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Newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Helping retired religious


Ireland: The other Holy Land

The Catholic Spirit


News with a Catholic heart

December 1, 2011

The power of prayer

Job market: Good news, bad news Catholic churches offer practical and spiritual help for the unemployed

Pro-lifers say vigils helped to bring end to abortions at Regions Hospital

By Pat Norby

By Dave Hrbacek

The Catholic Spirit

The Catholic Spirit

Thanks to the efforts of job coaches like Colin Chisholm, Janet Grove watched her stack of manila folders with the names of successfully employed individuals grow to seven inches this year. “Several people over the past few months have gotten work and they have been working with Colin,” said Grove, who oversees the Employment Ministry program at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Grove creates a folder for every person who enters the program, with information on his or her job skills and needs.

Brian Gibson of Pro-Life Action Ministries was reading the Liturgy of the Hours Nov. 25 just after getting a stunning piece of news — Regions Hospital in St. Paul was going to close its abortion facility Dec. 9. After working for the last three years to organize 40 Days for Life prayer vigils at the hospital, Gibson, executive director of the pro-life organization, finally got the result he and thousands of others had been praying for. “Psalm 35 talks about how those who engage in wickedness seem to be prospering, but God will not let them prosper for too long,” said Gibson, a member of St. Michael in Prior Lake. “I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God moves and works [because of prayer]. And, I believe that he heard our prayers and that’s why this has happened.”


The hospital, in announcing its decision, said the number of abortions has been decreasing and that other clinics in the Twin Cities provide similar services. But Gibson is convinced that pro-life efforts both inside and outside the hospital played a role in its decision to end abortion services outside rare “emergency” situations. He also noted that this event marks a milestone in the fight

Reaching a milestone

HELP WANTED? More on pages 18-19 to help people who are seeking work. ■ How one program works ■ Spiritual impact ■ Events ■ Job clubs

Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Colin Chisholm, a volunteer job coach with the Basilica of St. Mary's Employment Ministry program, talks with client Greg Carlson Nov. 28 at the Basilica.



New words, same Mass

Minnesotans make it happen at NCYC

Local parishes report few difficulties with the transition to using the new translation of the Roman Missal. — See page 3

A quarterback’s Advent lesson What can we learn from Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos about not being afraid to show our faith? — See page 10

Celebrating St. Mary, St. Nick Learn more about the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and St. Nicholas, which the church marks early this month. — See pages 2 and 14

From directing video to “animating” the crowd, locals played a big role at the recent National Catholic Youth Conference. — See page 5

Pope meets with U.S. bishops Pope Benedict XVI addressed sex abuse, evangelization in meeting with New York bishops. — See page 8



Recognizing God’s graces this Advent

That They May All Be One Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

The Blessed Virgin Mary a model for every believer

As we enter another season of Advent, it is fitting that we begin this season of hope and anticipation with the observance of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Dec. 8. A few years ago, I was celebrating this feast day in a school visit to St. Philip’s Catholic Grade School in Litchfield. At Mass that morning, I asked the assembled students, “What would have happened if Mary would have said, ‘No,’ to the Archangel Gabriel?” One little third-grader raised his hand and with a very sad face answered, “We wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas!” And how right he was. Mary’s freely given response to God’s will was a monumental first step on the road to redemption. The Scriptures constantly remind us that God has a plan for our salvation and that plan for each of us can be known through prayerful discernment as Mary’s was.

Born without sin When a human being is conceived in his mother’s womb, it is not just a miracle of natural life. At that moment, God creates another immortal soul. And this momentous occasion is so secret that no one can be precisely certain as to when it takes place. At a particular point in time, in the typiPLEASE TURN TO GOD’S ON PAGE 6

The Catholic Spirit

“Mary’s freely given response to God’s will was a monumental first step on the road to redemption. The Scriptures constantly remind us that God has a plan for our salvation and that plan for each of us can be known through prayerful discernment as Mary’s was.


Archbishop’s schedule ■ Saturday, Dec. 3: 6 p.m., Bloomington, Knights of Columbus Marian Hall: Address to Knights of Columbus state convention. ■ Sunday, Dec. 4: 9:30 a.m., Minneapolis, Church of the Ascension: Sunday Liturgy and brunch. 4 p.m., St. Paul, The St. Paul Seminary: Christmas concert. ■ Monday, Dec. 5: 8:30 a.m., St. Paul, Archbishop’s Residence: Planning for “lectio divina” at the University of St. Thomas. ■ Tuesday, Dec. 6: 8:30 a.m., St. Paul, Archbishop’s Residence: Scheduling meeting with staff. 9:30 a.m., St. Paul, Chancery: Archdiocesan Comprehensive Assignment Board meeting. 11:30 a.m., St. Paul, Leo C. Byrne Residence: Annual Christmas luncheon with senior priests. 2:30 p.m., St. Paul, Chancery: Archbishop’s Cabinet meeting. ■ Wednesday, Dec. 7: 11 a.m., St. Paul, Chancery: Minnesota Catholic Conference board of directors meeting. ■ Thursday, Dec. 8: 9:30 a.m., Mendota Heights, St. Thomas Academy: Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. 3:30 p.m., St. Paul, Archbishop’s Residence: High tea with the St. Paul Winter Carnival royalty.

Big on service, not on waste

The Catholic Spirit’s mission is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It seeks to inform, educate, evangelize and foster a spirit of community within the Catholic Church by disseminating news in a professional manner and serving as a forum for discussion of contemporary issues.


Materials credited to CNS copyrighted by Catholic News Service. All other materials copyrighted by Catholic Spirit Publishing Company. Subscriptions: $29.95 per year Senior 1-year: $24.95 To subscribe: (651) 291-4444 Display Advertising: (651) 291-4444 Classified advertising: (651) 290-1631 Published bi-weekly by the Catholic Spirit Publishing Company, a non-profit Minnesota Corporation, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 291-4444, FAX (651) 291-4460. Periodicals postage paid at St. Paul, MN, and additional post offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Catholic Spirit, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102. e-mail: USPS #093-580

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w.warn ersstellian

Father Jerry Fenton, who was ordained in 2000 at 62 years old, died Nov. 17. He was 73. He was born Feb. 18, 1938, into a Baptist family. Father Fenton earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1960, a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1964 and a law degree from Harvard in 1967. Before his ordination in 2000, he told The Catholic Spirit that in the 1980s he had a faith crisis that prompted him to read FATHER FENTON spiritual books, which drew him toward the teachings of the Catholic Church. Father Fenton left his law practice in 1987 and spent three years working for Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala. He joined the Catholic Church in 1992 and began to discern a call to the priesthood. He entered the St. Paul Seminary in 1996. After his ordination, Father Fenton served at St. Pius X in White Bear Lake and then at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul. He retired from active ministry June 15, 2006. A funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 23 at St. Pius X, with interment at Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights.

New health care directive available


Visit Edina Saint Paul Woodbury Apple Valley Maple Grove Mpls. Outlet Rochester

Father Jerry Fenton took long road to the priesthood

The Minnesota Catholic Conference recently updated the Minnesota Catholic Health Care Directive on its website. The MCC offers the directive as a service to Catholics so that they can begin conversations concerning end-of-life decisions. The directive update is in light of the Holy See’s clarification concerning artificial nutrition and hydration as ordinary care. The changes clarify that food and water are not considered extraordinary medical care. Additionally, MCC updated the health care directive and companion guide to make both documents more userfriendly. Please visit MCC’s website at HTTP:// MNCC.ORG/RESOURCES/CATHOLIC-HEALTH-CAREDIRECTIVE to view both the updated health care directive and guide. If you would like to order hard copies, please contact: Minnesota Catholic Conference, 475 University Ave. W. St. Paul, MN 55116; (651) 227-8777; or WWW.MNCC. ORG.

Vol. 16 — No. 24

BOB ZYSKOWSKI Associate publisher


.co m

The Catholic Spirit at 651-291-4444

“We should use the opportunity provided by this new translation to deepen our appreciation of the Mass and the importance it holds for our lives as Catholics.” Archbishop John Nienstedt

Local News from around the archdiocese

DECEMBER 1, 2011

The Catholic Spirit


Parishes report few problems with new Mass texts Transition offers an opportunity to think more deeply about Liturgy, churches contacted by The Catholic Spirit said

holy church.”) “Otherwise, people have been very attentive,” he said, adding that it may take several months to build a comfort level with the new text. “It’s off to a very good start in our parish for the people and both [Father Peter Richards, the pastor] and myself in terms of our preparation for the Mass and our praying the Mass.”

By Susan Klemond For The Catholic Spirit

As Catholics of the archdiocese prayed in new and unfamiliar ways at Mass last weekend, parish leaders say introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal has enhanced attentiveness and worship even though it will take time to break habits developed during 40 years with the old text.

Changes in music

While congregations learned prayers and adjusted to music settings reflecting the new text that Englishspeaking Catholics worldwide began using in liturgies for the first Sunday of Advent, many area parishes also appreciated the chance to slow down and think more about meeting Christ. At St. Michael in Prior Lake, a sense of unity developed during the liturgies, despite a few minor mistakes, said Angie O’Brien music director. “There was kind of a renewed sense of worship because everybody was just attentive and listening and absorbing it in a different way,” said O’Brien, who also directs the Saturday teen choir at Pax Christi in Eden Prairie. “It kind of breathed some new life into our worship.” The mistakes also were minor at St. Michael in St. Michael, according to associate priest Father Nathaniel Meyers. For one thing, as he exhorted congregations with, “The Lord be with you,” he heard the familiar “And also with you,” along with the new response: “And with your spirit.” Father Meyers also noted a 50-50 split in those who remembered to add the new word “holy” at the new invitation to prayer before the preface dialogue. (“May the Lord accept the sacrifice . . . and the good of all his


Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Dorothy Zoch uses a laminated card to follow the changes in the wording of some prayers during Mass Nov. 26 at St. Ambrose of Woodbury.

What do you think? How did Sunday Mass go at your parish with the new prayer texts? Read editor Joe Towalski’s observations and comment with your own at CATHOLICHOTDISH.COM.

Use of liturgical music adjusted for the new translation also went well at St. Michael in Prior Lake and Pax Christi, O’Brien said. Both parishes used revised Mass settings but have introduced a new setting for the Gloria, which is not prayed during Advent. When St. Michael’s parishioners are used to the new text, O’Brien said she plans to introduce new Mass settings. The new text “really feels like it’s quite manageable and it’s not as difficult as it may seem or as some sources make it sound like it is,” she said. Bernice Mullen, a parishioner at St. Joseph in West St. Paul said she was pleased with the new translation. “I think this is absolutely wonderful,” said Mullen, who with her husband, Harold, has been a parishioner since 1966. “I could hardly wait for it. I like the change in the level of wording used to put God on his level and not keep him on ours.” It’s good that the text is more true to the Latin even if it seems wordier, said Elsa Dosh, also a St. Joseph parishioner. She added that it helps slow down the congregation and keep them on their toes. “There are a lot more words I’m not familiar with,” she said. For Catholics who remember the Latin text of the Mass, the new translation is somewhat of a return to that, said Harold Mullen, who attended a class this fall to understand the Mass and prepare for the change. “To us it’s going back to what we grew up with, that was our strength,” he said. “Now we’re coming to a point where we’re going back to that.”

Sharing and Caring Hands is CELEBRATING ITS 27TH YEAR OF HELPING PEOPLE IN NEED, Thanks to your generosity! In today’s hard economic times many people are poor through no fault of their own and need your help. • Your donations provide: • Meals • Shelter • Food • Clothing • Household goods • Beds • Toys • Medical & Dental Services • Glasses • Showers • Shoes • Help with Emergency Needs • A Safe Haven for People Living on the Streets. • Your generosity allows us to help thousands of people each week. • 93% of your donations go to serve the needs of the poor. We take no government funding and rely solely on your donations.

DID YOU KNOW. . . • Sharing and Caring Hands provides thousands of meals each week to the hungry adults and children in need. • Our Mary’s Place transitional family shelter has 92 free apartments for families in need of shelter. On average we house 385 children and 130 adults each night. They stay long enough to get back on their feet. • We paid for over 20,000 nights of shelter last year for single men and women in pay-to-stay shelters and families in area motels.

To learn more and see what a difference your tax-deductible donations make, or to donate online, visit our website: Send your tax-deductible donation to: Sharing and Caring Hands, 525 No. 7th St., Mpls., MN 55405 Name______________________________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________ City/State/Zip _______________________________________________ ■ Check ■ Visa ■ MC Card#_________________________ Exp.__/__/__

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• We provided eye exams and glasses for over 600 people last year, over 1/2 of them were children referred to us by schools. • We gave thousands of showers last year to people with no other access to bathing facilities. • We provide over a thousand beds each year to adults and children that would otherwise be sleeping on the floor. • We gave out over 11,500 bags of groceries last year to people in need.


Please help the poor and unfortunate. Assist the families and give help to the children.




Retired religious men and women continue to need your help The Catholic Spirit Everyone at St. Paul’s Monastery is striving to keep the aging Benedictine sisters at home in the monastery’s health care center, said Sandra Carlson, monastery finance manager. Sister Lucia Schwickerath said, “Our sisters have worked for years and years for the betterment of our Catholic people and our church, and I, as a major superior, really want them to have enough comfort at the end of life so they are comfortable moving into the next world.” Carlson said that a $19,000 grant from the National Religious Retirement Office, last year, helped pay some costs for the 11 sisters in the health care center and for the 33 other sisters who live at the monastery. Many of the sisters are no longer able to work and receive just $300 a month from Social Security. “They were not paid directly so they don’t have a personal income history that reflects how much they worked throughout their lives,” Carlson said. “If they worked for another Catholic organization, which most of them did, it didn’t get seen as personal income, so it impacts their Social Security.” Sister Lucia said that the Benedictine community, like most religious communities, have fewer younger sisters earning salaries, so care of the elderly is a “big financial challenge.” Carlson said that the grants it has received — though not every year —from the Retirement Fund for Religious are appreciated.

Collection is Dec. 10-11 The annual appeal to support retired religious women and men will be collected in most parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and across the country during the weekend of Dec. 10-

Priests reflect on service provided by religious “I am a product of Incarnation Catholic Grade School and De LaSalle High School in the Twin Cities, where I learned from the Sinsinawa Dominicans and the Christian Brothers. I have worked in parishes alongside many dedicated religious from various orders including the Sisters of St. Joseph, Presentations, Franciscans, Benedictines and School Sisters of Notre Dame. Our parishes have enjoyed their services over many years. Most of the communities do not have a great number of incoming vocations to help bear the costs of those who need to retire. Be generous to these dedicated servants of the church.” — Father Chuck Brambilla, pastor, St. Timothy, Blaine

Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Benedictine Sister Monica Raway has her blood pressure taken before a physical therapy session with Merryn Felhaber of Heartland Home Care Nov. 29 at St. Paul’s Monastery in Maplewood.

11, said Sister Midge Breiter, archdiocesan coordinator for the Retirement Fund for Religious. People often ask why this collection, which began in 1988, has continued be-

Benedictine B enedictine Heritage Heritage JJourney ourney tto o IItaly taly Led byy Frr. Geoffrey ff y Fecht Fe and Frr. Eric Hollas

April 10-21, 2012


Tw welve-day tourr, including includin air travel from Minneapolis/St. Paul, four urr-star hotels, and most meals

For more more information: Father Geoffrey Fecht, OSB Saint John’s Abbey Collegeville, Minnesota Phone: (320) 363-3818 Email:

ttravel r av e l tours t ou r s

yond the originally intended 10 years, she said. The answer is that, more than 20 years PLEASE TURN TO SKYROCKETING ON PAGE 6

“I have deep and abiding gratitude for religious women. During grade school, the Sisters of St. Joseph taught me an appreciation of prayer and of music that continues to sustain me today. At Church of the Ascension, the Sisters of St. Joseph played an integral role in the education of children. Today, the Visitation Sisters offer their presence and prayer in North Minneapolis and are a light of hope for me, as well as many others. Thank you, sisters — for what you did then, for what you do now, and what you will do in the future!” — Father Michael O’Connell, pastor, Ascension, Minneapolis

Hearing Tests Set for Senior Citizens Announcement — Free electronic hearing tests will be given all next week Monday thru Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. The tests have been arranged for anyone who suspects they are not hearing clearly. People who generally feel they can hear, but cannot understand words clearly are encouraged to come in for the test, which uses the latest electronic equipment. Everyone, especially those over age 55 should have an electronic hearing test once

a year. Demonstrations of the latest devices to improve clarity of speech will be programmed using a computer to your particular needs — on the spot — after the tests. See (and HEAR) for yourself if newlydeveloped methods of correction will help you understand words better. Tests will be performed at one of 20 convenient Greater Twin Cities Avada Hearing Care locations.

Call 1-877-328-9161 ©2011 HHM, Inc. 304




Minnesotans make it happen ‘behind the scenes’ at NCYC By Kathryn Elliott The Catholic Spirit

As video director for the National Catholic Youth Conference this past weekend in Indianapolis, Brad Jacobsen was responsible for 11 cameras feeding six jumbo screens with 14.5 hours of filming during five separate events. Roughly 25,000 people attended the Nov. 17-19 conference that was livestreamed to the Vatican and 90 countries — and Jacobsen, a parishioner at St. Ambrose of Woodbury who shoots video for the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, led the production team. He and another Twin Cities resident have been directing the filming aspects of the biennial NCYC since 1995. In an area filled with a bank of monitors and switchboards, Jacobsen cued an operator to prepare to change what was showing on one of the large screens in Lucas Oil Stadium. “Standby, preset 20,” he said into his headset. Jacobsen and his crew follow a detailed script for the conference’s program, including 32 preset camera positions or “looks” for the screen at a given time. Camera four, for example, was always pointed at the choir soloists. But not everything can be planned ahead, he said. It’s the job of his team to anticipate if a speaker on the main stage is about to turn so they can cut to another camera. During the Mass, honing in on important visual cues such as the processional cross during the opening procession helps

bring the action to the whole stadium, Jacobsen said. Now that he’s worked eight conferences, the high-profile nature of the event isn’t too intimidating for Jacobsen. Does live streaming to the Vatican stress him out? “Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t,” Jacobsen said. Even though it’s a far cry from his day job making and editing short videos for the University of St. Thomas, Jacobsen enjoys taking vacation time every two years to reunite with core members of the production team who return to NCYC like he does.

‘Animating’ the crowd Youth who came to NCYC experienced music and worship in Lucas Oil Stadium as well as breakout sessions in the Indiana Convention Center. But 82 youth from 28 dioceses across the country got a special privilege: reading, singing and dancing on stage and on camera as “animators” for the conference. The young people auditioned by sending a video of themselves performing. Two students from Minnesota made the cut: Lauren Effertz, a Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School senior from Good Shepherd in Golden Valley, and Anna Rupp, a Minnetonka High School freshman from St. Therese in Deephaven. For her audition tape, Effertz chose to read a monologue based on Mary Magdalene’s role in the Stations of the Cross.

Lauren Effertz, right, a BenildeSt. Margaret’s High School senior from Good Shepherd in Golden Valley and Anna Rupp, a Minnetonka High School freshman from St. Therese in Deephaven, served as “animators” by reading, singing and dancing at the National Catholic Youth Conference. Photo courtesy of Colleen Sauter



at the Guild

Christmas poster contest

I will keep the Christmas spirit alive all year by . . .

The Catholic Spirit is sponsoring a Christmas poster contest for youths in grades one through 12 who are enrolled in the archdiocese’s Catholic schools and religious education programs. Home-schoolers may also enter. Prizes will be awarded to individuals producing winning entries.

Sat. Dec. 3rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring your CAMERA for a picture with ST. NICK! FREE give aways for the kids Festivities next door (La Patisserie) including FREE lunch for the kids! December Store Hours Monday – Thursday, 9:00 to 8:00; Friday and Saturday, 9:00am to 5:30pm Sundays before Christmas — open 11am - 4pm 1554 Randolph Ave. • St. Paul, MN 55105 (651) 690-1506 • (800) 652-9767 (toll free)

■ Artists are asked to finish the phrase: “I will keep the Christmas spirit alive all year by __________.” The completed sentence must appear with a picture on each entry. ■ Artists may use markers, crayons, colored pencils and/or paints. ■ Entries must be submitted on 8.5-by-11-inch paper. ■ The artist’s name, address, telephone number, grade and parish should appear on the back of each entry. A first-place prize will be awarded in each of four categories: grades one through three, grades four through six, grades seven through nine, and grades 10 through 12. The winning entries, along with honorable mentions, will be published in The Catholic Spirit’s special Christmas edition, Dec. 22. A panel of Catholic Spirit judges will select the winners based on artistic skill, creativity and reproducibility. Each winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Entries must be postmarked by Friday, December 9. Posters should be sent to: Christmas Poster Contest • The Catholic Spirit • 244 Dayton Ave • St. Paul, MN 55102.

Questions: Call editor Joe Towalski at (651) 291-4455, or e-mail him at TOWALSKIJ@ARCHSPM.ORG.



Skyrocketing health care costs collide with aging communities CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 later, religious communities continue to need financial assistance to take care of their aging members, she said. The cost of medical supplies and skilled care, even when provided by a religious community, continues to increase. In 2010 alone, the total cost of care for women and men religious past age 70 exceeded $1 billion. Nearly 5,000 religious required skilled care. At the same time, however, religious communities strive to minimize costs. In fact, the National Religious Retirement Office reports that the average cost of care for religious past age 70 dropped slightly this year. “The real challenge for many religious communities is a lack of retirement savings,” explained NRRO executive director Sister Janice Bader, a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Mo. “Most senior religious worked for years for small stipends. There were no re-

tirement plans.”

two-for-one hospital beds, she said.

Midge said.

As religious continue to age, fewer members are able to serve in compensated ministry, leading to a sharp decrease in income. By 2019, NRRO data projects that retired religious will outnumber wageearning religious by nearly four to one.

In the much smaller St. Clare’s Monastery of the Infant Jesus in Bloomington, the Franciscan Poor Clare Nuns don’t have enough members to care for their own elders, Sister Midge said. That community uses any grant money received from the collection to help pay for a sister’s care in a nursing home, she said.

Religious communities apply to the national office for a grant. The amount of the grant given to a community is determined by the number of religious, income, expenses and the type of care needed, she explained.

Local religious aided At the School Sisters of Notre Dame Monastery in Mankato, about 300 members of the community — many of whom serve or have served in the archdiocese — receive regular care for their physical needs at the monastery’s health care residence, said nursing director Ruth Woitas. Expenses vary for each sister, depending on whether skilled care or assisted care is needed.

Grants given

Medical supplies make up the largest expense, Woitas said. Although every effort is made to stay within budget each year, sometimes an item goes on sale, like

All donations made in a parish or mailed to the archdiocesan office are sent to the National Religious Retirement Office in Washington, D.C., Sister

Money from the collection is also used by the national office to present workshops for religious institutes to help them plan for the future. The workshops help communities assess their current retirement needs, allocate assets realistically and develop materials aimed at addressing retirement wisely.

the other

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IRELAND: Holy Land

Each community determines how that money will be spent on the medical care of its retired members. As a result of the 2010 collection, which garnered $26.7 million, the NRRO was able to distribute $23 million to religious communities to help support the day-today care of senior members. An additional $2.7 million was allocated toward initiatives targeted for religious communities with the greatest needs. Ninety-three cents of every dollar aids elderly religious. For more information, visit



God’s grace is a pure gift to us CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 cally secret manner of all human conception, Mary was conceived like every other human being. But unlike any other human being born of man and woman before or since, Mary was born without sin, by a special act of God. As a result, she was redeemed in anticipation of her merits of the cross of her son, Jesus Christ. It was the first preliminary preparation for the eternal word of God to share in humanity so that the privilege of her Immaculate Conception, as she is unique in her vocation to be the mother of God and the new Eve of the mystery of salvation, is a model for every believer in the way God’s grace works in each of our lives. God’s grace is a pure gift and given by God totally at his initiative. The result of this divine action in the depths of our being draws us to walk closer with God and gives us the strength and inclination to carry out whatever God wishes to accomplish in our lives. Until it begins to manifest itself by our virtuous behavior, this favor of God is something secret and unknown. And, as powerful as God’s grace is, it can never overwhelm our God-given free will.

Grace in our lives

With Father Dennis Dempsey

September 21 — October 2, 2012 For further information, please contact:

Martie McMahon The Catholic Spirit Phone: 651-291-4441


While Mary’s favor from God was unique, it was not exclusive. Each of us receives the grace of salvation, each of us receives the grace of our vocation, each of us receives countless graces every day of our lives — graces we are free to accept or ignore. During this grace-filled season of Advent, I urge you to recognize the powerful graces of God active in the silent depths of your being. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us imitate her in responding more completely to God’s grace in our lives. And may Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, help and protect our beloved country during this time of great challenges. May God bless you!

Visit us at

“There is no good future for humanity or for the earth unless we educate everyone toward a style of life that is more responsible toward the created world.” Pope Benedict XVI

Nation/World DECEMBER 1, 2011

News from around the U.S. and the globe

New Kosovo cathedral

The Catholic Spirit


Briefly Pakistan to review list of obscene words that includes ‘Jesus Christ’ A Pakistani telecom agency backed off a ban on “obscene” words — including the name Jesus Christ — in text messages on mobile phones. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority released a list of more than 1,600 words that it considered to be “vulgar, obscene or harmful” and ordered phone companies to block text messages containing those words. However, an official from the authority told Agence France-Presse that it would review and shorten the list before issuing the ban. Father Nadeem John Shakir, secretary of the commission for social communications for the Pakistani bishops’ conference, told the Vatican missionary news agency Fides Nov. 21 that “we understand the desire to protect the minds of young people but why include the name of Christ? What is obscene? Banning it is a violation of our right to evangelize and hurts the feelings of Christians.”

CNS photo / Hazir Reka, Reuters

Men work on the roof of a tower at the construction site of The Cathedral of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata in Pristina, Kosovo, Nov. 19. The new cathedral will be the tallest building in the capital and large enough to hold 2,000 churchgoers. Mother Teresa was born into an ethnic Albanian family in Skopje, in present-day Macedonia.

Death penalty opponents praise Oregon governor By Ed Langlois Catholic News Service

Catholic and other opponents of the death penalty praised Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for placing a moratorium on the use of the death penalty for the rest of his term. “Those of us who respect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death applaud this decision,” said Portland Archbishop John Vlazny. “This is what we have been praying for and asking for,” said Ron Steiner, a member of Queen of Peace Parish in Salem, Ore., and an organizer for Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Other options Kitzhaber announced his decision Nov. 22, saying he regretted allowing two men to be executed during his first time in office in the 1990s. A Democrat, he was out of political life for eight years before being elected again in November 2010. His new term began in January and ends in January 2015. Having received letters and petitions from Oregon Catholic leaders and other foes of capital punishment, the governor said he is morally opposed to the practice and supports life without parole as the most serious sanction for aggravated murder.

“I simply cannot participate once again in something I believe to be morally wrong.


With the moratorium in place, Oregon joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia that do not have the death penalty. Of those 16, Illinois is the most recent one to abolish it, in 2011. His decision halts for now the planned execution of double-murderer Gary Haugen, who was set to die by lethal injection Dec. 6. Haugen, who had sought his own death, is one of 37 men on Oregon’s death row. All now have at least a temporary reprieve. Kitzhaber, his voice trembling, sounded as if he wished he had established the ban 15 years ago, before the executions of Douglas Wright and Harry Moore in 1996 and 1997. Like Haugen, the two men refused to continue legal appeals. “I do not believe those executions made us safer,” Kitzhaber said during a news

conference. “Certainly I don’t believe they made us nobler as a society. And I simply cannot participate once again in something I believe to be morally wrong.” Kitzhaber made it clear he was not commuting Haugen’s sentence and has no compassion for killers. He called Oregon’s death penalty system “broken” and an “expensive and unworkable system that fails to meet basic standards of justice.”

Seeking ballot measure In a statement parallel to a letter sent to him in November by 1,000 death penalty opponents, the governor said, “I do not believe for a moment that the voters intended to create a system in which those condemned to death could determine whether that sentence would be carried out.” Backers of the death penalty criticized Kitzhaber for thwarting the will of voters. Josh Marquis, Clatsop County district attorney, called the action “arrogant and presumptuous.” Oregon’s death penalty, part of the state constitution, can only be repealed by a vote of the people. Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a coalition that includes Catholic officials, will organize members to lobby legislators about referring a ballot measure for the next election.

Pope: Economic crisis demands courage Pope Benedict XVI said the global economic crisis demands the “courage of brotherhood” between the world’s rich and poor, and calls on the church to look at the causes of poverty. The pope, addressing officials of Caritas Italy Nov. 24 at the Vatican, said true charity requires not only concrete gestures but also announcing hope and asking questions. “Responding to the needy means not only giving bread to the hungry person, but also reflecting on the causes that led to his hunger, with the gaze of Jesus who knew how to see the deep reality of the people who came close to him,” he said.

U.S. priest named new nuncio to Ireland Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Msgr. Charles J. Brown, a longtime official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as the new apostolic nuncio to Ireland. The appointment, announced by the Vatican Nov. 26, comes at a delicate moment in Vatican-Irish relations. In July, the Vatican recalled its previous nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and others sharply criticized the Vatican's handling of clerical abuse. Archbishop-designate Brown, a 52-yearold priest of the Archdiocese of New York, has worked since 1994 in the doctrinal congregation. As nuncio, he will act as the Holy See’s ambassador to Ireland and will also serve as a liaison with the Catholic Church community there. — Catholic News Service




Pope addresses sex abuse, evangelization with U.S. bishops States. He said it was also interesting to note a widespread worry about the future of democratic society in general, by people who see “a troubling breakdown in the intellectual, cultural and moral foundations of social life” and growing insecurity about the future. He suggested that the church could and should have a key role in responding to these deep changes in society. “Despite attempts to still the church’s voice in the public square, many people of good will continue to look to her for wisdom, insight and sound guidance in meeting this far-reaching crisis,” he said. In that sense, he added, the present moment is “a summons to exercise the prophetic dimension of your episcopal ministry by speaking out, humbly yet insistently, in defense of moral truth, and offering a word of hope, capable of opening hearts and minds to the truth that sets us free.”

By John Thavis Catholic News Service

In a speech to U.S. bishops, Pope Benedict XVI defended the church’s “honest efforts” to confront the priestly sex abuse scandal with transparency, and said its actions could help the rest of society respond to the problem. While the church is rightly held to high standards, all other institutions should be held to the same standards as they address the causes, extent and consequences of sexual abuse, which has become a “scourge” at every level of society, the pope said Nov. 26. On wider issues, including the institution of marriage, the pope encouraged the bishops to speak out “humbly yet insistently in defense of moral truth.” Responding to the challenges of a secularized culture will first require the “re-evangelization” of the church’s own members, he said.

Ongoing abuse prevention efforts The pope made the remarks in a speech to bishops from the state of New York who were in Rome for their “ad limina” visits. The group was led by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference has spoken of the need to restore the church’s credibility and its evangelizing capacity. The pope began his talk by recalling his 2008 visit to the United States, which he said was aimed at encouraging Catholics in the wake of the sex abuse crisis. He said he wanted to acknowledge the suffering inflicted on victims as well as the church’s efforts to ensure the safety of children and deal “appropriately and transparently with allegations” of abuse. “It is my hope that the church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society,” the

CNS / L'Osservatore Romano

Pope Benedict XVI meets Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York during a Nov. 26 meeting with U.S. bishops from the state of New York on their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican.

pope said. “By the same token, just as the church is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards,” he said. Pope Benedict’s speech was the first in a series of five talks he is expected to deliver in coming months, as 15 groups of U.S. bishops make their consultative visits to Rome. He said he planned to focus primarily on the urgent task of “new evangelization.” The “ad limina” visit for the group of bishops that includes the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is set for early March. The pope said many of the U.S. bishops had shared with him their concern about the “grave challenges” presented by an increasingly secularized society in the United

Secularization poses big challenge At the same time, the pope said, the seriousness of the challenges facing the church in the United States cannot be underestimated. He said one big problem was that secularization affects the lives of Catholics, leading at times to “quiet attrition” among the church’s members. For that reason, he said, modern evangelization is not something aimed only at people outside the church. “We ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization,” he said. That must include critical and ongoing self-assessment and conversion, and interior renewal in the light of the Gospel, he said. The pope praised the U.S. bishops for their response to the issues raised by increasing secularization, and their efforts to articulate a common pastoral vision. He cited as examples the bishops’ recent documents on political responsibility and on the institution of marriage. He said Catholic universities have an important role in promoting this renewal and ensuring the success of “new evangelization,” especially among younger generations.

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We, The National Black Catholic Congress, . . . are committed to evangelize ourselves, our church and unchurched African Americans, thereby enriching the Church. Mission statement

This Catholic Life DECEMBER 1, 2011

Opinion, feedback and points to ponder

The Catholic Spirit


Black Catholics survey finds strong ties, engagement in church By Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service

frican-American Catholics are much more engaged in their church on a variety of levels than are white Catholics, concludes the first National Black Catholic Survey. Whether in a majority black church, a mixed or mostly white parish, the survey found African-American Catholics feel satisfied and fulfilled in their parishes, explained retired Bishop John H. Ricard of PensacolaTallahassee, Fla., who is president of the National Black Catholic Congress. By “engaged,” Bishop Ricard explained, the authors of the report mean African-Americans are involved in their parishes well beyond simply attending Mass somewhat regularly. That includes having strong networks of friends and family in their churches, participating in multiple parish activities and saying their spiritual, emotional and social needs are met there. Bishop Ricard, who is rector of the Washington seminary of his religious order, the Josephites, said the results of the survey surprised and pleased him and the leaders of the National Black Catholic Congress who commissioned it, along with the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life and the office of the school’s president. The survey will be used as the basis of a pastoral plan for evangelization that will be presented during next July’s National Black Catholic Congress in Indianapolis. “This is a bright spot for the church,” said Bishop Ricard in an interview Nov. 28 at St. Joseph’s Seminary. Whatever their parish situation, a majority of AfricanAmerican participants in the attitudinal survey conducted by Knowledge Networks, “feel affirmed and have decided they are going to stay Catholic,” he said. “It’s a very optimistic message.”


Greater commitment Among the conclusions of the survey were that black Catholics feel more committed to their parishes emotionally, spiritually and socially than do white Catholics. In those respects, as in many other aspects of the survey, black Catholics were shown to be much more like black Protestants in their approach to church than they are like white Catholics. “Compared with other religious and racial groups, African-American Catholics behave and look like African-American Protestants,” said the executive summary written by study authors Darren W. Davis, a professor of political science and associate vice president for research at Notre Dame, and Donald B. Pope-Davis, professor of psychology and vice president and associate provost Notre Dame. Still, “African-American Protestants are clearly more highly involved by every measure of engagement,” they continued. Therefore, they said, the pattern “is taken as suggestive of a cultural effect, as opposed to a Catholic effect, whereby the historical and cultural norms of the African-American community weigh just as heavily on African-American Catholics as on AfricanAmerican Protestants.” The survey was conducted this summer in phone calls to 3,215 people, including 2,104 African-Americans, proportionally representing Catholics and Protestants according to their ratio in the U.S. population. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said their parish is not predominantly African-American. No margin of error was given. In one set of comparisons, asking “how well does

your parish meet your needs,” black Catholics, and both black and white Protestants were more likely than their white Catholic counterparts to agree. For instance, when the question asked about spiritual needs, 78 percent of black Catholics and 86 percent of black Protestants said “well” or “very well,” while 67 percent of white Catholics and 81 percent of white Protestants said the same. The difference was sharper when the question asked about parishes meeting social needs, with 62 percent of black Catholics, 76 percent of black Protestants and 63 percent of white Protestants saying “well” or “very well,” while just 41 percent of white Catholics said so.

Successful integration Bishop Ricard said the finding that black Catholics are almost as at-ease in mixed or mostly white parishes as they are in majority black parishes shows that efforts have been successful in helping African-Americans to feel a part of the Catholic Church and make it their own. That model could hold lessons for dioceses and churches that are struggling to help immigrants from Latin America and Asia feel like they belong, he said. Like African-Americans, Latino and Asian immigrants have a strong cultural sense of community, Bishop Ricard said. “There is less emphasis on the individual and more on the communitarian aspects of a church.” For instance, black Catholics in the survey were much more likely to say it’s important that their friends attend their church. Just about 7 percent of white Catholics agreed with that statement. But 27 percent of black Catholics said so. Phrased another way, 48 percent of black Catholics said being with others in church is an important reason to go, compared with 26 percent of white Catholics, 58 percent of black Protestants and 52 percent of white Protestants. And there also are lessons for all types of parishes that are interested in having their members become more deeply engaged. Bishop Ricard related the experience of a large Florida parish that made the effort to have the pastor or a member of the parish staff personally visit every one of the 2,000 registered families. Completed over the

course of a year, these visits featured conversations about what people wanted from their church, what was working and not working and what their everyday concerns were, he said. “It had a significant effect on increasing people’s involvement,” he said. It wasn’t so much that the parish would be able to adapt to all those concerns, but a matter of “making people feel personally involved,” he said.

Room for improvement The survey did find various aspects of church life where African-Americans consider improvement is needed. Although most African-Americans do not consider the church racist — 77 percent said they don’t consider it racist — nearly a third have felt uncomfortable being the only black in a church and a quarter have encountered people avoiding them or refusing to shake hands. Majorities of African-Americans said the church should put more effort into emphasizing black saints; promoting black vocations and black bishops; supporting issues such as affirmative action and problems in Africa and promoting racial integration. But there was also hopeful news when it comes to young adults being involved, the survey found. “African-American young adults, both Catholic and Protestant, are more religiously engaged and consider religion to be more important than whites of the same age,” the authors wrote. “Older individuals are more religiously engaged than younger adults, and there is an age gap, but African-American young adults are also religiously engaged. Whatever disengagement exists among African-Americans, it cannot be attributed to a generation gap. White Catholic young adults, by contrast, have an extremely low level of religious commitment.” It also found that black Catholics were much more likely than their white counterparts to say religion is important in their lives. They also are more likely to say they would turn to their pastor or another church leader for help in times of crisis such as a death in the family, or marriage or alcohol problems.




/ This Catholic Life

An Advent lesson courtesy of quarterback Tim Tebow lot of ink is being spilled on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Sports pundits are incredulous that this less-than-stellar passer has helped to turn his team into a contender for the NFL playoffs. Unlike most other football players, however, Tebow has also come under scrutiny for the way he publicly witnesses to his Christian faith — something he references in nearly every interview and public appearance. This open embrace of faith, by all accounts, has been ingrained in Tebow for a long time, although it received a great deal of national attention for the first time when the former star quarterback for the University of Florida and Heisman Trophy winner appeared in TV ads with a pro-life message during the 2010 Super Bowl. As a member of the Denver Broncos, he occasionally takes a knee in prayer — a phenomenon now known, and sometimes spoofed, as “Tebowing.” He started a recent postgame news conference by thanking “my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” The son of former missionaries, he works with a foundation that bears his name to help sick and orphaned children around the world. That foundation is now teaming up with another organization to build a children’s hospital in the Philippines.

A Editorial Joe Towalski

This time of year is about living out what we believe and not being afraid to share and show our faith to the rest of the world

CNS photo / Sean Gardner, Reuters

Tim Tebow, during his playing days at the University of Florida.

Like him or hate him, Tebow seems nothing but sincere about his beliefs — a fact his coach, John Fox, acknowledged in a recent online story about the quarterback. “He’s real,” Fox said. “He walks the walk. A guy like that in today’s society, in my mind, ought to be celebrated, not scrutinized to the level that he is.”

Being genuine But Tebow is scrutinized because, to some, his public displays of faith are irksome, bothersome, too “in

your face.” These critics often have no problem with his beliefs, they just wish he would keep them private and not wear them on his sleeve to the extent he does. Those critics should be more concerned, however, about the antics of others that are as public but certainly not worthy of emulation: athletes guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct on and off the field, coaches and politicians caught in scandals, celebrities whose commitment to marriage lasts a whopping 72 days. With Tebow you get something genuine — a role model. What you see on the outside is what’s on the inside, particularly when it comes to his spiritual life. In the same story in which his coach was quoted, Tebow had this to say: “That’s the thing about my faith: It’s not just something that happens when you’re at church or happens when you’re praying or reading the Scripture. It’s a part of who you are, as a person, as a player, in your life and everything. And it should be who you are because you’re not just a Christian or a believer at church. That’s who you are everywhere, and it shouldn’t matter what situation or what setting you are in. Hopefully, you’re the same guy everywhere.” And, therein, is a lesson for all of us this Advent season: to spend this

season of waiting to welcome Christ once again by synching our everyday lives with our beliefs, to translate our words and prayers into action, to live out what we profess on Sunday during the other days of the week — at home, at work, at school and in our communities.

Sharing our faith Advent isn’t about Black Friday or Cyber Monday or buying ever more stuff that other people don’t need or, frankly, often don’t want. It isn’t about office parties. It’s about making room for Jesus in our lives and bringing the hope and peace of Christ into the lives of others. We celebrate Advent when we make a deeper commitment to prayer in our lives. To spending more time with loved ones who need our presence more than our presents. To bringing hope to the poor and lonely through service and financial contributions that will improve their lives by helping them meet basic needs. Advent is about living out what we believe and not being afraid to share and show our faith to the rest of the world, even if someone gives us grief about it. That’s an Advent lesson for us, courtesy of Tim Tebow.

Immigration Sunday: Remembering our American inheritance The following column is provided by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which advocates on behalf of the state’s bishops for public policies and programs that support the life and dignity of every human person. n Jan. 8, 2012, the church will celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. In years past, the Catholic Church in Minnesota has also commemorated this great feast as Immigration Sunday by dedicating it to reflecting upon the plight of those who have fled their native lands and come to us looking for sanctuary, Jessica Zittlow economic opportunity, religious liberty or many of the other blessings of American life. The Minnesota Catholic Conference continues to provide parishes that choose to observe Immigration Sunday 2012 with numerous resources dedicated to helping Catholics put their faith into action. MCC’s website, HTTP://IMMIGRATIONSUN DAYMN.ORG, includes bishops’ statements, 2012 liturgy guides and ideas for parishbased activities related to the issue of immigration. As you and your parish prepare for Immigration Sunday, MCC would like to share with you snippets from a recent address by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez to the Knights of Columbus. Archbishop Gomez, an immigrant himself, is the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration. The archbishop spoke as an American citizen and also as a pastor whose flock is about 70 percent Hispanic. He reminds us that, from a Catholic standpoint, America’s founders got it exactly right. Here are some highlights from his address:


Faith in the Public Arena

“Very few people ‘choose’ to leave their homelands. Emigration is almost always forced upon people by the dire conditions they face in their lives.


Our basic human need: “Human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are universal and inalienable. They come from God, not governments. And these rights are not contingent on where you are born or what racial or ethnic group you are born into. The human right to life, the foundation of every other right, implies the natural right to emigrate. Because, in order for you and your family to live a life worthy of your God-given dignity, certain things are required. At minimum: food, shelter, clothing and the means to make a decent living. “In Catholic thinking, the right to immigration is a ‘natural right.’ That means it is universal and inalienable. But it is not absolute. Immigrants are obliged to respect and abide by the laws and traditions of the countries they come to reside in. “Catholic teaching also recognizes the sovereignty of nations to secure their borders and make decisions about who and how many foreigners they allow into their countries.

Coming soon In the new year, Minnesota’s bishops will be releasing a statement calling Catholics and all persons of good will to work for comprehensive immigration reform. Watch for news about the statement in The Catholic Spirit. Also, visit MCC’s website, HTTP://WWW.MNCC.ORG, to learn how you can become a part of the Minnesota Catholic Advocacy Network, which helps Catholics connect with their political leaders and offer input concerning policies that serve human dignity and the common good. You can also follow MCC on Twitter and Facebook.

“However, we must always make sure that we are not exaggerating these concerns in ways that deny the basic humanitarian needs of good people seeking refuge in our country.”

Our American inheritance: “Catholics — especially — bear the truth about all Americans, namely, that we are all children of immigrants. “Our inheritance comes to us now as a gift and as a duty. At the least, it means we should have some empathy for this new generation of immigrants. For Christians, empathy means seeing Jesus Christ in every person and especially in the poor and the vulnerable. “And we need to remember, my friends: Jesus was uncompromising on this point. “In the evening of our lives, he told us, our love for God will be judged by our love for him in the person of the least

among us. This includes, he said, the immigrant or the stranger. “Very few people ‘choose’ to leave their homelands. Emigration is almost always forced upon people by the dire conditions they face in their lives.”

Our family: “Many of you are fathers or mothers. So the question you have to ask yourselves is this: What wouldn’t you do to provide for your loved ones? To feed hungry mouths? To give your children a better future? “Those are questions we all need to ask ourselves. I only want to offer one suggestion. Our perspective on this issue will change if you begin to see these ‘illegals’ for who they really are — mothers and fathers, sons and daughters — not much different from yourselves. “They are people who are not afraid of hard work or sacrifice. They are people who have courage and the other virtues — and who value God, family and community.” Immigration Sunday gives Minnesota Catholics an opportunity to push political debates aside and do exactly as Archbishop Gomez suggests: take time to not only welcome the stranger, but to acknowledge his or her value — as mother, father, son or daughter, as family and community member. As we take the Advent and Christmas seasons to open our hearts and minds to the coming of the Lord, we should likewise do the same for those who are in need. We also will be working more effectively for just solutions to our broken immigration system. Jessica Zittlow is the MCC’s communications associate.

This Catholic Life / Commentary



Imagining Mary: Christmas paintings that open our eyes ’ve been shopping for the perfect Christmas card, sifting through Nativity scenes framed in holly berries and bows. None of the Marys feel right. The lips are taut. The face, unblemished. We see none of the bliss and bewilderment that must have surged after birthing the son of God. We see no emotion at all — serenity as vacancy, sainthood as sedation. This year’s traditional Christmas stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service, Raphael’s “Madonna of the Candelabra,” shows a stoic Mary casting her eyes away from her infant. Painted in the early 16th century, it was a product of the Italian High Renaissance, but it’s hard to imagine the new mom letting a single moment pass without studying the Savior in her hands. Eventually I found a card that compelled me, the store’s last boxed set of its kind. First I noticed the baby, who looks as he should: like a baby. Brown fuzzy hair, apples for cheeks and a light in his eyes. Mary holds him close, kissing his right cheek.

Weistling knew he needed to master Mary’s kiss, rendering it tender, not “hokey.” Her left hand, pressing the swaddled baby to her heart, also was crucial. He had long admired the way Mary’s marble hand grips Jesus’ side in Michelangelo’s Pietà.

I Twenty Something Christina Capecchi

Artist’s depiction of Mary speaks to the brokenhearted

Divine inspiration The painting was inspired 11 years ago when Morgan Weistling, now a 47-year-old father in California, heard Steve Amerson’s song “Mary, Did You Know?” on the radio. It was the Dolly Parton version. One phrase stood out to him: “When you kiss your little baby you’ve kissed the face of God.” “Immediately I felt I was supposed to paint this,” Weistling told me. “I had been praying and asking God,

‘Gift from God’

Photo provided by Morgan Weistling

California artist Morgan Weistling’s “Kissing the Face of God” was inspired by the song “Mary, Did You Know?”

‘Give me an idea here.’” Amerson’s phrasing appealed to him. “This little child she bore was God in the flesh, and yet, she cuddled and kissed him just as all mothers do.” The painting poured out of Weistling in three days. He didn’t feel the need to sketch in charcoal on his canvas to begin, as he usually does; it was oil paint right away. He didn’t go back to make any alterations. The

first draft was the final. Weistling’s paintings are so realistic they look like photographs, and he uses people as models. His Mary was 16, a brunette named Katie who had a “sweet humbleness to her,” Weistling said. “It wouldn’t have worked with a blonde.” The baby was of Jewish descent, born to a woman with a crack addiction and recently placed in a foster home.

Weistling’s published image, titled “Kissing The Face Of God,” sold out in two weeks. It remains his most popular painting — “my big gift from God,” he said — and the only original he’s kept, despite a standing offer of $100,000. Every year Weistling receives requests to reproduce the image. One year, National Geographic used it for a corporate Christmas card. The painting speaks to the brokenhearted, Weistling told me. “A lot of women who have lost a child really attach to ‘Kissing The Face of God.’” I’m grateful to the artists who help us see ourselves in the Blessed Mother because she is for everyone. I once spoke to a victim of clergy abuse who had lost her Catholic faith but held on to Mary. I read about a woman whose conversion to Catholicism began in labor, when she called on Mary in urgent prayer: “Don’t abandon me now.” This season, we celebrate the mother who brings us to God with such capacity for love and grief and everything in between. Christina Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights. Visit her website at WWW.READCHRISTINA .COM.

The preciousness and joy of a grace-filled whole number oday we don’t attach a lot of symbolism to numbers. A few, mostly superstitious, remnants remain from former ages, such as seeing the number seven as lucky and the number 13 as unlucky. For the most part, for us, numbers are arbitrary. This hasn’t always been the case. In biblical times, people attached a lot of meaning to certain numbers. For example, in the Bible, the numbers 40, 10, 12 and 100 are highly symbolic. The number 40, for instance, speaks of the length of time required before something can come to proper fruition, while the numbers 10, 12 and 100 speak of a certain wholeness that is required to properly appropriate grace. Knowing that the ancients invested special meaning in certain numbers is critical to understanding a very challenging, and neglected, story in the Gospels, namely, the parable of the woman with the 10 coins (Luke 15, 8-10). Without grasping the symbolism of the numbers, this parable loses its meaning.

T Food for the Journey Father Ron Rolheiser

We must ask: Who is not joining us at our table?

A new way to look at it Here is the parable as Scripture gives it: A woman had 10 coins and lost one. She became extremely anxious and agitated about the loss and began to search frantically and relentlessly for the lost coin, lighting lamps, looking under tables and

sweeping all the floors in her house. Eventually she found the coin, and her joy in finding it matched her agitation in losing it. She was delirious with joy, called together her neighbors to share in her joy, and threw a party whose cost far exceeded the value of the coin she had lost. Why such anxiety and such joy over the loss of a coin and the finding of a coin whose value was that of a dime? The answer lies in the symbolism of numbers: In her culture, nine was not a whole number; 10 was a whole number. Both the woman’s anxiety in losing the coin and her joy in finding it have little to do with the value of the coin. They have to do with the value of wholeness. A certain wholeness in her life had been fractured, and only by finding the coin could it be restored. In essence, this is the parable: A woman had 10 children and these constituted her family. With nine of them, she had a good relationship, but one of her daughters was alienated from her and from the family. Everyone else came regularly to the family table, but this one daughter did not. The woman couldn’t find rest in that situation; she needed her alienated daughter to rejoin them. She tried every means to reconcile with her daughter and, one day, in a miracle of miracles, it worked. Her

daughter reconciled with her and came back to the family. The family was whole again; everyone was back at table. The woman was overjoyed, withdrew her modest savings from the bank, and threw a lavish party to celebrate the great grace that her family was whole again.

Coming back into the fold There’s an important lesson here: Like that woman, we are meant to be anxious, not able to rest, lighting lamps and searching, until our families, churches and communities are again whole and those who will no longer sit at a table with us are back in the fold. Nine is not a whole number — and neither is the number of those who are normally at our family or eucharistic tables. We need to be constantly uneasy: Who is not at table with us? Who no longer goes to church with us? Who feels uncomfortable worshipping with us? Who will no longer join us in a conversation over morality or politics? And, most important, are we comfortable with the fact that so many people can no longer join us at our family, eucharistic, moral or political tables? Sadly, today, too many of us are comfortable in families, churches and communities that are far, far from whole. Sometimes, in our less reflec-

tive moments, we even rejoice in it: “Good riddance! Love us or leave us! She wasn’t a real Catholic in any case! His views are so narrow and bigoted it’s just as well he isn’t here! We are better off without that kind! There’s more peace this way! We are a purer, more faithful family or church because of her absence!” But it’s this attitude and lack of healthy solicitude for wholeness that, perhaps more than any other thing, explains the joylessness and hardness that is so evident everywhere today in our families, churches and political circles. Unlike Jesus, whose heart ached with God’s universal salvific will and who prayed in tears for those “other sheep who are not of this fold,” and unlike the woman who lost one of her coins and would not sleep until every corner of the house was turned upside down in a frantic search for what was lost, we content ourselves with just nine coins, an incomplete set, instead of setting out solicitously in search of that lost wholeness that would again bring us completeness and joy. Father Ronald Rolheiser, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.



Youth leaders urge participants to join Mass like it’s a flash mob CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 “It was about Mary Magdalene looking up at the cross at Jesus dying and realizing he was doing it for her,” Effertz said. “It’s just that emotional response to the fact that he did nothing and he’s giving up everything for me.” Effertz was selected to perform a dramatization of the angel Gabriel’s announcement of Jesus’ birth to Mary in front of thousands of youth at NCYC. She said the experience was profound, and she’s intent on bringing it back to her friends at school in small but important ways. “I want to bring that feeling that the Catholic Church is this lively thing that can be compatible with our lives,” she said. One lesson that Effertz shared with her classmates is the idea of “disconnecting” from electronics, taking out the earbuds or putting away the cell phone, and “connecting” with people around them. It already seems to be taking effect, she said. Although Effertz was the only animator from Benilde-St. Margaret’s, 11 other students from the school served in the NCYC pit choir providing backup and singing solos for all NCYC main tent events and liturgy. The pit choir’s 25 singers were miked throughout the weekend as music leaders for all present. The choreography for the animators’ dances was done by Laura Mahler, a graduate of Benilde-St. Margaret’s and former animator herself who now performs on Channel 45’s sketch comedy show

Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis celebrates Mass with other priests at the National Catholic Youth Conference, held Nov. 17-19 in Indianapolis Photo courtesy of Geralyn Nathe-Evans

“M@dAbout” and teaches drama to high schoolers. What made the dancing powerful, Mahler said, was that it augmented aspects of faith that had been presented each day of the conference — with a lighthearted spirit. After a day devoted to the Virgin Mary and the power of saying “yes” to God, the animators performed a dance to the Beatles’ “Let It Be,” which references Mother Mary, for example. One of the most exciting moments of the conference was when the animators pulled off a flash mob in the Indiana Convention Center’s shopping area to the pop song “Dynamite” by Tao Cruz. Then throughout the weekend, the dancers taught sections of the choreography to the entire stadium audience until every-

More online Read additional stories about the National Catholic Youth Conference at THECATHOLICSPIRIT.COM.

one could do it together. NCYC emcee ValLimar Jansen, a recording artist and worship leader, encouraged the crowd participation that was started by the flash mob to teach the youth that they should be active choir members when they come to Mass. “Do we sing when we come to the church! Yes we do! Are we standing there or dancing? Dancing!” The program that took place on the ground in the stadium was largely

planned by three women from Minnesota. For more than a decade, Kate Cuddy, Jeanne Bross-Judge and Marilee Mahler have created the plans for each NCYC’s unique music, entertainment, liturgy and keynote speakers. This year, they were part of a larger planning committee that included a director of youth ministry from Indianapolis. Mahler helped write the script for the program and rehearse the animators during an intense weekend this past July. She was impressed by how the group of students gelled. “They came to be such a united group, such good friends because they made them in this context of sharing their faith,” Mahler said.

Join us for

“The solid education in theology and my own faith tradition will increase my ability to build bridges among diverse groups of people … I hope to find a career working to unite people of different cultures, religions and world views.”

Advent Taizé Prayer Led by Fr. Michael Joncas and David Haas

Fr. Michael Joncas is a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, a professor of Catholic Studies at University of St. Thomas, and a nationally known composer of liturgical music, liturgist and workshop speaker.

Taizé Prayer originated in the ecumenical community of Taizé, France. It is contemplative in nature, filled with musical mantras, litanies, prayer, intercession and silence

Sarah Farnes ’12 Master of Arts in Theology

Answer Your Call. David Haas is a campus minister at Cretin-Derham Hall, Director of "Music Ministry Alive!", and a nationally known composer of liturgical music, workshop leader and recording artist.

7:00 p.m. Sunday, December 11, 2011 Cretin-Derham Hall Commons 550 S. Albert St., St. Paul 55116 Please use the entrances on Albert St.

This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow

Realize your ministry goals with a graduate degree from The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, which offers programs in theology, religious education and pastoral ministry. Flexible options to meet your unique needs Full- or part-time study Distance learning Intensive summer program

Evening-only format Variety of scholarship opportunities

For more information, visit or contact us at or (651) 962-5967.

“Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16

The Lesson Plan The Catholic Spirit

Reflections on faith and spirituality

DECEMBER 1, 2011


John the Baptist uses all his actions and words to point us to Jesus f you’ve ever had the chance to wander through the “Shrines of the Nations” behind the sanctuary of the St. Paul Cathedral, you may have seen there a beautiful statue of St. John the Baptist in the chapel dedicated to the French Canadians. Clothed in his rustic garb, he stands on a pedestal that bears the Latin inscription of his famous words Ecce Agnus Dei, “Behold the Lamb of God!” As is often the case in statues of the Baptist, he is depicted as pointing with his finger to Jesus — though here, oddly it seems, he is actually pointing downward. A moment’s reflection soon tells us why: he is pointing to the tabernacle on the altar below his feet where, in years past, Jesus Deacon himself was truly present in the reEvan Koop served Blessed Sacrament. This unique image housed in our magnificent Cathedral serves to remind us of the mission of John the Baptist, a mission that is at the heart of this Sunday’s Gospel. It is fitting that Mark chose to begin his Gospel with this passage, because all of John’s words and actions — indeed, the whole of his being — were bound up with this one mission: to reveal to the world the true identity of Jesus, “the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).



Sunday Scriptures

Preparing for a king Mark begins by associating John with Isaiah’s prophecy of “the voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths’” (Isaiah 40:3). In the ancient world when a king was traveling through rough country, it was common for his servants to run ahead of the royal caravan to smooth out bumps in the road, fill in the holes, and clear away the rocks — all so that the king would have an easy and comfortable journey to his destination. Mark then tells us that John “appeared” in the desert beyond the Jordan River, and that he was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. For the first Christians, these references were unmistakable: John is dressed just as Elijah once was (2 Kings 1:8) and he appears in the very place where the great Old Testament prophet was last seen (2 Kings 2:6-11), to fulfill the

Sunday, Dec. 4 Second Sunday of Advent ■ Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 ■ 2 Peter 3:8-14 ■ Mark 1:1-8 This statue of St. John the Baptist in the Cathedral of St. Paul directs people to Jesus on the altar.

For reflection What prophet-like actions have you taken this Advent to set an example for your neighbors?

Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

prophecy of Malachi that Elijah would return to announce the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). When John proclaims, “I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals,” he is telling us something even more wonderful. As St. Jerome notes, the untying of sandals was a ceremony commonly used among the ancient Jews when a deceased man’s relative consented to marry his wife (cf. Ruth 4:7-8).

More than humble symbol John’s words, then, are not just a sign of his humility; they are meant to declare to us that he is not worthy to take the place of Jesus, who is the bridegroom of the new and eternal covenant between God and his people. John’s actions declare Jesus as king, his appearance announces Jesus as Messiah, and his words proclaim Jesus as bridegroom.

As disciples of Christ today, we would do well to make John the Baptist’s mission our own. Perhaps we are not capable of preaching in forceful words — then let us proclaim Jesus as Lord by our very being. By our actions, let us prepare his way into our neighbors’ hearts, smoothing out the mountains of pride and filling in the valleys of shame. This Advent, may we make it, once more, our very identity as Christians to be prophets, like John the Baptist, whose sole purpose in life is to proclaim the coming of Jesus Christ to the world. Deacon Evan Koop is in formation for the priesthood at The St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is St. Rita in Cottage Grove and his teaching parish is St. Michael in St. Michael.

Daily Scriptures Sunday, Dec. 4 Second Sunday of Advent Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 2 Peter 3:8-14 Mark 1:1-8 “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.” — 2 Peter 3:8 The early Christians were learning something we each must accept. God’s timetable is mysterious and, like many things, beyond our control. This can be particularly difficult for us to embrace when we are in times of transition. Some spiritual writers call this place where our old world has fallen apart and we cannot imagine a new one “sacred space.” If we are willing to surrender what we thought we could not live without, we will emerge transformed.

Monday, Dec. 5 Isaiah 35:1-10 Luke 5:17-26 We think we have to be perfect, yet God delights in our smallest act of faith. Tuesday, Dec. 6 Nicholas, bishop Isaiah 40:1-11 Matthew 18:12-14 Notice if you tend to give up too easily on yourself and others.

Virgin Mary Holy Day of Obligation Genesis 3:9-15, 20 Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 Luke 1:26-38 Our greatest joy and deepest fulfillment comes when we are led beyond our self-imposed limitations.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the church Isaiah 40:25-31 Matthew 11:28-30 Do you feel free to tell the truth in prayer?

Friday, Dec. 9 Juan Diego, hermit Isaiah 48:17-19 Matthew 11:16-19 Be watchful not cynical. Saturday, Dec. 10 Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11 Matthew 17:9a, 10-13 Have you ever resisted the Spirit out of fear of losing power, prestige or control?

Thursday, Dec. 8 Immaculate Conception of the Blessed

Sunday, Dec. 11 Third Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28 “Do not quench the Spirit.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:19 We all know the difference between being profoundly touched by a truth and being lectured to about moral shortcomings. St. Francis put it well: “Can true humility and compassion exist in our words and eyes unless we know that we, too, are capable of any act?” In the silent waiting of Advent, we are invited to ponder the fruit of our words and actions. The daily reflections are written by Terri Mifek, a member of St. Edward in Bloomington and a certified spiritual director at the Franciscan Retreat House in Prior Lake.


The Lesson Plan


Celebrating the patronal feast day of the U.S. Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 is a holy day of obligation By Father Michael Van Sloun For The Catholic Spirit

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of God, is the patron saint of the United States. A patron saint is a canonized man or CNS photo woman who has been designated by the church or chosen by the people through a longstanding popular devotion as their special intercessor and protector before God, either on behalf of a nation, ethnic group, locality or for a group of similar people (e.g., cooks, St. Martha; musicians, St. Cecilia) or a special concern (e.g., headaches, St. Theresa of Avila; lost articles, St. Anthony). The feast of the Immaculate Conception is the day when we Americans celebrate Mary as our patron saint. Dec. 8 is a holy day of obligation, when we are required to attend Mass.

St. Nick: Patron of Christmas gift-giving By Father Michael Van Sloun For The Catholic Spirit

Dec. 6 is the feast day of St. Nicholas (c. 280 – 345 A.D.), one of the most popular saints for Advent and Christmas. St. Nicholas, or St. Nick as he is often called, is the inspiration behind Santa Claus and a big reason we exchange gifts at Christmastime. St. Nicholas was born in Patara on the southern Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor in the modern-day country of Turkey. His parents were strongly Christian and led their boy to a deep faith in Jesus. He had an uncle, also named Nicholas, who was the bishop in the nearby city of Myra. Nicholas’ parents died when he was a young man and they left him a good-size inheritance. Not tempted by the money, Nicholas accepted the vocation to be a priest, was ordained by his uncle and, upon ordination, shocked everyone when ST. NICHOLAS he gave all his inheritance to the poor. Hence, St. Nick established a beautiful tradition of giving gifts. Later, his uncle, Bishop Nicholas, died. The local bishops had endless meetings to fill the vacancy but could reach no agreement. One of their group had a dream that he should go to the church early the next morning and select the first person to arrive. Father Nicholas habitually arose long before sunrise to begin his day in prayer. When he arrived at church, everyone else in the village was

What it celebrates

daughter was freed and allowed to marry. Later he gave a second bag, again through the window, and finally — to escape detection — he climbed onto the roof and dropped the third bag down the chimney. St. Nicholas died in 345 and his popularity spread far and wide, particularly to Germany. In German, Nicholas is “Nicklaus,” or “Klaus” for short, and Klaus evolved into Claus. Santa is Italian for holy or saint. Thus, the true meaning of Santa Claus is St. Nicholas, and St. Nick is the patron of Christmas giving because he was so generous throughout his life. Many families observe St. Nicholas Day with special traditions. One involves children putting their shoes outside their bedroom doors on the night of Dec. 5 before they go to sleep. St. Nicholas comes during the night; in the morning the children find their shoes filled with small gifts and treats.

The first generation of Christians steadfastly believed what the Archangel Gabriel declared, that Mary has always been “full of grace” (Luke 1:28). It seemed perfectly logical to them and every subsequent generation that if Jesus, the savior of the world, was without sin, then his mother, who carried “the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) in her womb, if she were to be a suitable vessel, must also be without sin. Thus, it has been our constant tradition that Mary was free of all sin from the first instant of her life, that she had an “immaculate conception.” The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was the first infallible pronouncement ever given. The declaration was made by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854, in a papal bull called “Ineffabilis Deus.” It states: “The most Blessed Virgin was, from the first moment of her conception, preserved immune from all stain of original sin” (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 491-493). This teaching was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which stated that “the mother of God [is] entirely holy and free from all stain of sin from the first instant of her conception” (“Lumen Gentium,” No. 56).

Father Van Sloun is pastor of St. Stephen in Anoka.

Father Michael Van Sloun is pastor of St. Stephen in Anoka.

A boy at St. Paul School in Valparaiso, Ind., examines treats left in his shoe Dec. 6, the feast day of St. Nicholas, in this 2006 photo. CNS photo / Karen Callaway

sound asleep so he was chosen as the next bishop of Myra.

Legends abound As bishop, St. Nicholas continued his tradition of giving. A famine broke out and his people were starving. Ships were anchored in the nearby harbor with cargos of grain, and he was able to convince the sailors to share some of the grain to feed the hungry. In 305 a persecution broke out against the Christians, and Nicholas as well as many church members were tossed into prison. During their confinement Nicholas brought them faith, hope, encouragement and good cheer. The most famous legend involved an evil father and his three daughters. Their family was destitute. It was customary for the father of the bride to give a dowry, but he had no money, so the wretched man forced his daughters into prostitution to support him. St. Nicholas learned of their predicament, got a bag of gold and anonymously tossed it through their window late one night. The eldest



Pro-lifers say end of abortions at Regions is ‘huge success’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 against abortion in Minnesota. “We’re in brand new territory,” he said. “This is the first abortion facility to close because of pro-lifers in Minnesota, ever. And, it’s the first one that I’m aware of to close in more than two decades. So, this is a very significant moment in time. . . . There is hope that we can really affect what’s going on with abortion, and bring an end to abortion clinics.” According to the 40 Days for Life website (WWW.40DAYSFORLIFE.COM/BLOG), this marks the 19th time nationally that an abortion facility has closed following a 40 Days for Life campaign. Gibson’s organization has held seven such vigils at Regions, with the most recent one concluding Nov. 6. Archbishop John Nienstedt attended, as did Catholics from several parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Gibson said that more than 5,000 people have attended the seven 40 Days for Life events at Regions over the last three years, with about 1,000 coming this year. They have been held twice a year, once during Lent and once in the fall. Also joyful at the news of the abortion facility closing is Sharon Wilson, respect life coordinator for the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life. She said her office has been playing a support role in the prayer vigils by getting the word out to parishes in an effort to draw pro-lifers to Regions for the events. “I think this success — and it’s a huge

Pray for life Pro-Life Action Ministries calls all to pray that the nearly-completed Planned Parenthood center in St. Paul will never be used for abortion. Time: 9:30-10:30 a.m. Date: Thursday, Dec. 8 Place: Vandalia Street and Charles Avenue Buses will depart from the Cathedral of St. Paul at 9 a.m. and return by 11 a.m. Call (651) 771-1500 to reserve seats. tively. I think there’s going to be a resurgence. People are excited, I think, about it. It’ll help bring more people to continue the fight.”

New challenge

Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

In this file photo, Megan Healy of Holy Family in St. Louis Park joins with others to pray in front of Regions Hospital in St. Paul as part of a 40 Days for Life campaign in 2009. Organized by Pro-Life Action Ministries, seven such vigils took place at the hospital, which executive director Brian Gibson believes caused the hospital to announce recently that it is closing its abortion facility.

success — is going to reinvigorate the prolife community,” she said. “We really have

NOTICE Look for The Catholic Spirit advertising insert from

SECOND HARVEST FOOD SHELF in some copies of this issue.

The Church of Saint Paul in Ham Lake congratulates

Bob Balk Recipient of the 2011 Leading with Faith Award Visit St. George Catholic Books and Gifts in Blaine for all of your Christmas gifts, books, art, and other religious items to show your appreciation!

not seen a lot of progress in the work that we’ve been trying to do, at least legisla-

And, the fight is expected to continue, if not grow more intense in the months ahead. Tempering the victory is the construction of Planned Parenthood’s new facility on University Avenue in St. Paul. Though abortions in Minnesota are decreasing, based on figures from the state’s Department of Health (11,505 were done in 2010, a 7 percent decrease from 2009 and the lowest number since 1975), the new Planned Parenthood facility could move the figure up again. “I’d certainly like to be hopeful enough to think that we could close that down, and maybe we can,” Wilson said.

Pro-life New Jersey nurses sue hospital over new policy on abortions Catholic News Service Confronted with what one called “a choice between our faith and our jobs,” 12 nurses are suing University Hospital in Newark, N.J., over a new policy requiring them to care for patients before and after abortions, even if they have religious or moral objections to abortion. The hospital, part of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, said that because “no nurse is compelled to have direct involvement in, and/or attendance in the room at the

time of,” an abortion, its policy does not violate state or federal conscience protection laws. U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares issued a temporary restraining order Nov. 3 directing the hospital not to compel adherence to the new policy until after the case comes before his court Dec. 5. At a Nov. 14 news conference outside the hospital in Newark, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., joined the nurses and their attorneys in criticizing the new policy, which was announced in September.

The 2011 Catholic Spirit Christmas Basketball Tournament

       The Historic French Catholic Church at Riverplace             Saturday, Dec. 10 — 12 noon-8:00 pm   Sunday, Dec. 11 — 9:00 am-3:00 pm     French Boutique  Christmas Village  Catholic Louvre    Made in MN   French Bakery  Dollar Store    Meat pies to go  Raffle   Silent Auction    Featuring:     French Tourtiéres (meat pies)    Buy a piece to eat while shopping! • Buy a whole pie to go!    One Lourdes Place; Minneapolis, MN 55414     / 612-379-2259    

Our Lady of Lourdes

Annual French Christmas Boutique

will occur during the last week of December (28, 29, 30) at the Anderson Athletic & Recreational Complex at The University of St Thomas! December 28, 2011 game schedule Game 1 - 3:00 p.m. Holy Angels v. Minneapolis Southwest Game 2 - 4:45 p.m. Wayzata v. Totino-Grace Game 3 - 6:30 p.m. Hill-Murray v. Providence Academy Game 4 - 8:15 p.m. Cretin-Derham Hall v. St. Agnes

“As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow.” English author A.C. Benson

Arts & Culture The Catholic Spirit



Exploring our church and our world

DECEMBER 1, 2011

The ‘other Holy Land’

Cliffs of Moher.

Kylemore Abbey, home to Benedictine sisters, is located in Connemara and is surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Celtic cross in Irish churchyard.

Travel to the Emerald Isle next fall on a Catholic Spirit-sponsored tour By Martie McMahon The Catholic Spirit

In the fifth century, Christianity was introduced to Ireland when the pope sent a man named Palladius to a land of druids “to be bishop to the Irish who believe in Christ.” St. Patrick followed shortly after and expanded Palladius’ ministry by establishing more churches and monasteries, which came to be known as centers of learning and evangelism, thus earning Ireland the nickname — “land of saints and scholars.” Whether you have been to Ireland before or always wanted to go, The Catholic Spirit has a special opportunity for you. Come and “Explore the Other Holy Land” with Father Dennis Dempsey of St. Dominic in Northfield and The Catholic Spirit from Sept. 21 to Oct. 2, 2012. The journey begins with a flight departing the Twin Cities and arriving in Dublin, where a professional Irish tour guide, Conor Ellard, will lead the group on a tour of the Emerald Isle.

Among the highlights ♣ The journey will begin by traveling from Dublin

to Galway, east to west, viewing the green, mountainous landscape so well known to Ireland. Upon arrival in Galway, we will board the Corrib Princess for a leisurely one-hour cruise on Lough Corrib. The cruise will be followed by Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas. ♣ We’ll travel through the Inagh Valley to the magnificent Kylemore Abbey in Connemara. This Benedictine abbey is surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Trip information What: Catholic Spirit-sponsored trip to Ireland When: Sept. 21 to Oct. 2, 2012 Spiritual guide: Father Dennis Dempsey of St. Dominic in Northfield More information: VISIT THECATHOLICSPIRIT.COM. Or Call (651) 291-4441.

Mass will be celebrated in the small gothic church in Kylemore. ♣ We’ll visit the Marian Shrine of Knock where Our Lady appeared in August 1879 and Pope John Paul II visited in September 1979. Following Mass, we will travel to Westport and view the Pilgrim Mountain of Croagh Patrick, where St. Patrick climbed and stayed at the top for 40 days and 40 nights. ♣ The journey continues to the Burren Region of County Clare and the Cliffs of Moher, which are more than 600 feet above sea level and offer great views of the Atlantic coastline and Aran Islands. ♣ We will then take a ferry trip across the River Shannon to County Kerry into Killarney for evening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral. ♣ The next adventure is traveling along the naturally beautiful 179 km route around the Iveragh Peninsula, known as the Ring of Kerry, which includes the Kerry Bog Village and Kells Sheep Dog Display, Waterville, and O’Connell Memorial Church in Caherciveen. ♣ While in Killarney, we will take a Jaunting Cart Ride and visit Ross Castle and Muckross House.

♣ We will then travel to the Village of Murroe and visit with the Benedictine monks of Glenstal Abbey. The stop will include Mass with Gregorian chant, a visit to the Icon Chapel and a meeting with acclaimed Irish singer, Noirin Ni Riain. ♣ The trip continues with a stop at St Brigid’s Well in Kildare, (one of the many healing wells in Ireland) and a meeting with the Brigidine Sisters, keepers of the flame of St. Brigid. This will be followed by a visit to the Irish National Stud Farm. ♣ We will make our way back to Dublin for a Dublin City tour with visits to Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest college founded in 1592. Housed in Trinity College is The Book of Kells, a ninth-century collection of Gospels that has been on display at the college since the mid-19th century. Also while in Dublin, we will visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral and Phoenix Park. ♣ For our last full day in Ireland, we will journey to Wicklow, with a visit to Glendalough and Mass at St. Kevin’s Church. It is said that St. Kevin of Glendalough, was the “fulfillment of the prophecy of St. Patrick,” because St. Patrick prophesied that St. Kevin would be the one to evangelize Ireland in the region south of Dublin. ♣ An evening farewell traditional dinner and entertainment at The Merry Ploughboys Pub in Dublin will end our Irish journey. The cost of the trip is $3,775. Visit THECATHOLICSPIRIT.COM for more information. Martie McMahon is business office manager for The Catholic Spirit.

Calendar 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:


Dining out Fish fry at Knights of Columbus Hall, Bloomington — Every Friday: 5 to 9 p.m. at 1114 American Blvd. Cost is $10.95. Call (952) 888-1492 for reservations. Chicken and rib dinner at Knights of Columbus Hall, Bloomington — Every Wednesday: 5 to 9 p.m. at 1114 American Blvd. Cost is $10.95. Call (952) 888-1492 for reservations. KC pancake breakfast at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Maplewood — December 4: 8 a.m. to noon at 1725 Kennard St. Cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children and under 5 are free. KC pancake breakfast at Blessed Sacrament, St. Paul — December 4: 8 a.m. to noon at 1801 LaCrosse Ave. Cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children and under 5 are free. KC pancake breakfast at St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Paul — December 4: 8 a.m. to noon at 2119 Stillwater Ave. Cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children and under 5 are free. St. Nick pancake breakfast at St. Peter, Richfield — December 4: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 6730 Nicollet Ave. S. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 4 to 12. Bring a camera to get a picture with St. Nick. KC benefit pancake breakfast at St. Michael, Farmington — December 4: 9 a.m. to noon at 22120 Denmark Ave. Proceeds will go to assist the Mark and Kerrie Davis family of Farmington who lost their home to a fire. KC shrimp and steak dinner at Knights Events Center, Shakopee — December 9: 5 to 8 p.m. at 1760 Fourth Ave. E. Cost is $12 for shrimp or steak and $15 for both. Children’s meal available for $3.

Parish events


(No attachments, please.) FAX: (651) 291-4460. MAIL: “Calendar,” The Catholic Spirit, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

‘A Simple Christmas Art Fair’ at Cretin -Derham Hall School, St. Paul — December 1: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 550 S. Albert St. Features gifts made by members of the CDH community, as well as people from around the world. CCW Christ Child Luncheon at St. Ignatius, Annandale — December 2: 10:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 35 Birch St. E. Features cookies and candy available at Santa’s Sweet Shoppe. ‘Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night’ at Lumen Christi, St. Paul — December 2: 7 p.m. at 2055 Bohland Ave. A holiday comedy featuring interactive bingo. Tickets are $25 at the door for adults and $15 for children. InVocation Christmas Concert at Annunciation, Minneapolis — December 3: 7 p.m. at 509 W 54th St. Concert is free, but free will offering benefits The Emergency Foodshelf Network. For information, visit WWW.INVOCATION SINGERS.ORG. Annual Christmas Village at St. Raphael, Crystal — December 3: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 7301 Bass Lake Road. Features gift baskets, handmade doll clothes, games, entertainment and more. Unique boutique at St. John Vianney, South St. Paul — December 3 and 4: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to

JustGiving Fair at St. Thomas the Apostle This annual, non-denominational fair — held Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle in Minneapolis — provides opportunities to learn about and give gifts related to fair-trade merchants and organizations serving communities in Minnesota and around the world. The event features fair-trade and sustainable goods from Peace Coffee, Expo Peru, Linden Hills Co-Op and more. Other participating organizations include Solar Oven Project, Cookie Cart, Nonviolent Peaceforce and Mother Bear Project. There will also be live music all day. For information, visit WWW.STA-MPLS.ORG. noon Sunday at 789 17th Ave. N. Features a variety antiques, collectibles and vintage jewelry. Lunch of homemade bread and soup available Saturday.

Odilia, Shoreview — December 3 and 4: Noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday at 3495 N. Victoria St. Features holiday crafts, card, decor and baked goods.

Winterfest at Sts. Peter and Paul, Loretto — December 3 and 4: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 145 Railway St. E. Features pulled pork sandwiches and live music Saturday and a build-yourown-omelet breakfast with St. Nicholas Sunday.

Christmas craft boutique and bake sale at Guardian Angels, Oakdale — December 3 and 4: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at 8260 Fourth St. N. Features more than 50 crafters, a secret Santa for the kids and holiday baked goods. Santa will be on hand Saturday.

Christmas fair at St. Hedwig, Minneapolis — December 3 and 4: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and after the 5 p.m. Mass Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday at 129 29th Ave. N.E. Features crafts, baked goods and a Christmas Store for children (everything is $1). Cookies and beverages will be served.

Celtic Christmas concert featuring Katie McMahon at St. Michael historic church, St. Michael — December 4: 4 p.m. at 22 N. Main St. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door after 3 p.m.

Christmas boutique at St. Cyril, Minneapolis — December 3 and 4: 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at the corner of 13th Avenue and Second Street N.E. Christmas bazaar at St. Vincent de Paul, Brooklyn Park — December 3 and 4: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at 9100 93rd Ave. N. Features a variety of baked goods, live music and a soup and sandwich lunch. Christmas boutique at St. Lawrence Catholic Shurch and Newman Center, Minneapolis — December 3 and 4: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at 1203 Fifth St. S.E. Features homemade food, fair trade coffee, live music and hand crafted gifts. Christmas bake and boutique sale at Incarnation, Minneapolis — December 3 and 4: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at 3801 Pleasant Ave. S. Features baked goods, holiday boutique and a pancake breakfast Sunday. Christmas boutique and bake sale at Annunciation, Minneapolis — December 3 and 4: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Sunday at 509 W. 54th St. Features a variety of baked goods, silent auction, crafts, a toy shop and a coffee shop. Unique boutique and cookie sale at St. Austin, Minneapolis — December 3 and 4: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at 4050 Upton Ave. N.

Messiah sing-a-long with the Minnesota Chorale at St. Olaf, Minneapolis — December 4: 6:30 p.m. at 215 S. Eighth St. Bring a score or borrow one at the event. Free will offering. ‘A Northeast Christmas’ concert to benefit Pope John Paul II School at Our Lady of Lourdes, Minneapolis — December 4: 1:30 p.m. at 1 Lourdes Place. Features traditional Christmas carols performed by the students and choirs from other Northeast Minneapolis parishes. Tickets range from $10 to $25. For information, call (612) 789-8851.

Prayer/ liturgies Compline prayer at Assumption, St. Paul — Sundays through Dec. 18: 7 p.m. at 51 W. Seventh St. The half-hour ecumenical prayer service will be sung by the Minnesota Compline choir. for information, visit WWW.MINNE SOTACOMPLINE.ORG. Advent Vespers with the Sisters of St. Joseph at St. Catherine University chapel, St. Paul — December 4 and 18: 4:30 p.m. at 2004 Randolph Ave. For information, visit HTTP://CSJPRAYER.NET /ADVENT-VESPERS-2011. Knights of Columbus traveling rosary at St. Columba, St. Paul — December 4: 2 p.m. at 1327 Lafond Ave. All night vigil with the Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Paul — December 2 and 3: 7 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday at 401 Concord St.

Craft and bake sale at St. Timothy, Maple Lake — December 3 and 4: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to noon Sunday at 8 Oak Ave. N. Features cookie, candies, crafts and more.

World Apostolate of Fatima Vigil of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary at St. Peter, Mendota — December 2 and 3: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at 1405 Highway 13. For information, call (651) 4541289 or WWW.FATIMAONLINE.ORG.

Holiday bake sale and boutique at St.

Advent Evensong at St. Cecilia, St.


Paul — December 4: 7 p.m. at 2357 Bayless Place. Refreshments to follow. National Night of Prayer for Life at St. Timothy, Maple Lake — December 8 and 9: 9 p.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday at 8 Oak Ave. N. Advent Evensong at St. John the Baptist, New Brighton — December 11: 4 p.m. at 835 Second Ave. N.W. Festival hospitality to follow.

Singles 50-plus Second Sunday Supper event at St. Joan of Arc, Minneapolis — December 11: 5 p.m. at 4537 Third Ave. S. Includes social hour, dinner and an old-fashioned Christmas celebration with a sing-a-long at 7 p.m. Cost is $10. Call (952) 884-5165.

School events St. Nicholas party for pre-schoolers at Blessed Trinity School, Richfield — December 2: 8:30 to 10 a.m. at 7540 Penn Ave. S. St. Nick will stop by and there will be games run by Blessed Trinity eighth-graders. Call (612) 8666906 for information. Open house at St. Batholomew School, Wayzata — December 5: 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 630 E. Wayzata Blvd. For students entering pre-school to grade 6. For information, visit WWW.ST-BARTS. ORG/SCHOOL. Bright Beginnings Preschool open house at Our Lady of the Lake, Mound — December 7: 9 to 11:30 a.m. at 2411 Commerce Blvd. For children ages 2 to 5 and their parents. RSVP to (952) 472-1284, ext. 150. ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ presented at Academy of Holy Angels, Richfield — December 8 and 10: 7 p.m. Thursday and 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday at 6600 Nicollet Ave. S. Tickets are $5. Call (651) 798-2651 for information. ‘A Very Hill-Murray Christmas’ variety show at Hill Murray School, Maplewood — December 9 to 11 and 15 to 18: 7 p.m. Dec. 9, 10 15 16 and 17; 2 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18. Dinner Theatre Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $6 for children under 12. To order tickets, visit WWW.HILL-MURRAY.ORG.

Other events Advent retreat with Jesuit Father Matt Linn at St. Richard, Richfield — December 3: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 7540 Penn Ave. S. Cost is $30 for pre-registration, $35 at the door, and includes lunch and snacks. Topic is, “Letting Christmas Change Your Life.” For information, email iGNATIANASSOCIATE@GMAIL. COM or call (651) 457-4339. ‘Discover the Star of Bethlehem’ presentation at Our Lady of Victory Chapel at St. Catherine University, St. Paul — December 8: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 2004 Randolph Ave. Physicist Terry Flower will speak. RSVP to (651) 6906819.



Job market: Good news, bad news CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 On Jan. 1 each year, she starts a new stack of folders containing the information on the people involved in the ministry who obtain jobs. “For the last two-plus years, I don’t think that stack has been over an inch,” she said. “This year, I have a great number of people who have good-paying, decent jobs.”

Focusing on hope Although the Basilica offers programs throughout the year for people who are unemployed or underemployed, Grove said it is important to offer a place for people to go during the holiday season. So, the Basilica began Nov. 22 to provide inspiration through weekly presentations. “What we’re focusing on this year is telling them that this is the perfect time to not hibernate,” Grove said. “People who are getting jobs are those that are networking. They are not the ones sitting in front of their computer looking at Monster.” Grove said presentations will continue in December, with a new four-part series on the job search process starting Jan. 5. (See events box at bottom right.) “What I’m seeing is that there are better jobs out there,” she said, although many people are still out of work. In that regard, Grove said, “We are at an all-time high. I’m at about 450 people, but they are not all unemployed. [There are] three un’s: the unemployed, the underemployed and the unhappily employed. In the past, the unhappily employed just left their jobs. Nobody dares to do that now.”

Building confidence People seeking help at the Basilica are asked to meet with one of the 15 volunteer job coaches, with appointments available at various times every day, including weekends. Chisholm takes four or five appointments every Monday, Grove said. “Colin is a great guy. I couldn’t say enough about him,” said Kim Ritter, who met with Chisholm for almost two years before getting a job. “He was not only a job coach, but he was a good life coach. . . . Sometimes you lose confidence in yourself, and he believed in me even when there were times I didn’t believe in me.” Chisholm, who became a member of the Basilica after moving to the Twin Cities in 2007, began working with the ministry soon after. The CEO and chairman of the board of TCN Networks, Chisholm presents his ideas about teamwork to the people he counsels at the Basilica. “You start thinking about how do we as a team move a company forward for the betterment of all the stakeholders, whether it’s the employees or the vendors or the

How the Basilica ministry works ■ Intake interview: Someone from the Employment Ministry program gathers details about the type of work being sought and what additional services may be needed. ■ Job leads: Individuals are added to the program’s data base and receive daily emails with up to 400 job leads that come through parishioners and other sources. ■ Job coach appointment: Each person is assigned a person who will work with them one on one to create a resumé or help with networking. ■ Workshops: A variety of topics are covered during presentations and hands-on seminars at the church. ■ Transportation: A bus pass may be provided to get to an interview or to the library to get job leads. ■ Food: The ministry connects people with a food shelf. This year, students at Our Lady of Grace School in Edina provided 29 turkeys and 29 bins of food for people in the program, including one person who is working four jobs. ■ Felons: For those who have a felony criminal record but are working to be good citizens, the program can connect them with organizations to help with employment. ■ Training: Free classes available to update computer skills. ■ Free training programs for jobs in green industries through HIRED. — Pat Norby

Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Although more people found good jobs this year through the Basilica of St. Mary’s Employment Ministry, Janet Grove said that many are still searching.

general public that is going to use your product,” he said. “All employees should think that way, not just the Clevel employees.” Chisholm said that during their meetings, he saw that Ritter had experience on many levels and understood how to be a team member. After working 10 years as an asset manager with Xcel Energy, Ritter’s position was eliminated in 2003 and she took a contract position. When that job moved to Texas, her search for employment began. “It was a combination of the economy changing and I was aging,” said Ritter, 54. With help from the Dislocated Worker Program, she earned a mini-MBA at the University of St. Thomas and took several classes to upgrade her computer skills. Ritter read about the Basilica’s Employment Ministry program on a list of resources handed out by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s WorkForce Center. “There are a lot of groups out there that support people that are unemployed. But [the Basilica] is the only one that does one-on-one mentoring,” Ritter said. During her meetings with Chisholm, the coach encouraged her to stay positive and to “get out among the living,” she said. She attended twice-monthly networking breakfasts, talked with the speakers and sought out other people in her field. One of those many contacts resulted in her securing a position four months ago with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Fear sets in In light of the inaction by Congress’ Super Committee, the unemployment benefits that Ritter said were “critical” to help her update her skills and search for a job are set to expire Jan. 1. Grove said she is concerned about the possibility of millions of people losing benefits at a time when so many people are still out of work. “At the Basilica and for many of the churches involved in this work, we know that your dignity is tied up in what you do, who you are, how you feel about yourself,” she said.

Other parish efforts Richard White, who in 2002 founded the employment ministry group that meets at Epiphany in Coon Rapids where he is a member, said that since Sept. 1 he has seen six people from the group get hired. About 10 to 25 people currently attend the meeting. A few months ago, about 60 people were attending, and several months ago it was about 85. However, four to six newly unemployed people show up each week, he said. “I can identify with their fear, their anxiety, their panic, their embarrassment, the humiliation,” said White, who was first unemployed for 24 months, was 10 days from losing his home, then was unemployed for another 20 months. He returned to work just three months ago. PLEASE TURN TO DIGNITY ON PAGE 19

Offering spiritual support “It’s a very lonely position to be out there unemployed,” said Tom Green, who started an employment ministry in April 2010 through Christ the King Church in Minneapolis, where he is a member. Green also founded the Employment Ministry at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis 26 years ago. Although Green is retired from full-time work, he wanted to help unemployed parishioners and others get help, so he recruited 12 volunteers to do job coaching. Janet Grove, who now holds Green’s position at the Basilica, also said that seeking employment is a lonely job. Many of the people she meets with say they don’t understand why they are unemployed or where God has been in their job loss and search. “What we’re able to do is to be with them and validate those feelings and say we don’t know why these things happen, but let’s work together to get you back on track,” Grove said.

Walking with the unemployed Most of the people seeking help at the Basilica and other job clubs at Catholic churches are not members of the parishes or even Catholic, said Grove and other employment ministry coordinators. But Grove and the coaches and parishioners are there to walk with them, listen to them and offer help with no strings attached. In return, when someone gets a job, there is often a donation made to the ministry or a call comes in offering to volunteer to help others, she said. “Every year, the Employment Ministry hosts one of the soup suppers,” she said. “I have so many workers willing to be there to serve people, to make soup, to set the table. . . . They want to give back.” Colin Chisholm, who coaches four or five people each week at the Basilica, said part of his choice to volunteer comes out of his involvement with the Knights of Malta. “As a Knight, you take a vow to do the work of God,” he said. “In the Order of Malta, we take one vow that we serve Our Lord’s sick and the poor.” Gretchen Anderson, a member of St. Richard in Richfield, said when a person is first unemployed, he or she gets angry and then becomes depressed. “It’s like a roller coaster,” she said. “When you’ve been unemployed over a year, you look at yourself and your spirituality. It helps you understand yourself.” Now 66, Anderson is not actively searching for a job, but continues to help others through the group she started several years ago when she was laid off after working 39 years. Within the Employment Ministry packets handed out at the Basilica, there is a prayer for the unemployed, a novena prayer and a prayer of hope. “Prayer is all through what we do, but it is not a prerequisite,” Grove said. “The whole idea is that they do feel that people are praying with them and for them and working with them and this is a ministry and everyone is donating their time.” — Pat Norby

Events for unemployed All at Basilica of St. Mary, 88 N. 17th St., Minneapolis. Spiritual guide for unemployed 2 p.m. Dec. 1 with local author Timothy Mullner. Blessing of the unemployed 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6, with talk by Dennis Bird to follow at 7 p.m. Happy holiday handshaking 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13, for tips on networking at this time of year with Jason Alba and Catherine Byers Breet. Job Search, four-part series 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26 with Lee Levitan, includes light meal.



Dignity tied to what you do, how you feel CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 During his first unemployment in 2002, he started the jobs group and invited his wife to attend a meeting with him. She was completely unaware of all he was doing to find employment, as are many spouses, he said. “We went home that night and talked till 2 or 3 in the morning,” he said. A year ago, he opened the Tuesday night meetings to spouses and family members. “A lot of people said this was the best thing for their relationship.” At St. Richard in Richfield, Gretchen Anderson helped start an employment group at her parish when the group at the nearby WorkForce Center disbanded. “We are a small group,” she said. But the support “keeps you sane and motivated and grounded” at a time when you lose focus on everything. She said people in the group are getting jobs, but many are contract jobs that may or may not get them into a full-time position.

Ongoing concerns Grove said one disturbing trend is the state has a rule that the unemployed must attend classes and see a job coach or counselor, but there is a six-month wait. “Those organizations, which I have met with and partnered with and am working with, are now sending their people here,” she said. “So, my job coaches are jampacked. We are always a couple of weeks out.” Another concern is that most of the people she is working with now have always been employed. “They have found themselves out of work because of shutdowns, layoffs, reorganizations,” Grove said. “We need to help them get a resumé, teach them how to interview, which is extremely different than 15 years ago.” Today, a job seeker may have two or three interviews via the phone before meeting someone in person, then interview in front of 10 people. Grove said she sends emails with information on 300 job postings each week to those signed up in the ministry. Recently, she has heard from employers who will need snow shovelers to work on downtown Minneapolis sidewalks for $20 an hour. Grove said the Basilica ministry offers the power of partners, networking and, of course, an even greater power. “We have a whole lot of people praying for all of them every day,” she said.

Pope urges international climate change agreement

Job clubs, ministries at Catholic parishes

Catholic News Service

Basilica Employment Ministry Monthly workshops and individual meetings at Basilica of St. Mary, 88 N. 17th St., Minneapolis Contact Janet Grove (612) 317-3508 JGROVE@MARY.ORG WWW.MARY.ORG, click on LIFE at left, then Employment Ministry Job coaching Tom Green, a member of Christ the King in Minneapolis and founder of the Basilica of St. Mary ministry, connects people with one of 12 job volunteer coaches (612) 749-1830 TOMGREEN26@COMCAST.NET Surviving Unemployment Life Challenges 6:30-8 p.m. Mondays at Epiphany, 1900 111th Ave., Coon Rapids Contact Mary Maness MMANESS4@YAHOO.COM North Metro Job Networking Group 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Epiphany, 1900 111th Ave., Coon Rapids Contact Richard White RICHARDWHITE01@MSN.COM Hennepin Southwest Networkers 9:30-11:30 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at St. Richard, 7540 Penn Ave. S., Richfield Contact Gretchen Anderson GANDERS35@YAHOO.COM St. Odilia Job Transition Support Group 7-9 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of the month at St. Odilia, 3495 Victoria St. N., Shoreview (651) 484-6681 WWW.STODILIA.ORG Source: Metro Area Network List compiled by Bruce Hanson BGHANSON@MSN.COM, WWW.BRUCEHANSON.EFOLIOMN.COM. Click on the “Helping Others” section

Pope Benedict XVI urged international leaders to reach a credible agreement on climate change, keeping in mind the needs of the poor and future generations. The pope made the remarks at his noon blessing at the Vatican Nov. 27, the day before officials from 194 countries were to begin meeting in Durban, South Africa, to discuss next steps in reducing greenhouse gases and stopping global temperatures from rising. “I hope that all members of the international community can agree on a responsible, credible and supportive response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon, keeping in mind the needs of the poorest populations and of future generations,” the pope said. The meeting, which runs until Dec. 9, is the latest in a series to consider follow-up action to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which obligated industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a specific amount. The Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012, and the Durban encounter is considered crucial in forging an additional commitment period. The goal of the talks organized by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is to cut greenhouse gases by 50 percent by 2050 and prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, was leading a 20person Caritas delegation to the Durban talks to press for an agreement on behalf of poor countries that have been severely impacted by climate change. “Our climate is changing. Caritas organizations are responding to increasing unpredictability and extreme weather conditions experienced around the world. This year we saw floods in Central America, South and Southeast Asia and drought across East Africa,” Cardinal Rodriguez said in a statement released by Caritas. “Urgent action is necessary,” he said. “Climate negotiators in Durban must not further delay agreeing to international legislation to curb the threat of climate change and set the world on a path to a more just and sustainable future.”

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“True, it does not kill directly, but it contributes actively to the marginalization of the person — which is a form of social death — and it blocks access to knowledge.” Pope Benedict XVI, commenting on the educational crisis and high illiteracy rates in Africa, in his recent document "Africae Munus" ("The Commitment of Africa")

Overheard 20

The Catholic Spirit

Quotes from this week’s newsmakers

DECEMBER 1, 2011 “I do not believe those executions made us safer. Certainly I don’t believe they made us nobler as a society. And I simply cannot participate once again in something I believe to be morally wrong.”

Honoring a hero

— Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who on Nov. 22 placed a moratorium on the use of the death penalty for the rest of his term, while stating his regrets for allowing two men to be executed during his first time in office in the 1990s

“We understand the desire to protect the minds of young people but why include the name of Christ? What is obscene? Banning it is a violation of our right to evangelize and hurts the feelings of Christians.” — Father Nadeem John Shakir of the Pakistani bishops’ conference, objecting to a proposal by a Pakistani telecom agency to ban the name Jesus Christ in text messages on mobile phones among other words the agency declares “obscene”

CNS photo / Joseph Kolb

John Moore of Gallup, N.M., carries a wooden cross along a Santa Fe highway in late September in memory of Korean War hero Father Emil Kapaun (inset, above). Beginning Sept. 11, Moore made a 630-mile pilgrimage from Santa Fe to Pilsen, Kan., arriving at Father Kapaun's home parish Nov. 11, in support of a movement to honor the priest with the Medal of Honor and sainthood. The Army chaplain saved the lives of dozens of soldiers and died as a prisoner of war in Pyoktong, North Korea, May 23, 1951. A canonization cause for Father Kapaun was formally opened in 2008. Read more at HTTP://FRKAPAUN.ORG/MEDAL.HTML.

“Empathy, alone, does not help the poor. We need a firm societal commitment to action — a grassroots movement that begins with individuals, and then expands to family, community and government.” — New Jersey’s bishops, in a Nov. 21 statement on the growing rate of poverty

Men’s club offers double donation when you pick up tree, drop off coat The Our Lady of Grace Men’s Club in Edina has united with The Angel Fund for the second consecutive year to increase charitable giving. Volunteers selling trees at the OLG Men’s Club Christmas tree lot The will again help The Catholic Spirit Angel Fund to collect coats for the needy. The coat drive will continue through Dec. 18, in conjunction with the Christmas tree sale that is set up in the church parking lot at 5071 Eden Ave. in Edina. Visitors to the tree lot are encouraged to donate a clean, new or used winter coat. The goal is to collect coats for 100 men, 100 women and 100 children. The coats then will be donated to Twin Cities charities, such as St. Stephens Men’s Shelter and St. Anne’s for women and children. The goal of the OLG Men’s Club is to raise funds for athletic programs that are enjoyed by kids and families throughout the community. The tree lot has raised more than $200,000 in the past nine

News Notes

years, selling an average of 1,500 trees a year. Trees are provided by Wolcyn Tree Farms. Wreaths and garland are also for sale. Coats can be dropped off at the tree lot warming house from 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. weekends through Dec. 18. Last year, more than 350 coats were collected by the men’s club. For more information about these fundraisers, visit WWW.OLGMENSCLUB.ORG.

Cadet colonel named Mitchell Perry of Dellwood was named the 104th cadet colonel of St. Thomas Academy in a ceremony Nov. 23 at the Mendota Heights school, during which he was handed the Fleming Saber by Headmaster Thomas Mich, signifying Perry’s selection as head of the corps of cadets. The cadet colonel is chosen based on his academic performance, co-curricular involvement, merits and demerits, military performance and leadership abilities.

Five additional seniors were promoted from cadet captain to cadet lieutenant colonel: ■ Sean Byom of Eagan was named brigade executive officer. ■ Ken Mannuzza of Apple Valley was named brigade chief of staff.


■ Paul Brunkhorst of Minneapolis was named battalion commander.

■ John Gould of Mendota Heights was named battalion commander. ■ Patrick Clancy of St. Louis Park was named battalion commander.

Religious liberty concerns In addition to recently being appointed chairman-elect of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, Archbishop John Nienstedt was among 10 bishop-members and 10 consultants recently named to the

bishops’ new Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty was announced Sept. 30 by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said committee members will work with a variety of national organizations, ecumenical and interreligious partners, charities and scholars to “form a united and forceful front in defense of religious freedom in our nation.”

Law dean to leave Thomas Mengler, dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law and holder of the Ryan Chair in Law, has announced that he will step down on June 30, 2012. As dean for the past 10 years, Mengler guided the School of Law to several important milestones, including American Bar Association accreditation, the $100 million mark in fundraising and hiring a nationally recognized faculty.

The Catholic Spirit - December 1, 2011  
The Catholic Spirit - December 1, 2011  

Helping retired religious. Ireland: The other Holy Land. Job market: Good news, bad news. The power of prayer.