AVE YOU EVER been captivated pled with modern-day women whose lives are by a book just by its cover? Con- marked not only with a deep faith, but with versely, have you ever walked a strong character, as well. away from one without even giving it a chance because of its Getting to Know the Saints title? That is just what author Maria Morera Johnson admits she was a bit stumped when she first set out to write the book. “I saw saints Johnson is afraid of. as one-dimensional holy “Some people have been cards,” she says. “I never saw put off by the title, but I them as regular people who think it’s a shame for people lived regular lives.” to judge a book by its cover— For one year, Johnson literally,” says Johnson with researched the lives of the a laugh. Maria Morera Johnsaints. The more she read son, 52, who is witty, quick about them, the more she to smile, and slightly irrevwanted to read about them. erent, explains that the idea “I felt a real human connecto write a book about saints tion with so many of them,” first began to take shape one she says. “They kept sending day on a weekly podcast entime little signs and messages.” tled “Catholic Weekend.” Even so, the book really Johnson is a cohost of the COURTESY OF MARIA MORERA JOHNSON began to take shape one day podcast for Star Quest Production Network (SQPN) and recalls that par- as she was reading her newsfeed on Facebook. ticular day the conversation turned to which “I saw a newsfeed that the cause for canonization had just been opened for Sister Blandina saints each of the hosts most admired. Johnson found in the saints people like her. Segale,” Johnson recalls. Curious, Johnson Take St. Teresa of Avila, for example. She’s began reading about Sister Blandina. Johnson learned that Sister Blandina was witty. She’s quick to smile. She’s slightly irreverent. And she’s a saint. She is known for say- an Italian-born woman who immigrated with ings such as “A sad nun is a bad nun” and her family to the United States in the 1850s. She joined the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati “May God protect me from gloomy saints.” It was the inspiration of the saints them- and was sent to Colorado in the 1870s, where selves that helped Johnson choose a title for she began working in frontier towns. It was her first book, provocatively titled My Awesome, at one of these towns—Trinidad, Colorado— Beautiful, Badass Book of Saints: Courageous that she treated one of Billy the Kid’s gang Women Who Showed Me How to Live. The book, members who had been shot and was being as the title implies, features several saints cou- left to die because the doctors refused to care St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g


While ministering in the Southwest, Sister Blandina Segale had a number of encounters with the infamous Billy the Kid (below) and his band of outlaws.


November 2016 ❘


Modern-day women such as Immaculée Ilibagiza provide a shining witness to the strength of faith. Ilibagiza spent 91 days hiding with seven other women in a small bathroom during the Rwandan genocide, but emerged with her faith intact.

November 2016

in this world. But they are much more than that,” Johnson continues. “We are all made of the same stuff as these people. We are all called to holiness and, more importantly, we all are capable of achieving that.”

A Faith Reawakened Maria Morera Johnson was born in Cuba in the 1960s. When she was 3 years old, her mother and siblings fled the Communist nation and settled in the United States. Her father would later join the family. According to Johnson, she comes from a “very Catholic family,” noting that her uncle was one of the few men to enter the seminary in Cuba after Fidel Castro came into power. He is currently the bishop of Holguin, Cuba. Like many young adults, Johnson fell away from the faith in her 20s. She attended Florida International University, fell in love, married, and had three children. “Thank God for children,” she laughs, “because my faith was reawakened when it was time for our eldest to start school!” Johnson found herself once again getting involved in her faith when she began speaking to her children about the teachings of the Church. “The more I got involved, the more I realized that catechesis is a lifelong thing,” she says. While her children were young, she met Greg and Jennifer Willits, the founders of Rosary Army. That relationship, she says,


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for him due to his criminal activity. Outraged, Billy the Kid himself returned to the town to skin the doctors, but Sister Blandina, wielding a gun, intervened and convinced Billy the Kid to relent. Awed by her bravery, Johnson reposted the story on her Facebook page, saying, “The Church needs more gun-toting nuns.” With renewed fervor, Johnson began researching different saints. One of those was St. Rose of Lima. When Johnson was a young woman, St. Rose of Lima was unknown to her. Of course she had heard about her, but she just didn’t know much more than the basic details of her life. Then Johnson began to realize that St. Rose of Lima was turning up in many different places. While at a speaking engagement, Johnson decided to attend Mass at a local church. The parish name—St. Rose of Lima. She found a medal of a saint on the ground. The saint—St. Rose of Lima. “As I got to writing this book, I began to realize that some of the saints seemed to be following me, trying to be my friends,” smiles Johnson. “I firmly believe in the communion of the saints, and I think that some of them were reaching out to me.” After several of these “chance encounters,” Johnson began to look deeper into the life of St. Rose of Lima. What she found was a woman of such beauty that she attempted to disfigure her face to dissuade male suitors. “St. Rose didn’t want any deterrents to her plan to be a bride of Christ,” Johnson adds. She also began looking at the lives of modern-day women whose faith has led them to the extraordinary. Women such as Immaculée Ilibagiza, who in 1994 found herself in her native Rwanda, hiding in a small bathroom with seven other women for 91 days in order to avoid being slaughtered by Hutu fighters. Helpless, she hid as her village was annihilated—including members of her own family. A Tutsi and a Catholic, Ilibagiza relied on her faith to survive and, eventually, to forgive her family’s killers. Johnson points out that both Sister Blandina and Ilibagiza, as well as St. Rose of Lima (see box on adjacent page), are all featured in her book. “All the women in my book boldly jumped into situations armed with their faith,” she says, adding, “so yeah, these saints are all badass.” She admits that the book may not appeal to everyone, but notes that “this book is for people like me, who maybe thought that saints were one-dimensional people who didn’t live

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

St. Rose of Lima and Audrey Hepburn


N HER BOOK, Maria Morera Johnson compares St. Rose of

Lima, known for her exceptional beauty, to a modern-day beauty—actress Audrey Hepburn. Johnson writes that Hepburn’s beauty went far deeper than her Hollywood glamour. Just as St. Rose of Lima opened the doors of her Peruvian


home to care for homeless children, Audrey Hepburn became an ambassador to the United Nations, traveling extensively throughout Africa and South America helping poor children. “The most beautiful pictures of Audrey Hepburn don’t show her in diamonds and Givenchy dresses,” writes Johnson. “Instead, she is

crowded by smiling children clamoring to be held by her or carried on her back, and she welcomes it. You can see it in her smile. “Audrey Hepburn and St. Rose of Lima, beautiful according to society’s standards, demonstrated a purer beauty that came from the heart,” she continues. “Their loving service became the true measure of their beauty.” At the end of that chapter, as she does with every chapter, Johnson asks the reader to reflect on certain questions. PHOTO BY HANS GERBER

In this case, the questions are all related to beauty. “How can your inner beauty inspire others?” she asks, then urges readers to “thank Jesus for those qualities that make you beautiful. Offer them to the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to magnify them in you in the service of her Son.”

“kindled in me a fire that has never been quenched.” She began writing for the couple’s blog, as well as for their video podcasts, and was ultimately led to SQPN, a podcast network. “The idea behind SQPN is that we need to introduce people to Jesus. We need to go where they are, not wait for them to come to us. “I think it was that background that led me to this book,” she muses. “This book is just an hors d’oeuvre. Maybe by reading this book, it will lead people to want to know more— about God, about saints, about the faith, about themselves.”

What Comes Next? According to Johnson, the book, which was released in November 2015, has generated much attention. “It’s been really neat—this book has opened up so many conversations,” she explains. “There have been so many people who have wanted to share with me their favorite saint. And then the men!” she laughs. Fr

“The men all say to me—what about the men? Why did you write a book only about women?” Johnson does not dismiss the possibility of writing a sequel, one that perhaps focuses on bold male saints, but she does note that she is currently focusing on her final year of teaching composition and literature at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, a position she has held for 10 years. “I’m looking forward to retirement,” she says with a hint of sadness. “But I would also love to continue the conversations that begin when people read this book. “This is what I love—I want to engage people where they are and start a conversation. I want to be there for people who are seeking and looking—that’s what this book, and these saints, are all about.” A

How can your inner beauty inspire others?

Donis Tracy is an award-winning author who lives and works in the Boston area. She has written a number of articles for this magazine, including a July 2016 feature on the Church in Cuba. November 2016 ❘


Flavors 6 of the Bible 8 Spice up your Thanksgiving dinner with these Old Testament ingredients. B Y R I TA H E I K E N F E L D


HE TRADITION of Thanksgiving is an important one, whether you have an elaborate feast or a simple supper. It’s a day to give thanks for our abundant blessings, both material and spiritual. So don’t stress out if everything isn’t up to Martha Stewart’s standards. She’s not going to be at your table, anyway. I’ve hosted many Thanksgiving feasts for family and friends and will give you this advice: parsley and whipped cream are great culinary go-to’s for fast fixes! In the end, it’s not just about the food, but also who shares it with you. During this season of thanks, we find ourselves in the kitchen more than at any other time of the year. That makes it a perfect time

to augment our spirituality as Christians through the preparation and sharing of food. For example, I have learned that many of the herbs and spices we use in our traditional Thanksgiving dinner have their roots in biblical days. It’s fun to tell the story of their origin, and it makes for an impromptu Bible lesson. This is especially important for the little ones. Let them help as much as is age-appropriate. My own children helped harvest sage for the dressing from the herb garden and plucked parsley leaves from the stems to add to the gravy stock and our potatoes. Today, my grandchildren help with the same tasks. Here are some of those Thanksgiving herbs and spices from biblical times, with tips and recipes for using them.

“I have seen ruthless scoundrels, strong as flourishing cedars” (Ps 37:35). The bay tree during biblical times was a symbol of wickedness, or, conversely, distinction, and wealth. Emperors, heroes, doctors, and poets wore wreaths of bay laurel leaves, and triumphant athletes of ancient Greece wore crowns of

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bay. The Romans believed that lightning never struck the bay leaf tree and so wore crowns of its leaves as protection during thunderstorms. Today, bay is a traditional herb to use in stocks and brines for turkey. Bay has been shown to help the body process insulin more efficiently, which leads to lower blood-sugar levels. Bay is a salt-buster, too. By adding this savory herb to food, you’ll need less salt.

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Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange wings in a single layer in a large, sprayed roasting pan. Scatter onions over top. Roast about 1-1/2 hours or until wings are very brown.

Put wings and onions in large pot. Add 1 cup broth to roasting pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom. Add the brown bits to the pot. Add 6 cups broth, carrot, celery, thyme, sage, bay, and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove wings and save the meat for another use. Strain broth into a saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables. Refrigerate overnight, if you have time, so that you can skim the fat off the top easily. If not, do your best to skim it after straining broth. Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until well blended. Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in broth/flour mixture and boil 3-4 minutes to thicken gravy and cook flour. Season to taste.



“We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (Nm 11:5).

The Romans used it as a breath freshener. That’s why you still see it on your plate in restaurants today. Parsley is like a vitamin pill in a plant, containing chlorophyll, iron, calcium, and vitamin C— among other nutrients. It’s a good herb for kidney health. When used fresh, flat-leaf or Italian parsley is generally preferred for its richer, stronger taste, versus curly parsley. However, I grew up with the curly variety and that’s still my preference. It’s an essential ingredient in the giblet stock for my gravy.

This takes the stress out of having to make the gravy on Thanksgiving. Refrigerate up to three days or freeze for two months.


2 whole large turkey wings 1 large onion, unpeeled and cut into large chunks 2 quarts + 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1 large carrot, chopped 1 rib celery, chopped 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves 1 bay leaf Several sprigs parsley 3/4 cup flour Salt and pepper

Garlic seems to have been almost as popular during Bible days as it is now. Both wild and cultivated varieties were eaten as a vegetable by the slaves for their strength-giving power and were also used to give foods flavor. Garlic is good for your cardiovascular system and has antiseptic and antibiotic qualities. 42 ❘

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Honey Mustard Dressing Check out the ingredient list. It also contains honey, a favored Bible food. This is a nice dressing for your holiday salad.


3 tablespoons cider vinegar or to taste 3 tablespoons honey or to taste 6 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon very finely minced onion Salt and pepper to taste 3/4 cup canola oil 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley

Heat vinegar and honey together until honey dissolves. Cool and then whisk in mayonnaise, mustard, onion, and seasonings. Slowly whisk in oil and stir in parsley. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Not Your Ordinary Do-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Make up to two days ahead. 5 pounds Idaho, Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes 1-1/2 sticks butter 8 ounces regular cream cheese, softened 1/2 to 3/4 cup half-and-half Salt and pepper Extra butter for top of potatoes Chopped parsley for garnish Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Put in pan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until done. You’ll know when you poke a fork into the potatoes and it comes out easily. Some of the potatoes will start to fall apart. That’s OK. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the dry pot. Over low heat, mash them to allow steam to escape.

Turn off the stove and add butter, cream cheese, and 1/2 cup half-and-half and mash until they’re as smooth or chunky as you like, adding more half-and-half if needed. Season to taste. Spray a baking dish and add the potatoes. Dot with butter. Cool and refrigerate. To Reheat in Slow Cooker: Spray slow cooker, stir potatoes to mix in butter, and reheat on low 2-3 hours. If necessary, add more half-and-half. To Reheat in Oven: Remove potatoes from refrigerator about 3 hours before serving. Reheat in 350-degree oven, lightly tented with foil, until hot throughout, 30-40 minutes.



Sage “The lampstand was made of pure beaten gold—its shaft and branches as well as its cups and knobs and petals springing directly from it. Six branches extended from its sides, three branches on one side and three on the other” (Ex 37:17-18). Biblical scholars believe there is no doubt that sage is the herb referred to in this passage. Why? Look at the menorah—when the Judean sage plant is pressed flat, it has been likened to the seven-branched candlestick or menorah.


This type of sage grows about 3 feet tall and can still be found today in most of Israel. Sage is an outstanding memory enhancer and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, as well. Unlike most herbs, sage has a stronger flavor fresh than dried, so use less. It’s the one herb that most of us use in the stuffing for our turkey.

November 2016 ❘


White & Wild Rice Dressing with Sausage, Mushrooms & Scallions This makes a lot, so feel free to divide recipe in half. It’s a great side dish for Thanksgiving dinner if you don’t want to stuff the bird. 7-8 cups chicken broth 1 cup uncooked wild rice 3 cups uncooked converted rice 4 tablespoons butter or substitute 2 cups chopped celery 2 generous cups chopped onion 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic 1 pound Italian sausage 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, your choice, sliced if necessary 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each dried sage, rosemary, and dried thyme Handful of fresh parsley, chopped Salt and pepper to taste 1 bunch green onions, sliced, both leaves and white part

Bring 7 cups broth to a boil. Add wild rice, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Add white rice and continue to cook 20 more minutes, or until rice is done. If necessary, add a bit more broth while rice is cooking. Meanwhile, sauté onions, celery, and garlic in butter, just until crisp tender. Add sausage, mushrooms, sage, rosemary, and thyme, breaking up sausage with a potato masher. Cook until sausage is done. Drain any grease. Combine sausage mixture with rice. Add parsley and blend well. Season to taste and add salt and pepper. Serve with green onions sprinkled on top. Serves 10-12.


Cinnamon “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Take the finest spices: five hundred shekels of free-flowing myrrh; half that amount, that is, two hundred and fifty shekels, of fragrant cinnamon; two hundred and fifty shekels of fragrant cane’” (Ex 30:22-23). The spices listed in this passage were used to infuse oil for anointing. Indeed, cinnamon’s history goes back before Christ was born. Actively traded a thousand years before the

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birth of Christ, this important spice is mentioned in many places in the Old and New Testament, from Exodus and Proverbs to the Book of Revelation. Cinnamon’s health-giving qualities include normalizing blood sugar and helping with arthritis. I make my own blend of pumpkin pie spice, which contains cinnamon as a main ingredient.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic and Thyme 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch rounds 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried 2 teaspoons garlic, minced 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) Salt to taste Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees. Toss potatoes with oil, thyme, garlic, red pepper, and salt. Make a single layer on baking sheet. Roast, uncovered, until tender and starting to brown, about 45 minutes.

Rita’s Pumpkin Pie Use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which has sugar and seasonings in it. The pumpkin pie spice will contain cloves, as well as cinnamon and ginger—all Bible spices. Make this a day ahead. Cool completely before refrigerating. 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk 3/4 cup sugar 2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste Several dashes salt 2 large eggs, slightly beaten


Whisk pumpkin, milk, sugar, and spices together. Taste and add more pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, if you want. Add salt and eggs and blend. Pour into pastry-lined pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes; lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake 35 minutes or until almost set in middle. Cool and refrigerate up to a day.



“Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty gold talents and a very large quantity of spices, as well as precious stones. There was no other spice like that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon” (2 Chr 9:9).

Ancient Romans imported vast quantities of ginger and taxed it heavily because it was in such high demand. Ginger is wonderful for nausea and can help relieve muscle pain and soreness due to its anti-inflammatory qualities. Try adding some crystallized ginger to your cranberry sauce. Ginger is another ingredient in pumpkin pie spice. A

Cloves were a rare spice in Bible days. In many languages, the word cloves translates as nails, and they do look like nails. Clove oil is good for toothaches and has antiseptic qualities, as well. Cloves are also included in pumpkin pie spice.


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, cooking teacher, media personality, and the founding editor of November 2016 ❘


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Road Providence to

They lost everything and headed West. F I C T I O N B Y D I A N N A G R AV E M A N



Y NEW HOUSE is on a street named Providence. Call me silly, but I take comfort in that. A fire took my first house, but things were already going downhill by then. My little town was in trouble; things were falling apart. The first casualty was the grocery store. The oil and gas companies one state over were paying field workers $50 an hour, so who in his right mind and with an able body would keep working the counter at the local grocery for $10? With no one to help, Nick, the owner, closed up—temporarily, he said, but we all knew better. Sue and Jack’s Hardware was next. Everybody knew the couple was having problems. They didn’t keep their voices down, so their separation didn’t come as a shock. But soon those two grew so angry with each other— thanks to their greedy lawyers and some lessthan-friendly negotiations—that neither one would set foot in the hardware store when the other was present. Employees were encouraged to take sides. Some did, and some left. Before it was all over, half the town was at war over the dissolution of a marriage that was nobody else’s business. Soon a lot of folks were heading into the nearest big town to stock up on food and sundries, and while they were there, they figured they might as well grab a meal at one of the trendy city restaurants. Most of them were used to making the trip for doctor’s appointments and church services, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for them to take Sunday dinner out of town, too. One day, the owner of the Come-On-In

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Diner turned the “Open” sign in the window to “Closed” and left it that way. There went my job. You would have thought things couldn’t get worse. Then a couple of kids in a dirty black pickup sped through town with speakers blaring and flicked a burning cigarette butt at my yard. Blame it on the dry weather—and the fact that the nearest volunteer fire department was 20 miles away. Nobody even got the kids’ plate number. I didn’t have much. A small place that had seen better days, with one bedroom, one bath, and a small kitchen. But it was mine, and it was paid for. I made it out of that smoldering mess with the clothes on my back; my beagle pup, Simon, in my arms; and the number for my insurance agent clenched in my teeth. I looked around at my failing town, took stock of my remaining assets, and decided I might as well try my luck elsewhere. “Like where?” Nick of the failed grocery store asked. “I want to head west,” I said. “To the land of opportunity. The American frontier.” “You’re going to have to go all the way to Alaska to find any western frontier,” Nick said. “And you’re not going to strike gold, you know.” I hadn’t thought the next part all the way through, but it seemed the man had time on his hands, and I could use a trustworthy traveling companion. A woman can’t be too careful these days. Nick is an honest man, and I knew I could count on his good intentions. “You coming or not?” I said. Nick toed the dirt with his boot. “Sure.” Nov ember 2016 ❘ 4 7


n Kansas, the first calamity struck— a plague in the form of a dense grasshopper swarm. The sun was high as my little Toyota rumbled between two farm fields. What we at first thought were large, noisy raindrops became insect parts that splattered the windshield—slowly at first, then picking up speed and getting louder. They left muddy smears down the glass that made me suck air to fight rising bile. Nick flipped on the wipers, making things worse. The road was dark and slick with the bugs, and we fishtailed twice. As fast as it started, it was over. By the time we reached the high plains, we’d made use of a car wash, and Jesus smiled at us from billboards along the highway and from an occasional signboard in a shimmering wheat field. Nick decided it was as good a time as any to ask what my plan was—and whether I had one. “I want to see New Mexico,” I said. “That’s it?” “For now.” Simon wagged in agreement from his perch on the backseat.


ur lunch was served up in a dusty desert diner by Marianne from Oklahoma, who told us she’d lived in Colorado since she was 6. “But that’s a long story.” She proceeded to tell it. A half hour and several anecdotes later, we’d learned that Marianne was abandoned by her widowed father, then adopted by an aunt with a sour face who lived in Denver and didn’t really want her. Listening to all the heartbreak that poured from that

woman’s soul as we ate our soup about wore us out. Our break came when a handful of ranchers ambled in, accompanied by the jangle of the little bell over the door, which you had to listen hard to hear over all the hooting laughter. Today’s source of humor was apparently a couple of easterners who had decided to try their hand at starting a vineyard and winery nearby. “It’ll be pretty hard to grow grapes around here,” one man said, slapping his hat on his thigh and sending dust flying. “Be like pushing a rope through a sandbox.” I’d read about the California drought and the “water wars” that affected everybody from farmers to vintners, pitting neighbor against neighbor. I had to agree with this bunch; it seemed impossible to grow grapes where it rarely rains. But look who’s talking— here I was heading west with all I owned in the backseat, and not even a plan. As Daddy used to say, “That and a nickel will get you a cup of coffee.” Back when coffee cost a nickel, anyway. “Now where was I?” Marianne had served the ranchers and was back at our table to share more of her hardluck drama. Brushing her sandy curls from her forehead with the back of a wrist, she settled in beside me in our cracked vinyl booth and prepared to serve up more personal history, which Nick and I washed down with several cups of coffee to avoid bruising her feelings. I was greatly relieved when Marianne’s narrative ended happily on a high note—with satisfactory

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employment and a proud, quiet life in this sleepy Colorado town. Somehow we made it out of that diner and into the parking lot before supper, where Simon had licked his water bowl dry on the wooden front porch and patiently awaited our lunch scraps. We’d just buckled into the Toyota and Nick had shifted into reverse when Marianne’s head popped into the open driver’s side window. Surprise! “Hey, my picture is in the paper this week,” she said, pulling the crumpled local news from her apron. “Don’t mean to brag.” We smiled and feigned interest. “Well, isn’t that nice? What for?” She tapped her temple with one finger. “You have a question about this town, I’m the one to ask. Had a fella in here a few weeks ago who said I was a one-woman chamber of commerce.” “Well, congratulations on that!” Nick said. “You take care, now.” He eased the car out onto the road before massaging one ear and wincing in pretend pain. “I think she’s sweet,” I said. “She’s had a hard life. She just likes to talk.” “Yep,” Nick said, demonstrating how you can make a point with the right tone and only one word.


omewhere between Pueblo and Colorado City, the car sputtered and choked. We rolled to a stop beside the road, about the same time I checked my cell and found we had no service. Nick hopped out and raised the hood, tinkered a little, like he knew something about fixing cars, which he didn’t. “Doesn’t this beat all?” he said as if cars usually only break down for other people. “Sure is warm,” I said, wishing I’d thought to bring water. “I remember when Daddy drove us out to California one summer back in the ’60s in a station wagon with no air-conditioning. The gas stations in the desert were selling little cups of water for a few pennies each, can you believe it? And I was so thirsty, Daddy bought me one.” I smacked my dry lips at the memory. “I think I’ll go ahead and walk up St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg

the road a ways for help,” Nick said. “It’s only three or four miles to the next exit.” This did not sit easy with me. The desert felt vast and vaguely threatening. “Let’s just wait,” I said. “Somebody’ll come along and help us out.” But Nick was already on foot.


red Mustang soon slid off the road behind me. The young driver wore a handgun on his hip and a mop of shiny, black hair. “Need some help?” he said, leaning in the driver’s side window. “No, thanks,” I said, berating myself for not carrying pepper spray, or even just a cell phone that works in the middle of God-knows-where. I quickly made the sign of the cross and hoped he didn’t notice. Simon stayed silent. The stranger disappeared behind my hood, which remained propped up from Nick’s brief attempt at engine repair. I was still devising a plan of escape— warm weather makes me slow-witted— when the young man pulled open the driver’s side door and made himself at home behind the wheel. He glanced over and caught me eyeing the gun. “Relax,” he said. “Colorado is an open-carry state. I’m not an outlaw.” I had doubts. But if he was an outlaw, he was one who knew cars, because he turned the key Nick had left in the ignition and the engine started right up. “There you go,” he said. “Just some corrosion on the battery. You might want to head to a garage and get it checked, though.” He was out of the car before I could thank him.


here ya headin’, fella?” I said as I pulled up alongside Nick, who hadn’t yet made it to the exit. “I hear New Mexico’s nice this time of year,” he said, climbing in. We didn’t take our rescuer’s advice to get the car checked out, but it kept on going and so did we, just a couple of idealists with a notion to wander. An evening downpour forced us off the road into a rest stop, where we Fr ancisca n Media .org

waited it out and sipped bottled water. I poured half of mine into Simon’s bowl and leaned into Nick for back support to watch the after-storm sun splash the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with a burst of red-orange. “You know the story?” said Nick. “About the padre?” I knew the one; it’s one of my favorites. Legend says that in the 1800s, Spanish missionary Francisco Torres was mortally wounded by an arrow and prayed for a sign from heaven as he lay dying. At sunset, the peaks blazed fiery red and the padre believed God had sent him a sign—a symbol of the blood of Christ. “¡Sangre de Cristo!” he cried with his last breath. “Of course, it’s really just the way the sunlight bounces off the atmosphere and lights up the mountaintops,” Nick said. I nodded. “Funny how everything works just right to make that happen, though.” I stood and brushed the grass from my shorts. “Let’s go.”


ur third near catastrophe came in the form of a microburst, a sudden downdraft of air that uprooted a tree and thrust it suddenly into our car’s path. We survived but the car did not, making a return trip east unlikely in the short term. After weighing our options, of which there were few, we figured we’d just have to stay put and adapt to the way of the West for now. But Nick’s prediction had been wrong; I did strike gold—in the form of a thin band he placed on my left ring finger one sunny afternoon, with a promise to make it offi-

cial. Seems we’d begun to grow on each other. Six months later, we were married at a little church ceremony presided over by Father Eli Jacobs and witnessed by his black-haired nephew, Luke, who just happens to drive a red Mustang and carry a pistol for protection in the desert. I guess you could say Luke came to our aid more than once. The western frontier is a way of the past, as Nick says, but the land where the sun sets still offers hope in the promise of a new day and new opportunities—and sometimes even in the promise of new love. The walls of our tiny New Mexico house on Providence Street glow amber in the morning and crimson at sunset. All around us the juniper and lovegrass grow wild and a little crazy—a fitting tableau for a couple of dreamers with strong faith but little direction. Maybe, after all, that’s what prayer is for. Just last month, we celebrated the grand opening of the Come-On-InToo. Our future’s not certain, but some folks come by regularly for lunch. It’s a start. And every evening, weather and our temperaments permitting, Nick and I walk Simon in the rosy glow of the magnificent peaks whose stunning evening transformation—perhaps at least once—strengthened the faith of a dying man. Call me silly, but I take comfort in that. A Dianna Graveman is an editor and writer in St. Charles, Missouri. She is the recipient of two Catholic Press Association awards for short fiction.

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Orthodox Acceptance of the Pope


Before the East/West split in AD 1054, did Christians in the East accept the bishop of Rome as the successor of St. Peter?

Pope Leo the Great sent a letter about the two natures of Christ, the main issue to be resolved there. Monophysites maintained that Jesus Christ had only a divine In varying degrees, yes. Please bear nature, which absorbed his human with a bit of history here. Before nature. “Peter has spoken through Emperor Constantine made ChristiLeo,” exclaimed some of the bishops anity a legal religion in the Roman after the pope’s letter was read there. Empire in AD 313, there was not a In AD 395, Constantinople was great deal of theology about the posi- made the capital of the eastern part tion of the bishop of Rome. St. of the Roman Empire, including Ignatius of Antioch, who was marmodern-day countries of Greece tyred in Rome in AD 107, wrote letthrough Egypt. At the Council of ters to seven Churches as he traveled Chalcedon in 451, five patriarchal to Rome for execution. He encoursees were recognized: Alexandria, aged those Christians to be united Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Rome. The spread of Islam in with their local bishop and to recogthe seventh century meant that the nize that they belong to a worldwide Churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Church. and Antioch became less prominent In time, many disputes (for exambecause of the falling number of ple, about when to celebrate Easter Christians in those areas. and whether people who had denied Some rivalry arose and grew the faith could ever be received back) between the bishops of Constantinowere resolved according to the ple and Rome. The AD 1054 mutual Roman practice. To the bishops at excommunications between the the Council of Chalcedon (451), pope and the patriarch in Constantinople marked the start of what we call the Orthodox Church(es) and the Roman Catholic Church. The sacking of Constantinople by Roman Catholic Crusaders in 1204 damaged relations tremendously. The Second Council of Lyon (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439) involved unsuccessful attempts to reunite the Churches. The Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453. The 1054 excommunications were mutually revoked on December 7, 1965, during liturgical cereEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constanmonies in Istanbul and Rome. tinople and Pope Francis walk to meet refugees Pope Paul VI had already given at the Moria refugee camp on the island of Patriarch Athenagoras the kiss of Lesbos, Greece, April 16, 2016. peace on the Mount of Olives in 5 0 ❘ Nov ember 2016

January 1964. For over 30 years, official delegations have been exchanged on the patronal feasts of St. Peter (June 29) and St. Andrew (November 30). Popes and patriarchs of the Greek Orthodox and other Orthodox Churches have paid official visits to one another and have collaborated on works of mercy and theological dialogues. Pope Francis sent an official delegation to the Orthodox Great and Holy Synod held in Cyprus last summer.

Banns of Marriage As a student in a Catholic school in the 1940s and ’50s, I learned that banns of marriage had to be announced or published three times prior to a marriage in the Church. Is this no longer required? Why and when was this stopped? The purpose of the banns was to verify the freedom of this man and woman to marry each other. Anyone with knowledge of a current marriage for either or other impediment was invited to notify the pastor of the parish so that any doubt about the freedom to marry could be resolved. The 1917 Code of Canon Law required banns. Canon 1067 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law indicates that bishops’ conferences are to determine how best to carry out the prenuptial investigation into the couple’s freedom to marry. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops enacted no additional regulations after 1983. Some parishes still publish wedding banns in their bulletins. In his 2016 apostolic exhortation, The Joy of Love, Pope Francis wrote: “For every couple, marriage preparation begins at birth. What they St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg

received from their family should prepare them to know themselves and to make a full and definitive commitment” (208). He added: “Both short-term and long-term marriage preparation should ensure that the couple do not view the wedding ceremony as the end of the road, but instead embark upon marriage as a lifelong calling based on a firm and realistic decision to face all trials and difficult moments together” (211).

Tattoos and Piercings I have been a Catholic convert for 18 years, but I haven’t been to a Catholic church in almost 18 months. My mother was my inspiration for becoming a Catholic. My Mass attendance has been spotty lately. My husband, who was baptized Catholic, joined a Protestant church eight years ago. He’s a music minister there and is very active in that congregation. He supports my religious faith, but lately I feel empty when I go to the local Catholic parish. Also, I have gotten several tattoos and facial piercings in the past year. I know that the Bible discourages tattoos; I doubt that it approves piercings. I don’t come to Mass now because I think people will whisper that I’m some type of weirdo. My husband says, “Come as you are.” What advice can you offer? I’m at the point where I’ve stopped caring. I suspect that most of the reasons that you had for becoming Catholic 18 years ago are still valid. Your mother’s death and your husband’s decision to join a Protestant church have complicated matters a bit, but didn’t you become a Catholic for your own benefit—and the support that you receive from and can offer to the larger Catholic community? I don’t think you should allow yourself to be held hostage to what other Catholics might say when you participate in the Eucharist. You could experience some strangers coming up to initiate a friendly conversation, maybe even leading Fr ancisca n Media .org

to several new friendships. Could some of your tattoos be covered up with longer clothing when you are at Sunday Mass? Could one or the other facial piercing be taken out for the short time that you are at Mass? Some other people at Mass probably already have tattoos not as visible as yours. Leviticus 19:28 says that the Hebrews should not tattoo themselves. Some pagan groups saw religious meaning in tattoos. The index of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has no entry for tattoos or piercings. Article 2297 forbids forced mutilations, not voluntary piercings or tattoos. I don’t think you should deprive yourself of joining in the Eucharist because of your tattoos or facial piercings. The fact that you contacted me about this says that you have not completely stopped caring about sharing in the Eucharist. The Thanksgiving season may be a good time to resume your previous practice. A

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St. Dominic The Story of a Preaching Friar


Best-Sellers on The American Catholic Almanac: A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People Who Changed the United States Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson My Heart Will Triumph Mirjana Soldo Confessions (Oxford World’s Classics) St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Mother Teresa: An Authorized Biography Kathryn Spink Mother Teresa: A Life Inspired Wyatt North

5 2 ❘ Nov ember 2016

By Donald J. Goergen, OP Paulist Press 160 pages • $15.95 Paperback/E-book Reviewed by FATHER ALLEN MORAN, OP, PhD, STL, current prior of the Dominican novitiate in Cincinnati, Ohio, where men entering the Dominican Order spend their first year being immersed in Dominican life and learning. He previously taught at the Angelicum, the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and at Providence College. Dominicans around the world mark the year 2016 as the 800th anniversary of the approval of the Order of Preachers by Pope Honorius III. The approval crowned years of work by St. Dominic to establish a new form of religious life that would serve the Church well, respond to the needs of an urban revival under way in Europe, and renew the apostolic life of the early Church as described in the Acts of the Apostles. It is within the context of this celebration of the Dominican Order that one of its sons, Donald Goergen, OP, offers this accessible book on the life of St. Dominic in order both to introduce men and women of today to a saint often overshadowed by others and to inspire more men and women to follow in the path laid out by the saint, i.e., the way of a preacher. Goergen, a Dominican priest and a former provincial, holds a PhD in theology and has taught and lectured extensively during his 45 years as a Domini-

can. He is also a well-established author of many books and articles on spirituality, Christology, and contemplation. Goergen rightly points out that St. Dominic is often overshadowed by his historical contemporary, St. Francis of Assisi, and even at times by the lives of some of his followers, such as St. Thomas Aquinas. Unlike most other founders of major religious orders in the Catholic Church, St. Dominic did not live long after the formal approval of his order (fewer than five years), and even during this time period he had hoped to turn governance of the order over to another friar. His emphasis on consultation—governance through a combination of periodic chapters composed of elected members of the order and a “Master,” who would govern the order whenever the chapters were not in session—reveals in part the saint’s humility and detachment. Readers will find many of the popular accounts of the life of St. Dominic documented during the saint’s canonization process (St. Dominic died in 1221 and was canonized in 1234) interwoven in Goergen’s work, such as the dream his mother had during her pregnancy, the saint’s selling of his books to feed the hungry during a famine, and staying up all night to convert a heretic innkeeper. The author does not take for granted that his readers will know all of the important institutions and persons of the age. He gives helpful thumbnail introductions to these players in easy-to-read boxed sections. There are a couple small criticisms to be made, neither of which should deter wouldbe readers from enjoying this labor of love. First, the work can at times suffer from anachronistic jargon. Such concepts as “Dominican family,” for instance, may well be valid developments of what St. Dominic started, but they can obscure the saint in the context of his own time. Second, the importance of the common life of the friars does not receive sufficient attention in my opinion. That being said, this work still serves as a good introduction to St. Dominic and the times in which he lived. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg


Saints, Scars and All Saint Peter Flawed, Forgiven, and Faithful By Stephen J. Binz Loyola Press 208 pages • $14.95 Paperback/E-book

Desperately Seeking Spirituality A Field Guide to Practice By Meredith Gould Liturgical Press 136 pages • $16.95 Paperback

Biblical scholar Stephen J. Binz reminds us that saints, popes, and other holy people are human beings, and, therefore, imperfect. Binz emphasizes that, in spite of these imperfections, when we seek God with earnest hearts, he is always there, ready to embrace us.

The Gospel of Simon

Reviewed by VIRGINIA ANN FROEHLE, a Sister of Mercy whose lifelong interest has been spirituality and all the ways that people approach the mystery of God.

By John Smelcer Leapfrog Press 162 pages • $14.95 Paperback/E-book

There are two beginnings for those who seek to walk on a spiritual path. Author Meredith Gould describes both out of her experience of linking with various Christian denominations on the subject of spirituality. For the novice, she offers practices, disciplines, and advice. She enhances these for those who have fallen into spiritual burnout, mourning the devotion they once felt. The book is more practical than inspirational. Gould's hallmark is clarity. She provides charts, boxes, and excellent questions, often placed at the ends of chapters. Gould solidly writes about the kind of prayer that requires discipline: Divine Office, centering prayer, meditation, and others. Yet she holds none of them as absolutes. The advantage of the book is that she teaches these well. The seeker can then try many kinds of prayer and discover what places him or her in the presence of God. The center of the book assists the praying person to identify times of spiritual burnout. To deal with it, she suggests willingness to receive feedback from others, curiosity about what is happening inside you, and generosity toward yourself. She elaborates creatively on these. Gould suggests other ways to leave burnout behind and to grow again: self-care, self-knowledge, rest and relaxation, and times of solitude.

The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Coretta Scott King all praised John Smelcer’s latest book, which beautifully imagines the life of Simon of Cyrene. The man who helped Jesus carry his cross would be changed forever following that fateful day 2,000 years ago.

Fr ancisca n Media .org

Treachery and Truth A Story of Sinners, Servants, and Saints By Katy Huth Jones Pauline Books and Media 176 pages • $10.95 Paperback/E-book Geared toward a teen audience, this engaging piece of historical fiction immerses readers in the land of Bohemia 1,000 years ago, when paganism and political power struggles threatened to extinguish the flame of faith. —D.I.

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 • Nov ember 2016 ❘ 5 3



Everyday Mercy

A Click the button above to listen to Susan’s reflections on family life.

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few weeks ago, I was sitting with my dad in his room at the retirement home when I noticed that he kept scratching his leg. I grabbed some lotion, knelt on the ground in front of him, and rubbed the lotion on his legs. When I was done, he relaxed back into his chair and said, “Thanks. That feels so much better.” I remember looking up at him and thinking of the many times these roles had been reversed. How often over the years had he tied my shoes, soothed a scrape, held my hand, had my back? I wondered if he got as much joy and comfort out of doing those things as I just had in helping him. For some reason, the entire encounter felt like a holy moment. I didn’t realize why, though, until I sat down and started thinking about this column.

Challenge Issued Last December, Pope Francis challenged Catholics to up our game when it comes to the concept of mercy when he announced the yearlong Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy for the Church. He said, “Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.” I remember thinking about how much I loved the idea and all it entailed: the drama of walking through holy doors, pilgrimages, Jubilee celebrations, grand opportunities for acts of mercy. I also remember wondering how it was going to fit into my everyday St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg


life. I mean, how exactly does mercy manifest itself in the life of this wife, mother of four, full-time writer, and part-time caregiver for my father? It seemed to me that the only doors I was going to be passing through in the near future were those at my home, work, or the retirement village where my dad lives. I was feeling pretty down about what I felt was my less-than-stellar job of heeding Pope Francis’ call to up our mercy game. But then came that moment with my dad. Why had it not occurred to me that many of the things I do on a daily basis—cooking dinners, helping with homework, accompanying our oldest, Maddie, on her journey to college—are actually works of mercy? Perhaps I had thought of these acts as too ordinary, too small. But even the smallest acts of mercy can have a big impact, right?


In his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation this past September 1, which frequently cited his encyclical “Laudato Si’,” Pope Francis offered yet another way for us to continue living out the spirit of the Year of Mercy— adding the care and protection of creation to the traditional list of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. “Let me propose a complement to the two traditional sets of seven: may the works of mercy also include care for our common home,” he said. As a spiritual work of mercy, the pope said, “care for our common home calls for a ‘grateful contemplation of God’s world,’ which ‘allows us to discover in each thing a teaching, which God wishes to hand on to us.’” As a corporal work of mercy, he added, “care for our common home requires ‘simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation, and selfishness’ and ‘makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world.”

The End Is Near—Or Is It? And now, here we are. This month marks the end of the Year of Mercy. What do we do now? Will we sustain the call of Pope Francis to better incorporate mercy into our lives? How do we stay the course to which we have been called this past year? A good first step might be to take a look at our everyday lives and recognize—and give ourselves credit for—the acts of mercy that we are already practicing. We’re probably already doing more than we even realize. 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

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 17)

Fr ancisca n Media .org

Nov ember 2016 ❘ 5 5


Working with Our Bishops


here are a lot of organizations that operate behind the scenes of St. Anthony Messenger. All of them are part of the network that helps us to craft your fine magazine.

A crucial part of that network is Catholic bishops in this country, some-

times as individuals, more often within the US Conference of Catholic PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER HEFFRON

Bishops (USCCB). The conference, from its office in Washington, DC, helps the Church in the United States implement many of the initiatives from the Vatican, addresses US policy concerns, and helps bishops in various dioceses coordinate some of their efforts. The most obvious link we have to the USCCB is through Catholic News Service (CNS), providing news stories connected to the Church. You’ll see their news monthly in one of our most popular departments, “Church in the News,” compiled by Managing Editor Susan Hines-Brigger. Each month she culls the CNS feed, finding stories that are going to be of the most interest and use to you. I take a look before we publish those choices, as I do on anything that touches these pages. Which stories lead? Is there something key that I might suggest to her? Generally, though, it’s a formality—Susan exercises deep talent. We keep an eye on the semiannual gatherings of the USCCB, sometimes attending as members of the Catholic media. There were times, over the years, when St. Anthony Messenger editors were tapped as consultants to the bishops’ communications committee. We take the bishops’ lead on pressing social issues of all sorts, as all Catholics in this country ought to. For example, we recently received a bishops’ communiqué with deep cautions about a new


Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, center, listens to a speaker during a general assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

type of human/animal chimera research that dangerously crosses moral boundaries. We’ll likely be writing more about that one. Of no small importance is the line below our masthead, “Published with ecclesiastical approval.” It’s your assurance, provided under the gentle oversight of our own Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, that we remain faithful to Catholic teaching. We hope that’s an easy call!

Editor in Chief @jfeister

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


What we do

for ourselves dies with us—what we do for others remains and is immortal. —Albert Pike


ST. ANTHONY M essenger

28 W. Liberty Street Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498




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November 2016  
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