Diocese of Fall River
F riday , June 26, 2009
Pauline Year celebration finale set for June 27-28
‘Be imitators of me as I am of Christ’ (1 Cor 11:1)
By Deacon James N. Dunbar
TRADITION — Msgr. Gerard P. O’Connor, right, with the group of altar boys he recently trained to serve the weekly Latin Masses at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet. The boys, all of whom are also students at St. Francis Xavier School, have learned much from the traditional rite. (Photo courtesy of Msgr. Gerard O’Connor)
Traditional Latin Mass altar servers master more than ancient language By Kenneth J. Souza Anchor Staff
ACUSHNET — It’s appropriate that one of the key responses Dominic Correia first learned being an altar server during the weekly Latin Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church in Acushnet was “dominus vobiscum,” which translates as “the Lord be with you.” Indeed, the daunting experience of participating in and serving a traditional Latin Mass required not only a bit of self-discipline but also faith in the Lord to see it through. “I was a little scared when I first started serving the Latin Mass because I didn’t know if I was going to make any mistakes,” Correia said. “It’s a whole different language and there are a few different parts to the Mass,” added his brother Joshua, who has been serving the Latin rite alongside his sibling for the past two months. “The priest is turned toward the tabernacle, but in the regular Mass the priest faces the people. I’m pretty much able to follow the Mass now, but sometimes I have trouble with the Latin.” As the second anniversary of Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum decree facilitating the option of celebrating the traditional
Latin Mass approaches July 7, local parishes throughout the Fall River Diocese have seen a steady increase in the rite’s popularity in the past two years. Three parishes currently offer the traditional Latin Mass in their churches. According to Msgr. Gerard P. O’Connor, who celebrates the extraordinary form Mass at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet every Thursday at 5:30 p.m., he took it upon himself to train six altar servers once a week for 12 weeks for the Latin Mass so they’d be better prepared to respond and know what to do. “For the first six weeks of training, we didn’t do anything but learn the Latin responses,” Msgr. O’Connor said. “I think it was only in the last two weeks that we moved into the church for actual practice … we didn’t want to be messing around in the Blessed Sacrament’s presence. There were some videos available to show the structure of the Latin Mass, but there’s nothing quite like just going through the experience firsthand.” “We learned certain hand signals so we knew when to move and respond during Mass,” said altar server trainee Ben Reis. “We also Turn to page three
NEW BEDFORD — The Pauline Year jubilee for the world’s Catholics comes to a close in the Fall River Diocese with a June 28 Mass at 6 p.m., in St. Anthony’s Church in New Bedford that caps a series of talks in that church on June 27 by convert and famed theologian Scott Hahn, beginning at 10 a.m. “The Mass is of the vigil of the feast of SS. Peter and Paul which is on the following day, June 29, a most fitting day to end the Year of St. Paul, said Father Andrew Johnson, OCSO, director of the Pauline Year in the diocese, who will be celebrant and homilist. “It will also be very relevant to hear Scott Hahn ‘break open’ what is referred to as the ‘Gospel of St. Paul’ at three sessions also in St. Anthony’s Church at 1359 Acushnet Avenue,” added Father Johnson, who is parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis.
Hahn, 52, is a professor of theology and Scripture at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and director of the
Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology, also in Ohio. An exceptionally popular speaker and teacher on a variety of topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith, Hahn will offer his 75-minute introductory talk on St. Paul’s
epistles or letters at 10 a.m. The second talk, from 11:30 a.m., to 12:30 p.m., will be on 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 $5. The Mass and talks end the Pauline Year proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI and which began June 28, 2008 on the feast of SS. Peter and Paul to mark the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul around the year 8 A.D. in Tarsus in Asia Minor. known today as Turkey. The Holy Father inaugurated the jubilee in hopes of getting Christians and Catholics across the globe to be inspired to imitate the missionary known as the Apostle to the Gentiles who underwent a conversion of heart. “The fruits of this Pauline Turn to page 10
Cape Cod nurse presided at World Congress in Mexico
By Deacon James N. Dunbar
WEST YARMOUTH — When The Anchor sought out the busy, globe-traveling International President of the Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medical-Social Assistants known as CICIAMS, it found her … baby-sitting her three-yearold grandson Riley in her afterwork, at-home cottage in this quiet Cape Cod town. “Riley is here on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” said a laughing Marylee Meehan as she fulfilled the happy duties of a grandmother, one of the more domestic roles apart from those of an international executive who represents thousands of Catholic nurses in five CICIAMS regions worldwide. “But I have always willingly been busy,” Meehan, who is a member of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, noted. Indeed she has. Until 2007 when she was elected to her current post, she was the
sole representative of the international nurses to the United Nations in New York. CICIAMS is one of more than 40 International Catholic agencies that comprise what are called Non-Government Organizations that are advisors to the U.N. Meehan’s leadership in her first year in that office took her to South Africa, Taiwan, Ireland and East Timor. Besides traveling, it demanded
her attendance at symposiums and conferences in order to stay informed and raise awareness about the myriad of problems particularly facing Catholic nurses and the Church and the world. The current respite at home follows the four-day World Congress of the International nurses’ group held in March in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Two-hundred and-fifty members from 24 countries attended. Meehan gave the welcome address. But she also received the prestigious Pontificum Consilium Pro Pastoriali Valetudinis Cura Citta Del Vaticano Medal for her outstanding leadership from Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health. “It speaks to all the good works done by CICIAMS which has foundations in Basil, Switzerland Turn to page 18
News From the Vatican
June 26, 2009
New papal physician explains role of doctor in sainthood process B y Cindy Wooden C atholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — The path to sainthood passes through a team of physicians, who pore over medical texts, patient charts and test results to make sure a healing is medically inexplicable. That does not mean the medical experts declare a miracle, because “the recognition of a miracle is not a matter for medical science,” said Dr. Patrizio Polisca, president of the group of physicians who serve as consultants to the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes. The doctor wrote about the physicians’ role in the sainthood process in the June 13-14 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. The Vatican announced June 15 that Polisca, a cardiologist, was named Pope Benedict XVI’s personal physician. Writing about sainthood causes, Polisca said that while medical science and knowledge have changed enormously in the past few decades, the criteria for miraculous healings still follow those laid out 275 years ago by Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, the future Pope Benedict XIV. The cardinal had insisted that the illness or defect be serious, incurable or extremely difficult to treat; that spontaneous cures were not known to occur in similar illnesses; that no medical intervention used in the case could explain the cure; that the cure was unexpected and instantaneous; and that it was complete and lasting. Polisca said the role of the physicians is not to declare a miracle, but rather to determine whether an alleged healing could have a natural or a medical explanation. If the absolute majority of the members of physicians’ commission vote
that a healing has no natural or scientific explanation, the case is passed on to a commission of theologians who determine whether the healing could have been the response to a prayer request for the intercession of the sainthood candidate. In the case of Catholic martyrs, only one miracle is needed for canonization. For sainthood candidates who were not killed out of hatred for the faith, one miracle is needed before beatification and a second is needed before canonization. Polisca said the Vatican’s medical consultants represent a wide variety of specialties because it is essential that they are able to understand the patients’ medical records, the medical tests performed, the diagnosis and original prognosis, the normal course of the illness in question and any therapies attempted. The fact that a person is healthy in the end does not guarantee a judgment in favor of a miracle if the medical consultants believe the diagnosis was wrong or that the cure was a result of a medical intervention, he said. In addition, he said, the testimony of medical personnel and family members who assisted the person before the healing also may be examined to confirm the original diagnosis and the unexplainable nature of the cure. “All of this is done in order to examine the compatibility of the healing with what is known of the natural course of the illness being studied” or of the therapeutic measures taken before the healing was reported, Polisca said. His piece was part of a collection of articles in the Vatican newspaper marking the 40th anniversary of the current structure of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER Vol. 53, No. 25
Member: Catholic Press Association, Catholic News Service
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IN REMEMBRANCE OF HIM — Pope Benedict XVI holds up the chalice as he celebrates a recent Mass outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. (CNS photo/Emanuela De Meo, Catholic Press Photo)
Pope thanks God for gift of priesthood but also recognizes, laments failures
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church must acknowledge that some priests have done great harm to others, but it also must thank God for the gifts the majority of priests have given to the Church and the world, Pope Benedict XVI said. In the face of scandal, “what is most helpful to the Church ... is not only a frank and complete acknowledgment of the weaknesses of her ministers, but also a joyful and renewed realization of the greatness of God’s gift” of the priesthood, the pope said in his letter for the Year for Priests. Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, the yearlong focus on priestly ministry was to begin June 19. Pope Benedict’s letter to the world’s priests marking the occasion was released by the Vatican. He said he hoped priests would use the year and its special events to deepen their commitment to their own renewal “for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world.” The year also is an occasion to thank the many priests who selflessly give their lives to serving the Church and alleviating human suffering and to recognize the sacrifice of priests who courageously minister under the threat of persecution, the pope said. Pope Benedict asked people to keep in mind “the countless situations of suffering endured by many priests, either because they themselves share in the manifold human experience of pain or because they encounter misunderstanding from the very
persons to whom they minister.” At the same time, he said, “there are also, sad to say, situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers.” Pope Benedict encouraged priests to use St. John Vianney as a model for their priesthood, recognizing Holy Orders as an incredible gift of God that calls for a renewed commitment each day to living a holy life. While the sacraments a priest celebrates are valid independently of his personal holiness or worthiness, the pope said, priests cannot overlook the fact that the closer they draw to Christ and to living as he did, the more effective their ministry will be. The pope specifically asked the world’s priests to focus on learning from St. John Vianney’s devotion to the Eucharist and his conviction about the importance of the sacrament of penance. St. John Vianney “taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life. It was from his example that they learned to pray, halting frequently before the tabernacle for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” the pope said. His success in teaching his people the importance of praying before the Eucharist was not so much the result of preaching or catechesis, but what they observed when they saw him celebrating Mass, he said. His focus on Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world naturally led to an emphasis on teaching people the importance of confession, the pope said. “Priests ought never to be resigned to empty confessionals or the apparent indifference of the
faithful to this sacrament,” Pope Benedict wrote. In St. John Vianney’s France, “confession was no more easy or frequent than in our own day,” but the saint insisted that the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist demanded that people be reconciled with God and he made sure he was in the Church for long hours each day in case someone came wanting to confess their sins, he said. The pope said St. John Vianney knew how to encourage the fearful and sorrowful to open themselves to God’s love and mercy through the sacrament. “But to those who made a lukewarm and rather indifferent confession of sin, he clearly demonstrated by his own tears of pain how ‘abominable’ this attitude was: ‘I weep because you don’t weep,’ he would say,” the pope wrote. Pope Benedict also said priests must support and encourage each other because only in that way “will priests be able to live fully the gift of celibacy and build thriving Christian communities in which the miracles which accompanied the first preaching of the Gospel can be repeated.” The pope entrusted the Year for Priests to the Blessed Virgin Mary and asked her “to awaken in the heart of every priest a generous and renewed commitment to the ideal of complete self-oblation to Christ and the Church.” “Despite all the evil present in our world,” he said, Jesus’ victory over sin and death “gives us the strength to look to the future with confidence.” The pope’s letter to priests for the Year for Priests appears in its entirety in this week’s Anchor on pages 14-15.
June 26, 2009
Pope opens Year for Priests, says they must witness God’s compassion By John Thavis Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Formally opening the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict urged all priests to strive for holiness and said the ordained ministry was indispensable for the Church and the world. “The Church needs priests who are holy, ministers who help the faithful experience the merciful love of the Lord and who are convinced witnesses of that love,” the pope said at a prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica June 19. At the same time, in an apparent reference to cases of priestly sex abuse, he warned of the “terrible risk of damaging those we are obliged to save.” “Nothing makes the Church and the body of Christ suffer so much as the sins of its pastors, especially those who transform themselves into ‘robbers of sheep,’ either because they lead them astray with their private doctrines, or because they bind them in the snares of sin and death,” he said. Thousands of priests packed the basilica for the evening prayer service, which was preceded by a procession of the relic of the heart of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. The pope proclaimed the yearlong focus on priestly ministry to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the saint’s death. Pope Benedict stopped to pray before
the saint’s heart, exposed in a glass and priests was certainly important for modgold reliquary. In his homily, he said the ern priests. But even more necessary, he French curate’s heart was “burning with said, was the “’science of love’ that one divine love,” a love that priests today need learns only in a ‘heart-to-heart’ encounter to imitate if they are to be effective pas- with Christ.” tors. The liturgy closed with adoration of the The liturgy was celebrated on the feast Eucharist, underlining the central place of of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day of the Eucharist in the life of priests. In his prayer for the urs is an indispensable mis- final blessing, sanctification of the pope lifted sion for the Church and for a monstrance priests. In his hom- the world, which demands full fidelity to holding the ily, the pope Christ and unceasing union with him. Blessed Sacrasaid the “es- It demands, therefore, that we tend con- ment and used sential nucleus it to make the of Christianity” stantly to sanctity, as St. John Vianney sign of the is found in the did,” he said. cross over the heart of Jesus: assembly. the saving love of God that “invites us to The day before the opening liturgy, the step outside of ourselves” and “make our- pope issued a six-page letter thanking God selves a gift of love without reserve.” for the gifts the majority of priests have “God’s heart throbs with compassion,” given to the Church and the world, even he said. while acknowledging that some priests He said priests should never forget that have done great harm. that are consecrated to “serve, humbly and He said he hoped priests would use the with authority, the common priesthood of year and its special events to deepen their the faithful.” commitment to their own renewal “for the “Ours is an indispensable mission for sake of a more forceful and incisive witthe Church and for the world, which de- ness to the Gospel in today’s world.” mands full fidelity to Christ and unceasSince the beginning of his pontificate, ing union with him. It demands, therefore, Pope Benedict has given special attention that we tend constantly to sanctity, as St. to priests and their ministry, holding freJohn Vianney did,” he said. quent and lengthy off-the-cuff discussion The pope said pastoral formation of sessions with clergy of Rome and other parts of Italy.
Altar servers master more than ancient language continued from page one
learned how to respond in Latin.” “There are a lot of different movements, because in the Latin Mass you mostly just stand at the foot of the altar, but for the regular English Mass you can go and sit down,” agreed fellow server Jordan Moniz. “It’s either kneel or stand in the Latin Mass — and there’s a lot of kneeling.” Thirteen-year-old Tom DeSouza, a parishioner and altar server at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Bedford, said he finds the Latin Masses he’s served for the past few months not only more reverent, but they also force him to pay closer attention to what’s being said. “You have to hear what the priest is saying and pay more attention,” he said. “We have a book to follow along during the Mass. I also have a book of Latin, so I know some of it by heart already, but I’m still learning other parts.” “With the Latin Mass you have to pay close attention — you have to watch for the priest’s hand signals and you have to be ready to respond,” Msgr. O’Connor agreed. While some may argue the value of learning a “dead language” like Latin, it remains an integral foundation for those studying English or other disciplines filled with Latinbased terminology such as the law and medicine. To that end, Msgr. O’Connor noted, they will begin offering Latin as a language to eighth-graders at St. Francis Xavier School next year. Most of the altar servers welcome the chance to study Latin and said they’ve already enjoyed picking up choice phrases to add to their vocabulary. “Msgr. O’Connor taught us certain phrases that we use … one of our favorites is ‘salve plebs,’ which means ‘hello people,’” said altar server Jonathan Hamel. “We say that to
each other all the time — it’s very fun to say. But then during the Mass, we have to make a conscious effort not to laugh when it comes up.” “We learned ‘Kyrie eleison,’ which means ‘Lord have mercy,’” said 10-year-old John Martin of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, New Bedford, who has been serving the Latin Mass with his nine-year-old brother George for the past year. “We both sat in the pew and watched the altar servers during the Latin Mass,” he said. “We have to respond to what the priest is saying during the Latin Mass.” Although he noted attendance at his parish’s first Latin Mass was “phenomenal,” Msgr. O’Connor said they’ve since averaged about 30 to 40 people in subsequent weeks. “I don’t think it will ever be hugely attended, but we didn’t have a Thursday Mass at our parish before we started the Latin Mass,” he said. Altar server Isaac Laplante said that first Latin Mass was a bit unnerving since there were so many people present. But after going through the training with Msgr. O’Connor and a trial by fire, he’s become more confident in his ability to respond. “The Latin Mass really forces you to pay attention, because you always have to focus on what you’re doing and what comes next,” Laplante said. “With the English Mass, you can relax a little bit more, because you don’t have to worry so much about when things need to be done.” Traditional Latin Masses are held at the following parishes in the diocese: — St. Francis Xavier, Acushnet: every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.; — St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis: every Sunday at 1:00 p.m.; — St. Anthony of Padua, New Bedford: the first Saturday of every month at 8:00 a.m.
He has forcefully condemned the scandal of priestly sexual abuse, most notably during his visit to the United States in 2008. More recently, Irish bishops said the pope was visibly upset listening to their report on decades of abuse suffered by thousands of Irish children in the care of religious congregations. The pope has many times noted the burdens carried by priests in the modern age, including their increasing workload and their responsibility to preach and witness to Gospel values in a world that often seems indifferent to them. The pope has also insisted on improved selection and formation of priests, so that they can live up to the promises made in their vocation — in particular priestly celibacy. In recent weeks, the Vatican signaled a tougher line on the celibacy issue when a Central African Republic archbishop resigned following an investigation into priests of his diocese who lived more or less openly with women and the children they have fathered. According to Vatican statistics, there were 408,024 priests at the end of 2007. The total number of priests has been increasing slightly in recent years, but has not kept pace with the increase in the number of Catholics. The number of Catholics per priest was 1,830 in 1977, and had jumped to 2,810 in 2007.
The Church in the U.S.
June 26, 2009
Priest who is new liturgy official praised as ‘incredible theologian’
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Colleagues of Archbishop-designate J. Augustine DiNoia said they were pleased with his new appointment at the Vatican, calling him an “incredible theologian” and a man with a “brilliant mind” who can engage others in liturgical and theological discussions. Pope Benedict XVI named the U.S.-born Dominican an archbishop and the next secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments June 16. He has worked at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2002. Archbishop-designate DiNoia, known for his expertise in liturgical and doctrinal affairs, was praised for his knowledge as well as his warm personality. News of the Vatican announcement spread quickly in the Dominican order’s St. Joseph province, based in New York, to which Archbishop-designate DiNoia belongs. Dominican Father Brian Mulcahy, provincial vicar, said he and his fellow Dominicans were “absolutely thrilled” by the appointment. “We see it as not just an honor for us, but for the order as a whole,” said Father Mulcahy, who studied systematic theology under the archbishop-designate at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington. Father Mulcahy, who worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1992 to 1994, described his former professor as a man with a brilliant mind who engaged his students “with great ease and great love” in the “theological patrimony of the Church.” “When he is on, he is one of the finest teachers of the Catholic faith that one would ever want to meet,” he told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview. “As a preacher, a teacher of the faith, he is almost without parallel.” Father Pius Pietrzyk, parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Zanesville, Ohio, said he had heard rumors in recent weeks that his fellow Dominican would be named to the secretary’s position and become an archbishop. “We’ve all known that Father
DiNoia, because of his work with Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope Benedict, was a very trusted adviser to him and a good and faithful servant in the congregation. It was no surprise that he was named secretary,” he said. Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the appointment of Archbishop-designate DiNoia is a “matter of pride” for the U.S. Church and the Dominican order. Noting that the archbishop-designate formerly worked in the Secretariat for Doctrine at the USCCB, Cardinal George said in a statement that the bishops are grateful that the Dominican is bringing his talents to the Vatican for the benefit of the Church around the world. Archbishop-designate DiNoia left his position at the bishops’ conference to become director of the Intercultural Forum for Studies in Faith and Culture, a Catholic think tank at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington. In 2002 he was named undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2002, where he worked under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, welcomed the appointment and said in a statement that the new secretary’s experience in serving the Church both in the U.S. and at the Vatican “more than adequately prepares him for his new work.” His expertise also will help in the months ahead as the Church prepares to implement the third edition of the Roman Missal, Bishop Serratelli said. The U.S. bishops are expected to vote on the remaining sections of the missal, which will contain new English translations of the prayers in Mass and other formal liturgies, at their June and November meetings. Afterward, the Vatican congregation where Archbishop-designate DiNoia will become secretary must give “recognitio,” or confirmation, of the final translation as well.
DEEP IN PRAYER — Dominican Sister Rose Carmel Saladino prays during Mass at Queen of the Rosary motherhouse in Amityville, N.Y., in February. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Student’s graduation statement can include Jesus’ name, UCLA says
By Carmen Blanco Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — As students prepare for graduation during the early months of summer, public schools often grapple with the issue of First Amendment rights. The question of whether a graduate can thank God or refer to a biblical passage in his or her speech can get complicated because it intersects with the amendment’s guarantee of free speech and of church-state separation. At the University of California at Los Angeles, the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology ultimately allowed Christina Popa’s unedited graduation statement to be read aloud during the commencement ceremony June 13 after controversy surrounded the department’s original decision to censor it because she included the phrase “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Though guidelines, given to students, suggested they refrain from using specific religious references, Popa included the phrase anyway. Despite the decision to not censor Popa, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, sees UCLA’s situation and similar inci-
dents as having nothing to do with the First Amendment. “I think that it would be a smart idea to send the (school) administration to sensitivity training,” Donohue told Catholic News Service. “The audience and administration need to respect the students’ religious views as long as they don’t impose their views” on others. For Donohue, instances of public institutions censoring religious practices initiated by students shows “30 years of the secular left trying to impose their vision.” Donohue is in favor of students expressing their beliefs in schools as long as they do not impose them on others and it does not take away time from their classes. Popa was told by the department’s student affairs adviser, Pamela Hurley, that the phrase “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” could be found offensive by peers, faculty and the audience. Hurley offered an edited version that replaced the reference with “God,” a more generic term not conveying a specific religious affiliation. After Popa rejected the edited version, she made her case public posting emails exchanged between her and Hurley on a Facebook group called “Allow Me to Say ‘Jesus’ at my Graduation.” With-
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in days, more than 1,000 people joined the group. Hurley said in one email that she understood Popa’s preference in keeping her original statement, but department policies would not allow it. Popa said she felt offended and discriminated against because of her religious beliefs and she was disappointed in UCLA. Popa wrote in an email, “My personal statement is to be made to the most important and significant people in my life. The fact that I cannot thank Jesus (or someone from another religion) because of school policy shows me that UCLA officials do not understand what diversity and respect really means.” Hurley reiterated in a subsequent email that it was not the decision of UCLA to censor her speech but that of the department. She gave Popa an alternative to accepting the edited version: her statement would not be read at all. Blogs and Websites ignited in retaliation. One Website drafted an online petition and posted Hurley’s university phone number and email address. UCLA issued a statement in response to the situation explaining that since statements would be read by the university and not the students, guidelines were established to avoid the appearance of the university advocating one religion over another. It also said the department and university support the First Amendment and did not intend to impinge upon any students’ rights. To ameliorate the situation, it said, the department will tell the audience that each statement read reflects the personal views of that student. A representative from the American Civil Liberties Union told CNS, “When incidents like these arise during times of graduation, it takes the focus off their achievements.”
The Church in the U.S.
June 26, 2009
Bishops at meeting approve budget, Mass for Life; but no new Missal yet By Catholic News Service
SAN ANTONIO — Nearly 20 years after Cardinal John O’Connor of New York suggested it, the U.S. bishops approved a Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life June 18 during their two-day spring meeting in San Antonio. The Mass was approved 183-2, with three abstentions. A second vote to add the text to the missal was 179-1, with one abstention. It now goes to the Vatican for “recognitio,” or confirmation. The Mass requested by Cardinal O’Connor, who died in 2000, was first prepared in 1990 to be included in the Roman Missal. The text was approved by the Committee on the Liturgy and the bishops as a whole in 1992 and sent on to the Vatican for review the following year. The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship urged further study. Also, the bishops in a 135-2 vote approved a recommendation from their Committee on Budget and Finance to keep the 2010 assessment on dioceses to fund the work of the USCCB at the 2009 level of just over $10 million. The vote was open only to bishops who head dioceses. But the chairman of the committee warned that he would probably be asking for an increase for 2011 when that as-
sessment comes up at the bish- for various occasions; votive riage between same-sex couples, ops’ November meeting in Masses and Masses for the dead; and others are considering the solemn blessings for the end of same type of laws or a range of Baltimore. The assessments are calcu- Mass; prayers over the people others “allowing everything but lated for each diocese based on and eucharistic prayers for par- marriage,” that would give new a formula that includes offertory ticular occasions, such as for legal rights to civil unions. Other efforts would allow a income, registered households evangelization or ordinations. The bishops did have enough state to recognize same-sex marand contributions to three navotes to approve a sixth action riages from another state. Pretional collections. The U.S. bishops will have to item from the Committee on liminary legislation that would Divine Worship, a Spanish-lan- allow the District of Columbia poll members missing from the meeting before n one of a series of status reports on to recognize same-sex marriages from differit’s known whether they ongoing projects of the their con- ent states was awaiting have approved liturgical prayers, special Masses ference the, bishops were told the rapid final action. Even as Archbishand key sections of an pace of legal changes on the status of English translation of marriage in the United States has been op Kurtz gave his report, President Barack the Order of the Mass. Obama announced he Five texts being pre- keeping that concern a top priority. was instructing fedpared for use in Englisheral agencies to extend family speaking countries failed to get guage Lectionary. In one of a series of status benefits to same-sex partners the necessary two-thirds votes reports on ongoing projects of of federal employees where of the Latin-rite U.S. bishops. With 244 Latin-rite bishops the their conference the, bishops it can be done by administrain the United States eligible to were told the rapid pace of legal tive order, such as in the State vote on the questions, the re- changes on the status of mar- Department, and affirmed his quired two-thirds would be 163. riage in the United States has desire to overturn the Defense With 189 eligible bishops at- been keeping that concern a top of Marriage Act, saying it’s discriminatory and interferes with tending the meeting, only 134 priority. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, states’ rights. The 1996 law voted to accept the first section, Masses and prayers for various of Louisville, Ky., chairman of says no state has to recognize a the Ad Hoc Committee on De- union recognized as a marriage needs and intentions. On four subsequent transla- fense of Marriage said the chal- in another state, and affirmed tions, the votes also failed to lenge in meeting the bishops’ that under federal law the defireach two-thirds, meaning the priority focus on marriage has nition of marriage is a union of 55 bishops not present will be been the quick rate at which one man and one woman. After hearing from Cardinal polled by mail on all five parts. states and courts have been takThat process is expected to take ing up legislation that legalizes Francis E. George of Chicago, same-sex marriage or prohibits the bishops urged President several weeks. Obama and Congress to enact The items that failed to pass it. Six states now recognize mar- comprehensive immigration contain prefaces for the Mass
reform before the end of 2009. The bishops said they are prepared to assist Congress and the president in this effort. Obama has said he intends to take up immigration reform this year, but the White House staff has said they don’t expect it to be resolved until 2010. Some House and Senate committees have begun holding hearings on some aspects of immigration issues.
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Lunch break (please bring a bag lunch)
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The Anchor Continuing the imitation
We have come to the end of the Year of St. Paul, in which the whole Church, celebrating the 2,000th anniversary of the great Apostle’s birth, has focused on learning to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Cor 11:1). As the year draws to a close, we would do well to emulate the goals and desires he had at the end of his time on earth, which provide a fitting summary of his entire apostolic life. “I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come,” he wrote to his spiritual son St. Timothy. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:6-7). St. Paul was a fighter with incredible grit, a spiritual Rocky Balboa come alive. Not even being scourged five times with 39 lashes, three times beaten with rods, seven times imprisoned, three times shipwrecked on the high seas, stoned and left for dead, hunted down by assassins in Damascus and Jerusalem, afflicted by painful malaria, and beaten in so many other ways, could keep him down. Like Christ on the Way of the Cross, he just kept getting up and moving forward. He wasn’t fighting for fighting’s sake, a pugilist looking for an opponent. Rather, he had spent his life fighting the “good fight,” fighting not so much against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness” (Eph 6:12). The fight, in short, was worth it. Like Christ, he triumphed in apparent defeat. Two-thousand years after his birth, this convicted criminal is one of the greatest and most famous heroes in the history of the world. His example reminds us, who live in an age marked by so much moral timidity, of the fact that Christ calls us vigorously to persevere in the fight Christ inaugurated and Paul valiantly continued. The Apostle says, secondly, that he has finished the race. His life was not a gingerly stroll through a tranquil garden, but a marathon run over an obstacle course at almost breakneck speed. He would say to the Thessalonians in another context, “the time is short,” but that phrase aptly describes the urgency with which St. Paul indefatigably kept going. The only thing that could slow him down were the chains of prison cells, but even then he would continue to scurry with his pen. “The love of Christ urges us on,” he would confess. He knew, as Christ taught, that the fruit is already ripe on the vine and he had no time to waste. He journeyed rapidly up and down the scorching sands of Palestine, through the malaria-infested swamps of southern Turkey, and over the steep precipices leading to Galatia, south and north through Greece, and, when he couldn’t run on water, sailing to so many other places. C.S. Lewis once wrote that the most effective lie in the devil’s arsenal is that there’s always time — time to convert, time to reconcile with a family member, time to get to the important things later. St. Paul realized, rather, that there would soon be a time when there would be no time left — and he used all the time he had to do the most important things of all. His example is a forceful reminder to us to remember that when Christ said, “Come, follow me!,” he was not inviting us for a lazy promenade, or even a leisurely jog, but an enduring sprint. There’s no time to waste and the stakes are high; otherwise, as St. Paul recognized, people may not hear the Gospel and come to salvation. The same love that urged him on urges us on. St. Paul finishes his short valedictory with a humble, joyful and triumphal admission of his greatest honor: “I have kept the faith.” The words themselves, not to mention their context, imply that his keeping the faith was not a foregone conclusion. He was tempted repeatedly and often succumbed, confessing to the Romans that the good he wanted to do he often failed to do and the evil he wished to avoid often he did (Rom 7:19). But he kept getting up, battling and striving to be faithful. At the end of his life, he was able to say with holy pride that he had not lost the greatest treasure of his life. He kept the faith not by sealing it in a Tupperware container or locking it up in a safe, but by living it and spreading it undiluted. He lived, he said to the Galatians, by faith in the Son of God who loved him and handed himself over for him (Gal 2:19-20). Because of that trust in Jesus, he believed in what Christ taught as the key to unlock the mystery of every human life and open the doors to heaven. That’s why he so lavishly sought to share that treasure with others. His example teaches us that as we, too, look ahead to the time when our dissolution will be at hand, we should seek to have our greatest hope be in being able to hear Christ say that we, too, in spite of our sufferings and failings, have kept the faith, that we’ve lived it faithfully without diluting it, that we’ve bequeathed it as our most precious inheritance to those who will come after us, not just those we know and love, but those who we will only know after we and they cross the eternal threshold. It’s routinely said that so much of our character is defined by our goals. If we have low goals, we will have little impact even if we achieve them. If our goals are high and good, then we will be able to make a major difference if with God’s help we reach them. As we come to the end of the year-long world-wide celebration of the 2,000th birthday of a beheaded man from Tarsus, we should never forget that his goals — fighting the good fight, finishing the race and keeping the faith — motivated him to do with the help of the Lord what few have ever dreamed of. As we move on from the graces of the Pauline Year, a great resolution each of us can make is to imitate him in setting and seeking the same goals.
June 26, 2009
Priests after Christ’s own heart
When Pope Benedict announced on March 19. I began to wonder whether anyone in the Vat16 that he was declaring a Year of the Priest- ican had checked the date and remembered that hood, my first reaction was total joy. the Year of St. Paul wouldn’t finish until June 29. I love these ecclesiastical years which do for Not only has the Church never had overlapping the Mystical Body of Christ what the traditional Jubilee Years, but I thought that by inaugurating practice of a particular exam accomplishes for the Year of the Priesthood on June 19, the attena believer’s spiritual life: they’re an opportunity tion of Catholics would be drawn away from the for the whole Church together to focus on one home stretch of the Year of St. Paul, precisely specific aspect of our journey of faith that, with when I hoped all of us would be focusing on the improvement, will influence and impact every- end of St. Paul’s life and learning from him how thing else. I was thrilled to be ordained 10 years to continue to fight the good fight, finish the race ago today during the Year of God the Father. The and keep the faith. next year the Church marked the great Jubilee of When I flipped my calendar to June 19, that’s our Redemption. In 2002, we lived the Year of when what the Holy Father was doing, however the Holy Rosary. In 2004, we observed the Year historically anomalous, started to make sense. He of the Eucharist. Since last June 28, we’ve been wanted to inaugurate the Year of the Priesthood celebrating the Year of St. Paul. Each of these on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, which ecclesiastical holy years has nourished me as a since 2002, has been the World Day of Prayer priest and I believe has strengthened the Church for the Sanctification for Priests. Pope Benedict as a whole. wanted the focus of this year not to be a 365-day So I was understandably greatly excited pep-rally for priests, but, rather, a year of intense when I read in March the headline that the pope prayer for priestly holiness. In his March adwas declaring a Year of the Priesthood, not dress, Pope Benedict said that the purpose of this merely because I think such years are gener- year is “to encourage priests in their striving for ally wise and beneficial, but also because it is the spiritual perfection on which, above all, the the right time for the Church to focus once again effectiveness of their ministry depends.” on the positive This is a year gift and mystery in which priests of the ministerial above all are priesthood. called to seek It’s a surprise “spiritual perfecto no one that tion.” The Holy the image of the Father points priesthood has out that the real By Father taken severe effectiveness of Roger J. Landry blows in recent priestly work — years. The prithe sanctification mary reason is and salvation of because of the scandalous sins of about four per- God’s people — depends not merely on what a cent of priests that wasted so much of the good priest is able to do ex opere operato through the will and respect earned over decades by the hard sacraments; it also depends on his personal howork and sacrificial love of most of the other 96 liness, ex opere operantis, which constitutes the percent. But the image of the priesthood has also priest’s most effective proclamation of the Gosbeen taking a continuous hit from the ideologies pel. Pope Benedict’s decision to start the Year of in contemporary culture that view the radical the Priesthood on the World Day of Prayer for commitment a priest makes to God for others as the Sanctification of Priests is meant to keep the benign lunacy, the all-male celibate priesthood whole Church focused precisely on what the real as evil rather than admirable, and the very notion goal of the year is. of a priestly caste as antiquated and antithetical The choice of the start date also shows us to modern understandings of equality. Those, clearly that Pope Benedict believes that the stanmoreover, who look at the Church as the great dard for priestly holiness, for sacerdotal spiritual enemy of “progress” — understood as guiltless perfection, must be the love that flows from the sexual license and unfettered access to abortion Sacred Heart of the Eternal High Priest. St. John — often have focused their execrations on men Vianney, in a famous statement that will only in black, who, other than the pope, are the most become more renowned this year, said that the easily identifiable and iconic “hate-mongers.” “priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus.” It’s time, in short, for a needed rehabilitation. During this year, ministerial priests are called to Every reform in the history of the Church has strive — supported by the prayers of the faithful begun with a renewal of the priesthood. The re- — to allow their priesthood to become the insurgence of the Church in our day cannot occur carnation of the love of the heart of the Lord, so without such a reformation. that Christ’s love may penetrate all their priestly I was also thrilled that Pope Benedict said life in a similar way to the manner in which the he had intentionally chosen the year in order to person of Christ acts through them in the sacramark the 150th anniversary of the dies natalis ments. of St. Jean Marie Vianney. Not only do I, like When Pope Benedict inaugurated the Year most priests, have a devotion to the holy Curé of the Priesthood at Vespers last Friday in St. of Ars — whom Pope Benedict this year will Peter’s Basilica, he spoke about the connection declare the patron saint of all priests — but I between the priesthood and the Sacred Heart. was running an Annual Seminar for Priests in “How can we fail to remember,” he asked the April specifically on this sesquiscentennial and priests of the world, “that the gift of our priestly what priests today can learn from him. I could ministry springs directly from [Jesus’] heart?” see that Pope Benedict’s announcement would He said that this was why he had wanted to inlikely draw more priests interested in the semi- augurate the Year for Priests on the feast of the nar, and it did, which I considered the first fruit Sacred Heart of Jesus, to set before priests “the of the year! I also thought a year centered on the mystery of the heart of a God who is moved and example of the Curé D’Ars would provide the pours out his love on all humanity, [who] does occasion for lay people to come to the person not give up in the face of ingratitude and not even and wisdom of this great French priest, who was in the face of rejection by the people he has choGod’s simple and heroic instrument to renew the sen.” Priests are part of God’s persevering love Church in 19th-century France after the devasta- for the world and are called likewise, even in the tions of the worst aspects of the French Revo- midst of similar ingratitude and rejection, to be lution. Beginning next week, I will accordingly the ministers of that love. start in this space a series of articles on the relSt. Jean Vianney was a priest who instantievance of St. Jean Vianney for Catholics today ated this indomitable love of the Heart of Jesus. in the Diocese of Fall River. This is a year in which all priests in particular, My third reaction to the news, however, was supported by the prayers and encouragement of not as positive. As I read down the news story, I the faithful for their sanctification, are called to anticipated that the Year would begin on August say with the Holy Father, “O Sacred Heart of Je4, the precise 150th anniversary of St. Jean Vian- sus: Make my heart like unto thine!” ney’s birth into eternal life. The article, without Father Landry is pastor of St. Anthony’s explanation, noted that it would begin on June Parish in New Bedford.
Putting Into the Deep
June 26, 2009
An ordinary man called to the extraordinary
aybe the seed of my for a while, however. I suppose vocation was planted every priest has been asked at piling in dad’s Buick — mom some time or other why he beand dad and the six of us kids, with Joan and Year of the Priesthood me in the rumble seat heading off to church. Vocational Reflection I was certainly wellloved. I had four older sisters who doted on me By Father and a great big brother William P. Blottman and I were nurtured in a faith-filled family. The seed of my priestly vocacame a priest or how God called tion certainly remained dormant him to become a priest. The an-
swer is not that one individual is better than the next. I’ve always considered myself a regular guy, kind of average. Some mysterious elements were at work in me, however, that moved me to this vocation. It’s not that I was knocked off a horse and told to follow Christ. It was rather a gentle invitation from the recesses of my heart, a counsel rather than a command from God. My response to this invitation is my
The Reformation in England
ne of the peculiar elements justly and rightfully is and ought of the Reformation in to be … the only Supreme Head England was that the breach with in earth of the Church of Engthe papacy preceded rather than land,” and fixed the succession to followed doctrinal dispute. King the throne upon the children of Henry VIII’s (reigned 1509-47) Henry and Anne (their only child desire to obtain an annulment of Elizabeth was born in September his marriage to Catherine of Ara1533). Within the next few years gon (his brother Arthur’s widow) some 550 English monasteries because he needed a male heir to were dissolved, their property the throne and because he wanted confiscated by the crown, and their 7000 monks and nuns pento marry Anne Boleyn (one of Catherine’s ladies in waiting) was sioned and thrust out into secular life. Henry had cut England off the direct cause of England’s departure from the Catholic Church. from the Church of Rome. All this amounted to a revoluIn 1527 Catherine was past childbearing; the lack of a male heir might throw England into war; and Henry was infatuated The Fullness with Anne. Catherine of the Truth was the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor By Father Charles V, and Pope Thomas M. Kocik Clement VII was under the emperor’s thumb. It wasn’t surprising, therefore, that the pope should deny the tion. In medieval England, as in king’s wish, notwithstanding the the rest of Christendom, Church strength or weakness of Henry’s and state worked hand in glove, no case. matter how confusing the conflicts When tact and persuasion and compromises between the failed, Henry resorted to threats. two powers. Spiritual jurisdiction Cardinal Wolsey, Lord Chancellor belonged to the clergy, temporal of England, failed to procure the jurisdiction to the king and his annulment, so Henry dismissed representatives. It was hard to and arrested him. Wolsey escaped draw the line in practice, but in execution by dying first. His theory there was a clear delineareplacement, Thomas Cromwell, tion. Now the king was “Supreme worked to mobilize the whole naHead” of the Church in England. tion in Henry’s support in order to What did this mean? Had the threaten the pope with schism un- state absorbed the Church? Had less the annulment were granted. Henry stepped into the “shoes of In 1531 the English clergy, the fisherman” so far as one nation assembled in Convocation, were was concerned (without of course intimidated into acknowledging claiming the priestly power to Henry as “Supreme Head of the administer the sacraments)? The Church in England,” and next year answer was a tentative yes, but no they gave up their right to make clear answer ever was given. The laws for the Church apart from closest approach was the famous king and parliament. preamble to the Act in Restraint In the spring of 1533 Anne was of Appeals of 1533, which put pregnant and the pace was quickforth this theory: England was ened. Threats gave way to acts. a sovereign nation subject to a Parliament passed a statute cutting single monarch; within this nation off appeals from English eccleclergy and laity alike were subsiastical courts to Rome, and the jects owing obedience to the king; new Archbishop of Canterbury, no foreign prince, including the Thomas Cranmer, straightaway Bishop of Rome, had any jurisdicheld court and granted Henry tion whatever in England. his annulment, enabling him to And yet this theory left all the make Anne his queen. In 1534 a important questions unanswered. series of acts of parliament finally What, then, is the “Catholic stopped all financial payments Church”? Where is the ultimate and judicial appeals to Rome, authority in the Church? Did this declared that “the King’s Majesty mean that England had joined the
Lutheran fold? No, Henry insisted. In doctrine and liturgy, the Church of England was still very much Catholic, and an “Act Abolishing Diversity of Opinions” was put through parliament in 1539 to stress this fact by reaffirming the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and other points of orthodox belief. But a significant phrase in the Act of Supremacy of 1534, repeated in other legislation, gave the king “full power and authority … to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain, and amend all … errors, heresies, abuses, offenses … whatsoever they be,” in the English Church. This was, in effect, the most spectacular response to Luther’s appeal to secular rulers to take in hand the matter of Church reform since the clergy had failed to reform themselves. What happened in England under Henry VIII was the establishment of the legal supremacy of the state over the Church — indeed, the establishment of a national Church. The revolt was accomplished with relatively little bloodshed, the martyrdoms, in 1535, of Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher being the best known of the executions. (Robert Bolt’s impressive play and film “A Man for All Seasons” brings clarity to Thomas More the man and has much to teach us about Peter’s principle: “We must obey God rather than men” [Acts 5:29].) The average churchgoer saw no significant change in doctrine or worship. The net result was that Englishmen at first generally accepted the break with Rome without effective protest, although there’s no evidence that the majority wanted it. Henry held the line on doctrine but consented to having English Bibles placed in all the churches. Now people were reading the Scriptures and what came out of Wittenberg, Zurich, and other hotbeds of the Reform. Archbishop Cranmer led a small but determined Protestant-minded party. England at the time of Henry’s death was headed in the direction of more extreme Protestantism. Father Kocik is a parochial vicar at Santo Christo Parish in Fall River.
story. I remember worshiping with mom and dad and the family at Mass on Sunday mornings. My parents’ faithful attendance at Mass and the sacraments was a strong influence on their children. Their faith was not just a notional faith, but a deep one that was put into action in their daily lives. It was the summer of my senior year at Holy Cross College when I began seriously to consider the priesthood. The consecrated life was a part of my family. My sister is a Religious of the Cenacle Sisters, a community whose main apostolate is to conduct retreats for women. My mom’s sister, Sister Peg Williams, is a Precious Blood Sister whose main apostolate is education. My dad’s sister, Sister Mary Amelia, was a Notre Dame de Namur Sister whose main apostolate also was education. My great uncle, Father Lawrence Blottman, was a parish priest in the Cincinnati Diocese. It was during the summer of my senior year that I spoke with our pastor, Msgr. John Shea, a fine gentleman and a great priest about the priesthood. He was influential in “fine tuning” my vocation by advising me that a two-year stretch in the U.S. Army would be a maturation process. Evidently the Selective Service was of the same mind because after graduating in June from Holy Cross High College, I was ordered to report on July 11 to Boston to be sworn in. After boot camp I certainly didn’t see how the Army was going to help me in my discernment process, but God knows what he’s doing. Stationed in Germany during the Cold War, I became good friends with a fellow soldier named Don, who was a former seminarian, good Catholic and great traveling companion. During rest and relaxation, we traveled together in Europe and even went on retreat in Berchtesgaden in Bavaria. One of the most enlightening experiences was our pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1958 during the year celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s apparition to St. Bernadette at the Grotto. Without realizing it, we had arrived on the feast of the Holy Rosary, October 7. With candles in hand we joined the others in procession, singing Marian hymns. I felt Mary’s love permeating my being. I knew that whatever difficulties I would face in pursuing a vocation in the priesthood, I could turn to Mary in prayer. We met there an English priest who had lost his faith, but his faith was restored when he had an aesthetic experience praying at this wonderful shrine. He had
stayed on as an English confessor to manifest his gratitude for his conversion. This was also a “firming up” experience in my vocation to the priesthood. Not only was my two-year stint in the Army a time of maturation, but it solidified my desire to pursue the priesthood. I was convinced that there was a real need to fight evil with the power of the priesthood. Two months before my discharge from the Army, I applied to St. Philip Neri School for delayed vocations and was accepted for the fall class of 1959. This was an intensified curriculum with a concentration on Latin and Greek. The phrase, “It’s all Greek to me,” took on a whole new meaning. It was a grueling course of study, but the following June I graduated, with our commencement exercises held at St. Ignatius Church on the Boston College campus. Cardinal Cushing, always a very moving orator, was our commencement speaker. He did not disappoint. That summer I received my letter from Bishop James L. Connolly assigning me to St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. When I entered in September of 1960, I was greeted with a week-long silent retreat. This was a different experience from the very open classroom of St. Philip Neri School, but it was a good way to start one’s seminary training. Uniting both the discipline of study with spiritual exercises, our days consisted of morning Mass, the particular examen, and spiritual reading, which blended well with the theology and philosophy courses we were taking. During my first year in the seminary, which was second philosophy, I remember asking God in prayer if I were on the right track. I was blessed with the Gift of Tears and an awesome peace came over me. I’ve never again questioned my vocation. Our Church has been blessed with some very gifted men, brilliant men and very pious men as priests. I hope that in relating my story, some very ordinary young man who deeply loves God and feels the gentle invitation in the recesses of his heart will respond and follow Christ. The response to this invitation, this counsel, depends on the individual’s acceptance through grace. And this invitation must be sustained right through the training in the seminary, at ordination and all through the life of a priest by divine grace. It is indeed a gift that we must respond to. Freely given, it must be freely received. Father Blottman, ordained in 1965, is a retired priest of the Diocese and lives at the Cardinal Medeiros Residence in Fall River.
here is an amusing story about a priest and a rabbi who are playing golf together for the first time. The rabbi soon discovers that the priest is an excellent putter. He also notices that before putting, the priest always makes the Sign of the Cross. Halfway through the course, the rabbi is losing by 10 strokes. Consequently, he asks the priest if he thinks it will be all right if he too crosses himself. “Sure rabbi, go ahead,” the priest says. “But it won’t do you any good until you learn how to putt.” The New Testament writers recorded Jesus’ miracles to teach us that when we have faith in him we can live in hope and expectation of ultimate victory over sickness, death and evil in all its forms. The problem for many of us is that we tend to cross ourselves without learning how to putt. We tend to think that if God is going to win the victory, we’ll just stand aside and let him do it. I think what we need to understand is that we cannot genuinely believe that God is going to win this victory if we do not genuinely believe that God wants us to be part of the process. We need to understand that God wants us to
June 26, 2009
The difference between faith and magic
align what we are doing in this for sure what’s going to hapworld with what he is doing. pen if it depends on God. God In today’s Gospel, Mark is not predictable, in this sense. records two miracles of Jesus “Lord give us a miracle,” we — two of those signs that raise pray, but it isn’t a miracle we our hopes and expectations want, it’s magic. Magic is posin the ultimate fulfillment of sessable and it’s predictable. God’s promise of victory over And that’s the big difference evil and death. In the first between faith and magic. Faith miracle, Jesus encounters a woman who has been suffering for 12 years from a sickness Homily of the Week that many physicians Thirteenth Sunday apparently pronounced in Ordinary Time incurable. In the second miracle, Jesus encounBy Deacon ters a young woman Robert Lorenzo who has been pronounced dead. To the sick woman, he says, “Daughis Jesus broken and “sweatter, your faith has saved you; ing as if it were great drops of go in peace, and be cured of blood” and saying, “Lord, if your affliction” (Mk. 5:34). you are willing, remove this To the young girl pronounced cup from me; nevertheless not dead, he says, “Little girl, I say my will but yours be done” to you arise. And immediately (Lk. 22:42). Are we really ever the girl got up and walked” satisfied with that “If” Jesus (Mk. 5:41,42). gives us? Wouldn’t we really “Lord, give us a miracle,” prefer someone who would we pray. But that’s not usually give us an “absolutely” instead. what we mean. The problem Faith is not always “sweetness with miracles is that they’re and light.” Sometimes it’s not so erratic, so unpredictable. always “onward and upward.” They may occur here; they Sometimes it’s a deep, dark may occur there; it depends valley. Sometimes it’s a tragic on something else. We say, “It “If” that ends in a cross or a depends on God.” And that’s tomb — the difference bethe problem. We can’t know tween magic and miracles.
A loved one — a child — lies in bed in an intensive care unit of the hospital. Tubes are sticking out from her in all directions — each connected to its own machine or monitor. The family listens to the chorus of “blips” and “beeps” constantly updating the lifeand-death situation. The constant “whoosh” of the respirator sounds the rhythm of the ebbing life. But the distraught family knows that it’s just a matter of time. They know the child is going to die. And they cry out, “Why? Why no miracle, Lord?” And now it is they who need the life-support. The family visits that bedside several times each day. And, in their desperation, they remain somehow thankful for the tubes and the respirator and the technology that keeps their little girl breathing. But as they stand by her side and stroke her hair and hold her hand day-after-day, more and more they begin to hold on to each other and say, “We’ll be all right as long as we have each other.” More and more they know in their hearts that what is sustaining them is their hope and expectation in God’s
promise that they will be all right and their little girl will be all right. More and more they know in their hearts that they will never be abandoned by the loving God who gave his only Son to all mankind. More and more they know in their hearts that, with the Apostle Paul, they can confidently say, “I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38). God listens to our prayers but he also wants to teach us how to putt. God wants us to help him win the victory over every form of deprivation and degradation of human life. God wants us to join in the healing. The God of Love wants us to identify what we are doing in this world with what he is doing. He wants us to identify with his miracle of miracles. He wants us to identify our life with his life of love. Deacon Lorenzo is assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish in Fairhaven. He also serves as a chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. He and his wife Mary are parents of six children and 12 grandchildren.
Upcoming Daily Readings: Sat. June 27, Gn 18:1-15; (Ps) Lk 1:46-50,53-55; Mt 8:5-17. Sun. June 28, Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Wis 1:12-15; 2:23-24; Ps 30:2,4-6,11-13; 2Cor 8:7,9,13-15; Mk 5:21-43 or 5:21-24,35b-43. Mon. June 29, Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul, Acts 12:1-11; Ps 34:2-9; 2 Tim 4:6-8,17-18, Mt 16:13-19. Tues. June 30, Gn 19:15-29; Ps 26:2-3,9-12; Mt 8:23-27. Wed. July 1, Gn 21:5,8-20a; Ps 34:7-8,10-13; Mt 8:28-34. Thu. July 2, Eph 2:19-22; Ps 117:1-2; Jn 20:24-29. Fri. July 3, Eph 2:19-22; Ps 117:1-2; Jn 20:24-29.
hey were two of the giant figures of the last half of the 20th century — Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II — and they had many things in common. Both were trained actors whose craft had taught them the power of words to change minds and hearts. Both came to eminence through unconventional routes, and against the grain of a lot of the common wisdom. Both had a healthy skepticism about the conventions that surrounded their offices, and both intuited that diplomats, no matter how skilled, might have a professionally ingrained caution that blinded them to certain opportunities for bold action. Both survived assassination attempts and came to a deeper understanding of life-as-vocation as a result. Now, in “Reagan’s Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster” (Crown), husband-and-wife team Martin and Annelise Anderson shed new light on the Reagan-John Paul II relationship by using previously
President Reagan and Pope John Paul II classified U.S. government files. Bernstein of Watergate fame, The outlines of the story are who for years perpetrated a reasonably well known: John “Holy Alliance” conspiracy Paul first came to Reagan’s theory, according to which the attention when the pope’s epic two men entered into a secret first papal pilgrimage to Poland bargain to bring down comin June 1979 set in motion what munism. As the Anderson’s eventually became the Solidarity book confirms, this was, and is, movement — a movement Reapluperfect nonsense, as is the gan, an old union leader, instinctively appreciated. Shortly after his inauguration, President Reagan sent his friend (and future Holy See envoy) William A. Wilson By George Weigel to Anchorage, Alaska, where the pope’s plane was refueling, to greet the pontiff on Reagan’s behalf. claim (often heard in the 1980s) We also know of the two leadthat John Paul II had agreed not ers’ subsequent meetings in both to criticize either U.S. missile Rome and the United States, and deployments in Europe or U.S. of Reagan’s determination to policy in Central America in push U.S. diplomatic recogniexchange for Reagan administion of the Holy See through a tration support of Solidarity. U.S. Senate nervous about reThe new revelation about the sidual anti-Catholicism in some relationship in the Andersons’ parts of America. book is that the pope and the There has also been a lot president had an extensive corof nonsense written about the respondence, involving dozens relationship, primarily by Carl of letters back-and-forth, which
The Catholic Difference
Professor Martin Anderson told me were by far among the most interesting of all the Reagan letters he had examined. Among the letters referenced in “Reagan’s Secret War” is a January 1982 letter from the White House to the Vatican in which Reagan shifted the subject of the exchange from events in Poland (which had just been put under martial law) to his hopes for genuine disarmament, not just arms “control,” at the talks about to begin with the Soviet Union in Geneva. Indeed, the Andersons’ book makes clear that, somewhat to the consternation of many of his close advisers, Ronald Reagan was a nuclear abolitionist: he really did believe, as he often said, in ridding the world of nuclear weapons. His instruments for doing so — ramping up U.S. missile capability to demonstrate that America couldn’t be outmuscled, and the strategic defense initiative as an insurance policy — were
bitterly criticized by the liberal arms controllers, whose influence on the deliberations of the U.S. bishops as they prepared their 1983 peace pastoral was, to put it gently, considerable. But as the Andersons demonstrate, it was Reagan who was the true radical in this business: the man who wasn’t satisfied with simply managing an arms race, the man who wanted to put the nuclear genie back into the bottle. Historians of U.S. Catholicism will thus be grateful to the Andersons for clarifying just how mistaken some of the policy assumptions underlying “The Challenge of Peace” were. In my own conversations with the late pontiff, John Paul often asked how President Reagan was doing and was saddened to learn that Alzheimer’s disease had robbed him of even the memory of being president. An extraordinary pair of men; may they both rest in peace. George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2009
O Lord, taketh away
now know birdhouses inside out. Sunday 21 June 2009 — at Even after woodworking shop, a home on Three Mile River — Boy’s Club carpentry class (my Father’s Day father taught it), and many “This ne of my favorite TV programs was “This Old House.” I watched it more for instruction than for Reflections of a entertainment. As a parish priest, one of the Parish Priest things for which I am By Father Tim responsible is buildings Goldrick (about which I know very little.) I did take woodworking shop in Old House” episodes under my junior high school, but all we tool belt, I still can hardly tell ever made were birdhouses. It a screwdriver from a chisel. I took me the whole school year promised myself I would evento build one birdhouse, but I
The Ship’s Log
tually learn something about the building trades. The time has come. I find myself with six buildings — two church buildings, two parish centers, and two rectories. This parish doesn’t need six buildings. One way or the other, some of the structures have to go. We have envisioned the future, now we literally have to make room for it. I called in the experts. In this case, that meant contractors, architects, surveyors, and appraisers. A careful study was made. The results are in. I now
Helping our seedlings bear spiritual fruit
old, sandy soil; a no-brainer. y neighbor has been Of course this in the same, cultivating a garden empowering lesson that Jesus in his backyard during the last teaches in the Parable of the two summers. Last year he ferSower in the Gospels of Mattilized a little and then planted thew and Mark. his seeds in the normal, sandy In this parable, the same soil of our Cape Cod yards. seeds planted on a hardened He got fair results. This year path, in rocky soil, among he trucked in some rich, black thorns, and in nutrient-rich soil, added compost, and rotosoil, produce vastly different tilled it together before plantqualities and quantities of fruit, ing. Although it is still early in even though all are exposed the summer, I can already see to similar weather conditions. that his harvest is going to be greatly improved. At the same time that my neighbor was cultivating his garden, my seventh-grade daughter and I were finishing our home-school health curriculum. Our By Heidi Bratton year’s worth of study culminated with a fantastic discussion on Jesus goes on to explain that the interplay between mental, the same thing happens among emotional, physical, and spiripeople. Those who are rooted tual health. in spiritually rich “soil” will be As we were learning about more mentally and emotionally mental health, hormones, and healthy, and their lives will be healthy lifestyle choices for fruitful. young teen-agers, we read in Basic chemical imbalances the text book, “Even though in a person’s brain cannot be these hormones and the resultcompletely changed by just ing physical changes influence how your feel, you need not al- thinking positively, and even good Christians do experilow them to control you. Your ence depression, anxiety, and body will grow and mature, other mental illnesses. The and your emotions will be ground-level reality that my stirred; but because you — the daughter learned, however, real you — can control your is that our overall mental and brain, you can learn to control emotional health are not comyour emotions” (“A Healthier pletely dependent on either You,” page 9). the biology we inherit, nor the I found this to be the most physical conditions in which important and empowering we find ourselves planted. We statement made in health can choose to augment and education class this year, and improve both. Even as grown obviously my daughter did adults, I believe this is an emtoo. In her oral exam on the powering reminder. As parents, chapter, she explained to me this is a life lesson we should that choosing to live a menimpress upon our children; tally and emotionally healthy the lesson that even when our life would be like choosing to emotions are stirred or our plant herself in our neighbor’s new, black soil instead of in his passions are triggered, we can
Home Grown Faith
learn to control our brains, and therefore, our actions. This is because our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health are not completely independent from one another, but are rather interdependent at the deepest level of our being. Envisioning our given human nature as a bed of soil, each of us can greatly enrich our mental health by adding a sort of spiritual compost, a mixture that would contain the emotional nutrients of forgiveness, a grateful heart, and selfdiscipline. Our compost would be better yet if also enriched by empathy, loyalty, wisdom, and an attitude of acceptance toward those things about ourselves or our life situations that we cannot change, and a spirit of gumption and hopefulness about those things that we can change. Tossing out anxiety, resentment, revenge, and anger, like the spiritual rocks or thorns that they are, would also further improve our mental health. During the summer months, we are blessed with a little more time to focus on growing our children’s Catholic faith at home. Perhaps we can rototill into our normal activities some discussion and practice of good mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Philippians 4:8 provides a good place to start: “Whatsoever thing are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever thing are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Heidi is an author, photographer, and full-time mother. She and her husband raise their six children in Falmouth. email@example.com.
know what we are dealing with in terms of buildings. I have consulted diocesan headquarters, since these Church properties are held corporately in the name of the Bishop of Fall River. A decision has been made. Step one: this old house has to go. This rectory is our biggest liability. It’s a mansion, not a birdhouse, although birds do sometimes find their way into the attic. We do not now and never will need it. It breaks my heart. Well over 100 years old, this Victorian estate was built with care and thought, using fine workmanship and good quality materials, including a curved mahogany rail staircase, a palladium window, oak floors, and custom-made woodwork. It’s lovely but dilapidated. The exterior needs siding, eaves, and gutter repair. It has no insulation. The basement needs waterproofing. The electrical system needs updating. The roof is questionable. There are far too many windows, doors, and walls to be energy-efficient. It would cost many thousands of dollars to correct some of these problems, and some would forever remain uncorrectable. The result would be a 14-room rectory, livable but still with major issues. One priest will never need a place this size. Such expenditure would be wasteful of our parish’s limited resources. It will simply not happen on my watch. My conscience will not allow it. Did I mention the heating system? It turned out to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The furnace in the house broke down early this spring. It cannot be repaired. It needs replacement. There’s no way that is going to happen. It makes no sense. Spring, as you well know, dear readers, was cold and damp. So was my house. At night, I used my electric blanket to keep
warm. It was cheaper to operate than a heater. My dogs didn’t seem to mind the situation, but then they wear fur coats. If the temperature in the house dropped into the 50s, I would grab a cup of hot coffee and go out and sit in my car. The car has a heater. In a few minutes, the chill was gone from my bones. I was able to go about my business. When the house grew colder and damper, I would just put on more sweaters and grab an afghan. At the end of the day, I would retreat once again to the warmth of the electric blanket. To tell the truth, I didn’t mind it, but it’s my responsibility to make sure my successor doesn’t have to live out of his car. The good news is that, as I’ve mentioned, I have two rectories. I heard a voice say, “This is a nobrainer, Reverend Pastor. Move into your other rectory. Duhh. ” Why didn’t I think of that? Before the cold winds blow, I will be moving to my other rectory. It is dark and dank, but it’s smaller and in somewhat better condition. It does have heat. The drawback is that I will be living on the Segregansett River, about four miles away from the church on Three Mile River. It’s not an ideal situation but it’s a short commute in anyone’s book. In the plus column is the fact that my move will result in a Catholic presence at both ends of town. Will it work out? Only time will tell. Such is the life of a parish priest. This past Memorial Day weekend, I made a public offer. “Anyone interested in taking away this old house? It’s a handyman’s delight and it’s yours for a dollar.” Thus far, no one has come forward. I believe the Lord giveth, and I do hope the Lord taketh away. Father Goldrick is pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra Parish in North Dighton.
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Sept. 10 - Sept. 19, 2009
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Pauline Year finale is June 27-28 continued from page one
Year we aimed for were to move people to indeed know God and his divine Son, Jesus much better. And just as happened to Paul, that our personalities too became submerged as it were in Jesus,” Father Johnson said. “Paul became our beacon in gaining that understanding through his letters to the churches he established and visited,” he noted. “I think we have done that in this jubilee, by exposing everyone to St. Paul and to learn all about him … his genius through his poetry and writings, and well-known speakers, theologians and so many others — priests and deacons and laypeople — who did so much. I was only the coordinator.” He quickly added, “And I learned so much about St. Paul in the effort.” “While it was an amazing year and I gained so much from it and enjoyed it, and lived it …
lived St. Paul from day to day,” Father Johnson said, “don’t think I won’t also enjoy June 29 when this particular mission ends,” he said laughing. Father Johnson was a steady contributor to The Anchor drawing upon Church history and the Scriptures for his historic stories and minihomilies during the Pauline Year, as was Father Karl C. Bissinger, secretary to Bishop George W. Coleman, who also wrote for the diocesan newspaper. Convert-theologian-apologists who were called upon for talks across the diocese during the celebratory year included Peter J. Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, and convert and author Stephen K. Ray, whose talks in June told of how he “found” the Catholic Church through Bible study and researching the works of the early Church Fathers.
June 26, 2009
‘Jack of all trades,’ Sister Curry ending Family Ministry service
By Deacon James N. Dunbar
grew up in Sacred Heart Parish and here,” Sister Curry recalled. “I was NORTH DARTMOUTH — there was much I had been given a kind of housemother to the young Her official title is resource coordi- in those years and I wanted to be a people.” nator. teacher too,” Sister Curry recalled. About the same time she was “But in reality our Holy Union She attended the Normal School involved with a support group to Sister Ruth Curry has been my jack for teachers run by the Holy Union divorced parents in marriage enof all trades,” said Scottie Foley, Sisters and later attended the con- counters, and instituted an annual program co-director along with gregation’s former College of the before-Christmas retreat that keyed her husband Jerry of the diocese’s Sacred Hearts. on young adults whose family Family Ministry Office. “I went on to receive a bach- members included alcoholics. “Sister Curry is always ready to elor’s degree in education from the “I guess I can say my ministry to fill in, is always flexible and gener- Rhode Island Teacher’s College families began to take over my life, ous with her time to say the and I have such wonderful least,” Scottie Foley added memories of so many peoin praising the nun. “She has ple — many of whom have been with us for nearly 29 gone back to the Lord,” she years and she is going to be said, laughing. missed.” Sister Curry in her dediAs for how the spry, cated 29 years of service to 80-year-old nun feels about Family Ministry has served leaving, she took a look under four directors, includback. “It has been a most ing Msgr. Ronald A. Tosti, enjoyable experience … and Father Horace J. Travassos, one meets the nicest people Father Thomas A. Frechette from across the whole Fall and currently under Father River Diocese in this job,” Gregory A. Mathias. she told The Anchor during Following a party on a sit-down interview. June 30 when she officially That was typical of the leaves the Family Minisnun, said Foley, who retry Office, Sister Curry has ported that in performing the plans to remain active in the resource duties of preparing community. the various videos, books “I’ll be busily involved in and myriad of booklets and some things rather new,” she brochures associated with said with a knowing smile. the many Family Ministry “I have no living relatives programs, Sister Curry add- ANCHOR PERSON OF THE WEEK — Holy Union and live at The Landmark Sister Ruth Curry. (Anchor photo) ed another dimension. in Fall River with 13 other “Sister Curry, who also Sacred Hearts Sisters — as is the hostess with the mostest, es- and a master’s in education from well as five Dominican Sisters and pecially to young people and the the University of Rhode Island. three Mercy Sisters — and because children, has a special feeling when “That opened up a career for I am in fine health and still drive it comes to being and dealing with teaching and I answered assign- a car, I will be their official driver, children,” Foley pointed out. “She ments to schools in New York, New taking them to their visits to docmakes sure they are cared for in Jersey and Pennsylvania,” the nun tors’ and dentists’ offices and other so many ways — as well as being said. healthcare appointments as well as well-fed.” “I also taught at St. Anthony’s taking them to do errands and do“I should be good at that,” Sister School in Portsmouth, R.I., before ing errands for them,” she said enCurry chimed in. “After all, I taught assignments to schools in the Fall ergetically. first grade for 38 years.” River Diocese,” she said. Her other new activity will bring It all began 62 years ago when She taught at Holy Name School her back into the classroom. the 17-year-old, 1946 graduate of in Fall River as well as the former “I will be reading to children in Sacred Hearts Academy in her na- Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s, and St. the public school system,” she antive Fall River decided to become a Mary’s schools in Taunton. nounced. religious Sister. It was while she was teachWill she be back in the Family When she was four years old her ing that she became involved with Ministry Office from time to time father had died, and at age 13 she leading and assisting with retreats when she’s needed? lost her mother. sponsored by the Family Ministry “I might be,” Sister Curry said, “Although I was baptized in Office. nodding her assent. “I have made Holy Name Church in Fall River, I “It was 1981 when I began so many friends here.”
June 26, 2009
IN WITH THE NEW — Father Jay T. Maddock, pastor of Holy Family Parish in East Taunton, greets Bishop George W. Coleman and welcomes him to the opening of the new parish hall. Below, Bishop Coleman blesses the new hall as part of the dedication ceremony, which followed a Mass of celebration. Inside the front entrance is a small chapel where the Blessed Sacrament will be reserved. The center has 11 meeting rooms, four of which can be linked together to offer more space, and a great room with seating for up to 440 people. There is a new kitchen facility and a separate room for the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry. The parish offices will also be a part of the structure. (Photos by Kenneth J. Souza)
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June 26, 2009
PBS won’t let stations air new religious programs, but current shows will stay
By Catholic News Service and Catholic League reports
WASHINGTON — The board of directors of Public Broadcasting Service voted June 16 to stop its member stations from airing new religious programming, though existing programs on PBS affiliate stations will continue to be broadcast. “Interpretive” religious programming, such as concerts and
journalistic programs, also will be permitted to air. The decision marks a compromise between PBS and some of its affiliate stations. The board had been considering an outright ban on “straight” religious programming in accordance with a 1985 policy mandating “noncommercial, nonpolitical and nonsectarian” programming on member stations.
Diocese of Fall River TV Mass on WLNE Channel 6 Sunday, June 28 at 11:00 a.m.
Celebrant is Father Robert A. Oliveira pastor of Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in New Bedford.
PBS conducted the policy review in conjunction with its preparations for the switch from analog to digital television. Currently, fewer than five of the 356 PBS member stations air sectarian programming. Among those stations, three broadcast a Mass for shut-ins. While the board’s decision permits the broadcasts of Mass to continue, Washington-area Catholics accustomed to viewing Mass on PBS affiliate WHUT will be forced to look elsewhere. In February, the station told the Archdiocese of Washington that it will stop airing the Mass for shut-ins after July 23. WHUT attempted to reverse its decision after the announcement of the board’s vote, but the archdiocese has already agreed to a broadcasting contract with the CW network affiliate. Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said WHUT made it “very clear” in February that Mass would not be allowed to air on the network. The Mass for Washington-area shut ins will air on television station WCDW after July 23. Broadcasts of Mass for shutins will continue on WLAE in New Orleans and KBDI in Denver. Gibbs told Catholic News Service June 17 that while she was happy that the existing religious programs will remain on PBS stations, the board’s decision is ultimately a disappointment. “Going forward,” she said, “religion is being pushed to the side.” Catholic League President Bill Donohue’s reaction was much stronger. Citing a few shows in December 2005 aired by PBS with mildly religious overtones that angered its anti-religious members, Donohue said, “It never takes much to push secular buttons, but caving in to the voices of intolerance is shameful. That the religious gag rule is taking place in the age of Obama is not something that has escaped our notice. The stench is unmistakable.”
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.
June 26, 2009
Apostolic visits to orders of religious women to begin soon WASHINGTON (CNS) — The superior general overseeing the apostolic visitation of U.S. orders of women religious is hoping to gather up to 150 names of people who will soon begin visiting a cross section of congregations. Mother Mary Clare Millea, superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the apostolic visitator charged by the Vatican with directing the comprehensive study, told Catholic News Service June 17 that suggestions of names to fill slots on the teams continued to arrive, 11 days after a deadline she set for submissions. In the midst of meetings in the U.S. before returning to Rome June 19, Mother Clare said from the apostolic visitation office in Hamden, Conn., that the visits will encompass a wide variety of orders. “We know we cannot possibly visit all the congregations,” she said. “So we want to give a representative sample to the Holy See.” Mother Clare, a Connecticut native whose religious institute is based in Rome, began soliciting names of women religious and men religious for the visitation teams in a May letter to superior generals. In all, she contacted nearly 400 Catholic institutes for women religious. Men would join visits only to those orders that indicate they would welcome a male, the letter stated. Palliative care must be part of health reform, CHA official says WASHINGTON (CNS) — Palliative care that focuses on pain management and attention to the psychological, social and spiritual needs of suffering and dying patients must be part of the nation’s health care reform, the new chairwoman of the Catholic Health Association’s board of trustees said at a Capitol Hill briefing. Colleen Scanlon, an attorney who previously worked as a palliative care nurse, said such care can be “a model to improve quality and manage scarce resources” as policymakers debate health care reform. “By reducing pain and suffering and coordinating care transitions, palliative care reduces emergency room visits, hospital stays and readmissions, and most importantly improves patient and family satisfaction,” said Scanlon, senior vice president for advocacy at Catholic Health Initiatives in Denver. At a briefing, she represented both CHA and the Supportive Care Coalition: Pursuing Excellence in Palliative Care, a coalition of 19 Catholic health systems. Scanlon said research shows that in many cases people hospitalized with life-threatening illness “receive expensive, aggressive medical intervention that is often unwanted and that diminishes their quality of life.” Given that the estimated 90 million Americans now living with serious and life-threatening illnesses is expected to double over the next 25 years, “we must find a better way to care for the seriously ill and dying,” Scanlon said. Report says 10,000 migrants kidnapped in Mexico over six months MEXICO CITY (CNS) — A nun who works on migration issues for Mexico’s bishops said she was not surprised by a report from Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission that nearly 10,000 undocumented migrants traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States were kidnapped over a six-month period. “Organized crime groups see in the migrant population a group that is extremely vulnerable for committing these kinds of crimes,” Scalabrini Sister Leticia Gutierrez, executive secretary of the Mexican bishops’ human mobility ministry, told Catholic News Service. She said Church officials’ research and interviews with migrants contributed to the report released June 15. The report underscores the changing nature of the challenges facing undocumented migrants — most of whom are from Central America — as they travel through Mexico. For decades, migrants have been targeted by corrupt public officials and gangs that would demand bribes and steal their meager possessions. But those working with migrants now report that migrants are being targeted by criminal groups — including many with ties to powerful narcotics-trafficking cartels — who kidnap them and demand ransoms from relatives living in either the United States or the migrants’ home countries. The human rights report outlined a $25 million industry that was responsible for kidnapping 9,758 migrants between September 2008 and February 2009. Sixty-seven percent of the victims were from Honduras, while nearly 90 percent of the victims were apprehended by “organized groups.”
ome was the last stop on many of them; we can tell by St. Paul’s earthly pilthe long list of people he sends grimage, so it is fitting it should greetings to in chapter 16. Paul be our final city to visit in the seems confident that he and they Pauline Year, too. are already in substantial agreeBut how to write one short ment (perhaps partly through article on the Letter to the Rothe presence of St. Peter?) but mans and Rome itself? It’s not puts his best foot forward in his easy to boil it all down. Romans presentation of his two monster is a very complex letter, in which issues: Law and Gospel; and Paul sets out his Gospel in its the mystery of the Old and New most structured form. St. Paul’s Israel. greatest genius, perhaps, is that First, the justice of God is he draws the loftiest theology acquired only through a freely from the most practical, nittygiven, unmerited faith in the gritty issues of the day. His letcross of Christ. Paul’s own life ters address concrete situations and conversion testified to this. in the individual churches which From being an enemy of Christ, he himself (for the most part) he became an apostle of Christ founded, so much so that one of the great tasks of Pauline scholars is to Living the figure out with precision what problems St. Pauline Year Paul was addressing. It’s somewhat like trying to By Father Andrew paint a true picture from Johnson, OCSO a mirror image. But Romans is unique; it is his self-introduction through a personal call that to a Christian community already wiped out all his sins and set him established at Rome. Or better, it on the way to salvation. Paul is his introduction of his Gospel in a sense was just preaching and the particular way he preach- what had happened to him. It is es it. Paul writes to the Church his conviction that there was a in Rome (probably from Corinth divine saving act that happened about 59 or 60 AD) because he on Calvary about the year 33 AD knows how important it is; it’s that made up for all our sins and possible Peter is already gone hatred and shortcomings, and there ahead of him. Moreover, he that the way we appropriate that wants them to hear his presentaforgiveness is by faith — not by tion of the Gospel because he law or works. This is the absolute plans to travel there soon. key to Paul, and we have to get it Well, he does finally arright. “The Gospel is the power rive in Rome, but not as he had of God leading everyone who planned, because on a journey to believes in it to salvation” (Rom Jerusalem, he is taken prisoner 1:16). In the end, understanding there (Acts 15:22) and brought St. Paul is not about St. Paul at to Rome in chains. No matter, as all, but about Jesus Christ and so often was the case in his life, him crucified. he was led by paths unknown to The hard part for the ancient him right to where he needed to world was to accept the fact that be. God’s act of redemption for the As to the city itself, well, world should be a crucifixion. Rome was Rome, the massive We can miss how scandalous capital of a massive empire. In it was: the savior was not a the 60s, after the rule of Augustriumphant Warrior Messiah as tus, it had begun to enter on its one would think, but a horribly greatest days. The passing of the crucified one. This is why we next 100 years would see the city hear Paul shout with real convicat its height. The Rome that Paul found was both a shrine of human culture and a sink of every corruption, on its way to be even more so. If Rome was huge, so was Paul’s Letter to the Romans. It was his greatest effort, 16 hefty chapters. He meant to inform and, if we might say so, to impress. The Church at Rome had already impressed him from afar: “Your faith is heralded throughout the world,” he writes (1:8). It is made up of Gentile and Jewish Christians and they are all getting along pretty well. He knows
tion, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel!” He is not ashamed of the scandal of the cross. The other issue he addressed was that of the mystery of the two Israels, old and new. In his travels for the Gospel, Paul would go first to the synagogue in any town and preach Christ to the Jews. Some accepted it, but most did not. Rome was no exception, as Acts 28: 23-24 shows: “When they had appointed a day for him, [the Jews] came to him at his lodging in great numbers. And he expounded the matter to them from morning till evening, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, while others disbelieved.” What is the place of Gentiles in the Church? Of Jews? What about Jews who don’t accept Jesus as Messiah? These are thorny questions, but Paul never backs down. He opens Romans with a discussion of them, but really hits his stride in chapters nine through 11. If you’ve never done so, sit down and read them. These chapters seems to be his own totally original, creative thought, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of course. They reveal to us God’s loving plan for the whole human race, Jew and Gentile. Rome to Paul finally meant his earthly resting place. About the year 67, he shed his blood for the Savior and his Gospel in the persecution of Nero. His resting place is in the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls on the Ostian Way. Visit it if you can and be filled with love and gratitude for one who could say with all honesty, “For me to live is Christ and to die for him is gain.” Amen. Father Johnson is diocesan director of the Pauline Year and parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis.
June 26, 2009
LETTER TO CLERGY FOR THE YEAR FOR PRIESTS
On June 18, the pope sent a letter to the priests of the world for the occasion of the Year for Priests, which has been called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney. The day afterward, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and day of prayer for the sanctification of the clergy, Benedict XVI inaugurated this Jubilee Year for Priests during Vespers in the Vatican Basilica.
Dear Brother Priests, On the forthcoming Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 19 June 2009 — a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of the clergy — I have decided to inaugurate a “Year for Priests” in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the “dies natalis” of John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests worldwide. This Year, meant to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world, will conclude on the same Solemnity in 2010. “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus,” the saintly Cure of Ars would often say. This touching expression makes us reflect, first of all, with heartfelt gratitude on the immense gift which priests represent, not only for the Church, but also for humanity itself. I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and their will, their sentiments and their style of life. How can I not pay tribute to their apostolic labours, their tireless and hidden service, their universal charity? And how can I not praise the courageous fidelity of so many priests who, even amid difficulties and incomprehension, remain faithful to their vocation as “friends of Christ,” whom He has called by name, chosen and sent? I still treasure the memory of the first parish priest at whose side I exercised my ministry as a young priest: he left me an example of unreserved devotion to his pastoral duties, even to meeting death in the act of bringing viaticum to a gravely ill person. I also recall the countless confreres whom I have met and continue to meet, not least in my pastoral visits to different countries: men generously dedicated to the daily exercise of their priestly ministry. Yet the expression of St. John Mary also makes us think of Christ’s
pierced Heart and the crown of thorns which surrounds it. I am also led to think, therefore, of the countless situations of suffering endured by many priests, either because they themselves share in the manifold human experience of pain or because they encounter misunderstanding from the very persons to whom they minister. How can we not also think of all those priests who are offended in their dignity, obstructed in their mission and persecuted, even at times to offering the supreme testimony of their own blood? There are also, sad to say, situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers. Then it is the world which finds grounds for scandal and rejection. What is most helpful to the Church in such cases is not only a frank and complete acknowledgement of the weaknesses of her ministers, but also a joyful and renewed realisation of the greatness of God’s gift, embodied in the splendid example of generous pastors, religious afire with love for God and for souls, and insightful, patient spiritual guides. Here the teaching and example of St. John Mary Vianney can serve as a significant point of reference for us all. The Cure of Ars was quite humble, yet as a priest he was conscious of being an immense gift to his people: “A good shepherd, a pastor after God’s heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy.” He spoke of the priesthood as if incapable of fathoming the grandeur of the gift and task entrusted to a human creature: “O, how great is the priest! ... If he realised what he is, he would die. ... God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from heaven at his voice, to be contained within a small host.” Explaining to his parishioners the importance of the Sacraments, he would say: “Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the
priest. ... After God, the priest is everything! ... Only in heaven will he fully realise what he is.” These words, welling up from the priestly heart of the holy pastor, might sound excessive. Yet they reveal the high esteem in which he held the Sacrament of the Priesthood. He seemed overwhelmed by a boundless sense of responsibility: “Were we to fully realise what a priest is on earth, we would die: not of fright, but of love. ... Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption on earth. ... What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods. ... Leave a parish for 20 years without a priest, and they will end by worshipping the beasts there. ... The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.” He arrived in Ars, a village of 230 souls, warned by his bishop beforehand that there he would find religious practice in a sorry state: “There is little love of God in that parish; you will be the one to put it there.” As a result, he was deeply aware that he needed to go there to embody Christ’s presence and to bear witness to His saving mercy: “[Lord,] grant me the conversion of my parish; I am willing to suffer whatever you wish, for my entire life!” With this prayer he entered upon his mission. The Cure devoted himself completely to his parish’s conversion, setting before all else the Christian education of the people in his care. Dear brother priests, let us ask the Lord Jesus for the grace to learn for ourselves something of the pastoral plan of St. John Mary Vianney! The first thing we need to learn is the complete identification of the man with his ministry. In Jesus, person and mission tend to coincide: all Christ’s saving activity was, and is, an expression of His “filial consciousness” which from all eternity stands before the Father in an attitude of loving submission to His will. In a humble yet genuine way, every priest must aim for a similar identification. Certainly this is not to forget that the efficacy of the ministry is independent of the holiness of the minister; but neither can we overlook the extraordinary fruitfulness of the encounter between the ministry’s objective holiness and the subjective holiness of the minister. The Cure of Ars immedi-
ately set about this patient and humble task of harmonising his life as a minister with the holiness of the ministry he had received, by deciding to “live,” physically, in his parish church: As his first biographer tells us: “Upon his arrival, he chose the church as his home. He entered the church before dawn and did not leave it until after the evening Angelus. There he was to be sought whenever needed.” The pious excess of his devout biographer should not blind us to the fact that the Cure also knew how to “live” actively within the entire territory of his parish: he regularly visited the sick and families, organised popular missions and patronal feasts, collected and managed funds for his charitable and missionary works, embellished and furnished his parish church, cared for the orphans and teachers of the “Providence” (an institute he founded); provided for the education of children; founded confraternities and enlisted lay persons to work at his side. His example naturally leads me to point out that there are sectors of co-operation which need to be opened ever more fully to the lay faithful. Priests and laity together make up the one priestly people and in virtue of their ministry priests live in the midst of the lay faithful, “that they may lead everyone to the unity of charity, ‘loving one another with mutual affection; and outdoing one another in sharing honour.’” Here we ought to recall the Vatican Council II’s hearty encouragement to priests “to be sincere in their appreciation and promotion of the dignity of the laity and of the special role they have to play in the Church’s mission. ... They should be willing to listen to lay people, give brotherly consideration to their wishes, and acknowledge their experience and competence in the different fields of human activity. In this way they will be able together with them to discern the signs of the times.” St. John Mary Vianney taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life. It was from his example that they learned to pray, halting frequently before the tabernacle for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. “One need not say much to pray well” — the Cure explained to them — “We know that Jesus is there in the tabernacle: let us open our hearts to Him, let us rejoice in His sacred presence. That is the best prayer.” And he would urge them: “Come to Communion, my brothers and
sisters, come to Jesus. Come to live from Him in order to live with Him. ... “Of course you are not worthy of him, but you need him!” This way of educating the faithful to the Eucharistic presence and to Communion proved most effective when they saw him celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Those present said that “it was not possible to find a finer example of worship. ... He gazed upon the Host with immense love.” “All good works, taken together, do not equal the sacrifice of the Mass” — he would say — “since they are human works, while the Holy Mass is the work of God.” He was convinced that the fervour of a priest’s life depended entirely upon the Mass: “The reason why a priest is lax is that he does not pay attention to the Mass! My God, how we ought to pity a priest who celebrates as if he were engaged in something routine!” He was accustomed, when celebrating, also to offer his own life in sacrifice: “What a good thing it is for a priest each morning to offer himself to God in sacrifice!” This deep personal identification with the Sacrifice of the Cross led him — by a sole inward movement — from the altar to the confessional. Priests ought never to be resigned to empty confessionals or the apparent indifference of the faithful to this Sacrament. In France, at the time of the Cure of Ars, confession was no more easy or frequent than in our own day, since the upheaval caused by the revolution had long inhibited the practice of religion. Yet he sought in every way, by his preaching and his powers of persuasion, to help his parishioners to rediscover the meaning and beauty of the Sacrament of Penance, presenting it as an inherent demand of the Eucharistic presence. He thus created a “virtuous” circle. By spending long hours in church before the tabernacle, he inspired the faithful to imitate him by coming to visit Jesus with the knowledge that their parish priest would be there, ready to listen and offer forgiveness. Later, the growing numbers of penitents from all over France would keep him in the confessional for up to 16 hours a day. It was said that Ars had become “a great hospital of souls.” His first biographer relates that “the grace he obtained [for the conversion of sinners] was so powerful that it would pursue them, not leaving them a moment of peace!” The saintly Cure reflected something of the same idea when he said: “It is Continued on page 15
June 26, 2009 Continued from page 14 not the sinner who returns to God to beg his forgiveness, but God Himself who runs after the sinner and makes him return to Him.” “This good Saviour is so filled with love that He seeks us everywhere.” We priests should feel that the following words, which he put on the lips of Christ, are meant for each of us personally: “I will charge my ministers to proclaim to sinners that I am ever ready to welcome them, that my mercy is infinite.” From St. John Mary Vianney we can learn to put our unfailing trust in the Sacrament of Penance, to set it once more at the centre of our pastoral concerns, and to take up the “dialogue of salvation” which it entails. The Cure of Ars dealt with different penitents in different ways. Those who came to his confessional drawn by a deep and humble longing for God’s forgiveness found in him the encouragement to plunge into the “flood of divine mercy” which sweeps everything away by its vehemence. If someone was troubled by the thought of his own frailty and inconstancy, and fearful of sinning again, the Cure would unveil the mystery of God’s love in these beautiful and touching words: “The good Lord knows everything. Even before you confess, He already knows that you will sin again, yet He still forgives you. How great is the love of our God: He even forces Himself to forget the future, so that He can grant us His forgiveness!” But to those who made a lukewarm and rather indifferent confession of sin, he clearly demonstrated by his own tears of pain how “abominable” this attitude was: “I weep because you don’t weep,” he would say. “If only the Lord were not so good! But He is so good! One would have to be a brute to treat so good a Father this way!” He awakened repentance in the hearts of the lukewarm by forcing them to see God’s own pain at their sins reflected in the face of the priest who was their confessor. To those who, on the other hand, came to him already desirous of and suited to a deeper spiritual life, he flung open the abyss of God’s love, explaining the untold beauty of living in union with Him and dwelling in His presence: “Everything in God’s sight, everything with God, everything to please God. ... How beautiful it is!” And he taught them to pray: “My God, grant me the grace to love You as much as I possibly can.” In his time the Cure of Ars was able to transform the hearts and the lives of so many people because he enabled them to experience the Lord’s merciful
The Anchor love. Our own time urgently needs a similar proclamation and witness to the truth of Love. Thanks to the Word and the Sacraments of Jesus, John Mary Vianney built up his flock, although he often trembled from a conviction of his personal inadequacy, and desired more than once to withdraw from the responsibilities of the parish ministry out of a sense of his unworthiness. Nonetheless, with exemplary obedience he never abandoned his post, consumed as he was by apostolic zeal for the salvation of souls. He sought to remain completely faithful to his own vocation and mission through the practice of an austere asceticism: “The great misfortune for us parish priests — he lamented — is that our souls grow tepid”; meaning by this that a pastor can grow dangerously inured to the state of sin or of indifference in which so many of his flock are living. He himself kept a tight rein on his body, with vigils and fasts, lest it rebel against his priestly soul. Nor did he avoid self-mortification for the good of the souls in his care and as a help to expiating the many sins he heard in confession. To a priestly confrere he explained: “I will tell you my recipe: I give sinners a small penance and the rest I do in their place.” Aside from the actual penances which the Cure of Ars practised, the core of his teaching remains valid for each of us: souls have been won at the price of Jesus’ own blood, and a priest cannot devote himself to their salvation if he refuses to share personally in the “precious cost” of redemption. In today’s world, as in the troubled times of the Cure of Ars, the lives and activity of priests need to be distinguished by a forceful witness to the Gospel. As Pope Paul VI rightly noted, “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Lest we experience existential emptiness and the effectiveness of our ministry be compromised, we need to ask ourselves ever anew: “Are we truly pervaded by the Word of God? Is that Word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that Word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this Word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking?” Just as Jesus called the Twelve to be with Him, and only later sent them forth to preach, so too in our days priests are called to assimilate that “new style of life”
which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles. It was complete commitment to this “new style of life” which marked the priestly ministry of the Cure of Ars. Pope John XXIII, in his Encyclical Letter “Sacerdotii nostri primordia,” published in 1959 on the first centenary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, presented his asceticism with special reference to the “three evangelical counsels” which the Pope considered necessary also for priests: “even though priests are not bound to embrace these evangelical counsels by virtue of the clerical state, these counsels nonetheless offer them, as they do all the faithful, the surest road to the desired goal of Christian perfection.” The Cure of Ars lived the “evangelical counsels” in a way suited to his priestly state. His poverty was not the poverty of a religious or a monk, but that proper to a priest: while managing much money (since well-to-do pilgrims naturally took an interest in his charitable works), he realised that everything had been donated to his church, his poor, his orphans, the girls of his “Providence,” his families of modest means. Consequently, he “was rich in giving to others and very poor for himself.” As he would explain: “My secret is simple: give everything away; hold nothing back”. When he lacked money, he would say amiably to the poor who knocked at his door: “Today I’m poor just like you, I’m one of you.” At the end of his life, he could say with absolute tranquillity: “I no longer have anything. The good Lord can call me whenever he wants!” His chastity, too, was that demanded of a priest for his ministry. It could be said that it was a chastity suited to one who must daily touch the Eucharist, who contemplates it blissfully and with that same bliss offers it to his flock. It was said of him that “he radiated chastity”; the faithful would see this when he turned and gazed at the tabernacle with loving eyes.” Finally, Saint John Mary Vianney’s obedience found full embodiment in his conscientious fidelity to the daily demands of his ministry. We know how he was tormented by the thought of his inadequacy for parish ministry and by a desire to flee “in order to bewail his poor life, in solitude.” Only obedience and a thirst for souls convinced him to remain at his post. As he explained to himself and his flock: “There are no two good ways of serving God. There is only one: serve him as he desires to be served.” He considered this the
golden rule for a life of obedience: “Do only what can be offered to the good Lord.” In this context of a spirituality nourished by the practice of the evangelical counsels, I would like to invite all priests, during this Year dedicated to them, to welcome the new springtime which the Spirit is now bringing about in the Church, not least through the ecclesial movements and the new communities. “In his gifts the Spirit is multifaceted. ... He breathes where He wills. He does so unexpectedly, in unexpected places, and in ways previously unheard of, ... but he also shows us that He works with a view to the one body and in the unity of the one body.” In this regard, the statement of the Decree “Presbyterorum Ordinis” continues to be timely: “While testing the spirits to discover if they be of God, priests must discover with faith, recognise with joy and foster diligently the many and varied charismatic gifts of the laity, whether these be of a humble or more exalted kind.” These gifts, which awaken in many people the desire for a deeper spiritual life, can benefit not only the lay faithful but the clergy as well. The communion between ordained and charismatic ministries can provide “a helpful impulse to a renewed commitment by the Church in proclaiming and bearing witness to the Gospel of hope and charity in every corner of the world.” I would also like to add, echoing the Apostolic Exhortation “Pastores Dabo Vobis” of Pope John Paul II, that the ordained ministry has a radical “communitarian form” and can be exercised only in the communion of priests with their bishop. This communion between priests and their bishop, grounded in the Sacrament of Holy Orders and made manifest in Eucharistic concelebration, needs to be translated into various concrete expressions of an effective and affective priestly fraternity. Only thus will priests be able to live fully the gift of celibacy and build thriving Christian communities in which the miracles which accompanied the first preaching of the Gospel can be repeated. The Pauline Year now coming to its close invites us also to look to the Apostle of the Gentiles, who represents a splendid example of a priest entirely devoted to his ministry. “The love of Christ urges us on” — he wrote — “because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” And he adds: “He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves,
but for Him Who died and was raised for them.” Could a finer programme be proposed to any priest resolved to advance along the path of Christian perfection? Dear brother priests, the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney (1859) follows upon the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Lourdes (1858). In 1959 Blessed Pope John XXIII noted that “shortly before the Cure of Ars completed his long and admirable life, the Immaculate Virgin appeared in another part of France to an innocent and humble girl, and entrusted to her a message of prayer and penance which continues, even a century later, to yield immense spiritual fruits. The life of this holy priest whose centenary we are commemorating in a real way anticipated the great supernatural truths taught to the seer of Massabielle. He was greatly devoted to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin; in 1836 he had dedicated his parish church to Our Lady Conceived without Sin and he greeted the dogmatic definition of this truth in 1854 with deep faith and great joy.” The Cure would always remind his faithful that “after giving us all he could, Jesus Christ wishes in addition to bequeath us His most precious possession, His Blessed Mother.” To the Most Holy Virgin I entrust this Year for Priests. I ask her to awaken in the heart of every priest a generous and renewed commitment to the ideal of complete self-oblation to Christ and the Church which inspired the thoughts and actions of the saintly Cure of Ars. It was his fervent prayer life and his impassioned love of Christ Crucified that enabled John Mary Vianney to grow daily in his total self-oblation to God and the Church. May his example lead all priests to offer that witness of unity with their bishop, with one another and with the lay faithful, which today, as ever, is so necessary. Despite all the evil present in our world, the words which Christ spoke to His Apostles in the Upper Room continue to inspire us: “In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world.” Our faith in the Divine Master gives us the strength to look to the future with confidence. Dear priests, Christ is counting on you. In the footsteps of the Cure of Ars, let yourselves be enthralled by Him. In this way you too will be, for the world in our time, heralds of hope, reconciliation and peace!
love going to yard sales, garage sales, tag sales, rummage sales. Call it what you want, if you’re having a sale, I’ll probably be there. I’ve been going to yard sales since childhood. My mother and I would have a Saturday morning ritual of opening the classified ads and circling the sales within a ten-mile radius. We would map out our route and be gone for half of the day. My mom would teach me about Depression glass, what the marking “Occupied Japan” meant, and we would find treasures in old Avon bottles and Fiesta ware. My first apartment was furnished primarily from yard sale “finds.” I still have a few of those pieces in my home today. The Saturday after the
Youth Page Summer prayer
prayer is recited. These days, feast of Corpus Christi, I indulgences are classified as found a treasure at a local partial or plenary and not a yard sale. It is a Chaplet specific number of days or of the Blessed Sacrament, years. Imagine the possibility made of 33 beads and a medal. After a bit of investigating I discovered that the beads are made of Job’s tears seeds and the number 33 represents the 33 years of Jesus’ life. On By Jean Revil the medal one makes a spiritual communion such as “Jesus, I canof performing an act of pennot receive you now in holy ance for the whole world, of Communion, but come spiritually into my heart and make assisting the whole world in a it Your own forever.” On each journey toward God. Think of the power of our prayers. of the 33 beads one prays Have you ever experi“Jesus in the Blessed Sacraenced an answered prayer? ment, have mercy on us.” In Have you ever prayed for 1911, Pope Pius X granted someone else and had that 300 days indulgence to the prayer answered? We’ve all entire world each time the
Be Not Afraid
June 26, 2009
had those moments where there is no doubt that God is so close and so present to us, and those moments carry us through the times of doubt that sometimes creep in. If God answers our prayers for an individual, which we know he does through our own experiences, can we even imagine the power of prayers offered for the whole world? As I write this, I am realizing how narrowly focused my own prayer life has been. I pray for family and friends, students, and myself, situations and events that touch my own life in a personal way. Perhaps it’s time for my prayer life to grow wider as well as deeper.
During the summer, many Church ministries take a vacation; there is no Religious Education, choir rehearsals are on break, programs stop because families may be travelling. For most high school kids and teachers, however, the summer offers the freedom and time to build up our prayer lives, to kick things up a notch, not turn them down. So, we will need to find the tools, and the self-discipline, to awaken new depths of prayer and help not only ourselves, but perhaps the whole world, grow in holiness. May our summer be a prayerful one. I’ll be praying for you. Jean Revil teaches spiritual theology and thanatology at Bishop Stang High School. Comments welcome at: jrevil@bishopStang.com.
A DAY AT THE BEACH — Fourth- and fifth-graders from Holy Name School in Fall River, went to Barney’s Joy in South Dartmouth to explore the salt marsh, estuary, sand dunes, and beach habitats. GOING GREEN — In recognition of the importance of recycling, the Kindergarten class at Holy Trinity School in West Harwich collected cans and bottles, and exchanged them to purchase beautiful plants to place at the school’s entrance. Each student took a turn in the planting process.
SISTER ACT — SS. Peter and Paul School, Fall River, students Ryan Lanosa, Adam Charette, Cory Mourato, and Anne-Marie, Elizabeth, and Kaitlyn Brilhante help Lee Gibbons load his van with non-perishables donated by families during a recent food drive at the school. The Brilhante Sisters organized the project, which will benefit Fall River’s Church of the Holy Spirit Soup Kitchen, where Gibbons volunteers.
June 26, 2009
Our readers respond
My way or the highway If a letter is going to resort to cheap, political name-calling, it shouldn’t be published in The Anchor. Why do the writers of such letters question why they’re perceived as far right lunatics when they write like lunatics? The whole Church suffers. And let’s not let the writers of such letters divide us using simplistic labels like “real” Catholics. The Good News about who Jesus of Nazareth was, of his teachings and presence to us in the Eucharist, of his death and resurrection for us all — all Catholics share. Nothing changes that, especially not oversimplified, absolutist litmus tests about ancillary events like the president’s speech at Notre Dame. The truth is that you can’t intelligently answer a question like, “Are you Pro-Life?,” any more than you can answer a loaded question like, “Are you a patriot?” We’re all Pro-Life, but that doesn’t mean that serious thinking isn’t needed on issues like abortion, stem-cell research, in-vitro fertilization, gay marriage, or contraception. The world of moral absolutes has to at some point be integrated into the world around us, and there it faces some difficult questions, such as: how do we actually accomplish legislative change? By shouting? How do we best advance our beliefs in a country where a majority of decent people simply don’t agree with us? By insulting them? Once we identify a specific conduct as morally wrong, what legal remedy are we actually asking for in each case? Criminal prosecutions? Civil litigation for damages? And what should the penalties be, and who should be prosecuted? Should we fill our jails even fuller? Angry letter writers generally don’t want to admit that there are serious issues to discuss. They don’t want discussion at all. It’s too hard intellectually. It’s “You’re with us or against us. My way or the highway.” I don’t buy such thinking in politics or in religion. I urge readers of The Anchor not to accept those who would throw people out of their Church for believing just as deeply as they do, but more critically. The group of life issues is important, but so is the need to end war, starvation, and poverty; so are our sacraments, the Eucharist, and our love of God and of Jesus Christ. These are what bind us together as one body, one Church. David Ament Falmouth
Mobilizing against same-sex unions We pray that the Fall River Diocese will lead an all-out effort to defeat H 1708, which would legalize same-sex “mirage” (marriage)? Since the Legislature must approve all laws — the licenses not given for these same-sex unions must always note that they are not yet fully authorized. But this means mustering large numbers of people to storm the capitol and our leaders don’t seem inclined to do this. How in heaven’s name can people of faith expect to keep this nonsense from becoming part of school curriculum if we don’t at long last mobilize Catholics to protest publicly? Rose McNulty Edgartown
Thanks for spreading my message Thank you so much for featuring my book “Twice Born Son” in your Person of the Week article in The Anchor. It is our hope and prayer that its message will touch many hearts. Ann Varley and son Jeff Fall River Endorsing “Laura’s Law” I take this opportunity to ask all readers of The Anchor to write to their state senators and representatives asking them to support H 1670 “An Act Relative to a Woman’s Right to Know” better known as Laura’s Law. It was filed by Rep. Elizabeth Poirier on January 12. We desperately need this legislation in Massachusetts. Abortion kills more than the babies. I truly empathize with the heartwrenching loss and excruciating pain experienced by the family of Laura Hope Smith, who died in September 2007 as a result of an abortion in Massachusetts.
I know that provisions of this bill would provide each woman with comprehensive information including a description of women’s rights under the Massachusetts patients bill of rights, agencies providing pregnancy and adoption services, a description of each two-week stage of fetal development including pictures and factual summaries of the risks associated with abortion and childbirth, the opportunity to view an ultrasound or to hear the heartbeat of her unborn child, reaffirming and strengthening of the written consent requirements, information about alternatives to abortion and opportunities to pursue other options, and a guaranteed 24-hour reflection period thus reducing the possibility of harm arising from inadequately informed choices. Women deserve no less. Please Help support H 1670 “Laura’s Law.” Deborah A. Furtado New Bedford On struggling to keep the Sabbath I was watching the history channel’s special on the Ten Commandments. I was taken aback because I had not looked at them since grammar school. “Keep Holy the Sabbath.” I certainly did not do that. I went to Church, but Sunday was catchup day for laundry and projects or shopping. I loved being busy. What was this “Keep Holy” — what did it refer to? I knew it wasn’t doing chores. I tried not to do chores on Sunday. Well, it was an adventure. I realized I was addicted to activity and crossing things off my list. All of a sudden I would see a chore that was “high priority.” I would absolutely scream inside with anxiety. When I didn’t do it and
Monday came around — it suddenly would wait. It is psychological — or perhaps demonic temptation or both that I want what I want and am not used to bowing to a higher authority. This is not a 24-hour turn around — it is a process that is ongoing. I am more available for my family to talk to and I’ve slowed down. Every Sunday there are temptations. It is a struggle. But to do otherwise is to disrespect God. It is a slap in the face of his love. And that has kept me trying. I would ask everyone to look within and realize that these Commandments are the very foundation of our relationship with God. Why would he tell us what to do if it didn’t matter? We are not the masters. It is humbling to realize how far we all have strayed. Linda Turner Melville, N.Y. Baptism and the sacramental marriage In 1951, when we married, my husband had not been baptized. When the priest heard this he took out a book and read to me, in Latin, what the Church thought of people like that. From all the anathemas, is did not sound good. I left in tears and a friend told me to either accept or go somewhere else. Where? Marriage is a sacrament and only the Catholic Church “gave” that. We had to be married in the dreary rectory and only then because my husband promised to bring the children up Catholic. Photos show only a few family members standing around the small room looking as if they were at a funeral — but it was a sacrament.
Imagine my surprise to read in The Anchor the statement: “Marriage is only a sacrament if both parities have been baptized.” A few years ago I read in a Catholic newspaper that marriage is the only sacrament not conferred on us. The couple confer it on each other by their vows. I prefer to believe that. Dorothy McGarvey Nantucket Father Landry replies: Briefly, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that in order to be able to receive the sacrament of marriage, one must first be a baptized Christian. Catholics can validly enter into “good and natural” but non-sacramental marriages with non Christians, provided the Catholic has the permission of the bishop and both parties will what is necessary for a marriage to be valid: indissolubility, fidelity and openness to children. In a sacramental marriage, the spouses are ministers of the sacrament to each other, which means that Christ works through them. See the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” No. 1623 for greater detail. Letters are welcome but the editor reserves the right to condense or edit for clarity if deemed necessary. Letters should be typed, no longer than 100 words and should include name, address, and telephone number. Letters do not necessarily reflect the editorial views of The Anchor. Letters should be sent to: The Anchor, Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA 02722-0007, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cape Cod nurse presided at World Congress in Mexico continued from page one
in 1933, and in France, to be witnesses of the Christian values in the international agencies,” Meehan said humbly. In reality, the award heralds an outstanding career that began simply in 1963 when Meehan, a native of Everett — who lost her husband John in 2002, and has three children — received her degree as a registered nurse. For 20 years she was a practicing nurse at Cape Cod Hospital and for 10 years as an instructor at Fisher College’s satellite campus in Hyannis. In her 40s she went back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy because she was interested in medical ethics. At age 50 she was at the University of Tennessee earning a master’s degree in medical ethics, followed by more studies at Georgetown University; and in the 1980s did a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar on the moral and philosophical problems of human genetics. In the 1960s she established a chapter of the Catholic Nurses on Cape Cod. “It fortified us to make the moral judgments we needed to make; to strengthen us to go back, out into the community and the world with that knowledge and stand strongly for what we believed and witnessed in our Catholic faith,” she said. “And it was not always accepted.”
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Following her involvement with Catholic nurses on the diocesan and New England level, she enthusiastically established a National Council. That led to her affiliation with CICIAMS, which are French initials for the international nurses’ organization Meehan, who was accompanied by another local nurse, Kathy Kirkpatrick of Holy Trinity Parish in West Harwich, was anxious to talk about the recent congress, which found many groups participating. They included members of the Movement of Nurses for Catholic Action, Mexico Catholic Action, and Cardinal Barragan. Speakers came from several countries. Besides CICIAMS, the convening world health leaders keyed on issues such as “Health in Harmony,” “The Right to Mental Health Care,” “Excellence in Patient Care,” “Ethical Perspectives,” “Community Care,” “Meeting the Cultural Needs of Patients,” “Ethical Dilemmas in Nurse Education,” and “The Role of CICIAMS in Civil Society.” “It was magnificent,” said Meehan. “Its achievement was due to the many rosaries prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe and the dedication and hard work of hundreds of people including our student nurses,” she reported. “Cardinal Barragan celebrated the opening Mass in the Cathedral of Monterrey and 15 priests were
so heavily burdened with water’m sure many of us are weight gain they nearly scratch familiar with the modified version of the old adage, “If April the ground. When taking Igor out for her showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims.” daily routine, my long-haired, low-rider has her undercarWell, it’s been nearly since riage scrubbed by thousands of the Pilgrims first landed in the saturated blades of grass. She in Bay State that we’ve had a decent spring — at least it seems that way. turn scrubs my floors when she reenters our abode. As I tap away at my keyboard Mosquitoes are gleefully in good old Fall River this morngrowing to the size of wild ing, it’s raining. It rained yesturkeys. If the sun ever comes out terday, and the day before, and again, the skies will be reministhe day before that, and the day before that. The summer solstice was Sunday, but someone forgot to invite the sun to the big day. In fact, someone forgot to By Dave Jolivet invite the sun to April and May as well. cent of prehistoric times with I’m told that by the time this edition comes out in print on Fri- large soaring creatures swooping down on their prey. day, there will be a big, strange, On the upside, we’re saving bright light in the sky. I hope I cash on sun tan lotion, propane don’t freak out and think it’s the gas and charcoal, decent cuts end of the world. That’s if it, in of meat that won’t burst into fact, does happen. We’ll see. I’m not sure what phenomenon fat-induced conflagrations on the is causing southeastern Massachu- grill, washing the car, and gassing up for trips to the beach. setts to go spring-less lately, but I June is nearly over, and sumsure hope someone finds the cause and fixes it. There’s a crisp George mer is officially here. Perhaps Washington waiting for her or him. July will bring with it the sun and warmth and all the good things I was thinking that maybe I that come with them. was just being punished for my I hope so, because it’s too late stormy comments on weather forecasters in last week’s edition, to start building an ark — the but cool, damp clouds have over- wood is too saturated to float, and the animals are too watershadowed us for months now. Talk about going green — even logged to make it up the ramp. Perhaps some of us can make plants that aren’t supposed to be our escape on the Mayflower II green are green. One can’t stroll in Plymouth. After all, according along the sidewalks without having to duck out of the way of low- to the adage, it was delivered by lying branches that have 1) grown more than enough April showers. like they’re on steroids, and 2) are
My View From the Stands
In Your Prayers
June 30 Rev. Simon Pease, SS.CC., Administrator, Sacred Hearts, Fairhaven, 1952 Rev. Alphonse M. Reniere, O.P., Dominican Priory, Fall River, 1961
July 1 Rev. Fernando A. Veiga, CM, Vincentian Mission House, Fall River, 1993
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April showers, and May, and June
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concelebrants,” Meehan said. “Being one in the Eucharist at this global celebration gave the participants an intense sense of community,” she added. “When Cardinal Barragan visited the State University Hospital in Monterrey, he invited Dr. Diaz, president of the Latin American Region of the Federation of International Medical Catholic Associations in Asia, and me, to accompany him. It was important to show how we are interested in advancing healthcare to every community in the world,” she explained. Other Masses at the congress were celebrated by Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Monterrey; Msgr. Christopher Pierre from the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico; and Bishop Gustave Vega, president of the Commission for Social Pastoral of the Conference of Mexican Bishops, “At times we were overcome with the outstanding educational, spiritual, and cultural event we experienced in just four days,” Meehan related. She pointed out that when Cardinal Barragan returned to Rome following the congress, he retired. “We were very grateful for his years of devotion to pastoral care for us around the world that serve God in the field of health care,” she said. “He is from Monterrey. So how wonderful it was that this magnificent World Congress held in Monterrey preceded the commencement of his retirement.” While there is much comprising Meehan’s agenda and travels, another major trip is on the horizon. Meehan is slated to be among the leaders when the Catholic Nurses Guild of Croatia hosts the 2013 CICIAMS World Congress.
June 26, 2009
Parish to receive credit: Enclose check or money order and mail to: The Anchor, P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA 02722 This Message Sponsored by the Following Business Concern in the Diocese of Fall River Gilbert C. Oliveira Insurance Agency
July 2 Rev. Gerard A. Boisvert, Assistant, St. Anthony, New Bedford, 1967 Rev. Maurice H. Lamontagne, Retired Pastor, Our Lady of Grace, Westport, 1996 Rev. James T. Donohue, C.S.C., 2006 July 3 Rev. Thomas P. Doherty, Pastor, St. Kilian, New Bedford, 1942 July 4 Rev. James A. Coyle, S.T.L., Pastor, Holy Name, Fall River, 1955 July 5 Rev. J.F. LaBonte, Retired Assistant, Sacred Heart, New Bedford, 1943 Rev. Edward P. Versailles, M.S., La Salette Shrine, Attleboro, 1985
June 26, 2009
Around the Diocese 6/26
St. Vincent’s Home will hold its inaugural Kick-Off to Summer Celebration tonight, 6 to 10 p.m., at Battleship Cove in Fall River. The event benefits youth in the Life Skills Program who are transitioning to independent living and young adulthood. For tickets or more information, contact 508-235-3228 or email@example.com.
World-renowned theologian Dr. Scott Hahn will present three lectures Saturday at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford. Talks on “St. Paul and Personal Conversion” will be held at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A $5 offering is requested. To reserve seats, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-993-1691.
Bernie’s Tourney 2009, the fifth annual golf tournament to benefit St. Bernard’s Parish in Assonet, will be held Saturday at the Whaling City Golf Course in New Bedford. The tournament will include a special raffle for two tickets to the New England Patriots’ opening game on September 14 at 7 p.m. For information, call 508-644-2032.
“A Summer Evening of Song” will be presented by soprano Elizabeth Grace at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 327 Second Street, Fall River, Sunday at 7 p.m. The program will include music by Mozart, Rossini, Rachmaninoff, Poulene, Ives, Kern, and others. The recital is free-of-charge and open to the public.
La Ligue des Franco-Americains will celebrate its 90th anniversary Sunday with a Mass at 10:15 a.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford. A banquet will follow at Rachel’s in North Dartmouth at 12:30 p.m. For reservations or more information, call 508-995-1604 or 508-674-7036.
Maria Rocha will conduct “A Time for Healing” at His Land Retreat House, 17 Loon Pond Rd., Lakeville, Sunday at 2 p.m. To register, for directions or more information, call 508-947-4704, or visit www. mariarocha.org. Refreshments will be served.
A loss and bereavement seminar will be held Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at One Light: A Center for Spiritual Transformation in West Yarmouth. Peggy Patenaude and Carol O’Connell, LICSW, will facilitate the seminar. Pre-registration is required; call 508-548-9149 for more information.
A Day with Mary will take place July 4 from 7:50 to 3 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, 86 High St., Wareham. It will include a video, instruction, devotion, a procession and crowning of Mary, along with Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation. For more information, call 508-984-1823.
Eucharistic Adoration in the Diocese: 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. BUZZARDS BAY — Eucharist adoration takes place at St. Margaret Church, 141 Main Street, every first Friday after the 8 a.m. Mass and ending the following day before the 8 a.m. Mass. EAST TAUNTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place First Fridays at Holy Family Church, 370 Middleboro Avenue, following the 8:30 a.m. Mass until Benediction at 8 p.m. 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 — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place every First Friday at Annunciation of the Lord Church, 31 First Street, immediately following the 8 a.m. Mass and continues throughout the day. Confessions are heard from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., concluding with recitation of the rosary and Benediction at 6:30 p.m. 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.
One year ends after another begins
Thus the pope inaugurated the e are accustomed to Year for Priests on June 19. St. ending one year and Paul wrote, “It is no longer I that beginning another at the end of live, but Christ that lives in me. December, not June. Of course, The life I live in the flesh I live as Catholics our liturgical year by faith in the son of God, who ends around the end of Noloved me and gave himself for vember, and starts with the first Sunday of Advent. Jews celebrate me” (Gal 2:20). Of course, we lay people Rosh Hashanah, their New Year’s, in September or thereabouts. And usually we wait until one year is over before beginning another. But last week, on June 19, the feast of the Sacred Heart, Pope Benedict inaugurated a By Dwight Duncan Year of the Priesthood. And next week, Monday, June 29, the feast of the might well ask what the Year Apostles SS. Peter and Paul, the for Priests has to do with us. Year of St. Paul comes to an end. After all, we are not priests in The change of years comes at the technical sense of ordained the end of June this year, with 10 ministers. Yet we all, priests and days of overlap. One Year of the P molts into another Year of the P. laity, share in the common priestThe Year of St. Paul commem- hood of the faithful. We are all called to spread the Gospel and to orates the approximate 2,000th bring others to Christ. As Vatican anniversary of the birth of St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. The II made clear, this is by virtue of our baptism and confirmation, occasion of the Year for Priests and not as a result of priestly is the 150th anniversary of the ordination or mandate from the death of St. John Mary Vianhierarchy. ney, the Cure of Ars, who died But to fulfill our mission, in 1859 and is the patron saint of we need the help of ministerial parish priests around the world. priests, who can celebrate Mass, The pope in his letter to priests give us the Eucharist, forgive sins issued June 18, said that St. Paul in Christ’s name, and guide us on “represents a splendid example the road to heaven. We need the of a priest entirely dedicated to ordained hierarchy of pope and his ministry. ‘The love of Christ bishops, but we must never forget urges us on (2 Cor 5:14),’” he that in the Christian scheme of wrote. The pope concluded his things, to rule is to serve. “If anyletter: “In the footsteps of the one wants to be first, he must be Cure of Ars, let yourselves be the last of all and the servant of enthralled by him.” all” (Mk 9:35). Pope St. Gregory “To let oneself be fully enthe Great styled himself, after all, thralled by Christ! This was the as “servus servorum Dei, servant purpose of all of St. Paul’s life.”
of the servants of God.” Often, we get the priests we deserve. The pope notes sad “situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers.” We know this all too well in Massachusetts. If we had more and more holy priests, and devout lay people who called for them, we would not have to close so many churches. But then again, “What is most helpful to the Church in such cases is not only a frank and complete acknowledgment of the weaknesses of her ministers, but also a joyful and renewed realization of the greatness of God’s gift, embodied in the splendid example of generous pastors, religious afire with love for God and for souls, and insightful, patient spiritual guides.” And so we must pray for good and holy and learned priests. As the pope notes, “How can we forget that we priests are called to dedicate ourselves to serve, humbly and authoritatively, the common priesthood of the faithful?” Thank God for the priesthood, and for holy priests. We should be appreciative of the gift of the priesthood and pray for priestly vocations. While not being shocked by the priests who are sick, we should not settle for less than the high standard of priests “according to the heart of Christ.” Dwight Duncan is a professor at Southern New England School of Law in North Dartmouth. He holds degrees in civil and canon law.
FALL RIVER — Jose S. Arruda, 75, husband of Mrs. Maria (Correia) Arruda of Tiverton, R.I., and brother of Father Henry S. Arruda, pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in Taunton, died June 15 at Charleton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. Born in Remedus Bretanha, Azores, the son of the late Joao and Jose S. Arruda Emilia (Morreia) Arruda, he was employed as a machine operator by American Tourister Luggage in Warren, R.I. He was a parishioner of Santo Christo Parish in Fall River. Besides his wife, and priest brother he leaves two daughters, Mary Jo and Emily Arruda of Tiverton; three other brothers, James and Manuel Arruda of Fall River, and Clement Arruda of Dartmouth; four sisters, Emilia Rego of Canada, Maria Hi-
His funeral Mass was celebrated June 18 in Santo Christo Church. Interment was in Notre Dame Cemetery, Fall River.
Judge For Yourself
Jose S. Arruda; brother of Father Henry S. Arruda lario, Teresinha DaSilva and Leontina Arruda all of Fall River; and nieces and nephews. He was also the brother of the late Joao Arruda.
St. Mary’s Fund Cape Cod Dinner is July 10
MASHPEE — Bishop George W. Coleman will be the guest of honor for the 12th annual St. Mary’s Education Fund event on Cape Cod. The fund-raiser will take place at the New Seabury Country Club July 10, beginning with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by a gourmet dinner, silent auction and live auction. Event chairs, Mary Jane and Marcel René Poyant of Osterville, have been working during the past several months on behalf of the St. Mary’s Fund. The Poyants, along with many St. Mary’s committee members, are reaching out to businesses to obtain sponsorships and auction items, as well as approaching potential contributors in support of scholarship assistance. The St. Mary’s Education Fund provides need-based scholarships to students in the Fall River Diocese. Proceeds from the event will benefit the fund. In this past academic year, $650,000 in financial aid from the fund was distributed to nearly 700 students. Anyone interested in supporting the July 10th fund-raiser on Cape Cod or obtaining more information on the St. Mary’s Education Fund is encouraged to contact Jane Robin at 508-759-3566.
Santo Christo Feast is this weekend
FALL RIVER — The annual Santo Christo Feast will take place tomorrow and Sunday on Columbia Street. Events tomorrow include a 6 p.m. Mass with Bishop George W. Coleman. The homilist will be Father Jose da Silva Lima, a professor at the Portuguese Catholic University. The Grand Procession of Promises will follow the Mass. Feast activities include music by David Loureiro, from 8 to 11 p.m. A solemn procession will take place Sunday at 4 p.m., with participation of clergy, civic authorities, business leaders, and cultural and sporting organizations. Feast activities from 6:30 to 10 p.m. include a concert by Senhora da Conceicão Mosteirense, followed by Dionisio Garcia. Portuguese and American food will be available, as well as games and booths for all ages.
June 26, 2009