The Anchor Diocese of Fall River
F riday , March 12, 2010
Fewer priests prompts study of full-time hospital chaplains By Deacon James N. Dunbar SOMERSET — Most Catholics understand extreme unction as the final anointing of someone on his or her deathbed. What is often forgotten or misunderstood is that it is part of the sacrament of the sick, which is not meant to be reserved until the very last moment of a person’s life, but can and should be administered whenever someone is in danger of death due to illness or old age. It is a gift from a caring God, more frequently administered in hospitals and which can only be performed by a priest. With fewer vocations to the priesthood and a seriously dwindling number of available priests, Fall River diocesan officials are assessing how the current fulltime ministry to patients in area hospitals might continue. “We are studying a transformation in how hospital ministry will be performed,” Father Marek Tuptinski, diocesan director of Pastoral Care of the Sick, told The Anchor. “There was a recent meeting with priest chaplains of the
six hospitals in the Fall River Diocese, and Bishop George W. Coleman has asked that a committee be formed to study the matter and make recommendations,” he reported. He made it clear than while no changes have been made, any changes would have to be approved by Bishop Coleman. “We realize that with fewer priests we have to study and assess full-time priest chaplains in all hospitals and perhaps consider healing services for the anointing of the sick conducted more frequently by priests in their own parishes; an increase in the number of the wonderful clergy and lay chaplains currently serving; as well as an overall information and education program for the faithful,” Father Tuptinski said. “I’m impressed by how the Fall River Diocese has been blessed for so many years to be able to supply full-time chaplains to its area hospitals,” said Father Andrew Johnson, OCSO, who is chaplain at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. Ordained in 1991, he has been Turn to page 12
Famous Catholic author, convert to speak in diocese By Kenneth J. Souza Anchor Staff
classes, the presentation will aim to examine “the objective reality ACUSHNET — Those raised of God as the ultimate justification as lifelong practicing Roman Cath- of each of the main points of our olics can occasionally become a religion,” Kreeft said in a recent little too comfortable and confi- interview with The Anchor. dent with the tenets of A former Calvinist, their faith. Sometimes Kreeft initially regardthey need to be chaled the Catholic Church lenged and forced to with “the utmost suspireexamine and even cion” and his converdefend their beliefs. sion came about as a That’s where someresult of his attempt one like noted Catholic to prove Catholicism’s convert and apologist long-standing claim to Peter Kreeft can come be the one, true Church in and help them look historically founded by Peter Kreeft at Catholicism in a Jesus Christ. In doing whole new light. research, however, the Kreeft, a renowned author and more Kreeft delved into the writprofessor at Boston College, will ings of great Catholic thinkers like be coming to the Fall River Dio- SS. Augustine and Jerome — writcese to discuss “Why be Catholic? ers who were “clearly Catholic Does it really matter?” at St. Fran- and not Protestant,” he said — the cis Xavier Parish, Acushnet, on more enamored he became with March 21 at 7 p.m. the faith. Based on the topic of his latest “I was first drawn to the beauty book designed for confirmation Turn to page 14
lenten journey — Bishop George W. Coleman, and Father Karl C. Bissinger, secretary to the bishop, process into a recent Lenten Mass at Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton. Chaplains and teachers are using this season to stress to students in diocesan high schools and Religious Education classes the value of reconciling with God.
Diocesan students learn the value of reconciliation and repentance By Dave Jolivet, Editor
“I walked into a recent ninth-grade Religious EduASSONET — Lent is often considered a time for cation class at my parish,” said Father Michael Racine, reflection, repentance and forgiveness, yet Christ’s pastor of St. Bernard’s Parish in Assonet, “and the teacher told me that several of her students Good News stresses these virtues yearwanted to go to confession before the end round. And parish Religious Education proof Lent.” He brightly added, “The message grams across the diocese heed that news, as is getting through.” well as its five Catholic high schools. Father Racine told The Anchor that his As the diocese prepares for its second staff of Religious Education teachers, diReconciliation Weekend March 19 and 20, rected by Brian and Marlene Correia, stress students are being reminded to embrace that reconciliation is not “just something to and not fear that sacrament the Father offers to draw us closer to him. High school Reconciliation be read about.” He said the instructors lead by example. “They live out the sacraments chaplains, teachers, directors of Religious Education and their staffs work diligently to impress in their own lives, and the students see that.” As the students mature from their first penance on young minds God’s tender forgiveness and the need to seek repentance. Turn to page 14
Children living with married parents less likely to be abused By Christine M. Williams Anchor Correspondent FALL RIVER — A government study released this year found a “significantly” lower risk of abuse and neglect for children living with their married biological parents. This conclusion has been reached time and time again in similar studies, defenders of the family told The Anchor. Glenn T. Stanton, Director of Family Formation Studies for Focus on the Family, said the study “simply confirms what a lot of other data has shown during the past 30 years.” The statistics hammer home the truth that the family cannot be defined as merely a relationship between people who love each other. Defending marriage between father and mother is not only a moral effort; it is also “a deeply pragmatic effort to look out for and protect the well being of children,” he said.
“When it comes to the care and safety of children, we can’t be family relativists,” he added. The study, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in January this year, looked at data from 2005 and 2006. Entitled Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4), the study found a 19 percent decrease in maltreatment of children since the last study, which covered data from 1993. According to the 2010 study’s data, one in 58 children in the United States were maltreated. Maltreatment was broken down into two categories — abuse and neglect. The study included statistics on emotional, physical and sexual abuse as well as emotional, physical and educational neglect. Among other characteristics, it examined the data in light of race, socioeconomic status and family structure. The results of the latter supported the Turn to page 18
News From the Vatican
March 12, 2010
Religious attacks by the media must be rejected, say officials VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Anti-religious commentary distributed by media outlets can create tensions and incite violence and therefore must be rejected, said Vatican and Muslim representatives. Attacking religion in the mass media especially via satellite television channels must be opposed considering “the dangerous effect” that these broadcasts can have on social cohesion and on peace between religious communities, said a statement issued after the annual meeting of officials from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and from al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. The Vatican released a copy of the statement to journalists March 2. The February 23-24 meeting in Cairo focused on the role religions can play in either causing or preventing religious violence. The al-Azhar meeting was chaired by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the pontifical council, and by Sheik Mohammed Abd al-Aziz Wasil, president of al-Azhar’s permanent committee for dialogue with the monotheistic religions. The meeting’s final statement said greater attention must be paid to the fact that manipulating religion or religious beliefs for political or other interests can lead to violence.
It called for ending discrimination on the basis of religious identity and said that if laws are to be just they should guarantee the “fundamental equality” of all people regardless of religious affiliation. The ideals of justice, solidarity and cooperation between all people must be promoted so as to foster peace and prosperity, it said. Members of the dialogue group also called on preachers, teachers and the writers of school textbooks to be respectful of other religions and not make “statements or references to historical events that directly or indirectly can arouse a violent attitude among followers of the different religions.” Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the Vatican representative to the Arab League and former head of the interreligious council, told Vatican Radio that Christians and Muslims feel “that sometimes in textbooks there are things that are not accurate and things that don’t help appreciate the other religion or the other person.” Greater sensitivity and attention must be paid to “the way history is presented,” he said. “There is work to be done, in fact, to give a more nuanced view of certain periods of history, whether it is the Islamic invasions of other countries or whether it is the Crusades,” Archbishop Fitzgerald said.
deep in prayer — Nuns in St. Peter’s Square attend the Angelus prayer delivered by Pope Benedict XVI from the window of this apartment overlooking the square at the Vatican recently. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Simple lives of Christ, St. Francis remain examples today, pope says By Sarah Delaney Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI praised a 13thcentury theologian and saint for emphasizing that the faithful should hold Christ and his teaching of poverty, chastity and obedience as a model for their lives. In his weekly audience at the Vatican March 3, the pope talked about the spiritual and intellectual vigor of St. Bonaventure, an early follower and biographer of St. Francis of Assisi. The saint and doctor of the Church was exemplary because of the way he managed to use wisdom and moderation to mitigate violent conflicts within the Church regarding the mendicant religious orders that were influential at the time, the pope said. The saint also taught and wrote that all believers should do as St. Francis, who strived to imitate Christ in his own life. Born in central Italy around 1217 as Giovanni da Fidanza, the saint wrote that he had been saved from a probably fatal illness through the intercession of St. Francis. A good student, he went to study in Paris where he became familiar with the mendicant Franciscan order, the pope explained. He became a Franciscan friar in 1243 and changed his name to Bonaventure. He studied theology at the University of Paris, a city where the validity of the mendicant, or begging, orders was being violently disputed and their right to teach at the university was being
contested. St. Bonaventure wrote a treatise in defense of the orders called “Evangelical Perfection,” in which he said that those who practice poverty, chastity and obedience were only following the Gospel itself. Later Pope Alexander IV called on Bonaventure to become the master general, or superior, of the Franciscans, a position he held for 17 years. He tried to better organize the some 30,000 members of the order, inspiring them to follow the example of St. Francis and helping draft rules intended to stave off an internal rupture. St. Bonaventure realized, however, that “this wasn’t sufficient to assure the communion of the hearts and spirits” of the Franciscans, the pope said. So Bonaventure researched documents and interviewed people who knew St. Francis and
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wrote what became the official biography of the saint from Assisi, the pope said. From his work, he offered an image of St. Francis as a man who, “driven by the love that seeks imitation, conformed entirely to him (Christ),” said the pope. St. Bonaventure was called upon by the pope to prepare the Second Council of Lyons, to try to heal the divide between the Latin and Greek churches, but died in 1274 while it was still in session. Reflecting on St. Bonaventure’s call to imitate Christ and St. Francis of Assisi, the pope said, “the lessons of Bonaventure, through his work and in his life, are still relevant.” The Church, the pope said, is made better by the men and women who “with their poor, chaste and obedient style of life show that the Gospel is a source of joy and perfection.” OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER Vol. 54, No. 10
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March 12, 2010
The International Church
Caritas struggles to reach rural victims of Chilean earthquake
tiny victim — Archbishop Bernardito Auza, papal nuncio to Haiti, and Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, visit with a young patient on the grounds of St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-auPrince, Haiti, March 2. Cardinal O’Malley was visiting Haiti with a small delegation of U.S. bishops assessing damages following the January 12 earthquake. (CNS photo/Tom Tracy)
Cardinal O’Malley, U.S. bishops pledge to rebuild Church in Haiti By Tom Tracy Catholic News Service PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Walking around the massive tent city at the Petionville Club March 2, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio wondered what will become of the thousands of Haitians left homeless by the January 12 earthquake. For Archbishop Gomez, the enormity of the tragedy was almost too much to comprehend. “The (Haitian bishops) were telling me today that they think 300,000 are dead, but whatever the number the loss of life was huge,” Archbishop Gomez, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, told Catholic News Service. The archbishop was in Haiti leading a three-day tour of the earthquake-damaged Haitian capital as part of an advisory group from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The group’s task: Explore ways to help the Haitian Church and the people of Haiti move forward after the quake. “Besides (damage to) the structure of the whole archdiocese, losing the archbishop and the cathedral has created a vacuum and emptiness that (the bishops) are trying to fill with all of us in rebuilding the Church,” he said at the conclusion of two intensive days of visits to damaged parishes, convents, seminaries, schools and hospitals. The delegation, which included Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Oblate Father Andrew Small, director of the bishops’ Church in Latin
America office, also met with Haitian bishops and had a private dinner meeting with Haitian President Rene Preval at the residence of Archbishop Bernardito Auza, papal nuncio to Haiti. “It has been an overwhelming experience for me while looking at the reality, but at the same time I am enthusiastic about the future and with prayers and solidarity the church in Haiti is going to flourish again,” Archbishop Gomez said. In a meeting with Haitian bishops, the delegation discussed the importance of strengthening existing church institutions and developing new leadership as the Church begins to rebuild, the archbishop said. The delegation also recommended that the bishops consider parishes as places for Haitians to come together as they rebuild their lives. Archbishop Gomez said the Americans urged the bishops to reopen Catholic schools as soon as possible and to resume the celebration of Mass, especially in tent camps around the city. In their meeting with Preval, the U.S. bishops also stressed the importance of reopening schools as soon as possible. The Haitian government has said it did not want to reopen some schools while others remained closed. A whirlwind tour of the Haitian capital March 2 took the delegation to the Daughters of Mary convent, American-affiliated Louverture Cleary School, seriously damaged St. Frances de Sales Hospital, collapsed Sacred Heart Church, and the destroyed major seminary of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. At the Daughters of Mary, who
lost 15 members in the earthquake, Cardinal O’Malley reminded the Sisters at Mass that good can arise from the horrors of disaster. The mystery of suffering must result in something better for the people of Haiti, he said. The seminary has been of particular concern for the Haitian bishops. About 20 seminarians — including about a dozen from the archdiocese and eight others — were killed in the earthquake. Initially, the bishops considered postponing seminarian education and assigning students to pastoral duties at parishes around the city, Father Small explained. But they have reconsidered and decided to move forward with classes in a consolidated location elsewhere in the capital by mid-April. “The bishops have agreed to have all the seminarians continue with their formation this year rather than send them to pastoral assignments, and that is sign that the Church here is getting some support and confidence,” Father Small said. “Through the encouragement of the U.S. bishops they decided they do have what they need to stand up their formation and to find the shelter space for classes.” Throughout the visit, Father Small said, the delegation perceived a sense of welcome among Haitians. He said the group often expressed a “constant urge to pray and express a common faith.” “The main point here this week is that we talked about making sure they have enough capacity, so that management structures are available to the church in Haiti for what will be a multi-year reconstruction project,” Father Small said.
LIMA, Peru (CNS) — While media attention focuses on looting in Concepcion, the largest city near the epicenter of the magnitude 8.8 earthquake February 27, Catholic Church workers struggle to reach quake victims in rural areas who are far from the spotlight. “We are receiving funds to help the poorest people, who are in the countryside,” Father Waldo Alfaro, head of the Caritas Chile office in Linares, told Catholic News Service. “The entire coast was hard-hit, but this is an area where the poorest rural residents live,” Father Alfaro said. “Aid is not reaching them because these are very small villages.” Three trucks left Linares early March 2 to distribute supplies, especially food and water, to residents of far-flung villages in the farming region. The greatest need is for milk, water, food, fuel and cots for victims, as well as assistance in rebuilding houses that collapsed in the quake, Father Alfaro said. The adobe houses common in the poorest rural regions “are the ones that collapsed,” he said. The Linares office of Caritas, the Church’s social assistance agency, is compiling an inventory of damaged and destroyed homes. Meanwhile, buckled and cracked highways complicated aid distribution. “Roads are passable, but dangerous,” Father Alfaro said. The national government is sending aid to the region by ship to bypass the buckled roads, damaged bridges and crowds of people who swarm vehicles arriving in urban areas, he said. Between 30 and 40 churches and chapels in the Linares Diocese were badly damaged or destroyed, along with two orphanages. In coastal villages, churches that remain standing have been turned into makeshift
morgues. The official death toll is nearly 730, with 542 of the confirmed deaths in the Maule region. But “many people are still missing,” Father Alfaro said. “There are many bodies that have not been identified.” The last weekend in February marked the end of summer vacation for students, and many families were spending a few final days on the coast, camping on the beach or visiting small resort and fishing villages. The earthquake, which struck at 3:34 a.m., triggered a tidal wave that was more than 30 feet high in places and which swept more than a mile inland. While some people reached high ground, others were washed away. Cars were left piled on top of houses, Father Alfaro said. Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Concepcion called the pillaging a “second earthquake.” Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of nearby Rancagua, president of the Chilean bishops’ conference, said it “strikes our conscience” and “raises questions for us about deeply held values.” Newly-elected President Sebastian Pinera faces the task of reconstruction, which he estimated could cost between $15 billion and $30 billion. Up to 500,000 houses were badly damaged or destroyed. In the United States, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Bishop Goic that Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishop’s international relief and development agency, “stands ready to be of assistance to you and your Caritas groups as they work to alleviate the suffering caused by the earthquake.” Donations to CRS can made through its website at www.crs. org/chile/maule-quake.cfm.
The Church in the U.S. Same-sex marriage law prompts changes in D.C. Church workers benefits
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic Charities of the Washington Archdiocese has told staff members that a new same-sex marriage law in the District of Columbia has forced the agency to make changes to its health care coverage for spouses of employees. “I am writing to you to inform you of an important change to our group health care benefit plan that will take effect on March 2, 2010, due to a change in the law of the District of Columbia,” said Edward J. Orzechowski, the agency’s president and CEO, in a March 1 letter to staff. He was referring to a new law allowing same-sex marriage. The district began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples March 3.
Although Catholic Charities employees whose spouses currently are covered under the agency’s health plan would retain that coverage, the spouses of new employees will not be covered and current employees seeking to add a spouse will not be able to do so. The new marriage law “has a requirement that if you provide spousal benefits to employees, then you must provide those spousal benefits to same-sex couples,” Orzechowski said in a March 2 interview with the Catholic Standard, Washington’s archdiocesan newspaper. “The challenge for us was how to comply with the new same-sex marriage law requirements, and continue our partnership with the District of Columbia in serving the poor and vulnerable, and remaining true to the teachings of our faith,” he said. Catholic Charities, which serves 68,000 people annually in the District of Columbia in a variety of outreach programs, has contracts with the city for some of its services, including homeless shelters. In the letter to employees, he said the existing health coverage of current employees as of March 1 will not be affected by the change, but that “as of March 2, a new plan will be in effect that will cover new employees and requests for benefit changes by current employees.” “The new plan will provide the same level of coverage for employees and their dependents that you now have, with one exception: spouses not in the plan as of March 1 will not be eligible for coverage in the future,” he said.
Catholic Charities employs 850 people; fewer than 100 of them have their spouse covered by the employee health plan. During testimony in the fall, the Archdiocese of Washington joined other religious and community groups in voicing objections to the district’s same-sex marriage legislation, noting that marriage between one man and one woman is not only a religious teaching held by the Catholic Church and other faiths, but it is a foundational element of society and for the raising of children. The archdiocese also raised religious freedom concerns about the bill, and urged the council to change the legislation to respect the rights of religious denominations and individuals who as a matter of conscience and religious belief oppose same-sex marriage. Orzechowski said in the interview that he regretted that the agency had to change its health care coverage, but “we felt this (plan for health care coverage) was the best alternative, given the circumstances and the requirements placed upon us by this new legislation. We had hoped for a broader religious exemption in this bill.” On February 1 the agency transferred its 80-year-old foster care and public adoption program in the district to another provider so it would not have to license samesex couples as foster or adoptive parents. “We do not expect any further changes, either in benefits or program services, as a result of this bill,” Orzechowski told the Catholic Standard.
March 12, 2010
U.S. Anglicans to request Catholic ordinariate ORLANDO, Fla. (Zenit. org) — The leaders of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion responded to Benedict XVI’s invitation to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. The apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus,” published in November, offered a way for groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church through the establishment of personal ordinariates, a new type of canonical structure. In this way, they would be able to retain some elements of their liturgical and spiritual traditions while being unified under the pope. On Wednesday, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America announced that they met in Orlando “together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the ‘Anglican Use’ Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.” “At this meeting,” the communiqué continued, “the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution ‘Anglicanorum Coetibus’ in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” The Anglican Church in America, which has some 5,200 members in 100 congregations, is distinct from the Episcopal Church. As such, it is
not part of the Anglican Communion that has as its principal primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rather, the ACA was created in 1991 when members of the Anglican Catholic Church and the American Episcopal Church came together in an attempt to unify through the formation of a new church. The current president of the ACA House of Bishops is Archbishop Louis Falk. The Traditional Anglican Communion, which has some 400,000 members worldwide, has as its primate Archbishop John Hepworth of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia. The leaders of this communion sent a letter to the Holy See in October 2007 to request full unity with the Catholic Church. They declared their adherence to Catholic doctrine, but expressed the desire to retain some distinct Anglican traditions. The letter was received by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which responded in July 2008 with the promise to consider this possibility. The next year, on Oct. 20, 2009, the congregation’s prefect, Cardinal William Levada, announced Benedict XVI’s intention to create a way for these Anglican groups to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. A few days later, on November 9, “Anglicanorum Coetibus” was published.
March 12, 2010
The Church in the U.S. Weinberg, a National Cathedral spokesman, told CNS before the press conference that “for his own safety, it was a choice of his not to leave Iran.” “The three days was a kind of exceptional experience for myself,” Ayatollah Iravani said at the open forum. “We had a kind of intrafaith dialogue” between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in addition to the interfaith
5 dialogue between Christians and Muslims, he added. Shiite-Sunni tensions have played out most explosively in Iran and neighboring Iraq. In suggesting how to breach difficulties in the world, Ayatollah Iravani said, “Lots of people are crying for help. Each of us has to look at his own capacity and do as much as he can.”
Bishop appeals to U.S. to end violence against Iraqi Christians open dialogue — Christian and Muslim leaders gather for a press conference during a threeday interfaith summit at National Cathedral in Washington March 3. Pictured from left are the principal dialogue participants: Ayatollah Ahmad Iravani, president of the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East; Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Ahmad Mohamed el-Tayeb, president of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt; and Episcopal Bishop John Bryson Chane of Washington. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Christian, Muslim leaders make ‘commitment to action’ after dialogue WASHINGTON (CNS) — A group of Christian and Muslim leaders, whose Catholic representatives included French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, issued “an interreligious call and commitment to action” March 3 following three days of dialogue sessions in Washington. The document finalized at the end of the dialogue committed the leaders “to commit themselves to appeal to government and community leaders to promote peace and reconciliation efforts worldwide.” “The worship of God, who demands serious moral purpose, is at the very core of Christianity and Islam,” it added. “Therefore, religious leaders must cooperatively work with each other and the political leaders in their respective countries.” Over three days of what participants call cordial but “frank” and “intense” discussions, “around 12:30, 12:45, to borrow a phrase from the Vatican, the cloud of white smoke appeared from the OmniShoreham Hotel” in Washington where the dialogue sessions were being conducted, said Episcopal Canon John Peterson at a March 3 press conference introducing the document. The document includes seven principles that undergird its plan of action. Among them are “Justice and equity are essential to peacemaking among individuals, families, communities and nations,” and “religion and faith can play a significant role in healing divisions and in shaping a just and inclusive society.” Another principle discouraged proselytism, which some disdain for what can be seen as having coercive nature, while others contend their work is evangelization rather than proselytism. Asked at the press conference to define proselytism, Cardinal Tauran, president of the
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican, replied: “A lack of proportion. Instead of proposing truth, you propose ideology. To impose rather than to propose.” One of 10 items listed in the dialogue document’s plan of action was to “engage in practical interfaith programs at local, national, regional and global levels to promote the common good.” After the press conference, Cardinal Tauran, in a brief interview with Catholic News Service, identified education as one such program. “Take all our Catholic schools we have in different countries” where Islam is the majority religion, he said. “Interreligious dialogue is a daily experience if they (Muslims) go” to Catholic schools. Cardinal Tauran recalled one instance when he was in a Muslimmajority country and he was approached by a man who gave an unsolicited testimonial: “I am 35 years old and all I know is thanks to you, because I only went to Catholic schools,” the man said. “And I have never once been the object of proselytism.” The other principal participants in the dialogue were Ayatollah Ahmad Iravani, a native of Iran who is president of the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East, who has been teaching for the past 10 years at the Catholic University of America, Washington, representing Shiite Muslims; Ahmad el-Tayeb, president of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, representing Sunni Muslims; and Episcopal Bishop John Bryson Chane of Washington, representing the Anglican Communion. The press conference and a later open forum were held at the Washington National Cathedral, which is under the care of the Episcopal Church. Each participant was aided by a group of five advisers from their respective faiths.
Ayatollah Iravani was a late substitution for Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad of Iran. It was explained during the press conference that visa problems kept him from leaving Iran. Canon Peterson said the February snowstorms that crippled Washington delayed the processing of his visa application so that it was not available for him to pick up in Kuwait. But Richard
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has asked the Obama administration to ensure that the Iraqi government takes steps to protect minorities, especially Christians, in the embattled country. In a March 1 letter to Gen. James L. Jones, national security adviser, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., expressed “deep concern” for a recent upsurge in violence that has targeted Iraqi Christians and other minorities. “We ask that the U.S. government convey to the Iraqi government its strong concern for the need to provide security for all Iraqis and to protect the human dignity of all minorities, especially Christians,” Bishop Hubbard wrote. Bishop Hubbard cited the deaths of eight Christians in a 10-day period in February in the northern city
of Mosul as a cause for concern for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The violence in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, also displaced 4,320 Iraqi Christians in February, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported March 2. While much of the violence has been secular in nature, observers said the elections offer an opportunity for religiously motivated violence to occur as well. Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk and Chaldean Bishop Emil Shimoun Nona of Mosul have called for humanitarian emergency relief to help those who abandoned their homes for safety elsewhere. Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, papal nuncio in Iraq, called upon the Iraqi government in late February to end the violence and to protect the minority Christian population.
The Anchor Denial and deception
As President Obama and the Democratic leaders of Congress continue to approach the artificial deadline of March 18 to have the House of Representatives pass the Senate version of health care reform and have both chambers pass some Obama-proposed revisions through the “nuclear option” of the reconciliation process, the U.S. Bishops have continued to call the president, senators, congressmen and citizens alike to the fact that the present bill is unacceptable because it has several provisions that will provide federal funds for abortion and therefore force American citizens to have to pay for the destruction of innocent human life in the womb. President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been repeating a mantra that there are no federal funds for abortion in the health care reforms. During the February 25 health care summit, President Obama accused Ohio Congressman John Boehner of spinning the truth when he brought up the pro-abortion elements of the Senate bill and said “heath care reform should be an opportunity to protect human life, not end it.” The president implied that the House Minority Leader was resorting to “standard talking points” rather than accurately portraying the bill. Speaker Pelosi intervened and emphatically declared, “There is no public funding of abortion in these bills and I don’t want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression from what you said.” But it is the president and the speaker who are resorting to the “standard talking points” to conceal what would in fact be, as Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee called it, “the most expansive pro-abortion piece of legislation ever to reach the floor of either house of Congress for a vote, since Roe v. Wade.” The president and speaker, according to Johnson, are employing a tactic of “denial and deception,” seeking to claim that because there are no explicit allocations of federal dollars to pay for abortions in the Senate version that there are no back-door mechanisms, either. But there are several of those — and the president, speaker, pro-abortion lobbyists and Pro-Lifers all know it. Before we get into the details of how the Senate bill will fund abortions — and why, therefore, Catholic bishops are vigorously insisting that revisions be made — it would be helpful for those with common sense to just look at two big-picture facts to see how the president and speaker are being disingenuous. First, if there really were no federal funds going to abortion in the Senate bill, and if the president and speaker and pro-abortion leaders of Congress truly intended that no federal funds go to subsidize this killing of the innocent, why would they not, therefore, support the insertion of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment language into the bill? This language, approved 240-194 by the members of the House in November, made totally explicit that no funds authorized or appropriated by the health care reform bill “may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.” It was passed by the House because 240 Congressmen, including 64 from Speaker Pelosi’s own Democratic party, recognized that her assertions that “there is no public funding of abortion” in the bill were simply not credible. With the language of the amendment, people would still be able to obtain insurance to cover abortions, but this insurance would need to be “separate supplemental coverage” paid for entirely with non-federal funds. If this language were inserted into the president’s proposed list of revisions to the Senate bill, it is very likely that the whole health care bill would have sufficient votes to pass the House. The reason why it hasn’t been readily embraced by the speaker and president is because it would specifically close backdoor avenues to provide federal funds for abortion — and Pelosi and Obama are counting on pouring billions of dollars through those back doors. The second macroscopic fact is that basically all national groups that promote abortion support the Senate bill and oppose the Stupak-Pitts language and all national Pro-Life groups oppose the Senate bill and support the Stupak-Pitts language. That, too, should indicate to everyone with common sense what the Senate bill contains — notwithstanding the president’s and speaker’s multiple pronouncements that there’s no federal funding for abortion in it. Now we can turn to the actual backdoor mechanisms by which the Senate bill funds abortion and why, unless it is revised as the bishops insist, it should be opposed. The first is through directly funding community health centers outside of the typical annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. The HHS bill has traditionally been covered by the Hyde Amendment, which prevents any federal dollars from being used to fund abortions or organizations that provide them except in the case of rape, incest or life of the mother. Yet, during the debate for the Senate bill on Christmas Eve, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inserted a “manager’s amendment” allocating seven billion dollars of direct funding — President Obama suggested increasing it to 11 billion — to community health centers, meaning that it would no longer be part of HHS allocation and therefore no longer come under Hyde Amendment restrictions. It’s unsurprising, moreover, that two national pro-abortion groups, the Reproductive Health Access Project and the Abortion Access Project, have been actively campaigning that these community health centers perform elective abortions. Under the bill and their mandates, there would be nothing to stop them from doing so. The Stupak-Pitts language would eliminate this loophole by making the principles of the Hyde Amendment apply to health care reform as a whole. The second means by which the Senate bill funds abortion is through affordability tax credits given to subsidize plans that cover elective abortions. Some of the money given to those plans, therefore, would go to paying indirectly for abortions, which is something that the Hyde Amendment has always prevented. Language in the Senate bill seeks to set up an accounting system for these subsidized plans supposedly to prevent federal money from paying for abortion, but rather than alleviating the immoral situation, it aggravates it. For those who subscribe to these subsidized health plans, they would have two charges, one for regular health coverage and a second specifically to underwrite abortions systemwide. Everyone would be writing a second check to pay specifically for abortions. The head of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, has said that this abortion surcharge would apply without exception to everyone who participates in such a health care exchange. The third means is through the Mikulski Amendment that was incorporated into the Senate bill. This amendment, filed by staunchly pro-abortion Senator Barbara Mikulski, gives the Department of Health and Human Services the ability to compel even private health plans to cover elective abortions merely by placing abortion on a list of “preventive” services. When during Senate debate Mikulski was specifically requested to exclude abortion from the scope of the authority of “preventive” services, she denied the revision, because it is pretty clear what the purpose of the revision is. The fourth means concerns specifically health programs for Native Americans, but we see similar surreptitious tactics at work. Senator Reid introduced a manager’s amendment permanently reauthorizing these programs, but whereas in all previous Indian health authorizations there was always a ban on funding for elective abortions, Senator Reid left out the ban in his amendment. This means that without universal Stupak-Pitts language, we would be paying for the slaughter of the next generation of Native Americans. As the contrived March 18 deadline nears, now would be the time for citizens who do not want to have income taxes taken out of their paychecks to fund abortion to contact their Congressmen to persuade them either that Stupak-Pitts language be definitively included in the health care revisions or that they oppose the Senate Health Care bill until we can have a bill that truly prevents federal funds from paying for abortions.
March 12, 2010
The saintly shuttle pocket Because love is the point of human life and “I put them to fairly good use; a poor man has the means of holiness, it’s not at all surprising borrowed them for an unlimited period!” He that St. John Vianney excelled in Christ-like would routinely give his shoes to barefooted charity. men he encountered and then try to hide unThe Curé of Ars’ example is a great lesson der his cassock the fact that he was just wearfor us during the Lenten season, which began ing stockings. He would also exchange bread on Ash Wednesday when, among other things, with the poor, giving them the fresh bread that Christ called us back to the centrality of alms- people had brought by the rectory in exchange giving in the life of faith. The future patron for the blackened crusts they carried in their saint of priests lived and taught the real mean- wallets. This was a means by which he could ing of almsgiving: to love others as Christ has preserve them from the shame of begging. loved us first, by putting all we are and have He wasn’t afraid of being exploited. His — our money, possessions, time and talents — assistant Father Raymond sought to persuade at the service of those for whom Christ gave him that many of those who asked for alms everything down to the last drop of his blood. were “impostors” just trying to take advantage Today we’ll look at St. John Vianney’s ex- of his generosity. Many of the leading resiample of Christian charity. Next week we’ll dents of Ars complained that their village had focus on how he sought to catechize his people become a place where all the indigent of the to love others as — or more than — they love region would converge, including many who themselves. were poor by choice rather than by circumFor the future patron saint of priests, char- stance. Father Vianney wasn’t naïve and thereity began at a young age. During the French fore sought to be discriminating in his charity, Revolution, there were thousands of poor and giving more to those who had greater need. But displaced families. On any given night, the at the same time, he gave something to everyVianneys would take in as many as 20 men- one who begged. “We are never taken in,” he dicant families on their farm in Dardilly, with said, “if we give to God.” He expanded upon the women and girls sleeping in the house and the point, saying, “If it’s for the world that you the men and boys sleeping in the barn. The give alms, you are right to complain [about beexample of his ing taken]. But if parents’ generosit’s for the good ity and Christian God, whether hospitality had a one thanks you contagious imor not, what pact on him. He does it matter?” routinely gave He would the little food he regularly add, By Father had to the boys “I prefer to be Roger J. Landry his age who ofdeceived than to ten had gone for deceive myself,” quite some time meaning that he with no food at all. would never want to make a false conclusion When he was a seminarian, something hap- about someone’s motives and refuse someone pened to him that forever after influenced the in real need. To those who complained that way he would treat the poor. Struggling in his some recipients made bad use of his sacrifices, studies, he decided to make a 120-mile round he replied, “The poor man will be judged on trip pilgrimage to a mountain shrine. He made whatever use he makes of your alms, but you a vow that he would not bring any provisions, will be judged on the alms itself that you could but beg for his food along the way. He antici- have done but didn’t.” pated people would be kind, especially to a He was kind even to those whom even the pilgrim seminarian. He was wrong. No matter most generous secular philanthropists would how many people he asked, he was consistently never have given. One woman who had been refused and often gratuitously insulted and de- caught stealing linen from the orphanage and rided. He was so hungry toward the end of his money from the sacristy came to him after she 60-mile hike to the sanctuary that out of des- had been released from prison. He readily gave peration he began to eat some grass and shrubs. her clothes and money to help her get back on At the shrine, a priest commuted his vow so her feet. that he could buy provisions on his way home. He sought whenever possible to give alms He would never forget, however, what it felt anonymously. He used to refer, as a model of like to beg and to be refused. This experience charity, to how St. Nicholas of Myra secretly gave him a great compassion toward all those provided a dowry for the three young girls by in need. “I begged only one time in my life,” he throwing sacks of money through their open confessed later, “and it was awful. It’s then that window. For that reason, he cherished the presI know that it’s better to give than to ask.” ence of a poor blind woman, Mrs. Bichet, who When he became the Curé of Ars, his alms- lived near the church. He could walk up to her giving would know no limits. Almost every- and give her alms without her ever knowing thing he had, he would give away. We discussed the identity of her benefactor. in an earlier column how he gave away his enToward the end of his life, his charity was tire familial inheritance to build a school and staggering. He was paying the rent of at least an orphanage for girls. “He had a tender love 30 families so that they wouldn’t lose their for the victims of misfortune,” the Mayor of houses and farms. To hundreds of others, he Ars told one biographer. “For them, he stripped was providing fuel and flour. To those who himself of everything; he was forever giving. complained he was “too” charitable, he reTo enable him to bestow alms, he sold all his plied, “I’ve never seen someone ruined by dopersonal property: his furniture, his linen, any ing good works!” trifle that belonged to him.” Any money that He said once, only half in jest, “The dentists was given to him by pilgrims was soon passed ask five francs per tooth. If someone would on to the poor. He called his cassock pocket give me five francs for each of the dozen teeth “the shuttle pocket,” because whatever entered that remain, I would freely take them all out there soon left into the hands of the poor. for the poor.” As if that wasn’t a strong enough He would literally give the shirt off his back indication of his prodigal heart, he added, “I for the poor. He was constantly instructing the would even sell my cadaver in order to have person who cleaned the rectory to make sure money for my poor!” there were enough shirts in his wardrobe so He simply did not know how not to give that he would be able to pass one on to a man when he saw someone in need. He often quoted in need. In 1823, his fellow priests gave him St. Augustine, who taught, “Love doesn’t know a pair of velvet trousers, to keep him warm how to remain without action.” He would tell while returning to his parish during a cold win- his people: “You’ll never be able to find a true ter mission. One Saturday walking home, he love that doesn’t show itself in deeds!” Real found a poor man shaking in the cold. “Wait love always leads to deeds of love. a moment, my friend,” he said, as he went beThat’s the type of love we’re called to, in hind the shrubs and returned holding his pants. Lent and in life. When his brother priests asked him a short time Father Landry is pastor of St. Anthony of later how the pants were working out, he said. Padua Parish in New Bedford.
Putting Into the Deep
March 12, 2010
experienced my initial interest in the priesthood in a most unusual setting: at a sports camp I attended a few weeks before my junior year of high school. The sports camp was primarily meant to prepare the crosscountry team at Holy Cross High School in Queens, N.Y., for the fall season. Run by the three Holy Cross Brothers who were our coaches, it was held at the Brothers’ spiritual life center in upstate New York. A diocesan priest at a parish near the high school joined us as chaplain for the sports camp, and awakened in me an excitement for religion and worship that I previously had not experienced. I discovered my call to religious life through the wonderful witness of the Holy Cross Brothers at my high school, and my call to priesthood through a young diocesan priest who showed me the joy of the priestly ministry of word and sacrament. I attended Stonehill College after high school graduation. After three years in the Holy Cross formation program
hen I make presentations on end-of-life decision making, I sometimes have audience members approach me afterwards with comments like, “You know, Father, when my mom died six years ago, and I look back on it, I’m not sure my brothers and I made the right decisions about her care.” Remarks like these serve to remind us how the circumstances surrounding death are important not only for the person who passes on but also for those who remain behind. A “good death” generally involves the confluence of many elements and events: dying surrounded by our loved ones, preferably in surroundings like a home or hospice setting; receiving proper pain management; making use of reasonable medical treatments (and avoiding unduly burdensome treatments); making peace with family and friends; making peace with God (and receiving the last sacraments); and uniting ourselves with Christ in his hour of suffering. As we take care of those who are sick and suffering, we face the dual challenge of making ethical treatment decisions for them and ensuring a supportive and humanly enriching environment as they approach
Caught by the Hound of Heaven
at Stonehill, I completed my director for the Holy Cross senior year and graduated with priests and Brothers several a major in psychology and a years ago, one of the most comminor in religious studies. For mon questions asked when I the next two years I taught reli- visited high schools was, “Are gious studies at Cardinal Spell- you happy being a priest?” man High School in Brockton My answer was invariably, while doing graduate studies “Yes, I am very happy being a in theology at Boston College. During my years Year For Priests of teaching, the call Vocational Reflection to religious life and priesthood returned and grew ever stronger, to By Father James the point where I could Fenstermaker, CSC no longer escape the “Hound of Heaven.” I re-entered the Congrepriest, and always have been.” gation of Holy Cross, and after I would add “I would not have completing my novitiate year become a priest if I didn’t think in upstate New York, I attended it would make me happy. I the University of Notre Dame didn’t become a priest to make where I earned my master of God happy — God doesn’t divinity degree. I professed need me to make him happy — final vows in the Congregation but to make myself happy.” of Holy Cross at the Basilica Although I enjoyed beof the Sacred Heart at Notre ing single and teaching high Dame in the fall of 1983. I was school, and believed I could be ordained to the priesthood the happy being married and havfollowing June at Holy Cross ing a family, I came to believe Parish in South Easton, where that I would be happiest being a I returned 24 years later as priest and a religious. pastor. Many laypeople will speak When I served as vocation of the sacrifices that one makes
in becoming a priest, and while there is truth to that statement, it is also true of all who make the decision to marry and have a family. I often see my life as a rather easy and almost carefree one compared to the challenges and sacrifices made by husbands and wives on behalf of their spouses and by parents for the sake of their children. And while I gave up the possibility of marriage and children, I have had the privilege as a priest of entering into the lives of many families and individuals in a way that few others ever have the opportunity to do. The love and support of so many people, as well as my own religious family of Holy Cross Sisters, Brothers, and priests, has more than sustained and satisfied me in my 25 years as a priest. I have found the life of a priest to be one of great freedom. While my religious vow of obedience, like a diocesan priest’s promise of obedience to his bishop, puts me at the disposal of the Church
to serve as needed, my religious life in Holy Cross has afforded me the opportunity to serve in various locations to diverse segments of God’s people: Mexican-Americans in South Bend, Indiana; middle class whites in Saco, Maine; African-Americans and Latinos in Brooklyn, N.Y.; college students at Stonehill; and now the wonderful people of Easton at Holy Cross Parish. “If I’m never tied to anything, I’ll never be free” is my favorite line from the musical “Pippin.” In tying myself to religious life and priesthood, I have found great freedom to live my life to its fullest, in union with Jesus Christ and in service of God’s people. I can’t think of a better way to spend one’s life. Twenty-five years of priesthood have passed quickly, a testament to the richness of the Catholic priesthood and the great satisfaction one can find in this life and ministry. Father Fenstermaker, ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1984, is pastor of Holy Cross Parish in South Easton.
Facing death in solidarity and hope their last days and hours. By providing a supportive and nurturing environment for those who are dying, we aid them in powerful ways to overcome their sense of isolation. Sister Diana Bader, O.P. has perceptively described this modern health care challenge: “In the past, death was a community event. Those closest to the patient ministered in a variety of ways: watching and praying with the patient, listening and talking, laughing and weeping. In solidarity, a close community bore the painful experience together. Today, because of the medicalization of the healthcare setting, death is more often regarded as a failure of medical science. The dying find themselves isolated from human warmth and compassion in institutions, cut off from access to human presence by technology which dominates the institutional setting in which most details occur.” Fostering a humanly enriching environment for those facing death often means giving explicit attention to human presence and human contact, even in the midst of a plethora of technology that may sur-
round a patient. For example, thanks to the remarkable development of feeding tubes, it has become a relatively simple matter to nourish and hydrate someone who is having trouble swallowing. Such a tube, particularly
Making Sense Out of Bioethics By Father Tad Pacholczyk
when inserted directly into the stomach, is a highly effective means of providing nutrition and hydration in various institutional settings. But the ease of injecting food and liquids through a so-called PEG tube into the stomach means that medical staff can quickly and efficiently move on to the next patient after a feeding, perhaps neglecting to meet the very real human need for companionship. Staff members may prefer the efficiency that such a tube affords, but human contact may be diminished in the process. If a patient is still able to take small amounts of food orally, it may be preferable
to feed him or her by hand, rather than relying on a feeding tube. The rich human contact that occurs whenever one person devotes time, energy and love to hand-feed another should not become a casualty to our efforts to streamline medicine or to save money. This focused effort on our part to be present to those who are dying maintains human solidarity with them, it affirms their dignity as persons, it manifests benevolence towards them, and it maintains the bond of human communication with them. It also goes a long way towards helping to overcome their sense of loneliness and their fear of abandonment. When we show compassion towards others in their suffering, we do far more than express a detached pity towards them. Rather, we manifest a willingness to enter into their situation. The word compassion (from Latin and French roots: com (— “with”) and pati (— “to suffer”) means, “to suffer with,” to suffer alongside, to participate in suffering. Pope Benedict XVI perhaps stated the importance of compassion most directly
in 2007 when he wrote, “A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through ‘com-passion’ is a cruel and inhuman society. Indeed, to accept the ‘other’ who suffers, means that I take up his suffering in such a way that it becomes mine also. … The Latin word con-solatio, “consolation,” expresses this beautifully. It suggests being with the other in his solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude.” We suffer alongside our loved ones, aware of the abiding inner truth that a part of ourselves suffers and dies whenever another who is near to us suffers and dies. Our communion with them in our shared humanity, and our dedicated solidarity in suffering invariably leads us, and those who pass on ahead of us, to share in the mysterious and enduring graces of a good death. Father Pacholczyk earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, and serves as the director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See www.ncbcenter.org
March 12, 2010
esus was a master storyteller. The story of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the best example of his divine genius. The brilliance of the story is that it teaches at a number of levels, telling us something about God as well as something about ourselves. This weekend, however, let’s focus upon the two sons and their part in this drama. During the season of Lent, it’s obvious to see how the repentance experience of the younger son fits into the spiritual tone of this season, namely, turning from sin. Being unaware of his weaknesses and coupled with a desire for independence, he is soon drawn into circum-
The Prodigal Son
stances of sin and failure. But the problems in this He is like so many of us family are not so easily who at one time or another solved. The older son now want to do things our way, comes into the scene. It is to enjoy all the pleasures of he who has worked hard, life while being indepenobeyed his father, keeping dent of responsibility and consequences. Homily of the Week He is strong willed, Fourth Sunday impetuous and self of Lent centered. But he does have one important By Father redeeming quality. Hugh J. McCullough He soon comes to own his mistakes and sees the error of his judgfaithful to the laws and perments. And so, gathering fectly fulfilling all that was up his courage, he decides expected of him. And for to return home and face his this, he is admirable. Yet, father. When he does this, of we discover that he too has course, his father, a figure a flaw. When he learns that who we know represents the his brother had returned, he mercy of God, welcomes resents his father’s readiness him back with open arms. to forgive, is quick to con-
demn and even quicker to withhold forgiveness. And the father comes to deal with each son differently, helping them work through each weakness. The younger son needs to seek mercy and forgiveness while the elder son needs to extend mercy and forgiveness. We are not quite sure how the story ends because we are not told if the elder son comes into the house to celebrate his brother’s return. Perhaps we have a part of both sons in each one of us. We can be impetuous, sinful and strong willed, and we can also be harsh, resentful and judgmental. Both are serious spiritual issues. But
no matter where we find ourselves, Lent invites us to look at our tendencies, behaviors and patterns and change what needs to be changed. If we find ourselves sinners, we need to seek out mercy and forgiveness. If we are judgmental, we need acceptance and understanding. But notice that in both cases, we are called to be reconciled to God and each other, a task given to all of us during Lent. Perhaps one good way to experience this would be to take advantage of the Diocesan Reconciliation Weekend this coming Friday and Saturday. Father McCullough is pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Fall River.
Upcoming Daily Readings: Sat. Mar. 13, Hos 6:1-6; Ps 51:3-4,18-21b; Lk 18:9-14. Sun. Mar. 14, Fourth Sunday of Lent, Jos 5:9a,10-12; Ps 34:2-7; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Lk 15:1-3,11-32. Mon. Mar. 15, Is 65:17-21; Ps 30:2,4-6,11-12a,13b; Jn 4:43-54. Tues. Mar. 16, Ez 47:1-9,12; Ps 46:2-3,5-6,8-9; Jn 5:1-16. Wed. Mar. 17, Is 49:8-15; Ps 145:8-9,13c-14,17-18; Jn 5:17-30. Thur. Mar. 18, Ex 32:7-14; Ps 106:19-23; Jn 5:31-47. Fri. Mar. 19, Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2 Sm 7:4-5a,12-14a,16; Ps 89:2-5,27,29; Rom 4:13,16-18,22; Mt 1:16,18-21,24a or Lk 2:41-51a.
arolyn Gordon Tate, a major figure in the literary renaissance of the 20th century American South, once wrote Flannery O’Connor of the impact that her conversion to Catholicism had on her writing. As O’Connor recalled in a letter, “Mrs. Tate told me that after she became a Catholic she felt she could use her eyes and accept what she saw for the first time, she didn’t have to make a new universe for each book but could take the one she found.” Catholicism, Carolyn Gordon Tate recognized, was realism.
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The relentless grittiness of Lent
Catholicism means seeing things out the story by rendering the temptations in their most familiar as they are. Catholicism means sequence: the temptation to infinding within the grittiness of dulge the flesh, by turning stones reality the path God is taking through history for the salvation into bread; the temptation to test of the world. Lent is a good time divine providence and divine to be reminded of these truths. The relentless grittiness of Lent begins at the beginning, with the imposition of ashes (preferably in abundance) By George Weigel and the reminder that we are the dust to which we shall return. Then favor, by Jesus throwing himself we come to the First Sunday of from the pinnacle of the Temple; Lent, when, each year, one of the temptation to worldly power, the synoptic evangelists, Mark, achieved through the worship of Matthew, or Luke, focuses our a false deity. attention on the temptation of Luke’s account of the tempJesus — a gritty business that betations, however, drives the gins in a gritty place, the Judean wilderness. Mark, as is his wont, story even deeper into the gritty soil of history by inverting the keeps the narrative spare; all we sequences of the second and are told is that Satan tempted third temptations: the last and Jesus in the desert, amidst “wild gravest temptation takes place beasts” and angels. Matthew, in Jerusalem, the holy city to the evangelical portraitist, fills
The Catholic Difference
which Luke’s entire Gospel is oriented. Here, in Jerusalem, Jesus faces the temptation to refuse the destiny the Father has appointed for him — to be the world’s savior by stripping himself of himself on the cross. Here, truly, we are at history’s hinge-point, its crossroads. What will Jesus do? Gianfranco Ravasi puts it neatly in his commentary on Luke’s temptation narrative: Jesus, “respecting the sovereign freedom of the plan of salvation to which he has been devoted, pronounces his definitive ‘Yes’ to the Father and abandons himself completely to his destiny.” Not as an abstract matter, but here, in this place and at this time: here, in Jerusalem, amidst the history with which Luke began his Christmas narrative, with its references to the time when Augustus was emperor and “Quirinius was governor of Syria” (Luke 2:2).
One of the greatest artistic evocations of the grittiness of Lent is Peter Bruegel the Elder’s 1564 painting, “The Procession to Calvary,” which I first saw in 2006 at the Museum of Art History in Vienna. It’s a large work, five-and-a-half-feet by four-feet, featuring hundreds of small figures, with the equally small figure of Christ carrying the cross in the center of the painting. Bruegel included certain familiar motifs in rendering the scene: the holy women and St. John are in the right foreground, comforting Mary; the vast majority of those involved, concerned about quotidian things, are clueless about the drama unfolding before their eyes. What is utterly striking about “The Procession to Calvary,” however, is that we are in Europe, not Judea: Christ is carrying the cross through a typical Flemish landscape, complete with horses, carts, oxen and a windmill. Christ is carrying the cross through history — right through the grittiness of everyday life. Peter Bruegel the Elder would, I expect, want us to understand that the “procession to Calvary” is taking place in our midst, too. He would be right to do so. Lent is a privileged time for recovering the sight and the commitment that let us see and enter the passion play going on around us. George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
March 12, 2010
The urge to merge
Friday 12 March 2010 — at ing vibrant faith-communities home in Old Dighton Village preparing for the future. It’s not — the Great Blizzard of 1888 about brick and mortar. It’s about anniversary — 50 inches of living stones. It’s not about sursnow, 40-foot drifts, winds of 80 viving for now. It’s about thriving miles per hour — the original in the years ahead. “snowmaggedon” ears ago, at a workshop, a bishop (not of this dioReflections of a cese) advised us soonParish Priest to-be-pastors to prepare for what he called the By Father Tim “urge to merge.” At the Goldrick time, I didn’t know what he was talking about. I do now. I have learned from One strategy is that contiguexperience. ous parish churches might create It seems to me that when deal- a cluster. They might covenant ing with the merging of parish to share facilities and staff while churches, it’s not about preservretaining separate identities. ing dilapidated buildings as Another option might be for vacuous museums dedicated to two or more churches to conthe past. It has to do with buildsolidate and form a completely
The Ship’s Log
new entity. Still another option would be for one parish church to remain while one or more neighboring churches become “missions” of the magnet parish. Sometimes it becomes clear that a particular parish church must simply close. In the process of evaluating a parish’s viability, clear identification should be made of those issues that must change if it is to be sustainable. The “red alert” might include dwindling numbers of parishioners, drastic drops in the celebration of the sacraments, dire financial situations, disintegrating systems and facilities, inaccessibility, etc. The triggers are often multiple and related. Why is this particular parish struggling and what, if
A changing current
nion gave way to fragmented ixty years ago, one ideologies. could liken the wider Eventually, that pooling American culture to a stream stream reversed itself and tripping calmly towards a headed in the opposite direcparticular destination, cartion, so that the conventions rying with it a generation of of old contrasted sharply with believers who had weathered the new sensibilities. Those two world wars, a depression, who clung to the previous and — for many — the upways found that the comheaval of finding an entirely forting consensus was ennew home far removed from tirely missing, and they had their native land. So many to explain themselves to an families had buried their dead increasingly hostile majority. and rolled up their sleeves to The very notions of chastity, create wealth and opportunimarriage, love and life had ties never before enjoyed. Inherent to their outlook was a Christian view that demanded virtue and integrity, and a social construct based on Gospel values and By Genevieve Kineke human dignity. The stream of culture carried with it convenbecome anachronistic and tions to which most people suspect. adhered without giving them This is where we find much thought. As they began ourselves today — with the to enjoy their hard-earned bulk of our educational escomforts and passed them tablishment, courts, and mass onto their children, they asmedia collaborating in ways sumed that this conventionaldiametrically opposed to the ity would make itself obvivery principles on which the ous to those who followed, Church has always stood firm. perhaps not realizing that While it happened systematicustom and faith are not the cally over several decades, same thing. one might compare it to the As the years passed, the farmer who awoke to find current slowed and the waters darnel sown amidst his field began to pool and swirl, of wheat. without direction or purpose. God has no grandchildren. Confusion was introduced Those who entrusted their — particularly in family life children to the wider culture — and the shared mission for their formation have since of raising children to love discovered that convention God and serve neighbor was can never compare to catecheincrementally replaced with a sis in that task. The narrow troubling form of individualpath to which we are called ism. Underneath the surface, can never widen enough to Christian faith and commu-
The Feminine Genius
bring everyone to God without a culture deeply committed to Christ and his cross. So what do we do now that the current has shifted? Wringing our hands is useless, though we grieve for the souls awash in confusion. We must attend to our circle of family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and beloved priests. Lent is an excellent time to bring the needs of these souls to the tabernacle, trusting in God’s love and mercy. Our prayers should be offered in confidence, accompanied by sacrifices and the giving of alms. Additionally, we must beg for the grace to be strong in our convictions — which now stand in stark contrast to many of our prevailing laws and attitudes. Finally, each of us must be ready to give an answer for the truths we believe, and we may even have to pay in unexpected ways. Throughout the centuries, first the Chosen People and then the Christians have had to do this in myriad settings, and there is no reason why we cannot do the same. Only pride and neglect of Church history would lead us to believe that we shouldn’t be called to such a standard. God isn’t asking us to rebuild Christendom, but simply to hold fast and love those entrusted to us. If we are faithful, he will do the rest. Mrs. Kineke is the author of “The Authentic Catholic Woman.” She blogs at feminine-genius.typepad.com.
anything, can be done about it? Get back to basics. It is true what they say in the Marriage Encounter Movement, that love is a decision of the intellect. This does not mean to the exclusion of feelings. It is also true what St. Paul says: “Believe in your heart” (Romans 10:4). The movement to faith begins in the heart. This does not mean to the exclusion of the intellect. Here’s an example. I spent last weekend on an ECHO retreat with about 40 women and girls. Do I need this extra work? No. I did it because retreats touch the heart and that’s where faith begins. Start a parish evaluation with the Mass. What does the celebration of the Eucharist look like? Is it spirit-filled? Is there a sense of hospitality? Is there reverence? Is the preaching such that worshipers hear what is usable in their daily lives? It makes sense to begin any parish’s review of viability by taking a good hard look at what happens at worship. “Ite, Missa est” were the final words spoken when the Eucharist was celebrated in Latin. There was a certain urgency about it. “Go, go, go! You are sent out into the world on a mission” is the sense of the phrase, if not the literal translation. We Catholics are evangelical — or at least we should be. We are on a mission from God. During recent pontificates, there have been references to “a new evangelization.” Being sent out from the celebration of the Eucharist with hearts on fire with the Gospel message seems to be an essential part of the call to a new evangelism. “What good is faith if it is not translated into action?” asks St. James. If a parish is being evalu-
ated, look to see what it is doing (or not doing) in the area of outreach and evangelization. It is not enough to simply sit in our pews on a Sunday morning and then go about our lives as if nothing about us has changed. I have visited some churches in which the pews are upholstered with plump velvet cushions. Maybe our pews are a little too comfortable, if you get my drift. As the generations come and go, I find increasing numbers of parishioners who have what one might call “residual faith.” If you ask their religion, they answer “Catholic.” What “Catholic” means to them might not be the same as what we would call “being Catholic.” There are stages in life when residual Catholics tend to return to the Church. This is usually around the celebration of the sacraments. They want to be married in the Church. They want to baptize their babies, or prepare their children for confirmation or first Communion. They request the sacrament of the sick in times of illness. Families might approach to arrange a Funeral Mass for a deceased loved-one. Great care must be taken not to make too many demands on residual Catholics. Of course, there are minimal requirements, but if we ask folks to jump through too many hoops, we may never see them in church again. If someone is clinging to the faith by their fingertips, do not stomp on their hands. I see the future. The future is about touching the hearts of our faith-communities. I hear opportunity knocking. Could somebody please get the door? Father Goldrick is pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra Parish in North Dighton.
Specializing in: Brand Name/ Foreign Auto Parts 1420 Fall River Avenue (Route 6) Seekonk, MA 02771
March 12, 2010
Been there ... done that ... and they can help By Dave Jolivet, Editor
Many times we can slip and take our spouses for ATTLEBORO — Nearly 20 years ago, Ron Du- granted. It’s a great checks and balance for our own puis proposed to his fiancée, Mary, on the Rosary marriages.” For 15 years, the Dupuis have managed the proWalk at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette ... three times ... in succession. “This first time, I gram and tweaked aspects that need to be updated or thought she didn’t hear me,” said Ron. “The second changed. “Mary is my captain,” said Ron. “Whentime I thought she was going to say ‘no.’ And the ever she has an idea, I listen, and most of the time it’s a great one.” third time, she said ‘yes,’ and I jumped for joy.” To illustrate the great success of the program, Ron and Mary Dupuis have shared that joy with others for 15 of their 18 years as husband and wife. the Dupuis mentioned that a recent session held at The Dupuis developed, coordinate and direct a Re- St. Julie Billiart Parish in North Dartmouth drew 45 married Program through the Family Ministry Of- couples that then broke off into one-on-one sessions. The usual is seven couples fice in North Dartmouth. at a session.” Each had felt the pain of a The couple is quick failed marriage, and each to credit their team, all of felt alienated from the whom the Dupuis recruitChurch following their ed. “They are such motirespective divorces. vators,” said Jerry Foley. “I can remember sitting “It’s not wonder they can in the back of the church recruit good couples, and at Mass and witnessing they provide all the trainfriends of mine, some ing as well.” of whom were real wise The parishioners of St. guys serving as extraorJohn the Evangelist Pardinary ministers of holy ish in Attleboro also keep Communion,” said Ron. very busy there as well. He didn’t think he could “What a wonderful coureceive holy Communion, ple they are,” said pastor however, because he was Father Richard M. Roy. divorced. Mary also felt “Whatever they can do the sting of feeling outto help, you can always side the Church. “I felt at count on them.” a loss,” she said. Mary is head of the The pair eventually had their previous mar- Anchor persons of the week — Ron parish Consolation Committee working with riages annulled by the and Mary Dupuis. surviving loved ones by Church and eventually met at a Divorced/Separated support group in West- visiting them and coordinating a yearly Mass for field. The relationship blossomed leading to the tri- bereaved family and friends. Both are extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, and Ron is a lector fecta proposal at the Rosary Walk. As they prepared for their own marriage, they as well. He has also served on team for the parish’s quickly discovered the conventional marriage prep Dreams and Vision in-house retreat program, aimed courses were not meant for folks who had previously at bolstering the faith lives of adult parishioners. One unusual task routinely performed by the been married. “We just didn’t feel like we belonged there,” said Mary. “I then began to gather materials busy couple is coordinating the yearly cleaning of from Faith Formation programs and Church mar- the church on Good Friday. “The church always riage updates to learn more about what could be looks so fresh and clean following the extraordinary efforts of the Dupuis and the wonderful volunteers done for people in our situation.” “I saw the need for a preparation program for who assist them,” added Father Roy. A shiny, fresh re-marrieds,” said Ron. “I saw the hurt in people, church, just in time for Easter, is “totally a group efand knew there were so many issues on which such fort,” said Ron. An acquaintance dubbed the group the “Holy Dusters.” couples needed to be enlightened.” Mary credits her strong family upbringing in the The couple approached Scottie and Jerry Foley, Catholic faith. “I grew up in St. John the Evangelist directors of the diocesan Family Ministry Office with a proposal for a Re-married Program. “They Parish, and it’s always been a source of inspiration were really excited about the idea,” said Mary. for me. My parents always kept us involved in the “They were elated,” added Ron, “and the program parish.” “Church has always been my sanctuary,” added Ron. started to get off the ground.” Even when Ron and Mary were newly-divorced “The Dupuis are top notch people,” Jerry Foley told The Anchor. “They took on the creation of the and felt a sense of detachment, they held fast to the program, through the Family Ministry Office, and faith, and when the time came, used their pains as a nearly 16 years later it is still vibrant and effective.” catalyst to help others overcome theirs. “Back then, divorce meant ‘losing my religion,’ Since the onset of the program, “Ron and Mary to a lot of people,” said Ron. “But there are those have been very generous with their time, talents marriages where no sacrament was ever conceived and treasures, and made the program a successful at the initial ceremony, and the Church can grant an venture when there was a time we had trouble with annulment.” staffing,” added Scottie. Getting re-married in the Church is a great blessOne of the unique features of the Re-married Program is that the interaction with team couples ing and relief. But preparing to be re-married carries and candidate couples is purely one-on-one. “With different sets of circumstances than those preparing a one-on-one approach, the couples to be married for marriage for the first time. The Dupuis know this, and are always ready, feel much more comfortable sharing and expressing their concerns and fears,” said Ron. “And the willing and able to assist. To nominate a Person of the Week, send an beauty of it is, is that the team members get as much out of the interactions as do the preparing couples. email to FatherRogerLandry@anchornews.org.
March 12, 2010
The NHL suffers another concussion
ulti-tasking is an expression that never appeared in any vocabulary prior to the dawn of the computer age — particularly the personal computer age. In fact in the “old” days when I was a lad, you often heard a person can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Hardly a resume for multi-tasking. Despite today’s fast-paced, pop-up window world, there are those who still can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, and a prime example of that is in the National Hockey League. The phraseology is a bit different, but the philosophy is still the same: Most NHL officials can’t skate and officiate a game at the same time. Now before I get letters from hockey refs in leagues below the NHL level, please be assured this is no reflection on you. In fact the men and women who officiate minor leagues, junior leagues, high
My View From the Stands By Dave Jolivet school leagues and pee-wee leagues are to be commended for their fair and balanced approach at obeying ice hockey’s letter of the law — namely the rules. It’s been a long time since I’ve had faith in NHL officiating. I must have at one point, because as a youngster I never remember the referees playing all that big a part in a hockey game, which meant they were doing their job. Sure there was the occasional missed call, a puck that crossed the goal line and wasn’t seen, or the whistle that blew too early. But that’s part of the game. And there was only one referee on the ice that could make calls other than offsides and icing, so in fairness, there was an awful lot for one pair of eyeballs to espy and act on. Flash forward to today’s game, and it’s a whole new world on sheets of ice across North America. Now in an NHL game there are four officials on the ice during a game; two referees and two linesmen. But now the linesmen can also provide input on penalties. This leads me to last Sunday’s game when the Boston Bruins skated into Pittsburgh to face off against the defending champion Penguins. The Pens are clearly one of the best teams in the league and the Bruins, well, they’re the Bruins. They did hold their own against the champs and trailed by a skinny one goal late in the game. That’s when the Bruins’ Marc Savard was nearly decapitated with a blind-side elbow to the head from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. As Savard lay motionless on the ice, the Pittsburgh crowd grew silent. To nearly everyone who saw the replays of the mugging, it was
a cheap shot at best, yet four, yes four officials didn’t see it as even a penalty, let alone a cause for ejection or suspension. “He (Cooke) was finishing his check,” was the ref’s response. To me, and many others, it was more like Lizzie Borden finishing off her 40 whacks. Savard has a grade-two concussion and his return is unclear. Cooke skates off to play another day. One Bruins’ analyst said following the game, that had a Bruin done that to superstar Sydney Crosby, “The league would have skipped past the suspension and banished him directly to Siberia.” The NHL officials, quite possibly directed by the league itself, does appear to protect its marquee players — or should I say its money players ... the players who draw the crowds and the capital. Back in the day, guys like Eddie Shore, Maurice the Rocket Richard, Henri the Pocket Rocket Richard, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, and Phil Esposito weren’t protected by the on-ice officials. Granted, they didn’t have to be — every one of them could handle themselves quite nicely. But they weren’t surrounded by a protective bubble provided by men in striped shirts. I’m not quite sure when the NHL’s police protection program began, but I think it was around the time Wayne Gretzky waltzed into the league. Since then, opposing players can’t even shoot superstars an evil glance, let alone hit them. Look at the stats guys like Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Crosby put up. I wonder if the numbers would be so inflated if they, too, had a target on them as do players like Savard. Or imagine the numbers the Orrs, Espositos, Hulls, Howes and Richards could have amassed had they been coddled by the officials. The NHL, the perennial step sister to baseball, football and hoops in TV rev-
enue and popularity, needs to clean up its act if it wants the respect of knowledgeable sports fans. First, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no matter how talented the gander is. Second, a penalty is a penalty no
11 matter who incurs it and who it’s leveled against. Third, a penalty is a penalty no matter at what point in the game it occurs. And fourth, keep Matt Cooke off the ice as long as Savard is out. It will give them both a chance to clear their heads.
Take a card, then pray for seminarians by name B y Christie L. Chicoine C atholic News Service PHILADELPHIA — Collect all 44 and pray for more. When, God willing, the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s current seminarians become ordained priests, Catholics could say they prayed for them by name. The Vocation Office for the Diocesan Priesthood is distributing business-style cards, each of which features the name of one of the 44 seminarians studying for the priesthood for the archdiocese at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. Below the name on the front of the card is a request for the cardholder to pray for the seminarian. A “Prayer for a Seminarian” is printed on the back of the card. The cards were first distributed in the Philadelphia Archdiocese during November 30-December 4 productions of “Vianney,” a one-man stage play depicting St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests declared by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 to be patron
of all the world’s priests. “There are so many people who are in fact praying for vocations, but through these cards, there is a personalization — ‘I’m praying for this young man,’” said Father Christopher B. Rogers, director of Philadelphia’s archdiocesan vocation office. “The prayer on the back of the card is a very personal prayer as well for the seminarian and can be an added incentive to the faithful.” Through the office’s website, www.heedthecall.org, and a poster printed in The Catholic Standard & Times, the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholics “can see the face of who it is they are praying for,” the priest said. Father Rogers said the cards, which are distributed randomly following various vocation-related events, have been well-received by Catholics. One man recently had the luck of the draw when his card bore the name of a seminarian he knew from his parish, while others have asked for cards to give to homebound relatives and friends.
March 12, 2010
Fewer priests prompts study of full-time hospital chaplains continued from page one
a chaplain at eight hospitals, including those in the Archdiocese of Boston, where, he said, “it is the priests from adjacent parishes who service and minister at the various hospitals.” The hospital chaplaincy in this diocese was instituted by Bishop James L. Connolly (1951-1970) at a time when there were as many as four priests residing in many rectories. “Whatever happens and whatever the trends, because only priests can anoint, administering that sacrament will continue to be an important part of our priesthood whether or not we are hospital chaplains,” Father Johnson added. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches that the anointing of the sick, which only bishops and priests can administer, “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly arrived” (No. 129). “What needs to be taught is that anointing is the sacrament of the sick … but becomes extreme unction when it truly becomes the final anointing,” Father Johnson pointed out. “If one has received the sacrament of the sick and recovers from the illness, he or she can receive the sacrament of the sick again, as often as needed.” “The sacraments are for the living and not for the dead,” Father Rodney E. Thibault, chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford for nearly 15 months, pointed out. “We don’t anoint someone who is already dead,” Father Thibault said. “Because death frequently comes suddenly for those who are ill and suffering and even during surgery, spiritually and pragmatically they should have received anointing with holy oil as the sacrament of the sick much earlier than awaiting a final anointing whenever their dying moment arrives.” Father Johnson said most patients understand “that Christ comes to them in this sacrament, as he does in the Eucharist, and many, because of past hospital stays, ask for the anointing, are not scared but familiar with the sacrament, and extend their hands and bend forward for us to anoint their forehead and the palm of their hands,” he said. And if the patient indicates a particular illness or a hurt, “I might anoint their chest or their leg or an arm, in order to be sensitive to their illness,” he added. The importance of anointing,
said Father Thibault, “as we look at it as an important daily role of the chaplain … and limited numbers of priests, might mean we’ll be looking to pastors to administer the sacrament within his parish in a timely manner and invite in those about to undergo surgery in advance,” he said. “As a Church, as well as a community, we have to purge ourselves of what we call ‘the last rites.’ There are no last rites … really only prayers for the dead,” Father Thibault added candidly. “And if the sacraments are only for the living, then we have to realize that it is the call of the baptized person … a responsibility given at confirmation … to be at the bedside of those who have died, and to join in prayer, the Litany of the Saints seeking their intercession to God for that person’s salvation and eternal rest,” he added. “The role of assistant chaplains like permanent deacons, religious Sisters and the laity too, whose roles include being extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, and praying along with family and leading recitation of the litany in what is a time for prayer, are treasured for their wonderful, sensitive work in hospital ministry,” he pointed out. Father Johnson said the sacrament of the sick and a final anointing are restricted to the ordained priesthood because the latter rite can also include hearing their confession — if the person is capable. Then they are given holy Communion as the last sacrament of the earthly journey or “Viaticum” (“the passing over to eternal life’) — when possible, “to carry them on their journey to
God,” Father Johnson explained. “The Catechism” also teaches that while “this assistance from the Lord by the Holy Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, and also of the body if such is God’s will. Furthermore, ‘if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven’” (No. 135, 135). Hospital ministry is not new to Father Thibault either. After ordination in June 2001, he was assigned for a year as a parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist Parish in New Bedford, and part-time chaplain at St. Luke’s. Currently he assists as a judge at the Tribunal in Fall River on Mondays, while serving four days a week at the hospital. Father Michael Fitzpatrick takes two days and the priests of the New Bedford Deanery cover on Monday and during chaplains’ vacations. While Father Thibault said there are not frequent calls in the nighttime and early morning hours for emergency anointing, “they do come,” the two chaplains said. Father Thibault lives at St. John Neumann Parish in East Freetown, a 16-minute commute from St. Luke’s; and Father Johnson resides at St. Michael’s in Fall River, which is just 10 minutes from Charlton, making for quick emergency commutes. They also agreed that it is better to anoint someone who is serious or in danger of death at 3 p.m., rather than wait to hurry to the hospital at 3 a.m., saying they take every opportunity to spend time with, and anoint those in serious condition or in danger of death while on duty.
Diocese of Fall River TV Mass on WLNE Channel 6 Sunday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m. Celebrant is Father Leonard Hindsley, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Westport
eing a Catholic means that we live within an intellectual moral tradition with “teaching authority.” That teaching authority guides Catholic people as we navigate an increasingly diverse and turbulent sea of thought. In 1907, Pope Pius X, who was later canonized, emerged as a lighthouse amidst these whitecapped waters when he wrote two documents, Lamentabali sane exitu (“With Truly Lamentable Effect”) and Pascendi Dominici gregis (“Feeding the Lord’s Flock”). In these documents, he challenged the dominant modes of non-Catholic thought in Europe and America and identified a growing chasm in the history of Catholic thought. In so doing, a league of Catholic thinkers arose to fill that widening gap and together they formed the “Catholic Intellectual Renaissance.” Many of the Catholic Thinkers covered in this series belonged to that movement. This week, we’ll chat a bit about Frank Sheed, a cradle Catholic, “street preacher,” writer, publisher, and great Catholic thinker. Sheed (1897-1981) and
March 12, 2010
Frank Sheed and the mediocre Catholic
his wife, writer Maisie Ward, his writing through open-air moved from Australia to London speeches on Catholicism for in 1926. Together they founded the unschooled Catholic and Sheed & Ward, a publishthe potential convert alike. This ing house that disseminated a conversational style, developed significant portion of the writing in real time amongst ordinary, that flowered during the Catholic Intellectual Renaissance. Sheed was also a “street corner” speaker and a writer in his own right and built his work upon a singular misBy Jennifer Pierce sion: teaching the faith to Catholics who needed formation as well as to working people on the street, potential converts. With Maisie, gives his writing a clear, perthey created “The Catholic Evisuasive edge that can only be dence Training Outlines,” which described as mesmerizing. I find had as their goal to enable “the myself most captivated by his ordinary Catholic to explain the ability to embrace the contratruths of his religion in such a diction many Catholics find way as to reach the understandthemselves in: we are immersed ing of a heterogeneous crowd.” in an extraordinary theological Frank Sheed had a striktradition and yet remain so very ing ability to rouse within the commonplace and so stonily Catholic the sleeping dragon unmoved: of our belief. And it is indeed “There is no doubt at all,” he a sleeping and lazy creature in writes in “Theology and Sanmost of us, mythic and powerity,” “that the principal arguful in potential, but usually ment against the Church is the only hinting at what it could be Catholic.” if it ever truly stirred from its He goes on: “It is the Cathodrowsing form. Sheed developed lics who do in a general way lis-
Great Catholic Thinkers
ten to the teachings and receive the sacraments, who stand more than any other single factor between the unbeliever and belief. He hears of the immensities that we believe, and he feels that if he believed such things his life would be utterly revolutionized; he would be made new. He would be made new. But we do not look new, or anything in particular.” Sheed stirs us to listen to our faith anew like a child listens attentively to a fairy tale. When we see what Sheed wishes us to see we realize how easily we forget the awe and mystery of our faith; then, we remember how startling it really is. He tells us that the unbeliever has a difficult time believing that Christ is present in the host, because it is hard to believe that a divinity can live in a piece of bread. But what is difficult to believe becomes impossible when it comes to Catholics who take the Host and do not allow themselves to be utterly transformed by it. The unbeliever looks on us and says, “If that bread were what it
radically claims to be, wouldn’t the person ingesting it become something extraordinary?” And yet, we are not extraordinary. We are, says Sheed, “mediocre.” This links to Jesus’ chilling prophecy in the Book of Revelation: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Rev 3:15-16). Lukewarmness, warns both Sheed and Revelation, will be the end of us. If it is impossible for the unbeliever to believe in the Eucharistic real presence by looking at us, it is equally impossible for a lukewarm Catholic to read Frank Sheed and not be moved to seek to live up to our mystic vocation. Using unshakable reason and profound faith he reminds us of the truly awesome responsibility we have, not just as people of faith, but as people of our faith in particular. Jennifer Pierce is a parishioner of Corpus Christi in East Sandwich, where she lives with her husband Jim and two daughters.
CCT Workers’ Center participates at Moreau Lecture Series at Stonehill College By Father Marc Fallon, CSC Special to The Anchor NORTH EASTON — Centro Comunitario de los Trabajadores of New Bedford, a membershipbased workers’ center advocating for economic justice in the workplace that is supported by Catholic Social Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, recently participated in the Moreau Lecture Series at Stonehill College in Easton. Outreach Director Adrian Ventura and President Leonardo Tavares joined colleagues from Fuerza Laboral (The Strength of Workers) of Central Falls, R.I., and the MetroWest Workers’ Center of Framingham in a panel discussion on issues of concern to immigrant workers in southern New England. The attentive audience was comprised of 50 students who participate in the HOPE service learning program. All plan to spend their March semester break journeying to be in one of six service learning trips in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Peru, and the United States. For the HOPE students, the program began with a presentation by Father Daniel Groody, CSC, of the University of Notre Dame on the theology of migration. Father Groody, who has published widely on the theological implications of Latin Ameri-
can migration to the United States for all of the churches of the Americas, has most recently conducted interviews with undocumented migrants to Europe. While the socio-economic data suggest that the absence of real economic development for nation states adjoining highly developed states, along with the stressors of the global economy and the absence of NAFTA or other bilateral provisions for economically displaced populations, serve as causes for large-scale migration, our faith reminds us that these are genuine losses for the Church of the South and pastoral challenges for the receiving Church of the North. The Church considers this issue as one of cooperative ecclesiology and to provide a humanitarian voice in an arena filled with racism and misanthropic xenophobia. One week later Father Mark Cregan, CSC, an immigration attorney and president of the college, posited a number of examples for the students of the many inconsistencies and obstacles that stand in the way of the lived experiences of working families. After the students’ overview of immigration concerns in the light of Catholic pastoral theology and present legislation, the workers’ centers leaders addressed them. Heiny Maldonado of Fuerza Laboral began with an
overview of the abuses in the areas of wage and hour violations and workplace safety that management and temporary labor agencies perpetrate against immigrant workers. Many owners assume that immigrant workers will not complain about such misconduct, assuming that all immigrant workers lack proper documentation. In point of fact, many workers have valid cases for political asylum or have journeyed north to join a spouse who may have documentation. Mal-
donado insisted that political advocacy and activism in conjunction with churches, labor unions, and community advocates is critical for protecting workers. Fuerza’s five years of experience in membership advocacy provides their credibility in the community. CCT center President Leonardo Tavares provided an overview of the political and economic inequalities between North and Central America that drive young people to leave their
homes and travel to work in a different culture. Neoliberal economic theorists defend free trade as if it were a God itself, according to Tavares. While monied elites send their capital throughout the world instantly, seeking the greatest return on their investment alongside the lowest wage base, nation states collude to compel young workers remain within the boundaries of their nation of birth, pressuring down wages for the latest maquiladora Turn to page 18
Diocesan students learn the value of reconciliation continued from page one
days, they are taught the importance of the sacrament. “Most of them do take it very seriously,” said Father Racine. “We make the sacrament available for them as often as we can, and we let them know it’s OK to suggest their parents go as well.” Father Racine also said they are encouraging the students to think about taking advantage of the Reconciliation Weekend. At Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, chaplain Father Thomas E. Costa Jr. and the theology teachers there encourage the students to take advantage of the gifts of forgiveness offered through the sacrament of reconciliation. “We offer them the chance to go throughout the year, but during Advent and Lent we run special reconciliation programs,” he said. “During Advent we had approximately 500 students go to confession during the program.” The program includes a guest speaker who shares insights into the sacrament, eucharistic adoration in the auditorium, and a special prayer luncheon at which time the students have quiet lunch with reflections playing in the background. “We encourage the students to think about who they would like to forgive and who they wish would forgive them,” he said. “They have a good respect for the sacrament, and we encourage them to have faith in themselves in their own lives, even when they fail.” During the Lenten season the students fast and abstain from meat on Fridays and offer it for a particular cause, such as the victims
of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and the flooding on the Island of Madeira. There are also charity drives. “We stress the need for almsgiving, but we also want them to give something holy, like prayer.” Father Kevin A. Cook, chaplain at Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton recently held a Lenten penance service for each grade to promote and offer the sacrament of reconciliation. Each student received an examination of conscience and how to use it, as well as a copy of the Act of Contrition. The religion teachers spoke in detail about the sacrament leading up to the service. “I offer confessions when we have eucharistic adoration on First Fridays, and I try to free up my schedule as best I can to offer the sacrament on other Fridays during Lent,” said Father Cook. “I am amazed how more students are seizing the opportunity to go once they have gotten over the false fears people have made about the sacrament. I also find many students really want to make a good confession and try to prepare themselves for the sacrament after they are taught how to go and are encouraged to go with a certain frequency.” Jean Kelly, director of Religious Education at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth told The Anchor the students in that program are offered the sacrament a least once a year. “One week prior to their receiving, we provide a lesson on what the sacrament is and how important it is to reconcile with God,” she said. “Our priests take a very active part
in the teaching, and this makes the students more comfortable when it is time to visit them for reconciliation. “Most of the older students do take it very seriously, and we suggest that it is also a good time to seek counseling for anything that may be bothering them in their faith lives. It’s not just a confession, but a dialogue with the priest. Before they go we explain what mortal and venial sins are, and let them know there are sins of omission and sins they commit willingly. They know what they are doing when they go to confession.” Kelly also mentioned that the students will bring home flyers encouraging their parents to take part in the upcoming Reconciliation Weekend. Beni Costa-Reedy and Peter Carvalho are responsible for the Faith Formation of junior high school-aged students at St. Mary’s Parish in South Dartmouth and St. Julie Billiart Parish in North Dartmouth, and reconciliation and repentance are high on their list. “As the students grow older, they become afraid of the sacrament of reconciliation,” said Costa-Reedy. “They’re afraid of being judged, and afraid of what the priest will think of them.” To help alleviate some of those fears, Costa-Reedy and Carvalho use visuals to help illustrate just what reconciliation is. “We have baggies filled with rocks and on the baggies we write some type of transgression against God. We keep adding the baggies to a backpack and the students become very aware just how heavy the bag is becoming,” CostaReedy explained. “Some say, ‘I can carry this load,’ but it becomes harder and harder.
March 12, 2010 We let them know that the sacrament of reconciliation is like unloading that backpack and feeling relieved of its heavy burden. And we also let them know that the sacrament is always there to ‘empty that backpack.’” She said some of the students make the connection, and others don’t, but there are always those who want to take advantage of the sacrament after the presentation. During class sessions, the students learn the Act of Contrition, receive an aged-based examination of conscience, and a schedule of when the sacrament is available. “Some feel that ‘God could never forgive me,’ for certain sins, but we let them know God forgives all who are repentant.” At St. Mary’s Parish in Seekonk, Karen Bergeron directs the Religious Education program along with James Souza. Bergeron works with the younger grades and prepares the tots for their first penance. While these young minds cannot grasp the gravity of sin yet, they do know right and wrong. “We liken the sacrament of penance to being upset with a friend,” said Bergeron. “When you apologize to that friend, you feel so much better. That’s what we stress with the youngsters, that it feels good to stay friends with God.” Prior to that big first step, the young students experience a three- to four-week session on the sacrament of reconciliation. “We let them know what it is, how to make a good confession, and teach them a beautiful song for the penance service. At a time when they can be afraid, it’s reassuring to them. And, we let them know that forgiveness is not a one-time thing, but something they’ll carry with them all their lives.”
Noted convert, author to speak at local parish continued from page one
of the Catholic churches and the majestic Gothic cathedrals,” Kreeft admitted. “Then I was taken with the intelligence of people like St. Thomas Aquinas — I was a Thomist before I became a Catholic.” A philosophy major, further studies of people like St. Theresa of Lisieux and St. John of the Cross only increased Kreeft’s growing fascination with Catholicism. “But what fundamentally made me swim the Tiber was the historical facts of the Church’s continuity with Christ, a-la Cardinal John Henry Newman’s ‘Apologia pro Vita Sua,’” Kreeft said. Kreeft’s ultimate conversion took place as he asked God for help, praying that “God would decide for me, for I am good at thinking but bad at acting, like Hamlet,” he said. As someone who came to discover the beauty and wonder of the Catholic faith through constant prayer and ongoing study, Kreeft believes the reason many Catholics today are drifting away from their faith is because they lack the proper education and faith formation to fully understand and embrace their beliefs. “It’s the fact that they fear controversy while desiring respectability and acceptance, which paradoxically lead to the opposite result,” he said. “It’s also the result of bad catechesis. CCD texts reduce the startling mysteries of the faith to bland ‘niceness,’ which does not challenge our intellect or courage, only our desire for comfort.” While Kreeft admitted the influence of outside forces and the growing “secularization” of society are partially responsible for the increased number of lapsed Catholics, he stressed that it’s also up to us to continually
renew our beliefs and learn about our faith through persistent study of Catholic thinkers like St. John of the Cross, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. “Saints are not freaks or exceptions, they are the standard operating models for human beings,” Kreeft said. “In fact, in the biblical sense of the word, all believers are saints. Saints are not the opposite of sinners. There are no opposites of sinners in this world. There are only saved sinners and unsaved sinners.” Those looking for a reason to question God and the need for religion in today’s society might point to recent tragedies like the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile or the flash flooding in Madeira as prime examples. But Kreeft said such instances of “unexplained suffering” in the world only serve to challenge and strengthen our faith. “Our faith is not static; it is challenged, and moves and responds,” Kreeft said. “Doubts are the ants in its pants that keep it moving. But we need the intelligence of humility, which will teach us that if there is a God, he is so much wiser than we are that it is inevitable that we will not understand all the details of how he is orchestrating our lives. So unexplained evil is data that confirms the hypothesis, rather than disproves it. “It is exactly what we should expect. It is also a lover’s test — of our faith and love. Lovers do not propose in formulas and syllogisms.” Peter Kreeft will speak at St. Francis Xavier Parish, 125 Main Street, Acushnet on March 21 beginning at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend. The presentation is free, but a free-will offering will be taken.
March 12, 2010
Our Lady’s Haven celebrates 65 years FAIRHAVEN — Our Lady’s Haven recently acknowledged the home’s Mission Day and its 65th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Msgr. Edmund J. Fitzgerald, executive director of the Diocesan Health Facilities. Our Lady’s Haven is one of five skilled nursing and rehabilitative care facilities in this system, sponsored by the Diocese of Fall River. Mission Day is celebrated each year when staff recommits to their mission of service to those who are elderly, frail or sick. For more than 65 years, Our Lady’s Haven has offered
a “home away from home” that provides quality care to the frail elderly and disabled, with a special emphasis on meeting the spiritual and social needs of its residents as well as their physical and medical needs. As stated in the Our Lady’s Haven Mission statement, “We are committed to meeting our community’s growing health care needs. We will continue our role as pioneers in our field as we provide technologically advanced services in an atmosphere of all encompassing care.”
makeover celebration — Marian Manor in Taunton, a skilled nursing and rehabilitative care facility that is part of the Diocesan Health Facilities system of care, recently held an Open House to showcase its newly-renovated lobby and reception area, as well as the newly-renovated Special Care Room for hospice and end of life care. From left: Michael Medeiros, administrator of Our Lady’s Haven, Fairhaven; Peter Ledoux, facilities operations, Marian Manor; Marla White, RN, admissions and case management, Marian Manor; and Raymond McAndrews, administrator, Marian Manor.
cause for celebration — Msgr. Edmund J. Fitzgerald, executive director of Diocesan Health Facilities greeted Our Lady’s Haven resident Marie Szymczyk as she left the chapel with Lori Gehan, RN, following a special Mass celebrating the 65th anniversary of the home.
family and friends — Catholic Memorial Home residents and cousins Jeanne Zimmerman and Doris Kostek enjoy the music and each other’s company at the home’s Valentine’ Day celebration. Jeanne was also celebrating being crowned queen of her unit, an annual event that takes place during recent festivities.
Catholic Memorial Home to hold annual Flower Show FALL RIVER — Catholic Memorial Home will host its seventh annual Flower Show opening on March 15 and running for two weeks. Once again the skilled nursing and rehabilitative care facility will transform its solarium for the enjoyment of the residents, staff and visitors. This year the theme is “Nature — the Symphony of Our Lives” and will feature brass and woodwind instruments and floor to ceiling silhouettes depicting a
band, dancers and a singer that will be part of the themed floral display. Our Lady of Light Band in Fall River is loaning the instruments to the home for the show, and the silhouettes are on loan from Alden Court Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Fairhaven. Get a head start on spring by visiting the Flower Show at Catholic Memorial Home, 2446 Highland Avenue, Fall River beginning March 15. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and
it is free of charge. There will be a plant sale in the vestibule just outside of the solarium.
March 12, 2010
St. Vincent’s Home kicks off 125th anniversary celebration FALL RIVER — St. Vincent’s recently kicked-off the beginning of its 125th anniversary year with a celebration in the gymnasium at 2425 Highland Avenue. Bishop George W. Coleman addressed the staff and students and provided a blessing and Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan presented an official proclamation from The City of Fall River. Sister Rosemary Laliberte, RSM, gave a brief history about the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy and their significant involvement in establishing St. Vincent’s Home while a number of children sang a song about Mother Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy. The event also included a student reading and student artwork displayed throughout the gymnasium. For 125 years, St. Vincent’s has provided children and families in need with “A Legacy of Hope.” Historical records indicate the organization was established when, in 1885, three Sisters of Mercy from the Mother House in Providence, R.I. came with the blessing of Bishop Hendricken to operate the facility at the old inn on the grounds of the Forest Hill Gardens, a summer
resort in Ashley’s Cove north of Fall River. At the time, St. Vincent’s Home occupied a wooden building until a brick home was completed in 1894. In 1972, St. Vincent’s moved to its current location located on Highland Avenue. Today, St. Vincent’s is a multi-service agency providing a broad range of services including residential treatment, special education, congregate care, respite care, in-home, and communitybased services to 100 children between the ages of four and 21 — and their families — who are coping with life-altering events, challenges to learning, and the effects of childhood trauma. Dedicated staff provides services consistent with best practice standards to ensure that each child and family achieves their goals and are reunited as quickly as possible. In keeping with St. Vincent’s 125th Anniversary theme, “A Legacy of Hope,” celebratory activities are being planned throughout the year to commemorate this important milestone. For more information, contact Melissa Dick at 508-235-3228 or visit St. Vincent’s website at www. stvincentshome.org.
better than crabby patties — In honor of Chinese New Year, seventh-grade students Rile Pearson, Raegan Kovacs, and Cara Peloquin from St. Stanislaus School, Fall River, make crab rangoon with Jane Song, the world language teacher.
seeing the forest through the trees — After reading a nonfiction story about the Amazon rainforest, the fifth-grade class at Holy Name School in Fall River researched animals and plant life to make a PowerPoint presentation. They then painted a colorful mural and made rain sticks out of paper towel rolls, toothpicks, and lentils.
birthday blessings — Bishop George W. Coleman gives a blessing at the recent opening of the celebration of St. Vincent’s Home’s 125th anniversary. troop support — Daisy Girl Scout Troop 80867 showed support for its classmate Liam Greene, center rear, and his brother Owen to his left, whose dad is serving in Afghanistan. Families and friends of the first grade at St. Mary’s School in Mansfield, collected 15 boxes to send to Greene’s unit. They also created personal thank you notes. Front row, from left: Ava Connor, Meredith Cowan, Gace Yaghoobian, Ria Thekkethala, Mairead Shannon, Alissa Cooke, Kathleen Malone, and Emily Woods. Back row: Melissa Souza, Lauren Smith, Emlie Vienneau, Mary Woods, Caroline Moore, and Rachel Costello.
static cling — Bryanna Cabral, a student at St. Michael School in Fall River tests out her science experiment on fourth-grader Ruben Faria. a few strings attached — St. Mary-Sacred Heart sixthgraders Mikayla Bedard and Sydney Daniels put on their Spanish puppet show. Pairs of students had to create and act out an original puppet show using vocabulary learned in Spanish class.
arlier this week, the team of the 26th YES! Retreat met for the third time. As we gathered for this formation meeting, we came together in prayer and community. We shared with each other prior to continuing our planning for the upcoming retreat weekend in April. During the sharing and throughout the entire meeting, I looked around the library of St. John Neumann Church and could not help but be awestruck. Although the YES! Retreat occurs every year with 12 team members — five adults, five teens and two directors — I am amazed every year. Sometimes we may take for granted those who sacrifice not only a weekend to enrich the faith lives of our young people, but the countless hours of formation and preparation that the candidates never witness. In my nearly four years as diocesan director, I shake my head in awe and inspiration. As I look
I say YES Lord
at these extraordinary young and directing retreats with some and young-at-heart people who pretty amazing youth and adults. cannot wait to share their faith Who knew? Well, God did. with a new group of high school Throughout the formation of candidates, I recall my own high the YES! 26 team, it is apparschool years. ent how the Holy Spirit touched I have expressed in past articles that I blossomed into my Catholic faith a little late. Yes, I was baptized as an infant but I did not have a faith life or even a minute By Crystal Medeiros understanding of God’s overwhelming love for us. I was one of the teens who asked my friends “Why the lives of everyone in their on earth do you want to waste a individual retreat experiences. weekend by going on a retreat?” While it is fascinating to hear Boy, did God have a sense of the stories and faith journeys of humor or what? But I could the adult team members, I am not, actually would not, grasp always more impressed with what a retreat experience meant. the stories of the young people. I could not comprehend its I am often moved to tears as transformative power. Who am these young people discuss I kidding? I did not even know their faith life prior to attending what “transformative power” a retreat versus their faith life meant at that time. Yet here I after completing one. Many of am, 20 years later, organizing their pre-retreat faith lives echo
Be Not Afraid
Named to President’s Honor Roll Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Each year, nearly 1,400 Stonehill students participate in community service outreach. In 2008-09, more than 600 students participated in service through Into the Streets, contributing more than 13,000 hours to the community. ITS is Stonehill’s largest student-run organization and in May, it received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Eastern Children’s Museum. The Campus Ministry Alternative Spring Break Program, HOPE, is another popular service outreach program where students complete a week of service during spring break. In the coming weeks students will be traveling to New Orleans and Orlando, Tennessee, New York, California, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru. In the fall, Stonehill launched its office of Community-Based Learning, which focuses on developing campus and community capacity for partnerships that simultaneously enhance student learning and address community needs. The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than 5,000,000 Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.
my teen years. I find myself wondering, “What would have happened if I had that experience while in high school?” or “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me or invite me to a retreat?” Then I’m reminded that those high school experiences simply were not in God’s plans for me. If I did have those experiences, there is a good possibility that I would not be where I am today — sharing my faith with the entire Diocese of Fall River. My journey of faith is just that, my journey of faith. But in order for me truly to experience and understand that journey of faith, I had to say “yes” to God. I had to allow myself to be open so that the Holy Spirit could do what he does best — ignite the fire of faith in my heart. Saying “yes” to God is not an easy task. It’s not something you can say “yes” to and then all
Stonehill College receives national recognition for community service WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the fourth straight year, Stonehill College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. “Congratulations to Stonehill and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.” Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the
March 12, 2010
warm and fuzzies — A kindergarten student at St. Joseph School in Fairhaven spent many hours of her spare time with the help of her mother making little blankets she calls “taggies” for the children of Haiti. They handmade more than 100 for the children of Haiti, so they would have something cozy of their own to hold onto and help them feel safe.
of a sudden change your mind, for saying “yes” automatically plants that mustard seed in your heart. Once planted, that mustard seed will either grow and flourish or it will simply remain dormant waiting for someone else to help fertilize and nourish it. There are a lot of people who can help that mustard seed take root. They can be family members, friends, teachers, priests, youth ministers and parish communities and so many more. I am privileged to serve with 11 such people on this year’s YES! weekend. I hope and pray that youth throughout our diocese continue to say “yes” to God. In the meantime, to the team of YES! 26 and the potential candidates for the weekend, thank you for saying “Yes, Lord.” Crystal is assistant director for Youth & Young Adult Ministry for the diocese. She can be contacted at cmedeiros@dfrcec. com.
Making cents ... For haiti — First-grade students at St. John the Evangelist School in Attleboro gladly gave the 25 cents for their snack at lunch to contribute to the Haiti fund at the school. A total of $2,000 was sent to Passionist Priest Father Rick Frechette, C.P. in Port-au-Prince, who runs a children’s hospital there destroyed in the quake. He was featured on “NBC Nightly News” with Brian Williams. Many doctors have volunteered their time to assist Father Frechette after his plea for help. Shown are the first-grade students with their quarters with Principal Sister Mary Jane Holden. First row from left: Emma Blazejewski, Alec Eaton, Erinn D’Angelo, and Tatiana Troy. Second row: Seamus Sutula, Emily Billard, Abigail Smith, and Lauren Bessette. Third row: Brian Moore, Eric Nelson, Shea O’Brien, William Runey, Katelyn Pencarski, and Sofia DelVecchio.
Children with married parents less likely to be abused continued from page one
conclusion that a child is better off being raised by his or her mom and dad. “Children living with their married biological parents had the lowest rate of abuse and neglect in all categories,” the report said. “The rate differs significantly from the rates for all other family structure and living arrangement circumstances.” On the other end of the spectrum, children living with a parent and the parent’s live-in partner were eight times more likely to suffer maltreatment. The statistics for maltreatment overall found that children living with their married biological parents had less than a one percent chance of abuse and neglect. That number rose to a more than two
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percent chance for children living with non-biological married parents and those living with two unmarried parents. It increased to about three percent for children living with a single parent or no parent. And nearly six percent of children living with a parent and that parent’s partner were at risk. The study also compared the change between the most recent data and the statistics from 1993. Two-parent homes saw a 40 percent decrease while single parent homes saw a 30 percent increase in maltreatment incidents. Stanton said, “This data shows that the divide between these family types, the gap there — abuse and neglect-wise — is widening.” He added that the number of
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abuse cases “tragically” seems to be on the rise in the homes of non-married parents, which should be an alarm bell for communities. In an email to supporters on January 29, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage Brian Brown said the statistics show that a mother and father are special and that married parents are the ideal. “All children are gifts from God and deserve our respect. All parents working hard to raise good kids also deserve our respect and help,” he wrote. Modern attempts to redefine marriage fail to recognize the benefit of protecting an institution that best protects children. The idea that same-sex unions are the same as marriage is a “man-made fantasy,” he added. Dr. Angela Franks — a mother of four who with her husband David serves as coordinator for The Future Depends on Love, the marriage initiative launched by the four bishops of Massachusetts in 2007 — said the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts had to define marriage as simply a publicly recognized relationship in order to legalize same-sex marriage. The court wrote in the 2003 Goodridge decision, “It is the exclusive and permanent commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the begetting of children, that is the sine qua non of civil marriage.” The ruling dismissed the idea that “confining marriage to opposite-sex couples” ensures that children are raised in the “optimal setting.” “Protecting the welfare of children is a paramount State policy. Restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, however, cannot plausibly further this policy,” the court stated. “The ‘best interests of the child’ standard does not turn on a parent’s sexual orientation or marital status.” Franks countered, “All the major studies indicate that mar-
March 12, 2010 riage benefits husbands, wives and the children.” Many societal problems are prevented by stable marriages. Married parents are better off financially. In flourishing families, children are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, enter into negative relationships and drop out of school, she added. She noted that Pope Benedict XVI on the World Day of Peace in 2008 said that the family, the foundation of society, is “the first and indispensable teacher of peace” and that the human community cannot do without the service provided by the family. “Everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of
its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children, constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace,” he said. A family lives in peace when its members come together with a common goal that prevents selfishness, he added. Franks said marriage changes the people who are in the relationship and makes them give of themselves. Marriage is not merely a personal matter because it affects the larger community. “Marriage impels the people in the relationship to become more mature,” she said. “The self-gift that marriage demands is good for us and for society.”
CCT participates at Stonehill lecture continued from page 13
factory investment. Economists compare this to “shooting fish in a barrel.” Outreach Director Adrian Ventura summarized the series of workers’ rights trainings that have taken place in New Bedford since the federal incursion at the Michael Bianco factory of March 2007. These trainings served as the stepping stones for the formation of CCT, which now counts 75 members placed at 12 local employers of concern. He briefly noted the center’s advocacy in several recent civil settlements and ongoing cases under the investigation of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth. The presentation concluded with comments from Diego Low of the MetroWest Workers’ Center. While much of the outreach and training consists of education on minimum wage, overtime, and safety laws, a significant catalyst to prompting worker participation in the movement is based in reflections on human rights, the dignity of the person, and theories of justice. The tipping point is often when a worker realizes that the theoretical has become truly personal. Low has trained and advocated for
immigrant workers in New Bedford for several years, long before he and Greater Boston Legal Services attorneys won a settlement of $850,000 in back wages on behalf of more than 500 Bianco workers in November 2008. An animated discussion ensued, showing that the service learning students had taken the leaders’ issues to heart. Several made immediate connections to student efforts to keep sweatshop-produced garments out of their bookstores and to follow distribution chains of food served on campus according to just wage and other criteria. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development stands in the strong history of the Church over the past century supporting community and labor organizing along with economic justice. The CCHD takes strength from a memorable quote of Pope Paul VI: “If you want peace, work for justice.” These remarkable leaders representing the workers’ centers of southern New England presented their struggles, faith, and values for a group of equally committed undergraduates in compelling fashion.
March 12, 2010
No greater love: Speakers say celibacy mirrors Jesus’ love for all VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Exceptions to celibacy for priests in the Roman Catholic Church can be puzzling, including for young priests enthusiastic about their vocation. The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, run by Opus Dei in Rome, held a theological conference on priestly celibacy March 4-5 and while no one challenged mandatory celibacy, there were repeated questions about the exceptions made in some of the Eastern Catholic churches and for clergy coming from the Anglican Communion. “If celibacy is so tied theologically and spiritually to priestly identity, why the exceptions?” the questioners asked. Speakers at the conference, attended mostly by priests and seminarians, acknowledged the confusion caused by the exceptions and by the frequent statement that celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma, and so conceivably could change. “In the eyes of many, the church hierarchy and especially the Apostolic See seem to hold contradictory positions on priestly celibacy,” said Father Laurent Touze, a professor of spiritual theology and author of a book on the future of priestly celibacy. “On the one hand, there is a firm insistence on the non-negotiability of celibacy,” he said, while at the same time there are granted “exceptions to celibacy,” including Pope Benedict XVI’s provisions in late 2009 for ordaining as Catholic priests married former Anglican ministers. Many people think, “If these exceptions are possible, why not abolish a frequently contested discipline and at least make it
In Your Prayers Please pray for these priests during the coming weeks March 16 Rev. Francis J. Maloney. S.T.L., Pastor, St. Mary, North Attleboro, 1957 Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, C.S.C., 2006 March 17 Rev. Henry R. Creighton, SS.CC., Damien Residence, 2004 Permanent Deacon Michael F. Murray, St. Pius X, South Yarmouth, 2008 March 18 Rev. Robert D. Forand, C.P., West Hartford, Conn., 1989 March 19 Rev. John J. McQuaide, Assistant, St. Mary, Taunton, 1905 March 20 Rev. Francis A. Mrozinski, Pastor, St. Hedwig, New Bedford, 1951 March 21 Rev. William Mitchell, SS.CC., Missionary, 2009
optional,” Father Touze said. For Father Touze, the answer lies in the spiritual and theological meaning of priesthood. Priests are called by God to imitate Christ, the bridegroom, by dedicating themselves totally to God and to serving his people, he said. And they are called to stand in Christ’s place at the Eucharist, pouring themselves out for the salvation of others, he said. The conference also looked at another factor that often creates confusion regarding celibacy: the debate over the practice of the early Church and the wide-
spread assumption that celibacy for priests was a fourth-century invention of the Church. Father Stefan Heid, a professor at Rome’s Pontifical Institute of Sacred Archeology and author of “Celibacy,” a historical study, said Pope Siricius was insisting on a practice embraced by the Twelve Apostles and followed in the early Church when he decreed in 385 that all clergy must live lives of perfect chastity. “Popes do not invent anything,” Father Heid said. “Siricius would have been made to look ridiculous suddenly imposing on thousands of clergy something that hadn’t
Eucharistic Adoration in the Diocese
existed up to then.” Instead, the priest said his research led him to believe the pope’s decree was a formal reaffirmation of Church practice at a time when it was coming under attack. Father Heid said that like the apostles, married men who became priests in the early church lived completely chaste lives after ordination. He described those who have tried to suggest
Jesus himself was married, perhaps to Mary Magdalene, as romance novelists masquerading as biblical scholars. Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes and former secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said Jesus’ perfect chastity touches “the most intimate and sacred nucleus of his human existence: his love.”
Around the Diocese 3/14
The next meeting for separated and divorced Catholics will be Sunday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Christ the King Parish Center, Mashpee Commons, Mashpee. Msgr. Daniel Hoye will speak on “Annulments.” No registration is necessary. For more information, contact Mary Ann at email@example.com.
Acushnet — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Francis Xavier Parish on Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Fridays 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays end with Evening Prayer and Benediction at 6:30 p.m.; Saturdays end with Benediction at 2:45 p.m.
St. Julie Billiart Parish, 494 Slocum Road, North Dartmouth will present Jim Carlini speaking on “The Conflict Between Faith and Science: Myth or Reality?” Sunday at 7 p.m. in the parish center. All are welcome to attend and a Q&A session will follow. For more information call 508-993-2351, extension 109, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATTLEBORO — St. Joseph Church holds perpetual eucharistic adoration in the Adoration Chapel located at the (south) side entrance at 208 South Main Street. For open hours, or to sign up, call Liesse at 401-864-8539.
Brewster — Eucharistic adoration takes place in the La Salette Chapel in the lower level of Our Lady of the Cape Church, 468 Stony Brook Road, on First Fridays following the 11 a.m. Mass until 7:45 a.m. on the First Saturday of the month, concluding with Benediction and Mass. Buzzards Bay — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Margaret Church, 141 Main Street, every first Friday after the 8 a.m. Mass and ending the following day before the 8 a.m. Mass. EAST TAUNTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place First Fridays at Holy Family Church, 370 Middleboro Avenue, following the 8:30 a.m. Mass until Benediction at 8 p.m. FAIRHAVEN — St. Mary’s Church, Main St., has a First Friday Mass each month at 7 p.m., followed by a Holy Hour with eucharistic adoration. Refreshments follow. FALL RIVER — St. Anthony of the Desert Church, 300 North Eastern Avenue, has eucharistic adoration Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on the first Sunday of the month from noon to 4 p.m. HYANNIS — A Holy Hour with eucharistic adoration will take place each First Friday at St. Francis Xavier Church, 21 Cross Street, beginning at 4 p.m. MASHPEE — Christ the King Parish, Route 151 and Job’s Fishing Road has 8:30 a.m. Mass every First Friday with special intentions for Respect Life, followed by 24 hours of eucharistic adoration in the Chapel, concluding with Benediction Saturday morning followed immediately by an 8:30 Mass. NEW BEDFORD — Eucharistic adoration takes place 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 233 County Street, with night prayer and Benediction at 8:45 p.m., and confessions offered during the evening. NEW BEDFORD — There is a daily holy hour from 5:15-6:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue. It includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Hours, recitation of the rosary, and the opportunity for confession. SEEKONK — Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish has eucharistic adoration seven days a week, 24 hours a day in the chapel at 984 Taunton Avenue. For information call 508336-5549. NORTH DIGHTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place every First Friday at St. Nicholas of Myra Church, 499 Spring Street following the 8 a.m. Mass, ending with Benediction at 6 p.m. The rosary is recited Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 8 a.m. OSTERVILLE — Eucharistic adoration takes place at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 76 Wianno Avenue on First Fridays following the 8 a.m. Mass until Benediction at 5 p.m. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed at 4:45 p.m.; on the third Friday of the month from 1 p.m. to Benediction at 5 p.m.; and for the Year For Priests, the second Thursday of the month from 1 p.m. to Benediction at 5 p.m. Taunton — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place every First Friday at Annunciation of the Lord Church, 31 First Street, immediately following the 8 a.m. Mass and continues throughout the day. Confessions are heard from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., concluding with recitation of the rosary and Benediction at 6:30 p.m. Taunton — Eucharistic adoration takes place every Tuesday at St. Anthony Church, 126 School Street, following the 8 a.m. Mass with prayers including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for vocations, concluding at 6 p.m. with Chaplet of St. Anthony and Benediction. Recitation of the rosary for peace is prayed Monday through Saturday at 7:30 a.m. prior to the 8 a.m. Mass. WEST HARWICH — Our Lady of Life Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Holy Trinity Parish, 246 Main Street, holds perpetual eucharistic adoration. For open hours, or to sign up call 508-430-4716. WOODS HOLE — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Joseph’s Church, 33 Millfield Street, year-round on weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No adoration on Sundays, Wednesdays, and holidays. For information call 508-274-5435.
The Daughters of Isabella will meet March 16 at Holy Name of the Sacred Heart Parish, New Bedford, at 6:30 p.m. The members will attend a Lenten presentation by their chaplain and a business meeting will follow in the church hall. For more information, call 508-567-3288.
The Cape and Islands Prayer Group Deanery will host a Day of Recollection on March 18 at the Sacred Hearts Retreat Center, Wareham. Father Stan Kolasa, SS.CC., will present “Rejoice Always, Pray Without Ceasing.” The day will begin at 8:45 a.m. with registration and coffee, followed by presentations, confessions, lunch, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and ending with Mass at 3 p.m.
A Year For Priests prayer service for the priests of the Fall River Deanery will take place March 18 at 7 p.m. at St. Louis de France Church, 56 Buffington Street, Swansea. The evening, sponsored by the District I Diocesan Council of Catholic Women is open to all.
A Portuguese retreat will be held March 19-21 at La Salette Shrine, 947 Park Street, Attleboro. To register in English, call 508-222-8530. To register in Portuguese, call Sister Judith Costa at 508-345-2660.
Bishop Connolly High School, 373 Elsbree Street, Fall River, will host a Red Carpet Gala Dinner Dance and Fund-raiser March 20 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Cultural Center, 205 South Main Street, Fall River. The event will include fine food, music, dancing and an auction, with all proceeds to benefit the students of Bishop Connolly High School. For tickets or information, call 508-676-1071.
Russ Breault, president and founder of the Shroud of Turin Education Project, Inc., will present “The Shroud of Turin Mystery Tour” on March 20 beginning at 5:15 p.m. at the Corpus Christi Parish Center, 324 Quaker Meetinghouse Road, East Sandwich. This 90-minute big-screen experience using more than 150 images covering many aspects of the Shroud’s history is free and open to the public.
A “Poor Man’s Lunch” followed by a Lenten program concerning St. Clare’s House, a residence for women transitioning from prison to the outside world, will be held March 23 at 11:30 a.m. at Christ the King Parish, The Commons, Mashpee. Please RSVP by calling 508-539-4926 or 508-477-8417 so the number of lunches may be estimated.
March 12, 2010