Diocese of Fall River
F riday , September 19, 2008
‘Visibility’ key to success of high school priest chaplains
By Deacon James N. Dunbar
TAUNTON — Being chaplain to students at Catholic high schools in the diocese is not much different from parish work in the sense that in great part it can be a waiting game. “Developing a sense of when to be aggressive and when to sit back and wait patiently to be approached is one of the great challenges in being a chaplain to high school students, which I enjoy so very much,” said Father Kevin A. Cook, chaplain at Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton. “In great part it’s the visibility — being there among them — that is important, so that when the time comes and they want to come to you, you’re there,” he added.
The Anchor also talked to Father Thomas E. Costa, chaplain at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, and Father Jay Mello, chaplain at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth. Although “freshmen” in their first ministry to students, Fathers Costa and Mello concurred that “hanging out” with students especially at games, practices and other athletic events in the afterschool hours is most productive in getting to know them, their needs, and what must be done to become more effective in making them prayerful, faithful, responsible and practicing Catholics. “I found out that it takes a lot of energy to be a campus chaplain,” Turn to page 15
THAT’S A WRAP — John E. Kearns Jr., diocesan director of Communications, discusses the taping of a meditation session with Ellen McCloskey, assistant director of the Digital Media Office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, at the Media Image Production studio in Fairhaven last week. Several clergy and lay representatives, including Bishop George W. Coleman, taped meditations for daily readings to appear on the U.S. bishops’ Website, www.ccc-tv.org. Shown on the monitor is Claire McManus, diocesan director of Faith Formation. (Photo by Dave Jolivet)
Brief, daily meditations and reflections are just ‘a click away’ By Dave Jolivet, Editor
FAIRHAVEN — As Deacon Robert G.L. Normandin of St. Louis de France Parish in Swansea put it, a simple, inspirational two- or three-minute reflection on daily Scripture readings is “only a click away.” The deacon was referring to the Website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, www.ccc-tv. org, where Web surfers can find a text version of the daily readings as well as a video and audio reflection for that day. Ellen McCloskey, assistant director of the Digital Media Office of the USCCB, was in the area last week, supervising the taping sessions of several representaVISITING THE IMPRISONED — Replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe ending a 16-day prayer tour of the Fall River Diocese was venerated by more than 25 women inmates at the Bristol County House of Correction on September 9, who also attended a Mass and recited the rosary. From left, Sister Aloka of the Missionaries of Charity in New Bedford, who ministers to the inmates; James Rioux, coordinator of volunteer services at the correction facility; Father Kevin A. Cook of the Vocations Office who celebrated the Mass; and Missionary of Charity Sister Carmelina, also of the New Bedford convent. The image was taken to the facility by Pro-Life Apostolate Director Marian Desrosiers and Assistant Director Jean Arsenault, whose office hosted the tour. (Photo courtesy of Marian Desrosiers).
tives from the Diocese of Fall River, who will be seen and heard offering their meditations on the Website in the coming months. “Ellen approached me and asked if the diocese would consider becoming part of the online venture,” said John E. Kearns Jr., diocesan director of Communications. “I presented the idea to Bishop George W. Coleman, and he was pleased to comply with the request.” Several individuals from the diocese agreed to offer their input, including Bishop Coleman, Msgrs. John J. Oliveira and Gerard P. O’Connor, Fathers Gregory A. Turn to page 18
For these loyal ladies, attending televised Mass is a gift to others
By Michael Pare Anchor Staff
NORTH DARTMOUTH — It may have been a Saturday morning, but the ladies wore their Sunday best. They always do. The occasion is weekly Mass. On this Saturday morning in September the venue is the chapel on the campus of Bishop Stang High School. It is where the diocese’s Television Apostolate most often tapes the Mass shown Sundays at 11 a.m. on the Providence-based WLNE Channel 6. Channel 6 has been carrying the diocesan televised Mass since 1963, according to John E. Kearns Jr., director of the diocese’s Communications Office.
“Their commitment has not wavered all these years,” he said. Msgr. Stephen J. Avila, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Mansfield, has for the past two decades served as director of the diocese’s Television Apostolate. Msgr. Avila said the diocese’s televised Mass is among the longest running in the country. “In the beginning it was shot in black and white and the vestments had to be blue,” he recalls. The televised Mass is funded through an annual collection in January, as well as by the Catholic Charities Appeal. At the Bishop Stang chapel, a pair of cameramen set up three WLNE cameras. Two are hand-
operated and focus on the altar, while the third is stationary and focuses on the organ in the rear of the chapel. Kearns assists in the production, helping to ensure that Mass goes off without a hitch and within the time constraints of television. Most Saturdays, the crew tapes two Masses. Priests from throughout the diocese are invited to celebrate. They often bring along a few parishioners and sometimes the organist or vocalist. But the key to the production, said Kearns, is the group of loyal ladies from the Fall River Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. More than a dozen of them are Turn to page 11
News From the Vatican
September 19, 2008
St. Paul alive: Scholars tell how his Christian teaching applies now
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — By proclaiming a year dedicated to St. Paul, Pope Benedict XVI has brought attention to a figure who often has been off the Church’s radar. One noted U.S. Scripture scholar said most priests think preaching the Gospel means focusing on Jesus’ biography as recounted by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This has meant St. Paul’s letters usually got “lip service” by most preachers and scholars, Father Raymond F. Collins told Catholic News Service. Compounding the problem was that Martin Luther, the 16thcentury leader of the Protestant Reformation, drew heavily upon St. Paul’s letters to the Romans and Galatians. This led many Catholics to feel Scripture was “Protestant” and St. Paul’s letters were “dangerous,” said Father Collins. As a result, the Apostle’s teachings “didn’t really enter into our Catholic thinking,” although in recent years the Apostle’s letters have been getting more attention from Catholic scholars and theologians, he said. Father Collins, a New Testament scholar retired from The Catholic University of America in Washington, was one of 30 international experts who attended a weeklong Pauline symposium at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in early September. The St. Paul’s Colloquium is an ecumenical initiative sponsored by the basilica’s Benedictine community. Participants have been meeting every two years since 1968. U.S. Lutheran and New Testament scholar Karl Donfried, a symposium participant, told CNS that the saint’s life and teachings are timely examples of dealing with a secularized world and healing a divided Christianity. He said there is “a remarkable parallel” between the multicultural, secularized societies of today and the complex, pagan world of St. Paul. Despite enormous challenges, St. Paul was “always proclaiming the Gospel — the good news of
what God has done for us in Jesus Christ — in a very specific situation that is always complex, controverted and difficult,” said the retired professor of religion at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Father Collins said St. Paul was “a pathfinder,” showing today’s disciples that they need to find new ways to translate the Gospel message into different cultures and generational divides. The Pauline year also is meant to focus on the saint’s call for Christian unity, and Father Collins and Donfried said St. Paul plays a significant role in fostering ecumenism. The Jewish-born apostle tried to strip away superficial, cultural baggage and drive his audience back to the central questions for all Christians about the Gospel, Jesus and what it means “to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into a new life and not be conformed to the world,” he said. The problems preventing full unity 2,000 years later are similar, he said. “Throughout the history of the Church there are cultural ideologies ... that people easily adapt to; they become a kind of ‘cultural Christian’ insofar as they have a superficial understanding of the Gospel and the Church,” Donfried said. When people become driven and motivated only by their culture, they risk drowning out Christ’s power to transform, he said. He said the current fixation on social justice or the “political agenda of good works” is obscuring God’s true message and impoverishing spirituality. Churches and the faithful should not be looking to see whether the Democratic or Republican parties resonate more with their beliefs; rather they should be asking, “How does Jesus Christ transform my understanding of the political, social or cultural” world, Donfried said. While Christians must be concerned about rectifying injustices, he said, they first must be “transformed and informed” by Jesus, who gives people courage. OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER Vol. 52, No. 35
Member: Catholic Press Association, Catholic News Service
Published weekly except for two weeks in the summer and the week after Christmas by the Catholic Press of the Diocese of Fall River, 887 Highland Avenue, Fall River, MA 02720, Telephone 508-675-7151 — FAX 508-675-7048, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscription price by mail, postpaid $14.00 per year. Send address changes to P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA, call or use email address
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AHEAD OF HIS TIME — A man dressed as a Roman centurion takes pictures before Pope Benedict XVI arrives for a recent weekly general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)
Pope nominates more women than ever to Synod of Bishops on Bible
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
— Bruna Costacurta, an Italian professor of Old Testament theology at the Gregorian; VATICAN CITY — Choos— Marguerite Lena, a profesing men and women from every sor of philosophy in Paris and part of the world and from a wide director of theological formavariety of professional spheres, tion for young adults at Paris’ St. Pope Benedict XVI nominated Francis Xavier Community; 32 voting members, 41 experts — Sister Mary Jerome Obioand 37 observers for the upcomrah, a member of the Sisters of ing world Synod of Bishops. the Immaculate Heart of Mary The nomination of six female and professor of sacred Scripture scholars as experts and of 19 at the University of Nigeria and women as observers will give the at the major seminary of October 5-26 Synod of Bishops on the Bible the ike their male counterparts, the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria; and. largest bloc of women most of the women observers — Trappist Sister Gerever participating in a are professors or leaders of relimana Strola, a member Catholic synod. of the monastery at VitorThe 32 clerics Pope gious orders, Bible-based Catholic chiano, Italy. Benedict named as full Pope Benedict also members of the synod lay movements or large Catholic ornamed 19 women to be will join about 180 bish- ganizations. among the 37 synod obops who were elected by servers; the observers attheir national bishops’ tend all synod sessions, participate life of the Church, look at the conferences, 10 priests elected in the synod working groups and Bible’s role in Catholic prayer by the Union of Superiors Generare given an opportunity to address and liturgy, evaluate its role in al and about two dozen cardinals and archbishops, heads of Vati- ecumenical and interreligious the entire synod assembly. Like their male counterparts, can congregations and councils, relations, and discuss ways to most of the women observers are improve biblical literacy at every who automatically are members professors or leaders of religious level of the Church. of the synod. orders, Bible-based Catholic lay The six women named experts The papal nominees include movements or large Catholic orare: 18 cardinals, 12 of whom head ganizations. — Sister Sara Butler, a profesdioceses. Among them are CarThe Vatican has yet to pubdinals Marc Ouellet of Quebec, sor of dogmatic theology at St. lish the names of the “fraternal Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, George Pell of Sydney, Austradelegates,” the representatives N.Y. A member of the Missionlia, and Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of of other Christian churches and ary Servants of the Most Blessed Hong Kong. communities who attend the synTrinity, Sister Butler was one of The bishops the pope nomiods and are given an opportunity two women Pope John Paul II nated come from Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. They in- named to the International Theo- to address the assembly. A Vatican official said about 15 clude Bishop Jose Lai Hung- logical Commission in 2004; fraternal delegates would attend; — Spanish Sister Nuria Calseng of Macau. in addition, he said, Rabbi Shear duch-Benages, a professor of the Pope Benedict also named Yashuv Cohen, the chief rabbi of biblical theology of the Old Tesas full synod members: Bishop Haifa, Israel, would be a special tament at Rome’s Pontifical GreJavier Echevarria Rodriguez, guest and lead a discussion for gorian University and a member head of the personal prelature synod members on the Jewish inof the Missionary Daughters of of Opus Dei; Father Adolfo Niterpretation of the Scriptures. the Holy Family of Nazareth; colas, superior general of the Je-
suits; and Father Julian Carron, president of the Communion and Liberation movement. The voting members of the synod can address the entire gathering, and they determine the propositions to be presented to the pope at the end of the gathering. The 41 experts will serve as resource people for the synod members as they discuss the importance of the Scriptures in the
September 19, 2008
The International Church
Thousands of sick flock to Lourdes to be with pope and pray to Mary By John Thavis Catholic News Service
PRAYING FOR HELP — Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass in front of the Basilica of Bonaria during a pastoral visit to Cagliari, Sardinia. The pope offered prayers and requested international aid for the people of Haiti, who were battered by four hurricanes in the space of three weeks. (CNS photo/ Tony Gentile, Reuters)
Pope prays for Haitians as they battle to survive series of storms
CAGLIARI, Sardinia (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI offered prayers and requested international aid for the people of Haiti, battered by four September hurricanes in the space of three weeks. Speaking during a visit to the Italian island of Sardinia, the pope said he was following events in Haiti, where the storms have left at least 500 people dead and hundreds of thousands without basic necessities. One million people have been affected by the storms. “I am praying for the victims, unfortunately numerous, and for those without homes. I am close to the entire nation, and I hope that the necessary
aid will reach the country as soon as possible,” he said. The pope, who had just finished celebrating Mass at a Marian sanctuary, entrusted the protection of the Haitian people to Mary. After being struck by Hurricanes Fay, Gustav and Hanna, Haitians were hit with downpours from Hurricane Ike. Swollen rivers caused new flooding that sent residents to their rooftops, and 61 more people were reported dead September 9. The flooding and mudslides have isolated many towns, and relief supplies have not always been able to get through. The storms have also ruined crops and threatened to create a
long-term food supply problem in Haiti. Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international aid agency, has been providing emergency supplies, including water purification kits and food rations, to those in need. CRS, one of the largest humanitarian agencies in Haiti, has been working with other agencies in Haiti to provide relief. Caritas Haiti also has been assisting in relief efforts on the ground. Caritas said it plans to build shelters and will rebuild 500 homes. Caritas Haiti and CRS are affiliates of the international umbrella group of Catholic aid agencies, Caritas Internationalis.
OTTAWA (CNS) — Father Raymond Gravel said he will step down as a Bloc Quebecois member of Canada’s House of Commons after receiving an ultimatum from the Vatican. “My bishop had received instructions from Rome that I must make a choice between the priesthood and the calling of an MP (member of Parliament),” Father Gravel told the French-language newspaper La Presse. “There was the threat of laicization and they could defrock me.” Noting he would respect the Vatican’s decision, he said, “It’s my life, to be a priest,” La Presse reported. Father Gravel, 55, who pub-
licly had supported same-sex marriage and abortion before entering political life, advocated positions contrary to Church teaching, despite instructions from his bishop. Bishop Gilles Lussier of Joliette, Quebec, had stripped Father Gravel of his priestly functions when he ran for office in 2006. He won with more than 60 percent of the vote. Father Gravel told La Presse that many English-speaking Catholics complained to the Vatican about his controversial stands. He told The Globe and Mail in Toronto that his remarks on abortion were “misinterpreted.”
In March, Father Gravel voted against the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, a bill that would have recognized unborn children as victims if they are killed or harmed as result of a violent crime against the mother. Father Gravel also publicly supported the July appointment of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an abortionist, to the Order of Canada. Father Gravel said he received a letter from Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Claudio Hummes, president of the Congregation for Clergy.
Priest to step down from Canadian politics after Vatican ultimatum
LOURDES, France — From an altar ringed with wheelchairs and stretchers, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged thousands of sick people at Lourdes to seek solace in Mary’s smile and maternal love. Their devotion to Mary at a time of need is not “pious infantilism” but a sign of the highest spiritual maturity, the pope said on Monday. It was the pontiff’s last day in France and he dedicated it to the ill and infirm, who packed Rosary Square at the Marian sanctuaries in the Pyrenees town of Lourdes. The pope administered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick to 10 people during the liturgy. Addressing each by name, he gently anointed their foreheads and hands with oil and invoked the mercy of the Lord. The group receiving the sacrament included men and women, young and old, who met for the first time before the liturgy. As the youngest among them, a German girl, sat waiting for the Mass to begin, an elderly French nun in a wheelchair next to her reached out and held her hand. Behind them stretched hundreds of the distinctive covered blue wheelchairs used to transport many of the sick at Lourdes. Most were there for the pope, but all had come to pray to Mary. “I get a great feeling of wellbeing here. I’m in touch with God through Mary, right here in Lourdes,” said Frank Nelson, a 72-year-old Irishman, who has been coming to the sanctuary since 1948. Seated in a wheelchair next to others in his pilgrim group, he added that he also has come for “some healing,” after undergoing two hip operations, stomach surgery and treatment for prostate cancer. In his sermon, the pope said devotion to Mary can help break the isolation of suffering. Far from being an act of “outmoded sentimentality,” he said, turning to Mary demonstrates that people “know precisely how to acknowledge their weakness and their poverty before God.”
He recalled that St. Bernadette Soubirous, who experienced visions of Mary 150 years ago in Lourdes, first noticed Mary’s smile. This smile remains a source of hope for many who endure illness and distress, he said. “Unfortunately, we know only too well: The endurance of suffering can upset life’s most stable equilibrium, it can shake the firmest foundations of confidence,” he said. Sometimes it can even lead people to despair of the value of life, he said. “There are struggles that we cannot sustain alone, without the help of divine grace. When speech can no longer find the right words, we need a loving presence,” he said. Mary’s smile offers strength to fight against sickness, but also the grace to accept “without fear or bitterness” the hour of one’s death, he said. The pope, who visited Lourdes as a cardinal in 1981, also spoke of the attraction of Lourdes’ spring water, which many pilgrims bathe in or drink in search of a miraculous cure. The Church has recognized as miracles 67 cures attributed to Mary’s intercession at Lourdes, but pilgrims believe many more undocumented miracles also have occurred. The pope did not talk about miracles, but said the spring water at Lourdes is a sign of a spiritual reality that has helped many pilgrims. “By immersing themselves in the baths at Lourdes, how many people have discovered and experienced the gentle maternal love of the Virgin Mary, becoming attached to her in order to bind themselves more closely to the Lord,” he said. The pope made a point of thanking the many people who accompany the sick to Lourdes and help care for them during their stay. These volunteers “are the arms of the servant Church,” and so are the many Catholics around the world who regularly visit the sick, he said. Before the Mass, the pope continued his “jubilee pilgrimage” in Lourdes, stopping to pray at a hospital chapel where St. Bernadette made her first Communion.
The Church in the U.S.
September 19, 2008
Respect Life program centers on Pope Benedict XVI words
WASHINGTON (CNS) — “Hope and Respect for Life” is the theme for the 2008-09 Respect Life program, centered around Pope Benedict XVI’s message during his celebrated visit to the United States in April. A new packet of materials distributed by the U.S. bishops’ Office of Pro-Life Activities includes pamphlets, a flier containing important points made by Pope Benedict during his April 15-20 U.S. visit and a CD with full-length versions of articles on a variety of life-related topics, with recommended resources. All are linked to the pope’s message of hope and trust as an antidote to what he called “America’s brand of secularism.” The Respect Life program packet mirrors the range of ProLife issues that are necessary for Catholics to comprehend regarding their Church’s beliefs. The topics include: — the false hope of embryonic stem-cell research and the real hope offered by research using adult stem cells, outlined by Maureen L. Condic, a researcher and associate professor in the department of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine; — the dangers of advance directives that presume in favor of withdrawal of medical treatment, written by Stephen L. Mikochik, a professor at Temple University Law School and chairman-elect of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability;
— conscience and the Catholic voter, by Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine;. — “Pornography: What’s the Problem?” by Mark Houck, cofounder and president of a lay apostolate called The King’s Men; — a reflection on the AfricanAmerican family and the culture of life, by Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley of Washington, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on AfricanAmerican Affairs and a member of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities; and — male grief and trauma following abortion, by Vincent M. Rue, a psychotherapist who is co-director of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss in Jacksonville, Fla. The packet also contains a liturgy guide, program models and notable Pro-Life quotes, in both English and Spanish. The Committee on Pro-Life Activities creates this package annually to encourage schools, Religious Education programs and Catholic institutions and organizations to use these materials to help spread the Catholic Church’s Pro-Life message. Although the Respect Life program is year-round, October is observed as Respect Life Month and the first Sunday in October — October 5 — this year, is designated as Respect Life Sunday by the Catholic Church in the U.S.
St. Anthony Shrine (Downtown Crossing)
100 Arch Street Boston, MA 02110
Tel. 617-542-6440 Website: http://www.StAnthonyShrine.org/ppio 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of St. Pio’s entrance into eternal life (1968-2008) and also the 90th anniversary of when the stigmata appeared on his body (1918-2008) Let us celebrate his life!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Program: (Second floor chapel) 11:00 a.m. - Chaplet of Divine Mercy International Rosary 12:00 Noon - Holy Mass
The following will also be offered: Sacrament of Anointing . Veneration of Relics A Surprise Testimonial . Video of St. Pio’s Life Prayer books will be distributed . Reading of a Healing Light Refreshments First Floor Chapel The following services are available throughout the day: 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sacrament of Reconciliation 12:30 p.m. thru 3:30 p.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 3:30 p.m. Benediction Handicapped Accessible
ONE FOR THE ROAD — Franciscan Father Jorge Hernandez, pastor of St. Boniface Parish in San Francisco, leads the annual “Blessing of the Taxicabs.” An estimated 250 drivers participated in the event. The ceremony coincides with the feast of St. Fiacre, the patron saint of taxi drivers and gardens. In the mid-17th century, Paris’ Hotel Saint Fiacre let their coaches out for hire. “Fiacre” eventually became synonymous with taxis in Paris. (CNS photo/Michael Vick, Catholic San Francisco)
Pelosi agrees to meet archbishop; Biden remarks also draw criticism
SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — Responding to an invitation to meet with him to discuss Church teaching on abortion and other topics, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would “welcome the opportunity” to meet with Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco “to go beyond our earlier most cordial exchange about immigration and needs of the poor to Church teaching on other significant matters.” But the furor that arose after Pelosi said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in late August that Church leaders for centuries had not been able to agree on when life begins received further fuel recently when Sen. Joseph Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, responded to a similar question on “Meet the Press.” Biden, who like Pelosi is a Catholic, said he accepted Catholic teaching that life begins at conception but did not believe that he could impose his beliefs in the public policy arena. “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception,” he said. “But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.” Biden’s remarks drew an almost immediate response from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver, who said in a “notice to the Catholic community in northern Colorado” that the Delaware senator “used a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can’t ‘impose’
their religiously based views on the rest of the country.” But, they said, “all law involves the imposition of some people’s convictions on everyone else. That is the nature of the law. “American Catholics have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the destruction of more than a million developing unborn children a year,” the notice added. “Other people have imposed their ‘pro-choice’ beliefs on American society without any remorse for decades.” Archbishop Niederauer had responded to Pelosi’s earlier comments by saying she was “in serious conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church” and inviting her to meet with him to discuss Church teaching on abortion, the beginning of human life and the formation of conscience. In the “Meet the Press” interview, Pelosi said specific considerations must be undertaken during each trimester of a child’s development before an abortion can be performed. “This isn’t about abortion on demand. It’s about careful, careful consideration of all factors ... that a woman has to make with her doctor and her God,” she said, adding that her goal is to make abortion safe and rare while reducing the number of abortions nationwide. Archbishop Niederauer said he regretted addressing the issue so publicly, because Pelosi — a Democrat who represents the San Francisco area — has been a dedicated public servant who has promoted some legislation that is in line with the social teachings of the Catholic Church. “But the widespread consternation among Catholics made it
unavoidable,” he added. A spokesman for Archbishop Niederauer said September 9 that no meeting had yet been scheduled between Pelosi and the archbishop. Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ Pro-Life and doctrine committees, respectively, had criticized Pelosi saying she “misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion.” Since the first century, the Church “has affirmed the moral evil of every abortion,” the two chairmen said. Archbishop Niederauer said many Catholics “have written me letters and sent me emails in which they expressed their dismay and concern about the speaker’s remarks. Very often they moved on to a question that caused much discussion during the 2004 campaign: Is it necessary to deny holy Communion to some Catholics in public life because of their public support for abortion on demand?” The practice of the Church “is to accept the conscientious selfappraisal of each person” when he or she approaches for Communion, Archbishop Niederauer said. But Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colo., took a stronger position. “Those Catholics who take a public stance in opposition to this most fundamental moral teaching of the Church place themselves outside full communion with the Church,” he wrote in his statement, “and they should not present themselves for the reception of holy Communion.”
September 19, 2008
The Church in the U.S.
Archdiocese reiterates: Emmitsburg parish visions ‘are not supernatural’
SUPPORT SYSTEM — Angelina Steenstra, national coordinator for “Silent No More” awareness campaign in Canada listens to an emotional Amy Hying from Madison, Wis., during a conference on abortion in Oak Brook, Ill., titled “Reclaiming Fatherhood,” that focused on the effects of abortion. (CNS/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)
Men affected by abortion need healing, reconciliation, say speakers
By Alicia Torres Catholic News Service
OAKBROOK, Ill. — For men suffering the aftermath of abortion, Thomas Golden offers a message of healing. “We have to learn to love men. ... That is how we are going to reclaim fatherhood,” he said. Golden, author of “Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing,” was a speaker at a recent conference on “Reclaiming Fatherhood” in Oakbrook. He has been teaching mental health professionals around the world about men and boys and the way they heal from stress, grief and trauma. The conference on how abortion affects men was the second such gathering sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and organized by the Milwaukee-based National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. The first conference was held in November 2007 in San Francisco. Co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Evangelization, this year’s event featured presentations by psychologists, a counselor and a sociologist. Several fathers who have lost a child to abortion also spoke. For those from 36 states and four countries gathered in Oakbrook, the message was clear: Society must recognize the unique experience of men who have lost their fatherhood through abortion, and the ministries and resources available to guide the healing process must be made known. Ministries offered by the Catholic Church and other faith traditions have been focused on supporting women who have had an abortion. Until recently, the grief and pain experienced by the
men affected by abortion has not been as widely discussed. Men are involved in an abortion decision in many ways, and the level of their involvement affects how much guilt they feel afterward, according to the speakers. Many men know about and fully support the decision, while others may not know until years later that they lost a child to abortion. Conference speakers noted that in the 35 years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, more than 40 million abortions have been performed and at the same time there has been in general a lack of attention to those suffering from the decision, particularly men. Anthropologist Lionel Tiger of Rutgers University, author of “The Decline of Males,” maintained that society’s devaluing of masculine identity has contributed to the loss of people’s ability to address issues that deeply impact men, including the aftermath of abortion. “When we look at the labor force of economics, we are seeing males leaving the labor force and women entering the labor force and doing well,” he said. “The educational system is the credentialing system ... and women do better there. “The guys don’t know how to compete in the school system. More women graduate then men, even though we are supposed to be living in a patriarchal society in which all this sexism is going on, and yet women are doing better then men,” he said. According to data presented by psychologist Vincent Rue, studies indicate that men involved in abortion are very likely to experience post-traumatic
stress disorder. Rue, director of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss in Jacksonville, Fla., reports that 41 percent of men responding to an online survey about their abortion experience met the full diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. For men suffering from an abortion, the disorder is a haunting condition, he said. Men may be plagued by nightmares, become severely overprotective of their families and in extreme circumstances take their own lives. Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel, the Catholic Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, called for a need to recognize the differences between men and women. “The first book ever written on men and abortion was in 1984. It has taken almost 25 years to actually get together to talk about the issue,” she said. Thorn is also founder and head of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. Speaker Golden said that women tend to process grief by recalling events with close friends, while men are wired to taking action to process their grief. “When our father died, my brother and I built a box in which to place his ashes. It was during that time together in the shop that we confronted the loss of our father, through the stories we shared and memories recalled,” he said. Men who have suffered abortion need to process in a similar way, added Golden, who in 1995 founded www.webhealing.com, the Internet’s first interactive site for grieving people. “We have to learn about men, we have to study them and find out what helps them, what brings them to healing,” he said.
BALTIMORE (CNS) — Responding to an apocalyptic posting to a Website by Gianna Talone-Sullivan claiming that the Blessed Virgin Mary told her of an impending worldwide disaster, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has reaffirmed its position that Talone-Sullivan’s alleged visions “are not supernatural in origin.” Talone-Sullivan, a pharmacologist, claimed to have received messages from Mary during Thursday evening prayer services at St. Joseph Parish in Emmitsburg from 1993 until 2000, when the archdiocese banned them. Talone-Sullivan claimed that Mary remained “publicly silent” for two years following the end of the prayer services, but continued to appear and speak with her privately. Talone-Sullivan began disseminating monthly “public messages to the world,” allegedly from Mary, via the Internet in 2002. The archdiocese investigated the Emmitsburg visions and in 2003 an “extensive study by a commission comprised of experts in the field of theology and canon law” examined approximately 600 pages of testimony and interviewed Talone-Sullivan and others, according to the most recent archdiocesan statement last month. Following the commission study, Cardinal William H. Keeler, then archbishop of Baltimore, issued a decree stating that the alleged visions were not supernatural. That decree was approved by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, who is now Pope Benedict XVI. “The commission’s finding was based, in part, on the fact
that many of the messages were apocalyptic in nature, placed undue emphasis on future destruction and called for great and miraculous signs — all of which are incompatible with (the) tradition and teachings of the Catholic Church,” according to the archdiocesan statement. In a June posting to her Website, Talone-Sullivan claimed that “Our Lady of Emmitsburg” told her that “even your governments and the Church authorities already have knowledge of the stars aligning and its implications upon you.” She claimed the coming disaster will result in the deaths of “approximately 60 to 70 percent of the world’s population.” The archdiocesan statement called it “regrettable that any confusion remains for Catholics in the archdiocese, who need only read the decree to understand the Church’s position on this matter.” Vincentian Father Vincent O’Malley, pastor of St. Joseph, applauded the archdiocesan statement. “This principle of operation provides prudent direction for all Catholics,” the pastor said. “It is hoped that all Catholics would yield to the wisdom and authority of Baltimore and Rome in their statement: ‘Nothing supernatural is occurring’ in the alleged apparitions.”
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Corpus Christi Choir presents a
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Our moral responsibility as Catholic citizens
The bishops of the United States are taking a much more public role in forming the consciences of the faithful with regard to the social and personal moral stakes involved in the upcoming presidential elections. This is making some uneasy. There are many, including some Catholics, who would prefer the bishops to remain mute on all political issues out of a mistaken notion of the separation of church and state or a false understanding of the obligations with respect to the Church’s non-profit status in the federal the tax code. There are others, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who prefer the bishops to speak out with moral force only on certain issues they support. They recognize, correctly, that the Church plays an indispensable prophetic role not merely in describing the true principles for moral action but also in providing the deepest motivation for putting those principles into action. They object strenuously, however, to the Church’s calling to them to conversion on any issue with which they disagree with Church teaching. Finally there are others who, while not objecting to the Church’s duty to proclaim the moral truth in any area, resist when the Church reminds them that God expects more of them than to give private notional assent to moral truths but to act on them in the public arena. All three groups have been uncomfortable with the level of outspokenness among bishops over the past few months. The bishops have realized that many Catholics, including some leading Catholic politicians, are deeply confused not only about elemental questions of biology or of Church teaching on particular issues, but on what it means to be a morally faithful Catholic with respect to those issues. In fulfillment of their duty to teach, sanctify and shepherd, the bishops are now routinely speaking up to help correct ill-informed consciences and give all Catholics and people of good will the proper principles that need to be applied in the judgment of conscience. On September 8, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, released a joint pastoral letter entitled “Our Moral Responsibility as Catholics” for those in their respective dioceses. Like good Midwestern farmers, they seek to plant the good seed of true moral principles in the soil of the consciences of their faithful, as well as to kill many of the weeds flowing from false principles. Their insights will also be relevant to Catholics in the Diocese of Fall River who seek to be well-informed and well-formed voters. We present their insights in question and answer format. Why does not the Church endorse politicians or parties? Is it just because we don’t want to lose our non-profit tax status? “For generations it has been the determination of Catholic bishops not to endorse political candidates or parties. This approach was initiated by Archbishop John Carroll — the very first Catholic bishop serving in the United States. It was long before there was an Internal Revenue Service Code, and had nothing to do with a desire to preserve tax-exempt status. Rather the Church in the United States realized early on that it must not tether the credibility of the Church to the uncertain future actions or statements of a particular politician or party.” Should Catholics be single-issue voters? “Every Catholic should be concerned about a wide range of issues. … Catholics should care about public policies that promote a just and lasting peace in the world, protect our nation from terrorism and other security threats, welcome and uphold the rights of immigrants, enable health care to be accessible and affordable, manifest a special concern for the poor by attending to their immediate needs and assisting them to gain economic independence, protect the rights of parents to be the primary educators of their children, create business and employment opportunities making it possible for individuals to be able to provide for their own material needs and the needs of their families, reform the criminal justice system by providing better for the needs of the victims of crimes, protecting the innocent, administering justice fairly, striving to rehabilitate inmates, and eliminating the death penalty, and foster a proper stewardship of the earth that God has entrusted to our care. This is by no means an exhaustive list.” They add, however, that there is no one “Catholic way” to respond to these particular issues. “How these issues are best addressed and what particular candidates are best equipped to address them requires prudential judgments. … In the end, Catholics in good conscience can disagree in their judgments about many aspects of the best policies and the most effective candidates.” But are there some issues that are so important that all Catholics are called to prioritize them in their votes and actions? Yes. “There are some issues that always involve doing evil, such as legalized abortion, the promotion of same-sex unions and ‘marriages,’ repression of religious liberty, as well as public policies permitting euthanasia, racial discrimination or destructive human embryonic stem-cell research. A properly formed conscience must give such issues priority even over other matters with important moral dimensions. To vote for a candidate who supports these intrinsic evils because he or she supports these evils is to participate in a grave moral evil. It can never be justified.” What is the moral way to decide between candidates? “Even if we understand the moral dimensions of the full array of social issues and have correctly prioritized those involving intrinsic evils, we still must make prudential judgments in the selection of candidates. In an ideal situation, we may have a choice between two candidates who both oppose public policies that involve intrinsic evils. In such a case, we need to study their approach on all the other issues that involve the promotion of the dignity of the human person and prayerfully choose the best individual. In another circumstance, we may be confronted with a voting choice between two candidates who support abortion, though one may favor some limitations on it, or he or she may oppose public funding for abortion. In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm. We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely.” Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? No. “In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.” What does the Church need from Catholics today? “We need committed Catholics in both major political parties to insist upon respect for the values they share with so many other people of faith and good will regarding the protection of the sanctity of human life, the upholding of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of family life, as well as the protection of religious liberty and conscience rights. It is particularly disturbing to witness the spectacle of Catholics in public life vocally upset with the Church for teaching what it has always taught on these moral issues for 2,000 years, but silent in objecting to the embrace, by either political party, of the cultural trends of the past few decades that are totally inconsistent with our nation’s history of defending the weakest and most vulnerable.” The bishops are doing their job. Now it’s time for Catholic faithful to do ours.
September 19, 2008
The crown of a life of self-giving
t is often commented how much our er and Thomas Vander Woude loved his son culture needs genuine heroes. These ex- Josie just as Christ loved all of us. In the days after Thomas’ heroic death, amples of virtue in the midst of ordinary and extraordinary vicissitude lift us up by reveal- the various stories started to come out about ing to us not only what is possible but what is his virtuous life. His life was eucharistic, and best. This column in fact is devoted to such not just because he was a daily communicant; men and women of the present and of the past each day he sought to give his body, his blood, who put out into the deep with courage and his sweat and his heart for those around him. faith and thereby light the path for the rest of His daughter-in-law Maryan said, “He lived sacrificing his life, everything, for his family.” us. A neighbor, Lee DeBrish, described that he On Monday, at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville, Virginia, we buried such a hero. made similar sacrifices for others, too, “He’s Over the last two weeks, Thomas Vander the kind of guy who would give you the shirt Woude, 66, has become famous for the way off his back, and if he didn’t have one, he’d he died. Those who knew him all along, how- buy one for you.” This wasn’t just an elegiac platitude. Mary ever, have said that his death was just a dramatic culmination of the way he lived — as Heisler said that when she and her family of a soldier, husband, father, farmer, coach and 14 moved from Texas to Virginia, her father did not have enough money to purchase a Catholic. Vander Woude was a pilot during the Viet- house right away. Vander Woude took the famnam War and later worked for commercial air- ily — of 14 — into his home for a month and lines until his retirement six years ago. He and then lent them money for a down payment on his wife of 43 years, Mary Ellen, moved their a home in nearby Manassas. Peter Scheetz, asfamily from Georgia to Virginia in the 1980s sistant director at the school where the Vander so that their children — seven sons — would Woude boys attended, added that when he and be able to receive a good Catholic education. his wife were married, they did not have any His eldest son, also Thomas, became a priest credit to get a mortgage to buy a town house. Vander Woude of the Diocese co-signed a loan of Arlington. His for them. next five sons — He spent his Steve, Dan, Bob, retirement helpChris and Pat ing out wher— all married ever needed. and received as Without comgifts from their By Father pensation, he parents parcels Roger J. Landry served as coach from the famof the boys’ socily farm so that cer and basketthey could more easily get a start to their married life and live ball teams at Seton School in Manassas and close to home. Their seventh son, Joseph, as athletic director at Christendom College in was particularly special to him, and not just Front Royal. He won various championships because he was the Benjamin of the family. but for him the real goal was to form young Josie, 20, had Down Syndrome and was his athletes in virtue so that they could be successfather’s inseparable companion in joyfully ful off the field. “As a coach he was excellent,” doing work around his and neighbors’ houses, Seton School director Anne Carroll said, “but coaching various sports teams, volunteering he was also a real mentor and real role model. He wanted them to be good young men, not at Holy Trinity and so much more. On September 8, about noon, Josie was just good players.” At his parish he served as the coordinator cleaning the pool in the family’s backyard in Nokesville. As he walked back into the year and trainer of altar servers. With Mary Ellen he after having finished the job, he stepped on ministered to engaged and married couples as the 2-by-2 foot cover to the septic tank. It teacher-practitioners of Natural Family Plancollapsed under him and he plummeted into ning. From the founding of the parish until the tank. His father, who was working in the the dedication of its new church almost seven backyard, ran to his aid. He tried to lift his years later, the Vander Woudes set up for Mass panicked son out of the almost full eight-foot- each Sunday at Brentsville High School, the deep tank but he couldn’t quite grasp him. So only place large enough to host the burgeonthe slender, athletic father slid through the ing number of Catholics in the area. “They opening in order to try to help keep his son arrived early to set up and stayed late to take from drowning in the sewage long enough for down afterwards,” Father Peffley said. “He would do anything I needed help with around help to arrive. A workman in their house saw what was the parish.” He was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virhappening and notified Mary Ellen, who called 911. They ran to the tank to try to gin Mary and every May would host a huge help. Inside the tank, Thomas was treading Marian celebration at his home frequented by the sewage trying to keep Josie’s head above hundreds. His funeral Mass September 15, was atwater and make it possible for the two above ground to lift Josie out by his shirt. “You pull, tended by more than 2,000 people, from altar I’ll push” he said, but they couldn’t get a suf- servers, to Seton and Christendom students to the members of families he had helped out ficient grip. Thomas then tried something else. He held in quiet ways over the years. Among the 70 his breath and submerged himself and headed priests in attendance was his eldest son and to the bottom of the tank so that standing he namesake, who in the funeral homily comcould lift Josie toward the arms reaching for pared him to St. Joseph, who quietly, humbly him at the entrance, but those efforts proved and repeatedly sacrificed himself to help his futile as well. After 15 minutes, rescue work- family and others achieve their vocation. The ers arrived and were able to pull both to the multitudes came to pay their respects to a man surface. Josie was conscious; Thomas was who lived an inspirational Christian life. “This not. All efforts to revive him failed, and a guy did something saintly,” his son Steve utshort time later at the hospital he was pro- tered, saying it all. This sentiment was echoed by Arlington nounced dead. When I first read the story in the Wash- Bishop Paul Loverde, who came to preside ington Post last Saturday, I couldn’t help but at the funeral Mass. His dying act, the prelate look at it within the prism of the Exaltation said in brief remarks, was “truly saintly.” It was of the Cross we were about to celebrate. This “the crown of a whole life of self-giving.” “May we find in his life,” he concluded, feast is a celebration of the incredible love of God, who to save us humbled himself, taking “inspiration and strength.” Yes indeed. And on our nature and becoming obedient even to we confidently hope that Thomas Vander death on a cross. He entered our septic world, Woude now wears a well-deserved imperishwith all its messiness and filth, after with his able crown. Father Landry is pastor of St. Anthony’s cross lifted us up to save our lives. No one has greater love that to give his life for anoth- Parish in New Bedford.
Putting Into the Deep
The sanctity of a feast day
hat is the name of your humility and sacrifice. As is the parish? Each one bears custom in Honduras, the feast day the name of a patron saint, or a of a parish is a grand celebration name related to God the Father, which begins with a novena leadJesus, or the Holy Spirit. When I ing up to the actual feast itself. was growing up, our family beIt would be unthinkable to let longed to St. Louis Parish across from Kennedy Park in Fall River. The parish had as its patron, Louis the young king of France. Aside from the name, I By Father don’t ever remember a big Craig A. Pregana celebration for the feast day of St. Louis. It passed without great fanfare, as happens in many parishes. the 23rd of August pass without The parish of our Diocesan notice. Although in many Latin Mission is named after St. Rose countries, the feast date on the of Lima, the young Dominican old liturgical calendar, the 30th of tertiary who lived as a model of August, is celebrated as the feast
September 19, 2008
of St. Rose. In our parish, we celebrate both dates. Each barrio, or neighborhood, has a day of the novena to receive the rest of the parishioners for the novena and Mass. The statue of St. Rose travels from the church to the different neighborhoods where a special altar is prepared and decorated. The feast culminates on the actual day of the saint with a solemn Mass in the church. This year the novena began with a vigil Mass of the Assumption of Mary on the evening of the 14th of August in Barrio Ocote, one of the smaller neighborhoods in the parish. Those who live in the
St. Paul the mystic
s a good Hebrew and donia and help us’” (Acts 16:9). Christian, St. Paul would This compelled Paul to cross over have believed in the existence into Europe and proclaim the good of invisible realities beyond the news on a new continent. Again, apprehension of sense percepthis seems like a type of spiritual tion. Believing in God, the soul, communication that informs the or heaven would not necessarily Apostle to the Gentiles of new make him or anyone else a mystic. missionary fields. Instead, the spiritual discipline of Finally, in the Second Letter mysticism aims at direct union to the Corinthians, St. Paul boasts or communion with God. One of ecstasy. He writes: “I know would usually achieve this through someone in Christ who, 14 years contemplation or deep meditaago (whether in the body or out tion. Mysticism also sometimes of the body I do not know, God involves deriving intuitive knowl- knows), was caught up to the third edge from such an experience. heaven” (2Cor 12:2). Although the Several episodes in the life of Apostle speaks as if this happened St. Paul could represent instances to another person, most interpretof mystical experience. For example, many see the story of his conversion Living the on the road to Damascus Pauline Year as a vision of the Risen Christ. As he was journeying and approaching the By Father city, a bolt of light struck Karl C. Bissinger from the sky and flashed around him. While falling to the ground, he heard a voice ers agree that he is describing saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you an autobiographical occurrence. persecuting me?” When quesIn this spiritual journey to an tioned, this voice identified itself unearthly place, Paul hears what as belonging to the very person he calls “ineffable things, which against whom Paul had set himno one may utter” (cf. 2Cor 12:4). self; that is, Jesus (cf. Acts 9:1-5). In other words, he receives secret Furthermore, the Apostle insists knowledge from God. Again, this that he has direct knowledge of would seem to offer more positive salvation from this vision. He evidence for St. Paul’s mysticism. writes to the Galatians, “I did not While all this may fascinate receive [the Gospel] from a human some people and turn others off, being, nor was I taught it; but it we note that much debate surcame through a revelation of Jesus rounds the extent of St. Paul’s Christ” (Gal 1:12). This sounds mysticism. On the one hand, like mysticism. from the above three citations, it Another example occurs during remains clear that these visions St. Paul’s second missionary jour- really formed part of the Apostle’s ney. Paul, Silas, Timothy, and the experience. In this way, Paul rest of the missionary band evensimply continues the tradition of tually reached the town of Troas in many persons we read about in the northwest corner of Asia Mithe Bible, like the prophets. On nor. There “during the night Paul the other hand, we might notice had a vision. A Macedonian stood that Paul lacks a mystical theology before him and implored him with along the lines of St. John of the these words, ‘Come over to Mace- Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, or the
author of “The Cloud of Unknowing.” St. Paul’s thought and understanding of the Christian life, nonetheless, do include an essential mystical theology. If we understand mysticism in its most basic form as union with God, then Paul teaches us two ways in which we achieve it. Through faith and sacramental actions, the believer is both united to the dying and rising of Jesus and joined as parts of the Body of Christ. For example, through faith and baptism, one undergoes a radical conformation to the Son of God. In the waters of baptism, we mystically — and really — experience Jesus’ own death and resurrection. This gives grace so powerful that it changes who we are. We suffer with him as well as share his victory, gaining forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life (cf. Rom 6:3-6). Furthermore, St. Paul teaches us that we also become united to the mystical Body of Christ. We are joined to God as members of a body to the head (cf. 1Cor 12:12ff). In this way, we are united not only to Christ, but, through Christ, to one another. Therefore, we can see that even though St. Paul had mystical experiences, the form of mysticism he values most doesn’t involve esoteric practices or extraordinary visions. Instead, it is a form of participation in the mysteries of Christ that is open to all and a communion to be lived out on a daily basis. As Christians, every one of us already shares in this mysticism. During the Pauline Year, it is up to us now to claim it for ourselves. Father Bissinger is vocation director of the Diocese of Fall River and secretary to Bishop George W. Coleman.
barrio had beautifully decorated the altar for St. Rose. More than 100 people gathered that night in the barrio, which surprised us all. Each night more and more people made the sacrifice to walk to the different neighborhoods — some at quite a distance, especially at night — to be part of the parish novena. Although the skies were dark with rain clouds on Sunday night, the novena Mass in the park didn’t deter more than 300 people from celebrating with enthusiasm another night of the novena. There is something to admire in the way that the parishioners take seriously the celebration of the parish patron saint. There seems to be an identity that is derived from being part of the parish and the events that are celebrated. Even marginal Catholics make a
return during these days to be part of the celebration, or maybe even to renew their identity as members of the faith community. A lot of work goes into the celebrations for the feast. The bishop comes to celebrate the feast Mass and the sacrament of confirmation for adults who were never confirmed. It is a day for real celebration marked with a parade of parish organizations and their decorated banners, a drawing contest for the children, a concert in the church, and fireworks to mark the day. We celebrate who we are as a Catholic community, remembering the life and work of St. Rose of Lima. Although the parish is extremely poor, the identity of the parishioners is rooted in the richness of faith that they share. www.FallRiverMissions.com
COMMUNION OF THE FAITHFUL — Father Miguel from a neighboring town came to celebrate a Novena Mass at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Guaimaca. Here Father Miguel and Father Craig A. Pregana, foreground, distribute Communion. (Photo courtesy of Father Pregana)
t. Paul utters very profound words in his letter to the Philippians, the second reading for this Sunday. His are words that express his remarkable faith and his deep understanding of being a disciple of Jesus: “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” The Apostle, as he says, is torn between this earthly life and his desire to be with Christ in the next life. But as long as he “remains in the flesh,” he knows that his labor will bring fruit, and he will gain more and more people for Christ, for God’s Kingdom. This is our Christian mission, bringing others to Christ. In the parable of the vineyard owner, our Gospel, we see a group of men standing in the marketplace hoping to find some work. With our economy slowing down, more and more people find themselves in a similar situation. I remember about 14 years ago when my father lost his job. For more than 30 years he
September 19, 2008
Welcome to God’s vineyard
worked in the train factory in day was gone. Their joy was the next town. When the commultiplied when, after only one munist system fell in Poland and hour of work, they received full “privatization” came in, all places day’s wage. Here we come to of work, especially factories and the lesson of this parable. The mills, in order to survive had to landowner, as Jesus says, stands let go of vast numbers of people. Most were simply fired without any benHomily of the Week efits or compensations. Twenty-fifth Sunday Eventually my father in Ordinary Time was one of them. At the same time the communist By Father system of agriculture was Dariusz Kalinowski falling apart. Small farms were no longer feasible and so we had to stop working for the kingdom of heaven. He our fields. Suddenly my father, brings hope and joy to those he the proud man that he was, found hires. His vineyard can provide himself no longer able to provide for all and he is very generous for his family. It was a devastatwith everybody. But those who ing blow for him. He almost lost were hired first complain to him all of his hope. saying: “These last ones worked In the midst of these circumonly one hour, and you have stances, in the Gospel story, made them equal to us, who comes the landowner. Throughbore the day’s burden and the out the entire day he goes to the heat.” The landowner’s response marketplace and hires people for contains one of those lines that his vineyard. We can imagine we need to remember and reflect the joy especially of those who upon from time to time: “Are you were hired last when almost all envious because I am generous?” hope of earning anything that Do you get envious when
you see people being generous towards others and you think that you deserve that generosity more? Perhaps it occurs when people at your workplace receive different bonuses, recommendations and promotions. Or maybe it happens when some people you know have such wonderful skills and talents and you ask God: “Why not I, Lord?” When good things happen to others and not to us, it is so easy to be jealous. Of course, since the Gospel story is a parable of God’s kingdom, our reflection must come to ponder the greatest gift of God’s love, his mercy. The prophet Isaiah calls to us in the first reading: “Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.” God’s mercy is generously and freely extended to all through the cross of his Son, Jesus Christ. The contrite heart can embrace it in the sacraments, the hardened heart can receive it through the
devotion to the Divine Mercy. This generosity of God may lead some of us, who bear “the burden and the heat” of our faith daily, to be envious. If this happens, the wisdom from Isaiah is always a good guide: “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” It would be wonderful if we all could say with St. Paul: “Christ will be magnified in my body.” When this happens, as long as we live, we will draw others to Christ. Some will come to God’s Kingdom because of our example, our labor in the faith. Others God will draw to himself with his generous mercy. What great solace in times of distress and difficulty we can find in the words of our psalm: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.” Father Kalinowski is a parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Parish in Wareham.
Upcoming Daily Readings: Sat. Sept. 20,1 Cor 15:35-37; 42-49; Ps 56: 10c-12,13-14; Lk 8:4-15; Sun. Sept. 21, Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Is 55:6-9; Ps 145:2-3,89,17-18; Phil 1:20c-24,27a; Mt 20:1-16a; Mon. Sept. 22, Prv 3:27-34; Ps 15:2-4b,5; Lk 8:16-18; Tues. Sept. 23, Prv 21:1-6,10-13; Ps 119:1,27.30,34-35,44; Lk 8:19-21; Wed. Sept. 24, Prv 30:5-9; Ps 119:29,72,89,101,104,163; Lk 9:1-6; Thu. Sept. 25, Eccl 1:2-11; Ps 90:3-6,12-14,17bc; Lk 9:7-9; Fri. Sept. 26, Eccl 3:1-11; Ps 144:1b,2abc,3-4; Lk 9:18-22.
ccording to the mid-summer polls, Americans are primarily concerned about the U.S. economy as the country enters the last lap of the 2008 election cycle. No visitor to the gas pumps, and no investor, can doubt why. Yet we also live in a globalized world in which the tectonic plates that shape international politics are shifting, often dangerously. What does a Catholic optic on world politics suggest about these circumstances? What questions might thoughtful Catholic voters put to the principal presidential candidates about U.S. foreign policy? Some suggestions follow; Iraq will be addressed in a separate column. QUESTIONS FOR BOTH
America and the world
CANDIDATES: and the litmus test of political 1) We know what you think the legitimacy. There are several Bush administration got wrong. prominent cases, however, where What do you think the Bush administration got right? Would you, for example, continue the administration’s massive funding of AIDS relief and AIDS prevention in By George Weigel Africa? Would you follow the Bush administration in resisting the siren song of condom-mania in fighting AIDS? governments are manifestly failing Would you continue President in their “duty to protect.” Without Bush’s other Third World health using the words “international initiatives? community,” please tell us in spe2) At the United Nations this cific terms what you propose to past April, Pope Benedict XVI do about the genocide in the south spoke of a “duty to protect” as the Sudan? Avoiding that same phrase, fundamental task of governments please describe your approach to impending, government-caused starvation in Zimbabwe? And, once again avoiding the words “international community,” what would you have done about the grotesque irresponsibility of the Burmese military junta when faced with a major humanitarian disaster? 3) Europe keeps proclaiming that “this” is its “moment” — and then does nothing. How will you persuade European governments to change the rules-of-engagement that govern their forces in Afghanistan, so that they actually fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda? Will you challenge European governments to invest in the military capabili-
The Catholic Difference
ties that will permit coordinated western responses to global crises? How can Europe help contain and deter a revanchist Russia? 4) The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has frequently stated his determination to incinerate the State of Israel, and on occasion has made similar threats against the United States and Great Britain. Do you believe him? Do you agree that Iran, governed as it is today, cannot be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons — which it could then use, or transfer to terrorist organizations? If, however, you are prepared to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, why do you believe that deterrence will work in this case, given the passion for martyrdom among Shi’ite jihadists, some of whom are in the Iranian government? 5) What will you do with the hard-core terrorists now held at Guantanamo? Do you agree with the Supreme Court majority that foreign terrorists now held abroad have the same constitutional rights as American citizens imprisoned here in the U.S.? 6) What steps will you take to ensure that the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency recognize the dynamic, multiple roles that religious conviction
plays in world politics? 7) What measures will you take to counter the barrage of anti-American agitprop that comes from new media like al-Jazeera and old, once-respected media like the BBC? 8) What will you do about the terrorist camps in Waziristan and the other essentially ungoverned tribal areas of Pakistan? 9) Is Afghanistan really governable? If not, how does NATO prevent Afghanistan from reverting to Taliban barbarism and acting as a base camp for global jihadism? 10) Is the first use of military force ever morally justifiable? Is so, when? If not, why not? 11) Can liberal democracy take root in the Arab Islamic world? QUESTION FOR SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: How would you work with Democrats so that the war against terrorism is a bipartisan effort? QUESTION FOR SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Is it possible that President Bush is unpopular in Europe because he forced Europeans to face truths they’d been avoiding for years? If consultation with old allies leads to strategic paralysis, at what point are you willing to act unilaterally? George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
Sunday 14 September 2008 centric, but, although I never at home on Three Mile River met her, I greatly admire her Feast of the Exultation of the strength of character. Holy Cross I could never live in the asha Tudor, acclaimed way Tasha lived. I have none children’s book author of those self-sustaining skills and illustrator, was born in the 20th century but decided to live in the 17th. She resided by Reflections of a choice in a Vermont Parish Priest farmhouse lacking electricity or running water. By Father Tim She grew and preserved Goldrick her own food, dipped her own candles, made her own soap, sheared her own sheep, spun her own at which she excelled and I yarn, wove her own cloth, and would wither without “creature sewed her own clothes. She comforts.” Strange to say, I’ve died just four months ago. chosen to integrate into my Some would call her an ec21st-century life a thousand-
The Ship’s Log
September 19, 2008
year-old spirituality. Physically, I live in this century, but my soul is in the 16th. I strive to keep my mind and heart in tune with nature, with the ebb and flow of the seasons, with the turning of the wheel of the year. The cyclic calendar of the Church’s liturgical year presumes we’re aware of what’s going on around us in nature. The feasts and seasons of the Church help us touch the mysteries of heaven, but are rooted in the humble earth on which we stand. Catholic Christians once understood and embraced this and so they lived their lives, but now, not
Parents as teachers
to parents and encourage inwas sitting on the couch volvement at the beginning of last night, working on every school year. Of course, the laptop when I heard a fait is expected that the adminmiliar voice, “Mom, will you istration and faculty provide a listen to me read this poem?” quality education for the chilIt was part of an assignment dren, and most of the work for her sixth-grade class at involved in academic educaSt. Francis Xavier Preparation does fall in the hands tory School. She read it with of teachers, but a school enthusiasm and, as would cannot create a student who be expected, when she was is loved, a student who is an finished, I gave my daughter enthusiastic learner, a student compliments and words of who will want to do his or praise. her best and has the desire to As parents we know that succeed, without the primary these small interactions reap foundation that is given to the huge rewards. Sometimes and maybe often we may hear these requests: “Mom will you quiz me on this?” or “Dad, will you listen while I review these definitions? I’ve studied, but By Greta MacKoul I just want to be sure that I know them.” Sometimes the last child by the parents. Parents thing we may feel like doing provide the primary nurturing is putting down the newspathat furrows the fertile ground per or magazine, turning off from which all learning takes the TV or computer or stoproot and grows. When parents ping whatever chores we are and teachers work together, doing to enter into our child’s what can emerge is a student world of studying. But it can who internalizes the value of make all of the difference. education, the value of learnWhether our child is five or ing and the value of disci15, as parents we know that pline. encouragement, interaction It is even more true with and assistance go a long way. our faith. The Catholic Parents who are interChurch teaches that parents ested and involved in their are the primary teachers in children’s education teach regards to faith and Relitheir children that learning is gious Education. Children important, that school is imwho attend Religious Educaportant, but most importantly tion programs and Catholic that they, the children, are schools have been given the important. And in both small gift of faith, but if the faith is and large increments children not lived by the parents, by learn to work with increasing the family, the teachable years independence, internalizing of faith formation in the child their ability to study and learn are greatly minimized. with confidence. The Eucharist is the greatSchools give information
Our Journey of Faith
est gift of our faith and yet many families do not embrace it. Having worked in Catholic education and as a director of Religious Education, I have had the opportunity to speak to different pastors and educators who have expressed their frustration with parents who send their children to first Communion programs, but that once the sacrament is received, they no longer see the family. Or with parents who will send their children to Catholic schools for years but will rarely bring them to Mass on Sundays. These children are being given Religious Education with a vital component missing: the spiritual nurturing of the Eucharist and the faith formation that must come from the parents. If a Catechist or Catholic school teacher teaches a child the importance of the Eucharist, but the parents do not demonstrate this value in their own lives, more often than not, what message will the child believe? Teaching our children is a vocation of the highest importance and a great responsibility. As time flies by we are reminded that they are only young once, and soon they will be on their own. Parenting is a lifelong journey, but proximity to our children does change. We must pray to be sacrificial in our vocation, to give them all that we can, while we can, for we truly are their teachers. Greta and her husband George, with their children are members of Christ the King Parish in Mashpee.
so. Popular spirituality has spun off into a quest for self-fulfillment. When the world revolves around ourselves, we lose a sense of where we belong in the cosmic scheme of God’s creation. We lose our sense of wonder and awe, the basis of all spirituality. Life and spirit disconnect. Body and soul divorce. I’m saddened at how so many of the feasts of the Church year have been confiscated by the secular culture and turned into silliness. People no longer remember why they do the things they do on the days prescribed. Take the feast of the Presentation (February 2) for example. In the Church calendar, it’s the last flicker of the Christmas season and the beginning of spring. We bless and light candles in celebration of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple of Jerusalem. We listen with hopeful expectation to the prophecies of the elders Simeon and Anna. It was natural on this day for farmers to begin looking wistfully at their fields and wondering when the weather would be good enough to begin the planting. The feast of the Presentation has morphed into “Ground Hog Day.” Somewhere in Pennsylvania, a group of old men dressed in illfitting tuxedos stands out in a field and makes a big whop-todo over awakening a hibernating rodent. How about Valentine’s Day? There was a saint named Valentine — in fact, there were at least three. Unfortunately they lived so long ago that all we remember is that a certain St. Valentine was a man of exemplary love and charity. The name “Valentine” is based on the Latin word valens, meaning “worthy.” Valentine’s Day is nowadays observed by giving boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers to one’s
beau. In the United States, on Valentine’s Day, we spend half a billion dollars on roses alone, another billion on greeting cards, and almost two billion more on candy. The real St. Valentine must be turning over in his grave there on the Via Flamina in Rome. Then there’s All Souls/All Saints Day. The Church took that one from the pagan Celts and baptized it as a day to honor the holy dead. Now it’s been stolen from us in turn. It has become a day to dress up like a Ninja Turtle, SpongeBob SquarePants, or Hilary Clinton and annoy your neighbors. By the way, more candy is sold on Halloween than on Valentine’s Day. Today I became the pastor of St. Nicholas Church. I intend to rescue St. Nicholas from the North Pole, where he is being held captive by a gang of sugarcrazed terrorist elves. I want the real St. Nicholas, not some over-weight gnome dressed in a red suit trimmed with fake fur and accompanied by a reindeer with a seriously runny nose. My parishioners want to honor Nicholas as the patron of mariners and of children, in short, as a real man who lived with real gusto the Gospel message. There’s that masterful editorial, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Authored by Francis Church, it first appeared in the New York Sun in 1897 in response to an eight-year-old girl named Virginia O’Hanlon. It speaks of the unquestionable existence of love, generosity, and devotion; of faith, romance, and poetry; of beauty, truth, and joy. These are real virtues reflected in the lives of real men and women of every time and place. Oh, yes Virginia. Believe. Father Goldrick is pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra Parish in North Dighton.
Just a few questions, Lord
e all have those nagging questions. The ones that we can’t wait to ask God, providing we get to meet God after judgment day. You know the ones, like the classic, “God, if you can do everything, can you make a rock so big that you can’t lift it?” Or, “Why did you create mosquitoes and ticks?”; “How come all the foods that taste the best are not good for us?”; or “Couldn’t
My View From the Stands By Dave Jolivet you have created the world in one day, and have the other six days for rest?” These are all questions I’d like to ask the Father. All not very important in the larger scheme of things, but inquiring minds want to know. And God did make us inquisitive. But it’s the wild world of sports that evokes the most confusion in this inquiring, somewhat offbeat mind I was blessed with. For instance, it was a span of nearly four decades when I asked the Good Lord why he was a Yankee fan. Now, I’d bet New Yorkers pose the opposite query. But it was this past weekend when I actually felt sorry for God. This is the time of year when a college football game appears on flat screens, round screens, large screens, small screens, and just about any screen that can pick up a TV signal any time of day. It’s also the time of year when people in a dozen cities across
this fair land are pleading for their baseball team to make it to the big dance. At any of these games, pigskin or horsehide, there’s always a shot of someone with hands folded in prayer, imploring help from above. What does God do? For instance, in a game between Catholic Notre Dame University and Mormon Brigham Young University, whose prayers are more powerful? What about a game between Oral Roberts U. and Boston College? What about two secular schools like UCLA and USC? In baseball, will God care that Tampa Bay exorcised the “Devil” from its team name? Does God root for the underdogs, and does he know that the Chicago Cubs actually have a baseball team? What does God do with wave after wave of prayer requests fired his way from playing fields across America? This inquiring mind wants to know. But what this mind does know is that the Good Lord hears all the prayers of players, fans and broadcasters asking his help for a player laying motionless on a grass field, who is immobilized and loaded on a stretcher after a nasty collision. He hears the prayers of the family members whose loved one had a heart attack while watching a game. And he hears the prayers of the parents of a young child struck by a foul ball at his or her first major league game. Answers to those other questions can wait for another day.
Please visit us at: www.CarmelTerrace.org or 508 788 8000 933 Central St. Framingham, MA 01701 On the campus of St. Patrick's Manor
September 19, 2008
Somerset woman listens when God calls By Michael Pare Anchor Staff
her she would kiss my hand. When that happens, you know you are doing what you should be doSOMERSET — The way Betty Novacek sees ing.” Saint Anne’s was — and is — a perfect fit for it, the ability and willingness to listen has helped Novacek. Her relationship with the hospital has guide her life in the right direction. “That’s one of the skills you need to help spanned some three decades and while she repeople,” said Novacek. “And when you listen to tired as a full-timer seven years ago, she remains active there. Novacek cherishes the time she God, you hear where he wants you to be.” It’s that simple, really. Betty Novacek has lis- spent coordinating the hospital’s volunteer program, especially the junior volunteers. Working tened to God. A mother of five, with five grandchildren, so closely with the young people, she saw a side Novacek lost her husband Richard to cancer in of them that others do not always see. “It always gave me hope … seeing these good 1975. He battled it for about three years. It was kids helping people,” she said. a difficult time. Novacek would see some of those “kids” years Richard’s work had brought the family to Somerset from Chicago in the mid-1960s. The later when they returned to the hospital as dietiNovaceks didn’t know anyone. But they did find cians or nurses. “You’ve exposed St. Patrick’s Church them to the jobs that are and when they did, they out there and it helps soon realized they had them to make a decibecome part of a much sion as to where they are bigger family. called to be,” she said. Fellow parishioners At Saint Anne’s, rallied around the famNovacek became close ily as Richard’s illness with Sister Carole V.M. worsened. They helped Mello, O.P., the hospitake him to treatment. tal’s director of spiriThey made sure he was tual care services. Many able to attend his son’s years ago, Sister Mello baseball games and his encouraged Novacek to daughter’s school conattend a meeting of the certs. Food was dropped Diocesan Council of off at the house. Catholic Nurses. NovaAt the time, a locek took her up on it. cal newspaper carried Ultimately, she became a story with a headline: president of the orga“Faith, community of nization, coordinating love bolster Somerset seminars each year. She man.” In that article, the remains its treasurer. Novaceks said: “This Sister Mello has is surely what God was never been surprised by talking about, loving one another as if we ANCHOR PERSON OF THE WEEK — Betty all that Novacek has accomplished since arrivwere born into one fam- Novacek. (Photo by Michael Pare) ing here from Chicago. ily. These people have “She always looks to see how she can help come into our lives and us into theirs like brothers and sisters. Our children feel like their family others and spread the faith,” said Sister Mello. Sister Mello can still see Novacek working has grown.” Betty Novacek also credits another pivotal with the volunteers at the hospital. “She would teach the volunteers to listen to event with bringing her and Richard closer to God. In 1972, through St. Patrick’s, the couple the patients so that they would understand their took part in a Cursillo at La Salette Retreat Cen- needs,” she said. Novacek has taken her health care skills, as ter. A Cursillo is an intensive religious retreat. The three-day experience had a deep and lasting well as the ability to organize, to St. Patrick’s, impact on the Novaceks. Betty Novacek remem- the parish that has been such an important part of her life. bers the impact it had on her husband. In addition to teaching Religious Education “He became more confident telling people over the years and serving as an extraordinary how he loved his God,” she said. The experience brought Betty Novacek closer minister of holy Communion, Novacek spearto God and continues to today. Part of the Cur- headed the Parish Nurse program, which started sillo is that it continues, with regular meetings in 1988. It is a ministry that connects parishioand retreats. There are dedicated discussions ners with health care services. There are regular groups. The idea is to “pray on it, study it, and blood pressure and diabetes screenings, as well as mammograms. And every spring, there is a act on it.” There were practical issues for Novacek to healing Mass and social gathering afterwards. consider following the death of her husband. For Novacek is the force behind this popular event, example, she had to support a family. It marked yet is quick to deflect attention. “Our parish is filled with so many talented the beginning of a beautiful relationship with Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River that contin- people who are willing to help,” she said. Father Marek Tuptynski, pastor at St. Patues to this day. It started with courses as a nursing assistant at rick’s, sees Novacek as living her faith by literDiman Regional Technical Vocational High School ally touching the lives of others. He has been esin Fall River. That allowed Novacek a foot in the pecially impressed with her efforts to coordinate door at the hospital. Soon after, she was back in the parish services for the sick and dying and their families. “She is a very compassionate person,” classroom, becoming a licensed practical nurse. Looking back, she knows God guided her to he said. As for all the accolades, well Betty Novacek Saint Anne’s. He spoke. And she listened. In addition to her new skill set, Novacek doesn’t necessarily see herself as having done brought a big heart and a strong sense of compas- anything so special. If she has any advice to offer to others, it is to get out and live your faith. sion with her when she arrived at Saint Anne’s. “Your faith can’t be stagnant,” she said. “I remember an older Portuguese woman who And listen to God. didn’t speak any English,” recalls Novacek. “She He will tell you where you need to be. was so frightened. When I was done caring for
September 19, 2008
MISSION DRIVEN — A faithful group of women from the Fall River Diocesan Council of Catholic Women regularly attend the taping of the TV Mass seen on WLNE Channel 6 each Sunday morning. The women made a promise attending the Masses would be their mission, because they know how important the TV Mass is to shut-ins and the sick parishioners across the diocese. (Photo by Michael Pare)
Attendance at TV Mass is a gift to others continued from page one
there at the Bishop Stang chapel each Saturday morning or at some other diocesan location if necessary. To these devout women, it is a labor of love. Bella Nogeira, the organization’s president, has been attending the televised Mass since 1993. Simply put, it is important to her and all of the group’s members. “I made a promise when I became president of the group that this would be our mission,” said Nogeira. “You keep a promise.” And so they do. It is a real gift, what these women do. They attend the televised Mass each week because they know it is so important to shut-ins and sick parishioners throughout the diocese. Marguerite Ronan, a parishioner at Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in New Bedford, plans her Saturdays so she can be sure to be there for the taping. “I know a lot of people who are homebound or are in assisted living facilities,” she said. “They look forward to it.” And seeing so many of the same faces each week makes a difference to them. Father John M. Sullivan, pastor at St. Lawrence Martyr Pastor in New Bedford, celebrated the televised Mass on September 6 at Bishop Stang. While the cameras may take some getting used to and the idea that his homily is “on the clock” is something Father Sullivan is mindful of. When he looked out from the pulpit, Father Sullivan saw a community. That, he said, is a credit to the
Council of Catholic Women. “It feels like a real congregation,” he said. “The people watching from home feel like they are part of the same community. They see familiar faces. It makes them feel more comfortable. You are a guest in their homes.” Msgr. Avila too sees the importance in the televised Mass fostering a sense of community. While it certainly doesn’t replace the good work being done by local parishes, he said, it plays a pivotal role for the sick and homebound. “We try to create a parish experience,” said Msgr. Avila. “The parishes do a wonderful job of reaching out, especially with extraordinary ministers of holy Communion and our priests visiting the sick. But some people would feel lost without the opportunity to worship at Mass on Sunday.” And some of them would feel lost if they didn’t see those familiar faces on their television screens. Make no mistake, the members of the Council of Catholic Women enjoy a certain celebrity status after all these years. Back at their home parishes, they are often recognized. Rosella Bagana, a long-time member, hears from a friend in North Providence, R.I., who sees her. The televised Mass reaches not only throughout the Fall River Diocese, but all over Rhode Island and into eastern Connecticut. Miriam McCoy is a regular parishioner at New Bedford’s St. Mary’s. She started coming to the televised Mass years ago. At that
time, her husband, Martin, was ill. He would watch the Mass. Her being there made him feel better. It made her feel better, too. “He enjoyed watching it and I know he was proud that I was there,” said McCoy. Martin passed away more than four years ago. But McCoy is hooked. Like the friends that accompany her, she knows there are others out there for whom the televised Mass is just so important. Kearns is truly struck by the dedication the women demonstrate. “The women who show up every week are a blessing to the Television Apostolate,” he said. There’s always room for more at the television Mass community. For more information on tapings, contact John E. Kearns Jr. at 508-675-0211.
September 19, 2008
Top 10 Bible verses By Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr. Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — Just as music, movies and books have rankings, so there is now a ranking of the most popular Bible verses. It is compiled Here are some of the most popular verses of the Bible, according to lists supplied by the American Bible Society in New York; Top Verses, an automated program developed in Australia that counts and ranks Bible references across the Internet; and The Christian Post in Washington, which describes itself as a pan-denominational Christian media source. The verses are taken from the New American Bible translation. — “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). — “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32).
— “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Ps 23:1). — “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (Jn 14:6). — “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth ...” (Gn 1:1). — “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” (Jn 14:2) — “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). — “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Phil 4:13). — “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). — “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).
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DOWN TIME — India Ennenga, Meg Ryan and Candice Bergen star in a scene from the movie “The Women.” For a brief review of this film, see CNS Movie Capsules below. (CNS photo/Picturehouse)
CNS Movie Capsules NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Babylon A.D.” (Fox) Pointless futuristic action outing in which a mobster (Gerard Depardieu) hires a mercenary (Vin Diesel) to escort a mysteriously gifted young woman (Melanie Thierry) and her guardian (Michelle Yeoh) from Mongolia to New York and deliver her to the minions of her cult’s high priestess (Charlotte Rampling). Though not excessively violent, director Mathieu Kassovitz’s leaden adaptation of French author Maurice G. Dantec’s novel, “Babylon Babies,” is driven by a muddled mythology that includes the repetition of a Gospel miracle, a plot turn requiring, though hardly meriting, mature interpretation. Moderate action violence, one use of the F-word, some crude language, a couple of profanities and a brief background view of a stripper. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting 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. “Bangkok Dangerous” (Lionsgate) Grim shoot-’em-up about a solitary hit man (Nicolas Cage) who travels to the titular city to carry out four contract killings for a local crime boss (Nirattisai Kaljareuk), but finds his emotional isolation thawed by his friendship with the
petty thief (Shahkrit Yamnarm) he hires as an assistant and his feelings for a pretty pharmacy clerk (Charlie Young). As directed by the Pang brothers, this remake of their 1999 Thai film features considerable violence and muddled moral values, with its hero instructing his protege in the art of killing even while ostensibly reassessing his own viciousness. Brief graphic sexual activity, upper female nudity, intense action violence with gore, a suicide, and occasional rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. “College” (MGM) Salacious, smile-free teen comedy about three high school seniors (Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell and Kevin Covais) on a weekend campus tour who opt to stay in a fraternity house, drawn by its booze and strippers, but have to endure crude hazing by its loutish leader (Nick Zano), while one falls in love with a pretty coed (Haley Bennett) who takes him for a fellow freshman. Director Deb Hagan’s spiritless film — even the ostensible comedy falls flat — briefly takes its protagonists into true romance and emotional maturity, but the emphasis is squarely on repulsive bullying and decadent partying. Strong sexual content, upper-female and
rear nudity, much sexual and scatological humor, drug use, underage drinking, pervasive rough and crude language, and a few uses of profanity. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. “The Women” (Picturehouse) Lackluster third filming of Clare Booth Luce’s classic 1936 comedy set against a contemporary fashion and publishing backdrop, as a clothing designer (Meg Ryan) learns her husband is having an affair with a perfume sales gal (Eva Mendes), and fights to win him back with the help of her friends (Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett-Smith). Director and writer Diane English has greatly diluted the witty original, making it more a sentimental “chick flick” with feminist overtones, while the capable all-female cast members — including Bette Midler, Candice Bergen and Carrie Fisher — prove less memorable than their forebears. Some crude words, profanity and sexual banter; a scene in a lesbian bar; adultery; some casual attitudes toward sexuality; a lengthy childbirth sequence; and brief drug use. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Diocese of Fall River TV Mass on WLNE Channel 6 Sunday, September 21 at 11:00 a.m. Scheduled celebrant is Father Michael Racine, pastor of St. Bernard’s Parish in Assonet
September 19, 2008
Priests for Life returns to roots, drops plan to have own seminarians WASHINGTON (CNS) — In what the founder of Priests for Life called a return to its roots, the organization has decided not to seek Church recognition as a society of apostolic life that would accept and ordain its own seminarians. Instead Priests for Life and the related Missionaries of the Gospel of Life will continue to help priests, seminarians and lay Catholics around the country become “more effectively Pro-Life” within their own parishes and communities, said Father Frank Pavone in a telephone interview. “We got it right the first time,” he told Catholic News Service, noting that he founded Priests for Life in 1991 as a way to “infuse the existing structures” of the Church and society with the Pro-Life message. Priests for Life and the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life will be one entity, “without the founding of a canonically distinct community,” said a joint statement from Priests for Life and the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas. Father Pavone, who was originally ordained as a priest of the New York Archdiocese, was incardinated in the Diocese of Amarillo in March 2005 and became the first member of the new Missionaries of the Gospel of Life the following year. He will remain a priest of the Amarillo Diocese, he said.
Today The Anchor prints the sixth in an eight-part series on marriage published by the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. The series is entitled “The Future Depends on Love” and examines from a fresh and contemporary perspective topics such as human love in the divine plan, the intrinsic and public goods of marriage, the gift of fertility, the sacrament of matrimony and more. For more information about the series and added resources, visit www.MassCatholicMarriage.org.
Pope hopes trip to France encourages awareness of Mary VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped his first trip to France as pope would encourage greater awareness of Mary as a beacon of hope for all people, especially the young. The pope said he was traveling to France as a “messenger of peace and fraternity” and that he would offer a special prayer during his visit for the sick, the weak and the cause of peace in the world. The pope made the remarks at the end of his weekly general audience two days before leaving for a September 12-15 visit to Paris and the Marian sanctuaries at Lourdes. The pope noted that he was no stranger to France, having visited there many times as a cardinal. He praised the “solidity of its Christian faith and its high human and spiritual culture” and said he was sure he would be welcomed in the country’s traditional spirit of tolerance. In celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions to St. Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, the pope said he hoped to underline Mary’s importance in the lives of all Christians today. Disability group urges continuing life support as long as necessary WASHINGTON (CNS) — The National Catholic Partnership on Disability is calling on health care providers to continue life support as long as necessary for people who cannot determine for themselves that such support is needed, unless death is “inevitable and imminent.” In an statement outlining its stance, the Washington-based partnership said life support can be withdrawn only when death is imminent “to ensure that the terminal condition, not the withholding or withdrawal of treatment, is the cause of death.” The statement was adopted to prevent the gradual acceptance of what Stephen L. Mikochik, the partnership’s chairman-elect, called “euthanasia by omission.” The partnership’s action comes as the debate evolves in the medical profession about “futile care” and the appropriateness of continuing treatment that the American Medical Association describes as not having a “reasonable chance” of benefiting a patient.
North American College welcomes largest incoming class in 40 years
ROME (CNS) — The Pontifical North American College — the U.S. seminary in the Eternal City — welcomed its largest incoming class in 40 years August 28 when 61 seminarians arrived. While classes at the pontifical universities in Rome do not begin until mid-October, the new students at the seminary sponsored by the U.S. bishops arrived early for orientation, intensive Italian classes and a retreat. But first, they sang for the pope. Given a place of honor in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo August 31, they serenaded the pope in Latin after joining in the noontime recitation of the Angelus. Msgr. Robert Gruss, vice rector for student life, said that when
the new men are joined by the second-, third- and fourth-year students by mid-September, the college will have a booming community of 208 seminarians. The college building on the Janiculum Hill overlooking the Vatican opened in 1954 with room for more than 200 students, but in recent years some of the student rooms had been put to different uses. “Those rooms have been reclaimed,” Msgr. Gruss reported. After a week with the new students he said, “They are good men, very focused, very excited to be here. “They are quality men and there seems to be a good camaraderie,” the monsignor said. “They will fit in well with the community.”
September 19, 2008
St. Mary’s Parish begins building on its expanding faith
By Kenneth J. Souza Anchor Staff
NORTON — It’s no coincidence the capital campaign that began last April to raise money to defer the costs of a new church building for St. Mary’s Parish in Norton was titled “Building on our Faith.” That theme was echoed in remarks made by Bishop George W. Coleman on Sunday as he presided over the formal ground-breaking ceremony and blessing of the new church grounds. “It is not primarily about constructing a building,” Bishop Coleman told the parishioners gathered in the parking lot of the parish center where the new church will be erected. “Ultimately, it is about building our lives and those of our children and grandchildren on faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ. This new building, this new church, will be the place where the
community of the faithful gather to listen to God’s word, allowing that word to enter their hearts and affect their lives. It will be the place where the Christian community gathers around the altar to join themselves with Christ in the Eucharist as he offers himself to the Father and gives to us his Body and his Blood.” Having outgrown the current facility on the corner of South Worcester and Power streets in Norton which first opened in 1925, St. Mary’s Parish had previously attempted to construct a new church under former pastor Father Arnold Medeiros. But it wasn’t until planning and fund raising began in earnest some four years ago with the arrival of pastor Father Marc Tremblay that this latest project finally came to fruition. “It’s been a long four years of planning to get to this point,” Father Tremblay said. “I’m sure most
IT’S A START — Bishop George W. Coleman and pastor Father Marc Tremblay break ground for the new St. Mary’s Church in Norton last Sunday. (Photo by Kenneth J. Souza).
of these people would never have conceived of this happening. Father Medeiros, who was here two pastors before me, started the process and tried to plan to put the church here, but it never came through. Now we’re finally ready to start.” The project has truly been a labor of love and a commitment to the parishioners’ faith. After establishing a goal to raise $1 million to offset the costs of the new structure, parishioners have already committed $765,000 toward the project to date, along with various in-kind donations of talent and time during the construction process. With the recent demolition of St. William’s Church in Fall River, the spire that once graced the top of that church has also been donated to St. Mary’s and now sits fastened to a truck in the parking lot, waiting to adorn the top of the new church. Citing the Gospel reading from Mark 7:24-27 which preceded his remarks, Bishop Coleman drew comparisons to the inclement weather earlier in the day which threatened to dampen that afternoon’s ground-breaking ceremonies, but ultimately held off for the duration of the event. “Jesus said to build a house on rock,” Bishop Coleman said. “Therefore when the rainy season arrives, storms may come along with rain and strong wind, yet the house did not collapse because it had been built solidly on rock. On the contrary, those who are foolish build houses on sandy ground. When the rainy season arrives, the torrential rains and strong winds buffet these houses to such an extent that they collapse and are ruined. This parable can be applied to our plans for a new church here in Norton.” “Certainly we intend that any new structure would be constructed in such a manner to withstand our New England nor’easters and our severe winters,” Bishop Coleman added. “But Jesus intends to teach us more than how to construct a building. In teaching his disciples this parable, he intended to teach them about the kingdom of God. Because the church is a visible building, it stands as a special sign of the pilgrim Church on earth and it reflects the Church dwelling in heaven. When a church is constructed for assembling the people of God and for carrying out sacred functions, it is fitting that it be dedicated to God with a solemn rite, such as we celebrate today in accordance with the ancient custom of the Church.” Father Tremblay said construction will soon begin and he anticipates the new church to be completed by the end of 2009, or early 2010.
READY TO SERVE — From left, Holy Union Sisters Paula Coelho, Maryellen Ryan, and Mary Catherine Burns were recently elected to the congregation’s Mission Team for the U.S. Province.
Holy Union Sisters install new leaders
NORTH EASTON — At the recent annual province assembly at Stonehill College, the third Mission Team for the Holy Union Sisters U.S. Province assumed office. During a ritual of transition, Sisters Mary Catherine Burns, Paula Coelho and Maryellen Ryan were anointed and blessed by their Sisters. The new leaders had been chosen during a weekend selection process in April. They were confirmed by the congregation’s General Council in Rome to serve a five-year term ending in August 2013. The new Mission Team comes to their position of leadership from varied ministries and locations. Sister Mary Catherine has served as chair of the math and physics department at Coyle-Cassidy High School in Taunton. Sister Paula has been director of Helping Adults Learn Today, an English as a Second Language Center serving Haitians in Mattapan. Sister Maryellen has been a pastoral associate at St. Mary’s Parish in New York City. All three sisters have international experience within the Holy Union Congregation, representing
the U.S. Province at international meetings and serving on international committees. Sister Maryellen has also spent time in Cameroon working with the Holy Union Sisters in initial formation. Sisters Mary Catherine and Paula are natives of Taunton. Sister Mary Catherine entered Holy Union from St. Mary’s Parish after graduating from the former St. Mary High School. Sister Paula entered Holy Union from St. Joseph Parish after graduating from the former Cassidy High School. At the end of the transition ritual, Sisters Mary Catherine, Paula and Maryellen prayed these words: “In response to the call to serve in leadership for the United States Province Mission Team, we remember how wonderfully God has acted in the past, and we trust that God will continue to lead us into the future.” The Holy Union Sisters are a small international congregation of women religious founded in France in 1826. Today Holy Union Sisters live on four continents where they provide a variety of ministries.
CENTERVILLE — Our Lady of Victory Parish will bring Religious Education to every member of the family and take a transformative step toward life-long learning the weekend of October 4. “We need to do better at handing on our treasured faith,” Father Mark R. Hession, pastor, said in launching Generations in Faith Together, a series of parish events centered around a family meal. “We can no longer just drop off our kids at faith formation classes and think that’s enough for them, or fail to treat ourselves to a deeper relationship with Jesus and his worldwide communion.” Summoning people of all ages to “step beyond our comfort” and embrace a new challenge, Father Hession described GIFT as a rec-
ognition that parents are the first teachers of their children and faith formation is the work of a lifetime. “By our common baptism we have been called and gifted; let’s strengthen that faith together and preserve it for the next generation,” he said. GIFT has as its core a family meal where children, teens and adults gather for fellowship, prayer, reflection and song followed by age appropriate learning and discussion in smaller groups. A closing service gathers the generations together to share experiences and talk about ways of putting faith into practice at home. More than 100 members of the parish are involved in planning GIFT events in the Parish Center and new Faith Formation Center.
New GIFT Program to begin at Our Lady of Victory Parish
We must never lose sight of the real mission
t the beginning of every catechetical year I always get this profound sense that I am running around in circles. It isn’t just the endless cycle of meetings and kick-off events; it is that disturbing realization that I might have lost sight of the mission. The mission … ah yes, what was that anyway? Are we not supposed to “go and make disciples?” Somehow this mission of making disciples has evolved into making class lists, recruiting catechists, and implementing curriculum; all done for a small subset of disciples: children. Discipleship is not just a personal call to holiness; it is a communal call to action. On that fateful day when Jesus searched the scroll for the reading from
The Great Commission By Claire McManus the prophet Isaiah and proclaimed his mission, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me … I have come to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free,” (Lk 4:6-21) the world changed forever. It was after the Resurrection that Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and do likewise. Though we have structured the visible Church into parishes with real concerns over building maintenance and sacramental numbers, we must never lose sight of the original mission because of these temporal concerns. A parish that loses sight of Christ’s mission becomes a ship without a compass. Parishioners spend their time rearranging the deck chairs, or worse, protecting their place on deck to the exclusion of all others. The parish loses its sense of communion and becomes a disjointed collection of everyone’s agenda. Even the most active parish can lack purpose if it is not mission-driven. The mission of Christ is always in need of new disciples so that it will continue to be carried out in each generation. Parishes that are not focused on evangelizing will eventually scuttle the mission. This is why evangelization is the root from which the branches of pastoral planning and faith formation grow. Parishes do not exist to sustain themselves, but to serve
September 19, 2008
the mission of evangelization. Just as there is no “one size fits all” program of faith formation, there is also no packaged program for pastoral planning. Each parish has received the mandate to make disciples, but how this is carried out will be as unique and varied as is our diocese. The goal of pastoral planning is to help each parish to discover the best way to evangelize its community. Following upon this effort, then, is the goal of faith formation: forming and nurturing the faith in the evangelized community. If parishes are to succeed in carrying out Christ’s mission then they need to engage the whole community in pastoral planning. This is best done by the parish pastoral council. Parish pastoral councils are not meant to be a collection of ministry leaders, but should be representative of all of the parishioners so that it can provide dialog between the pastor and the community of faithful. This vision of a council of laity that provides consultation to the pastor comes from the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity: “Councils should be set up to assist the Church’s apostolic work, whether in the field of evangelization and sanctification or in the fields of charity, social relations and the rest” (para. 26). On October 1, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Taunton Holiday Inn, the two branches of evangelization are joining together to offer all of the pastors and their pastoral councils the opportunity to assess their own unique parishes and to create a plan for becoming mission-driven. The Offices of Pastoral Planning and Faith Formation are bringing to the Diocese of Fall River the nationally renowned author and speaker on pastoral planning for lifelong formation, Bill Huebsch. Among the many aspects of parish life that will be assessed will be the areas of liturgy and worship, retreats and other opportunities for communion with God, pastoral care, catechetical programs, and temporal issues such as space and budgets. No mission can be carried out without a practical plan for execution. Come and join us on October 1 and take the first step to re-vitalizing your parishes. Claire McManus is the director of the Diocesan Office of Faith Formation.
‘Visibility’ is key to success for high school chaplains continued from page one
said Father Costa, 38. His comments came a week after taking up his assignment at Bishop Feehan High School. “High school students have great questions, because they’re searching, looking for meaning all the time, and they are assertive to get the right answers. The kids are very open-minded intellectually and spiritually. I am excited by the challenge of working with the youthful spirit and energy combined with an intellectual atmosphere. One might say that the more challenging it is, the more opportunities to show how God can work through you.” “God is also working in them — the Holy Spirit — and so as chaplains we are called to help guide them as they make decisions in their lives even as they meet the challenges and temptations that come along.” For Father Mello, 28, the new chaplain at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth, the assignment “is just a hop over the wall” separating the school and St. Julie Billiart Church where he is parochial vicar. “I love being a chaplain. It’s a great job, awesome — the kids are fantastic and the faculty great,” he said last week, moving between scheduled events. “I’m a freshman as a chaplain, new on the job,” admitted Father Mello, who was ordained July 7, 2007. With a year under his belt as chaplain, Father Cook, 36, said he’s made several changes. “This year I added more catechesis by way of instructing Catholic students in their faith and its responsibilities — like getting to Mass on Sundays and the need to receive the sacraments more regularly, and developing a life of prayer. I learned to have a feel for the school; when students are
comfortable when you’re among them or when they need to talk to you; and how to react,” said Father Cook, who was ordained a priest in June 2001. Last year he celebrated Mass in the school prior to class, but found more faculty than students attending. This year he moved the daily Mass to after 9 a.m., to attract more students. He also found that making Fridays open all day to hearing confessions was better than during weekday study periods when few found time to do so. His other “part-time” assignments that keep him busy include being a chaplain two days a week at Morton Hospital in Taunton; saying Mass during the week and on the weekend at Annunciation of the Lord Parish in Taunton, where he’s in residence; and as assistant director of Vocations. While it might seem that school is a place where a chaplain meets regularly with large groups of people, because of class schedules, the only time that happens is when the priest celebrates Mass. “What’s more common is meeting one-on-one with those who seek you out for the sacrament of reconciliation or advice and counseling, and that can come any time,” Father Cook explained. For Father Costa, who was ordained three years ago, working with young people is nothing new. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Parish in Mansfield, where he was active with the youth group, as well as the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Pro-Life Group, and as a spiritual advisor to many. “At school there’s always a lot happening every day, people coming and going and moving from home rooms to other locations, a much faster environment
than one finds in the parish,” he told The Anchor. “Once a week I celebrate Mass in the school and it is at 7 a.m., not at a noon or lunch break, because by then, the school day is nearly over for these high schoolers most of whom are up before dawn to complete study assignments.” At a Mass in the school auditorium there can be 1,200 students attending, and that requires adjustments. Father Costa said his daily communicants at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Seekonk, “often complain that I talk too loudly — something I’ve picked up talking to kids in the larger gathering.” “However, school can in many ways be like a parish, because it is not only the students I am called to minister to, but the teachers, staff, parents and visiting family members. I am always available for the sacrament of reconciliation, and Mass on the holy days; and there are retreats and times for prayer and diocesan programs I am also involved in,” Father Costa said. For Father Mello, whose fulltime assignment as parochial vicar is St. Julie Billiart Parish, his part-time job as chaplain really keeps him on the go. “I celebrate Mass at the school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:15 a.m., hear confessions Fridays from 8 to 10 a.m., and whenever I’m asked, and preside at Benediction following adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on First Fridays of the month,” he said. “I serve the faculty as well as students … and sometimes family members. I hang out at practices and games and after school play tennis with them, making myself available to everyone as much as I can. Of course living next door is of great advantage in being there for them,” he added.
September 19, 2008
Pope emails more than 30,000 World Youth Day participants By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
WELL GROUNDED — Sixth-grade with teacher Mary Clausius at St. Mary-Sacred Heart School, North Attleboro, waits with her class for a prayer service to begin. From left, rear: Meaghan Lawler and Madelyn Sweet. Middle: Emily O’Heir, Kay LaBelle, Julia Morris, and Leigh Marcotte Front: Shannon Lawler, Cullen Murphy, and Emily Thomas. The theme of the service marking the opening of the school year was, “We are on Holy Ground.”
HELPING THOSE IN NEED — Last spring, the students of Our Lady of Lourdes School in Taunton, conducted a “Hop-a-Thon” at the school and raised $2,350 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. On Labor Day, Principal Lincoln DeMoura, right, and fifth-grade student Joseph K. deMello presented a check to David Brown of WCVB-TV5. The students at Our Lady of Lourdes School have participated in similar activities during the past six years.
REVERENCE FOR THE BLESSED MOTHER — A full size digital image of the “tilma” of Juan Diego commonly known as the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe recently visited St. Francis Xavier School in Acushnet. The students and faculty watched a DVD about her story. Later the children offered Our Lady their pray petitions, reverenced the icon and prayed the rosary.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI sent a brief email to more than 30,000 young people who attended World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, or have expressed interest in knowing more about the experience. In the early September message, the pope greeted the young people, offered his prayers for them and asked them to pray for the young people of France as he prepared to visit their country September 12-15. The message was sent through www.Xt3.com, a social networking Website established to help World Youth Day participants keep in touch, converse with one another online and meet others who were in Sydney.
The text of the papal message read: “Fifty days ago we were together for the celebration of Mass. Today I greet you on the birthday of Mary, Mother of the Church. Empowered by the Spirit and courageous like Mary, your pilgrimage of faith fills the Church with life! Soon I am to visit France. I ask you all to join me in praying for the young people of France. May we all be rejuvenated in hope!” In addition to putting the English-language message into the inbox of each registered Xt3 member, the site provided links to translations in Italian, German, Spanish and French. The site claimed that by the end of August it had 30,000 registered users.
BUSINESS AS USUAL — Students at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro are back in the swing of things as the new school year begins.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE — Four students in grades seven and eight at St. John the Evangelist School, Attleboro, were elected to head the Junior National Honor Society this year. Back row, from left: Grace Valley, seventh grade, secretary; Cara Adams, eighth grade, vice president; Joseph Kelley, eighth grade, president. Front row: Victoria Anderson, seventh grade, treasurer.
September 19, 2008
A desire for God
o you care about what is going on the world today? Are the problems of our society compelling enough to get you to do your part in fixing them? Do you really care? All too often, I’m afraid, apathy raises its ugly head, and today’s youth is most vulnerable to the indifference and self-righteousness it offers. You cannot change the world by simply doing nothing. Indifference, along with a self-righteous attitude immersed in the things of this world, are obstacles to change, walls that prevent conversion. You cannot fight evil if you are apathetic. Having a desire for God is at the frontline of your battle against the evils of our world. Each day I pray that our youth will have God in their every thought, word and action. Front and center, that’s where God belongs. But for that to happen, sorrow for your sins
must be intense and so perfect that it excludes all apathy and indifference. In Deuteronomy 4:29 we are reminded of this desire; “You will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Likewise, in Jeremiah 29: 13-14: “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” Young people that I interact with on a weekly basis are not shy to voice their concerns about some of the things that trouble them. Family, friends, school and Church, just to name a few, offer these young people challenges that many don’t know how to tackle or are afraid to, and so they do nothing about them. “Mass is boring.” is an all too often remark from
young people. Their lack of emotion for the Mass and lack of interest in the Mass should concern us all. My first response is always, “What are you going to do about it?” Many offer
solutions that are outside the context and prayerfulness of the Mass. And I ask myself, “How strong is their desire for God?” Simply listening to the Word of God at Mass, receiving holy Communion, and just opening the missal or hymnal can begin to develop emotion for and interest in Mass. Everything else
will follow. School is also a sore subject. Not only are youth verbally open about their attitude towards school, but many go so far as to say, “I hate school.” Education is always a big issue in our society. The educated mind brings about change. Look at what happened in 1971. The 26th Amendment gave 18- to 21-year-olds a right they never had, the right to vote. The big push to pass this amendment came from the 1960s anti-war protests about Vietnam — how could our country send these young people to war and yet not allow them to vote? The amendment paralleled the fighting age with the voting age: a great movement, a great change. However, today,
apathy still raises its ugly head. How many of our legal voting youth don’t exercise their right to vote? That’s the first line of defense against the wrongs and evils of our society. Unfortunately, too often, it’s compromised. Is it because you cannot find something worth fighting for? Look around — I have no doubt there is. Don’t always be the complainer and never the doer. You cannot fight evil if you are apathetic. If you are aware of your world, you will be more interesting and well rounded. We owe the world an interest in ourselves. We owe God an interest in ourselves. My prayer for you is that you never grow apathetic about your apathy — not caring that you don’t care. Ozzie Pacheco is Faith Formation director at Santo Christo Parish, Fall River.
By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service
slightly in 2006 after steadily declining since 1991, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report shows the birthrate for teens ages 15-19 rose three percent from 2005 to 2006. According to National Vital Statistics Reports, the most recently reported teen pregnancy rate from 2004 is 72.2 per 1,000 teens or 7.2 percent. Nationwide, programs for pregnant and parenting teenagers were offered at 106 Catholic Charities agencies last year serving almost 25,000 teens, according to Jean Beil, senior vice president of programs and services for Catholic Charities USA. For some local agencies, teen pregnancy programs have been part of their work for decades. But in recent years, many have increased the type of services they offer, ranging from educating teens about making the right choices, helping with adoption, or providing assistance
in infant care and the provision of baby supplies. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago offers programs for pregnant teen-agers in neighborhoods throughout the city. Alice Wyatt, director for the agency’s Arts of Living Institute based at local public schools, said the program served 457 teen parents and 349 children last year — a slight increase from the previous year. The program monitors teens and their health needs through case managers who meet with them regularly. The Jadonal E. Ford Center puts a strong emphasis on providing support groups for new mothers designed to connect them to peers who are also trying to stay in school and adjust to new schedules and new responsibilities. Brown-Walker said the chal-
lenges for these teens vary depending on their age. “Younger girls tend to face more pressure than older girls. Students in high school can face intimidation from their peers or other family members. Even worse, some girls face abuse issues, homelessness and an increased risk of dropping out of school. We are seeing more girls coming to us who are between 13 and 16 years of age,” she added. Mercy Sister Mary Ann LoGiudice, executive director of Community Maternity Services, an agency for pregnant teenagers sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., has likewise seen younger clients, as young as 13 and 14, in recent years. Sister LoGiudice, who has worked with pregnant teens for three decades, said the teens seek-
ing help are not only younger but more often than not they choose to keep their babies instead of giving them up for adoption, which used to be more common. Although many Catholic Charities-sponsored programs help teens during pregnancy, others are designed to prevent pregnancy in the first place. One such program is the North Star Youth Partnership, which works with Catholic Charities Community Services in Phoenix. Diane DeLong, the North Star director, said she is tired of the criticism of abstinence programs that assumes teachers just tell youths, “Don’t have sex.” The programs are much more involved, she said, teaching young people to avoid risky behavior and to realize the consequences of their actions.
Teen pregnancy in the spotlight; Church has been helping for years
WASHINGTON — When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s vice-presidential nominee, disclosed her teen-age daughter’s pregnancy, the announcement stirred a whirlwind of political commentary. For some, it also put a necessary spotlight on the real issue of teen pregnancy. For those working with pregnant teens on a daily basis, the news that 17-year-old Bristol Palin was five months pregnant may not have raised any eyebrows. “Pregnant and parenting teens is not a new phenomenon; it has been going on for a long time and it affects teens from all socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Velma Brown-Walker, program director at Catholic Charities’ Jadonal E. Ford Center for Adolescent Parenting in Chicago, which served 1,454 clients last year. The overall teen birthrate rose
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
LIGHTS, CAMERA ... — Bishop George W. Coleman receives last-minute instructions from John E. Kearns Jr., diocesan director of Communications and Ellen McCloskey, assistant director of the Digital Media Office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, prior to his taping two daily reflections to be seen on the USCCB Website later this year. (Photo by Chris Salvador)
Daily reflections and meditations are ‘just a click away’ continued from page one
Mathias, Mark R. Hession, Rodney E. Thibault, Sacred Hearts Father William Petrie, Deacon Normandin, and Claire McManus, diocesan director of the Office of Faith Formation. Each participant taped two or three reflections that will be seen on the Website on consecutive Tuesdays from October 7 through March 10, 2009. Bishop Coleman’s meditations will air Sunday, November 9 and Sunday, December 28. “The taping sessions took place at Media Image in Fairhaven,” said Kearns. “Dave Fortin of Media Image has done a great deal of fine audio/visual work for the diocese, including Catholic Charities Appeal promotions and for other diocesan offices.” The 25 reflections were successfully completed in one day of shooting. “Everyone was wonderful,” McCloskey told The Anchor. “The participants were very professional and very easy to direct.” Msgr. O’Connor, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acush-
net enjoyed the experience. “It was quite fun, actually,” he told The Anchor. “The challenge was to keep to less than less than three minutes, but it was a great experience. “People are always looking for a little guidance when it comes to Scripture, and this Website is a nice idea. I viewed the site after I was asked, and it’s very well done. We all have a different view or angle on the readings, and that’s good for people to see and hear.” Father Petrie, provincial of the Sacred Hearts Provincial House in Fairhaven said, “It was a privilege to be asked to participate. Something like this was new to me, but the whole crew was so pleasant and disarming.” Father Petrie also said that because so many people utilize the Internet, these meditations are a benefit. “Each generation is accessing the Internet at a younger age. Many people spend a great deal of time on the Web, and the Internet can play a profound role
in evangelization. People are very busy, and for them to be able to access a two- or three-minute daily reflection is ideal, and to see it and hear it has even more impact.” Father Thibault, a parochial vicar at Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich, said he felt “very comfortable” during his sessions. “I truly enjoyed it. I love to communicate and we should fully utilize such a powerful tool as the Internet to help spread the message of Christ. So many people are online several times a day for one reason or another. Why not take two or three minutes for a Scripture reflection and receive something to think about?” He did quip that one of the fun challenges was establishing the proper frame of mind of delivering three Advent reflections “on a warm summer afternoon when all I was thinking about was the beach.” Father Thibault also said that delivering a homily to be seen online isn’t new to him or the staff at Corpus Christi. “The homily
September 19, 2008 at our principal weekend Mass is always taped and put on our Website (corpuschristiparish.org). People love it.” McManus told The Anchor, “It was a bit awkward at first, not speaking to a human audience. Usually I know the audience to whom I’m speaking, but looking into a camera lens, I had no idea who would be viewing this on the Web.” She added that while the message of the Good News remains the same, “It can now be proclaimed via a new age of media — the Internet.” McManus too mentioned the Faith Formation Office uses its Website (frfaithformation.org) to spread God’s word. “We have a question of the day, where people can actually interact with the site. And we have other theology teaching tools there as well.” “When John Kearns called me and asked if I’d be interested in taking part in this venture, I immediately went to the USCCB Website to check it out,” said Deacon Normandin. “I saw this as an opportunity to reach out to many people. Anything we can do to get the Good News out is beneficial. I thought it would be fun. “The people representing the Fall River Diocese for these meditations are different and we all have a different spirituality, so we can reach a wide variety of folks.” Deacon Normandin admitted that it was at first difficult to prepare his text to deliver in two to three minutes. “The first few drafts were six and seven minutes. That was a challenge.” The deacon wasn’t sure how many people will take the opportunity to watch and listen to the meditations, but he feels the concept is greatly needed. “Fulton Sheen reached so many people, not just Catholics, but all Christians and non-Christians. It’s been a while since then. The bishops’ Website is definitely a step in the right direction.” The potential for reaching large
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amounts of people is limitless. According to the Website “Internet World Stats,” in North America alone, there are an estimated 337 million people, and of those, 248 million access the Internet in some fashion. That’s a whopping 73 percent. Worldwide there are 6.5 billion people and 1.4 billion, or 22 percent, surf the Web. “One of the most popular features on the bishops’ Website was the daily Scripture reading section taken from the New American Bible, where users could read the text of each of the day’s readings,” said McCloskey. “We thought it only seemed natural if we augmented the readings with an audio/visual. It’s been nearly two years since we began using the A/V section and people seem to enjoy it. Since it is the World Wide Web, we get email from around the world commenting on the site. We’ve heard from people in South Korea, England and Africa to name a few.” The daily readings and reflections remain on the Website for two months. McCloskey said the Digital Media Office likes to contact dioceses across the country because, “It shows people the breadth and the scope of our Catholic faith.” Early on in the series, her office contacted dioceses that had A/V capabilities, but now they’re spreading out and helping those areas without such equipment. “If we have to, we’ll bring along Chris Salvador from New Group Media in Indiana. Chris has many contacts in the field across the country. We all know about the big archdioceses and dioceses in the U.S., but we hope to eventually give people exposure to faithful Catholics in smaller, little known dioceses in the southwest, for example.” Shortly after wrapping up the taping sessions in Fairhaven, McCloskey headed to other areas in New England, to tap into their resources. “We’ve met so many wonderful Catholics,” she said. McCloskey was also quick to note that these meditations and reflections are made possible through the Catholic Communication Campaign. “It’s through those yearly collections, when people in the Fall River Diocese give so generously, that makes this all possible. We’re so happy to provide quality, inspiring Catholic messages to people 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Other helpful features on the www.ccc-tv Website include one-on-one interviews on current topics with people sharing their faith; Faith Works, featuring faith at work — people helping others, taking action, and spreading their faith; and a series on the seven sacraments. All just a click away.
September 19, 2008
Around the Diocese Masses
Eucharistic Adoration: FALL RIVER — A healing Mass will be celebrated at St. Anne’s Church, 818 Middle Street, September 25, at 6:30 p.m. The rosary will be recited prior to the Mass, and Benediction will follow the Mass.
Eucharistic Adoration ACUSHNET — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place at St. Joseph-St. Therese Church, 51 Duncan Street, Mondays following the 8:30 a.m., Mass until 1:30 p.m. For more information call 508-995-2354. EAST TAUNTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place every First Friday at Holy Family Church, 370 Middleboro Avenue, following the 8:30 a.m. Mass until Benediction at 8 p.m. All are invited. NEW BEDFORD — Eucharistic adoration takes place 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 233 County Street, with night prayer and Benediction at 8:45 p.m., and confessions offered during the evening. NEW BEDFORD — There is a daily holy hour from 5:15-6:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue. It includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Hours and recitation of the rosary. TAUNTON — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place every First Friday at Annunciation of the Lord Church, 31 First Street, immediately following the 8 a.m., Mass and continues throughout the day. Confessions are heard from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., concluding with recitation of the rosary and Benediction at 6:30 p.m. TAUNTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place every Tuesday at St. Anthony Church, 126 School St., 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’s and Benediction. Recitation of the rosary for peace is prayed Monday through Saturday at 7:30 a.m. prior to the 8 a.m. Mass. WEST HARWICH — Our Lady of Life Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Holy Trinity Parish, 246 Main Street, holds perpetual eucharistic adoration. For open hours or to sign up for an hour call 508-432-4716.
Miscellaneous Miscellaneous: ACUSHNET — A Christian Rock Festival will be held tomorrow from 4 to 7 p.m., at St. Francis Xavier School, 233 Main Street. There will be bands and food will be available. For more information call 508-983-4625. BREWSTER — The Lazarus Ministry of Our Lady of the Cape Parish will offer a six-part bereavement program, “Come Walk With Me,” on Fridays beginning today in the Parish Center on Stony Brook Road. For information and to register call the parish office at 508-385-3252 or Eileen Miller at 508-896-4218. CHATHAM — A Tridentine Mass is celebrated 11:30 a.m. every Sunday at Our Lady of Grace Chapel on Route 137. EAST SANDWICH — An annual Cursillista reunion and brunch Ultreya will take place at Corpus Christi Church October 4 beginning with 10 a.m. Mass, followed by a witness and brunch. For reservations call Marie Basile at 508-888-5719. FALL RIVER — The Parish Nurse Basic Preparation Program will begin September 24, 5:30 to 9 p.m., in the Nannery Conference Room of St. Anne’s Hospital, 795 Middle Street. For more information contact Wendy Merriman at 401-487-3819; Kathy Emerson at 508-272-8983; leave a message at 508-674-5600, extension 2064; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. FALL RIVER — A parish festival will take place at SS. Peter & Paul School, 240 Dover Street, September 19-21. The hours will be Friday from 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, beginning with a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m., with activities until 9 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 9:30 p.m. Events include entertainment from Studio C; a blueberry pie baking contest; a local heroes contest with Marc Munroe Dion, Donna Boyle and Fall River Mayor Ed Correia as judges; games; a Portuguese bazaar; food; a fire safety presentation, a magic show; a Chinese auction; a penny sale; raffle and more. For information call the parish office at 508-676-8463 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. HYANNIS — The Corpus Christi Parish Respect Life Committee will host a breakfast lecture September 27, at the parish center, beginning with breakfast at 9:45 a.m. Father Andrew Johnson will be the speaker. For reservations or directions call Pat at 508-833-8432. NEW BEDFORD — Courage, a group for people experiencing same-sex attraction and trying to live the Church’s teachings on chastity, will meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. For location information, call Father Richard Wilson at 508-992-9408. NEW BEDFORD — A Holiday Fair will be held at St. Mary’s Church, 106 Illinois Street, November 8 from 9:30 to 5:30 p.m., and November 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. It includes a full kitchen, kids korner, crafts bake table, book corner and Chinese auction. For information call Lynne Kuczewski at 508-942-5031. WAREHAM — Sister Sara Butler, MSBT, will give a presentation on Pope Benedict XVI’s writings and his devotion to the pierced heart of Christ, September 28 from 3-5 p.m. at St. Patrick’s church hall, 82 High Street. Sister Butler will serve as a resource person for the upcoming Vatican Synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. All are invited. Refreshments will be served. WORCESTER — Assumption College will inaugurate its President’s Lecture Series, September 25, 7 p.m., when author Christopher Tollefsen addresses the moral issues of embryo destructive research and abortion. For information visit the Website www.assumption.edu.
Pro-Life ATTLEBORO — Concerned faithful are needed to pray the rosary outside Four Women, Inc., an abortion clinic at 150 Emory Street, Thursdays from 3-4 p.m., or 4-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. For information call 508-238-5743. ATTLEBORO — A seminar on Pro-Life legislation led by Loretta Fleming, field director of the National Committee For A Human Life Amendment, cosponsored by the Pro-Life Apostolate of the Fall River Diocese and the Pro-Life Office of the Archdiocese of Boston, will be held September 24, 7:15 p.m., at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, 947 Park Street. For information call 508-997-2290.
Patriots’ star to speak at St. Mary’s Fund Fall Dinner
FALL RIVER — New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel will be the featured speaker at the annual St. Mary’s Education Fund Fall Dinner set for October 14, at White’s of Westport. Proceeds from the evening support the St. Mary’s Education Fund, which provides need-based scholarships to students at Catholic elementary and middle schools in the Fall River Diocese. While Patriots fans are well aware of Vrabel’s solid contributions to their team over the years, what’s likely less-known is his commitment to tackling the problem of illiteracy. He co-founded what is called the 2nd & 7 Foundation, whose purpose is to promote literacy with a particular focus on influencing children to read. Vrabel also has a special interest in Catholic education in the Fall River Diocese: his two sons attend a Catholic elementary school here while the Vrabel Family resides in the diocese during football season. The children complete their school year in a Catholic school in Ohio during the off-season. He started his 2nd & 7 Foundation with two teammates from his Ohio State University football days. The three former Buckeyes, who had done community service work while in school, wanted to continue to do something for the central Ohio area where they remained after graduation. With that impetus, they launched the 2nd & 7 Foundation to encourage children to read and to help them understand how important reading skills are to a successful future. At the heart of the foundation is its “Tackle Illiteracy” program which sends Vrabel or one of the other co-founders out weekly with various student-athletes from Ohio
In Your Prayers Please pray for these priests during the coming weeks
Sept. 23 Rev. Antoine Charest, SM, Former Assistant St. Jean Baptiste, Fall River, 2001 Sept. 24 Rev. Joseph E.C. Bourque, Pastor, Blessed Sacrament, Fall River, 1955
Sept. 25 Rev. Robert J. Woodley, S.J. Missionary, Taunton, New Bedford, Fall River, 1857
Sept. 26 Rev. John J. Donahue, Assistant, St. William, Fall River, 1944 Rev. Flavius Gamache, SMM, Former Pastor, St. Peter, Dighton, 1996 Sept. 27 Rev. John W. Greene, S.J., former teacher at Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River, 1991
State University to visit secondgrade classes in elementary schools in and around the city of Columbus. There, they read to the class, discuss the importance of reading, and present each student with a book to take home and read. The 2nd & 7 Foundation Website reports that it has donated more than 50,000 books and read to some 10,000 students. Vrabel and his partners are now working to expand the reach of their foundation through the financing of interactive learning centers in
N.E. Patriot Mike Vrabel
schools, where children can enjoy books, Websites and educational video games. Diocesan Development Director Mike Donly remembers in his conversation with Vrabel on the Fall Dinner, Vrabel noting that he, as somebody who lives in the diocese, is very willing to take part and that
he was committed to doing whatever he could to help children. A native of Akron, Ohio, Vrabel graduated from Walsh Jesuit High School in nearby Cuyahoga Falls, before going to Ohio State where he was a pre-med major and a standout defensive end. Highly regarded in Patriots Nation, Vrabel became part of the team in 2001 after four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been a major force in the Patriots defense and was a member of three of their Super Bowl winning teams. The Fall Dinner will begin with a 5:30 p.m. reception and will include, in addition to Vrabel’s talk, a video snapshot of Catholic schools, student entertainment, and a delicious multi-course meal. It is one of only two yearly fundraising events for the St. Mary’s Education Fund, which within the current school year alone is distributing more than $660,000 in partial tuition aid to more than 700 students. Fall Dinner chair E. Dennis Kelly and committees in four regions of the Fall River Diocese are taking reservations from businesses and individuals who want to host a table or purchase a ticket to support the St. Mary’s Education Fund. Anyone interested in supporting the Fall Dinner or obtaining more information on the St. Mary’s Education Fund, should contact the Diocesan Development Office at 508-675-1311.
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September 19, 2008
Cardinal Medeiros remembered on 25th anniversary of his death By Deacon James N. Dunbar
FALL RIVER — Memories still abound across the Fall River Diocese of the Azorean immigrant who rose from a humble sweeper in the city’s cotton mills to become archbishop of Boston and a prince of the Church — Cardinal Humberto Sousa Medeiros. September 17 marked the 25th anniversary of the 1983 death of the Cardinal at age 67 from cardiac arrest the day following triple coronary bypass surgery. He is buried in the family plot in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River. As a young news reporter at a local newspaper it was my Monday morning assignment to call several parishes for information on liturgies and events regularly published as news of the day. On my list was St. Michael’s in Fall River where the new pastor in the fall of 1960 was then-Msgr. Medeiros, who was also chancellor of the diocese under Bishop James L. Connolly. “Good morning Jaime,” Msgr. Medeiros would always say as a
greeting, using my name in its Portuguese equivalent. He courteously took the time to provide needed information, ending our chat with, “God bless you for all you do for us.” He would remain in the two diocesan posts until Pope Paul VI named him the first bishop of the newly-formed Diocese of Brownsville, Texas in April 1966. Consecrated a bishop on June 9 of that year, he took possession of the Brownsville Diocese on June 29 amidst the rejoicing of his new clergy and many of the clergy of Fall River who accompanied the new bishop to his diocese. Quickly beloved by his people, he was respected by worker and management because of his zealous intercessions in the interests of justice and peace among farm laborers. His endeavors also took him into the grape disputes in California. He was well known for his Pro-Life statements, his stands against racial injustice and his efforts in favor of migrant workers
and prisoners. Within two weeks of the 1970 resignation of the ailing Cardinal Richard Cushing, archbishop of Boston, Pope Paul VI named him as successor to lead the Archdio-
Cardinal Humberto Sousa Medeiros (Bachrach portrait)
cese of Boston with its more than two million Catholics, 1,500 priests and 6,000 religious Sisters. Archbishop-elect Medeiros accepted the call with the same spirit of humility and service, which marked his life as a priest and bishop. The stewardship in Boston presented a host of challenges, including the bitter debate over busing for racial integration, during his 13 years there, and he faced them all with a sense of realism and courage. But it was as pastor that he ministered best: visiting the sick, those in prison, feeding the homeless and inaugurating programs of parish renewal and the Visitors for Christ program that distinguished his episcopate. Created a cardinal by Pope Paul in 1973, he traveled to Rome to accept the red hat in the presence of many from the Fall River and Brownsville dioceses as well as the Boston Archdiocese, and to take possession of his titular Church of Santa Susanna. For 10 years as a cardinal he would frequently travel to Rome to advise the Holy Father, strengthen the bonds between the Church of Boston and the See of Peter, and spend time with the seminarians of the North American College, where he had studied earlier. But it’s the years after the 16-year-old young Humberto Medeiros came from the village of Arrifes on the Island of San Miguel in the Azores with his mother, Maria de Jesus Sousa Massa Flor, to America and the city of Fall River — where his father, Antonio Sousa Medeiros awaited them — that people find most interesting. He was one of four children — three boys and a girl. Before coming to America, he attended an elementary school in his hometown. After graduation he worked in a wholesale store and in the law office of an attorney. In Fall River, Humberto Medeiros attended the Border City and Danforth Street schools. He also studied at the Swan School of Design in New Bedford, prior to seeking employment as a sweeper in the Sagamore Mills in Fall River. He entered B.M.C. Durfee High School in 1935 and graduated in June 1937 as valedictorian. That same year, after discerning a vocation to the priesthood, he was sent by Bishop James E. Cassidy to
prepare at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. After two years he was given a scholarship to the Basselin Foundation there. The future Cardinal received a master’s degree in philosophy in 1942 and a licentiate in sacred theology in June 1946. He was ordained a priest on June 15, 1946 in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River by Bishop Cassidy. After ordination he was sent to assist at St. John of God Church in Somerset. In November 1946 he was assigned to assist at St. Michael’s in Fall River; and in 1947 went to Our Lady of Health Parish also in Fall River. Father Medeiros’ life as a scholar and pastoral minister began to grow by leaps and bounds, and through them he give witness to personal integrity and constancy that not only make a lasting impression but also prove a legacy. He would receive a doctorate in theology at the Catholic University in 1948; assist in running the St. Vincent de Paul Health Camp in Adamsville, R.I.; assist at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in New Bedford; and receive another doctorate in theology — this time while living at the North American College in Rome in 1952. The following year he was appointed vice-chancellor, and shortly after, chancellor. Pope Pius XII named him a domestic prelate with the title of monsignor in February 1958. Even as he held assignments as pastor and chancellor, he accompanied Bishop Connolly and served as his peritus or advisor during the sessions of the Second Vatican Council from 1962 through 1965. And as a cardinal, he participated in the elections that chose John Paul I and John Paul II to guide the universal Church. In his obituary, published in the Sept. 26, 1983 issue of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, it says of Cardinal Medeiros: “He found in the popes the spiritual leaders to whom he could always turn. He called them his father to whom he would go in all his times of joy and sorrow. And as he received from them, so did he give to all his priests, religious and people the heart of a father who knew them and supported them by his prayers, his counsel, his life, and yes, his death.”