The Anchor Diocese of Fall River
F riday , May 22, 2009
Controversial bills await action on Beacon Hill
Theologian Scott Hahn coming to Fall River Diocese
BOSTON — True or false: civil marriage between people of the same sex was legalized five years ago by Massachusetts lawmakers? False. Although municipal clerks have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples since then, state statute to redefine civil marriage never changed. Same-sex marriage advocates have refiled a bill to accomplish this. That bill and others with far-reaching effects on the family, school children and freedoms of speech and religion await action in the 2009-10 session. One bill would legalize sodomy. Another would make compulsory a public school health curriculum for grades preK12 with portions on sex education that push abortion, contraception and homosexuality. Massachusetts Catholic bishops have opposed this bill for the past three years as a violation of parental rights to explain the intimate subject of sexuality to children. According to the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” parental rights in regard to moral education and spiritual formation are “primordial and inalienable” (No. 2221); homosexual acts are “gravely disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved” (No. 2357). The bill to legalize marriage “regardless of gender” is H 1708, sponsored by Rep. Byron Rushing of Boston and now in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Turn to page 18
NEW BEDFORD — Catholics the world over regard the conversion of St. Paul — and his subsequent ministry as Apostle to the Gentiles — as milestones in the Church Christ founded. To emphasize that, Pope Benedict XVI called for a Pauline Year jubilee beginning June 28, 2008, to mark the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul about the year 8 A.D. at Tarsus in Asia Minor known today as Turkey. So it was most appropriate when, as the Fall River Diocese planned celebrations for the Pauline Year, people of great faith who were converts to Catholicism would be instrumental in proclaiming it. “I wanted someone outstanding to be the final speaker as the Year of St. Paul ends on the upcoming June 29 feast of SS. Peter and Paul, and Dr. Scott Hahn, himself a convert and professor of theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, and director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology is perfect,” said Father Andrew Johnson, OCSO, director of the Pauline Year in the diocese. Hahn, 52, an exceptionally popular speaker and teacher who has delivered thousands of talks nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith, will “break open” what is often referred to as “The Gospel according to St. Paul” at three sessions on June 27 in St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford, one of the sevTurn to page 18
By Deacon James N. Dunbar
By Gail Besse Anchor Correspondent
GENTLE WOMAN, PEACEFUL DOVE — Sarah Bowles, a seventh-grader at St. Pius X School in South Yarmouth, places a crown of flowers on Mary after a May procession. First-grader Aveen O’Brien was the crown bearer.
Military chaplains: A calm port in a turbulent sea By Dave Jolivet, Editor
FALL RIVER — The funeral Mass at St. John Neumann Church in East Freetown last week served as a grim reminder of the ultimate sacrifice thousands of our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and neighbors have made to make this country, and the world a safer place. Freetown resident, 22-year-old Tyler J. Trahan, a member of the U.S. Navy, was killed April 30 in Fallujah, Iraq. It doesn’t matter if one agrees with this war, or any war, the hard fact is that thousands of Americans continue to place themselves in harm’s way so that others may be free. Thousands of our fellow countrymen and women live each day always looking over their shoulder and sleeping with one eye open. Fear and uncertainty are a way of life for these heroes.
One thing remains constant; from World War I nearly 100 years ago, to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Catholic chaplains are there with and for our troops, bringing the love of God to places where that would seem impossible. Just as enlisted men and women risk their lives serving our country, Catholic chaplains are right there by their sides — sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice themselves. In World War II, Army chaplain Father Arthur C. Lenaghan, a priest of the Fall River Diocese, gave his life on the battle fields of Italy carrying wounded U.S. soldiers to safety. In the Korean War in the 1950s, Army chaplain Father Emil J. Kapaun of the Eighth Calvary Regiment, was captured with scores
of his battalion and spent years in a North Korean prisoner of war camp, often sacrificing his meager portions for wounded comrades and risking death by spiritually ministering to his fellow POWs, regardless of race, color or creed. Father Kapaun died in the prison camp because of a lack of medical aid, and his cause for canonization has been initiated in recent years. Bishop Francis Xavier Roque, retired auxiliary of the Archdiocese for Military Services, USA, recently spoke with The Anchor about what Catholic chaplains mean to those preserving our freedom in far away lands. The retired bishop, now in residence at St. Timothy’s Parish in Warwick, R.I., be-
came an Army chaplain at the height of the Cold War in 1961. He has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Distinguished Service Medal for his tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam. Serving with the Second Infantry Division in 1965-66, then Father Roque was stationed at the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. By then the Korean War was over, but at the time DMZ tensions ran high. “The North Koreans didn’t like us at all and we were just yards away from them,” recalled Bishop Roque. “The area was also strewn with land mines making it very dangerous. It was a poor area and it was a very lonely life for our soldiers. The chaplain brought the influence of God and the Church to our soldiers there.” Bishop Roque served two tours of duty Turn to page 14
The Pope’s Visit to the Holy Land
May 22, 2009
At Western Wall, meeting with rabbis, pope prays for peace By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
IN THE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM — Palestinians and pilgrims fill Manger Square for Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in the West Bank town of Bethlehem May 13. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)
Pope takes Holy Land peace pilgrimage to city of Christ’s birth
By John Thavis Catholic News Service
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Visiting the Palestinian city of Bethlehem during his Holy Land pilgrimage, Pope Benedict XVI called for an independent Palestinian state and urged young people to reject acts of violence and terrorism. The pope celebrated Mass May 13 in the city of Christ’s birth and encouraged Christians to help rebuild their homeland’s “spiritual infrastructure.” “Be a bridge of dialogue and constructive cooperation in the building of a culture of peace to replace the present stalemate of fear, aggression and frustration,” he said in his homily. The pope was on the sixth day of an eight-day “pilgrimage of peace” that had already taken him to Jordan and Jerusalem. Throughout his visit, he urged the region’s peoples and its religious leaders to set aside historic antagonisms and make serious new dialogue efforts. Nearly 100 Christians from the war-devastated Gaza Strip attended the Mass in Manger Square. The pope said his heart went out
to them, and he prayed that the Israeli embargo on the strip would soon be lifted. The pope crossed the border from Israel into the West Bank through a gate that stood beneath the most striking feature on the landscape: Israel’s 26-foot-tall concrete security wall. Speaking at the Aida Refugee Camp later in the day, he said the wall symbolized the stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians. “In a world where more and more borders are being opened up — to trade, to travel, to movement of peoples, to cultural exchanges — it is tragic to see walls still being erected. How we long to see the fruits of the much more difficult task of building peace,” he said. The pope met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the presidential palace in Bethlehem and paid a visit to the Churchrun Caritas Children’s Hospital, where he visited an infants ward. The 82-year-old pontiff came to Israel from Jordan May 11. At an airport welcoming ceremony in Tel Aviv, Israel, he said he wanted to honor the memory of the six million Jewish victims of OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER Vol. 53, No. 20
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the Holocaust and “to pray that humanity will never again witness a crime of such magnitude.” “Sadly, anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head in many parts of the world. This is totally unacceptable,” he said. On May 12, the pope celebrated an open-air Mass in Jerusalem, prayed at the Western Wall and visited one of Islam’s most sacred shrines. The events underscored his message that Jerusalem, a meeting ground for Christianity, Judaism and Islam, must again become a city of peace. The pope then went to the Western Wall, a site sacred to Jews as the remains of the Second Temple, and placed a written prayer in a crevice between the massive stones. It asked God to “hear the cry of the afflicted” and “send your peace upon this Holy Land.” In the evening, the pope celebrated Mass for several thousand people in the Josafat Valley beneath the Mount of Olives, next to the walls of the Old City. In his homily, he called for Jerusalem to regain its vocation “as a prophecy and promise of that universal reconciliation and peace which God desires for the whole human family.” Sadly, in today’s Jerusalem, he said, “hope continues to battle despair, frustration and cynicism, while the peace which is God’s gift and call continues to be threatened by selfishness, conflict, division and the burden of past wrongs.” Like many papal events, the Mass was tinged with politics. Welcoming the pope, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem said Palestinians dream of a “free and independent” state of their own while the people of Israel dream of living in peace and security.
JERUSALEM — Taking a piece of paper, firmly folding it in four and pushing it deep into a crevice of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for peace in the Holy Land and respect among believers from every faith. The pope stood alone in silence for two minutes May 12, facing the massive stones of the Western Wall, a site sacred to Jews because it is what remains of the complex of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. The text of the prayer he left in a crevice began: “God of all the ages, on my visit to Jerusalem, the ‘City of Peace,’ spiritual home to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, I bring before you the joys, the hopes and the aspirations, the trials, the suffering and the pain of all your people throughout the world.” Pope Benedict’s prayer asked God to “hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful, the bereft; send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family; (and) stir the hearts of all who call upon your name, to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion.” The pope ended his prayer with a quote from the Book of Lamentations, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.” Pope Benedict’s private prayer at the wall was preceded by a brief ceremony in which the rabbi responsible for religious services there read in Hebrew from the First Book of Kings, and the pope read Psalm 122 in Latin. The psalm includes the lines, “For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your ramparts, prosperity within your towers.’ For family and friends I say, ‘May peace be yours.’ For the house of the Lord, our God, I pray, ‘May blessings be yours.’”
After visiting the wall, Pope Benedict traveled less than a mile to the offices of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the body that governs Jewish religious affairs in the nation. Meeting with Israel’s two chief rabbis as well as rabbis from around the country, the pope used the occasion to reaffirm the fact that “the Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to the path chosen at the Second Vatican Council for a genuine and lasting reconciliation between Christians and Jews.” As “Nostra Aetate,” the council’s declaration on relations with other religions affirmed, “the Church continues to value the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews and desires an ever deeper mutual understanding and respect through biblical and theological studies as well as fraternal dialogues,” he said. Welcoming the pope, chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger thanked Pope Benedict for making it clear that Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of St. Pius X, must publicly renounce his denial of the extent of the Holocaust before he can function as a Catholic bishop. “God is compassionate and expects us to love and respect one another, even if we are from different religions,” the rabbi said. Pope Benedict told the rabbis his visit was an opportunity to thank God for the progress made in the dialogue and for the willingness of participants to discuss not only what they have in common, but also their differences. “I pray that God, who searches our hearts and knows our thoughts, will continue to enlighten us with his wisdom so that we may follow his commandments to love him with all our heart, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves,” he said. As a gift, the rabbis gave the pope a small sculpture depicting men praying before the Western Wall.
IN THE TOWN OF NAZARETH — Two men cover their heads with Spain’s national flag during an open-air Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on Mount Precipice in Nazareth May 14. (CNS photo/Darren Whiteside, Reuters)
May 22, 2009
The Pope’s Visit to the Holy Land
Keep families strong, extend love to others, pope says in Nazareth
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN — Pope Benedict XVI prays at the grotto of the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem May 13. Tradition holds the grotto marks the spot where Jesus was born. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)
Scarves speak volumes in pope’s Holy Land visit
B y John Thavis C atholic News Service
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Sometimes a scarf is worth a thousand words. Pope Benedict XVI spoke carefully during his Holy Land pilgrimage in May — so carefully that it occasionally seemed his talks were written by Vatican diplomats. But the image and the message people will carry from his visit may have more to do with scarves than speeches. In Bethlehem, during a long evening event at the Aida Refugee Camp, the pope expressed sympathy for the suffering of families who have been divided and uprooted since the 1948 war that established the country of Israel and dispossessed many Palestinians of their homes. However, he carefully avoided direct comments on the right of return, the principle that Palestinian refugees have a right to regain possession of their ancestral homes. The issue is an explosive and difficult one in peace talks, in part because of the practical difficulties involved. The Vatican has generally steered clear of the issue in recent years, though Church officials have suggested on occasion that some form of compensation for those who lost homes might be a fair settlement. But at the Aida camp, ringed by banners reading “No justice without return home,” the sentiment was decidedly more uncompromising. When the event drew to a close, Palestinian officials announced they had a special
gift for the pontiff: a “scarf of return,” designed and embroidered by Palestinian artists. Lest anyone miss the point, the scarf was full of symbols: — the “key of return,” symbolizing the keys many Palestinians still keep to their old homes; — the papal keys, implying the pope had the moral authority to make a difference on the issue in the international arena; — images of the Star of Bethlehem, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Nativity, “to express the unity of the Palestinian people and Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.” While Vatican diplomats would have winced at a papal endorsement of all those concepts, the pope had no problem accepting the gift. As he stood up and smiled broadly, a Palestinian placed the scarf around his shoulders, and he wore it during the rest of the program. The moment drew some of the loudest cheers of the evening. The pope had an earlier scarf experience in Jordan, where he was presented by Melkite Catholics with a kaffiyeh, also known in Jordan as a “shmagh,” the red-andwhite-checked head scarf that in some parts of the Mideast is associated with Hamas and other militant groups. The photo of the pope in the “shmagh” landed on the front pages of Jordanian newspapers the next day. A few days later, children greeting the pope at the Latin patriarchate school in Bethlehem already had that picture on their T-shirts.
NAZARETH, Israel — Celebrating Mass in Nazareth, the hometown of the Holy Family, Pope Benedict XVI urged the region’s people to keep their family bonds strong and to extend that love and acceptance to others, whether Christian or Muslim. “Let everyone reject the destructive power of hatred and prejudice, which kills men’s souls before it kills their bodies,” the pope said during his homily at the May 14 Mass on Nazareth’s Mount Precipice. The Mass at the new amphitheater, built into the hillside, drew the largest crowd of the pope’s eightday pilgrimage to the Holy Land; organizers said 40,000 people attended. Taking place in the town where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the savior and where she and Joseph raised Jesus, the Mass was focused on the family. Pope Benedict also had strong words of encouragement for the Christian and Muslim communities of northern Israel, especially for those in Nazareth, where a decade of tensions over building a mosque near the Basilica of the Annunciation has continued to sour relations between the two communities. The Israeli government eventually withdrew permission for the mosque to be built, and the site now is a small park. A month before the Mass, a Muslim group opposed to the papal visit hung a banner between two
trees in the park; the banner — in English and Arabic — warned that anyone who speaks against the prophet Mohammed would be cursed by God in this world and in the hereafter. The group that hung the sign said it was addressed to the pope, who had offended many Muslims in 2006 when he quoted a medieval emperor’s criticism of Mohammed. In his homily, Pope Benedict said, “Let us reaffirm here our commitment to be a leaven of respect and love in the world around us.” The pope asked Christians and Muslims in Nazareth “to repair the damage that has been done, and in fidelity to our common belief in one God, the father of the human family, to work to build bridges and find the way to a peaceful coexistence.” Maisoun Khoury, 35, a Catholic from Nazareth who attended the Mass, told Catholic News Service there is too much racism in people’s hearts: “Muslims against Christians, Christians against Christians, Christians against Muslims.” Khoury, a mother of two, said children learn prejudice in their own families and in school, “and I don’t allow my children to speak that way in my home.” The papal Mass drew not only Catholics of various rites and Christians from many denominations, but also Muslims, including Mohammed Safadi, 35, and his wife, Samiha, who came with their infant son from Raine, a village
near Nazareth. “For us every religion comes from God,” he said. “I did not decide to be Muslim and the Christians did not choose to be born Christians.” He said he thought there were not as many tensions between Muslims and Christians in northern Israel as there were in other parts of the Middle East, but he hoped things would be even better. Nabila Shinara, 35, came to the Mass with her husband and two children from Muquebly, a largely Orthodox village surrounded by five Muslim villages. She said the Christians and Muslims get along well and could be an example for others in the Holy Land. Nevertheless, she said, as a member of the Catholic minority she felt an important sense of belonging at the papal Mass. In his homily Pope Benedict urged married couples to show others how fidelity to one another and a commitment to educating children in solid moral values can make societies stronger. “In the family each person, whether the smallest child or the oldest relative, is valued for himself or herself, and not seen simply as a means to some other end,” he said. The example of Mary and Joseph also demonstrates the “need to acknowledge and respect the God-given dignity and proper role of women,” and the possibility of a “manly piety” in which authority is placed at the service of love, he said.
The Pope’s Visit to the Holy Land
May 22, 2009
Pope, Israeli prime minister discuss peace, a new dialogue, priests’ visas
HOLY GROUND — Pope Benedict XVI prays in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City May 15. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Pope urges peace, two-state solution as he leaves Holy Land
JERUSALEM (CNS) — Amid billowing Israeli and Vatican flags, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed his friendship with the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, acknowledging the Palestinians’ right to an independent state as well as Israel’s right to exist in “peace and security.” “Let there be lasting peace based on justice, let there be genuine reconciliation and healing,” the pope said May 15 before boarding his chartered jet at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. “Let the two-state solution become a reality, not remain a dream. “Let peace spread outward from these lands; let them serve as a ‘light to the nations,’ bringing hope to the many other regions that are affected by conflict,” he said. Following an eight-day pilgrimage that received a lukewarm reaction in the Israeli media and praise in the Palestinian press, Pope Benedict attempted to assure the Israelis of his friendship.
“No friend of the Israelis and the Palestinians can fail to be saddened by the continuing tension between your two peoples. No friend can fail to weep at the suffering and loss of life that both peoples have endured over the last six decades,” he said. Israeli President Shimon Peres told the pope his visit was a “profound demonstration of the enduring dialogue” between Jews and Christians around the world. He said the pope’s statements during his visit “carried a substantive weight.” The visit, Peres added, contributed significantly to new relations between the Vatican and Israel. “I believe that your great spiritual leadership can influence a spirit of godliness in man. (It) can help people recognize that God is not in the hearts of terrorists. This is a historic mission which resides in your great ability to inspire others,” he said. “We believe that aside from your pilgrimage, your prayers and
the silent sacred moments which were the focal points of your visit, you personally enhanced your visit with an additional spiritual dimension by inspiring peace and elevating hope and understanding — in particular your declaration that the Holocaust, the Shoah, must not be forgotten (or) denied,” the Israeli president said. The pope, who had been criticized in the Israeli press and by some Jewish leaders following his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial May 11 for the language he used to describe Nazi atrocities, recalled his visit to the site as “one of the most solemn” moments in Israel. He called his time with Holocaust survivors “deeply moving encounters” that reminded him of his visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland three years ago. “So many Jews — mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, friends — were brutally exterminated under a godless regime that propagated an ideology of anti-Semitism and hatred,” Pope Benedict said. The German-born pope told his Israeli hosts that the saddest sight during his visit was the Israeli-built separation wall at the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, West Bank. “As I passed alongside it I prayed for a future in which the peoples of the Holy Land can live together in peace and harmony without the need for such instruments of security and separation, but rather in respecting and trusting one another and renouncing all forms of violence and aggression,” he said. Peace will not be an easy goal to achieve, the pope told Peres, but he offered his prayers and the prayers of Catholics around the world for all efforts to “build a just and lasting peace in this region.”
NAZARETH, Israel (CNS) — Peace in the Middle East, CatholicJewish relations and the difficulties of Church workers in Israel were just a few of the topics discussed when Pope Benedict XVI met privately May 14 with newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Advancing the Middle East peace process was the main topic during the 15-minute private meeting between the pope and prime minister at the Franciscan convent in Nazareth, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. Father Lombardi also said the two leaders briefed each other about their recent meetings with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Pope Benedict had met the Jordanian leader May 8, while Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Jordan just hours before meeting the pope. After their private meeting, the pope and prime minister were joined by top aides for a 20-minute discussion about the work of a Vatican-Israeli bilateral commission, Father Lombardi said. The commission, established in 1993, has been working on and off for years trying to find a way to settle agreements related to the tax situation of Catholic institutions in Israel and other primarily fiscal issues. Despite hopes that the negotiations would have been completed prior to the pope’s visit, the fiscal issues remain unresolved. After the meeting, Netanyahu told reporters: “I met the pope first of all because it is important for Israel’s relations on a global level; there are a billion Catholics.
The pope stands at the head of the world Catholic community, and we want good relations with such a large part of humanity.” The prime minister said they spoke about “the historic process of reconciliation between Christianity and Judaism, and the pope is very interested.” The Israeli leader also asked the pope to speak out against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats against Israel. “I told him it cannot be that at the beginning of the 21st century there is a state which says it is going to destroy the Jewish state,” the prime minister said. He said the pope told him that “he condemns all such things — anti-Semitism, hate. I think we found in him an attentive ear.” He said Pope Benedict asked him for assistance in getting multiple-entry visas for Catholic clergy from surrounding Arab countries and with other “administrative matters.” “I said we would examine them in a positive atmosphere,” Netanyahu said. According to media reports, Israel recently turned down a Church request for multiple-entry visas for 500 priests from Arab countries who work in Israel and the Palestinian territories. In recent years the issue of visas has become a major point of contention, and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has warned that not having the visas hinders the priests’ ability to carry out their pastoral work and prevents them from being able to visit their families.
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO ROME (CNS) — Flying back to Rome after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Benedict XVI offered an instant analysis of his eight-day trip. He told reporters aboard his El Al chartered jet May 15 that the visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories took him to the roots of Christianity and left him with three major impressions. The first, he said, was that he found among Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders a strong desire for cooperation and dialogue — not as something motivated by political circumstances but seen as a demand of the common faith in God. “To believe in the one God who created all of us and to believe that God is love and wants love to be the dominant force in the world implies this necessity of dialogue and collaboration,” he said.
The pope said he also found a very encouraging ecumenical climate on his stops in the Holy Land, where a multitude of Christian communities live. The third impression, he said, was a yearning for peace. “There are great problems, and we have seen them and heard about them. But I also saw a profound desire for peace on the part of everyone,” the pope said. “The problems are more visible, and we shouldn’t hide them. They need to be cleared up. But the common desire for peace and fraternity is not as visible, and I think we need to talk about this and encourage the effort to find solutions,” he said. The pope said he hoped his pilgrimage would inspire many others to follow in his footsteps to the Holy Land, and thus become “messengers of peace” themselves.
On return to Rome, pope says he found desire for peace in Holy Land
May 22, 2009
The Church in the U.S.
Clinton’s remarks on reproductive rights spark Catholic concern
SCHOOL SPIRIT — Students from Sacred Heart School in Washington participate in a May 6 rally at the city’s Freedom Plaza to support the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a voucher program that provides grants for private school tuition. (CNS photo/Rafael Crisostomo, Catholic Standard)
Obama proposal seen as beginning of end for school voucher program By Laura Jamison Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s recent budget proposal to allow 1,700 poor children in the District of Columbia to keep their federally funded scholarships but bar any more students from entering the program means a slow death for an initiative that works, said a Washington archdiocesan official. “This proposal might help children who are now in the program,” said Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, superintendent for schools. “But what about the many other children in the city who will never have this opportunity?” She was referring to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a federally funded voucher program launched as a pilot program five years ago that has to be reauthorized by Congress. It allocates $14 million annually in individual scholarships of up to $7,500 to 1,700 children from low-income families, which allows them to attend private schools in the District of Columbia. About half of the scholarship recipients attend Catholic schools. The announcement of the president’s proposal came the same day that nearly 2,000 students, parents and other community members converged on Freedom Plaza in Washington for a rally to urge elected officials to keep the program intact. A statement from the Washington Archdiocese noted that with the president’s proposal Congress would have to appropriate funds annually and at a level that adjusts for inflation so the scholarships retain value for low-income families. The archdiocese called for permanent, full funding of the program. Of the 1,700 children in the program, 879 attend a Catholic elementary or high school. At the archdiocese’s six inner-city elementary schools, these students constitute from one-quarter to two-thirds of the total enrollment. Weitzel-O’Neill said Obama’s proposal would create a “two-tier education system” for families, barring younger siblings from going to the schools their older brothers and sisters attend with
the help of the scholarships. Four applications are received for every scholarship made available, according to the archdiocese. “The president, in his February address to a joint session of Congress said, it ‘will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education,’” Weitzel-O’Neill noted. “He can fulfill this goal by fully funding the popular and proven Opportunity Scholarship Program into the future,” she said. “The program is a proven academic success, a lifeline for the children and a matter of justice.” At the May 6 rally, Catholic school students — many of whom had never been to such an event before — came by bus and subway, carrying homemade signs and chanting slogans to help save the scholarships of their classmates and friends. Over their school uniforms most students wore bright yellow T-shirts that had “Put Kids First” in black letters across the front. DC Children First and D.C. Parents for School Choice, two groups dedicated to educational reform in the city, organized the rally across from the Wilson Building, which houses some district government offices and is blocks away from the U.S. Capitol. Among the speakers was Washington’s former mayor, Anthony Williams, who said if his parents hadn’t adopted him and made sure he had the very best schooling he wouldn’t have become mayor. “This is a great example of a program that’s working for kids. It’s hard to think of a federal program that deserves funding more than this,” John Schilling, interim director of the Alliance for School Choice, told the Catholic Standard, Washington’s archdiocesan newspaper, in an interview before the rally. He praised those who had gathered for the event, saying, “It’s important to take this stand. Low-income children in the city deserve the same opportunities as their higher-income peers.”
WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recent remarks expanding the definition of reproductive rights to include abortion have sparked criticism and warnings from a U.S. Church official and a Catholic congressman. Clinton’s comments are a “real threat” to U.S.-based international aid agencies, such as Catholic Relief Services, which do not promote or provide abortions, said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. “The news is that she’s not being euphemistic anymore,” McQuade told Catholic News Service in early May. On Capitol Hill in late April, Clinton responded to a series of questions from Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., a leading Pro-Life member of Congress and a Catholic. “Reproductive health includes access to abortion,” Clinton said. “We are now an administration that will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive health care.” Smith’s questions were prompted by Clinton’s praise of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger at an award ceremony in Houston March 27. During the ceremony, Clinton said Sanger’s work had yet to be completed. Sanger, who wrote “The Pivot of Civilization,” advocated for population control via access to birth control and abortion. During the Capitol Hill hearing, Smith asked Clinton: “As part of Sanger’s work that remains undone ... is the Obama administration seeking to weaken or overturn Pro-Life laws and policies in African and Latin American countries either directly or through multilateral organizations including ... the U.N., African Union or the (Organization of American States), or by way of fund-
ing (nongovernmental organizations) like Planned Parenthood? “And so we have total transparency, does the United States definition of the term ... ‘reproductive health’ or ‘reproductive services’ or ‘reproductive rights’ include abortion?” Smith asked. Clinton responded that she respected his views but noted their “profound” and “fundamental disagreement.” “It is my strongly held view that you are entitled to advocate, and everyone who agrees with you should be free to do so anywhere in the world, and so are we,” she said. She added, “We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health, and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare.” In an interview with CNS, Smith expressed concern that Clinton’s redefinition of reproductive health severely could threaten the Pro-Life policies of developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as the Pro-Life policies of CRS and other ProLife agencies. If U.S. dollars from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the U.S. Agency for International Development sponsor reproductive health care that must include abortion, then countries and organizations with Pro-Life policies could be forced to change their policies to include abortion in order to receive U.S. funding, Smith explained. “Money is coming with abortion strings attached,” he said, urging the U.S. government not to taint the money with the killing of unborn children. With these strings attached, he said, “an entire generation of Latinos and Africans dies.” “Money subsidizing abortion pays for more abortion,” Smith said.
The Anchor Doubt, dialogue and demonization
In his commencement address at Notre Dame, President Obama, rather than vindicating the university’s decision against its countless critics, reinforced the validity of the critics’ argument and the wisdom of the U.S. bishops’ policy not to give honors and platforms to those who act in defiance of fundamental Catholic moral principles. For beneath his ever-genial tone, uplifting images and eloquent delivery, President Obama made several major points contrary to the Catholic faith. Packaged as they were, however, in mellifluous pseudo-Christian phrases enunciated in front of applauding Catholic priests by a man adorned with newly-bestowed doctoral garments, few seemed to realize what he was doing — which is why he should have never been given such a hallowed pulpit in the first place. The most audacious part of the address was when the president tried to change the meaning of the Christian faith and draw erroneous conclusions from the false notion. “The ultimate irony of faith,” the president declared, “is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen.” He seemed to be quoting from Hebrews 11:1, one of the most famous definitions of faith found in sacred Scripture, but, whether intentional or not, he got its meaning completely wrong. The passage reads, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not a “belief” in things not seen — which would be tautological and nonsensical — but the “substance” or “evidence” of things not seen. Faith leads not to doubt, or even merely to subjective conviction, but to objective truth discoverable through revelation and grace. In his challenging part of his 2007 encyclical on Christian hope, Pope Benedict described the real meaning of the passage the president was trying to cite. Faith, the pope said, is the “‘hypostasis, the ‘substance’ of things hoped for; the proof of things not seen.’ … The concept of ‘substance’ is therefore modified [by the words ‘proof of things not seen’] in the sense that through faith, in a tentative way, or as we might say ‘in embryo’… there are already present in us the things that are hoped for: the whole, true life. And precisely because the thing itself is already present, this presence of what is to come also creates certainty [and] constitutes for us a ‘proof’ of the things that are still unseen.” So, according to Hebrews, Pope Benedict and the teaching of Christianity, faith does not “necessarily admit doubt,” as the president claims. In fact, true faith and doubt cannot coexist. At the same time, we cannot both believe in the resurrection and doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. We cannot simultaneously believe that God is a Trinitarian communion of love and doubt his existence. This does not mean that a generally faithful person does not have occasional doubts, but these doubts are temptations against faith rather than necessary consequences or companions of faith. Once one grasps how the president is mistaken about connection between faith and doubt, it’s easier to see how he errs in the conclusions he draws from the false premise. He spoke to the graduates at length about the “great uncertainty” of our era with its “competing claims about what is right and what is true.” He warned them, “You will hear talking heads scream on cable, read blogs that claim definitive knowledge, and watch politicians pretend to know what they’re talking about.” He told them that no one can really know any of the most important things for sure, since “it is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what he asks of us. … This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But … it should temper our passions and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate. …” Whether by design or accident, this is nothing but relativism dressed up as religious reasoning. While because of human finitude it is impossible for us to know everything God has planned for us or asks of us, through faith and reason we can and do know much with certainty. Our faith and our rational nature should lead us, fundamentally, not just to continue a debate — which for the president would be a never-ending one about things we can never truly know — but to seek the truth, to understand the truth, and to live the truth. Rather than basing our lives on the rock of Jesus’ words (Mt 7:24), Obama actually proposes the quicksand of the latest intellectual fad: instead of calibrating our culture’s values to the truths discoverable by faith and reason, he says, astonishingly, we need to “align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age.” This relativistic discussion about faith, doubt, and “moral and spiritual debate” contextualizes what the president said about “dialogue” in the principal part of his address. After mentioning the opposing sides of debates on the war, gay rights and embryonic stem-cell research, he asked, “How do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? … How do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?” He answered the questions with what sounded like a campaign slogan: “Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.” He elaborated, “When we do that, when we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we do, that’s when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.” Once the president’s premise is admitted that we cannot know with certainty either by faith or reason the truth about what is right and wrong, then all that seems to be left is dialogue to try to find some common ground on which we can agree. No one — especially faithful Catholics — would ever be opposed in principle to dialogue and a spirit of collaboration, but everyone should agree that in cases of some offenses dialogue is not only not enough but counterproductive. There’s a reason why Martin Luther King never sought to engage in dialogue with the Ku Klux Klan, Holocaust survivors don’t try to seek common ground with neo-Nazis and American law enforcement officers are not trying to engage Al-Qaeda in “moral and spiritual debate.” Such dialogue would seem but moral absolutes up for negotiation or compromise. There’s a reason why the president doesn’t call for dialogue on the merits of racism, anti-Semitism and terrorism, because he knows all are evil. He cites Martin Luther King, and not Rodney King, as a hero, because he knows that in the face of racism there’s something more important than all of us just getting along. The fundamental reason why the president called for dialogue and common ground on abortion in South Bend — and set up an elaborate pseudo-religious argument to pretend that it’s all that can be achieved between the “irreconcilable” views on both side of the abortion issue — is because he seeks to draw Pro-Lifers, and Catholics in particular, from a position of moral absolutism about the evil of abortion to one aligned with the “demands of a new age,” which wants unfettered abortion access. His call for an end to “demonizing” opponents — while itself certainly consistent with Jesus’ summons to love the sinner and hate the sin — seems to be an attempt to get others from ceasing to think that abortion itself is diabolical. None of this means that we cannot work with the president to reduce the number of abortions and provide more assistance to women in crisis pregnancies. It does mean, however, that we cannot stop there. Unlike the president, we know by reason that abortion kills an innocent human and by certain faith that whatever we do or fail to do to that child made in God’s image and likeness, we do, or fail to do, to God.
May 22, 2009
Man of God among the greatest generation
When I was in Louisiana in March, I made years he and they would be prisoners of war. my second pilgrimage to the parish church dediWhile in the prison camp, Father Lafleur cated to St. Landry in Opelousas. The last time tried to keep the soldiers’ spirits up and hopes I had been there was 10 years ago, 10 days after alive, bringing Christ into a living hell of dismy priestly ordination, when I celebrated Mass ease, brutality and starvation where one-third of in the church dedicated to my namesake, the detainees would die. He cared for the wounded, saintly seventh-century bishop of Paris. blinded and crippled soldiers who had scant Returning two months ago, I was blinded medical attention and food. He would feed pulling into the parking lot by a huge, sparkling them, clean them and sit by the bed and read to Carrara marble statue in the square in front of them. With Cajun friendliness and ingenuity, he the church. “What’s that?,” I asked my friend, bartered with the natives outside the camp, tradFather Bryce Sibley. At first glance, I couldn’t ing his watch, his eyeglasses and anything else make out what the statue was, because it was of value to try to obtain what the sick needed. full of spiraling-vertical movement without He ate only a small amount and gave the rest of clear figures. “That,” Father Sibley drawled, “is his meager rations to needier prisoners. When he a new statue dedicated in 2007 to Father J. Ver- discovered that a healthy prisoner was stealing bis Lafleur.” food from the wounded, he confronted the man “Who’s he?,” I retorted. That day I would and ordered him to stop. When the man refused, find out — and never forget. Father Lafleur, without other options, flattened Father J. Verbis Lafleur was born in 1912 him with two punches and gained compliance in Ville Platte, La. He became an altar boy at the old-fashioned way. He was permitted to build seven and began to express an interest in the a chapel and did so with his own hands, calling priesthood. When he was 14, his family moved it “St. Peter in Chains.” He celebrated Mass each to Opelousas. Once his pastor found out of his day for Catholic and non-Catholic POWs, using desire to become a priest, he arranged for him to a medicine dropper for the wine to ensure that it enter high school seminary. Eleven years later, would last. in 1938, he was ordained and celebrated his first Eventually the Japanese decided to move 750 High Mass at St. soldiers to the Landry’s Church. jungle to clear During what cut an airfield. would be his At first they said only parish asthey would persignment, three mit one chaplain years as paroto accompany chial vicar at St. the men and FaBy Father Mary Magdalen ther Lafleur, beRoger J. Landry Church in Abbevcause he was the ille, he quickly youngest of 21 became beloved, POW chaplains, especially among the families that were dirt poor volunteered. He said he had sensed in prayer even before the depression. With his amiable that something terrible would happen during the personality and good-natured wit, Father Laf- jungle detail and he thought a chaplain should be leur worked to try to give them hope and keep present. When the Japanese changed their minds their kids out of trouble. A good athlete himself, and said that no chaplain would be allowed, Fahe provided the boys with bats, balls and gloves ther Lafleur took the place of one of the soldiers and began to organize baseball games. The boys selected for work detail and went as a laborer. would find out later that Father Lafleur paid for In terrible conditions, Father Lafleur and the the equipment by pawning his watch. soldiers cleared the jungle for the airfield. He In 1941, with his bishop’s permission, he worked hard to console his companions with his joined the Army Air Corps to care spiritually for sense of humor and faith. As the war was coming those who were being drafted. After training in to a close in 1944, the Japanese decided to move Albuquerque, his unit, the 19th Bombardment the American POWs to Japan to serve as slave Group, was assigned to Clark Field in the Phil- labor. They were packed into the hold of a small ippines. The crusty senior officers upon seeing retired freighter for three weeks at sea. Tragihim felt sorry for him, because he looked so cally, the Shiniyo Maru did not fly a white flag young and they thought he would have a hard as vessels transporting prisoners were supposed time earning the respect of the men. It would to do. On September 7, it was torpedoed by the take less than a month, however, for him to USS Paddlefish, caught fire and began to sink. prove his fiber and gain the admiration of the The soldiers in the hull needed to escape from entire base. the onrushing water on one side, the flames on On December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor the other, and the ubiquitous smoke. The hatch was attacked, the Japanese carpet-bombed Clark to the deck was opened and the men said, “You Field. The wounded were everywhere, exposed first, Padre,” but Father Lafleur insisted that the and totally vulnerable to continued machine other men precede him. He gave general absogun fire and bombs. “With absolute disregard lution and then held the ladder as soldiers tried to his personal safety,” one colonel wrote after to climb to safety, blessing the soldiers as they the catastrophe, Father Lafleur “went among ascended. The Japanese were throwing grenades the wounded soldiers, giving spiritual comfort into the hold and shooting at the POWs who to those who desired it, assisting the doctors in had jumped into the water. Only 83 of the 750 giving care to the wounded, and helping in their POWs survived. Father Lafleur went down with evacuation. Never once did he take cover. Never the ship. once did he think of his own safety as he con“No one has greater love,” Jesus said, “than ducted himself in accordance with the highest to lay down his life for his friends.” For Father traditions of his Church and our army.” Verbis Lafleur, these were not just words but a This turned out to be just a beginning to his way of life. heroic deeds. Various faithful, priests, Knights of Columbus After the attack, the brass thought it best to and others in the Diocese of Lafayette are hoping move the 19th Bombardment group to a safer to begin soon a process of canonization for Faisland. While in transit, their ship was attacked ther Lafleur and are encouraging people to pray by Japanese planes. A wounded officer was ly- through his intercession. The eight-ton, 16-foot ing on deck. Father Lafleur crawled, through white marble statue by Italian sculptor Franco a storm of bullets, to bring the man to safety. Allessandrini I alluded to at the beginning is one Upon continued attacks, the transport vessel means by which to try to promote knowledge of began to sink. Father Lafleur remained on the him. The statue shows Father Lafleur in his draship until all other men were in lifeboats and matic final act of love, standing at the foot of the then dove into the water to swim behind one ladder pushing other soldiers to safety. That pose of them. is a fitting summation of his whole priestly life, When he was offered the opportunity to fly in which he put others first and labored to help to safety in Australia, he asked whether the men them ascend to salvation. of his unit would also be evacuated. Since only a May Father Lafleur’s priestly work continue, few would be given spots, he replied, “My place God-willing, from the top of the heavenly ladder. is with the men,” and chose to stay. The next day Father Landry is pastor of St. Anthony of all were captured and for the next two-and-a-half Padua Parish in New Bedford.
Putting Into the Deep
Quince Años: ‘Sweet 15’
oung women in Latin the “Quinceañera” renews her cultures celebrate their baptismal promises, makes a coming of age when they comspecial commitment to conplete 15 years, or “quince años.” tinue her faith formation, and The young woman, or “quincea- receives a special blessing. ñera,” usually celebrates it with Usually, the young woman’s a Mass and a party for her family and friends to mark the special moment in her life. At the Diocesan Mission in Guaimaca, we By Father have welcomed many Craig A. Pregana young women who have wanted to have their Quince Años celebrations at Mass. parents give her a ring to mark The ceremony at Mass the day, along with a Bible, a includes an entrance procesrosary, and a cross. It is a spesion for the young woman and cial day, and depending on the her “chamberlan,” or companfinancial situation of the family, ion for the evening, and other it can become like a small wedattendants. During the Mass, ding.
May 22, 2009
Since many families in Guaimaca are poor, these celebrations are more modest than the traditional quince años, with the family inviting their friends to the parish hall for cake. A number of young women have asked simply for a blessing at Mass — no attendants, procession or party — because of the poverty of their families. We make the celebration as special for them, as for those who come with new dresses, etc. Recently, we learned that the daughter of one of our catechists, Timotea, was preparing to celebrate her quince años. The family lives in one of the remotest aldeas, or villages, called “Piñuelas.” (A few of years ago,
Bishop Coleman made the trip to celebrate a Mass and baptisms in that village.) The young woman, Jacqueline, always accompanies her mother at Mass and on trips to Guaimaca. Jacqueline is a young woman with special needs and special qualities. She always comes to greet us at the truck when we arrive at the village, and leads us by the hand to her house where her mother prepares a simple lunch. During our last visit, Timotea told us how her daughter was going to be celebrating her quince años at the Celebration of the Word in a couple of weeks time. Those who had traveled with me talked about it on our way back to town. We decided to help Jacqueline by providing a new dress, cross,
rosary, etc., for the celebration. A few of the students at the Marie Poussepin Center made a new dress for Jacqueline and we sent it with the rosary, etc., to her in time for her birthday. She was thrilled to have a new dress and to mark her day in such a special way. Although our brothers and sisters live in poverty, and sometimes misery, they still share the same desire for a good life. Mothers and fathers still wish for the best for the children, and strive to provide them with good things. Young people, at times without recourses for a secondary or college education, still desire to better their lives. Part of our commitment as a diocesan family is to reach out and share from our blessings. www.FallRiverMissions.com
St. Paul on the Holy Spirit
symbolic work. Moreover, it s we have seen in previshows that the bestowal of the ous articles, St. Paul Holy Spirit happens through the did not tell stories the way the Gospel writers do. In the Acts of instrumentality of the Church — in this case through Paul the the Apostles, St. Luke tells the Apostle. Finally, it shows how story about the first Pentecost, God confers his power on those when the Holy Spirit descends in whom his Spirit dwells, givupon the Twelve gathered in ing rise to the outward signs of the upper room on the 50th day charismatic gifts. after Jesus’ Resurrection. Of The Holy Spirit, who, as we course, Paul was not present on that occasion, for his conversion pray in our Creed, proceeds happened later. Even though St. Paul’s letters contain no such account Living the of Pentecost, this does Pauline Year not imply or mean that he did not know about it or that he did not By Father believe it had occurred. Karl C. Bissinger Instead, he tells about the Holy Spirit and his from the Father and the Son, is effects in the lives of believers nevertheless closely associated in other ways. In fact, the Holy with the risen Christ. Although Spirit plays a very important God already communicated to role in Paul’s theology. By the Israel’s prophets by the Holy Holy Spirit, God gives himself Spirit in the Old Testament, we to us, and we live in him. now see something new. Since In the Acts of the Apostles, his Ascension, the Son of God St. Luke relates the incident now relates to the world — and when St. Paul on one of his is present in the world, especially journeys finds some disciples in to the Church and to the faithful Ephesus who had been bap— through the Holy Spirit in a tized only with the baptism of repentance in the tradition of St. more powerful and explicit way John the Baptist. These disciples than before. In St. Paul’s writings, it becomes clear that the had never learned about the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ Holy Spirit nor received him, although they believed in Christ. — crucified and risen — as well as the Spirit of the Father. To So Paul baptizes them “in the have the Holy Spirit dwelling inname of the Lord Jesus. And side one’s heart and to be united when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon with him means to be in commuthem, and they spoke in tongues nion with the Son and, therefore, and prophesied” (Acts 19:5b-6). also with the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead (cf. 1Cor This brief scene teaches us 2:12;15:45. Gal 4:6). several things. First, it demSt. Paul also teaches us that onstrates that the Holy Spirit’s as God gives himself to us in coming is linked with baptism the Holy Spirit, he enters and and with faith in the mystery of transforms our lives. Through the dying and rising of Jesus. the Holy Spirit, Christ conforms It’s not simply an external or
us to his image. He gives Christians the grace to walk according to the Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit fills the first communities of the early Church with gifts and charisms, so does he fill and inspire the lives of believers today. Two places in St. Paul’s writings describe the effects of the Holy Spirit in the new life of the Christian faithful. In the eighth chapter of the Letter to the Romans, the Apostle concentrates on life in the Spirit, as opposed to life in the flesh, or even life under the law. He speaks about walking in the Spirit or “living according to the Spirit” (Rom 8:4. Cf. also Gal 5:16,25). Paul is also able to affirm, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Rom 8:14). Finally, in chapters 12-14 of the First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul speaks at length about the varieties of spiritual gifts and charisms. He describes how the many members of the Church and the different functions each one may play are made one by the Spirit, forming one Body of Christ (cf. 1Cor 12:12ff). This binding force, Paul concludes, is the supreme sign and the principal fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is the “more excellent way” of love (cf. 1Cor 12:31-13:13). “So, faith, hope, love remain, these three; but, the greatest of these is love” (1Cor 13:13). In this way, the Apostle reminds us of the deep connection between the Holy Spirit and the teachings of the Son of God. Father Bissinger is vocation director of the Diocese of Fall River and secretary to Bishop George W. Coleman.
TIME TO CELEBRATE — Father Craig A. Pregana, top photo, left, helps two young Guaimacan girls celebrate their “coming of age,” or quince años. With Father Pregana are Jacqueline and her mother Timotea. Below, Suany with her “chamberlan” Denis. (Photos courtesy of Father Pregana)
e are nearing the end of our Lenten-Easter journey. The clear message from today’s readings is that God cares for his people. Last Thursday, we celebrated the feast of Jesus’ returning to the Father on the Ascension. Next Sunday, we will be in Jerusalem when the promised Holy Spirit descends on the Apostles on Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. The Acts of the Apostles written by St. Luke has been our companion for the weekdays and Sundays of this Easter season. We return to the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles for our first reading for each of the final three “feasts” of this season. On Ascension Thursday, St. Luke opens Acts with a description of Christ’s Ascension into heaven (1:1-11). Next Sunday, the feast of Pentecost, Luke describes the first Pentecost in the beginning of chapter 2. In today’s first reading,
May 22, 2009
A Sunday sandwich
Luke describes the selection ministry.” of Mathias, the Apostle chosen Today’s second reading to replace Judas Iscariot. This from John talks to us about narrative is placed by Luke beGod’s love for us. He tells us tween the Ascension and Penthat when we love one another, tecost. It is interesting to note we mirror God’s love for us. how the selection takes place. The early Church focused a Peter addresses a large group great deal on community. The of disciples, about 120. He lists the qualities of an Apostle. He should Homily of the Week be someone “who has Seventh Sunday been with us the whole of Easter time the Lord Jesus came and went among By Deacon us … from the baptism Robert J. Hill by John until the day he was taken up from our midst” (1:21). Two candidates were put forth by the Acts of the Apostles chronicles whole assembly, and Mathias for us how the infant Church was chosen by lot. God’s role grew and expanded. The young in this selection of Mathias is Church spread because its evident by the prayer of the members loved one another disciples, “Lord, you know the as God loved them. The early hearts of all. Show which one Church knew that God loved of these two you have chosen to and cared for them. We are to take the place in this apostolic love and care for one another
in the same way. The Gospel for the Seventh Sunday is taken from the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel. We are in the upper room during the Last Supper. Right before Jesus goes out to the garden where he will be arrested and eventually be crucified, Jesus prays at length to his Father for the Apostles, for the disciples and for us. He asks his father to make us all one. He asks God to protect the Apostles as he protected them while he was with them. He petitions that they not be taken out of the world, but that they be kept from the evil one. He begs the Father to strengthen them because the world will not accept his teachings readily and because the world will hate his followers because of what and whom they stand for. God’s message for us this
Sunday between the Ascension and Pentecost is that God loves and protects his people no matter what happens to us. Will some of us suffer trials, exclusion, or even “hatred” because we are followers of Jesus? I am sure that we do not have to look too far to see the price that is paid by some for being a disciple. The infant Church needed to replace the Apostle Judas who betrayed the Lord. Jesus, on the night he was betrayed by the same Judas, prayed to his Father to love and protect those who proclaim his message and make them one. The message becomes personal when we are told to love one another as a reflection of God’s love for us. How wonderful it is to reflect on the love and care God has for all his people. Deacon Hill is retired from active ministry and resides with his wife Terri in Mattapoisett.
Upcoming Daily Readings: Sat. May 23, Acts 18:23-28; Ps 47:2-3,8-10; Jn 16:23b-28. Sun. May 24, Seventh Sunday of Easter, Acts 1:15-17,20a, 20c-26; Ps 103:1-2,11-12,19-20; 1 Jn 4:11-16; Jn 17:11b-19. Mon. May 25, Acts 19:1-8; Ps 68:2-5acd, 6-7ab; Jn 16:29-33. Tues. May 26, Acts 20:17-27; Ps 68:10-11,20-21; Jn 17:1-11a. Wed. May 27, Acts 20:28-38; Ps 68:29-30,33-36c; Jn 17:11b-19. Thu. May 28, Acts 22:30;23:6-11; Ps 16:1-2a,5,7-11; Jn 17:20-26. Fri. May 29, Acts 25:13b-21; Ps 103:1-2,11-12, 19-20ab; Jn 21:15-19.
e was an amazingly prolific writer, but the late Father Richard John Neuhaus was also finicky about writing. He would personally review the galleys of each issue of “First Things,” the journal he founded, which was one reason the magazine was a pleasure to read: it was edited, and re-edited, and then edited again. But Richard was particularly finicky about his books. Last August, in what turned out to have been the last of our 22 summer vacations together, he sat in his cottage on the Ottawa River and, pounding away on his beloved MacBook
Exiles on the way home
Pro, edited, and reworked, and the importance of living Judathen re-edited the book that ism for Christianity. It takes up is now his posthumous literthe cudgels in defense of life ary valedictory — “American and sharply critiques the “imBabylon: Notes of a Christian mortality project” with which Exile” (Basic Books). “American Babylon” is vintage Neuhaus, in several senses of the term. It deepens themes Richard had been exploring since By George Weigel “Time Toward Home” (1975) and “The Naked Public Square” (1984), especially the continually some scientists are obsessed. vexed question of Church-andThere is a notable chapter state. It includes perhaps his on Richard Rorty, one of the most developed reflection on most influential of contemporary American philosophers, whose pragmatic case for democracy Neuhaus found perilously thin. And there is the final version of a famous lecture to which Richard gave the deliberately provocative title, “Can an Atheist Be a Good Citizen?” (Answer: Yes, but only accidentally.) Above all, and tying it all together, is Richard Neuhaus’s profound conviction that this gloriously messy, often maddening, sometimes exhilarating business we call “living here and now” is time spent on the way to Somewhere Else — “time toward home,” as he called it in that earlier book, time toward the New Jerusalem, time toward life within the light and love of the Holy
The Catholic Difference
Trinity. Richard Neuhaus loved this life, as he loved New York City and as he loved America. Yet, above those loves and giving those loves meaning was his love of Christ and Christ’s Church. For RJN was a radically converted Christian disciple who believed with the author of the Letter to the Hebrews that “here we have no lasting city,” because everything about this city, about life here and now, is directed toward “the city which is to come” (Heb 13:14). Now, as Richard often pointed out, it was precisely that loyalty to “the city which is to come” that makes serious Christians good citizens of a democracy — or at least good citizens of a democracy that does not divinize itself. By reminding democratic citizens that democratic citizenship is penultimate — for our ultimate citizenship is in the City of the Living God — Christians can give politics its due while helping keep politics in its place. Which is an important place, but not the ultimate place. Indeed, the name for the kind of politics that takes politics with ultimate seriousness is “totalitarianism.” It killed several hundred million people in the 20th century.
In some respects, “American Babylon” is a darker book than “The Naked Public Square” — which is understandable because the times are darker, or at the very least quite different. Jihadism is a murkier external threat than communism. Post-modernism, in which there’s your truth and my truth but nothing properly describable as “the” truth, makes for a slippery public square in which it’s hard to get intellectual traction. Whatever else the democratization of discussion and opinion has done (via the Internet, talk radio, 24/7 cable news, etc.), it’s also dumbed things down, to the point where the ability to craft the telling sound-bite is mistaken for political wisdom. In his last year, RJN knew that the project to which he had given over 40 years of his life — the creation of a “religiously informed public philosophy for the American experiment in ordered liberty” — was in serious trouble. But he was a warrior, and a happy one at that. And he kept fighting until the end. “American Babylon” is the last intellectual testament of a Christian soldier, always moving onward toward his true home, the New Jerusalem. George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
I’m late! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!
Center has a comfortable parlor Wednesday 20 May 2009 — in which to hold these sorts of Nicea — Bishop Nicholas of meetings. Nevertheless, many of Myra arrived in the city for the opening day of the Church’s first the parents entered sheepishly, Ecumenical Council on this date in 325 A.D. he film “Alice in Wonderland” Reflections of a (1951) has a devout Parish Priest cult following and is considered to be one of By Father Tim Disney’s classic animatGoldrick ed movies. The White Rabbit is forever running as though they were sixth-grade behind schedule. The White students summoned to the prinRabbit has a bigger following cipal’s office for some infraction than I ever imagined. of school rules. My first task Parents of ninth-grade confirmation students were recently was to put the parents at ease. I thoroughly enjoyed these afforded the opportunity of chats. They were a real revelaspending half an hour with one of the parish staff members. The tion to me. Parent after parent told me that, in effect, their role majority took the opportunity. model is the White Rabbit. ParI was assigned to meet with ents say they’re over-scheduled, the parents of two dozen high and so are their kids. school freshmen. I wanted to Religion is on their parentake time to listen to what they tal list of priorities, but not at had to say. The Pastoral Life
May 22, 2009
The Ship’s Log
the top. Seems to me that if morality, ethics, and values are high on the parenting list, so should be faith formation. Life-skills are based on values and values are based on faith. From what I heard, first place in “extra-curricular” activities goes to school sports. One mother told me she insists her child participates in at least three high school sports simultaneously because it looks good when applying for college. This is in addition to keeping a consistently high academic rating. One parent told me that so much time is consumed taxiing kids from one event to another that parents neglect their own personal and spiritual development. This cannot be good. I wonder what kind of strain this puts on a marriage. If you have no down time for yourself, you probably have no time for your
Jerusalem, our mother
Christ — stands ready to n a recent pilgrimage, scoop up the wayward souls my daughter and I took in search of peace and order, a detour to see if we could find and to swaddle them in truth the hospital in which I was and love. The door is open, her born. The map was confusing, arms reach down and she gives the traffic was pressing and we freely from her storehouse of waived off for lunch. There, nourishment to all who ask. over our meal, we looked up The fact that this bride first to see the building we sought “drew breath” in Jerusalem across the street, with its sign lends context to the pilgrimage hidden by the surrounding that the Holy Father made to trees. We just smiled at the irony, finished eating and headed home. The decades between that first drawn breath and now have been complicated in ways, and yet remarkBy Genevieve Kineke ably straight-forward in others. The first maternal embrace and the Holy Land last week — for swaddled welcome gave way to an unforeseen abyss as death supernatural echoes abound in that holy place. intervened, and the essential Benedict saw many things motherly tasks were underduring his visit, and three faith taken by others. God provides, communities parsed his every and yet the yearning for a word and gesture. Interestreliable sanctuary has ever ingly, while all three look to been with me, for those who Jerusalem as a city integral are deprived feel keenly what to their worship of God, only others may take for granted. Catholicism puts weight on God is good, and in his the maternal dimension of that almighty plan the perfect place. sanctuary endures even when Layers of the mystery the smaller icons of it slip from unfold when we recognize that our horizons. Thus if a person the temple built by Solomon needs a mother, father, food, was precursor to both the bride shelter and a lamp to light of Christ and the heavenly his path, then such things can Jerusalem to which all our be found — in both concrete churches here on earth point. expressions and the supernatuThere are also deep implicaral echoes that point their true tions tied to Mary, the mother meaning. of God, who is herself related When it comes to the esto that city. “Mary, in whom sential tasks of motherhood, the Lord himself has just made the Church — the bride of
The Feminine Genius
his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells” (CCC, 2676). While Benedict XVI was privileged to walk in the footsteps of Our Lord, we must remember that every Mass is itself a pilgrimage. “In the earthly liturgy we share in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God” (CCC 1090). In each Mass we’re privileged to glimpse the wedding feast of the Lamb, which will take place at the consummation of the world. Benedict described his journey as a pilgrimage of peace — “the lasting peace born of justice, integrity and compassion, the peace that arises from humility, forgiveness and the profound desire to live in harmony as one” — and we pray that it continues to bear fruit. Only through the blood of Jesus is lasting peace possible, and to that end Holy Mother Church offers her sanctuary of ordered love and humble service. She is the true witness — a signpost to the tranquility of heaven. Mrs. Kineke is the author of “The Authentic Catholic Woman” (Servant Books). She can be found online at www. feminine-genius.com.
spouse — and no time for a real relationship with your kids. One father was very articulate in this regard. He said kids need to feel wanted and appreciated. He stressed self-esteem, parent/child bonding, ethical and moral values, role models, and selflessness on the part of parents. According to him, many youngsters are not receiving adequate guidance and direction in either home or school. Kids feel emotionally abandoned and consequently chronically anxious. I heard a lot from parents about the need for morals and values. “It’s all about formation and foundation,” opined one mother. It really is. They spoke of peer pressure, too-early dating, dress codes, Internet use and abuse, inculcating family traditions; manners, etiquette and life-skills, need for discipline and the virtue of obedience, dealing with anger, depression and anxiety, parental separation and divorce, stressing the dignity of the human body, and providing opportunities of service to those in need. There was also a certain note of nostalgia expressed by the parents. They compared their task of raising children to the experience of their own childhood. They said it was never like this for their parents. Perhaps it was and, as children, they just didn’t realize it. “Help me understand what’s going on in the life of my teen-ager,” pleaded one mother. Frankly, I was surprised by the parents’ overwhelmingly positive feedback to our ninemonth-old parish. They were enthusiastic, firstly, about the intensive 14-hour retreat held for our parish confirmation students. They explained how they had expected their teenager to return home filled with complaints, but instead found the kids filled with holy joy. One father said that, although he didn’t know how or why, the retreat was a life-changing experience for his daughter. Parents asked repeatedly if their child might next year become involved in peer ministry of some type. They said the kids them-
selves wanted to do this. Parents gave our Youth Ministry and Religious Education programs rave reviews. They appreciated the deeper spirituality, the opportunity for teen socialization in a safe environment, and the apostolic outreach. The parish in general also got high marks. Parents identified professionalism, hospitality, participation, and enthusiasm. They also had suggestions for improvement. “Keep in touch with young adult parishioners — those away at college and those in the military.” “Please put a restroom in the church.” “We need a bigger parking lot to handle increased attendance and activity.” “Is there any way to provide a ‘cry room’ or nursery?” “What’s the chance of a children’s Liturgy of the Word?” Being Catholic in the next generation will not mean the same thing it did to our grandparents. The times, they are a-changing and so, necessarily, must the Church. In this new parish of St. Nicholas, we have only just begun. Our parish motto is “A faithful past, a hopeful future.” Father Goldrick is pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra Parish in North Dighton.
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May 22, 2009
Prayer and the Pancake Princess
By Michael Pare Anchor Correspondent
HONORARY DEGREE — Bishop George W. Coleman is conferred with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Stonehill College President Father Mark T. Cregan during the college’s 58th commencement May 17. (Photo by Nicki Pardo)
Bishop Coleman receives honorary degree at Stonehill commencement
NORTH EASTON — Bishop George W. Coleman received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his commitment to helping the poor and disadvantaged communities from Stonehill College during its 58th commencement May 17. Referring to Bishop Coleman as a “man of faith, pastor of pastors and minister to other ministers,” Stonehill President Father Mark T. Cregan singled out the bishop’s role as teacher under Canon Law as a significant reason for receiving the honor from the diocese’s only Catholic college. “Your interest in teaching and learning found its most direct expression in your appointment as Director of the Fall River Diocesan Department of Education, where you oversaw Catholic schools, parish Religious Education, and campus ministry programs,” Father Cregan said. “Stonehill College is proud to maintain a special relationship with Catholic schools in the Fall River Diocese, offering collaborative engagements with teachers, principals, and other school leaders.” Father Cregan also cited Bishop Coleman’s commitment to charitable efforts throughout the diocese and beyond as another reason for this distinction. “Because you take special care of the poor and of disadvantaged communities, be-
cause you embody the justice and compassion of Stonehill’s mission statement, and because you understand the complexities of nurturing scholarship and faith, Stonehill College is pleased to confer upon you, Bishop George W. Coleman, honoris causa, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters,” Father Cregan said. Bishop Coleman was honored alongside three other individuals inside Stonehill College’s Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex before 568 graduates received their own degrees. Other honorary degree recipients included business innovator and community leader John Shaughnessy Sr., who received a Doctor of Business Administration degree for his role in the development of Boston and his dedication to service; Robert E. Wilkinson, a member of the first graduating class at Stonehill and its oldest living alumnus, who received a Doctor of Literature degree for his devotion to education; and renowned eye expert and Stonehill alumna M. Elizabeth Fini, who was awarded a Doctor of Science degree for her dedicated research on eye tissue and its injury, repair, and regeneration. Bishop Coleman, who was appointed the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River by Pope John Paul II in 2003, has previously participated in many commencements and celebrated Baccalaureate Masses at Stonehill College.
wonderful sense of humor that endears her to so many people who have been a part of St. Pius X SOUTH YARMOUTH — On the spacious through the years. Friends like Nancy Jones, of grounds of St. Pius X Parish on Barbara Street, Cumberland, R.I., who met Mullaney while she there is a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother. and her husband were living on the Cape from Four separate paths, lined with rhododendrons 1997 through last year. and laurels, lead to the statue. There are wooden “By the time you’ve spent 10 minutes with benches in place. It is a truly peaceful place. Helen, you’re laughing,” said Jones. Helen Mullaney often goes there to pray. Jones admires Mullaney. They met in 1998. “I talk to her and I feel comfortable,” said Jones was active at St. Pius, and for a while, Mullaney, a member of the Cape Cod parish for spearheaded the parish’s bereavement committhe past 40 years. “She answers my prayers.” tee. Mullaney has always felt close to the Blessed “Helen always volunteered when I needed Mother. And she has alher,” said Jones. “She’s ways found comfort in just a kind person.” prayer. She remembers Jones said that Multhe time years ago when laney “is the one who her father was sick. She is always there.” She prayed and she prayed. might not be the leader She promised to go to of a particular group, church every day. She said Jones, but there she said the rosary. is behind the scenes ... “A month later, he always working to help got better,” she said. others. It has always been St. Pius X is a vibrant that way. Prayer has parish made up of some been such an integral 3,000 families. Its mincomponent of Mulistries are many. Mullaney’s Catholic faith. laney serves as an exShe has always believed traordinary minister of in its power. holy Communion, and Mullaney is a native in addition to the beof Norwood. She and reavement committee, her husband Donald sethas been a member of tled in South Yarmouth the Women’s Club. where they raised four Mullaney is also children. Donald died firmly entrenched as 10 years ago. one of the “Kitchen AnThat was not an easy gels,” a group of about time. But Mullaney had ANCHOR PERSON OF THE WEEK — Helen half a dozen women the Church. She had her Mullaney. who help Tom Madden family. And she had the in preparing and serving Blessed Mother. the numerous meals put She is a product of public schools, but always on by the parish, whether they be to welcome there was the Church, and of course, holy Mass new parishioners, honor older ones, or anything each week. That’s how she and Donald raised in between. the kids. They went to Mass. Their twin sons Her efforts at the monthly breakfasts have served as altar boys. earned Mullaney the nickname “Pancake Prin“We went to Mass every Sunday and we cess.” made sure our children knew their prayers,” she “I can always count on her,” said Madden. said. “She puts her all into our monthly breakfasts. To Mullaney, the Church has always pro- She’s been helping since their inception 10 vided something in return. Her commitment to years ago. I don’t think she’s missed one.” her faith, if you will, has always been a sound Father George Bellenoit has been the pastor investment. at St. Pius X since 2006. He marvels at the time “After they were altar boys, they became lec- and talents that parishioners always seem willtors,” she said. “That was about the best thing ing to contribute. In Helen Mullaney, he sees a because then they could speak anywhere.” fitting example of that generosity, and that demThat is something you see in Mullaney when onstration of living one’s faith. you spend just a few minutes talking to her. She “Helen is a dedicated, faith-filled person who doesn’t overdramatize her faith. It is quite sim- graciously gives of her time,” said Father Belply an important part of her life. She would not lenoit. “She is certainly dedicated to this parish have it any other way. and her faith.” For her, everything comes back to prayer. Mullaney’s immediate plans are to continue Talk to her about it and the confidence in her helping out in the St. Pius X kitchen and to voice is palpable. Prayer allows her, she said, spend time with her family, which now includes to enjoy such a personal relationship with the six grandchildren. And she will continue to Blessed Mother. speak to the Blessed Mother. But Mullaney, who will turn 80 next month, “I just truly believe that if there is something also covers her bases. I need, I ask for it,” she said. “And if the answer “After I visit the Blessed Mother I go inside is no, then maybe that is the right answer.” … I don’t want God to think that I play favorTo nominate a Person of the Week, send an ites,” she said. email message to FatherRogerLandry@AnMullaney laughs as she says this. It is that chorNews.org.
May 22, 2009
Cure attributed to intercession of Australia’s Blessed Mary MacKillop By Anthony Barich Catholic News Service
PERTH, Australia — Australia’s first potential saint appears closer to canonization after a Vatican medical board concluded that there was “no scientific explanation” for a cure attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mary MacKillop. Sister Anne Derwin, head of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, said in a recent statement that the medical board’s conclusion is a “very encouraging step” in the process of Blessed MacKillop being recognized as Australia’s first saint by the Catholic Church. Blessed MacKillop co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph with Father Julian Tenison
Woods in 1866 to educate poor children in al Catholic Media Congress May 5 in Sydney. Outback settlements. She was beatified by The current miracle attributed to Blessed the late Pope John Paul II in 1995. MacKillop’s intercession was the 1995 cure The order of a woman expects Blessed suffering from MacKillop to an invasive and be canonized in inoperable canRome within the cer. The first next 18 months, miracle that led St. Joseph Sister to her beatifiJudith Sippel, cation was the project manager 1961 cure of a for the Sisters’ woman from canonization leukemia. committee, told Sister Anne the Australian warned CathoBlessed Mary MacKillop bishops’ Nationlics not to take
STANDING TOGETHER TO SERVE — The Fall River Diocesan Council of Catholic Women recently held its 56th annual convention. Themed “Let Us Stand Together To Serve Him,” the event was held at St. Bernard’s Parish in Assonet. Top photo, from left, are: Lynette Ouellette, Boston Province director; Jeanne Alves, diocesan president; Bishop George W. Coleman; Claudette Armstrong, immediate past DCCW president; Sister Eugenia Brady, S.J.C., DCCW moderator; and Father Michael Racine, pastor of St. Bernard’s. At left, Father Richard D. Wilson, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Parish in New Bedford, who was the guest speaker. Mary Mello from St. Anthony’s Parish in Taunton, and Elizabeth Howard from Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Osterville, received the Our Lady of Good Counsel award for dedication and service.
any decision for granted. “There is still a way to go before we can get too excited about a final outcome, and we cannot pre-empt any decision of the Church,” Sister Anne said in her statement. The next step in the process involves the presentation of evidence of what is called “intercession through prayer” to Church theologians. Before canonization, the theologians’ must acknowledge that the cure was indeed a miracle performed through the intercession of Blessed MacKillop. The Sisters said that following the theologians’ acceptance the cause must then be taken to the Congregation for Saints’ Causes before ultimately being presented to the pope for approval.
May 22, 2009
The end is not near after all
hings were getting just a little too weird around this neck of the woods for the past few years. My wife seems to think it all started in January 2001 when a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck western India. She and others claim this may have affected the tilt of the earth on its axis ever so slightly. I was taking a different route. I was thinking more biblically — the advent of Armageddon to be precise. In February 2002, the New England Patriots shocked the sports world, defeating the “Greatest Show on Turf,” the St. Louis Rams, in Super Bowl XXXVI, for the first-ever world
My View From the Stands By Dave Jolivet championship in their then 42year history. In February 2004 they won No. 2 in Super Bowl XXXVIII, defeating the Carolina Panthers. Later that year things really got strange. The Boston Red Sox, after rallying from a three-gamesto-none deficit against the N.Y. Yankees in the A.L. championship series, went on to win their first world title in 87 years. People were happy ... but scared. Four months later, the Patriots nabbed their second title win in a row, nipping the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIV. I wasn’t quite sure whether to revel in this success, or keep an eye to the sky to see when it would fall. Two short years later, in 2007, the Sox grabbed their second World Series win in three years. Again, I kept one eye scanning the heavens. The end is near I thought. If that weren’t enough, a mere eight months later, the Boston Celtics returned to basketball prominence after a 22-year hiatus, defeating the
L.A. Lakers in the finals. Giddy with glee, I prepared for the end of the world. Denise insisted it was the “tilt” theory. Well, I either misinterpreted biblical signs, or something must have nudged the earth back on its previous angle, because things are getting back to normal. It all started last February when the heavily-favored, undefeated Patriots, blew a chance at history and lost in Super Bowl XLII to the Giants. In their very next game that mattered, Tom Brady went down with a seasonending injury. The team rebounded nicely, finishing with an 11-5 record — while failing to make the playoffs despite having a better record than four of the playoff teams. Several months later, the Red Sox, with a chance for their third World Series appearance in five years, lost the A.L. title in seven games to the Cinderella Tampa Bay Rays. Just last week, the Boston Bruins, with a decent chance of winning their first Stanley Cup in 37 years, failed to make it out of the second round, losing a game seven contest in overtime at home. And a few days later, the defending champion Celtics also lost a game seven home game, getting bounced from the playoffs in the second round as well. Things seem to be returning to normal around here. All this disappointment brings me back to my childhood. It’s almost comforting in a sick way. We New Englanders have been spoiled lately, and the new generation of Home Towne Team fans only knows success. This will be good for them. It will help mold character and teach them that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. Sometimes it has its pits. Cheer up young fans. Stay true to your teams — even if it feels like the end of the world. The earth can be jarred from its axis at any time. And then, who knows?
Diocese of Fall River TV Mass on WLNE Channel 6 Sunday, May 24 at 11:00 a.m.
Celebrant is Father Marek Chmurski, a parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Parish in West Harwich
DEAD AIR SPACE — Donald Faison stars in a scene from the movie “Next Day Air.” For a brief review of this film, see CNS Movie Capsules below. (CNS photo/Summit Entertainment)
CNS Movie Capsules NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Angels & Demons” (Sony/Columbia) Highly improbable but mindlessly entertaining sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” — adapted from Dan Brown’s prequel written in 2000 — in which religious symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and a scientist (Ayelet Zurer) join forces with a church official (Ewan McGregor) to try to prevent the destruction of the Vatican and the murder of a quartet of kidnapped cardinals by following a trail of clues left across Rome by the secretive Illuminati cult of anti-Catholic intellectuals. Though director Ron Howard has toned down some of the book’s most egregious elements, the historical church is still falsely portrayed as a relentless and at times violent foe of science. Much action violence, some grisly murders, factually false church history and ritual, some crass language and a profanity, and a suicide. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting clas-
sification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. “Easy Virtue” (Sony Classics) Glossy but ho-hum retread of an early Noel Coward play (1924), adapted by director and co-writer Stephen Elliott, wherein a landed young Englishman (Ben Barnes) brings home his vivacious new bride, a glamorous American widow (likable Jessica Biel) with a “past,” who clashes with her husband’s stodgy mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) and sisters, though winning the admiration of his more bohemian father (Colin Firth). The colorful period and background tunes are enjoyable, but performances are generally flat and the dated and unconvincing story is further sabotaged by a couple of morally problematic plot additions. Unconventional view of marriage, divorce, assisted suicide, nongraphic sexual marital encounters, brief rear and partial nudity, some crass language and heavy smoking. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. “Next Day Air” (Summit) Brisk, low-budget brew
of violence, street language and stoner comedy mixing dimwitted criminals with a Mexican drug lord as a potsmoking overnight-delivery driver (Donald Faison from TV’s “Scrubs”) accidentally takes a package containing 10 kilos of cocaine to the wrong apartment, which just happens to contain misfit criminals (Mike Epps and Wood Harris) who plan to sell the drugs and start new lives. Director Benny Boom keeps these one-dimensional characters and the stale, predictable plot clattering along for just 84 minutes, but the only surprising twist is who survives the close-range brutality at the finish. Nonstop crude and profane language, drug use, brief upper female nudity, knife violence, the occasional fistfight, a slow-motion gun battle, racial stereotypes and an utter lack of redemptive behavior by any character. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O — morally objectionable. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Movies Online Can’t remember how a recent film was classified by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? Want to know whether to let the kids go see it? You can look up film reviews on the Catholic News Service Website. Visit catholicnews.com and click on “Movies,” under the “News Item” menu.
A Machiavellian moment at Notre Dame
just finished reading Obama’s speech at the Notre Dame commencement May 17. I was struck by two passages in particular. In one, the president comments on the obstacles to finding common ground: “We too often seek advantage over others. We cling to outworn prejudice and fear those who are unfamiliar. Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism; in which the world is necessarily a zerosum game. The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice.” In another, towards the end, he draws some lessons: “Remember that each of us, endowed with the dignity possessed by all children of God, has the grace to recognize our-
Judge For Yourself By Dwight Duncan selves in one another; to understand that we all seek the same love of family and the same fulfillment of a life well-lived.” Of course, these are true and admirable sentiments, and make nice sound bites. One would think, of course, given these high moral sentiments, that Obama would be Pro-Life, as we just learned that 51 percent of Americans are, according to the latest Gallup poll. That is, unborn babies are possessed of the same human dignity as the rest of us, and so most Americans “recognize ourselves in” them, as indeed all of us once were what they are. But “the strong too often dominate the weak … and find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of … injustice.” As one of the powerful, Obama tellingly includes himself in the comment that “we cling to outworn prejudice and fear those who are unfamiliar.” And so millions of abortions will continue to occur in America under the legal authority of Roe v. Wade. Obama thinks that recognizing the humanity of the unborn is “above his pay grade,” though he is both well paid and intelligent. While he says at Notre Dame, “Let’s honor the con-
May 22, 2009
science of those who disagree with abortion,” he removes in Washington the federal regulation that provides just such protection. Meanwhile, he is pledged to remove every restriction on abortion through the Freedom of Choice Act and appoint to the Supreme Court a “Justice” who is pledged to perpetuate Roe v. Wade. I am reminded of a passage in Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” the landmark work of political philosophy famous for first divorcing politics from ethics. Machiavelli says that “A prince ought to take great care that nothing goes out of his mouth which is not full of [pity, faith, integrity, humanity and religion], and that he appears to be, when one sees and hears him, all pity, all faith, all integrity, all humanity, and all religion. Nothing is more necessary than to have this last quality. For men, universally judge more by the eyes than by the hands, because it is given to everyone that they see, but to few that they can touch.” (Alvarez translation.) Thus, it seems advisable to pay more attention to what a politician does than to what he says. By being honored by Notre Dame, the nation’s premier Catholic university, and saying such high-sounding things, Obama seems very moral and religious. The fact is, however, that he is not practicing what he is preaching, that he is in effect faking it. Styling himself, and sounding, like another Abraham Lincoln, he is actually acting like Lincoln’s immediate predecessor President James Buchanan, who welcomed the Dred Scot decision on slavery, which like Roe denied legal personhood to a whole class of human beings. Or like Stephen A. Douglas, another senator from Illinois, who thought that people should be able to choose whether to recognize slavery in their territory, as if a basic human right were not implicated, and who was Lincoln’s opponent on the issue of slavery. Shame on Notre Dame (the school) for staging this charade! Shame on us Catholics if we fall for it! Dwight Duncan is a professor at Southern New England School of Law in North Dartmouth. He holds degrees in civil and canon law.
Obama address at Notre Dame provokes applause and criticism
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) — President Barack Obama took on the controversy swirling around his commencement address May 17 at the University of Notre Dame, urging those bitterly divided over abortion and other issues to adopt an approach of mutual respect and dialogue. Obama invoked then-Notre Dame president Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh’s winning an agreement in the 1960s from deeply divided U.S. Civil Rights Commission members during a fishing trip in Wisconsin as a model of persevering dialogue. “Open hearts. Open minds. Fairminded words. It’s a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition,” Obama said, positioning dialogue as the hope for solutions to enormous modern problems. “Your class has come of age at a moment of great consequence for our nation and the world — a rare inflection point in history where the size and scope of the challenges before us require that we remake our world to renew its promise; that we align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age,” he said. “We must find a way to live together as one human family. Moreover, no one person, or religion, or nation can meet these challenges alone. Our very survival has never required greater cooperation and understanding among all people from all places than at this moment in history.” Obama listed war, gay rights and embryonic stem-cell research among difficult issues that demand dialogue, but he spent the bulk of his talk on the abortion issue. Critics of Notre Dame’s decision to invite Obama, including more than 50 bishops, said the president’s support of legal abortion and embryonic stem-cell research made him an inappropriate choice to be a commencement speaker at a Catholic university and to receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame. The local bishop, Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Forth Wayne-South Bend, announced weeks before he would not attend the ceremony, and a student group, Notre Dame Response, and other protesters held daily demonstrations. On commencement day, the student group also received permission to hold a vigil for life at the grotto on campus as an alternative graduation ceremony. During the main commencement ceremony in the Joyce Center, a handful of hecklers were escorted out during Obama’s talk — once with a student-led “We are ND” chant drowning out the protesters’ shouts. Obama said he had learned to choose careful language on the issue during his race for the Senate in Illinois, when a Pro-Life doctor complained that his Website referred to abortion opponents as “right-wing ideologues who want to take away
a woman’s right to choose.” Obama had the words removed. “And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me,” Obama told the graduates and their families. “Because when we do that — when we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we do — that’s when we discover at least the possibility of common ground,” he said. Acknowledging that positions on abortion are in some ways irreconcilable, he urged respect for conscience and recognition of the “heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both spiritual and moral dimensions.” “So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term,” he said. “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women,” he said. “Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature,” he said. Noting he was not raised in a particularly religious household, he said he was “brought to Christ” by the witness of co-workers in service on the south side of Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Obama acknowledged Catholic parishes helping fund an organization called the Developing Communities Project. He contrasted faith and certainty, describing a doubt that fosters humility. “It should compel us to remain open and curious and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame,” he said. “And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds,” fulfilling the golden rule of shared by religions and nonreligious people. Obama invoked Father Hesburgh’s twin images of Notre Dame as a lighthouse of Catholic wisdom and a crossroads where different cultures can converge. The priest, now 91, attended the commencement. Obama also recounted how Father Hesburgh, the sole surviv-
ing member of the first U.S. Civil Rights Commission, brokered the deal that became the basis of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by flying the members to Notre Dame’s Land O’ Lakes property: “They fished, and they talked, and they changed the course of history.” “I will not pretend that the challenges we face will be easy, or that the answers will come quickly, or that all our differences and divisions will fade happily away,” he said. “Life is not that simple. It never has been. quote continues “But as you leave here today, remember the lessons of Cardinal Bernardin, of Father Hesburgh, of movements for change both large and small,” he continued. “Remember that each of us, endowed with the dignity possessed by all children of God, has the grace to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we all seek the same love of family and the same fulfillment of a life well-lived. Remember that in the end, we are all fishermen.” Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, and Judge John T. Noonan, who won the university’s prestigious Laetare Medal in 1984 and delivered a brief speech “in the spirit of the Laetare Medal,” also addressed the protests that erupted after Obama accepted Father Jenkins’ invitation to speak. In the weeks that followed, antiabortion activists including Randall Terry and Alan Keyes came to South Bend for demonstrations. An airplane-drawn banner depicting an aborted 10-week fetus flew frequently over the campus, and protesters, some pushing baby carriages with dolls stained with fake blood, were arrested. On May 16 a group of leading Catholic theologians and other leaders published a full-page advertisement in the South Bend Tribune daily newspaper in support of Father Jenkins’ invitation, and the graduating class selected them as their senior fellow. The crowd gave him two standing ovations at the close of the ceremonies. “More than any problem in the arts or sciences, engineering or medicine, easing the hateful divisions between human beings is the supreme challenge to this age,” Father Jenkins said in his introduction of Obama. “If we can solve this problem, we have a chance to come together and solve all the others.” Noonan referred to Harvard professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon, who declined the medal in late April, as making a “lonely, courageous and conscientious choice.” “I respect her decision,” he said to applause. “At the same time, I am here to confirm that all consciences are not the same; that we can recognize great goodness in our nation’s president without defending all of his multitudinous decisions; and that we can rejoice on this wholly happy occasion.”
Military chaplains: A calm port in a turbulent sea continued from page one
in Vietnam, one with a broken ankle. “Regardless of what people back home thought about the Vietnam War, the U.S. soldiers there felt they were there for a good reason — to protect these people,” the bishop said. “The fighting varied in different areas, but often it was the youngest and lowest ranking soldiers who were at the most dangerous places,” he said. “Having a Catholic chaplain there to celebrate Mass and to hear confessions was a great help to the soldiers. The closer they were to the front lines, the more they appreciated the chaplain.” Bishop Roque said soldiers in some areas literally had to dig trenches in which to sleep, just for protection’s sake. He recalled making trips deep into the jungle to celebrate Mass for the soldiers. “Most of the Catholic soldiers wore a rosary around their necks at all times. I had one Jewish soldier in my battalion and he wore one also. I asked ‘Why are you wearing that?’ He said ‘Father, who’s taking chances?’” Bishop Roque recalled, “My mom gave me a holy medal when I left for duty and I wasn’t comfortable unless I had that medal with me.” Father Paul Halladay is currently an Army chaplain at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. In 2006, Father Halladay was stationed with the First Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment in Ramadi, Iraq. During that tour of duty, a young Navy SEAL, Michael Monsoor, sacrificed his own life to save two SEAL teammates, throwing himself on a hand grenade tossed their way by an Iraqi insurgent. Father Halladay was with Petty Officer Second Class Monsoor when he died several hours later. Monsoor had a few days earlier asked Father Halladay to hear his confession. “I do know his faith was important to him,” Father Halladay would say at a ceremony at the White House at which President George W. Bush presented a posthumous Medal of Honor to Monsoor’s parents. Father Halladay told The Anchor Catholic soldiers need a Catholic chaplain to bring them the Mass, the opportunity for reconciliation
and “just to talk.” He added, “The Catholic soldiers are ecstatic when a chaplain is there to celebrate Mass and offer the chance for confession. But it’s not just the Catholics. The presence of a Catholic chaplain provides non-Catholics a window to the Catholic world, and its riches,” he said. “They see what their Catholic peers are receiving and they want that aspect of faith. They learn who and what we are. “There are non-Catholics who come to talk to me and in a sense they’re making a confession without even knowing it.” Father Halladay said the soldiers cope with a great deal of pressure and fear and “they come to a chaplain to voice those fears.” Like the soldiers Bishop Roque served with, Father Halladay sees many Catholics and non-Catholic enlisted men and women wearing rosaries. “I stress to them that the rosaries are not just to wear, but they are powerful spiritual weapons, to be used. I teach them how to pray the rosary to fight against the true enemy — evil. Father Halladay acknowledged the chaplains are as much in harm’s way as the soldiers they serve. “There’s always the danger of blood being spilled,” Father Halladay said. “We think about it before and after, but when you’re in the middle of things, you don’t think about it at all. You just go to work as a priest and take care of business. You give the soldiers all you can.” Father Halladay said on Memorial Day we should all remember those who paid the ultimate price for our American way of life. “Our way of life is so unique in this world,” he said. “It’s still an experiment among people of this nation and others. We make our mistakes, but we have men and women willing to protect this way of life. “It’s amazing in the Litany of Saints, soldiers make up the second largest group, after those who served as religious. The sacrifice a soldier makes is very similar to the sacrifice our Lord made for us, and for us to follow him. Looking at our men and women in the military, we should see the connection of fostering the faith life by service and
sacrifice.” Robert Leroux is a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve who recently returned from a tour of duty in northwest Iraq. E-3 Leroux is a member of Good Shepherd Parish in Fall River. “I’ve been in the Naval Reserve for nearly two years, and I’ve been away from my family 16 out of the last 24 months,” he told The Anchor. “It’s a lot to get used to, being away from family and being in a country that is so different that I’ve experienced. The terrain is different, so much sand, and the temperature extremes can be drastic.” Leroux mentioned where he was stationed there was only one Catholic chaplain in the area. “I saw him three or four times in the time I was there,” Leroux said. “His name was Father Shaughnessy, and he did his best to be there for the Catholic soldiers, and there were quite a few of us. “I was fortunate enough to be able to attend three or four Masses that Father celebrated, and there were always as many Catholics there as could be possible. I and they enjoyed having him there.” Leroux’s take on Memorial Day is very similar to Father Halladay’s. “The soldiers are all brought to war for a reason, whether it’s accepted or not,” he said. “Our job is to protect our country. I hope people remember that on Memorial Day.” Christopher Plonka, a member of St. Bernard’s Parish in Assonet, is stationed at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. He served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2003. “I was there just prior to when the war started and when it began, we were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “We were so busy that we didn’t have time to think.” Plonka told The Anchor that the Catholic chaplain’s presence there was greatly valued. “I can count the times I was able to attend Mass there on one hand, but it was very much appreciated. It provided a continuity and helped make a connection with the people back home.” He mentioned that the military leadership appreciated the chaplains as much as anyone, knowing that they provide a sense of continuity for their soldiers. “I hope people in the U.S. keep everybody who sacrificed their lives and who sacrifice their time serving their country in their thoughts and prayers this Memorial Day,” added Plonka. Prior to entering the seminary and becoming a priest for the Diocese of Fall River, Father Karl C. Bissinger served five years in the U.S. Navy from 1989 to 1994. While this was a time of relative peace in the world, a deployment at sea could be a long period of time without touching land. “I recall one time when I was on the USS John Hancock in the Red
May 22, 2009 Sea, when a Navy chaplain was flown to our ship by helicopter,” Father Bissinger said. “He came to say Mass for us in the galley. I was very moved that this man would come out to us on the high seas, land on our deck and celebrate Mass with us. In fact, many of my shipmates took advantage of this. Up to as many as 175 of us gathered for the Mass. It meant a great deal to us.” War has never been popular, with the soldiers who fight them, or with the people back in the homeland. The sad fact is that wars do flare up. They have since biblical times, and will most likely do so for years to come. When conflicts do arise, Americans can be assured that brave men and women will take up the challenge and sacrifice time, energy
and possibly their lives to protect this country and others around the world from evil. What also can be assured is that Catholic chaplains will follow these soldiers to the battle field to provide comfort, spiritual strength, support, and most importantly the presence of God in what can be a hell on earth for some. Regardless of political affiliations, or opinions on the conflicts that arise, this Memorial Day all Americans should think of and pray for all those who paid the ultimate price throughout history. Also in our thoughts and prayers, and deserving our thanks, should be those who stand in harm’s way today and tomorrow for what many Americans thoughtlessly take for granted — freedom.
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Less than four months into President Barack Obama’s term, opinion polls are finding that Americans are taking a dramatic turn toward greater opposition to abortion. A poll conducted May 7-10 as part of the annual Gallup Values and Beliefs survey found that a majority of Americans (51 percent) described themselves as “Pro-Life” with respect to the abortion issue, while only 42 percent said they were “pro-choice.” The results were made public May 15. It marked the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1995 that more respondents said they were Pro-Life than pro-choice, and was a shift of seven-eight percentage points from a year earlier, when 50 percent said they were pro-choice and 44 percent said they were Pro-Life. A separate Gallup Poll Daily survey conducted May 12-13 found that 50 percent of Americans described themselves as Pro-Life and 43 percent as pro-choice. The results were similar to another national survey made public April 30 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which found that the number of Americans who said abortion should be legal in all or most cases had declined to 46 percent in April 2009 from 54 percent in August 2008. Forty-four percent of respondents in the Pew poll said abortion should be illegal in most (28 percent) or all cases (16 percent), up from 41 percent in August 2008. The margin of error for each of the three polls was plus or minus three percentage points. The Gallup Values and Beliefs survey found the strongest Pro-Life views among those who said they were Republican or independents leaning toward the Republican Party, those who described themselves as conservative and those who said they were Christians. Fifty-two percent of the Catholic respondents and 59 percent of Protestants or members of other Christian religions described themselves as Pro-Life in the 2009 poll, compared to 45 percent of Catho-
lics and 51 percent of Protestants in May 2008. Seventy percent of Republicans or those leaning Republican said they were Pro-Life, compared to 60 percent in 2008; the percentage who said they were pro-choice in that group dropped from 36 percent in 2008 to 26 percent this year. Among Democrats and independents who leaned toward the Democratic Party, the position on abortion remained virtually unchanged, with 61 percent saying they were pro-choice and 33 percent Pro-Life in 2009, compared to 60 percent pro-choice and 33 percent Pro-Life last year. “With the first pro-choice president in eight years already making changes to the nation’s policies on funding abortion overseas, expressing his support for the Freedom of Choice Act and moving toward rescinding federal job protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortion procedures, Americans — and, in particular, Republicans — seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position,” said a Gallup commentary on the results. “It is possible that, through his abortion policies, Obama has pushed the public’s understanding of what it means to be ‘pro-choice’ slightly to the left, politically,” it added. “While Democrats may support that, as they generally support everything Obama is doing as president, it may be driving others in the opposite direction.” When Gallup first began conducting the Values and Beliefs survey in 1995, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as pro-choice and only 33 percent said they were Pro-Life. Since then, the highest percentage to identify themselves as Pro-Life was 46 percent, in both August 2001 and May 2002. In surveys conducted by Pew Research, support for keeping abortion legal in all or most cases ranged in 2008 from 57 percent in mid-October to 53 percent in late October but dropped to 46 percent in April 2009.
Polls find more ‘Pro-Life’ Americans
May 22, 2009
Mailing issues leave diocesan newspaper anchored at post offices
By Kenneth J. Souza Anchor Staff
FALL RIVER — Some of the faithful readers of The Anchor, the official newspaper of the Fall River Diocese, have been frustrated in recent weeks over delayed deliveries of the publication. While no changes or adjustments have been made in deadlines or printing schedules, those who consistently received the periodical with their Friday mail have reported getting the newspaper nearly a week later. It’s an escalating problem that Mary Chase, office manager at The Anchor, hopes will soon be resolved. “We never had a problem with people getting The Anchor before,” Chase said. “People who were getting it on Friday are now getting it on Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week. This started within the last month, so something has changed with the post office.” Chase received 30 to 40 calls a day during a recent week from subscribers who hadn’t yet received their newspaper. While she understands their obvious frustration, she also wanted to make them aware that once the printed newspaper is turned over to the U.S. Postal Service for delivery, it’s beyond her control. “Our subscribers are very, very up-
set,” she said. “They don’t understand subscribers have not been getting the why this is happening and they need newspaper on time of late. Readers in some sort of explanation. I just want to the New Bedford area, for example, tell them we are working on the prob- did not receive their May 8 edition unlem and I’m trying to correct the prob- til May 13. lem with the post offices. But if enough “We care very much that Anchor people address it with their individual readers receive the newspaper on Fripost offices, hopefully it will be re- day, the publication date,” Father Lansolved.” dry said. “We The staff at e care very much that An- work very the diocesan hard with chor readers receive the our printer newspaper newspaper on Friday, the publication to make sure completes each weekly date,” Father Landry said. “We work it’s delivered edition by very hard with our printer to make sure in a timely Tuesday af- it’s delivered in a timely manner so that manner so ternoon and that the postsubmits it to the postal service is able to get it into al service is Telco Com- reader’s boxes on Friday afternoon.” able to get it municainto reader’s tions, Inc. in boxes on FriSeekonk for printing. TCI prints the day afternoon. But once we drop it off 28,000 copies on Wednesday and de- at the post office, it now is the total relivers the finished product to the Fall sponsibility of the post office to get it River post office by Thursday at noon to Anchor readers on time.” for anticipated delivery to homes and While there have been isolated occaparishes throughout the Fall River Dio- sions in particular zip codes throughout cese the following day. the diocese where delivery has been deAlthough he praised the efforts of layed in the past, Father Landry noted the post office in promptly getting this recent problem seems to be more The Anchor to subscribers “in most widespread. areas of the diocese on most weeks,” “With some of the struggles that the Executive Editor Father Roger J. Lan- post office is having in terms of raising dry expressed concern that some paid their prices and needing to lay off staff
and taking mailboxes off the streets, it seems like that has affected Anchor delivery time in large sections of the diocese,” he said. Chase says it seems the problem stems from the Providence post office, through which the bulk of all area mail is routed. Father Landry said he appreciates readers letting him know they have not received their papers and also urged them to contact the U.S. Postal Service to make them aware of the problem. “If they haven’t gotten their newspaper in a timely manner, they should call customer service at the Providence Post Office as well as the customer service representative at their local post office to just simply say that they haven’t gotten their Anchor and they’d like to have their help so they’d be able to get their paper delivered in a timely way,” Father Landry said. “I’ve always told our subscribers, if enough people call their individual post offices, they will get a better response than if I’m just calling the post office myself.” Subscribers who do not receive The Anchor in a timely manner are encouraged to contact their local post office, the Providence Post Office at 401-276-3917, or toll free at 1-800-ASK-USPS.
May 22, 2009
Eight-year-old philanthropist helps St. Vincent’s kids
FALL RIVER — Reid Latham of South Easton is not your typical eight-year-old when it comes to having a birthday party. In March, Reid’s mother, Nancy, contacted St. Vincent’s Home to say Reid had decided not to receive birthday gifts but wanted donations in honor of
his eighth birthday to go to a charity. Reid and his parents, Steve and Nancy, discussed different charities, and the Lathams had been touched by the work done at St. Vincent’s. Mrs. Latham’s aunt, Mary Balleste who died several years ago was instrumental in naming the Memorial Garden at St. Vincent’s in honor of her son, Peter. So, as Mrs. Latham commented, St. Vincent’s “seemed
very fitting all around.” Birthday invitations were mailed out to Reid’s family and friends saying, “In lieu of gifts Reid is requesting that you make a small donation (cash, decks of cards, CD headphones, or kid’s cards games for ages five-18) to St. Vincent’s. St. Vincent’s is located in Fall River and provides residence for children whose parents are currently unable to care for them or for children/teens with special behavioral needs.” In mid-April a package arrived at St. Vincent’s with CD headphones, numerous decks of cards, card games, and nearly $300 in donations — all from Reid’s party. The home was humbled by Reid’s gesture. John T. Weldon, executive director of St. Vincent’s thanked Reid, saying, “Foregoing birthday gifts so that children less fortunate could benefit from your special day is truly a selfless act of kindness and one that greatly benefits other children your age.” Weldon further noted, “Through Reid’s thoughtfulness, he is making a positive difference in the lives of the children who call St. Vincent’s ‘home’ — many of whom do not have families like Reid Latham’s to care for them.”
AMONG FRIENDS — Mercy Sister Patricia Harrington, front, second from right, moderator of Bishop Feehan High School’s ECHO retreat program since its inception 40 years ago, is surrounded by the 110 Feehan seniors who participated in the celebratory 40th anniversary retreat at the Attleboro school.
CHEERS! — The Holy Trinity “Saints” Cheerleaders, from Holy Trinity Regional School in West Harwich, practice their routines.
UP, UP, AND AWAY — St. Mary’s School in Taunton, has been selected as one of 40 schools in the Boston area participating in the 2009 USA Hot Air Balloon School Tour sponsored by Beemster Cheese. The school presentation began with an inflation of the Beemster balloon to demonstrate how hot air balloons work. The balloon was tethered at Hopewell Park and 10 teachers from St. Mary’s were able to experience an unforgettable journey. The children waved as the teachers bid them farewell. An educational and inspiring power point presentation followed the display. Beemster’s Betty Bovine, the Beemster Cheese balloon, is a top of the line aerostat manufactured by Cameron Balloons U.S.
HONORING MARY — Kindergarten and third-grade students recite the rosary at a crowning of Mary ceremony at St. Pius X School in South Yarmouth.
May 22, 2009
everal days ago I had eye surgery. It was nothing too serious. It was for the removal of a cataract in my right eye. For those of you too young to think much about cataracts, they are a sort of ‘film’ that builds up in your eye cutting down on the amount of light that ultimately gets in. They generally are associated with “older folks” but as a nurse reassured me when I said, “I’m too young for cataracts,” even babies can develop them. It was fairly shocking to find out that I had a cataract. Your eyesight gets poorer as time goes on, but it is almost an imperceptible change. It gets harder and harder to see and you barely notice it until it gets to the point where your driving and reading suddenly become impaired. After the surgery I spent about 24 hours in a hotel room with a patch over the operated eye and
Youth Pages I can see more clearly now
the other eye being so lazy that changes that occur gradually. nothing much was discernable The boiling frog story states to me. For about 24 hours I was that a frog can be boiled alive blind and wholly dependent on if the water is heated slowly my wife. When I returned to enough. If a frog is placed in the hospital to have the patch boiling water, it will jump out, removed, I was struck at the but if it is placed in cold water difference in brightness and that is slowly heated, it will clarity I experienced when my patch was first removed. Contrasting that to my sight just 24 hours earlier was a dramatic change, so much so that I never really By Frank Lucca noticed how impaired I was becoming during the few previous years. I guess sometimes when you are never jump out. In many ways, so close to something you don’t I was getting more and more see the tiny changes taking blind and really didn’t notice place and suddenly you are in a it much until it got to the point darker place. where I was getting impaired. There is a metaphor that I That can happen to all of us in have quoted to students in the many different ways, and if we past to demonstrate the inability don’t notice it may be too late of people to react to important once we do.
Be Not Afraid
In today’s society, we are becoming desensitized to major changes just like the frog placed in cold water. Slowly and surely, there are changes, important changes, gradually taking place in our country and we may not notice. Many are becoming more accepting of euthanasia and abortion. Many are opting to live together rather than getting married. Many are bailing out of salvageable marriages without first trying to work things out. And now, in many states, marriage is no longer exclusively between a man and a woman. Drugs? Maybe, they say, marijuana should be okay. Musical lyrics, TV shows and movies are getting more and more daring — always trying to push the envelope on decency. I remember that about 40 years ago, my father, who owned a movie theater, had a advertisement pulled by the local paper because it showed a young girl simply sitting on a bed. My how things have changed! I’m reminded of a Bible story that I can’t resist closing with — especially an article dealing with sight (and I think it makes the point I’m trying to make here.) In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus says, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not
perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Many humans have a tendency to look for fault in others, as a way of escaping looking at our own flaws. We need to focus on our own spiritual growth, and take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions before trying to point out the flaws in others. We need to evaluate where we are in our own lives. We need to remove what is keeping us from the light and what is blocking our view of Christ. I believe that if we become more personally willing to accept the non-acceptable, we allow the “cataract” to build up and slowly blind us — ultimately blocking out the “light of Christ” in our lives. When we notice, it may be too late for us. Think about it. Frank Lucca is a youth minister at St Dominic’s Parish in Swansea. He is chair and director of the YES! Retreat and director of the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI). He is a husband and a father of two daughters.
HEALTHCARE HELPERS — The Coyle and Cassidy High School, Taunton, school nurses and science faculty hosted a reception for graduating seniors who will be pursuing a degree in nursing. Front, from left: Patti Lucini, school nurse; Juliet Levangie, Marissa Hebert, and Brittany Schultz; Back row: Anne Marie Pavao, RN and science teacher; Kayla Leonardo, Haley Milot, Paula Jencyowski, Karen Williams, school nurse; and Kathy St. Laurent, chairperson of science department and RN.
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The Anchor P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA 02722 firstname.lastname@example.org 508.675.7151 LOG CABIN LEGEND — Students in David Raymundo’s fifth-grade class at Espirito Santo School in Fall River received a surprise visit from an old friend, Abraham Lincoln, while finishing a unit on historical figures.
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Scott Hahn to help close Pauline Year celebrations continued from page one
en parishes in the diocese that Bishop Coleman has designated as a Pauline Year indulgenced pilgrimage site. “The first and introductory talk will begin at 10 a.m., and last for approximately 75 minutes,” Father Johnson reported. “It will be on Paul’s Gospel — which is actually his various epistles or letters.” The second talk, from 11:30 a.m., to 12:30 p.m., will be on reconciliation, the sacrament of penance. The final talk, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., will again take up Paul’s writings, “so that they sandwich the talk on confession,” Father Johnson explained. “The total cost to attend all three lectures is just $5,” he added. Because of high expected demand, those who would like to attend are required to reserve a seat either by calling 508-9931691 or emailing hahntalks@ gmail.com. In “The Conversion of Scott Hahn,” his gripping first-hand account of his 1980s conversion to Catholicism, Hahn, a former brilliant young Presbyterian minister, recalls how he acci-
dentally received a Catholic, California-published magazine, “This Rock.” It arrived at his home because the address on the gift subscription to a Pennsylvania town had the right town and street, but the wrong street number. When Hahn acknowledged to the publishers how the magazine had helped during his conversion, the story impacted many, and continues to do so. Married and the father of six children, Hahn holds many academic degrees; is an adjunct professor at several Catholic colleges and universities; is the author of dozens of books as well as numerous articles in lay and academic publications on the Mass, Eucharist, marriage and family; and is the general editor of Ignatius Bible Studies in California. In his “The Pocket Guide to St. Paul,” Hahn writes: “St. Paul was a thinker, a pastor, a missionary, a revolutionary, and a martyr. By the end of his life and largely thanks to his effort, Christianity enjoyed a worldwide presence. Since then, he has emerged repeatedly down
the millennia as a fresh voice, compelling us to envision God, and life, in a new way. We cannot understand Christianity unless we understand his message. We cannot understand ourselves as Christians unless we see ourselves in the light of his word.” Hahn’s talks will sound the final note in the year that found Father Johnson and other priests and deacons, as well as The Anchor, busy promulgating the history and dedicated apostleship of the man formerly named Saul, who the risen Christ knocked off his horse and blinded en route to Damascus and his assiduous persecuting of Christians. The jubilee’s goal is to help Catholics strive to imitate Paul’s conversion in their own encounter with Christ. Father Johnson said he hopes Scott Hahn’s presentations will assist the faithful of the diocese in achieving this goal, and urged them to reserve their spots for the day. The last event of the Year of St. Paul will take place the day after Hahn’s talks with a closing Mass of the year at St. Anthony’s. Father Johnson will be the celebrant and homilist of the Mass. Everyone is invited.
Pope: Parish visits, prolonged prayer are bishop’s duty
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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Visiting even the most remote parishes, carefully planning homilies and devoting serious time to prayer are all necessary parts of a bishop’s ministry, Pope Benedict XVI said. Meeting May 18 with bishops from Peru making their “ad limina” visits to report on the status of their dioceses, the pope urged them “to live courageously as disciples and missionaries of the Lord.” “Regular pastoral visits to Church communities — including the most remote and humble — prolonged prayer, careful preparation for preaching and paternal care of priests, families, youths, catechists and other pastoral workers” are all part of being messengers of the good news of salvation, the pope told the bishops. He also told them they must open their own hearts and the hearts of those around them to the needs of the sick, the poor and the suffering, especially those who are unemployed, those who lack adequate health and education and the victims of drug abuse and violence.
May 22, 2009
Controversial bills await action on Hill continued from page one
Rushing has said he refiled this proposal because “we want the wording of law to be in conformance with the Goodrich decision.” In that controversial 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Judicial Court in 2003 interpreted the state constitution as “not limiting marriage to one man and one woman” for the plaintiffs in that case, who were represented by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. Although the ruling opened the door to Massachusetts becoming ground zero in the national battle to redefine marriage, the legislature never changed the law. In essence, former Gov. Mitt Romney extended that court decision to the whole state by instructing municipal clerks to issue marriage licenses to samesex couples. In a nationally publicized letter to Romney in 2006, 44 national pro-family leaders urged him to declare “gay marriage” illegal. Among those signing from Massachusetts were Dr. John Diggs, an expert on the medical risks of homosexual behavior; Ray Neary of ProLife Massachusetts; and Phil Lawler, editor of Catholic World News. They said the Constitution authorizes only the legislature, not the courts, to decide marriage policy, and that Romney had no obligation to enforce an unconstitutional ruling. Romney did not respond, but had in the past disagreed with this theory. However, the wording still used publicly by homosexual activists shows they understand the law. For example, Bay Windows, a gay advocacy newspaper, observed May 14 that five years have elapsed “since same-sex couples first began obtaining marriage licenses in the United States.” It continued: “Massachusetts became the first state to begin issuing marriage licenses to samesex couples on May 17, 2004” and details ensuing challenges to marriage in other states. Now “Boston’s GLAD has been emboldened to take on a challenge of the 13-year-old Defense of Marriage Act in federal court,” it concluded. Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute noted, “Over one-third of those polled (recently by the National Organization for Marriage) said they were afraid to speak out against ‘same-sex marriage,’ a sentiment crystallized by the recent Miss Universe controversy. Until individuals can vote on the issue for themselves in this state, as they have in 30 other states across the country, the issue will not be settled in the hearts and minds of citizens.”
The bill to mandate health education is being pushed by CARE For Youth, a coalition managed by the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Among its members are the ACLU, Massachusetts Teachers Association, National Organization for Women, Boston College Women’s Health Initiative, and Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. Under the curriculum, youngsters in PreK to grade five would be able to “define sexual orientation using the correct terminology (such as heterosexual, and gay and lesbian).” Grade six-eight students would learn to “define the types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS,” and how to “identify sexual discrimination and harassment.” Among other topics, high schoolers would study “possible determinants of sexual orientation” and know where to obtain contraception and abortion. The state Website at doe.mass. edu/frameworks/health/1999/ physical.html#repro shows the text of the curriculum’s sex education component. The bill would mandate that all public schools adopt the nowoptional Department of Education’s Comprehensive Health Curriculum Frameworks. Filed as S 218 by Senate Harriet Chandler and H 3434 by Rep. Alice Wolf, the bill is in the Joint Education Committee On May 14, Planned Parenthood urged members to conduct a “virtual lobby day” for this and other legislation. Marie Sturgis, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, warned that there could be either a direct push for the bill or alternatively, “The governor’s Readiness Project may become a major vehicle to push for it, in which case it could be slipped in under regulations and not legislation.” MCFL director Linda Thayer said the proposal “violates our freedom of religion and conscience; it will force us to surrender our rights as parents to people who have an economic and political agenda.” Among numerous other bills of interest are: H 1711, which would repeal the law that calls sodomy a “crime against nature” (now in the Judiciary Committee) and H 483, an anti-bullying bill, filed Rep. John Rogers of Norwood in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (in the Joint Education Committee.) The text of all bills and contact information is available through the home Webpage Mass.gov/legis of the Massachusetts General Court.
May 22, 2009
Sister Rosalini Cabral FMM; was missionary and teacher
Around the Diocese Eucharistic Adoration Eucharistic Adoration: ACUSHNET — Eucharistic Adoration takes place at St. Francis Xavier Parish on Mondays 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Fridays 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Mondays end with Evening Prayer and Benediction at 6:30 p.m.; Saturdays end with Benediction at 2:45 p.m. FALL RIVER — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Lourdes Chapel at Notre Dame Church, 529 Eastern Avenue. NEW BEDFORD — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place at St. Joseph-St. Therese Church, 51 Duncan Street, Mondays following the 8:30 a.m. Mass until 1:30 p.m. For more information call 508-995-2354. NEW BEDFORD — Eucharistic adoration takes place 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 233 County Street, with night prayer and Benediction at 8:45 p.m., and confessions offered during the evening. NEW BEDFORD — There is a daily holy hour from 5:15-6:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue. It includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Hours, recitation of the rosary, and the opportunity for confession. TAUNTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place every Tuesday at St. Anthony Church, 126 School Street, following the 8 a.m. Mass with prayers including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for vocations, concluding at 6 p.m. with Chaplet of St. Anthony and Benediction. Recitation of the rosary for peace is prayed Monday through Saturday at 7:30 a.m. prior to the 8 a.m. Mass. WEST HARWICH — Our Lady of Life Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Holy Trinity Parish, 246 Main Street, holds perpetual eucharistic adoration. For open hours, or to sign up call 508-430-4716.
ATTLEBORO — The annual procession and Mass in honor of the Holy Spirit will take place June 7 at Holy Ghost Church, 71 Linden Street. The procession will begin at 10 a.m. from 54 Cypress Road and the Mass will be celebrated at the church at 11 a.m. Traditional free “sopas” will be served in the church hall following Mass. CENTERVILLE — A Career Decisions Workshop meets bi-weekly at the Our Lady of Victory Parish Faith Formation Center. The next session is May 28 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sessions will continue every other Thursday through June 30. All are welcome to attend at no cost. For information contact Kelley Spodris at 508-775-5744 extension 113 or at email@example.com EAST FREETOWN — Cathedral Camp, owned and operated by the Diocese of Fall River, is a day camp for children ages four to 13. This year the camp, located on Route 18, will be offering four two-week and four one-week sessions from June 29 to August 21. Open house will be held June 14 with opening remarks at 1 p.m. and tours through 3 p.m. For more information visit www.cathedralcamp.net, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-763-8874. EAST FREETOWN — St. John Neumann Parish’s Lakeside Family Festival, Route 18, 157 Middleboro Road, runs tonight from 6 to 11 p.m.; tomorrow and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m.; and May 25 from noon to 5 p.m. Events include a barn sale, car show on Sunday, games, food, fun, live entertainment, rides, and a “blind” auction with themed baskets with cash prizes. Admission is free. FALL RIVER — The annual Espirito Santo Parish feast, to be held on the church grounds on Alden Street, will begin tonight at 6:30 p.m. with the procession of transfer of the image of Santo Christo from the parish center to the church. Following the procession, the feast will continue on the church grounds, with food, games and entertainment, until midnight. Tomorrow the feast opens at 6 p.m. and will close at midnight. On Sunday a feast Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. with Bishop George W. Coleman. That afternoon the feast procession will form at 3 p.m. beginning at the church on Alden Street and travel east on Warren Street to Pittman Street, Webster Street, Pleasant Street, Quequechan Street, and Alden Street back to the church. Following the procession there will be Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the feast will continue on the church grounds until midnight. FALL RIVER — To conclude the Year of St. Paul, a four-week Bible study series on the Acts of the Apostles will be held Wednesdays at Holy Trinity Parish, 951 Stafford Road. The sessions will be held May 27, June 3, June 17 and June 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the school library. FALMOUTH — The annual Italian Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Chapel, Falmouth Heights Road by Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk Sunday at 2 p.m. All are invited. MANSFIELD — On May 25 at 8 a.m. a Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Parish cemetery on Franklin Street. The celebration will remember those who gave their lives in service for our country as well as for deceased loved ones, especially those buried at St. Mary’s. In the event of inclement weather, the Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church, 330 Pratt Street, at 8 a.m. Luminaries in memory of loved ones will be available and all members of the community are welcome. Lawn chairs are recommended. MARTHA’S VINEYARD — Good Shepherd Parish, 55 School Street, Oak Bluffs, will host a “Social and Speaker” evening June 5 at 7 p.m. in the parish center. Marjorie Milanese, spiritual director and retreat leader, will present a reflection on the topic “Where Are You, God?” A discussion and social will follow and all are welcome. NEW BEDFORD — A Holy Hour is held every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. at St. Kilian’s Church, 306 Ashley Boulevard. WAREHAM — “My One Wild and Precious Life,” a women’s retreat will be held May 2931 at Sacred Hearts Retreat Center, 226 Great Neck Road. The retreat is led by Peggy Patenaude of Taking Time Out. For more information, call 508-548-9149 or visit www. timeoutretreats.com. WAREHAM — St. Patrick’s Church, 82 High Street, will host the yearly Mass of Anointing on May 31 at 2 p.m., for all those who wish to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. All family and friends are invited to participate. Following the Mass refreshments will be served in the parish hall. WEST HARWICH — The Cape and the Islands Prayer Group Deanery will hold a Celebration of Pentecost at Holy Trinity Church, Route 28, Sunday with praise and worship beginning at 12:30 p.m. Father Michael McNamara, director of Servants of Christ Ministries, Scituate, will be celebrant and homilist. Following Mass, fellowship and refreshments will be available in the parish center. For more information call 508-255-4679 or 508-759-2737.
Pro-Life ATTLEBORO — Concerned faithful are needed to pray the rosary outside Four Women, Inc., an abortion clinic at 150 Emory Street, Thursdays from 3-4 p.m., or 4-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. For information call 508-238-5743.
TAUNTON — Franciscan Missionary of Mary Sister Rosalina Cabral, a member of the Queen of Peace Community in North Providence, R.I., died May 9 at Miriam Hospital. Born in Fall River, the daughter of the late Ernest T. and Rosalina (Barbosa) Cabral, following high school she worked in the billing department of a clothing store. She entered the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in North Providence, R.I., in December 1951, and took the name Mary of St. Agathangelus. After taking her first vows in 1954, she was sent to Fall River, where she served as a commissioner — one of many Sisters of her institute — who traveled the U.S., selling the handwork made in needlework facilities. The proceeds supported missionary endeavors across America as well as
young girls employed in needlework industry in overseas missions. She also taught at Espirito Santo School in Fall River. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and French, as well as in English, Sister Cabral taught English in Lima, Peru; was missioned to Cartavio Sister Rosalini to assist in a hospital, Cabral FMM and served as superior. In 1985, she was returned to the Peru region to work with girls in a shelter for children from broken families. She returned to the U.S. in 1998 for health reasons and served as a receptionist to the Franciscan
Community in Rosalyn. N.Y. She celebrated her golden jubilee in religious life in 2002. In 2005, Sister Cabral was missioned to the Queen of Peace Community in North Providence, where her ministry was one of prayer for the Church and the world. She leaves a brother, Albert Cabral of Spring Hill, Fla.; nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews. She was also the sister of the late Agnes, Alice, Ernst, David and Anthony Cabral, and Mary Moniz. Her funeral Mass was celebrated May 13 in the Holy Family Chapel of the Franciscan Sisters in North Providence. The Russell J. Boyle & Son Funeral Home in Providence was in charge of arrangements.
Papal nuncio’s 2003 death in Burundi attributed to random violence
By Michael Kelly Catholic News Service
DUBLIN, Ireland — The identity of the killers of Archbishop Michael Courtney, the Vatican diplomat shot dead in Burundi in 2003, probably never will be known, the prelate’s brother said. Louis Courtney, the archbishop’s brother and a coro-
In Your Prayers Please pray for these priests during the coming weeks
May 25 Rev. Michael P. Kirby, Former Assistant, St. Mary, North Attleboro, 1925 Rev. James V. Mendes, Pastor, Our Lady of Angels, Fall River, 1961 May 28 Rev. Lionel A. Bourque, Former Chaplain, Cardinal Cushing Hospital, Brockton, 1982 May 30 Rev. Jordan Harpin, O.P., Dominican Priory, Fall River, 1929 Rev. Edmond J. Potvin, Pastor, St. Jean Baptiste, Fall River, 1937 Rev. James M. Quinn, Pastor, St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro, 1950 Rev. Robert T. Canuel, Assistant, St. Anne, Fall River, 1993 May 31 Rev. Vincent A. Wolski, OFM Conv., Pastor, Holy Cross, Fall River, 1964
ner, conducted an inquest May 13 into the death of the papal nuncio to the East African nation. He announced the finding after the inquest in Nenagh, in County Tipperary. Courtney said he believed his 58-year-old brother was shot Dec. 29, 2003, in a random act and was not targeted because he was a senior Catholic Church figure. The inquest heard that assailants had ambushed the car in which Archbishop Courtney was traveling because they were looking for food, clothing or other supplies. Courtney said other cars
had been ambushed on the same route on the day of the fatal shooting, but his brother was the only one killed in the attacks. Archbishop Courtney was involved in furthering Burundi’s peace process in the midst of the country’s civil war. Both the government and the rebel National Liberation Forces accused each other of the murder. In 2006 a Burundian investigative journalist reported that the archbishop’s death had been planned from the top levels of the Burundian government, a charge officials denied.
May 22, 2009
New Bedford Corpus Christi procession slated for June 14
NEW BEDFORD — A solemn procession celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi will be held June 14. The procession will begin at 2:30 p.m. from Our Lady’s Chapel. The Blessed Sacrament will be carried in procession to three different church stations where Benediction will be held. The first station will be Our Lady of Purgatory Church on Franklin Street, then St. Lawrence Church on County Street, then to St. John the Baptist Church on County Street, and return to Our Lady’s Chapel for final prayers, hymns and Benediction. While processing, children, dressed as angels, will strew flower pedals in front of the
Blessed Sacrament. Children wanting to participate are most welcome; angel outfits will be provided. The rosary will be recited during the procession in both English and Portuguese. Appropriate hymns will also be sung. Priests are welcome as well as all parish organizations and sodalities with their banners. For handicap use, vans are being provided in the procession. A potluck buffet will follow. All are welcome to witness their faith in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist during procession. For further information, please contact the Friars at 508-996-8274.
Woman of great faith marks 100th birthday with family, friends Special
FALL RIVER — Yvonne (Karama) Nasser, a long-time parishioner of St. Anthony of the Desert Maronite Parish turned 100 years old May 8. Her family and her pastor Chorbishop Joseph F. Kaddo,
MAJOR MILESTONE — Yvonne Nasser turned 100 years old May 8. Family and friends, including her pastor, Chorbishop Joseph F. Kaddo, of St. Anthony of the Desert Parish in Fall River, gathered to celebrate her life.
gathered at Venus de Milo in Swansea to celebrate her life. She is the mother of Gabriel and Richard Nasser of
New York; Gisele Nasser of this city; and the late Dr. Rene Nasser. She was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to the United States in 1969 with her late husband Attorney Philippe Nasser. She has been a resident at the Somerset Ridge Center for the past eight years. Friends and family say that what has kept her going is her Catholic faith. She has always lent a hand to anyone in need. She has always been generous with her time, effort, and never hesitates to give what she has, and is a firm believer in forgiveness and letting go of anger. They add she is a true optimist and encourages everyone to be happy and not to worry. Nasser is famous for entertaining family and friends with elaborate Middle-Eastern meals. Whether rolling grape leaves or making Baklava, she has meticulously prepared these delicious dishes with a lot of love. These complicated recipes were passed on to the next generation who are still preparing them. They are known as Meme’s recipes. Believing in being active, Nasser was a volunteer at Saint Anne’s Hospital for many years. She is a communicant of St. Anthony of the Desert Church where she often has volunteered to bake for its annual Christmas bazaar.
Father Pat will formally release his new DVD and CD entitled “Tears of Love” On Sunday, May 24th at 6:30 PM at La Salette Shrine Church, Attleboro, MA You are invited to join him on this momentous occasion as he radiates through his words and music the love our Blessed Mother has for all of us! Admission is Free