Finance officer named
5 November 8, 2012
Newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
The Catholic Spirit News with a Catholic heart
Teen singer to release CD
Ascension School mourns loss of ‘shining star’ By Dave Hrbacek The Catholic Spirit
Ascension School principal Dorwatha Woods took a few moments Nov. 2, the Feast of All Souls, to read from the religion class journal of one of her students, eighth-grader Peter Wilson. A collective gasp rose up from the students and teachers who filled Ascension church WILSON when she recited these words of Peter’s aloud: “I’m praying for my soul.” On this day, they were praying for his. Just four days earlier, at around 4:30 a.m., the 13-year-old died at the hands of an assailant who also killed his grandmother, Beatrice Wilson, 57. Police have arrested her 22-year-old son, Ishmael Roberts, who fled to Iowa in her car before rolling it over and trying to run from the scene, according to a report in the StarTribune. He has been charged with two counts of intentional second-degree murder. With very few details of the crime to ponder, Woods is left to think about the first time in her 26 years as principal that one of her students has died from vioPLEASE TURN TO SCHOOL ON PAGE 7
The Sober Truth
Tim Murray stands outside of Trinity Sober Homes’ St. Michael Home in St. Paul, which houses 12 men over 40 who struggle with alcoholism. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit
Alcoholic opens home in St. Paul to help others like him The Catholic Spirit is running an occasional series focused on the works of mercy. This week, we highlight comforting the afflicted, a spiritual work of mercy.
What will it take?
Getting a ‘God shot’
The answer came on the morning of Aug. 6, 2009 when he landed in the Ramsey County detox center for the umpteenth The Catholic Spirit time. He opened his eyes in an unfamiliar place — an actual bed — and could reach out and touch someone on each side without On a hot July night in 2009, a sleek Audi A8 is parked at a bar getting up. on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue. It’s well beyond last call, but He landed there by getting drunk at a bar and stumbling and the car will remain there until dawn. rolling down the steep and famous Grand Avenue hill just Happens all the time. Revelers have too much to off of Summit Avenue near the Cathedral of St Paul. drink, call a cab from the bar to take them home, Then, in a fortuitous turn of events he calls a “God then come the next day after they’re sober to reshot,” he stopped rolling down the hill right in trieve their vehicle. Works of front of a sober house. Two of the men living there This scene is different. The inebriated bar patron easily recognized his drunken state and hauled chooses to sleep off his drunkeness inside the car him to detox. overnight. He has the men — whom he was never able to find He has no other choice. The disease of alcoholism has later — to thank for where he is today. He left detox three claimed his house, his marriage and most of the relationships days later a changed man, and he now is dedicating the rest of with people who could take him home. his life to helping other men battle alcoholism. He founded The next morning, without showering or cleaning up, he drags Trinity Sober Homes in St. Paul on Jan. 1 of this year, and he is himself into work, hoping the employees won’t notice his condidirecting all of his boundless energy and ambition into helping tion. men overcome the drinking demon in their lives. But he realizes that’s not likely. His name is Tim Murray. And, he’s an alcoholic. He’s their CEO. Still, despite doing this night after night for almost two months, ‘I give up’ he has yet to hit rock bottom. Three failed marriages doesn’t do Though his past has hurt Murray and those around him, it it. Losing his house doesn’t do it. Nearly killing someone when does not define him. Thanks to some timely help along the way he rammed the person’s car doing 125 miles per hour doesn’t do PLEASE TURN TO PRIEST ON PAGE 4 it. By Dave Hrbacek
NOVEMBER 8, 2012 • THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Charity in action
That They May All Be One Archbishop John C. Nienstedt
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development complements the Church’s many charitable programs in seeking to meet the needs of the poor
This year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection will be taken up on the weekend of Nov. 16-17. Despite the letters and reports I get questioning the Catholic integrity of the campaign’s work, I fully support the CCHD and its mission. I have personally looked into the complaints I have received, as has the bishops’ committee that oversees the CCHD. I have found that in the few cases where grantees have engaged in a partisan political agenda or been involved in activities contrary to Church teaching, steps have quickly been taken to distance the campaign from those efforts.
Great need The CCHD is an institution of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It supports initiatives through mediating structures (i.e., not necessarily Catholic institutions) to bring into the public square essential elements of Catholic social justice teaching, such as the support for human life and dignity, participation and priority for the poor, subsidiarity and solidarity. CCHD assesses every potential grantee for the quality of its work as well as the requirement that its actions do not conflict with Catholic teaching. No grant is awarded without the local bishop’s
The Catholic Spirit
“Just visit the Dorothy Day Center some evening, as I have, and you will witness the plight we face.” ARCHBISHOP JOHN NIENSTEDT
signature. I can assure you that when I receive the annual list of recommended grants, I have my staff vet them thoroughly. The fact of the matter is that CCHD has, over the years, done a tremendous amount of good: This is charity in action. Today, members of our local communities are suffering from poverty in overwhelming numbers. Just visit the Dorothy Day Center some evening, as I have, and you will witness the plight we face. According to the latest Census Bureau information, 1 in 10 Minnesotans lives in poverty due in large measure to the continuing recession that has left so many out of work. In total numbers, more Americans fall below the poverty line than at any time since 1959 when the Census began tracking such numbers. And, worst of all, 1 in 6 Minnesota children today are living in poverty. Overnight shelters and food shelves simply cannot keep
up with the demand. More of a response is definitely needed to create systematic change. CCHD funds are used to support local, self-help, anti-poverty organizations here and across the country in an effort to break the cycle of poverty. Nearly all the funds collected are used for this purpose. The work of CCHD, then, complements the Catholic Church’s many charitable programs in seeking to meet the needs of the poor. And I assure you that these organizations are screened to ensure that they do not engage in activities that contradict Church teaching. A year ago, our nation’s bishops strongly endorsed a “Review and Renewal” that emphasized the centrality of Catholic identity in the work of CCHD. Its mission is to support the common good and to respond to the real needs of our neighbor. All in all, I ask you to support the CCHD collection on Nov. 16-17. God bless you!
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His Excellency, the Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, has announced the following appointments in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Effective October 15, 2012 ■ Reverend William Murtaugh, appointed Dean of Deanery 15 and a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. This appointment will continue until December 31, 2014. ■ Reverend James Liekhus, appointed Moderator of the Region I Regional Catholic School. This appointment is for a three-year term. ■ Reverend David Ostrowski, appointed Chaplain of the Region I Regional Catholic School. This appointment is for a three-year term. Effective October 18, 2012 ■ Reverend Monsignor Thomas Anamooh, granted the faculties of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis for the duration of his sabbatical at the Saint Paul Seminary. Effective January 1, 2013 ■ Reverend Michael Sullivan, appointed Dean of Deanery 9 and a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. This appointment will continue until December 31, 2015. ■ Reverend Mark Pavlik, appointed Dean of Deanery 13 and a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. This appointment will continue until December 31, 2015. ■ Reverend David Blume, appointed Dean of Deanery 12 and a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. This appointment will continue until December 31, 2015. ■ Reverend Paul Treacy, appointed Dean of Deanery 14 and a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. This appointment will continue until December 31, 2015.
Annual Mass to celebrate adoption set for Nov. 17 The eighth Annual Archdiocesan Mass in Celebration of Adoption will be held at 4 p.m., Nov. 17 at St. Peter Claver, 375 Oxford St., N., in St. Paul. Parents, birth parents, grandparents, children, other family members and friends who have been touched by adoption are welcome. The Mass is sponsored by the archdiocesan Office for Marriage, Family and Life. For more information or to volunteer, please call (651) 291-4488.
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“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward
Local NOVEMBER 8, 2012
News from around the archdiocese
Former St. Peter Claver School principal remembered for strong faith, leadership By Dave Hrbacek The Catholic Spirit
St. Peter Claver School in St. Paul is a thriving place for its K-8 students. Much of the credit goes to Teresa Mardenborough, who became principal in 2002 and remained in that post until her retirement in 2009. Perhaps fittingly, Mardenborough died on Oct. 31, exactly 58 years after the original founder of the school, Father Jerome Luger, died. He founded the school in 1950, and it stayed opened until 1989. It reopened in 2001, with Mardenborough on the committee that decided to make that move. Mardenborough, who was 73, died after a year-and-a-half battle MARDENBOROUGH with breast cancer. “She was a very, very fine, disciplined educator, reputed for her success, especially with educating young people of color,” said Father Kevin McDonough, pastor of St. Peter Claver parish who coaxed Mardenborough out of retirement to be the principal. “She also had a very clear faith vision of Catholic education.” Mardenborough also was a member of the parish for 44 years, singing in the Gospel Choir, working on the Liturgy Committee and also serving with the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Peter Claver, an AfricanAmerican lay organization in the U.S. and South America. A native of Cuba who moved to the U.S. in the early 1960s, she was a member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence for 10 years before being granted dispensation. She never married.
An inspiration to others Father McDonough noted that even after her retirement, she was a presence at the parish. And, her faith was unmistakable and inspirational. “I appreciate the absolute depth of her commitment to her Catholic faith — very proudly Catholic,” Father McDonough said. “I will miss the enthusiasm she had
for this parish and its spreading of the Gospel.” Cathy Cornell, who works in the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools, noted this spirituality in a letter she wrote to Catholic school principals and presidents. “Her unwavering faith was an inspiration to all who encountered her,” Cornell said. “If you asked Teresa how she was, she always replied, ‘I am blessed, truly blessed.’” One concrete way Mardenborough served the broader Catholic community was in helping Archbishop Harry Flynn write his pastoral letter on racism. Titled “In God’s Image,” it was released in September 2003. “She and Archbishop Flynn were personal friends,” Father McDonough said. “And, she helped him with some of the ideas for the letter. Archbishop Flynn always said, ‘She has the faith.’” Although Father McDonough only had her as principal for six years, he had her as a friend for nearly 25. That friendship made it easy to want to hire her as principal, and also easy to let her retire in 2009. “She was knocking on the door of [age] 70 and she said ‘I really want to do some fun things before I go home to God.’” he said. “So, I was sad, but I can’t say I was terribly sad because I think she had done exactly what she set out to do. She had exceeded expectations and she deserved the chance [to enjoy retirement] and I was very happy for her.”
Relying on prayer Father McDonough has a favorite anecdote about her, which he will share at her funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Nov. 17 at St. Peter Claver. He did note one of her practices at school that spoke to her faith and her attitude toward the students she led as principal. “She gathered the children every morning — the whole school — for morning prayer,” he said. “She always led the kids in three Hail Marys and then invoked Our Lady Queen of Peace. But then, she would remind students to say, ‘We remember that God has made us to be the best of the best of the best of the best — four times. So now, it’s time to return to school and — and the kids would say, ‘Work hard.’”
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Share your story about how you ‘rediscovered’ your Catholic faith In his recent pastoral letter on the “new evangelization” in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archbishop John Nienstedt said each Catholic should be prepared to share with others how Christ has impacted his or her life — how Jesus gives them “a reason for their hope,” as St. Peter wrote to his fellow believers. The archbishop’s call complements the archdiocese’s Rediscover initiative — to be unveiled during the Advent season — which invites fellow Catholics to rediscover a real and personal relationship with Jesus and re-engage in the full life of the Church. In light of this, The Catholic Spirit is inviting Catholics who have rediscovered the depth and beauty of our Catholic faith to share their stories. ■ Were you sleepwalking in your Catholic faith for a time? If so, what woke you up from your spiritual slumber to re-engage with it? Was there a trigger or perhaps a series of triggers over time? Was there a person who made a huge difference in your faith who challenged or encouraged you? What continues to nourish the fire of faith in your heart? ■ Are you a convert? Or were you away from the faith for a time? What happened that drew you to (or back to) Christ and his Church? ■ What did it mean to you to come back into full life in the Church? How has it changed you or affected those around you? Send your story — 300 words or less — to The Catholic Spirit: ■ By email to: CATHOLICSPIRIT@ARCHSPM.ORG. Write “Rediscover Faith Story” in the subject line; or ■ By postal mail to: “Rediscover Faith Story,” c/o The Catholic Spirit, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102. If you know someone whose story will truly inspire, please encourage them to submit their story as well. A selection of stories will be published in future issues of The Catholic Spirit and online at THECATHOLICSPIRIT. COM. Please include your name, parish and a daytime telephone number at which you can be reached if we have questions.
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THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT • NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Priest helps Catholic create faith-based sober home CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 from a priest, Father Martin Fleming, who has been helping people like him for more than three decades, he has managed to stay sober since that fateful stay in detox. In fact, his journey to sobriety began moments after he woke up and discovered he had, once again, landed in detox. Like all of the other times, he did not know how he got there. “Literally, I physically stood up and just leaned back with my head toward the sky and got on my knees and started crying and just said, ‘You know what? I give up.’” said Murray, 53, who spent his childhood first in Mound, then in Mahtomedi. “I felt like I did this trust fall into God’s hands, who caught me, and by the grace of God and the fellowship of the 12-step program, I haven’t had a desire to drink since Aug. 6 of 2009.” After leaving detox, he decided it was time to live in a sober house. His search revealed that there were many to choose from in St. Paul, where he lived for a time and where his mother Joan still lives. In fact, he calls St. Paul “Ground Zero” for sober homes, with nearly 50 in the city, which he says is more than any other city in the United States. He shopped around carefully, then picked one. After spending a year there, he decided it was time to live on his own.
Raising ‘Lazarus’ Enter, Father Fleming. The 85-year-old retired priest and U.S. Army colonel owns a cluster of four homes he calls Bethany Village, named after the New Testament town where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived. And, make no mistake, Father Fleming has raised many “Lazaruses” from the depths of alcoholism and other addictions and demons since he first bought the homes in 1977. He loves all who walk through the doors of Bethany Village but seems to have a special place in his heart for Murray, an energetic, affable and brutally honest Irishman. Back in 2009, Murray saw an ad for a place that offered good living quarters at a very low rent. He made a stop there, not realizing he was landing on the doorstep of Bethany Village. He walked in and introduced himself to Father Fleming. A friendship was born. “Since my first meeting with Father, he and I sort of hit it off,” Murray said. “Partly because, I think, Father is Irish and he can smell Irish blarney from a mile away. He called me on my Irish blarney from Day One. We had this little code between us, that [Father Fleming] says, ‘I’ll tell you what. I’ll leave my collar at the door if you leave your ego at the door. And, we’ll have a no-B.S. relationship.’ And, I said, ‘That’s a deal.’ “Father has a great affinity for alcoholics and part of it is he just loves the brutal honesty that comes along with being an alcoholic — the willingness to admit openly our faults. One of the promises that comes true in this program is that we neither regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. Or, as [the cartoon character] Popeye used to say, ‘I am who I am. And, that’s all I got.’” What Murray’s got these days is a powerful business skill set that quickly moved to get Trinity Sober Homes up and running within a year after first discussing the idea with Father Fleming. Though alcoholism got him fired from many jobs, including a handful as CEO of small companies, he never lost his sharp business sense.
A Catholic flavor The other savvy mind behind Trinity Sober Homes belongs to Father Fleming, who recognized the potential of the man he mentored at Bethany Village for almost two years. It was a no-brainer to place the challenge of starting a sober home in the hands of a man used to running companies. “He has learned from extensive experience and hard knocks,” Father Fleming said. “He’s a natural leader, and he’s kind of a pied piper. He gets in front of a crowd and whistles his tune and they fall in line. “He’s fun and he’s witty and he’s smart, and he was game [for the challenge] and he wanted to turn a new page in the chapter of his life. I just thought he would be a good guy to do it.” Yet, neither Father Fleming nor Murray wanted to add
Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit
Mike Gilligan is a Vietnam veteran who now lives at St. Michael House in St. Paul as part of his effort to remain sober. He moved to the Twin Cities from San Diego in February of this year. Read about his experiences at THECATHOLICSPIRIT.COM.
just another sober home to an already crowded market. They had a different idea in mind — a sober home rooted in a Catholic atmosphere. The Catholic flavor in this 5,150-square-foot, 26-room house in St. Paul is unmistakable, although it isn’t officially affiliated with or sponsored by the archdiocese. It is called St. Michael House — in reference to the archangel who defeated Satan in the war in heaven mentioned in the Book of Revelation — with a small plaque positioned right next to the front door. Then, there’s the small meditation room just past the living room, where Gregorian chant music can be heard throughout the day. Finally, there’s the large 6-foot by 9-foot crucifix on the wall of the stairway going upstairs. It was donated by Murray’s aunt, Sister Mary Lou Murray, a retired Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. But the Catholic influence goes beyond the visual. Mass is celebrated once a month, and spiritual coaching is available to all of the 12 men currently living there. The home serves men 40 and older who pay a monthly rent and provide volunteer service hours at the home. “We like being authentically and unapologetically Catholic,” Murray said. “We tell people there are pictures of Jesus. There’s a huge cross on the wall. You don’t have to believe any of this [Catholic doctrine], but you’re going to get exposed to it. “You do not need to be Catholic to live here. You do have to believe that there is a higher power and it’s not you, and you have to be open to being presented with the Catholic faith, the sacraments. We have Mass here on the last Sunday of every month. Mass is not required. I’m sneaky in that we offer a fabulous meal after the Mass. You have to go to the Mass to get the meal, but you don’t have to go to the Mass.” Judging by the fact that the house is filled to capacity with 12 men and currently has a waiting list, the Catholic part isn’t a problem for residents. One of them, Mike Gilligan, returned to his Catholic roots and now goes to Mass regularly at St. Peter Claver in St. Paul. “I started going [to Mass] again, which I hadn’t done for probably 30, 40 years,” said Gilligan, 66. “I usually
go there every Sunday. In fact, I told a few guys in here about it, so there are two or three of us who go over there at 8 o’clock every Sunday. . . . I enjoy going there and meeting some of the people.” Although Murray deliberately focuses on today, especially when it comes to sobriety, he also has a vision for the future of Trinity Sober Homes. “We believe that there is room for growth,” said Murray, who teaches part time at the University of St. Thomas at the Opus College of Business and also does consulting work for small businesses. “We believe that we should expand. The challenge is, we need money. The future right now for me is really to use these gifts that I have been blessed with, which is to go raise more money. . . . God will touch the hearts of the right people who have the resources, who believe in what we’re doing and would step forward and say, ‘I would love to help you. How can I help?’”
Depending on God It’s all part of a simple mission and a simple life that Murray now leads. At times, he still dresses like an executive. But he now clearly understands one thing, and it is something he reminds himself of every morning when he walks into the Cathedral for Mass, a Mass he almost never misses: Without God, he is nothing. It is a truth he has in common with fellow alcoholics in recovery. “We are absolutely dependent upon God every single day to maintain our sobriety,” he said. “Everyone else on the planet has an option, but we have an air hose. We’re underwater and our air hose is connected to an oxygen supply called God. And, if we don’t activate that air hose, we’ll die. For me, to drink is to die, either a short-term or more likely a long-term, painful death. So, I don’t have an option. I need to get on my knees every morning and say to my innermost self that I am an alcoholic and I need you, God, to get me through this day.” With that message firmly planted in his head as he walks out the door of the cathedral, he merely plows ahead “just waiting for the next person that God sends my way to help.”
NOVEMBER 8, 2012 • THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Preparations for new regional school moving ahead in Hopkins, Minnetonka
Archdiocese names new chief financial officer
By Joe Towalski
The Catholic Spirit
Therese in Deephaven, St. John the Baptist in Excelsior The Catholic Spirit and Our Lady of the Lake in Mound. The group — which included the pastors and other Preparations for a new regional Catholic school are parish and school representatives — met regularly to talk under way in the western metro area, where the first about demographic and financial trends at the parishes open house for the yet-to-be-named school was set for and schools, Father Liekhus said, and it received input Nov. 8 and a principal search has begun. from the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools, St. John’s Catholic School in Hopkins and Immaculate Catholic Finance Corporation and the Teamworks conHeart of Mary Catholic School in Minnetonka will be- sulting firm. come the new regional school in fall 2013. The preAfter further discussions with the schools office and kindergarten through grade 8 school will be housed in the archdiocese, the St. John’s and IHM schools decided the current IHM school building, said Father James to move ahead with the regional school, he said. Liekhus, pastor of St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph Seven steering committees currently are meeting to faparishes in Hopkins. cilitate the transition: advancement, co-curriculars, exThe building, which was remodeled with added class- tended day, climate for learning and facilities — all of room space in 2004, can best accommodate the current which include school parents — as well as administration enrollments of both schools — 108 preK-6 students at and academic excellence, which have school staff as St. John’s and 200 preK-8 students members. at IHM, said Father Liekhus, who “We have invited all families to will serve as moderator of the new participate in informational meetschool. Father David Ostrowski, ings and we also invited all interThe great thing pastor of the IHM parish, will ested parents, faculty and parishabout the Catholic serve as chaplain. ioners of St. John’s, St. Joseph’s As moderator, Father Liekhus and IHM to volunteer their time Church is that we’re will be the liaison between the and talents at the committee school’s governing board of direcnot a fend-forlevel,” said Pihart, co-chair of the tors and its principal. An advisory advancement committee. “We yourself institution. council comprised of members have also included families, stufrom both the Minnetonka and dents and faculty in the school We can work Hopkins parishes also will serve naming process.” together when we the school. Parishioners and family members were invited to nominate “By forming the regional need to. names for the new school, and an school, one goal is to pool readvisory council selected five fisources together and provide the FATHER JAMES LIEKHUS nalists. On Nov. 6, students and best learning environment for our Moderator of the new regional school staff at both schools were set to students within our community vote on the names; the top voteof Catholic parishes,” said Mark getter will be forwarded to the new Pihart, the father of three children currently attending St. John’s School, where he serves school’s board of directors for review, with a final recommendation to be sent to the archbishop. The new school on its School Advisory Council. The decision to form the new school was prompted by name is expected to be announced by mid-December. Transportation is also an important issue for the school changing demographics, including a declining number of school-aged children in the area that has contributed community, said Father Liekhus, who hopes to minimize to declining enrollments at St. John’s and IHM, Father the impact on students currently attending St. John’s by Liekhus said. There also is increasing competition from having a bus pick them up at the school to take them the four miles to the campus in Minnetonka. The new local charter schools. The process leading to the decision also was consistent school also must set a tuition structure, he said, and tuwith the archdiocese’s 2010 strategic plan, which calls ition assistance will continue to be made available. The schools’ current staff will be invited to reapply for for more collaboration and efficient use of resources positions at the new school, he said. among parishes and schools, he said. “The great thing about the Catholic Church is that History of collaboration we’re not a fend-for-yourself institution. We can work This isn’t the first time the parishes of St. John the together when we need to,” Father Liekhus said. In this Evangelist, St. Joseph and Immaculate Heart of Mary case, he added, “a regional school was the way to go.” have collaborated on Catholic education. From 1980 to 2004, they sponsored John Ireland School, which had Moving ahead The discussions leading to the regional school began campuses at all three locations. The school deconsolidated amid disagreements about more than a year ago with the formation of a task force moving to a single campus. St. John’s and IHM subsethat included members of St. John the Evangelist (into quently established separate grade schools, while the which St. Joseph in Hopkins will merge on Jan. 1) and
IHM as well as three other parishes with schools: St.
PLEASE TURN TO PLANS ON PAGE 19
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By Dianne Towalski Tom Mertens of Medina has been named the new chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Mertens will succeed John Bierbaum, who has served as CFO since 2005 and is retiring, the archdiocese announced. “I felt it would be a great opportunity to work for an institution like the Catholic Church and all the good that the Church does within the community,” said Mertens, who will start in his new position Dec. 3. He brings 22 years of experience in the areas of finance, financial management, financial and management reporting, operational efficiencies and cost control. He currently serves as chief financial officer and controller at Macquarie AIR-serv Holding, Inc., in MenMERTENS dota Heights. As archdiocesan CFO, Mertens will oversee the finance department but also will be engaged in helping parishes and schools with their financial goals and objectives, he said. “I am delighted that Tom is joining our leadership team at the archdiocese,” said Archbishop John Nienstedt. “Tom’s immediate focus will be to help lead us to the next level of financial accountability and implementation of best practices in operations,” he said. Mertens was selected after an extensive search that involved Chancery leadership and members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, which is made up of both clergy and laity with expertise in finance and operations management.
Lifelong Catholic An avid outdoorsman, Mertens was born in Prior Lake and grew up in Grinnell, Iowa. He said he enjoys running, golf, tennis, snow skiing, hunting and fishing in addition to spending time with family. Mertens attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, graduating in 1987 with a degree in accounting. He earned his CPA in 1989. “I appreciate Tom’s wealth of experience and demonstrated skill in finance and operations,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “And as a lifelong Catholic, Tom brings to this work a great love for the Church as well as a solid understanding of parish life.” Mertens and his wife Paula live in Medina with their two children and are members of St. Anne in Hamel.
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT • NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Teen blends faith, music in perfect harmony on debut CD By Kristi Anderson For The Catholic Spirit
Jack Cassidy just can’t keep from singing. At 2 years old, he was wooing audiences with his vocal talent. Now at 14, he has released his debut CD, “Be Still my Soul,” which will be launched Nov. 11 with a live concert at his parish, St. Vincent de Paul in Brooklyn Park.
Starting with Dr. Seuss In fourth grade, Cassidy landed the role of JoJo in Maple Grove Senior High School’s production of “Seussical the Musical.” “The show won many awards and we performed downtown at the Orpheum in front of a full house at the Spotlight Awards,” said Cassidy. “Singing a duet from the play, I was both excited and nervous.” That role eased his nerves and propelled him toward a starring role in “Oliver” for two different community theaters, and several other title parts. Cassidy, the fifth of six boys, also participates as a cantor and soloist and sings regularly at his parish with parents, Joe and Krista, and younger brother, Connor, 7. “My faith has played a very large role in my musical success,” he said. “It gives me the thought of giving without expecting in return. God wants us to carry out his words and I can do that by singing.” Jacquie Okoh, musical director at
Jack Cassidy is pictured on the cover of his new CD.
St. Vincent, has worked with Cassidy since he was 9. “Jack has a deep sense of spirituality that is rare in such a young man,” she said. “His voice reaches out to everybody’s spirit.”
Variety of influences The influences on Cassidy’s music — and life — are diverse. “Teddy Roosevelt is an inspiration because of what he overcame as a child and his many accomplishments as a great leader,” he explained. “Also, Stevie Wonder has been sharing his gift of music since he was very young. He didn’t let his blindness hold him back.” Cassidy is also motivated by his family with musical roots originating as far back as Cassidy’s late grandfather, Jim Cassidy, who performed
in variety shows and other events from the 1950s to the 1970s, as well as the Cassidy Brothers, a local musical group comprised of Jack’s father and uncles. “I am inspired by all the Cassidy family Christmas concerts as well as St. Patrick’s Day concerts,” said Cassidy, “Especially Grandpa Jim. Anything he would sing was inspiring to me — I loved his voice. “I also love hearing my uncles and aunts singing four-part Christmas songs, my uncles and dad singing Gaither vocal music in close harmony and all of my brothers and cousins singing together. I especially loved my mom and dad singing, ‘The Prayer,’” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. Topping the list, Cassidy credits God for his gifts in both life and music. “Everybody has a gift and this is mine,” he said. “It feels as if it is meant to be because of how natural it feels to sing. The thought that my singing makes others feel good is humbling.”
His music Cassidy’s parents felt that now was a good time for Jack to release his CD, which consists of both sacred and secular music. “At his current age, Jack’s voice will soon be changing,” said Joe Cassidy, “and it is now at a unique phase. He
is thanked often for his gift.” “A few of the songs have been sung by Jack at teens’ funerals,” he said. “Many families were moved and comforted. Other songs on the CD seem to fit his soothing timbre.” Besides Cassidy’s vocals, the CD features instrumentalists, including Jeanne Arland Peterson, Mary Beth Carlson, Brian Brink, Steve C. Anderson and Cory Wong. Proceeds from the CD’s sale will go toward college savings for Jack as well as for additional recordings. A percentage will also go to St. Vincent.
Sharing his gifts Cassidy is excited to share his gifts with a larger audience. “It feels very cool!” he said. “So many people will be able to hear my music without needing to be there in person.” He will perform with his dad and uncles at a holiday tea event at St. Joseph the Worker in Maple Grove, on Nov. 18. He has also been asked to return for the Mary Beth Carlson Christmas concert on Dec. 7 in Bloomington, where he was a featured guest soloist last year. Cassidy encourages other youth to explore their talents. “If you are given the opportunity to share your talent, take it,” he said. “I plan to keep singing and sharing my gift from God wherever I am called to sing.”
If you go The free concert will be held at St. Vincent de Paul, Brooklyn Park, at 2 p.m. Nov. 11. Jack Cassidy’s CD, “Be Still My Soul,” is available online at JACKCASSIDYMN. COM.
NOVEMBER 8, 2012 • THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
School relies on prayer in wake of student’s murder CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 lence. Both Peter and his grandmother were stabbed to death. “It just shattered us,” said Woods, who found comfort in the words written by Peter just days before his death. “[The journal entry] was a confirmation for me that he was with God, that his soul was with God. “This was Peter. He was thinking about the important things in life and he was thinking about his eternal salvation.”
“He always had a big smile on his face. . . . He would go around giving everybody a hug and asking them how was their day.
Learning horrible news What Woods was thinking about when she arrived at school that Monday morning was all of the work that needed to get done to prepare for the eighth-grade Christmas program scheduled for early December. Costumes were strewn about the floor of her office, and she had just called in the eighth-graders to work on them. In all of the commotion, she failed to notice that one out of the 33 students was missing — the one who had a hug for everybody, loved to talk and sing, and stood half a head taller than the rest. Then, her phone rang. It was an administrator at a local public school asking if she had a student by the name of Peter Wilson. When she asked him why he wanted to know, he merely gave her the name of a police inspector to call. Before dialing the inspector, she did a quick search of her own to see if Peter had shown up at school that day. Junior high teachers said he hadn’t, so she went to the phone to call his home. Finally, after getting no answer, she called the inspector. Four days later, the costumes still sat on the floor of her office, untouched since she got the horrible news and discreetly led the eighth-graders out of her office and back to class. After consulting with other staff and Father Michael O’Connell, Ascension parish’s pastor, she decided to tell the seventh- and eighth-graders first, then
Speaking about Peter Wilson
the rest of the students later. By the end of the day, all 255 students in kindergarten through eighth grade had learned of Peter’s death. “Psalm 11 had been in my mind, so I opened the Scriptures and I read Psalm 11 to them,” she said. “And then I told them, ‘I don’t want to have to say this. I really don’t want to have to say these words, but something tragic has happened.’ And, I told them that their classmate was gone — he was dead, along with his grandmother, and that he had been murdered. And, they looked at me. Some of them fell out of their chairs and started crying on the floor. Some of them were just looking at me, as if to say, ‘What did you say?’
‘A shining star’ When the school held a memorial prayer service for Peter on Nov. 2, Psalm 11 again came up. As Woods listened to the words, she thought of Peter, especially at verse 7: “The Lord is just and loves just deeds; the upright will see his face.” “He was a shining star,” Woods said. “He always had a big smile on his face. In the mornings, he would go around outside while they were waiting to come inside. He would go around giving everybody a hug and asking them how was their day.
“That’s just the kind of kid he was. He was hugging everybody. I had a little first-grader come in here on the day I told the school . . . and she stood right next to me and said, ‘I’m so sad.’ I put my arms around her and I said, ‘I’m sad, too.’ I said, ‘We’re all sad.’ She said, ‘He was my friend.’ “Kids from all over the school considered themselves friends with him. We had our [fundraising] marathon last Friday and he was in the cafeteria after the marathon walk. He was trying to get the third-graders to laugh. So, he’s pretending that he’s walking into the wall, just being goofy, a clown, just having fun with them, wanting them to laugh and doing things to get them to laugh. He was a friend of everybody.” Though Peter’s death has sent a shockwave through the school and the surrounding neighborhood, Woods said it is crucial that everyone at the school continues to trust in God — and resist the desire for vengeance. “I know that our response as a school to this situation has been critical to the lives of the children that are left behind, that are still alive,” she said. “I believe that most, if not all, of them are going to mature in a way that only this type of tragedy allows you to mature. And, we’ve dedicated this entire year to Peter, but we’re going to have to take this entire year and intentionally mold and move our children into channeling the hurt and anger that many of them are feeling, especially the older ones. We’re going to have to teach them how you rely on God when things of this sort — these things that you would never have imagined — happen.” For those outside of the Ascension school and parish community who want to know how to help, Woods offers one simple word: prayer. “They can continue to pray for our children,” she said. “If this is going to be their safe haven — and for many of them, it is — we want to have as safe a place for them as we can possibly have. And, prayer gives us that hedge of protection, it really does.”
The entrance/placement testing is January 19, 2013 from 8:15 - 11:45 a.m. at your first choice school.
Attend an open house at a Catholic High School . . . and find out how you can AIM HIGHER in your education and in life! www.aimhigher.org
BETHLEHEM ACADEMY (507) 334-3948 www.bacards.org Please call to schedule a visit.
CRISTO REY JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL (612) 545-9700 www.cristoreytc.org Every Tuesday, September through April at 7 p.m.
CRETIN-DERHAM HALL HIGH SCHOOL (651) 690-2443 www.c-dh.org November 8 at 7 p.m. November 12 at 7 p.m.
TOTINO-GRACE HIGH SCHOOL (763) 571-9116 www.totinograce.org January 9 at 6:30 p.m.
DELASALLE HIGH SCHOOL (612) 676-7600 www.delasalle.com January 17 at 7 p.m.
SAINT AGNES SCHOOL (651) 925-8700 www.saintagnesschool.org November 14 at 6:30 p.m. January 8 at 6:30 p.m. April 14 at 1 p.m.
HILL-MURRAY SCHOOL (651) 777-1376 www.hill-murray.org January 8 at 6:30 p.m.
SAINT THOMAS ACADEMY (651) 454-4570 www.cadets.com January 13 at 1 p.m. VISITATION SCHOOL (651) 683-1700 www.visitation.net January 8 at 7 p.m.
PROVIDENCE ACADEMY 763-258-2500 www.providenceacademy.org November 8 at 6:30 p.m. January 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Richfield ACADEMY OF HOLY ANGELS (612) 798-2600 www.academyofholyangels.org January 16 at 6 p.m. April 25 at 6 p.m.
St. Louis Park BENILDE-ST. MARGARET’S SCHOOL (952) 927-4176 www.bsmschool.org November 13 at 6 p.m. January 14 at 6 p.m.
Victoria HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL (952) 443-4659 www.hfchs.org November 8 at 6:30 p.m. January 10 at 6:30 p.m.
“There are people on your block that need you. Knock on their doors and offer your help. We have to maintain our souls. We have to maintain ourselves by helping others.” Msgr. John Tutone, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Island Park, N.Y., in the wake of Hurricane Sandy
Nation/World THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
News from around the U.S. and the globe
Flood of generosity and prayer follows in Hurricane Sandy’s wake By Gregory A. Shemitz
A stranger’s generosity As of Nov. 4, Island Park was still without electricity and the village’s mayor, James Ruzicka, announced at the end of Sunday Mass that it would be at least another two weeks before power was restored. Cellphones weren’t working, Msgr. Tutone told Catholic News Service. “[The] worst thing is not having communication,” he said. He shared a story about a stranger’s generosity. After the hurricane, a man in his 70s whom the priest did not know drove up to the church and saw Msgr. Tutone outside. He was not wearing his clerical garb. The man asked him if he was the parish priest. After Msgr. Tutone said he was, the unidentified man handed him a bank envelope and told him to “rebuild your church” before driving off. When Msgr. Tutone later opened the envelope, he found $1,500 in cash inside. In Long Beach, an island just south of Island Park that faces the Atlantic Ocean, 35,000 residents also were devastated by the hurricane, left without electricity and a working waste disposal system. Portable toilets were spread throughout the city. St. Ignatius Martyr is a sturdy 88-yearold Lombard Romanesque brick church that sits a block from the ocean. The church survived the hurricane of 1938, the worst storm to hit Long Island until Sandy, and this super storm caused min-
Preaching, technology on bishops’ agenda for fall assembly By Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service
Catholic News Service
Sacred Heart Church in Island Park, N.Y., is in an area of the Diocese of Rockville Centre among the most devastated by Hurricane Sandy, but the pastor urged parishioners not to fret about the material goods they have lost. “Don’t be angry. We lost stuff. We will get other stuff,” Msgr. John Tutone, pastor, told the congregation during his homily at Sunday Mass Nov. 4. “We still have each other and the people we love. That’s the most important thing.” “There are people on your block that need you. Knock on their doors and offer your help. We have to maintain our souls,” he said. “We have to maintain ourselves by helping others.” In the community of 10,000 people in the southwest corner of Nassau County, Long Island, 80 percent of the homes were flooded. The church, too, was flooded with about a foot of water, damaging the floor. Three feet of water was pumped out of the parish center, which is now being used for Masses.
NOVEMBER 8, 2012
CNS photo / Bob Roller
People affected by Hurricane Sandy pick up meals at St. Gianna Beretta Molla Church in Northfield, N.J., Nov. 5. Catholic Charities was working jointly with the American Red Cross at the church to assist residents suffering power outages and other effects of the late October superstorm.
How to help Catholic Charities USA is accepting cash donations as it develops its response to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Donations can be made online at the Catholic Charities USA website at WWW.CATHOLICCHARITIESUSA.ORG. Donations also can be made by calling toll-free (800) 919-9338 or by mail to P.O. Box 17066, Baltimore, MD 21297-1066. — Catholic News Service
imal damage to the church, though the rectory basement was flooded to the ceiling. Nearly 200 people gathered in the cold, dark church for the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass Nov. 4, celebrated by Msgr. Donald Beckmann, pastor, wearing tennis shoes. A 5 p.m. Mass was celebrated the Saturday evening before; two other Sunday Masses were canceled. Chris and Dawn Hagen attended with their children, son Gerrin, 7, and Tara, 5. Going to Mass “was important to restore some routine to our lives. We wanted to be with other people in a place that gives us comfort,” Chris said. “It’s good to come together and pray with people. It’s comforting to see our church is here and we can worship.”
“We’re grateful we are alive and have each other,” said Dawn. “We’re praying for our friends and our family and our own recovery.” Added Chris: “We’ll be fine.”
Striving for normalcy Msgr. Beckmann is a chaplain for the Long Beach Fire Department. When the island was evacuated, he remained in the rectory, he said, because “the fire department stays.” “It was a scary time, especially watching cars float up and down Broadway, watching the water getting higher and higher before it stopped,” he told CNS. “The support of the parishioners, the way they reached out to me, has been heartwarming.” He described his most important tasks after Sandy: “One is to continue the sharing of the sacraments and preaching the Gospel in as normal a way as possible. . . . A couple of people said to me, ‘It’s nice to come back here and see things as normal as possible.’ To see the church functioning is important to them. . . . The second thing is to do whatever the church can do to help the wider Long Beach community.” He said he was “praying a prayer of thanksgiving for all who have survived. I’m also asking the Holy Spirit to show us the proper way to move forward . . . the whole community and other religious institutions.”
Statements on preaching and ways that bishops can respond using new technologies to modern-day challenges to their teaching authority are among the items the U.S. bishops will consider when they gather in Baltimore for their annual fall assembly. Set for Nov. 12-15, the assembly also will consider a statement on work and the economy proposed by the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development as a way to raise the profile of growing poverty and the struggles that unemployed people are experiencing. In addition, the bishops are scheduled to vote on a document encouraging Catholics to see Lent next year as an opportunity to return to regular celebration of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. The document on confession highlights the connection Pope Benedict XVI has made between the confession of sin and the new evangelization during the Year of Faith. The document on preaching that the bishops are to consider encourages preachers to connect the Sunday homily with people’s daily lives. Titled “Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily,” the document is the bishops’ first substantive statement on preaching in 30 years, said Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
New media opportunities The bishops also will consider a proposed statement on opportunities to use new media — including blogging and social media — in exercising their teaching authority. The statement drafted by the Committee on Doctrine, “Contemporary Challenges for the Exercise of the Teaching Ministry of the Diocesan Bishop,” has been distributed to the bishops and suggested amendments are being received, said Capuchin Franciscan Father Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the bishops’ Secretariat for Doctrine. The text, like all of the proposed documents the bishops will consider, has not been made public. The statement complements a 1989 document on the doctrinal responsibilities of local bishops that sets forth guidelines for a bishop to follow when responding to comments, statements, books or other communication from a theologian that incorrectly portrays Catholic teaching, Father Weinandy told Catholic News Service. An immediate response from a bishop would be followed up with the normal invitation to dialogue with the theologian, he said.
NOVEMBER 8 • THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Got toilets? MN native works to flush away water problems, improve sanitation in Africa By Dianne Towalski The Catholic Spirit
There are “world” days set aside to celebrate all kinds of things: World Teachers Day, World Day of Social Justice, World Health Day — just to name a few. There’s even a World Toilet Day every Nov. 19. And while it may draw a few snickers, it’s no laughing matter for the 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have access to a toilet and struggle with illnesses related to lack of clean water and sanitation. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal diseases annually claim the lives of about 2 million people, most of them children less CUNLIFFE than 5 years old. If current trends continue, by 2015 there would be 2.7 billion people without access to basic sanitation. Raising awareness about the need for clean water, better sanitation and hygiene “is so important,” said Katherine Cunliffe, Catholic Relief Services’ East Africa regional technical adviser for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). According to the WHO, for every dollar spent on sanitation, there’s a $5 economic return. “We’re looking at increasing awareness and knowledge about why it’s important to do basic things like hand washing,” she said, and having access to toilet facilities.
Minnesota native After graduating from Bucknell University with a degree in chemical engineering, Cunliffe, a Northfield, Minn., native, decided against a job in a laboratory and joined the Peace Corps in Panama. “That’s where I really started doing water work,” she said. “I started building and designing water systems, mainly gravity-fed water systems, and working with the government in Panama.” Later, she went back to school, earning a master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “I decided I wanted to further my studies and kind of complement the engineering side with public health,” she said. While at Johns Hopkins, she organized a World Water Day event and invited speakers from different non-
governmental organizations. Dennis Warner, senior technical adviser for Water Supply, Sanitation and Water Resources Development at Catholic Relief Services, was there and invited her to work in India, where CRS was dealing with water issues related to recent flooding. Cunliffe’s three months in India turned into three years. She subsequently worked with CRS Latin America and now in East Africa. She supports six country programs: Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. There also is an outreach program in Djibouti. When CRS works on a project in those countries, “we always make sure it’s a full package because water, sanitation and hygiene are all important to stop the spread of diarrheal disease,” she said. The organization works to ensure that people don’t have to walk miles to get water and that it is safe to drink. It is also important for livestock to have water as well as occupations like brick-making. “In East Africa we have so many arid areas, so you don’t want to waste a drop of water,” Cunliffe said. “And with the water supply system, sustainability is such an issue. You can so easily give some money and go dig a well.” But that’s the easy part. CRS makes sure the systems they set up are sustainable. They work with local governments and members of the community to see what each stakeholder can bring to the project. “You have to look at . . . water resource management,” she said. “Is this watershed being protected? How are we capturing the water? So it’s looking at the long-term sustainability.”
Children teaching parents Cunliffe said the most successful programs she has worked on with CRS are school water and sanitation interventions. “I see incredible behavior changes in children,” she said. They often go home and tell their parents that they need to build a latrine or they need a handwashing station or they need soap, she added. Cunliffe said she took water for granted when growing up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. “I got water out of the tap when I wanted to and used the toilet when I needed to,” she said. “It is such a luxury here that we don’t even think about.” “It’s a human right that everyone should have access to water, and it seems so simple, but its not,” she said.
Synod members propose ways to promote evangelization Catholic News Service Members of the Synod of Bishops recommended the Vatican establish a commission to monitor religious freedom, develop guidelines for training evangelizers and ensure there is a church in every diocese where confession is always available. At the end of the three-week world Synod of Bishops on new evangelization, members of the gathering approved 58 propositions to give to the pope; although synod rules say the proposals are secret, Pope Benedict authorized their publication Oct. 27. The propositions were designed as recommendations for the pope to use in a post-synodal apostolic exhortation. Many of the propositions described current challenges and opportunities that the church faces in sharing the Gospel, strengthening the faith and reaching out to lapsed Catholics. Other propositions asked the pope or individual bishops to consider concrete projects, including: ■ Establishing a Vatican commission to monitor religious freedom around the world, denounce attacks on religious freedom and promote a broader understanding of its importance as a basic human right. The propositions said, “The proclamation of the good news in different contexts of the world — marked by the process of globalization and secularism — places different challenges before the church: at times in outright religious persecution, at other times in a widespread indifference, interference, restriction or harassment.” ■ Developing a “pastoral plan of initial proclamation” that would outline steps to help ensure that once people hear the Gospel, they are led to conversion and faith and are educated in church teaching. It also should describe the “qualities and guidelines for the formation of Catholic evangelizers today.” ■ Asking that every diocese establish a parish or shrine dedicated “in a permanent way” to the administration of the sacrament of penance, ensuring “priests are always present, allowing God’s mercy to be experienced by all the faithful.” Synod members used several propositions to emphasize the family as the place where life and love are first given, where people are introduced to the faith and where they learn to live according to Gospel values.
Youth Christmas poster contest The Catholic Spirit invites young artists across the archdiocese to participate in its annual Christmas poster contest. To enter, complete and then illustrate this sentence:
“The ornament on my family Christmas tree I like best is . . .” The completed sentence must appear on the front of an 8 1⁄2 by 11-inch poster. Artists may use any media to create a vivid, colorful and memorable picture. Hint: Strong colors with lots of contrast reproduce better than soft pastels in the newspaper. Entries will be judged on originality, artistic ability and how well the artist interprets the theme. A first prize of $50 will be awarded for one poster in each category: grades three and under, grades four to six, grades seven to nine, and grades 10 through 12. Winning entries will be published in The Catholic Spirit’s Christmas edition, Dec. 20. Poster entries must be postmarked or dropped off by Dec. 7. Entries must include the artist’s name, address, telephone number, grade and parish (include city). Mail to: The Catholic Spirit Christmas Contest, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.
Christmas essay contest open to all NEW THIS YEAR, Catholics of the archdiocese — adults included — may submit an essay (200 words or less) instead of a poster, answering the same question: “The ornament on my family Christmas tree I like best is . . .” There are no prizes for essays, but a selection of entries also will be published in The Catholic Spirit’s Christmas edition, Dec. 20. All essays must be postmarked or emailed by Dec. 7. They must include the writer’s name, address, telephone number, grade (for students) and parish (include city). • Mail to: The Catholic Spirit Christmas Contest, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102. • Or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write “Christmas Essay” in the subject line. Dec. 20.
“All men are created equal . . . and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thomas Jefferson
This Catholic Life THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Opinion, feedback and points to ponder
NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Resisting modern society’s aggressive secularism
t was with barely concealed delight that Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg conveyed the findings of the recent Pew Forum survey that the “nones,” those who claim no particular religious affiliation, are sharply on the rise in America. Moreover, he crowed, the survey revealed that a disproportionate number of young people placed themselves firmly in the “none” camp, thus indicating that religion’s decline would only accelerate in the years to come. Taking these findings as a starting point, Steinberg then Father delivered an anti-reliRobert Barron gion screed that was, even for him, remarkable in its vitriol and lack of nuance. Central to Steinberg’s argument is that the “virus” of freedom, which the Founding Fathers planted in the body politic long ago, has spread to the point that it now threatens religion itself. Finally, he says, people have the courage to throw off the shackles of “arbitrary rules and arcane liturgies” and join the society of freethinking moderns. There are two fundamental problems here. First, like so many of his secularist colleagues, Steinberg conveniently forgets that the political liberty he rightly praises is predicated inescapably upon religious assumptions. The keen sense that each human being is the subject of rights and dignity is grounded in the antecedent conviction that this dignity and these rights come from God and hence have an absolute sanction. As Thomas Jefferson put it rather memorably: “All men are created equal . . . and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If you want to see what happens to freedom and human rights when God is removed from the picture, consult both ancient aristocratic societies and modern totalitarian regimes. Steinberg exults that the “freedom virus” led toward the liberation of blacks in America, but he seems utterly to have forgotten that both the abolitionist movement in the 19th century and the Civil Rights movement in the 20th were led by passionately believing Christians, who advocated for liberty precisely because of their religious beliefs, not despite them.
rary societies are those who accept the presumptions of the Enlightenment. Thus, religious people — representing some of the most ancient intellectual traditions in the West and relying on the work of such geniuses as St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Henry Newman, John Wesley and G.K. Chesterton — would not be allowed Habermas’s table. Nor for that matter would William Lloyd Garrison, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu or Mohandas Gandhi. One wonders how neither Habermas nor Steinberg can see that the Enlightenment view, though obviously valuable, is hardly identical to simply Reason.
Far from ‘sweet reason’
“The relegation of religion to the private
realm is, of course, an aggressive move, for it is designed to exclude religious people from the political and cultural conversation.
FATHER ROBERT BARRON
Making a false assumption The second problem is that Steinberg assumes that his position — modern, secularist liberalism — is not itself sectarian, peculiar, and indeed marked by its own “arbitrary rules and arcane liturgies.” This is a difficulty that any cultural analyst tends to have, but modern liberals seem especially susceptible to it — namely, the assumption that their own culture
isn’t really a culture at all but just “the way things are supposed to be.” The form of life that came up out of the European Enlightenment of the 18th century — empirical, scientific, subjectivist, rationalist, anti-traditionalist — strikes modern secularists as just identical to sweet reason, and hence they feel that anyone who fails to conform to it is oper-
ating “irrationally” or is in thrall to some strange “superstition.” Jurgen Habermas, one of the leading philosophers in the world, advocates (admittedly at a higher level of sophistication) the position staked out by Steinberg. He argues, accordingly, that the only people who should be allowed around the table of political discussion in contempo-
Similar to this idolatry of the Enlightenment is Steinberg’s sneering relegation of religion to the arena of hobbies and harmless avocations: “Life is a long time . . . and you have to fill it somehow, and adhering to the various tenets of Lutheranism or Baptism or Seventh Day Adventism . . . is not inherently a worse use of your time than, oh, knitting colorful afghans or playing John Madden Football or anything else.” Though the Christian tradition essentially created the culture of the West, though it invented the university system, and though it gave rise to Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Aquinas’ “Summa Theologiae,” Chartres Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Bach’s cantatas, and the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins and T.S. Eliot, it is, according to Mr. Steinberg, the intellectual equivalent of knitting an afghan! Trust me when I tell you that whatever matrix of thought produced that conclusion ain’t identical to “sweet reason.” It is, in fact, something peculiar and sectarian indeed. The relegation of religion to the private realm is, of course, an aggressive move, for it is designed to exclude religious people from the political and cultural conversation. Basically, Habermas and Steinberg and their fellows are saying to religious believers, “While you play at your little hobbies, we rationalists will take care of serious matters.” In the face of this act of violence, believers should engage in non-violent resistance, entering the public arena with the language of the Bible and the great tradition on their lips, as did our forebears Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Secular ideologues take note: It is altogether possible for religious people — especially those who believe in the divine Logos — to have a logical conversation. Father Robert Barron is the founder of the global ministry, Word on Fire, and the rector/president of Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
This Catholic Life/Opinion-Commentary N 8, 2012 • T C S 11 Beyond the voting booth: Setting the public policy tone OVEMBER
Editorial Joe Towalski
Call to responsible citizenship doesn’t end when the polls close
n the lead up to Election Day, many pundits were still talking about the “Catholic vote” as a key constituency of support for candidates, although Catholics today are as divided as any group when it comes to election-year politics. What isn’t talked about at all — and what should be — is the “Catholic response” in the aftermath of Nov. 6: How can we unite and respond to the call to be responsible citizens after the polls close, the votes are counted and the winners declared? After all, our responsibilities as citizens don’t end when we leave the voting booth. As Catholics who believe in the sacredness of life and the dignity of all people, we have something to contribute after Election Day that can help bring an end to the increasing polarization infecting our political system, temper the oftenstrident tone that characterizes public policy debates, and keep everyone focused on working toward the common good.
Changing the tone Changes won’t happen overnight, but we can start at home and how we conduct ourselves within our neighborhoods and social circles. The Knights of Columbus were spot on earlier this year when they launched a “Campaign for Civility in America” urging an end to the hate and demonizing that characterizes so much of today’s public discourse. “How we
Getting involved The Catholic response to Election Day should also include a commitment to get involved in the public policy process beyond voting by: ■ Writing letters to state legislators, members of Congress and other elected officials to hold them accountable to the campaign promises they made or to persuade them on issues on which they took different positions from our own. ■ Participating in social action events such as pro-life marches, poverty awareness campaigns and religious liberty rallies.
CNS photo / Nancy Phelan Wiechec
disagree with each other says as much about us as a nation as what issues we disagree on,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson noted. The Catholic response to Election Day should be a reinvigorated effort to promote civility because how we conduct ourselves with those with whom we disagree says a lot about what we believe regarding everyone’s God-given human dignity. Civility helps to keep us focused on the issues
at hand rather than personalities. In an election season that included tough debates over candidates as well as ballot initiatives such as the marriage and voter I.D. amendments, civility is an essential asset going forward since discussion around these and other important issues will continue well beyond Election Day, no matter which way the votes go. (This issue of the newspaper went to press before polls closed.)
■ Continuing to educate ourselves about the Catholic Church’s social teachings and what they say about the laity’s involvement in political life. If you didn’t read the U.S. bishops “Faithful Citizenship” document before the election, read it now so you can better understand what the church teaches on this topic and why. More resources for learning and action are available online from the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MNCC.ORG). Doing our homework about Catholic social teaching and what it requires from us moving forward, getting involved, showing respect for others, and praying for our elected leaders and fellow citizens — this is how Catholics can help set the tone after Election Day for our nation as we strive to build a just society.
Taking a closer look at affirmative action and Catholic schools
Faith and Intellect John Garvey
Affirmative action has given many young people opportunities their parents and grandparents never had
n October, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas. The issue was affirmative action at public colleges and universities. Nine years ago, in a case from the University of Michigan, the court held that public universities can consider race as one factor among many in admissions. The University of Texas does that for some of its undergraduate applicants. But Texas also admits all applicants from the top 10 percent of each high school’s graduating class — a colorblind program that produces a fairly diverse mix of students. Abigail Fisher is a white student who did not finish in the top 10 percent of her high school class. Thrown into the color-sensitive segment of the school’s admissions program, she was rejected. Her case may prompt the court to re-examine the Michigan decision.
Nurturing acceptance Affirmative action has done a lot of good in higher education. It has given many young people opportunities their parents and grandparents never had. And it has contributed to interracial understanding and acceptance. America is a better place for these changes than it was 50 years ago. There is, to be sure, some tension between affirmative action and other principles we hold dear — like the moral irrelevance of race. The Rev.
“If we are to serve the faithful well, and all of them equally, then it is Catholic University’s business to concern itself with race, ethnicity, language, culture, customs, devotions, movements and other characteristics that enrich and distinguish groups within the church.
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that his children would not be judged by the color of their skin. The Supreme Court has suggested that we resolve this tension by thinking of affirmative action as a temporary expedient. The Fisher case will decide whether the time has come to end that expedient. The University of Texas is a state school whose behavior is governed by the equal protection clause. The Catholic University of America, where I am president, is a private school. The equal protection clause does not apply to us. But Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does apply to us, and the Supreme Court has held that it imposes the same rule on us that the Constitution imposes on public
schools. Right now, Title VI allows us to consider race as a factor in admitting students. It would be unfortunate if a change in the constitutional rule meant there must be a similar change in the statutory rule. There are many situations where we allow private institutions to behave differently from public ones. The First Amendment forbids public schools to profess or favor a particular faith. But it lets Catholic schools prefer Catholics in hiring and admissions. Sex is another example. The equal protection clause frowns on sex-segregated state universities. Private schools are different. Smith College has admitted only women since 1871. The distinction between public and private institutions presupposes
that private ones can pursue ends beyond the government’s competence. The Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church — but perhaps not the state of California — in her efforts to know, love and serve God. Sometimes we may think this way about race, too. Whatever the Supreme Court may decide is appropriate for the University of Texas, we would never dream of forcing the United Negro College Fund to ignore race in awarding scholarships.
Educating future leaders So, too, with admissions at private schools like ours. As the national university of the Catholic Church, we aim to educate the church’s future religious and lay leaders. Given that 54 percent of Catholics born here in the past 30 years are Hispanic, we would not be doing our job if we failed to serve what will soon be the majority of American Catholics. If we are to serve the faithful well, and all of them equally, then it is Catholic University’s business to concern itself with race, ethnicity, language, culture, customs, devotions, movements and other characteristics that enrich and distinguish groups within the church. If this entails some consideration of race or ethnicity in admissions and hiring, that is a good and necessary thing. Garvey is president of The Catholic University of America in Washington.
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT • NOVEMBER 8, 2012
/ This Catholic Life
Autumn faith marked by patience, paradoxes
Sharing Faith Deacon Mickey Friesen
It is during these times of transition that faith becomes more about holding life rather than trying to fix it or deny it
innesotans love to talk about the weather. Maybe this is because it changes so often. We are blessed to experience four full seasons, each with its own unique beauty and challenge. I have come to see how these cycles of nature mirror the rhythms of our life and reflect the seasons of our faith as we grow in Christ. We are living through the autumn season — the annual rite of passage from summer abundance to winter rigor mortis. It is a season of change and transition.
Season of paradox The beauty of autumn is revealed in nature’s decline as the days grow shorter, the plants wither and the remaining fruit decays. And, yet, faced with the inevitability of winter’s freeze, what does nature do? She scatters seeds that will bring new life in a future spring that is yet unseen. Autumn is a season of paradox when dying and seeding go together. It’s easier to see the decay of autumn than to see the seeding of new opportunities that are being planted. Our lives also make this autumn rite of passage. We pass through seasons of letting go and loss. We face the loss of a dream, the decline of health, the decay of relationships, the end of work or the death of a loved one. We can struggle to find meaning as the pain of loss consumes our attention. Yet, when we are able to look deeper, we may see the flicker of something new — the seed of an unknown possibility. It is during these times of transition that faith becomes more about holding life rather than trying to fix it or deny it. We hold the mystery of dying and seeding until something new is revealed. I think this is what it means to be “patient.”
“Life is change; growth is optional.” KAREN KAISER CLARKE Author, “Grow Deep, Not Just Tall”
In her book, “Grow Deep, Not Just Tall,” Karen Kaiser Clarke says, “Patience is not passive . . . it’s the rawest form of courage. . . . The seeds of new beginnings are hidden everywhere. . . . Growth takes time and patience to nurture into fullness.” In another place, she says, “Life is change; growth is optional.” Autumn faith is a patient faith. It is the kind of faith that Jesus’ teaches about in the journey of a grain of wheat. “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). The abundant life that Jesus offers is rooted in an autumn faith — a faith in the dying/seeding process, the holding of paradoxes and bearing patiently the mystery of life in faith.
As I write this reflection, people on the East Coast are waking up to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. It was a rare autumn storm that brought together divergent systems. Today is a day to wait, take stock and be patient with organizing recovery efforts. As with other natural disasters, much is lost and life will change. Yet, faith allows one to consider what seeds are being planted. What meaning and new life is being nurtured? What gifts are being called forth in response to those in great need? How can we hold this in prayer?
Seeds of the Church As followers of Christ we are invited at each Eucharist to proclaim the mystery of faith — the mystery of dying that destroys death and rising that restores life. We are marked
with this mystery in baptism, receive it in every Communion and sent forth in mission to live it. During this month that we remember all the saints and loved ones who have gone before us, I’m especially reminded of the martyrs — those who most closely followed the way of Jesus by losing their life and finding their salvation. The early Church father, Tertullian, said of the martyrs, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” We are the fruit of that seed. “God has made everything appropriate to its time and season, and has put the timeless into their hearts. . . . God restores what would otherwise be displaced” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, 15). Deacon Mickey Friesen is director of the archdiocesan Center for Mission.
Now what? Real work of governance begins after elections
Faith and Justice Kathy Tomlin
Whoever is in the driver’s seat needs to be able to work with the other people on the bus
nfortunately, my crystal ball has left me hanging as I write this commentary before Election Day. And so I pen this not knowing the specific outcome of the elections, but knowing that whoever is in the driver’s seat needs to be able to work with the other people on the bus. We all know that the real work of governance begins after the election. For me, the single biggest question about that governance and the direction of this country and our state is whether we will focus on a shared future together or whether we will continue to be divided and paralyzed by the power of polarization.
Time for reflection Whatever the results of the election, we are all probably in need of healing. Taking a moment to consider how we might have been hurt or might have hurt others in the process of this election might be a good first response to the outcome. Making space and taking some time for reflection may help us to be reconciled to each other in a way that allows us to be in service to each
“Let us move forward together realizing that it does take a village to create our shared future.” KATHY TOMLIN
other. This is the kind of leadership the Gospel call us to. I’m not challenging only our political leaders who were elected, but the citizenry who either stood by in silence or spoke loudly and often during the past several months. Frankly, if we can’t get beyond the walls that separate us from one another, I fear for the well-being of the next several generations. Therefore, I am suggesting we turn a new page on our discourse. Perhaps we could imagine a new politics that includes the following action: ■ Active listening, which also means active silence that results in walking for a bit in another’s shoes; ■ Looking for the things that we share in common, finding that com-
mon ground about which we can agree; ■ Viewing conflict as the creative enterprise that engages us with each other; finding creativity in the differences and challenging encounters that we have and continue to face; ■ Mentoring the next generation in the art of civic engagement; finding in them what we might not be able to find in ourselves: the willingness to unpack our ideas, listen to others and add new insights as we repack our bag; ■ Refusing to mistake public opinion for public judgment. They are two different things. Public opinion reflected in the polls is often bereft of real judgment; ■ Realizing that the notion of “pri-
vate citizen” is an oxymoron. By definition, citizenship implies active participation as a stakeholder in society and taking responsibility for others in the community.
Looking to the future As Thanksgiving approaches and we take that romantic look back to our ancestors, I would like to take a moment to honor our future. Our children and the children to come need to be able to count on the fact that our politics are in defense of their dignity, their safety, their education, the stability of their housing and family relationships and, above all, their sense of hope, opportunity and connection to adults who claim them as their responsibility. Let us move forward together realizing that it does take a village to create our shared future. Kathy Tomlin is vice president for social justice advocacy for Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
College Spotlight NOVEMBER 8, 2012
A Catholic Spirit special section
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Catholic college satellite campuses cater to non-traditional students By Jennifer Janikula
Want to know more?
For The Catholic Spirit
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota Website: WWW.WHYSMU.COM Twin Cities admissions: (612) 7285100, ext. 61 Twin Cities locations: Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Apple Valley and Oakdale Popular local programs: Bachelor degree completion in multiple areas of study, nursing, nurse anesthesiology, marriage and family counseling, business (MA), onsite Masters in Education. Number of local students: 4,500
When you think of Catholic universities in the Twin Cities, St. Thomas and St. Catherine likely come to mind. Both schools offer excellent opportunities for college students. In addition, St. Catherine and St. Thomas feature college programs that blend weekend, evening and online learning as alternatives for non-traditional students. Over the last 40 years, the demand for non-traditional higher education has increased dramatically. Many people don’t want to or can’t quit their day jobs in order to attend college or pursue advanced degrees. There are a few lesser known, but high quality Catholic programs that meet the demand for flexible learning. Though their main campuses are outside the archdiocese, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota (Winona), the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth), and Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, Wis.) use their Twin Cities campuses to serve students who need to balance school with other commitments like work, travel and family.
College of St. Scholastica Website: WWW.CSS.EDU/ACCELERATEDLEARNING.HTML Twin Cities Main: (888) 298-4723 Twin Cities Location: St. Paul Popular local programs: Social work (BA), online health information management (BS, MS), business programs (BA and MA). Number of local students: 250
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota St. Mary’s University of Minnesota was one of the first schools in the state to begin working with non-traditional students. The university offers more than 30 certificate, bachelor degree, and graduate degree programs in the Twin Cities. Many students who attend the Twin Cities campus of St. Mary’s already have degree credits from other colleges and universities. The Bachelor Completion program allows students to finish what they started. “One strength of our Bachelor Completion program is our transfer process,” said Don St. Dennis, associate vice president of university relations. “We try to be really generous when transferring credits and experience.” Students in the graduate programs cite convenient schedules, instructor expertise, and reasonable tuition as the main benefits of St. Mary’s programs. Students like Lindsey Weber, who is enrolled in the Masters in Education program, attend classes one night per week and one Saturday per month. St. Mary’s “does a really good job finding instructors who are experts in their field,” Weber said. “The price point is manageable, too.” St. Mary’s faculty and staff work to find innovative ways to deliver courses. Given enough student interest, St. Mary’s will come to you — it will deliver courses onsite at your company or organization. The university also offers three online, mobile graduate programs in which students use an iPad with a customized learning app to manage their online coursework and collaboration.
Andrew Block, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
The St. Mary’s University Twin Cities campus headquarters is located at 2500 Park Ave. in Minneapolis.
College of St. Scholastica The College of St. Scholastica established its presence in the Twin Cities more than 10 years ago. The college offers accelerated learning for 16 bachelor’s and advanced degree programs. Students in the standard accelerated learning programs can earn a bachelor’s degree in three years by taking two evening or weekend classes during every eight-week session. Several degree programs include online courses. The bachelor of arts in social work is one of St. Scholastica’s most popular local programs. Students complete their associate degree through Inver Hills Community College (IHCC) in Inver Grove Heights. Then, using classrooms at IHCC, St. Scholastica faculty members teach the remaining courses needed to complete the degree. This partnership continues to be a “good example of colleges working together to do what is best for the student,” said Amy Grimm, St. Scholastica’s Twin Cities campus director. Along with creative partnerships, St. PLEASE TURN TO FLEXIBILITY ON PAGE 14
Cardinal Stritch University Website: WWW.STRITCH.EDU Twin Cities Main: (800) 347-8822, press 6, then enter ext. 8830 Twin Cities locations: Eden Prairie, Coon Rapids and Woodbury Popular local programs: Business programs (AA, BS, MA) and nursing (BS) Number of local students: 340
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THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT â€˘ NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Flexibility is key for satellite campus accelerated-learning programs CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 Scholastica focuses on the Benedictine value of hospitality. â€œWhen prospective students call the school during business hours, a person will answer,â€? said Grimm. â€œWe try to personalize the experience.â€? Admissions counselors meet with students one-on-one. They listen to students and work with them to create a plan for success, she said. The biggest challenge for St. Scholastica students is balance â€” trying to figure out how to balance going back to school with work and family. â€œThere is a lot of courage needed to take on this challenge while living life,â€? Grimm said. Flexibility helps students achieve balance, and St. Scholastica incorporates flexibility by removing the cohort model from many of their degree programs. This means students do not need to start during a specific session and do not need to keep pace with the same group of students for an entire degree program.
Cardinal Stritch University Cardinal Stritch University started offering accelerated learning programs more than 25 years ago. Though a bachelor of science in nursing degree became available recently, the Twin Cities campus focuses on business degree programs.
â€œOur goal is to create adaptive leaders shaped by a Franciscan moral worldview.
BRUCE LOPPNOW Associate Dean, Cardinal Stritch University
Cardinal Stritch students enjoy a variety of calendars and schedules. Most students complete their degrees by spending one night per week in a classroom and doing the remaining work at home. The MBA program can be completed online. The emphasis on Franciscan values makes the Cardinal Stritch degree programs unique. Faculty members embed Franciscan values into their curriculum. â€œOur goal is to create adaptive leaders shaped by a Franciscan moral worldview,â€? said Bruce Loppnow, associate dean of the Graduate School. The business school programs teach critical thinking and moral decision-making. Students contemplate the implications of decisions on people, the planet and profit with the objective that all three should remain in balance, he said.
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“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:43-44
The Lesson Plan NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Reflections on faith and spirituality
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Widows’ generosity, gratitude set example for all to follow
enerosity inspires gratitude, and gratitude inspires generosity. In our lives, the Lord is generous to us, and even increases our ability to give. It is in this context that Holy Mother Church presents us with two widows in our Mass readings. In the First Book of Kings, we see an example of charity and self-sacrifice in the kind woman who gives Elijah the last of her food. She is rewarded with a miracle. In Mark’s Gospel, the humble generosity of the second widow, the one with two small coins, receives praise beyond compare from Christ. Both widows’ poverty of heart and generous services are all the more moving when contrasted with the self-important and self-serving example of other, more disordered souls: Jezebel, Deacon the queen, who lives in opulence and Fabian vice with total disregard for the needy; Moncada and the scribes, who eat up the households of widows and seek the primary places in synagogues. Jesus strikes out at some of the scribes, the authorized interpreters of the Law who feel they are to be seen as perfect models of that Law down to its smallest details. Jesus challenges these leaders, calling them hypocrites. They did not hesitate to consume the property of widows
Readings Sunday, Nov. 11 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time ■ 1 Kings 17:10-16 ■ Hebrews 9:24-28 ■ Mark 12:38-44
Reflection What can I sacrifice or let go of today that will deepen my relationship with Jesus?
while making a show of prolonged prayers; they were the opposite of everything that Jesus was proposing as the way to love and serve God. They emphasized external appearances rather than the inner spirit; they were concerned about being served rather than serving others; they thought only of what they could get through their privileged positions rather than what they could share, especially with those in need. In fact, Jesus warns that, precisely because of their providential knowledge of the law, their responsibilities in not keeping its real spirit will be all the greater. To whom more is given, more will be expected. Then, as Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury of the Temple and watching the people putting in their offer-
Daily Scriptures Sunday, Nov. 11 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 1 Kings 17:10-16 Hebrews 9:24-28 Mark 12:38-44
Monday, Nov. 12 St. Josaphat, bishop and martyr Titus 1:1-9 Luke 17:1-6
Tuesday, Nov. 20 Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22 Luke 19:1-10
Tuesday, Nov. 13 St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin Titus 2:1-8, 11-14 Luke 17:7-10 Wednesday, Nov. 14 Titus 3:1-7 Luke 17:11-19 Thursday, Nov. 15 St. Albert the Great, bishop and doctor of the church Philemon 7-20 Luke 17:20-25 Friday, Nov. 16 St. Margaret of Scotland; St. Gertrude, virgin 2 John 4-9 Luke 17: 26-37 Saturday, Nov. 17 St. Elizabeth of Hungary, religious 3 John 5-8 Luke 18:1-8 Sunday, Nov. 18 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Daniel 12:1-3 Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Monday, Nov. 19 Revelation 1:1-4, 2:1-5 Luke 18:35-43
Wednesday, Nov. 21 Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Revelation 4:1-11 Luke 19:11-28 Thursday, Nov. 22 St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr Revelation 5:1-10 Luke 19:41-44 Friday, Nov. 23 St. Clement I, pope and martyr; St. Columban, abbot; Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, priest and martyr Revelation 10:8-11 Luke 19:45-48 Saturday, Nov. 24 St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest, and companions Revelation 11:4-12 Luke 20:27-40 Sunday, Nov. 25 Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Daniel 7:13-14 Revelation 1:5-8 John 18:33b-37
ings, he sees a poor widow bring her offering. We must remember that during the time of Jesus to be a widow meant the near total loss of income. It is one of these who approaches the treasury box and drops in two coins of seemingly negligible value. This leads Jesus to exhort his disciples and point out that the poor woman had put in more than all the others combined. They were contributing out of their excess, while she put in her whole livelihood. It was an act of total trust in God’s providence and care for her. She put in two coins, although “she would have been more than justified in giving just one.” This anonymous woman is, in a way, a symbol of Jesus himself in total self-giving. So the question that today’s Gospel asks us is: “What of my own possessions does Our Lord invite me to share, as he who emptied himself gave away everything, including his life, out of love for his Father and for us?” The widows in our readings were generous because of their great gratitude. Like the widow who served Elijah, the Lord will multiply our gifts when given in love and hope. Like the widow in our Gospel, we must give generously out of love and gratitude for what we have been given: everything. Deacon Fabian Moncada Benavides is in formation for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of Des Moines. His home parishes are Our Lady of the Americas and the Basilica of St. John, both in Des Moines; his teaching parish is St. Rita in Cottage Grove.
Material progress not enough to make people free, happy, pope says By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service
The world’s huge technological and scientific progress hasn’t always made people freer or happier, Pope Benedict XVI said. While scientific knowledge and advancements “are important for human life, it’s not enough on its own,” the pope said Oct. 24 at his weekly general audience. “We need not just material sustenance, Pope we need love, meanBenedict XVI ing, hope and a solid foundation” that helps people live with courage even in the face of doubt, difficulties and everyday problems, he said. Before an estimated 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the pope continued a new series of catechesis to accompany the Year of Faith, which runs until Nov. 24, 2013. His talk focused on the nature of faith and what it means to believe. The pope said, “Despite the great magnitude of scientific discoveries and technological successes, humanity today does not seem to have become truly freer and more human.” Along with signs of progress and increased well-being, there also are “many forms of exploitation, manipula-
From the Vatican
tion, violence, tyranny and injustice.” Faith gives people a solid sense of certainty in uncertain times because “faith is believing in this love of God that never fails in the face of human wickedness, evil and death, but is capable of transforming every form of slavery, offering the possibility of salvation,” he said. “Faith is not the simple intellectual approval by man of truths concerning God; it is an act in which I freely entrust myself to a God who is Father and loves me,” the pope said. In fact, having faith is above all about having a relationship with a God whose love is “indestructible” and who understands people’s problems, he said. Christian faith entails giving up control and placing one’s life in God’s hands, he said. It’s this “liberating and reassuring certainty of faith” that helps people live without fear, proclaiming and living out the Gospel with courage. While faith is a gift of God and it takes divine grace and help from the Holy Spirit in order to truly believe, a free acceptance of faith is also necessary. Trusting in God and adhering to his truths “is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason,” he said quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Breaking free from one’s own limited views and expectations, and believing God will show the way result in true liberty, an authentic human identity, real joy and peace, he said.
The Lesson Plan
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT • NOVEMBER 8, 2012
St. Paul: The evangelizer extraordinaire
By Father Michael Van Sloun
resist. Jesus met with resistance. So did Paul. So will we. Like them, we must never succumb to negative pressure. Paul made three missionary journeys to spread the Gospel. The first (c. A.D. 37-46) was to Cilicia, Syria, Cyprus, and Galatia; the second (46 to 51) to Asia Minor and Greece; and the third (52-56) to Ephesus, Corinth, Macedonia, Illyricum and back to Corinth. After these, he made a final trip to Rome.
For The Catholic Spirit
St. Paul is the evangelizer extraordinaire! Jesus began the proclamation of the Gospel, and Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, took the Gospel worldwide. It all began on the road to Damascus. Jesus called him personally, “Saul, Saul” (Acts 9:4). Evangelization begins with a personal encounter with Jesus himself. It is impossible to proclaim Jesus with integrity and conviction without knowing him individually on a first name basis, a foundation that disciples of today build and maintain in prayer. Next, Jesus told Paul, “You will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). Evangelizers are both called by Jesus and receive their instructions from him. Evangelization is about promoting Jesus and his Gospel, not promoting one’s self. As John the Baptist correctly observed, and Paul put into practice, “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). Paul was energized by the Holy Spirit, a spiritual gift that he received when he was baptized (Acts 9:17,18). Evangelizers do not operate on their own power, but on divine power. When it comes to the desire and energy to proclaim Jesus and his Gospel, it is supplied by the Holy Spirit, grace given in baptism, reinforced in the sacrament of confirmation and renewed in prayer.
Community After preaching in Damascus, Paul traveled to Jerusalem where he tried to join the disciples (Acts 9:26). He knew from the outset that it was essential to be connected to the Christian community. Evangelizers are not “lone rangers.” The Gospel does not belong to any individual person. Proclamation must be done in union with the teaching authority of the apostles, subject to their guidance and approval, never reduced or embellished, and true to what Jesus said. Paul’s efforts at evangelization quickly met resistance. Some were afraid of him, others doubted him, and a few tried to kill him. It came as no surprise that he was op-
Father Michael Van Sloun
St. Paul preaches at the Areopagus in Athens.
posed by outsiders. The shock was the bitter resistance from insiders. Paul did not fold under pressure. He did not allow himself to be silenced by his critics. Instead, he renewed his commitment and forged ahead. Evangelization is not for the faint of heart. It will test the strength of our resolve. When we share the story of Jesus, strangers may ignore, ridicule or reject us. What is most hurtful is when members of our family or church
Paul’s strategy was to preach to Jews first, then to Gentiles. All staunchly clung to their own beliefs — the Jews to the Law, Gentiles to a pantheon of gods: Zeus and Apollo, Artemis and Athena, Aphrodite and Asclepius, to name a few. Paul went to synagogues and pagan temples alike, and he courageously told the story of Jesus to those who had never heard about him or did not believe in him. Paul traveled thousands of miles, some by boat, most by foot, and he braved storms, scorching heat, frigid cold and rugged terrain — all for the sake of the Gospel. If he could travel so far, maybe we can at least travel a short distance — to a next door neighbor’s home, school, work, store, theater or arena, and look for opportune moments to share our faith in Jesus with others. Finally, Paul endured many hardships for the sake of the Gospel. Five times he received 40 lashes minus one, he was beaten three times with rods, once he was stoned, and three times he was shipwrecked. He also suffered sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure, and terrible anxiety (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). Paul was incredibly resilient. The Gospel is such a treasure that Paul was irrepressible when it came to sharing it. We, too, will face obstacles, some which may seem insurmountable. Like Paul, we must not let anything keep us down, but carry on with the proclamation of Jesus, the Messiah and Lord, Savior and Redeemer, and the Son of God. Father Van Sloun is pastor of St. Stephen in Anoka.
Curriculum helps students understand range of pro-life issues By Chelsea Weikart Catholic News Service
The pro-life issue “is one of the most important issues our culture faces” and “we thought the time had come for someone to take it as seriously as math or science or English,” said one of the developers of a new curriculum with that aim. Camille Pauley is co-founder and president of Healing the Culture, a Seattle-area organization that has developed an ethics and philosophy pro-life curriculum called “Principles and Choices.” Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle gave the imprimatur (“let it be printed”) for the curriculum, which will be sent this month to 15 schools across the country. “We have not filled the need for a sophisticated and intelligent philosophical dialogue of why we are prolife,” Pauley told Catholic News Service in an interview in Washington. Pauley and Jesuit Father Robert J. Spitzer, former president of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., worked for five years to produce what is now a four-part curriculum for private schools focusing on philosophy, theology and ethics as a foundation for pro-life views.
Pro-life principles Developed from Father Spitzer’s book “Ten Universal Principles,” the curriculum covers 15 major themes, including happiness, success, human suffering, beginningof-life issues and human rights. “They can use these principles way beyond the prolife issues,” said Pauley. “These apply to any social justice issues such as poverty, euthanasia, immigration or capital punishment.” “When students understand what pro-life really means, and that it is the only scientifically founded and rationally based position and that pro-choice is actually very
irrational and very unscientific, they aren’t ashamed to be pro-life anymore,” said Pauley. Along with workbooks for the students, there is a teacher handbook, with references to Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, DVDs, PowerPoint presentations, minute-by-minute lectures, online worksheets, question-and-answer forums, and a play script with audio. Created as a supplement to existing classes, it can be taught in the recommended four-week period every year for four years, or condensed into one week, or all four books can be combined to be taught in one semester. Pauley said she designed the curriculum to be extremely flexible for teachers’ and parents’ wants and needs. Each of the four parts of the curriculum can be purchased individually, or parts can mixed and matched to fit differing educational needs. The curriculum was tested in two schools: Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Wash., and McGillToolen Catholic High School in Mobile, Ala. Lyn Kittridge, religious studies teacher at Eastside, has taught the curriculum and said it has been used in several classes including religion and Advanced Placement bioethics. “This curriculum is providing teachers with a way to teach about these important issues using universal principles that brings the discussion above the emotional level,” she told CNS in an interview conducted via email. Kittridge also said the curriculum adheres to a curriculum framework for developing catechetical materials for high school students that the U.S. Catholic bishops approved in 2007. “This curriculum gives [students] a way to understand these issues in terms of universal principles and not just emotional, political propaganda, and explain these issues
“This curriculum is providing
teachers with a way to teach about these important issues using universal principles that brings the discussion above the emotional level.
LYN KITTRIDGE Teacher who has used the curriculum
at a level above the emotional, political, fear-mongering that dominates the media’s discussion,” she said.
Catholic identity According to Bob Laird, director of programs for the Cardinal Newman Society, the curriculum “takes all of the pro-life issues and puts them in the proper context that will help improve the Catholic identity of any school.” Based in Manassas, Va., the society has as its mission “to help renew and strengthen Catholic identity” in Catholic education. Former family life director for the Diocese of Arlington, Va., Laird said in his visits to 175 Catholic schools, he hadn’t found a good curriculum dealing with pro-life issues. “It’s important for us to weave the Catholic identity into the entire fabric of the schools,” he added. Pauley said plans call for a version of the curriculum to be released for middle-schoolers early next year.
“Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.” St. Augustine
Arts & Culture Exploring our church and our world
NOVEMBER 8, 2012
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Women essayists say church teachings give them ‘true freedom’ By Maureen Boyle Catholic News Service
The book “Breaking Through, Catholic Women Speak for Themselves,” edited by Helen Alvare. Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, Ind., 2012) 180 pp. $16.95.
Helen Alvare, former U.S. bishops’ pro-life spokeswoman, is the co-author and editor of a new book, “Breaking Through, Catholic Women Speak for Themselves,” the idea for which came about, she said, from pages of notes she’s been jotting down for the past 15 years. However, the concept officially took off when the recently coined and politically charged phrase, “war on women” entered into the American lexicon, used by some to characterize opposition to a federal mandate requiring most religious employers to provide free coverage of contraceptives for employees. “It forced me to make a response,” said Alvare, who with several of her co-contributors recently talked about the book at the Catholic Information Center in downtown Washington. “This is a book that tries to be the intersection of faith and reason.”
Telling their stories
(CNS photo / Bob Roller)
Archbishop Nienstedt’s Column
“That They May All Be One” Every issue, page 2,
The Catholic Spirit
Inspiration for living the Catholic faith NOTICE Look for The Catholic Spirit advertising insert from
in all copies of this issue.
Alvare, a law professor at George Mason University Law School, said the book grew out of a women’s movement, Women Speak for Themselves, established to defend religious freedom and to put forth a more thoughtful and complete vision of women’s freedom. Published by Our Sunday Visitor, the book is a collection of essays on a range of topics, including dating, marriage, children, religious life, women as the family bread-
winner and single motherhood. The authors are Catholic women, writing about how their faith has shaped their lives, guided them through the secularism of today’s society, and how they embraced the true freedom found by living according to the rich teachings of the Catholic Church. “Nine Catholic women tell their stories of living out their faith joyfully, authentically and without fear,” said Alvare. In her chapter “Fear of Children,” Alvare writes about how when she was growing up and as a young adult, she wasn’t always fond of the idea of having children. That notion changed, she said, when she looked to the Catholic Church and its wisdom on sacrificial love, and it opened her “heart and mind to children.” “Living for myself — or as a couple — would be a terrible temptation toward materialism, ego and selfishness. Selfgiving to a sacrificial extent is just more likely to happen when it’s in your face, in your house, where you get relentless opportunities to rise above your own weaknesses, and to take care of others for decades,” Alvare writes. Kim Daniels, a mother of six, a lawyer and coordinator of Catholic Voices USA, who contributed an essay on “Beyond Politics — Everyday Catholic Life,” said Catholics can fight the tide of secularism and build up the culture through strong ties to one another in families, parishes and friendships. “In our families, build a domestic church where children learn beauty, goodness and truth. We need to root ourselves in a parish and build relationships” she said.
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT • NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Parish events Spaghetti dinner and silent auction benefit for Mike Vannett at Guardian Angels, Chaska — November 10: Dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. at 217 W. Second St. Silent auction until 7:30 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children. Take-out available. Financial donations to “Mike Vannett Benefit Fund” are being accepted at KleinBank, 301 Chestnut St., Chaska. Craft and bake sale at St. John the Baptist, Savage — November 10: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 12508 Lynne Ave. Features glasswork, candles, quilts and more. Holiday bazaar at Mary, Queen of Peace, Rogers — November 10: 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 21304 Church Ave. Coffee and muffins in the morning, lunch served at 11 a.m. ‘Courageous Women of Faith’ retreat at St. John the Baptist, Savage — November 10: 8:30 a.m. to noon at 4625 W. 125th St. facilitated by Mary Pedersen, director of adult faith formation for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa. Cost is $10 and pre-registration is suggested. For information or to register, email RE@STJOHNS-SAVAGE.ORG or call (952) 890-9434. Christmas bazaar and bake sale at St. Boniface, Minneapolis — November 10: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 629 N.E. Second St. Features games, raffles and refreshments, including roast beef sandwiches. Take-out available. Angel Auction at Holy Name of Jesus, Wayzata — November 10: After the 5 p.m. Mass at 155 County Road 24. Also includes a light supper, games and entertainment. Craft fair at St. Helena, Minneapolis — November 10: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3200 E. 44th
Don’t Miss Local restaurant offers free Thanksgiving dinners The Bierstube restaurant, which has locations in Oakdale and White Bear Lake, is offering a free Thanksgiving dinner to those in need. Between noon and 2 p.m. Nov. 22, dinner will be provided for those who wish to celebrate but find it difficult for various reasons. All are welcome. To make a reservation, call (651) 271-4961. The two locations are: 7121 10th St. N., Oakdale; 2670 E. County Road E., White Bear Lake. St. Features a variety of craft booths, bake sale, book fair and more. Gift Expo at St. Genevieve, Centerville — November 10: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 7087 Goiffon St. Features more than 50 vendors with thousands of items under $10. CCW holiday faire and craft sale at St. Joseph, Hopkins — November 10 and 11: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 to 11 a.m. Sunday at 1310 MainStreet. Homemade chili lunch for $5 Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bake sale at Blessed Sacrament, St. Paul — November 10 and 11: After the 4 p.m. Mass Saturday and after the 8:45 a.m. Mass Sunday at 1801 LaCrosse Ave. Proceeds go to the Adoration Chapel Fund. Bake sale of Lebanese pastries and breads at St. Maron, Minneapolis — November 10 and 11: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at 602 University Ave. N.E. Holiday bazaar at St. Alphonsus, Brooklyn Center — November 10 and 11: 8:30 a.m.
to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at 7025 Halifax Ave. N. Features handcrafted items, book sale and food. Christmas bazaar at St. Joseph of the Lakes, Lino Lakes — November 10 and 11: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday at 171 Elm St. Features a quilt raffle, craft sale and more. Christmas Boutique at St. Bonaventure, Bloomington — November 10 and 11: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to noon Sunday at 901 E. 90th St. Screening of the movie, “13th Day” at Holy Spirit, St. Paul — November 11: 6 p.m. at 515 Albert St. S. It is the story of the three children in Fatima, Portugal who were chosen by God to offer an urgent message of hope to the world in 1917. Free will offering. For information visit HTTP://SAINTPAULKNIGHTS.BLOGSPOT. COM/. 50-plus Second Sunday Supper event at St. Joan of Arc, Minneapolis — November 11: 5 p.m. social hour, 6 p.m. traditional Thanksgiving dinner and 7 p.m. program at 4537 Third Ave. S. Cost is $10. Call (952) 884-5165 or visit WWW.SECOND-SUNDAY.ORG. Turkey dinner and boutique at Holy Childhood, St. Paul — November 11: Dinner served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1435 Midway Parkway. ‘The Year of Faith: The Joy of Conversion for the New Evangelization’ at St. Helena, Minneapolis — November 13: 7:30 p.m. at 3204 E. 43rd St. Presented by Professor Douglas G. Bushman, director of the Institute for Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University in Florida. Cost is $5 per person, call (612) 729-7321. St. Thomas More Women’s group presents ‘Finding the Treasure in Our Gifts from God’ at The University Club, St. Paul — November 13: 7 p.m. at 420 Summit Ave. Author, speaker and certified dream coach, Betty Liedtke will speak. For information, call (612) 802-0960. ‘Our Supreme Role in the New Evangelization,’ presented at Transfiguration, Oakdale — November 15: 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 6133 15th St. N. Learn how to be a confident evangelizer by following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Free will offering.
Bingo, bake sale and craft fair at Holy Family Maronite, Mendota Heights — November 16 to 18: Lebanese dinner served from 5 p.m. Friday with bingo from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 1960 Lexington Ave. S. Bake sale and craft fair Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, visit WWW.HOLYFAMILYMARONITECHURCH.ORG. Minnesota Chesterton Conference at Sts. Peter and Paul, Loretto — November 17: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. at 145 Railway St. E. “Conference on Social Justice and Distributism,” presented by the Catholic Order of Foresters Central Agency and the American Chesterton Society. Cost is $75 for adults and $45 for students and includes lectures, snacks and meals. Registration required by Nov. 14. For information, visit WWW.CHESTERTON.ORG/EVENTS/MN-CHESTERTONCONF. ‘Gifts for all Seasons’ craft and bake sale at Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Paul — November 17 and 18: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at 401 Concord St. For information, call (651) 228-0506. Holiday boutique at St. George, Long Lake — November 17: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 133 N. Brown Road. Features crafters, decorate your own gingerbread cookies, homemade pies and more. Craft boutique at St. Stephen School, Anoka — November 17: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 506 Jackson St. Features 100 exhibitors, bake sale and new mini spa. For information, visit WWW.STSTEPHENCHURCH.ORG. Holiday funfest at St. Francis de Sales school building, St. Paul — November 17 and 18: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 426 S. Osceola Ave. Features games for kids, country store and more. Christmas Faire and brunch at St. Leonard of Port Maurice, Minneapolis — November 18: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 3949 Clinton Ave. S. Features brunch, craft fair and silent auction. ‘Tips for Surviving the Holidays’ at Mary, Mother of the Church, Burnsville — November 19: 6:45 to 8 p.m. at 3333 Cliff Road. Dick Obershaw will speak. There is no cost for the event. Obershaw will discuss how to face the holidays if you are dealing with life challenges.
Prayer/ liturgies Charismatic Mass at St. Albert the Great, Minneapolis — November 11: 2 p.m. at 3200 E. 29th St. Father Joe Gillespie will be the celebrant. Healing Mass at St. Mark, St. Paul — November 19: Rosary at 7 p.m. and Mass at 7:30 p.m. at 2001 Dayton Ave. Father Jim Livingston will be the celebrant. Healing Mass at St. Joseph, Hopkins — November 20: Rosary at 7 p.m. and Mass at 7:30 p.m. at 1310 Mainstreet. Father Jim Livingston will be the celebrant.
Calendar Submissions DEADLINE: Noon Thursday, seven days before the anticipated Thursday date of publication. Recurring or ongoing events must be submitted each time they occur. LISTINGS: Accepted are brief notices of upcoming events hosted by Catholic parishes and institutions. If the Catholic connection is not clear, please emphasize it in your press release. ITEMS MUST INCLUDE the following to be considered for publication in the calendar: • Time and date of event. • Full street address of event. • Description of event. • Contact information in case of questions. E-MAIL: SPIRITCALENDAR@ARCHSPM.ORG. (No attachments, please.) FAX: (651) 291-4460. MAIL: “Calendar,” The Catholic Spirit, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT • NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Many see ‘Gaudium et Spes’ as Vatican II’s crowning achievement ‘Joy and hope’
The following is part of a series marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962.
This dialogue involves authentic respect and concern for those outside the visible boundaries of the church. The first two Latin words are traditionally the unofficial name of a council document and are carefully chosen. The document’s first words, “Gaudium et Spes,” mean “joy and hope.” They signal the church’s solidarity with all humanity since it identifies its own hopes and joys with those of all people. The key theme uniting all the parts of this extensive document is respect for human dignity as the foundation of all politics, economics and culture. After all, what is the ground of human dignity? It is the biblical truth that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God and that God actually became man, further ennobling human nature. The council provides an unabashedly religious and Christ-centered answer to humanity’s quest for self-discovery: It is only Jesus who reveals to us who we are as human beings. In No. 41, the document lays out an authentic Christian humanism as opposed to a false, atheist humanism: “Whoever follows after Christ, the perfect man, becomes himself more of a man.” At the heart of the threats to human dignity and freedom, the council is not afraid to identify sin and even Satan. The document notes, in No. 10, that underneath the surface of cultural and economic turmoil and violence between nations there is a spiritual battle raging that is rooted in inner conflict: Imbalances in the modern world flow from the more basic imbalances
By Marcellino D’Ambrosio Catholic News Service
The Second Vatican Council was intended to be a “pastoral” council. It did not set out to define new dogmas. Its goal was to equip the church to restate the Gospel in such a way that the secular world could recognize it as relevant to its deepest needs. This is why many council fathers believed that the longest document of the council, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (“Gaudium et Spes”), was Vatican II’s crowning achievement. It was addressed not only to Catholics or even Christians, but, for the first time in conciliar history, to all men and women of good will. An important theme of the document comes from Matthew 16:3 by way of Pope John XXIII — the church must interpret “the signs of the times.” The council viewed these signs as a mixed bag of modern life ripe with challenges and opportunities. It therefore modeled for Catholics the proper sort of conversation we are to have with contemporary society in which a critical dialogue begins with sincere listening. We don’t listen, however, with an eye to changing the Gospel to suit modern tastes, but to take from society new questions that we can bring to the sources of our faith. This way we will rediscover neglected dimensions of our own tradition, which we can in turn offer to a world in urgent need of solutions.
PLEASE TURN TO RESPECT ON PAGE 20
Plans for new regional school are under way CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 St. Joseph campus became home to the Main Street School of the Performing Arts, a public charter high school. After the new regional school is formed, the St. John’s school building will continue to be used by the parish for the foreseeable future, Father Liekhus said. The new school’s committee members and parish leaders are hoping to learn from the success of Community of Saints Regional Catholic School in West St. Paul, which launched its inaugural school year this fall. The school — a collaboration of St. Matthew in St. Paul, St. Michael in West St. Paul, St. John Vianney in South St. Paul and Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Paul — had a waiting list for enrollment at the start of the school year. In the meantime, Father Liekhus said, keeping school families informed about the regional school’s progress is a priority. School families are updated in a variety of ways, including through newsletters, bulletin updates, email blasts and weekly flyers sent home with students, he said. “I think most parents are concerned about losing the identity and culture of the respective schools,” said Joann Meyer, a member of the IHM School Advisory Council and co-chair of the regional school’s advancement committee. “The [regional] School Advisory Council and the board are very sensitive to this issue, and the committees will continue to work hard to make sure that we respectfully combine the cultures of St. John’s, St. Joseph’s and IHM into one regional school,” said Meyer, who has three children currently attending the IHM school. “It feels as though the support for the new regional school increases every day.”
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“Our faith is truly personal only if it is communal: It can be my faith only if it lives and moves in the ‘we’ of the church, only if it is our faith, the common faith of the one church.” Pope Benedict XVI
Overheard THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
Quotes from this week’s newsmakers
NOVEMBER 8, 2012 “One is to continue the sharing of the sacraments and preaching the Gospel in as normal a way as possible. . . . A couple of people said to me, ‘It’s nice to come back here and see things as normal as possible.’ To see the church functioning is important to them. . . . The second thing is to do whatever the church can do to help the wider Long Beach community.” — Msgr. Donald Beckmann, pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr in Long Beach, N.Y., describing his most important tasks in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy
Photo by Theodore Brakob
Seminarians carry candles through campus while participating in the Eighth Annual Borromeo Weekend candlelight procession Nov. 2.
Borromeo Weekend of prayer draws hundreds In honor of the feast day of St. Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of seminarians, more than 350 people, including seminarians, gathered Nov. 2 to 4 at the University of St. Thomas and joined in a 40-hour weekend of prayer. The eighth annual Borromeo Weekend began with a Mass in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the school’s north campus commemorating the faithful departed, followed by a candlelight procession to St. The Mary’s Chapel on Catholic Spirit the south campus. The weekend included Liturgy of the Hours and Cor Jesu, a monthly event hosted in St. Mary’s Chapel which included eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation. The event began in 2005 as a way to increase fraternity between seminarians attending St. John Vianney College Seminary and the graduate-level St.
Paul Seminary School of Divinity and has grown into a community-wide event and is open to the public.
Joncas to be artist-inresidence at St. Thomas Theologian, author and composer Father Jan Michael Joncas has been named an artist-in-residence at the University of St. Thomas and fellow of St. Thomas’ Center for Catholic Studies. A 1975 graduate of UST and faculty member since 1991, Father Joncas will no longer teach courses but will now be free to do research and write, compose and lecture. He will maintain an office in Sitzmann Hall. Father Joncas recently had a volume of hymn texts accepted for publication by Oregon Catholic Press. He is currently recording 12 new works of liturgical music that he composed and arranged, and writing three books.
Knights establish Father Vakoc assembly The Knights of Columbus established the Father Timothy H. Vakoc Assembly 3373, the organization’s first assembly in Europe, during a recent ceremony at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Also during the ceremony, known as “exemplification,” 120 men, active duty military personnel, Department of Defense workers and retirees based in Germany, Italy and England entered into the Fourth Degree, the highest degree of the order, according to an Oct. 16 press release. Father Vakoc, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Minnesota Army chaplain, was seriously injured in Iraq in 2004 and died June 20, 2009. He became a military chaplain in 1996 and was stationed in Germany, Bosnia and Korea before he was called up for active duty in Iraq in 2003.
“Preachers should be aware, in an appropriate way, of what their people are watching on television, what kind of music they are listening to, which websites they find appealing, and which films they find compelling. References to the most popular cultural expressions — which at times can be surprisingly replete with religious motifs — can be an effective way to engage the interest of those on the edge of faith.” — Excerpt from “Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily,” a new proposed document to be considered by the U.S. bishops at the fall general meeting Nov. 12-15 in Baltimore
“He was quiet, sort of an ordinary priest, yet he was able to energize and mobilize an entire country to believe they could be free.” — Gary Chartrand, executive producer of “Messenger of the Truth,” a documentary debuting this month about Father Jerzy Popieluszko, the Polish priest who was killed in 1984 for his outspoken criticism of the Polish communist government
Respect for human dignity is key theme of ‘Gaudium et Spes’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 rooted in the human heart. The salvation won by Christ can heal this inner wound and the gift of the Holy Spirit can empower people to live Christ’s law of love. In one of its most famous passages, “Gaudium et Spes” points out the true nature of love. Since God is a communion of persons and we are made in God’s image and likeness, man “cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.”
The gift of self These are the principles laid out in the first part of the
document. The second part of the document applies these principles to various areas of human life in this tumultuous, modern world. When it comes to marriage and family, the gift of the self is at the heart of the marital covenant. It explains why a total and exclusive self-giving can never have recourse to abortion, infanticide or artificial contraception. In economics and culture, human dignity and solidarity dictate the protection of private property. But these truths also impose the obligation to eliminate barriers to the cultural and economic development of poor individuals and nations, and disallow the concentration of the world’s wealth in the hands of a select few.
When it comes to war and peace, human dignity forbids the use of weapons of mass destruction and human solidarity obliges us to find effective structures to guarantee international dialogue and a way of peacefully resolving disputes. “Gaudium et Spes” models for us what Blessed Pope John Paul II later labeled “the new evangelization” — a loving, respectful sharing of Christ as the answer that sheds liberating light on every practical problem of modern life. D’Ambrosio is co-founder of Crossroads Productions, an apostolate of Catholic renewal and evangelization.