The Anchor Diocese of Fall River
F riday , August 24, 2012
Acushnet parish to welcome Johnnette Benkovic Sunday By Kenneth J. Souza Anchor Staff
ACUSHNET — Author, talkshow host and founder of the Women of Grace apostolate, Johnnette S. Benkovic will be coming to the Fall River Diocese Sunday for a special day-long program at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet. Having been involved in Catholic communications since 1987, Benkovic founded the
Johnnette S. Benkovic
Women of Grace apostolate in 2003 as an outreach of Living His Life Abundantly, a non-profit corporation. According to its mission statement, the purpose of Women of Grace is to transform the world one woman at a time by affirming women in their dignity and vocation as daughters of God and in their gift of authentic femininity. “The group was formed to help women discover just how beautiful and wonderful they are and what God’s mission is in their lives,” Benkovic told The Anchor. “As we come together in Massachusetts in the Diocese of Fall River, I will be talking about what God’s plan is for women, what that mission is all about, and how this mission can be achieved through women’s femininity and why it is absolutely essential for us to work in this particular vocation at this moment in history.” Over the past decade, WomTurn to page 18
constitutional right — An Ecumenical Interfaith Gathering Rally that included all faiths in the lower Cape Cod area was held recently on the Eastham Green. The gathering, organized by the Our Lady of Lourdes Pro-Life Committee in Wellfleet, was a demonstration to protect freedom of religion under the First Amendment. Parishioners from Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans joined with members of the Brewster Baptist Church to defend religious freedom. (Photo by Frank Szedlak)
Hospital ministry: The calm within the storm
By Becky Aubut Anchor Staff
A SHINING LIGHT — With only a few full- and part-time individuals employed in the hospital ministry, dozens of volunteers count themselves among the ranks of those ministering to the patients at area hospitals located within the Fall River Diocese. Since 1991 Sister Lucille Socciarelli, R.S.M., has been offering love, prayer and support to the patients and staff at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. “They say Sister, thank you so much,” said Sister Lucille, “and all I’ve done is listen.” (Photo by Becky Aubut)
NEW BEDFORD — Amid the beeps and hushed voices of area hospitals, dozens of faithful Catholics heed Christ’s call to help those in need and volunteer their time to offer spiritual support to patients. As the largest hospital in the Fall River Diocese and the busiest emergency room in the state, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford is home to 70 extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion from area parishes who work a staggered schedule seven days a week to make themselves available to those asking for the Eucharist. Watching faithfilled volunteers working side-by-side with priests and deacons every day as the director of pastoral care of the sick for the diocese, Father Rodney Thibault acknowledges that hospital ministry can be a very difficult but rewarding experience. “I understand the frustrations,” said Father Thibault, who said it took him nine months to fully transition from being a parochial vicar in East Sandwich to director of pastoral care in 2008. “I’m far from perfect but when they start telling me things, I can tell them I know what you’re going through.” Four years later, Father Thibault now understands that the hospital ministry is “an extension of parish ministry.” St. Luke’s Hospital gets 50 to 80 admissions a day and roughly 80 percent
are Catholic, said Father Thibault. The demands are high as Catholic clergy, deacons and laity are called for everything, especially if their counterparts from other faiths are unavailable, as evidenced by Father Thibault recalling how a few years ago he found himself driving through a snowstorm for a non-Catholic patient. “The family was happy that someone showed up,” said Father Thibault, who said he had to adjust to the family’s overt vocalization while they prayed together. “The priest is really tested in a hospital situation because it’s such a secular world. We’re used to our comfortable Catholic community. Not in a hospital; you get everything.” And that everything includes many misconceptions about the Catholic faith and Church teaching, especially when dealing with end-oflife issues. “We are challenged to live and to die with dignity. Embracing the human person, seeing the human person as a vessel of the Holy Spirit; we need to treat that body with great respect. Sometimes you exhaust all of your resources and it’s OK to let God take over. I think people misunderstand the teaching of the Church about how you prolong life. I’ve dealt with real moral conundrums,” he said. “We walk a very fine line and there is a balancing act; every case is different. That’s been a challenge to help educate people.” Turn to page 18
News From the Vatican
August 24, 2012
Pope says Christ’s life was one of sacrifice, not popularity
iPOPE — An image of Pope Benedict XVI is captured on a tablet as he waves to a crowd after celebrating Mass in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. The service took place at the Church of St. Thomas near the papal summer residence. (CNS photo/Giampiero Sposito, Reuters)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The percentage of Catholics practicing their faith is declining almost everywhere around the globe. Almost all bishops report it, but it’s difficult to prove statistically. Each year, the Vatican’s own statisticians compile mountains of data about the number of Catholics, Baptisms, priests and religious, Weddings and annulments in each diocese and country. The numbers illustrate trends over time, but many factors lead to the variations, said Enrico Nenna, the chief statistician in the Vatican’s Central Office for Church Statistics. “It’s very difficult to quantify Catholic practice, although many have tried with many different formulas,” he said. “The only way to get an accurate picture of religious practice would be to carefully choose a cross section of the population, do a census, and then conduct interviews repeated over time.”
The Anchor www.anchornews.org
Castel Gandolfo, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — Pope Benedict XVI said that Jesus did not seek recognition during His public ministry but chose instead to preach the sometimes difficult truth of “His sacrifice of love.” “Jesus was not a Messiah Who aspired to an earthly throne,” the pope said during a recent Sunday Angelus address at Castel Gandoflo. “He did not seek popularity to conquer Jerusalem, and indeed, He desired to go to the Holy City to share the fate of the prophets: to give His life for God and the people.” Pope Benedict made his remarks from the Gospel of St. John in which Jesus reveals to the multitude in Capernaum that He is “the living Bread which came down from Heaven,” and that “if any one eats of this Bread, he will live forever.” The crowds — who had previ-
ously been enthused by the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes — are now dismayed as Christ clarifies that this Bread that He “shall give for the life of the world” is, in fact, His “Flesh.” “How can this man give us His Flesh to eat?” many protested, according the Gospel. The realization had sunk in, noted the pope, that the “loaves, broken for thousands of people, would not result in a triumphal march, but predict the sacrifice of the cross, when Jesus became the Bread broken for the multitude, the Body and Blood offered in atonement for the soul of the world.” Pope Benedict said Jesus knew exactly what He was doing in addressing the crowd “to break their illusions and, especially, force His disciples to decide.” The result was that Christ’s words did “dampen enthusiasm and cause many disagreements” among His disciples such that
“many of them no longer followed Him.” Jesus wanted to make clear that “He was sent to offer His life” and that “those who wanted to follow Him had to join Him in a deep and personal way, participating in His sacrifice of love.” Hence He subsequently establishes the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper so “that His disciples may have in themselves His charity and, as one body united to Him, extend in the world His mystery of salvation.” The pope concluded by leading pilgrims in the praying of the midday Marian prayer before expressing some specific words of encouragement to English speaking pilgrims. “May we always hunger for the gift of His presence in the eucharistic sacrifice, wherein Jesus gives us His very Self as food and drink to sustain us on our pilgrim journey to the Father. God bless all of you!”
reflects that people around the world are marrying older and, especially in a time of economic crisis, are waiting to start a family of their own. Similarly, he said, while a declining number of infant Baptisms can indicate a weaker faith commitment among a generation of new Catholic parents, it also is a natural result of declining birthrates. The working document for the upcoming world Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization contains more than a dozen references to a “weakening of faith” or “declining practice,” but it includes no numbers. The document was written on the basis of the responses to a Vatican questionnaire submitted by 114 bishops’ conferences, 26 Vatican offices and the international unions of superior generals of religious orders. All the responses, the document said, described “a weakening of faith in Christian communities, a diminished regard for the authority of the magisterium, an individualistic approach to belonging to the Church, a decline in religious practice and a disengagement in transmitting the faith to new generations.” At the same time, the Vatican’s Statistical Yearbook of the Church reports that the number of Catholics in the world — almost 1.2 billion — continues to grow with the global population, holding steady at about 17.5 percent of the world’s people. The number of priests has shown a steady increase since 2000, and the number of seminarians has
gone up each year for the past 15 years. For Nenna, the reports to the synod planners and the contents of the statistical yearbook are not necessarily at odds. The synod document is based on observation, while the yearbook is based on a census each bishop is required to fill out annually. One problem with the census, Nenna said, is that not every bishop is careful filling out the forms and, in most situations, Catholics who stop going to church do not formally leave, so they are still counted as members. Still, the statistician believes there are signs of declining religious practice in the data he collects. For example, figures on the number of First Communions and Confirmations celebrated point to a decline, particularly in Europe, where Pope Benedict XVI and other Church leaders already have sounded the alarm. In the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, the global Catholic population grew from 928.5 million to almost 1.2 billion, a 29 percent increase. Europe was the only region reporting a drop in the number of Catholics and, according to the statistical yearbook, it was down less than one percent. However the 29 percent increase in Catholics worldwide is not mirrored in the number of First Communions or Confirmations reported. The number of Confirmations rose only 10 percent to 8.8 million in 2010, the yearbook says. The book’s breakdown by continent shows the number of Con-
firmations was up everywhere except Europe, which reported a drop of 18 percent. And the situation is worse when looking at the breakdown of the 10.7 million First Communions reported. Over the past two decades, the number of First Communions dropped so much in the Americas, Oceania and Europe that it caused a decrease of five percent in the global numbers. Even in Africa and Asia, where the number of First Communions increased over the past 20 years, the increase did not keep up with the rise in the total number of Catholics there. The Catholic population of Africa increased by 109 percent, but First Communions went up by only 21 percent; in Asia, the Catholic Church grew by more than 50 percent, while the number of First Communions reported increased 13 percent. The numbers could reflect a change in reporting methods — especially in places where many adults enter the Church and receive Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion at the same Mass — but they still demonstrate the bishops’ concerns have statistical weight behind them. The synod, which will bring representatives of all the world’s bishops’ conferences to the Vatican for three weeks in October, is designed to energize Catholic communities and find ways to reach out to those who, “despite being baptized, have drifted from the Church and Christian practice,” the synod working document says.
Vatican numbers hint at fading faith practice
He said in his parish “over the last five years there has been an amazing increased heterogeneity” with young and old, married and single, Italian and immigrant worshippers. However, one cannot say his parish is the average Rome parish anymore than the parish in the historic center of the city where, he said, “the 5 p.m. Mass is known as the ‘widows’ Mass.’ In that neighborhood, the population is elderly, and women live longer than men.” The number of Baptisms and Catholic Weddings reported around the world also are influenced by too many factors to be unquestionable indications of Catholic practice, Nenna said. For example, the declining number of Catholic Weddings worries the Church because it indicates, at least in part, that some Catholics are forgoing a sacramental Marriage in favor of a civil union or are simply living together, he said. But it also OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER Vol. 56, No. 32
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August 24, 2012
The International Church
Nun says Syrian insurrection results worse than Assad’s regime
DUBLIN (CNS) — A Carmelite nun said the armed insurrection in Syria is “producing a totalitarianism that is worse” than that of Bashar Assad’s regime. Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, superior of the community at the monastery of St. James the Mutilated in Qara, Syria, also appealed to the international community to stop supporting violent militias linked to al-Qaida and other extremist groups guilty of atrocities against innocent Syrian civilians. “We know now that those people are not fighting for freedom, they are fighting for their values, and those values are not even those of moderate Islam, they are fundamentalist,” the Lebanese-born nun said. “What has really scandalized us and leaves us in distress is that the Western world seems to be encouraging this rise of sectarian violence just to topple the (Assad) regime,” she said. Mother Agnes Mariam, spokeswoman for the Catholic Media Center of the Melkite Catholic Archdiocese of Homs, said the insurgents were targeting religious minorities and executing moderate Sunnis such as journalists, researchers, doctors and engineers to pressure their families and communities into supporting an Islamist state. She claimed they were “destroying the delicate religious and ethnic balance” in Syria. “You don’t know when it will be your turn to be considered a collaborator,” she explained of the arbitrary abductions, beheadings and killings being carried out as part of a campaign of terror by the insurgents against those they claim are working for the Assad regime. “It is a life of fear and insecurity.” She described the international community’s public utterances in support of peace as “paradoxical” in view of the financial support recently pledged by Britain and the United States to the insurgents, whom she warned are “paralyzing civilian life.” The Sunni Muslim rebels are also backed by Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. “This money will be used for weapons which will increase the violence,” Mother Agnes Mariam told Catholic News Service in Dublin in mid-August after a meeting with the papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, and with representatives of the Irish bishops’ justice and peace council. On August 15, a panel of U.N. experts based in Geneva concluded that government forces and progovernment militias as well as armed insurgents had committed war crimes in the Syrian conflict between February 15 and July 20. However, only the panel’s chairman was allowed to enter Syria to
conduct interviews; other panelists were denied access. In late July, the U.N. said an estimated 2.5 million Syrians have been injured, displaced or face problems securing food or basic necessities since the uprising — now deemed a civil war by the Red Cross — began in March 2011. Activists estimate 20,000-28,000 people have died in the conflict. Mother Agnes Mariam said a prelate in Aleppo told her that although the city “did not really enter in the revolution demonstrations, as the majority of the city’s population wanted to stay neutral,” the city had been “invaded by thousands of rebels, most of whom are not Syrian,” and that they were “forcing people to either collaborate with them or killing them.” “My appeal is for the civilian population,” Mother Agnes Mariam said. “This is not the way to bring freedom or democracy to a country which has been under a yoke of totalitarianism for 50 years.” She said that, in Homs, she had witnessed “terrible things. I have seen hundreds of corpses of civilians who were shot, cut in pieces — just because they were civilians going to their work,” she told CNS. Likening Homs to Stalingrad, Russia, or Dresden, Germany, after World War II, she said ancient Catholic, Orthodox and Presbyterian churches had been desecrated and the conflict had caused 130,000 Christians to flee the area. “The only solution is for a complete cease-fire and dialogue from within Syria and for all factions to enter into a movement of reconciliation and of dialogue,” she suggested. “We want first of all to stop violence.” She also urged support for an alternative solution to the violence. “Mussalaha, which in Arabic means reconciliation, is a community-based nonviolent initiative which has emerged from within civil society. Religious, family and ethnic leaders have been meeting to promote peace and reconciliation within Syrian society. It is an alternative to the violence of the insurrection or international military intervention,” she said. The Church-backed initiative emerged in June in Homs following the attendance of representatives of various religions at a meeting that resulted in a number of joint declarations on building peace and mutual respect in Syria. Born in Lebanon of a Lebanese mother and a Palestinian father, Mother Agnes Mariam lived through the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. She joined the Carmelites in 1971, and in 1994 she established a new monastic foundation in the sixth-century monastery of St. James the Mutilated in Qara.
brothers in christ — Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Polish Archbishop Jozef Michalik, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Poland, sign a joint message of reconciliation during ceremony at Royal Castle in Warsaw August 17. The message urged Poles and Russians to set aside centuries of anger and prejudice and work together to maintain their countries’ Christian identities. (CNS photo/Kacper Pempel, Reuters)
Russian Orthodox, Polish Catholic leader sign appeal for reconciliation
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and the president of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference signed a joint message August 17 urging Poles and Russians to set aside centuries of anger and prejudice and work together to maintain their countries’ Christian identities. The signing of the reconciliation “Message to the Nations of Poland and Russia” was the key moment of the first-ever visit of a Russian Orthodox patriarch to modern Poland. “We enter a path of honest dialogue in the hope that it will heal the wounds of the past, facilitate our overcoming mutual prejudice and misunderstanding and strengthen us in our pursuit of reconciliation,” said the message signed by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl, president of the Polish bishops’ conference. The signing ceremony was broadcast live on Polish television. Polish Catholic and Russian Orthodox officials had
been preparing the statement for more than two years in an effort to overcome historical grudges between the two nations and long-standing tensions between the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Polish Catholic Church. A long history of battles over territory became more complicated during World War II when Poland was invaded by Germany and Russia. After the war, Poland came under the influence of the Soviet Union. Under communism, the Catholic and Orthodox churches were subject to government pressure, with the minority Orthodox in Poland and minority Catholics in Russia suffering particularly harsh treatment. The reconciliation message said, “Sin, which is the principal source of all divisions, human frailty, individual and collective egoism as well as political pressure, led to mutual alienation, overt hostility and even struggle between our nations.
The Church in the U.S.
August 24, 2012
Democrats reject move to acknowledge Pro-Life stance within party
Washington D.C. (CNA/ EWTN News) — A Democratic committee has rejected efforts to broaden the party’s platform in order to acknowledge and welcome “differing positions” on the issue of abortion. Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, told CNA recently that there is a lack of understanding about the extent of Pro-Life support within the Democratic Party. She explained that it can be difficult for Pro-Life Democrats to speak up about their views, because they face attacks not only from their Republican opponents, but from pro-abortion groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America as well. According to Democrats for Life, nearly one-third of all Democrats self-identify as Pro-Life, and in the 2008 election, about onefourth of Obama’s supporters considered themselves Pro-Life. “These numbers are not trivial,” the group said, pointing to Gallup polling information from 2011 revealing that 61 percent of Democrats support “parental consent for minors seeking abortion.” In addition, the polling data found that 60 percent of Democrats approved of a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, and 84 percent of party members support informed consent requirements. Furthermore, 49 percent of Democrats are in favor of ultrasound requirements before an abortion, while 59 percent support a ban on partial-birth abortions, the data indicated. “We represent a large contingent and a diverse group of ProLife Democrats who want to be represented in the Democratic Party,” said Janet Robert, who serves as president of Democrats For Life of America. “As a big tent party that is open-minded and inclusive, we should be welcoming to those who
are Pro-Life,” she explained. “A stronger inclusive party allows us to focus on the issues that unite us such as providing economic opportunity for everyone.” In an attempt to bring about change, Democrats for Life submitted written testimony proposing new platform language on July 20 and was permitted to subsequently provide oral testimony before the party’s drafting committee. According to the group, it was the first time in more than 20 years that the committee had heard from a Pro-Life voice within the party. The proposed platform language acknowledged that members of the Democratic Party “have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty.” “However, we can find common ground,” it added, emphasizing the party’s unity in supporting policies to aid those facing difficult pregnancies. It also promoted “a breadth of options” for women facing pregnancies, including support and resources for adoption and parenthood, with access to education, healthcare and childcare. “We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing a planned or unplanned pregnancy to term,” the proposed platform addition stated. But despite the organization’s efforts, the request to broaden the party’s platform on abortion was rejected by the committee, Day said. Despite the setback, Democrats for Life is planning to showcase Pro-Life party leaders at an event at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. “Our message is simple,” explained Day in a statement. “If you are Pro-Life and a Democrat, you can make a difference, thus the case for recognition.”
life lesson — The campaign bus for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney is seen behind the sign outside the First Church of God Community Worship Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, recently. (CNS photo/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)
U.S. bishops urge cooperative effort to renew economy
Washington D.C. (CNA) — The U.S. bishops’ point man on domestic justice issues has called for an economic renewal that places “working people and their families at the center of economic life.” “Everyone and every institution has a role to play in building a more just economy,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., who chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He recalled the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II that both “society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family.” In his 2012 Labor Day statement, the bishop reflected on the “moral and human dimensions” of “a broken economy that is not producing enough decent jobs.” He observed that more than 46 million people in the U.S. live in poverty, and more than 16 million children grow up in poverty. In addition, he noted, there are more than 12 million people looking for work but unable to find it,
“and millions more have actually given up seeking employment.” Millions of other individuals are “underemployed,” wishing to work full time but unable to find a job that allows them to do so, he added, while over 10 million families are “working poor,” unable to meet their basic needs despite being employed. These numbers show “a serious economic and moral failure for our nation,” Bishop Blaire said. He called for the faithful to show solidarity to those who are struggling, in order to help them meet basic needs. At the same time, he said, there is a need for “national economic renewal,” keeping in mind the dignity of human work while building “an economy that serves the person rather than the other way around.” “Work is more than a paycheck,” the bishop explained, “it helps raise our families, develop our potential, share in God’s creation, and contribute to the common good.” The current broken economy brings concrete harm to workers and families, he warned, adding that it also increases the danger of workers being exploited, especially vulnerable immigrant families. The Church works to help laborers who have been mistreated, showing them care and solidarity, he said. But such abuses also demand “our attention and action,” calling us to look at the effects of our economic choices and whether they contribute to the denial of the inherent human dignity of working people. The necessary economic renewal will require the cooperation of “business, religious, labor, and civic organizations,” Bishop Blaire said. He explained that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is currently “developing a pastoral
reflection on work, poverty, and a broken economy,” which will draw from Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals and will encourage solidarity, prayer, discussion and action. Bishop Blaire also highlighted the “unique and essential responsibility” of unions and other worker associations in achieving effective economic renewal. Unions show the Catholic principle of solidarity “by bringing workers together to speak and act collectively to protect their rights and pursue the common good,” he said. They also demonstrate subsidiarity by “forming associations of workers to have a voice, articulate their needs, and bargain and negotiate with the large economic institutions and structures of government.” Unfortunately, he acknowledged, unions – like other institutions – sometimes fall short of their responsibility, pursuing narrow self-interests rather than the common good and causing polarization and partisanship. However, rather than negating Church teaching on unions, these shortcomings demand “renewed focus” and public discussion on how to defend the interests of workers, the bishop explained. “Public officials rightfully debate the need to reduce unsustainable federal deficits and debt,” he said, adding that candidates should offer specific steps to “resist and overcome poverty” in the nation. Reflecting on the “urgent and compelling needs” of many workers and their families this Labor Day, Bishop Blaire offered a special prayer for “all workers, especially those without a job struggling to live in dignity.” “May God guide our nation in creating a more just economy that truly honors the dignity of work and the rights of workers,” he said.
August 24, 2012
The Church in the U.S.
Cross placed at Aurora memorial to symbolize baby lost in miscarriage
meet and eat — Alfred E. Smith IV introduces U.S. presidential nominees Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 Alfred E. Smith dinner at the WaldorfAstoria Hotel in New York. Cardinal Edward M. Egan, then New York archbishop and host of the dinner, sat between the two candidates. (CNS photo)
Dinner is about engaging candidates, not endorsing them, cardinal says
NEW YORK (CNS) — The Al Smith dinner in New York brings people of faith together for “an evening of friendship, civility and patriotism to help those in need,” not to endorse either candidate running for the U.S. presidency, said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York. The purpose of the dinner is to show the nation and the Catholic Church “at our best,” he said in a recent posting on his blog titled “The Gospel in the Digital Age.” “An invitation to the Al Smith dinner is not an award, or the provision of a platform to expound views at odds with the Church,” the cardinal said. “It is an occasion of conversation; it is personal, not partisan.” President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent, have accepted the invitation to be the keynote speakers at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner October 18 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. In presidential election years, in a tradition of bipartisanship, the foundation’s board has usually invited the presidential candidates of the two major parties to speak. Cardinal Dolan used his blog to respond to criticism of the invitation to Obama, who supports legal abortion. He said he also has received complaints that Romney was invited. The dinner “has never been without controversy. This year is surely no exception: I am receiving stacks of mail protesting the invitation to President Obama — and by the way, even some objecting to the invitation to Gov. Romney,” he said. “The objections are somewhat heightened this year, since the Catholic community in the United States has rightly expressed vigorous criticism of the president’s sup-
port of the abortion license, and his approval of mandates which radically intruded upon freedom of religion,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We bishops, including yours truly, have been unrelenting in our opposition to these issues, and will continue to be,” he said. But he pointed out that those who started the Smith dinner started 67 years ago were people who “believed that you can accomplish a lot more by inviting folks of different political loyalties to an uplifting evening, rather than in closing the door to them.” Four years ago, Obama traded quips with Republican Sen. John McCain. In 2004, President George W. Bush and his Democratic challenger for the presidency, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, a Catholic who supports legalized abortion, were not invited to speak. Dinner organizers instead invited former Republican President George H.W. Bush and former New York Gov. Hugh Carey, a Democrat. The dinner is named for former New York Gov. Alfred E. Smith, who in 1928 became the first Catholic nominated by a major party as a presidential candidate. New York Cardinal Francis Spellman began the dinner in 1945 to inaugurate a hospital wing in honor of Smith and to raise money for health care programs in the New York Archdiocese. The annual dinner and the Smith foundation have raised millions to provide support for the sick, poor and underprivileged in the New York area. Cardinal Dolan noted that Smith “was viciously maligned because of his own Catholic faith.” “Smith was known as the ‘Happy Warrior,’ because while he fought fiercely for what he believed was right, he never sought to demonize those who opposed
him,” he explained. “And, the dinner named in his honor is truly lifeaffirming as it raises funds to help support mothers in need and their babies — both born and unborn — of any faith, or none at all.” Cardinal Dolan said some people have called the dinner invitation to Obama “a scandal,” but he said the Church’s posture “toward culture, society and government is that of engagement and dialogue.” “It’s better to invite than to ignore, more effective to talk together than to yell from a distance, more productive to open a door than to shut one,” he said, adding that recent popes have received “dozens of leaders” with whom they disagree on serious issues. Pope Benedict XVI received Obama, he noted, and “in the current climate, we bishops have maintained that we are open to dialogue with the administration to try and resolve our differences.” “What message would I send if I refused to meet with the president?” Cardinal Dolan asked. He said the upcoming dinner does not represent “a slackening in our vigorous promotion of values we Catholic bishops believe to be at the heart of both Gospel and American values, particularly the defense of human dignity, fragile life, and religious freedom.” He suggested that the “vibrant solidarity of the evening” might illustrate for Obama and Romney “that America is at her finest when people, free to exercise their religion, assemble on behalf of poor women and their babies, born and unborn, in a spirit of civility and respect.” Civility in politics is what a majority of Americans say they want, he added, quoting a recent poll on the topic. Cardinal Dolan’s blog is online at http://blog.archny.org/index. php/al-smith-dinner.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CNS) — On a recent quiet afternoon at the makeshift memorial for the victims of the July 20 Aurora movie theater shooting, a pink cross was added to acknowledge the miscarriage of an unborn baby in the aftermath of the tragedy. A pregnant mother, Ashley Moser, who was critically wounded in the tragedy, lost her six-year-old daughter in the melee. Then, as the woman recovered in the hospital, she suffered a miscarriage. On August 3, moments after Father Bill Carmody, Respect Life director for the Colorado Springs Diocese, placed the cross for “Baby Moser” along the line at the memorial, a woman paying her respects to the victims began to weep. She went to her car and brought back a baby blanket and laid it at the
foot of the cross. The unborn baby died as a result of trauma suffered by her mother, according to a July 28 statement released by Moser’s family. She continues to recover in the hospital and, according to news reports, faces significant challenges ahead because she is paralyzed from the waist down. Many people consider Moser’s miscarried baby the 13th murder victim; 12 people died the night the shooter opened fire in the theater. Father Carmody prayed at the memorial site for more than an hour, he said, and during that time he watched several other mourners place flowers at Baby Moser’s cross. “Everybody would see the 12 crosses and then they’d get to the 13th one and nod their heads and say, ‘Yes,” Father Carmody said.
The Anchor Protesters, the Russian Orthodox Church and us
The big news in Moscow this past week was the sentencing of three members of the women’s rock/protest group “Pussy Riot” to two years in prison for having interrupted services at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21. According to Wikipedia, the women “mask[ed] their identities, cross[ed] themselves, bow[ed] to the altar and [began] to perform the song ‘Mother of God, Put Putin Away.’ After less than a minute they were escorted outside the building by guards.” At the time the women said that they had done this at such a holy site for Russian Orthodox believers to criticize what they saw to be too cozy a relationship between Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The patriarch had indicated his support for Putin’s return to the presidency and “called Putin a ‘miracle from God’ who had ‘rectified the crooked path of history,’” according to the Washington Times. Some observers wondered if the patriarch’s backing of Putin was due to pressure from the government or that it may have been a quid pro quo endorsement, in return for certain benefits that the Russian Orthodox Church received from the authoritarian regime. The Russia Today news service reported that the Russian Orthodox Church’s High Council did call for clemency for the women. “Casting no doubt on the legitimacy of the court’s decision, we appeal to the public authorities to show mercy, within the law, on the convicted in the hope they will never repeat such blasphemous actions.” The United States and many other Western governments, as well as Amnesty International and many rock stars, appealed for leniency or freedom for the protesters. It is an odd situation for us Catholics to observe. The women said that their primary purpose in protesting in the cathedral was to bring more attention to the repression which Putin has brought back to Russia (after the freedom of the Boris Yeltsin years, following the collapse of the Soviet Union), not to be disrespectful to God. Nonetheless, since Christ in the Blessed Sacrament was present in the cathedral (the Russian Orthodox have valid Sacraments and believe in the Real Presence), we would not approve of such behavior (having endured much worse desecrations of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York during the 1980s ACT-Up protests). The anger that some democracy-advocates have towards the Russian Orthodox Church is somewhat similar to the resentment people have in the West towards the Roman Catholic Church, especially in countries where historically there were strong ties between the Church and repressive regimes, such as in Spain. Since Generalissimo Francisco Franco and his Nationalists wrapped themselves in Catholicism (in part in reaction to the Republican side’s persecution of the Church and killing of many innocent priests, religious and laity), once King Juan Carlos restored democracy in the 1970s, the Spanish public has drifted further and further away from the Catholic faith (and from Christianity, since there really was no “Protestant outlet” to receive disgruntled Catholics, because the Spanish government, from the days of Ferdinand and Isabella on, had made sure that it was difficult or impossible for Protestant religions to take hold in their territory. This was not always due to great devotion to the Catholic faith from members of the government — it was just believed that it was easier to control the population in one religion, instead of several). One wonders if a similar drift away from Russian Orthodoxy (and from Christianity) will happen in Russia, if and when freedom is restored there. We must also remember that Russian Orthodoxy is not the same as the Greek Orthodox Church. The patriarch of Constantinople is not “the pope of Orthodoxy.” He is the head of the Greek Orthodox Church and the patriarch in Moscow would not feel any need to “obey” him. In fact, Moscow is considered the “Third Rome” by the Orthodox (Constantinople being the “Second Rome”). Within Catholicism we have various Churches — Roman Catholic, Melkite, Maronite, Greek Catholic, etc. These are all under the pope, while the various Orthodox Churches are not under Constantinople’s control. That is why the agreement (see page three of this issue) between the Russian Orthodox patriarch and the Roman Catholic Church in Poland (not to be confused with the Polish National Catholic Church, which is not in union with Rome) did not have anything to do with the Greek Orthodox (although the pope and the patriarch of Constantinople have a good relationship). It is good news that we Christians are working to end the scandal of our divisions, especially between Churches which share so much in common (belief in the Seven Sacraments, apostolic succession, etc.). In the wake of the “Pussy Riot” court decision, protests occurred which attacked symbols of Christianity, instead of symbols of Putin’s power. In Kiev, Ukraine a “cross, erected in 2005 on a hilltop looking down on the city center, [that] served as a memorial to the victims of Stalinist repression and the famine of the 1930s” was cut down by supporters of Pussy Riot last week, reported Reuters. It is ironic that they would cut down the cross, ignoring what crosses and crucifixes symbolize in general (Christ’s outpouring of love for our salvation and true freedom) and the specific memorial to people who were oppressed by Putin’s predecessors. Meanwhile, in Cologne, Germany, a Catholic Mass was interrupted this Sunday. The website kath.net/CBA/red reported, “At the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, [a woman and two men] stormed in after the offertory with colorful costumes towards the altar. With prayer-like gestures and slogans they tried to disrupt the Eucharist. Bishop Heiner Koch, who presided over the church remained standing at the altar during the disturbance. He then explained that they are also concerned with the people in Russia and joined them in prayer.” The protesters were arrested. A similar disruption was attempted at the Catholic cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Part of this is ignorance (people not being able to distinguish between various Christian churches, nor understanding that the Catholic Church has nothing to do with Vladimir Putin), but part of this also comes from the belief in the modern secular world that Christianity, and especially the Catholic Church, is a force for repression. Similar things occurred here in Providence, R.I., when some protesters from the “Occupy” movement dumped condoms on Catholic school girls, who were participating in a Pro-Life event (some Occupiers claim that these were rogue members of the movement, and they also cite that the Providence Diocese’s spokesman, Michael Guilfoyle, gave the Occupy movement some credit in promoting the diocese’s efforts to help the homeless). One wonders how some protesters about economics ended up criticizing the Church’s teachings on chastity. We Catholics must live out our faith, putting it into action by being in solidarity with all of humanity — with our Orthodox brothers and sisters, praying for them while they live in very disconcerting situations in Russia and worse in the Holy Land; with our fellow Catholics, helping each other to understand the riches of our faith; and with non-believers, showing them through our words and deeds how true freedom can be found in Jesus Christ.
August 24, 2012
The type of witness our time needs
n August 10, Bishop Richard Malone age, tenacity, selflessness and hope,” Bishop was installed as the new shepherd of Malone declared, “to stand up in our increasthe Diocese of Buffalo. ingly relativistic society in defense of [the] I’ve known Bishop Malone for more truths and values so threatened in our time,” than 20 years, from the time he was chaplain and help in the “transformation of individuto the Harvard-Radcliffe Catholic Student als in Christ and the transformation of our Center when I was an undergraduate and daily increasingly secular culture into a civilization Massgoer. Throughout his priesthood and his of love and a culture of life, respectful of hutime as auxiliary bishop of Boston and Bishop man life from conception to natural death and of Portland, Maine, he has become one of at every moment in between; of marriage as the true experts in the Church in the United the union of one man and one woman, open States on Catholic education, catechesis and to new life; protective of religious liberty and evangelization. conscience rights; compassionate toward the That experience is one of the reasons why poor and toward immigrants, and so much his installation homily two weeks ago at Bufmore.” falo’s St. Joseph’s Cathedral has garnered so Christians today need guts. Catholics need much attention. guts. To be faithful to Christ means that in Normally, installation homilies allow the some way we’re going to suffer. newly-arrived bishop a chance to chart out For some it may mean suffer the jibes of his Christian apostolic vision, to mention family, friends, colleagues, fellow students, themes important to him and the Church, and opinion-makers who think we’re hopeand to sketch in broad outline some pastoral lessly backward for believing in Christ. priorities. For others it may mean suffering more Bishop Malone used the occasion to speak than taunts, like teens who forsake employabout martyrdom — specifically martyrdom ment rather than work shifts that would force in the New them to miss Evangelization. Sunday Mass, He intropharmacists duced the theme who lose their with a little jobs for not bit of humor. filling immoral August 10 is the prescriptions, or liturgical feast politicians who By Father of St. Lawrence, endanger their the thirdelectability by Roger J. Landry century deacon standing up for whose martyrthe truth when dom in Rome under the Emperor Valerian the truth is unpopular. is one of the most famous in hagiography. And for some it may mean imprisonBeing burned to death on a red-hot gridiron, ment or death on account of the faith, like is he turned to his executioners and said, “Assum happening today in India, China, Vietnam est. Versa et manduca,” “This side’s welland several Muslim countries where comdone. Turn me over and have a bite.” Bishop munist, Hindu or Muslim fundamentalists are Malone used the line to comment, “Getting able to harass, persecute, rape, torture and kill grilled is not an unknown experience for Christians with impunity. Two weeks ago, bishops these days!” I hosted a missionary priest from southern The message of the martyrdom of St. India who told me of the story of one of his Lawrence, however, is one, he said, “for priest colleagues who last year was brutally me and for all of us.” He described that the murdered by Hindu fundamentalists just for Greek word martyr translates as “witness” founding a Catholic school to educate the and emphasized that the martyr is the greatest “untouchables.” Christian witness of all. The martyr is one To be a Catholic missionary, a new “whose discipleship is so authentic, so deep, evangelizer, today requires bravery. One of so uncompromising, so credible that she or he the reasons why there’s a need for a New is ready and willing, with God’s grace, to give Evangelization is because in many places in all, surrender all, to Christ and the truth He the West, Christians have become soft. Rather has revealed, and to do so in the face of fear, than re-evangelizing culture, the mushy, pusilloss, scorn, rejection, suffering, even death. It lanimous elements of our consumerist, materiis total self-giving in response to Christ’s love alist, hedonistic culture have to a large degree poured out for us from the cross.” “de-evangelized” us, such that churches are Like with St. Lawrence, sometimes “the empty when there’s an inch of snow on the witness’ surrender rises to a dramatic climax, ground while supermarkets and malls are like death on a grill,” Bishop Malone continpacked. We’ve padded our pews and kneelers, ued. But while only some of us are called to a but fewer are using them to pray. red martyrdom, all of us are called to a white That’s why, in order to become agents of martyrdom. “For most of us,” he said, “our the rebuilding rather than the decline of the witness is a matter of persevering commitChurch today, we need to go “back to the ment to Christ and the Gospel, a daily dying to martyrs.” That’s the summons Bishop Malone self, again and again, in large things and small. was giving to the Church of Buffalo, which And this can be attempted in a wholesome, has begun to echo throughout the country. healthy and life-giving way only with proWe have to become “the grain that falls to the found hope, and even, paradoxically, real joy.” earth and dies if we are to give credible witThis type of white martyrdom is someness to Christ, to the truth.” thing to which Jesus calls every disciple, the Cowardice, softness, and mediocrity only bishop stressed. Commenting on the words lead to apostolic sterility and ecclesial and of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Lawrence’s culture decline. On the other hand, if we, like feast day, “Unless the grain of wheat falls to Christ and the martyrs, are willing to suffer the ground and dies it remains just a grain and die to ourselves for the Lord and for the of wheat, but if it dies, it produces much Gospel, then we will be able to bear great fruit” (Jn 12:24), Bishop Malone said, “This fruit. startling yet foundational teaching of Jesus is The blood of the martyrs, Tertullian said relevant not only for our own personal growth 1,800 years ago with words that are perenniin holiness, … [but] has profound meaning for ally valid, is the seed of the Church. our mission in this world,” for our fulfilling Therefore, Bishop Malone reminded us the New Evangelization. in his important inaugural homily, it’s the Christians must be willing to die to perspiration, pluck and if required the plasma themselves, to die to their egos, to die to their of true Christian witnesses today that will be excessive desire for human respect if they’re the seed for the harvest of the New Evangeliever going to be able to bear the Gospel to zation tomorrow. others. Father Landry is pastor of St. Berna“We need the martyrs’ conviction, courdette’s Parish in Fall River.
Putting Into the Deep
August 24, 2012
Farmers say leaving worries to God only way to cope with U.S. drought
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNS) — For weeks farmers in southwest Iowa, such as Larry Rayhons of Lenox, have been checking the forecasts and clear skies for the hint at some relief in the form of rain during the worst drought since 1936. “This is the worst drought we’ve experienced in 37 years of farming,” said Rayhons, a grain farmer and parishioner of St. Patrick Church in Lenox. “I may be able to muster 100 bushels an acre ... half of what it could’ve been, but if that’s what the Lord wants me to have, I’ll be happy with it.” Rayhons and other members of his parish have been praying the Rosary before every Mass offered in Lenox since the beginning of July. On July 27, parishioners took part in a day of fasting as a prayer for rain. “Our faith is strong enough that come floods or droughts, we know we’ll be OK,” Rayhons told The Catholic Mirror, newspaper of the Des Moines Diocese. “Sometimes our greatest disasters lead to our greatest blessings, but we don’t see that until we look back on it.” According to the National Weather Service, the area that makes up the diocese is currently in a severe drought and in danger of becoming an extreme drought if it persists as forecasted. An extreme drought causes major losses to crops and pastures and widespread water shortages. Urban and rural parishes across the diocese have been praying for rain. Farmer and trader Bart Brummer, a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Indianola, recalled similar situations when he was a young farmer. “I can remember when I was 25 or 26 standing out on the back porch just begging it to rain and being irritated at God, quite frankly,” he said. “But as you live through some of that and mature in your faith, you’re not sure how it’s going to work out but you know it will.” This year, he said, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the marketability of the crop. Many farmers now have crop insurance. “The crop has continued to look amazingly well for what it’s gone through,” Brummer said. “We’re blessed in Iowa compared to a lot of people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana where they just lost entire fields.” “Trusting in God is the big thing,” explained Father Ken Halbur, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Creston. “No matter what happens, God will get us through it. Good things can
come out of bad situations.” Father Halbur recommended prayer and faith in God to maintain hope through difficult times. “It may not be what we want or expect, but God will always give us what we need.” Drought or near-drought con-
In the neighboring Diocese of Davenport, which covers southeast Iowa, farmers are relying on their faith, too. Each day that passes without rain, the lost potential of Tony Kriegel’s 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans ticks higher.
hope for their corn — though August rains could still revive soybeans — but seek some peace of mind through their faith. “The good Lord has taken care of us in the past and will continue to do so,” Andy Adam said. A member of SS. Joseph
dire straits — Corn plants struggle to survive in late July in a drought-stricken farm field near Evansville, Ind. The Plains states where the production of corn and soybeans is key are being hit hardest by excessive drought conditions following a July that was the hottest month on record in the continental U.S. The conditions are contributing to a surge in global food prices. (CNS photo/John Sommers II, Reuters)
ditions have been reported in nearly half of all counties in the contiguous United States. Portions of the Midwest, including Indiana and southern Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri, are dealing with extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. During the 2012 crop year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated about 1,300 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, mostly in the southern and western U.S.
“I think at this point, we’ve probably lost 30 percent of our potential. From here on out, we’d need an inch of rain a week to salvage this crop,” the member of St. Patrick Parish in Brooklyn said in late July. But Kriegel knows he’s not in control. “I’m a firm believer we’re at God’s will as to what we get for our crop out here,” he told The Catholic Messenger, the diocesan newspaper. Other farmers share his perspective. Some said they see no
and Cabrini Parish in Richland, he farms 600 acres of corn and soybeans north of town. His crops are slowly dying. Conditions haven’t been this bad in 20 years, he said. But farmers elsewhere are faring worse. “Farther south in Iowa and down into Missouri, it’s pretty much burnt up.” Jim Foels, who calls himself a “semi-retired farmer,” said his
320 acres of corn and soybeans north of Brooklyn have seen little rain since late July. Before then, the last measurable precipitation came in June thanks to a windstorm that blew rain onto his crops. “I think about everybody who’s got any belief in God is praying for rain,” said the St. Patrick parishioner. “The hardest part for me — and I think for a lot of farmers — is the emotional roller coaster that we ride,” Kriegel said. “We spend a lot of time and money putting our crop in. It’s hard to watch that go away.” He has an insurance policy that covers large crop losses but would rather not have to collect on it. And the farmer of 45 years worries how younger farmers, who may have little equity built up, will fare after a poor growing season. Everyone will feel the effects of this drought, Kriegel said. With rising corn prices, some livestock farmers will sell their animals rather than lose money buying feed. That means the cost of meat, milk and eggs will go up in six to nine months, he said. The Des Moines-based National Catholic Rural Life Conference noted that lower-income Americans will especially be affected by higher prices as they tend to spend more of their income on food. On its website, www.ncrlc. com, the organization encourages praying for them as well as for farmers. also offers a link to a novena to St. Isidore, a 12thcentury Spanish farmer. For Foels, one suggestion seems especially relevant: “Let go and let God. That always sticks in my mind in times like this.”
number of years ago singer Bob Dylan wrote a song titled “Gotta Serve Somebody,” and his message was that whoever we are, high or low, rich or poor, we all wind up serving somebody. We make choices, whether we know it or not, just as the Israelites do in this week’s reading from the Book of Joshua. The Israelites have completed 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and are poised to enter the Promised Land. But, before they do, Joshua wants to make sure that they know why and how they’ve come to this day. There’s no coercion, but they must make a choice as to who they’re going to serve. He tells them that they’re free to serve the pagan gods of the surrounding peoples, but then they’ll belong to those gods and not to the God Who brought them out of Egypt. They must make a clear choice: “Decide today whom you will serve.” They can do as they like, but for Joshua there’s no doubt or hesitation: he and his household will serve the Lord. The people respond that they also will serve the Lord because they remember the powerful miracles that liberated them from Egypt and sustained them on their journey. This theme of choice and who to serve is picked up and played
August 24, 2012
Whom will you serve?
out in the Gospel. Jesus’ disciples nal life and will be raised up on have to make a choice. Are they the last day. to take Him seriously? Is His talk Imagine hearing those words too hard to endure or does He for the first time. Imagine trying have the words of eternal life? to understand the meaning of Will they continue to follow Him those words without the benefit or will they break away and no longer remain in His company? Hard sayHomily of the Week ings involve hard choices. Twenty-first Sunday There are times in in Ordinary Time life when we’re pushed to the wall; times when By Deacon Eugene we’re ready to quit; times H. Sasseville when we need something to hold on to. We see this in the Gospel. Jesus’ of 2,000 years of Church teachdisciples are pushed to the wall, ing and preaching about the their faith is severely challenged Eucharist. Imagine not having by what Jesus says about giving classes and lessons that carefully them His Body to eat. If they and prayerfully prepared you to had really been listening to Him receive your First Holy Comall along they certainly would’ve munion. Imagine not living in a heard plenty of other “hard sayfamily and faith community that ings” similar to the remarks that have accepted these words of He’s been making in His “Bread Jesus and placed them at the very of Life discourse” these past heart and center of their faith and three Sundays. works. Without that support and Yet there’s something espetradition how easy it would be cially hard, difficult and demandfor us to say, as some of Jesus’ ing in Jesus’ recent remarks. He disciples say in the Gospel, “This identifies Himself as the “Bread saying is hard; who can accept that came down from Heaven,” it?” and He further claims that His The Gospels have plenty of Flesh is true food and His Blood hard sayings but this one quickly is true drink. He affirms that takes its toll. All this talk about whoever eats His Flesh and eating His Flesh and drinking drinks His Blood will have eterHis Blood is more than some of
Jesus’ followers can handle. Jesus confronts their stunned shock and resistance by raising the bar when He tells them, ‘You haven’t seen anything yet, wait until you see Me ascending to the Father where I was before!” The disciples respond to the challenge in one of two ways: one group finds Jesus’ words too hard to take, so they part company with Jesus and return to their old ways; the second group meets the challenge and remains faithful to Jesus. Why did the first group fail the challenge and the second group succeed? The Gospel doesn’t really answer that question, but it does leave us a clue. When Jesus asks the second group, “Do you also want to leave?” Peter answers for them saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that You are the Holy One of God.” When pushed to the wall they kept their eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, they didn’t get distracted by the problem posed by what Jesus said. When pushed to the wall, they fell back on their personal faith in Jesus. On the other hand, the group that failed did just
the opposite, they fixed all their attention on the problem: “How can this Man give us His Flesh to eat?” In short they took their eyes off of Jesus. There will be times in life when our faith will be challenged too, as theirs was. We may even be tempted to part company with Jesus and no longer walk with Him. When these times come, let’s not make the same mistake that some of those disciples made; let’s not fix our attention on the problem, instead let’s fix our attention on the person of Jesus. Let’s reaffirm our faith in Jesus as Peter did. Jesus asked his key disciples, the Twelve Apostles, “Do you also want to leave?” This is the key question, the crucial question that’s asked of each one of us. Do we want to leave because Jesus’ sayings are too hard, His expectations to difficult? May we today, answer Jesus the same way Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, You have the words that give eternal life … we believe that You are the Holy One Who has come from God. To whom shall we go?” Deacon Sasseville, was ordained with the Class of 1997 and is assigned to Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in New Bedford.
Upcoming Daily Readings: Sat. Aug. 25, Ez 43:1-7ab; Ps 85:9-14; Mt 23:1-12. Sun. Aug. 26, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jos 24:1-2a,1517,18b; Ps 34:2-3,16-21; Eph 5:21-32 or 5:2a,25-32; Jn 6:60-69. Mon. Aug. 27, 2 Thes 1:1-5,11b-12; Ps 96:1-5; Mt 23:13-22. Tues. Aug. 28, 2 Thes 2:1-3a,1417; Ps 96:10-13; Mt 22:23-26. Wed. Aug. 29, 2 Thes 3:6-10,16-18; Ps 128:1-2,4-5; Mk 6:17-29. Thurs. Aug. 30, 1 Cor 1:1-9; Ps 145:2-7; Mt 24:42-51. Fri. Aug. 31, 1 Cor 1:17-25; Ps 33:1-2,4-5,10-11; Mt 25:1-13.
he defense of nascent trade unionism in late-19thcentury America is a bright chapter in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. When a nervous Vatican was prepared to write off trade unions as the kind of “secret societies” the Church had long opposed, Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore defended the Knights of Labor in Rome and forestalled a Vatican condemnation of American unions — an accomplishment that helped the Church retain the loyalty of working class people. Gibbons’s defense of the Knights of Labor may or may not have had much influence on Pope Leo XIII’s endorsement of labor-organizing in the 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum, but it set a pattern of Catholic support for trade unionism that continued in the United States for a century. That support seemed vindicated anew when the “independent selfgoverning trade union” Solidarity played a crucial role in the collapse of European communism in the 1980s.
The Church and the unions
But times and social realities ment workers became unionized change. The developing social are no longer simply theoretical. doctrine of the Church has had to Social scientists typically raise take account of new economic, three cautions about the distinctive demographic and fiscal realities character of public-sector workers — and that process has sometimes unions: public-sector unions can required serious rethinking of the distort labor markets by politicizChurch’s approach to public policy and the positions the Church’s leaders habitually take on specific issues. Similarly, the social doctrine must take account of the changing realities of By George Weigel American trade unionism: one of the most salient of which is that the majority of union members now belong to ing hiring and firing; public-sector public-sector workers unions, not unions tend to put serious pressure unions in the private sector. Most on public finances (for which weak unionized American workers today politicians, seeking electoral supare government workers. port, are at least as much at fault); The very idea of public-sector and public-sector unions tend to workers unions was resisted by diminish the quality of public sersuch stalwart liberals as Frankvices (by making it more difficult lin D. Roosevelt and AFL-CIO to apply the “good government” president George Meany. Now that standards American trade unionpublic-sector unions are a large ism once supported). part of the American landscape, To which cautions might some of the theoretical concerns be added the self-interest of that were debated before governpublic-sector unions in expanding
The Catholic Difference
government (more government equals more jobs; more government jobs equals more members of AFSCME, NEA and other public sector mega-unions); the resistance of union-organized government workers to change (does any serious student of American elementary and secondary education doubt that the immense and humanly tragic failures of America’s K-12 public schools have something to do with unions’ resistance to performance standards for teachers?); the capacity of public-sector unions and their political allies to hold hostage the normal processes of democracy (see “Wisconsin”); and the ways in which public-sector unions’ demands for ever-higher wages and benefits distort public finance and drain resources from other areas where social justice is at stake. The right of workers to organize is a settled matter in Catholic social doctrine. But organized labor, like other parts of society, has responsibilities to the common good.
No one will begrudge a union the right to defend its own; that’s why it exists. But when unions defend only their own, to the detriment of the rest of society (and, in a prime American case, the detriment of poor, inner-city children), something is wrong. Solidarity in Poland was a movement of social, cultural, moral and political renewal. It would be hard to say that about the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees or the National Education Association, just as it is impossible to draw an analogy between 21st-century AFSCME or NEA members and the union members of the pre-60s AFL-CIO (much less the Knights of Labor in their sweatshops). Appeals to the Solidarity experience, or to “tradition,” as a Catholic reason for uncritically endorsing public-sector unions’ demands is not readily squared with either reality or Catholic social doctrine. George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
August 24, 2012
The big blue ‘6’
Monday 13 August 2012 — year turns, there are distinctive Falmouth Inner Harbor — the seasonal markers. People take morning after the race he ebb and flow of the seasons, dear readers, often has little effect on those who Reflections of a dwell in big cities. The Parish Priest seasons of the year do not directly impact on By Father Tim their lives until someGoldrick thing extraordinary happens — a major hurricane, for example. Otherwise, life in the city pretty note of even the most subtle of much goes on the same, one day them. They discuss them at the after the next. For those who live Post Office and at the local coffee on Cape Cod, however, this is not shop. Life on the Cape is seasonal the case. Here, as the wheel of the in every way. Sights, sounds, and
The Ship’s Log
events repeat in a never-ending cycle. Anybody who happens to live here will eventually learn to recognize the markers. I am just now learning these seasonal signs, including the meaning of the mysterious big blue “6” that appeared overnight in the middle of the street. Here in Falmouth, a significant seasonal event is the annual road race. It began 40 years ago with less than a hundred local runners. This year, there were 12,800 registered runners, including competitors from all over the world.
A reality to be embraced
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who society whose whole left to us her reflections on sufidea is to elimifering, warned never to leave nate suffering and bring all its anything poisonous nearby, members the greatest amount of telling them, “If I had not had comfort and pleasure is doomed any faith, I would have committo be destroyed.” These words of ted suicide without an instant’s Thomas Merton reach out across hesitation.” It is like cheating on six decades into our present day. an exam without going through The concept of physician-assisted the hard work of learning first. suicide was not yet a reality The suffering that precedes death when Merton wrote “No Man is may be the most important moan Island,” but he did know that ment in our life’s journey. This is the work of becoming a person the time when all of our masks requires every experience of the process of living, including suffering. Our objection to physicianassisted suicide should not come from a fear that millions of people will kill themselves as soon as it becomes By Claire McManus legal, but from the alarming loss of the essence of our humanity are removed and we ask, “Who that this portends. am I?” By suffering we complete The Death and Dignity Act, who we are meant to become. if passed this November, will Don’t think that there isn’t allow a terminally-ill patient to true concern and compassion self-administer a lethal drug if behind the desire to offer a quick it is determined that they have release from a painful death. We less than six months to live. The who have had to watch a beloved opposition to this bill is coming parent or spouse die a painful out of many circles, from physideath know that in the darkest cians’ organizations to palliative moments we begged for God caregivers. They will reassure the to end their pain. Two prayers electorate that there are advances battled within me on my long in pain management, and will car rides down to New Jersey remind people of the wonderful during my mother’s last months. care given by hospice workers, On the way down the parkway I but the spiritual journey of the prayed that she would live until sufferer may never be part of the I got there; on the way home I collective wisdom. would pray that God would take Nobody wants to suffer, and her now. I could never figure we certainly never want to witout what good could come from ness the suffering of the ones her painful death, and since her we love. But Christians, whose progressive dementia robbed us faith is born from the suffering of her parting wisdom, we can of the Innocent One, have given only look at the life she lived in witness to its redemptive power. health to shed light on the days Suffering is much more than the she spent in dying. physical reality of pain; it is the My mother, the quintessential spiritual pathway to God. Merton Irish matriarch, might have told explained, “The mercy of God is her children, “I did everything in given to those who seek Him in my power not to be a burden to suffering.”
The Great Commission
you, but it gave me such comfort every day when you came by after your long day of teaching to take care of me. I hated that my four sons scattered away to make their lives, but when you all managed to come together to be with me I pretended that I was back in my prime when I had you all under my wing. And you, my youngest child, I was furious that you left behind your own brood to travel 300 miles to be with me, but when you walked in the room all I wanted you to do was feed me and sing the old songs that I had sung to you. Though I dreaded the loss of my dignity, my body didn’t matter so much to me as I prepared for my journey home. I had so many things to work out; experiences that only God and I knew about; things I didn’t know myself. And when I sat up and grasped at nothing, it wasn’t hallucinations that I was seeing, but something that I wanted more than staying here with you.” We can change the hearts and minds of the people who support the Death with Dignity Act if we can share our Christian story from the depth of our life experience. Suffering is not a good to be sought, but a reality to be embraced. We cannot scrub it of its ugliness, nor define its limits according to our time line. It will not harden our souls or destroy our will because we become our true selves before God through our suffering. Thomas Merton taught “it is the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the Resurrection of Jesus robbed them of their meaning.” Claire McManus is the director of the Diocesan Office of Faith Formation.
There are so many people wanting to run the seaside road from Woods Hole to Falmouth that it’s necessary to have a lottery system to determine who gets to register for the race. This year, aside from the officially-accepted runners, an additional 4,500 people applied but lost the drawing. Some of those who lack the luck of the draw take part in the race anyway, just so that they can say that they did. The runners usually do not travel to Falmouth by themselves. They are accompanied by friends, family, coworkers, and supporters. Then there are those who come not to run the race or even to support a particular runner, but just to witness the athletic event from the sidelines. We are talking countless thousands of people connected in one way or another to the Falmouth Road Race. Their numbers are added to those visitors already in town on holiday — and those numbers, too, are significant. There isn’t a single resident of Falmouth who remains unaware of Road Race Weekend. The race is one of the premiere seasonal markers for the people of Falmouth. It signals the end (of summer) is near. Such community events cannot but have some impact on the life of the parish. This parish found itself, as usual, in the middle of all the activities. It’s a seven-mile race, with huge mile indicators painted right on the road. The big blue numeral “6” is just a few yards from our chapel, St. Thomas the Apostle. When they reach the chapel, the runners have only one more mile to go. The morning of the race, all roads to the chapel are blocked for crowd control. There can be no Sunday Masses there. I celebrated Mass at the chapel the evening before the race. The building was packed to the rafters and all the doors tied back to
accommodate still more worshippers standing on the front lawn. At the end of the celebration of Mass, I invited all runners present to come forward and stand in the aisle so that we could see them and so that I could call down God’s blessing upon them on the eve of their great adventure. I was overwhelmed by the numbers who stepped forward — people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Together we prayed that God would keep them safe, that they would respect each other as human beings and as athletes, and that they would receive the reward of their perseverance. The words of St. Paul took on a whole new meaning for me, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” I will never again read that passage from the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy without thinking of the Falmouth runners. Not only was it a spiritual insight for me, but it was also a lot of fun, which proves once again that faith and joy are not mutually exclusive. On the day of the race, I waited until it was over before I ventured to drive the short distance up the road to the neighboring rectory and join some brother priests for the standing invitation to Sunday lunch. It was a mistake. No soup for me that day. The cars were bumper to bumper. The sidewalks were gridlocked with runners heading home. It took an hour to drive just half a mile. Fortunately, I was able to return to my own rectory by making only right turns. There’s an old adage in Falmouth: “In ye merrie Month of August, taketh not a left turn onto ye olde Main Street.” To everything here there is a season — including left turns. Father Goldrick is pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Falmouth.
August 24, 2012
Working for the young and young-at-heart By Kenneth J. Souza Anchor Staff
SWANSEA — When she first became active with the Youth Council at St. Dominic’s Parish in Swansea, Renee Bernier remembers seeing some of the older, college-age people moving on and transitioning out of the group. “I thought to myself, ‘That will never be me,’” she said. “I’ll always be here with the Youth Council.” Now that she’s 21 and about to graduate from Stonehill College, Bernier finds herself in that same transition mode — but she’s not completely severing her ties to youth ministry either. Since January she’s been involved with the youth ministry program at St. Patrick’s Parish in Wareham. “I received a message from Paula Wilk at St. Patrick’s, who I met on a YES! Retreat, and she asked me if I’d be interested in taking over the youth ministry program at her parish,” Bernier said. “I don’t know if I should call myself their youth minister or if I’m simply part of their ministry team, but the goal is I’ll be helping them over the next few years. It’s interesting to be working in another parish and befriend a different parish community. It’s a good learning experience.” This new role seems tailor-made for Bernier, since it’s clear that she’s most passionate about her faith and working with youth. “At St. Dominic’s when we first moved there, my brother and I started getting involved with the Youth Council,” Bernier said. “We did projects like making and delivering food bags for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, we planned Liturgies for World Youth Day and Palm Sunday, and we did different versions of the Stations of the Cross with various youth portraying the roles.” Even though the Youth Council
was a small group, Bernier was al- worked as a CLI team member and “I look to those examples that ways impressed with how involved even encouraged her brother to at- have been set for me as positive role and active everyone was in the par- tend the following year. models and have been such influish. “I think CLI shaped the rest of ential factors in my life,” she said. As she got older, she soon my high school years. I’m confident “When I encounter friends who branched out into serving as a lec- saying that,” she said. don’t have that same influence, I’m tor and an extraordinary minister of CLI also led to her planning the just happy to share my experience. Holy Communion for the parish. diocesan youth convention and to a And I’ve been fortunate enough “It was important for us to show stint serving on the hospitality com- to not have people discredit me other members of the parish for that and just accept it. I’m that we didn’t want to just be sure some may think: ‘She’s involved in activities that were that good Catholic girl.’ But it youth-oriented, but we wanted doesn’t bother me, because I’m to be part of the parish council, standing up for what I believe or serve as a lector or eucharisin.” tic minister at Mass,” she said. While studying at Bishop “We didn’t want to be a sepaStang High School in North rate entity.” Dartmouth, Bernier said one When fellow parishioner of her proudest moments was and director of the Christian during her junior year when a Leadership Institute Frank friend who was raised in the Lucca suggested that she atProtestant faith approached tend CLI in the summer of her about sponsoring him to be 2005, Bernier gladly accepted confirmed. the invitation. “I’ve been blessed to have “I graduated with a small people like him around me,” group — I think there were 17 she said. “He went through the of us — and that was a pivotal RCIA program and was conexperience for me, as was the firmed at St. Julie’s Parish in YES! Retreat,” Bernier said. “I North Dartmouth and his sister did them at the same time and did the same thing the followboth were suggested to me by ing year. It was great to see the Frank.” influence that the administraBernier said that initial CLI Anchor Person of the week tion and the faculty at Bishop experience was crucial in de- — Renee Bernier. (Photo by Kenneth Stang was having on these veloping her faith. kids.” J. Souza) “CLI is unique because Bernier likewise credits someone recommends you for Amanda Tarantelli, her campus it and it means they see something mittee for the New England Catho- minister at Bishop Stang, for being in you that at a certain point in your lic Youth Conference held in New “a teacher, friend and a sister to me.” life you might not see yourself,” she Hampshire. “To have someone who believes said. “It happened at a critical time “That was another great experi- in you like that is such a confidence when I was in a new parish and at- ence and I felt so good about it,” she booster and it’s helped me to do tempting to make new friendships said. “It was good to talk to others whatever I’m called to do now,” and I was a brand new face to ev- who were so active and effective in she said. “It’s humbling to be here erybody. It was nice to know there their own dioceses. That was a big for something like this, because in were other kids who were on the deal for me.” looking back I can’t really take all same page as me — I wasn’t alone. Bernier has nothing but praise the credit.” I ended up with a whole new batch for people like Lucca and Crystal For the past two summers Berof friends and some important skills Medeiros, assistant director of the nier has also been interning with that I could put to use.” Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocesan Faith Formation OfIn subsequent years, Bernier has the diocese. fice — a job that blossomed out of her growing relationship with Medeiros. “I met Crystal through CLI but I just feel like I’ve known her forever,” she said. “I’ve always been fascinated with her role as Youth Minister. Since CLI I’ve kept in touch with her and I asked if I could volunteer at the office. I go in and help them organize events and with supplies.” Bernier’s offer to help came at an opportune time — just as the Faith
Formation Office was adopting the Family Ministry Office. “I helped them tidy up and we have a marriage ministry program that is flourishing now — it just needed to be acclimated to their environment,” she said. “I review all the FOCCUS surveys. To me it’s a big deal. I’m sure to some people the work I do might seem administrative, but I love that. It’s riveting to me. I feel like I’m helping a greater cause. Whatever they need me to do, I’m there.” As she prepares to graduate from Stonehill College, Bernier said she hopes to embark on a career working with youth. “I have a lot of passions and clearly this is one of them,” she said. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder if youth ministry is where I’m meant to be.” To that end, she said she will likely be working with her former campus minister, Tarantelli, at Bishop Stang High School next semester. “We’ve recently been discussing the concept of me doing some sort of internship, which would be amazing,” she said. “I pray everyday that the call comes and it’s just clear as day that I know. But I see happiness in a lot of places for me. I really can’t make a bad decision; for me it’s a matter of choosing good from good. “I know I wouldn’t be called to something like that if it wasn’t going to fulfill me. And that’s where faith comes in, because this giant question of not knowing right now will ultimately be resolved — I just have to put my faith in Christ.” It’s clear that Bernier has had many people in her life who have been a positive influence on her, and she aspires to pass on that same level of inspiration to others. “I always encourage people to seek out others who are doing good and are leading good, fruitful, faithful lives,” Bernier said. “I’ve been surrounded by good role models who make good decisions and in their heart of hearts, it’s coming from a good place.” “I try to find Christ in everyone, and that’s not always easy,” she added. “But we need to seek out the face of Christ in others. It’s sometimes hard to remember that He’s there in everyone … you just have to find Him.”
August 24, 2012
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August 24, 2012
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going green — CJ Adams and Odeya Rush star in a scene from the movie “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” For a brief review of this film, see CNS Movie Capsules below. (CNS photo/Disney)
CNS Movie Capsules NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by CNS. “The Bourne Legacy” (Universal) Mediocre extension of the popular action franchise — based on a series of novels by Robert Ludlum — that began with 2002’s “The Bourne Identity.” After the (now-absent) titular character’s public exposure of a top secret program that biologically altered government spies to enhance their skills, the intelligence establishment (led by Edward Norton) decides to terminate a similar Defense Department project — and kill everyone involved. One subject (Jeremy Renner) manages to escape assassination, and teams with another of the authorities’ targets, the researcher (Rachel Weisz) who treated him as he was being endowed with his heightened powers. The duo goes on the lam and struggles to evade their pursuers’ global reach. Standard shootouts, fatal vehicular accidents and at least one close-up scene of medical unpleasantness mark director and co-writer Tony Gilroy’s convoluted cat-and-mouse game as off-limits for youngsters. Most adults, though, will probably take these elements — along with the script’s occasional lapses into foul language — in stride. Considerable, at times harsh, violence with some gore, about a half-dozen uses each of profanity and crude language, a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification
is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. “Hope Springs” (Columbia) Flawed, but fundamentally moral, mix of comedy and drama in which Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play a long-married couple who have gradually grown physically and emotionally distant. At her insistence, they set off from their home in suburban Omaha, Neb., to Maine for a week of intensive therapy with a marriage counselor and self-help author (Steve Carell). Even discussing their intimate problems, much less solving them, proves a challenge for the buttoned-up duo. A resounding pro-marriage message undergirds director David Frankel’s film, which sees its leads in top form. Yet the proportion of Vanessa Taylor’s script devoted to talk about, or activity in, the marital bedroom narrows the appropriate audience for this keenly observed study. Only mature moviegoers well formed in faith and morals will be up to the task of gleaning its virtues from its failings. Considerable sexual content, including semigraphic scenes of marital lovemaking and masturbation; pervasive references to sexuality; a benign view of aberrant sex acts; about a half-dozen uses of profanity; and at least one crude and a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
“Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D” (ARC Entertainment) Amiable collection of stunts, performed with dirt bikes, monster trucks and even tricked-up Big Wheels, adapted for the big screen from the popular MTV series, with a crew headed by Travis Pastrana. The flying conveyances are balletic in slow motion, and their tricks are possibly not quite as dangerous as codirectors Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle would like you to believe. Fleeting crass language and stunts no one should try at home. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” (Disney) In this fable that draws on both Christian and wiccan imagery, an infertile couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) bury their written hopes for the perfect child in a cardboard box in their backyard. The next morning, a partially vine-covered boy (CJ Adams) precisely matching their description appears, and proceeds to change their lives in unexpected ways. Writer-director Peter Hedges, working from an original story by Ahmet Zappa, spins a sentimental tale that celebrates familial love. Some of the subject matter touched on, however, makes this unsuitable for younger children. Mature themes, some pagan overtones and a single scatological reference. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
August 24, 2012
Daughters of Isabella leader says recruitment is her top priority
conversion story — Monica Guerritore portrays St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, played by Alesandro Preziosi, in a scene from the movie “Restless Heart” from Ignatius Press. The movie is a full-length feature film on the life of St. Augustine, the fifth-century doctor of the Church. (CNS photo/courtesy of Ignatius Press)
Message for modern times seen in story of St. Augustine’s conversion WASHINGTON (CNS) — St. Augustine’s “Confessions,” the autobiographical account of his sinful youth and eventual conversion to Christianity, may be a centuries-old story but its message still resonates today, according to the head of Ignatius Press. For the first time, a feature film — titled “Restless Heart” — will tell the story of the fifth-century doctor of the Church’s journey to faith, said Mark Brumley, CEO of Ignatius Press. “Catholics who have children who stray and leave the faith, or a spouse who is not Catholic ... can learn from the example of St. Augustine,” Brumley said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service. St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) “was raised in a family situation where his mother, St. Monica, was a Christian and his father was not. He was not baptized as a child. He went off to school and was exposed to many perspectives at odds with faith,” he said. Later, after he converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptized, he “came to be a major figure,” Brumley said. The title of the movie is taken from a famous quote of St. Augustine: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” The U.S. debut of the film was scheduled for August 29 during the 2012 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show at the Arlington, Texas, Convention Center, according to an August 20 announcement from Ignatius. Ignatius Press is working with parishes, organizations and individuals who want to arrange a screening of the film at a local theater or some other appropriate venue. Information about arranging a screening can be found
online at www.restlessheartfilm. com. “Restless Heart” is one of two films Ignatius Press is currently behind. The other is called “Cosmic Origins,” about the intersection of faith and science, which is being made available for showings in parishes and schools. Information for private screenings of “Cosmic Origins” can be found at www. cosmicoriginsfilm.com. Either movie can be a fundraiser for parishes or groups, Brumley told CNS. Also, each can be a “faith raiser,” he noted, which can help people deepen their faith during Pope Benedict XVI’s Year of Faith, which starts in October. Produced by an Italian public broadcasting station, “Restless Heart” was originally filmed in English as a miniseries and, with Ignatius Press as a partner, has made it to the U.S. as a fulllength film. “It is a truly inspirational film and I think people will be greatly moved,” Brumley said. “They will be moved and inspired by the story of St. Augustine.” “Ignatius Press, for some time, has had the use of the media, especially film, as a way of evangelizing and teaching Catholics about their faith,” Brumley told CNS.
DEARBORN, Mich. (CNS) — Increasing membership will be the main focus of her second term as international regent of the Daughters of Isabella, Christiane Chagnon said in an interview in connection with the group’s biennial convention. “The main thing is recruitment — that’s the No. 1 priority,” Chagnon told The Michigan Catholic, newspaper of the Detroit Archdiocese. She was re-elected August 6, as about 600 delegates from Daughters of Isabella circles in the United States and Canada gathered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn, just west of Detroit. Chagnon, 66, is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Magog, Quebec. The Daughters have about 60,000 members, but they are mostly in their 60s or older, she said, explaining that the group’s recent recruitment efforts to bring in younger members are beginning to show results. Helen Anonick, the Daughters’ Michigan state regent, said the organization had suffered from an attitude of “it’s our club; we aren’t interested in recruiting younger members.” At 43, Anonick herself is much younger than the typical member of the Daughters of Isabella, but she joined when she was 16 at her mother’s insistence. She conceded, however, that she was not much interested in it back then. “When I was in high school, I didn’t want to be with the ladies. When I was in college, I didn’t want to be with the ladies, but after I was married and started my family, then I appreciated the chance to get out with the ladies,” said Anonick, a resident of the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods and member of St. Joan of Arc Parish in adjacent St. Clair Shores. But any successful recruit-
ment effort among younger women must contend with the fact that almost all of them lead very busy lives, she said: “The problem is, if you go up to a woman in her 30s, 40s or 50s, and invite her to join, she’ll say, ‘No, I’m too busy.’ If you stop there, you’ve lost her. You have to say, ‘I know you’re too busy, but ... .’” Anonick said one of the great things about being in the Daughters is that “this is the one thing I actually get to do for me — everything else involves my kids or my husband.” But Anonick acknowledged that bringing in a younger generation of members requires some flexibility on the part of longtime members: “We have to get our members to stop saying, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” Or, as Chagnon put it: “You need to keep the best of the past, and try new things.” Next to bringing in new members, the most important goal, said Anonick, is “keeping the members we have.” “Meetings must be made interesting. You must keep the members interested and involved,” she said, adding that younger members need to provide rides for older ladies who no longer feel comfortable driving at night. “The first step toward death (for a circle) is moving meetings to the middle of the day,” she said. At the same time, there needs to be some creativity in making it easier for younger women to attend, like providing baby sitters, “using teens who need service hours,” she said. But also, in Anonick’s view, “it’s got to be fun.” “Whatever you are doing has to be fun or people are not going to spend their time and energy doing it,” she said. One promising development for the Daughters is that they now have four circles on col-
lege campuses — at Harvard University in Massachusetts, William and Mary College in Virginia, Loras College in Iowa and Benedictine College in Illinois. Daughters of Isabella circles in each state choose a major charity project. In Michigan, it’s the Ronald McDonald House, while in Ontario it’s a treatment center for priests with addictions. Circles also may take on other projects, Anonick said, noting that one had raised the money to put a new roof on its parish church. “A lot of volunteer hours are done by the Daughters — more than three million volunteer hours over two years in the community or parish,” Chagnon said. “And the ladies are very generous, donating an estimated $2.9 million in that same period.” During the Dearborn convention, the Daughters held a walk to raise money for the Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit. The Daughters of Isabella were founded in 1897 in New Haven, Conn., originally as a ladies auxiliary to a Knights of Columbus council. Although it was to develop as an organization separate from the Knights of Columbus, Anonick said it has “sort of followed in the Knights’ footsteps.” Besides Chagnon, other officers elected to serve until the next international convention in two years were: Diane Corriveau of Sherbrooke, Quebec, international vice regent; Susanne Suchy, of the Detroit suburb of Southgate, international secretary-treasurer; Monique Savoie of Balmoral, Quebec, and Monique Kelly of Ajax, Ontario, international directors for Canada; and Lucille Reif of Plainville, Kan., international director for the United States. Another U.S. international director is to be appointed at a later date.
August 24, 2012
Annual diocesan Day of Reflection for Religious set for September 15
DIGHTON — The Diocese as a religious. He has served of Fall River’s annual Day of in a variety of ministries over Reflection for Religious will the years as a teacher, in parish take place on September 15 at work, and formation work with the Dominican Sisters of the his own community. He spent Presentation in Digh18 years working as a ton. Bishop George missionary for his La W. Coleman will preSalette Community side at a Liturgy at in Bolivia and Argenthe chapel there. tina. With this backThis year’s speakground, at the Shrine er is La Salette Fahe continues to work ther John Patrick with the Hispanic Sullivan. Community in Rhode He is a MissionIsland and Massaary of Our Lady of Father John Patrick chusetts as well as Sullivan, M.S. La Salette, stationed the English-speaking at the present time pilgrims in offering at The National Shrine of Our occasional retreats and conferLady of La Salette in Attle- ences. He is also associated boro, who will be speaking on with Pax Christi, La Salette this year’s theme “Our vowed Associates, and inter-faith lives are still the best answer groups that meet regularly in to the challenges of today’s the Attleboro area. world.” Area religious who are celFather Sullivan was or- ebrating significant anniversadained a priest in 1970 and this ries will be acknowledged at year he is celebrating 48 years the event.
summer tradition — The 15th annual St. Mary’s Education Fund Dinner was held recently at Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee. Event chairmen Jane and Michael Daley are shown with Bishop George W. Coleman. The dinner, along with the fall event, helps raise needed scholarship funds to benefit boys and girls in the Diocese of Fall River who might otherwise not be able to attend a Catholic school.
LONGTIME friends — The Class of 1956 of St. Joseph’s Grammar School in New Bedford recently gathered for a reunion at The Century House in Acushnet. The alum shared photos, autograph books, their graduation photo and other fond remembrances.
In the Philippines, America, Catholics prepare to welcome new teen saint MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Catholics in the Philippines and the U.S. are preparing to celebrate the October 21 canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, a teen catechist killed in Guam in the 17th century. Witness accounts in the records of Jesuit missionaries show Blessed Pedro died trying to protect his mentor, Jesuit Father Diego Jose Luis San Vitores, a missionary who was also killed in the attack. Two Chamorro chiefs pursued the missionaries when they learned Father San Vitores had baptized a chief’s daughter without his consent. Blessed Pedro, a native of Cebu province in the Philippines, “was the first to be attacked in the assault,” explained Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson of the Cebu Archdiocese. “And they marveled how he was so skillful in evading the darts of the spears ... until finally he was hit in the chest. He fell and the other assassin split his skull.” Blessed Pedro’s martyrdom has captured the imagination of some admirers, but it was his intercession that made the Vatican take notice. Msgr. Leyson, rector of the Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, spent about 15 years looking into Blessed Pedro’s history. He was part of a team of clergy that had to verify miraculous works attributed to the martyr, who was beatified in 2000. Msgr. Leyson said there were many claims of sick people being healed because they asked for Blessed Pedro’s intercession.
In 2003, an unnamed patient recovered from a type of deep coma that is rarely survived. When such patients do survive, they normally remain in a vegetative state. One afternoon a doctor in Cebu, who worried he might lose his patient, implored Blessed Pedro to intercede, and four hours later the patient started showing vital signs, according to Msgr. Leyson. Over several weeks, the patient — who had never heard of Blessed Pedro — was up and about. Scientists could not explain the situation, and the Vatican’s team of expert doctors and clergy studied the phenomenon for six years before deeming it a miracle in 2011. Msgr. Leyson said the archdiocese is careful not to focus on the identity person who was healed to respect their privacy and to help keep a spiritual perspective. “We would want that the attention should be focused on God, Who did the miracle,” he said. “And to Pedro Calungsod whose intercession it was that occasioned the miracle ... otherwise we would be worshipping something else!” In Seattle, Deacon Fred Cordova of Immaculate Conception Church took note of Blessed Pedro when he learned about the miracle. The 81-year old FilipinoAmerican was born to Filipino parents and was raised in the United States. Deacon Cordova is a retired historian, and he helped found the Blessed Pedro Calungsod
Guild in 2005. He said he thinks of Blessed Pedro as a friend, and the guild founders thought that, in the spirit of friendship, his impending sainthood would be a good way to bring FilipinoAmerican Catholics together and help them feel at home in their adopted culture. “They may go into a parish and not feel ownership ... like they’re there just as guests,” Deacon Cordova told Catholic News Service by phone. “We try and make them feel very much a part, to participate in everything of parish life besides just the Sacraments, besides just the Liturgy.” Deacon Cordova said the guild has received generous donations toward planned celebrations and events around Blessed Pedro’s canonization. Another group is preparing for Blessed Pedro’s ascension to sainthood through the +Big Movement in Manila. One of the movement’s founders, Clarke Nebrao, is a lay missionary who wanted to commemorate the Cebu Archdiocese’s “Year of Missions” by looking to Blessed Pedro as an example. “We thought of ‘plus big’ because he didn’t do anything big (before he was martyred),” said Nebrao. “But everything he did became so significant that we know that in our life today, if we do small acts of kindness, small acts of goodness (for) others through the mission, eventually the Lord will magnify that life that you have given and the life that you have lived for Him.”
August 24, 2012
A three-hour tour
f you’re like me, and it’s that flowed through her ... the best if you’re not, but, if Quequechan River. The veneryou are, then you occasionally able Quequechan was named ponder what Heaven is like. by her caretakers, the PokaBeing fully human, my tiny noket Wampanoags, meaning cerebrum can’t wrap itself falling or leaping river. around the thought of pure In her glory years, the bliss. If you ask 10 people for Quequechan began its two-mile their vision of Heaven, you journey at the Watuppa Ponds would likely get 10 versions. to the east, and tumbled its I guess it depends largely on way over eight waterfalls to the what one considers bliss. For me, bliss would be a world with no worries, filled with simple things and simple people. I got a taste of my version of Heaven last weekend, and for a By Dave Jolivet few hours, I relished every moment of it. It was a case of finally seeing “the forest through the trees.” Taunton River, some 130 feet The Jolivet Clan, plus one, below her point of origin. were fortunate enough to get Sitting in the middle of the the chance to hop on a ferry Taunton River last Sunday, I and view our surroundings was able to remove the bridgfrom a perspective reserved es, mills, stores and streets, mostly for those fortunate souls and envision what the Wamwho own pleasure crafts. panoags proudly called home. The boomerang cruise set (Now the Quequechan comsail from the State Pier in Fall pletes her destination through River, down Mount Hope Bay a drain pipe with a couple of into Narragansett Bay, circumwaterfalls hidden in a mill navigating Prudence Island, parking lot.) and back again. Our vessel cruised at just It was slated as a three-hour over nine knots. I could tell tour. The last time I heard that some on board were there priphrase was for a boat called marily for the brunch, and once “The Minnow,” captained by that had been consumed, their The Skipper (not Father Tim, trip was over. For me, it had as some may think), and his just begun. first mate Gilligan. But I wasn’t I hung over the railing, worried about being marooned. wide-eyed as a kid in a candy Hey, it would be time out of store. The warm breeze, the work ... making lemonade from gurgling of the seas against our lemons! chariot, and the gentle rocking No sooner had we churned motion was my idea of Heaven. from the dock, when I saw On our port and starboard my home town in a new light. sides were panoramas of As our water limo drifted changing shorelines: rocky, into open waters, I could see tree-lined, and sand-covered. what once was. Fall River was Again, I was able to blot out aptly named for the waters the homes, factories, roads,
My View From the Stands
This week in 50 years ago — Construction of the new Our Lady of Grace Church in South Chatham began. The new 500-seat structure was expected to be completed in time to accommodate the 1963 Cape Cod summer vacationers. The project was spearheaded by Father John J. Brennan, SS.CC., pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in Chatham. 25 years ago — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in North Falmouth celebrated the paying off of its debt with a mortgage termination ceremony that was attended by Bishop Daniel A. Cronin on a pastoral visit to the Cape Cod church. More than 550 parishioners also attended the event.
jet-skis, and speed-boats. I was able to imagine what a canoe trip on these waters was like. I thought back to a day when the beauties of this region were not taken for granted. Our Native American brothers and sisters embraced these gifts: the waters, the flora, the fauna, and all the bounties they provide. They took only what they needed, and gave back what they could. It was a win-win for man and earth. Those three hours sped by at warped speed. All too soon the ship neared the Fall River shoreline again. Even with all her changes, the old gal looked good from where I was. The steeples of Good Shepherd Church, St. Anne’s Church, and St. Mary’s Cathedral dominated the skyline as we slowly drifted past. And there, on one of the city’s many hills, majestically sat the old Durfee High School, now a courthouse. She looked magnificent, as did the USS Massachusetts at her permanent home docked at Battleship Cove. It’s amazing. I see these sights everyday without a second thought. But seeing them from a different sight-line changes everything. The forest through the trees. It’s difficult to believe that Fall River could be Heaven. But if at the end of time, she could revert back to they way God made her, with the jewel called the Quequechan River freely dancing her way from the Watuppas only to tumble into the sparkling Taunton River flowing into a glorious sunset, I could spend eternity here.
10 years ago — Twenty-six charter members of the newly-formed Cross of Christ Council of the Columbiettes were installed at ceremonies held at St. Bernard’s Church in Assonet. The group is a Catholic women’s organization consisting of the affiliated auxiliaries of the Knights of Columbus. One year ago — The Holy Family Parish Center in East Taunton hosted Catholics from across the diocese for a day-long conference by Father Roger J. Landry entitled “The Good News about Human Love in the Divine Plan: Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.” The six-hour conference touched on contemporary issues facing couples today.
not something you see everyday — The steeples of St. Anne’s Church in Fall River watch over a tugboat moored on the shores of the Taunton River. The photo was taken aboard a boat cruising Mount Hope and Narragansett bays, providing a different perspective. (Photo by Dave Jolivet)
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August 24, 2012
The Anchor is always pleased to run news and photos about our diocesan youth. If schools or parish Religious Education programs, have newsworthy stories and photos they would like to share with our readers, send them to: schools@anchornews. org
soap opera — On a recent rainy summer day students and families of Holy Name School in Fall River came out to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Currently Holy Name has several students battling Type One Diabetes so the families held a car wash/bake sale. Together they raised $485 for JDRF.
summer fun — Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro recently held its annual two-week long Summer Academic Academy for incoming freshmen. More than 100 students chose to participate and enjoyed many opportunities for “learning the ropes” of a new campus including participating in group activities to enhance social interaction, a review of math and English skills, and “survival” skills like how to take notes, use the library, stay motivated, and avoid discipline problems. Top: English teacher Lou Gazzola entertains as he educates one of his Summer Academic Academy classes. Back row from left: Alison DiMartino, Delany Lynch, Dante DeTrolio; middle: Crystal Gladu; and front: Adam Pedro. Bottom: English teach Donna MacPherson surrounded by her class.
August 24, 2012
Asking and listening
was writing a new post for the Catholic Corsairs Blog at www.umassdcatholics.org and realized that the topic I was writing about was one I have discussed with high school students on numerous occasions over the years. So I offer these thoughts, not just to the university I serve, but to all youth and young adults (and anyone else who may benefit from it). About a year ago I came across a flyer from a campus ministry program at another university (I don’t recall what school it was). It began with a statement that read, “You came to an institution of higher learning to grow intellectually. Why are you OK with an eighth-grade knowledge of your faith?” The statement addresses an important aspect of your college experience. Here you will be challenged in many ways. You will learn more things about life, the world and new approaches to
thinking. You will learn to think for other people” (A Generation critically. It can be an excitin Transition: Religion, Values ing time, but at the same time and Politics among College Age a frightening time as you begin Millennials. Public Research to “reassess” what you have Institute, 2012. p. 31). Certainly, always held to be true. Sadly, for we can find examples of Chrissome reason many people do not tians and others not living as the apply the same effort and critical thinking to faith. When this occurs we can come up with such erroneous ideas as “science has disproved religion,” “religion is By Father silly, archaic, controlDavid C. Frederici ling, out of touch, etc.,” or “human reason will provide you with all you need to know.” Gospel has called us to and with A recent survey of millennithe Internet, their numbers may als (those between the ages of 17 seem to be much larger than they and 30) and religion show that are. The tragedy is when in our most millennials find Christians “enlightened” state, we turn from to be hypocritical, judgmenfaith. When this happens, we tal and antigay. Ironically, 76 assume what the Church teaches percent feel Christianity has without actually knowing what good values, and 63 percent the teaching is. When we apply feel Christianity “shows love our intellectual approach to our
New Orleans, La. (CNA) — It was a mission of service, but at its core, it was a mission of faith. More than 200 teens and young adults from across the United States recently traveled to New Orleans with a mission to serve as part of the Catholic Heart Workcamp program. Founded in 1993 by Steve and Lisa Walker of Orlando, Fla., Catholic Heart Workcamp is celebrating its 20th anniversary. What began as one camp with about 100 participants has evolved into 47 camps with more than 11,000 teen participants committing themselves to service. This year’s local camp was stationed at St. Clement of Rome in Metairie, La. where the teens slept in classrooms and showered outside in makeshift stations constructed of tarps, PVC pipes and hoses. This youth-friendly camp is intended to empower teen-agers to share and experience God’s love while helping those in need. Janeen Rodrigue has been the manager of the camp in the Archdiocese of New Orleans for the last 17 years, and she described Catholic Heart Workcamp as a way for teens “to live out their baptismal call to serve.” Rodrigue coordinated all of the work sites for the week. This year, the campers served with Habitat for Humanity, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Ozanam Inn and several other organizations. Many teens also worked at the homes of individuals or families. “Service can be seen anywhere,” said Katie Endelicato, team captain in New Orleans. “We work in any community that is in need,” One
group of teen-agers assisted Violet, a single mother with six children, two of whom are autistic. “She was struggling to do work around her house,” adult group leader Mickie Mason said. “We painted her kitchen cupboards and walls. We washed her windows and scrubbed floors. We just kept asking what else we could do.” Because most of Violet’s time is spent taking care of her autistic children, the group also spent time playing games and interacting with the other children. During the group testimonies, Violet said, “You are all angels. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a witness to my children and for making my house into a beautiful home. You’ve brought the Kingdom of God here without even saying a word.” Similar words of humble gratitude were expressed as more testimonies were shared. Endelicato said, “When you hear the residents talking about their experiences of this week, it really clarifies what Catholic Heart Workcamp is.” The mission of the camp is two-fold: to share the love of Jesus through serving others and to foster the spiritual growth of each participant through the Sacraments, Catholic faith-sharing, and prayer. “Prayer and the Sacraments are at the heart of the camp,” Rodrigue said. While many other Christian camps dedicated to service can be found throughout the country, this camp features elements that are uniquely Catholic. Every morning begins with Mass, and there are also designated times throughout
Be Not Afraid
Workcamp leads teens to Christ through service
the week for the Rosary, Reconciliation and eucharistic adoration. “This is a service-based camp, but it is first and foremost a Christcentered camp,” Father Norman Fischer, camp chaplain, said. The director of this year’s camp, Lauren Kowalik, said, “We hope the campers make that connection between their service and our faith. We hope they understand why it’s so important.” Ty Taylor, a 19-year-old veteran camper, acknowledged this camp had been spiritually beneficial. “Workcamp is an awesome, faith-filled, fun experience,” he said. “Here you can understand why you need to serve. You get thrown right into a situation where you really need to be the hands and feet of Christ and give everything you have to help other people. We don’t always get to see that in everyday life.” Catholic Heart Workcamp is designed to build servant hearts in its participants for more than just a week; it operates in hopes of giving teens the encouragement and support necessary to serve for a lifetime. “After camp ends, you’re still living to give,” Endelicato said. Collectively, the campers, adults and staff of this year’s work camp have been more than happy to give back to the city of New Orleans. “The people here are so appreciative,” Mason said. “There is such a welcoming spirit in this city.” At the end of the program, Rodrigue thanked the workers and quoted Blessed Mother Teresa: “We cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
assumptions, it is no wonder that we reach a conclusion about Christianity that is different than what Christianity is actually about. This is tragic because the intellect has told us since the ancient Greeks that the human person is a unity of body, mind and spirit. Our drive as human beings is to feed our desire for joy, love and fulfillment. This occurs when we take time to learn more about ourselves, our gifts and talents, who we are and what our purpose for being here is. This includes study of such things as philosophy, science and religion, taking time for beauty and goodness and time for spiritual nourishment and growth. If you remove religion from the mix, you enter the journey incomplete. You may experience moments of spiritual awakening (after all, truth, goodness and beauty have their source in God), but these will still be incomplete over time. We owe it to ourselves, to others and to God to include faith in our development as healthy human beings. An important foundation for understanding Catholic theology (after the Scriptures) is philosophy, the “love of wisdom.” In the Old Testament, Solomon is praised not for seeking power or wealth, but for seeking an “un-
derstanding heart” (1 Kings 3:9). Wisdom fuels us in our journey for completeness. Justice, peace and happiness are only possible when we understand who we are and live accordingly. This does not mean that growing in faith is a walk in the park. We will struggle at times to understand God and His teaching. This journey is at times challenging and time consuming, as is any type of meaningful growth we experience (Exhibit A: the teen-age years!). Faith and religion do not take away the problems and stresses you will face in life, but it will provide you with the stability to persevere through those trials, a perseverance that leads to something better. Growing in faith, like growing in knowledge in science, philosophy, etc., involves asking questions, sometimes tough questions. But in order for us to grow, it also involves listening for the answer and engaging in discussion about that answer. It involves being open to the possibility that I may be wrong. It involves the realization that I am not alone in this life long process. The family of faith, the Church, is there to support me, to help me in my journey of understanding, at times to challenge me and at all times to love me and keep me connected to God’s love. Father Frederici is chaplain at UMass-Dartmouth.
August 24, 2012
Johnnette Benkovic in Acushnet Sunday
Hospital ministry: The calm within the storm
en of Grace has worked to inform, instruct and inspire women through its many outreaches including Women of Grace radio and television programs, the Women of Grace Study Program, the Benedicta Leadership Institute for Women, life-changing conferences and retreats, and a dynamic new, interactive website. This multi-faceted approach has helped Women of Grace achieve its mission by encouraging every woman to discover how her feminine nature holds the key to real fulfillment and lasting peace. “It’s gratifying to me to realize that in the 21st century, woman is God’s secret weapon,” Benkovic said. “When we look at our Mother Mary and we realize her role in the salvation of the world, we recognize that for women that is our calling as well: to bring Jesus Christ wherever we go. God is asking women to bring Jesus Christ to the world and the world to Jesus Christ. When we look at that as our reality, we realize that every woman at every stage of life has this fundamental calling by virtue of her femininity.” After years of being a nonpracticing Catholic, Benkovic experienced a deep conversion back to her Catholic faith in 1981 and discerned a call to share the Gospel message through the media. She has been a consistent presence in Catholic radio since 1987 and in Catholic television since 1988. “I have a conviction — that we are living in one of the most exciting times in the history of the Church,” she said. “There’s never been a time when we’ve had so much opportunity for good and, conversely, so much opportunity for evil. We’re living in an unprecedented time and I believe that God is giving us unprecedented grace with the challenges of today. “I think it’s our job to meet those challenges and, through the grace of God, practice heroic virtue. I think women today will be purified, will be sanctified and will be raised up by God, in conjunction with our Blessed Lady, to really save the world.” Benkovic said as Catholics we are all called to the New Evangelization and we have a responsibility to promote and proclaim the Word of God. “In 1976 the future Pope John Paul II came here to address the American bishops and he told them we are now facing the greatest historical confrontation — between the Gospel and the antiGospel, between the Church and the anti-Church,” she said. “Our God is all about the business of establishing His Kingdom and
Eight years ago, Deacon Gregory Beckel of Christ the King Parish in Mashpee was looking for a focal point for his ministry. Starting at Falmouth Hospital as an interfaith chaplain, he now spends three days a week attending to patients at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis and said it’s one of the most fulfilling things he’s ever done. “I find the hospital a place of hope; people hope to get better and get out of the hospital. Even when someone is dying, often it brings families together who have been separated for a long time for whatever reasons. The family comes back and supports one another,” said Deacon Beckel, who said his role is “to be there to provide compassion, prayers, answer questions, and mainly just to listen. I remember when I started this, I was afraid that I wouldn’t know what to say to people. I find that just going in to be there and listen is the most important thing that I do.” According to Deacon Beckel, more than 80 volunteers are part of the ministry at the hospital, including extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and he spends his mornings making up the volunteer schedule. He said that one of the most common challenges is to deal with the wide variety of Catholics — from those who don’t attend church, occasionally attend church, or are devout — and how to meet each patient’s needs. “I think it’s one of things; how to deal with everyone,” he said. “I find that the hospital is a place where people have a lot of time to think and it may be the first time they’ve dealt with their own mortality. They start thinking about the things that are important to them, like family and their religion. It’s an opportunity to bring people back to the Church.” Often those who are being ministered to while in the hospital are inspired to return to become ministers themselves. Deacon Beckel related a story of a woman who had open-heart surgery and spent two months in the hospital. Six months after being discharged she was back, not as a patient but as a extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; “She absolutely loved going to people, bringing the Eucharist to them, and listening to their stories,” he said. Denise Benjamin also found support from the ministry when her mother was dying 13 years ago. As she cared for her mother, she said the experience ignited a fire within her. “It was definitely an inner
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always has been. And He establishes that Kingdom through you, through me, through all of us together by virtue of putting up the Church. We know we’re on the winning team, we just need to get in there and play the game and face the battle; and we can do all things through Christ Jesus.” Using media tools such as radio, television and the Internet to spread the Gospel, Benkovic keeps busy as executive producer of “The Abundant Life,” a television program aired on EWTN that discusses contemporary issues from a Catholic perspective. She is also host of “Women of Grace Live,” a one-hour call-in radio talk show that airs live five times a week. “I have a daily radio show on EWTN Radio and the ‘Women of Grace’ television show airs Monday through Friday at 11 a.m., which ironically is the same time that our radio show begins, so I’m competing against myself,” she said, laughing. Benkovic is also the author of several books including “Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life,” “Grace-Filled Moments,” “Living Life Abundantly: Stories of People Who Have Encountered God,” “Experience Grace in Abundance: Strategies For Your Spiritual Life” and “The New Age Counterfeit.” Benkovic will be in good company this weekend as she joins the more than 50 members of the Women of Grace group that was recently formed at St. Francis Xavier Parish. This vibrant and active Acushnet apostolate is one of the largest of its kind as most Women of Grace groups claim about a dozen members. “I’m so excited, especially for women today, who can certainly enter into a very Marian perspective of the situation at hand,” Benkovic said. “They are willing to use the gift of their womanhood to play an active role in the Church.” “God has a message for His daughters and I am privileged to be the person to be able to share that message with the women of the Diocese of Fall River in Acushnet,” she added. A Day With Johnnette Benkovic, sponsored by the Women of Grace group at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet, will take place Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier School, 223 Main Street in Acushnet. For more information call 508-995-7600. For more information about Johnnette Benkovic or Women of Grace, visit www. johnnettebenkovic.com or www. womenofgrace.com.
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calling. After she died it was sad but there was something very heartwarming about the experience with Hospice. She died at home with her family with dignity and love. I really had this desire to be a volunteer,” said Benjamin, adding that seeing her mother, a devout Catholic, embrace her faith allowed Benjamin to rekindle her own. “I really began to encounter Christ through my mother. I was experiencing, through my mother, encountering God. After she passed, I knew there was something there I was being called to.” She added, “It says in Scripture that when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. I really had to go through my own transformation. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do.” Benjamin began as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at St. Luke’s Hospital, and then became a fulltime assistant chaplain in 2008. While some days are easier than others, the day before this interview took place had Benjamin stretched to the maximum. “I had so many people in crisis and meltdowns. Trying to spend time with them while being paged — some days when we’re shorthanded and you’re all things to all people, that can be a little challenging,” she said. “That’s when I can really appreciate what God has done for me and in me. When I have a challenging day, I have had to learn to have total reliance on God. When I reach my limit, He is so much greater. I always have an interior dialogue going on with the Lord. I have my heart with God, and it’s so easy to reach out to people.” Patients often express more emotions to chaplains, saying they’re easier to talk to than family members. Once, Benjamin walked into a patient’s room right after the patient received difficult news regarding her illness. While offering prayer and support, the woman told Benjamin, “‘you gave me what no doctor could — you gave me peace,’” she recalled. “That affirms to me that because I’m working on my relationship with God, I’m the open vessel. God is present in those encounters; it’s a beautiful ministry.” Father David Deston is only six weeks into his chaplaincy at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River and as he adjusts to the pacing that is different from parish life, he said he hopes he’s “bringing spiritual comfort and solace. Not everyone I meet is at death’s door, but in emergency situations I try to bring the Sac-
raments and peace and comfort that Christ offers.” Working alongside Father Deston is Sister Lucille Socciarelli, R.S.M., who has been at Charlton Memorial since 1991. Working part-time, she shares her ministry duties with the director of pastoral care, Sister Mary Roberta O’Connell, F.C.J., and lay woman, Janice Hart. While priests administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and deacons convey a sense of comfort, Sister Lucille feels that women in the hospital ministry bring their own unique contributions to the patients. “I feel everybody brings their gifts,” said Sister Lucille. “I believe we women have the special gift of compassion and understanding. I truly believe there’s more to healing than the quieting of pain.” Sometimes it’s the staff of the hospital that needs comfort more than the patients, as Father Thibault found out last Thanksgiving when two infant deaths affected everyone in the hospital. “Everyone felt it, two little children lost their lives. Those are the most heart-wrenching and there are no words. In seminary, they tell you about this ‘ministry of presence.’ Hold someone’s hand, to cry with someone; it’s just a natural response,” he said. “A lot of stuff I do is so formal, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty you deal with real, intense sadness. That’s when you have a greater appreciation for the suffering of Jesus and you realize you’re there not to say anything, but just be there.” Having a person present is not always easy and being shorthanded is one of the challenges that hospital ministry faces, said Father Thibault. Currently there are two hospitals within the diocese that have no full-time priests available, a troubling situation since priests are the only individuals allowed to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Father Thibault said that a transition is underway in the diocese. “The writing is on the wall,” he said. “This is going to be more of a parish priest ministry.” His experiences in hospital ministry, like what he saw this past Thanksgiving, have made him more appreciative of what he has been given in his own life. “You have to take the good and the bad,” said Father Thibault. “Jesus was in the business of healing and the Church has to do the same. That’s what we do as a Church, participate in that healing mission.”
August 24, 2012
Eucharistic Adoration in the Diocese
Acushnet — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Francis Xavier Parish on Monday and Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Evening prayer and Benediction is held Monday through Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ATTLEBORO — The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette holds eucharistic adoration in the Shrine Church every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. through November 17. ATTLEBORO — St. Joseph Church holds eucharistic adoration in the Adoration Chapel located at the (south) side entrance at 208 South Main Street, Sunday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Brewster — Eucharistic adoration takes place in the La Salette Chapel in the lower level of Our Lady of the Cape Church, 468 Stony Brook Road, on First Fridays beginning at noon until 7:45 a.m. First Saturday, concluding with Benediction and concluding with Mass at 8 a.m. buzzards Bay — Eucharistic 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 Freetown — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. John Neumann Church every Monday (excluding legal holidays) 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Our Lady, Mother of All Nations Chapel. (The base of the bell tower). East Sandwich — The Corpus Christi Parish Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 324 Quaker Meeting House Road, East Sandwich. Use the Chapel entrance on the side of the church. EAST TAUNTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place in the chapel at Holy Family Parish Center, 438 Middleboro Avenue, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. On First Fridays, eucharistic adoration takes place at Holy Family Church, 370 Middleboro Avenue, from 8:30 a.m. until 7:45 p.m. FAIRHAVEN — St. Mary’s Church, Main St., has eucharistic adoration every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Chapel of Reconciliation, with Benediction at noon. Also, there is a First Friday Mass each month at 7 p.m., followed by a Holy Hour with eucharistic adoration. Refreshments follow. Fall River — Espirito Santo Parish, 311 Alden Street, Fall River. Eucharistic adoration on Mondays following the 8 a.m. Mass until Rosary and Benediction at 6:30 p.m. FALL RIVER — St. Bernadette’s Church, 529 Eastern Ave., has eucharistic adoration on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the chapel. FALL RIVER — St. Anthony of the Desert Church, 300 North Eastern Avenue, has eucharistic adoration Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. FALL RIVER — Holy Name Church, 709 Hanover Street, has eucharistic adoration Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Our Lady of Grace Chapel. FALL RIVER — Good Shepherd Parish has eucharistic adoration every Friday following the 8 a.m. Mass until 6 p.m. in the Daily Mass Chapel. There is a bilingual Holy Hour in English and Portuguese from 5-6 p.m. Park behind the church and enter the back door of the connector between the church and the rectory. Falmouth — St. Patrick’s Church has eucharistic adoration each First Friday, following the 9 a.m. Mass until Benediction at 4:30 p.m. The Rosary is recited Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. HYANNIS — A Holy Hour with eucharistic adoration will take place each First Friday at St. Francis Xavier Church, 347 South Street, beginning immediately after the 12:10 p.m. Mass and ending with adoration at 4 p.m. MASHPEE — Christ the King Parish, Route 151 and Job’s Fishing Road has 8:30 a.m. Mass every First Friday with special intentions for Respect Life, followed by 24 hours of eucharistic adoration in the Chapel, concluding with Benediction Saturday morning followed immediately by an 8:30 Mass. 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. Please use the side entrance. 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. NEW BEDFORD — St. Lawrence Martyr Parish, 565 County Street, holds eucharistic adoration in the side chapel every Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. NORTH DARTMOUTH — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Julie Billiart Church, 494 Slocum Road, every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m., ending with Benediction. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available at this time. NORTH DIGHTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place every First Friday at St. Nicholas of Myra Church, 499 Spring Street following the 8 a.m. Mass, ending with Benediction at 6 p.m. The Rosary is recited Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 8 a.m. OSTERVILLE — Eucharistic adoration takes place at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 76 Wianno Avenue on First Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and every Friday from noon to 5 p.m., with Benediction at 5 p.m. SEEKONK — Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish has eucharistic adoration seven days a week, 24 hours a day in the chapel at 984 Taunton Avenue. For information call 508336-5549. 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. WAREHAM — Every First Friday, eucharistic adoration takes place from 8:30 a.m. through Benediction at 5:30 p.m. Morning prayer is prayed at 9; the Angelus at noon; the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m.; and Evening Prayer at 5 p.m. WEST HARWICH — Our Lady of Life Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Holy Trinity Parish, 246 Main Street (Rte. 28), holds perpetual eucharistic adoration. We are a regional chapel serving all of the surrounding parishes. All from other parishes are invited to sign up to cover open hours. For open hours, or to sign up call 508-430-4716. WOODS HOLE — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Joseph’s Church, 33 Millfield Street, year-round on weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No adoration on Sundays, Wednesdays, and holidays. For information call 508-274-5435.
The Anchor Ann E. Callanan, sister of Msgr. Thomas J. Harrington
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Ann E. (Harrington) Callanan, 83, of Dartmouth died August 16 at EPOCH Senior Living in Providence. She was the wife of the late John J. Callanan. Born in New Bedford, the daughter of the late Edward J. and Esther (Yates) Harrington, she lived in New Bedford most of her life before moving to Dartmouth in 1996. She was a communicant of St. Mary’s Church in South Dartmouth and a former communicant of St. James Church where she served as a special minister of Holy Communion to the sick, and also at the Oaks Nursing Home through Pastoral Care of St. Luke’s Hospital. She was the recipient of the Marian Medal of the Fall River Diocese in 2002. Mrs. Callanan was formerly employed as a teacher for 23 years before retiring in 1990 from the Thomas R. Rodman School where she taught kindergarten. She was a member of the Catholic Woman’s Club and St. Luke’s Hospital Auxiliary. Mrs. Callanan was a graduate of Holy Family High School and Regis College. Survivors include two daughters, Dr. Mary McCabe of Pawtucket, R.I., and Elizabeth Matteodo of Framingham; her son, Joseph Callanan and his wife Pamela of Acushnet; four grandchildren; a brother, Msgr. Thomas J. Harrington of Fall River; two sisters, Mary Cain of Melrose and Esther Gillis of Katy, Texas; and many nieces and nephews. She was the sister of the late Atty. Edward J. Harrington Jr. Her Funeral Mass was August
In Your Prayers Please pray for these priests during the coming weeks Aug. 25 Rev. Joseph F. Hanna, C.S.C., Founder, Holy Cross, South Easton, 1974 Rev. Thomas E. Lawton, C.S.C., 2002 Aug. 27 Rt. Rev. Francisco C. Bettencourt, Pastor, Santo Christo, Fall River, 1960 Rev. Msgr. Hugh A. Gallagher, P. A., Retired Pastor, St. James, New Bedford, 1978 Rev. James E. Tobin, C.S.C., Missionary and Teacher, 2008 Aug. 29 Rev. Joseph DeVillandre, D.D., Founder, Sacred Heart, North Attleboro, 1921 Msgr. William H. Harrington, Retired Pastor, Holy Name, Fall River, 1975 Aug. 30 Rev. Frederick Meyers, SS.CC., Former Pastor, Our Lady of the Assumption, New Bedford, 2008 Aug. 31 Msgr. Armando A. Annunziato, Pastor, St. Mary, Mansfield, 1993 Rev. Thomas M. Landry, O.P., Former Pastor, St. Anne, Fall River, 1996
20 at St. Mary’s Church. Burial followed at St. Mary’s Cemetery. Remembrances may be made to
Alzheimer’s Disease Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, P.O. Box 1950, Clarksburg, Md. 20871.
Around the Diocese 8/31
A local screening of the acclaimed documentary film “The Sojourners” will be shown at the Riverview Lund Theatre, 551 Route 6A in East Sandwich, on August 31. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Steven Scaffidi, “The Sojourners” tells the story about a father and son who journey to the other side of the world in search of understanding of one of the most mysterious places on earth — Medjugorje, where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is said to be appearing in modern times. This family-friendly event is open to the public. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the screening will begin at 7 p.m. Afterwards, there will be a film festival style Q&A with the film’s producer/director. For more information or advance tickets email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-888-0209, or visit www.thesojournersmovie.com.
A Day With Mary will be held on September 1 at St. Francis Xavier Church, 125 Main Street in Acushnet. It will include a video presentation, procession and crowning of the Blessed Mother, along with Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for reconciliation. There is a bookstore available during breaks. For more information call 508-996-8274.
The Lazarus Ministry of Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster is offering a six-week bereavement support program called “Come Walk With Me” that begins September 6 and runs through October 11 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The program meets at the parish center and is designed for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one within the past year. Pre-registration is required. Contact Happy Whitman at 508-3853252 or Eileen Birch at 508-394-0616 for more information.
“What is Healing through Jesus all about? What is real and what is not? Come to the September monthly meeting of the St. Margaret/ St. Mary Women’s Guild at the Knight’s of Columbus Hall in Buzzards Bay on September 6 at 1:30 p.m. Speaking about miracles received from Jesus will be 97-year-old Mary Vieira Rose and her daughter, a retired registered nurse. They will give you contact information for you to evaluate on your own. It is real when they humbly speak of Jesus’s intervention on their behalf with pure honesty.
Courage, a welcoming support group for Catholics wounded by same-sex attraction who gather to seek God’s wisdom, mercy and love, will next meet on September 7 at 7 p.m. For location information please call Father Richard Wilson at 508-226-1115.
St. Mark’s Parish on Stanley Street in Attleboro Falls will host its annual fair on September 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will include a wide variety of activities, music and food, with DJ Nate Adams providing lively music. Food will include hot dogs and hamburgers, doughboys, chowder and clam cakes, pizza, pastries, and ice cream sundaes. There will also be outdoor game booths, a moon walk and train ride. All are welcome to this traditional “end of summer” event.
The Cape and Islands Prayer Group Deanery will host a New Age Conference at Corpus Christi Parish Hall, East Sandwich, on September 29 and 30. Conference speakers Moira Noonan and Susan Brinkmann will compare Catholic teaching with New Age beliefs during Saturday’s sessions and on Sunday will consider the effect of Avitar, Wicca, vampires and the like on the faith of our youth. There is no charge for the conference. Lunch which will be provided on Saturday for those who preregister. Saturday’s session runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Sunday’s session runs from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information or to pre-register, call Pam at 508759-2737 or Pat at 508-349-1641.
A Healing Mass and blessing with St. André Bessette’s Relic and anointing with St. Joseph Oil will be held at the Father Peyton Center, 500 Washington Street, in Easton on October 6 in French and on October 7 in English from 1 to 4 p.m. both days. St. André was known as the “wonder worker” for healing thousands of the faithful at the St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal. More than two million people visit his shrine each year. St. André’s relic will be available for blessings and veneration. The relic is made up of particles of St. André’s heart and presented in a glass vial. The afternoon will include procession, Rosary prayer, anointing, blessing and Eucharist. For more information call Holy Cross Family Ministries at 508-238-4095 or visit www.familyrosary.org/events.
August 24, 2012
Mentally impaired child arrested under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNA/EWTN News) — A young girl who suffers from Down’s Syndrome has been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly burning a page from the Quran and could face the death penalty. Police confirmed that they arrested a young girl named
Rimsha Masih on August 16 at the urging of neighbors who claim they saw her burning pages of the book outside her home, according to Vatican Radio. Some reports describe the girl from Islamabad as a teenager, while others say she could be as young as 11 years old.
A police officer said that had they not reacted quickly, the girl could have been seriously harmed by the hundreds of angry neighbors outside her home. The alleged offense has sparked religious tension resulting in the flight of many Christians from the area. Parvez Iqbal, president of the Holland Chapter of the Pakistan Christian Congress has condemned the arrest and called for the Rimsha’s release. In a January 2011 interview with CNA, then-Archbishop of Lahore Lawrence Saladanha said that Pakistanis “face a dark future, if the radicals take over power and impose their brand of the Islamic way of life.” “It is time for the ‘silent majority’ to wake up and take action. Otherwise, they will be pushed back into the dark shadows of medieval times,” he said. According to the anti-blasphemy laws of Pakistan, anyone found guilty of defaming the Prophet Muhammad or the Quran can be punished by death. “The illiterate people are under the influence of the narrow, literalist interpretation of ultra-conservative Islam,” Archbishop Saladanha said. Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has reportedly taken “serious note” of the arrest of Rimsha and has called on the Interior Ministry to look into the case. President Zardari and his administration have come under criticism for failing to reform the rule despite high profile applications of the law in recent years. In 2010, Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old Christian mother of four, was sentenced to death by hanging after being convicted of blasphemy against Muhammad. Bibi has said that she is being persecuted for defending her faith to Muslim co-workers who said Christianity was a “false religion.” Pope Benedict XVI called for her release during a Nov. 17, 2010 general audience, saying that she should be granted “complete freedom … as soon as possible.” But Bibi remains in prison.
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Published on Aug 28, 2012