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Archdiocesan priest appears on Czech Republic TV news

Official Publication of the Archdiocese of Dubuque Sunday, January 15, 2017 . Vol. 97, No. 2 Mailed 1/12

Meets pilgrims praying for peace in Syria while saying Mass in ancestors’ homeland Pages 4, 5

Msgr. Tom Zinkula (center) is filmed by a TV journalist while distributing the Eucharist in a Czech church. (Contributed photo)

Archbishop Jackels reflects on immigration; marks National Migration Week

How will U.S. policy affect Middle East’s Christians in 2017?

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Parishioner of St. Patrick’s in Nevada writes on meeting first American-born martyr recognized by the church Page 3

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Mission Priorities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque: 1) Strengthening programs for on-going education in the faith 2) Enhancing the Sunday assembly for Holy Mass 3) Teaching stewardship as a way of life 4) Promoting vocations in general, and priesthood in particular Learn more at

Mission Priority topics featured in this issue: Faith Formation The Role of Elders The Faith Alive feature this week discusses the role grandparents and other elders play in the faith formation of their grandchildren and other young people. - page 10

Stewardship Supporting Pregnant Women Knights of Columbus in the Mason City and Clear Lake areas recently made donations to support ultrasound equipment at Caring Pregnancy Center, an organization that helps pregnant women in crisis situations to have and support their babies. - page 8

Enhancing the Sunday Assembly Blessing a New Chapel A Mass and dedication ceremony were held recently at a new chapel built on the campus of Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville. Archbishop Jackels joined local priests, parents, students, faculty and others for the event. - page 9

Vocations Meeting a Martyr While discerning a possible call to the priesthood as a young man, a parishioner at St. Patrick Parish in Nevada met Blessed Father Stanley Rother, the first American-born martyr recognized officially by the church. He also met Father Ray Herman, a priest from the Archdiocese of Dubuque who was murdered while serving as a missionary in Bolivia. - page 3

Wisdom of the Saints: “There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.” — Saint Teresa of Avila


Reflecting on Catholics and immigration National Migration Week held Jan. 8-14 By Archbishop Michael Jackels Witness Publisher Our Holy Father Pope Francis is teaching us by word and example to show mercy to people on the peripheries, who are marginalized in society, and who are at risk. This is the measure of a person and of a community: the care given to people, from the moment of conception to natural death, who cannot protect or provide for themselves – the smallest, poorest, meekest, and weakest in our midst. Caring about and for others is also the means by which a person and a Archbishop community is made difJackels ferent, better – more so electing politicians, enacting policies, and managing commerce in the hope that it might trickle down to the poor. The measure: being a Good Samaritan; caring for a Lazarus covered with sores; the willingness to wash feet. The means: to be the last of all and the servant of all; to forgive and give with a generous portion; to go out and go low. An expression of this measure and means is to acknowledge the contribu-

Consider how Jesus tells us that he takes personally how we treat other people for good or for ill (see Matthew 25:31-46).

“A government on the national level of any country is charged with securing its borders, but also with implementing a reasonable immigration policy, and to help people who are vulnerable.” Also, in addition to being descendants of immigrants, we are also immigrants, spiritually-speaking. The Letter to the Hebrews describes all people of faith as foreigners, immigrants in search of a better, heavenly homeland (11:13-16). And whether or not at the end of our earthly pilgrimage we are allowed to enter the heavenly kingdom to take up residence in the celestial city of Jerusalem will depend in great part on how we treat immigrants here and now. The measure of goodness and the means to be different, better is to show mercy to people on the peripheries, who are marginalized in society, and who are at risk.

Mass and March for Life to be Iowa Mass for held Jan. 22 in Cedar Rapids Life is Jan. 15 St. Matthew Church to host events; open to the public CEDAR RAPIDS — All are invited to a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children in Cedar Rapids. Father Steve Garner will be the celebrant at a Mass for Life on Jan. 22, 2017, at 1 p.m. at St. Matthew Church (3425 First Ave SE) in Cedar Rapids. The Mass

Scripture Readings

Index Archdiocese.................................... 2-5 Community..................................... 6-7 Archdiocese.................................... 8-9 Faith Alive.........................................10 Spirituality........................................11 Column/Media..................................12 Nation/World..............................13-16

tions made by immigrants and refugees coming here, and to address the challenges they face. Catholics in our country are reminded of this during the week of 8-14 January 2017, our annual observance of National Migration Week. Can you imagine leaving your family, friends, homeland, language, and culture to go to an unfamiliar place and an uncertain future? That is what immigrants and refugees do, in the hope of enjoying things needed to live in dignity not available in their own country: food and shelter, productive work and fair wages, education and health care, and protection from harm. It is not easy to emigrate. They often live on the peripheries in the new country. They need a welcome, acknowledging the riches they bring to our country. And they need help to make the transition. A government on the national level of any country is charged with securing its borders, but also with implementing a reasonable immigration policy, and to help people who are vulnerable. In our country there is a need to secure borders, to reform our immigration policy, and to help people get on their feet, so to speak. On account of our faith, the Catholic faithful should be interested in all this, and in urging our elected representatives to do something positive in its regard.

will be followed at 2 p.m. by a March for Life to Planned Parenthood where partici­ pants will witness, pray and visit. Signs will be available for your use. At 3 p.m., participants will return to St. Matthew Church Kearn Hall (lower level) for free chili and fellowship. Those who want to join in but will not be able to march can drive the route and participate in the events. All are welcome to attend all or part of this activity. For more information, contact coalition­ or 319-721-9730.

SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Is 49:3, 5-6 1 Cor 1:1-43 Jn 1:29-34

MONDAY Heb 5:1-10 Mk 2:18-22

TUESDAY Heb 6:10-20 Mk 2:23-28

Week of Jan. 15-21

ALTOONA — The annual Mass for Life and the Iowa Institute for Social Action is this week. The four bishops of Iowa will celebrate the Mass at Saints John and Paul Church in Altoona, Iowa, this coming Sunday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. Bishop Martin Amos of Daven­port will be the homilist. The Institute for Social Action, an annual advocacy event, will be held at the parish on Jan. 15 and 16. For more information or to register, go to iowa­

WEDNESDAY Heb 7:1-3, 15-17 Mk 3:1-6

THURSDAY Heb 7:25—8:6 Mk 3:7-12


Heb 8:6-13 Mk 3:13-19


Heb 9:2-3, 11-14 Mk 3:20-21

Stewardship A way of life Today’s responsorial psalm is the theme song of the good steward: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” May I, too, stand ready to offer myself and my gifts in the service of God.


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The night I dined with a martyr: Blessed Fr. Stanley Rother Editor’s Note: The following reflection was written Dec. 26, 2016, the Feast of St. Stephen, by a member of St. Patrick Parish in Nevada. Pope Francis beatified Father Rother in December 2016.

By Gary A. T. Guthrie Special to The Witness Immanuel, God with us; we anticipate the coming of Jesus into our lives the four weeks of Advent leading to the celebration of Christmas and the Christ child who came to live with us, to redeem our lives. Yet what does it mean, God with us? The Catholic Church in her wisdom gives us a clue when it placed the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, on the day after Christmas. I was given the gift of tears at a very young age. I remember understanding at age 5 as we went to St. Mary Catholic Church in Wooster, Ohio, that Jesus was without sin, so seeing Jesus on the cross, I would ask myself, “How could they do this? How Gary could people kill the most Guthrie innocent person who has ever lived?” I would bawl my heart out thinking about that and feeling Christ’s agony and pain! I often cry pondering that question for all those who are crucified/martyred to this day. It’s shaped my life in ways I could never have imagined as a 5-year-old. Today’s reflection in “An Ignatian Book of Days” shares this by Kevin O’Brien, SJ, from “The Ignatian Adventure”: “What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I to do for Christ? Return to these questions throughout the retreat. In one sense, they are not completely answerable during the retreat itself; we often lean into the answers as we continue our normal routines.” I feel I have been leaning into the question of Jesus’ innocence and crucifixion all my life. From sixth grade onward I had a strong desire to become a missionary priest. One summer during high school, a Maryknoller, Father Ken Moody, filled in for our pastor at St. Patrick’s in Nevada, Iowa. I was an altar server, so of course when he heard of my ambitions he befriended me. Through that relationship and his work in Venezuela I became interested in working in Latin America. I remember Oct. 25, 1975, when at ­daily Mass, the priest announced that Father Ray Herman was assassinated (a priest from the Archdiocese of Dubuque serving in Bolivia). I wept bitter tears once again asking the same question, “Why?” Two years later I was able to arrange a job shadow experience with the Maryknoll priests in Guatemala. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in college. For two months I tagged along with Father Stan Banezek who worked a 10hour drive from Guatemala City. It could not have been more exotic for me. He received me graciously and befriended me.

Gary Guthrie of Nevada, Iowa, (left) is pictured with Genaro and Julia Villka, probably about May 1986 in San Luis, Bolivia, which is located in the eastern lowlands of the Dept. of Santa Cruz. They are showing off a nice crop of pinto beans that the farmers could grow in the dry season when the weed and disease pressure was not so strong. (Photo contributed by Gary Guthrie) There were a few days, before a Maryknoll Central America retreat, that I had free to travel and do a bit of exploring. The day before the retreat was to start, I ended up in the town of Santiago Atitlán. The church there was run by the Diocese of Oklahoma City. Perhaps because I was seriously thinking of the priesthood I was more audacious in introducing myself to priests wherever I went, but I looked up the pastor, and after I introduced myself, he introduced himself as Stanley Rother. He invited me to stay and eat dinner with him that evening. He gave me a tour of the church, giving me a bit of history of the area and of the particular indigenous people he served. As far as Guatemala went, it was a very small group of people that lived in that town and surrounding area (in 2002 the population was 60,000). At the time I knew he was from rural Oklahoma, so over dinner that night we talked about Oklahoma as my father grew up in western Oklahoma. After all of these years this is what has stuck with me from our conversation: He had been serving there since 1968, and he had learned the local Tz’utuji indigenous language and was fluent in it besides learning Spanish, but after nearly 10 years he finally mastered a certain throat sound. He had a singular love for the people he served, and he wanted to master their language to affirm and speak to them in their own native tongue as well as celebrate Mass. Here was a man who was a farm boy from Oklahoma with basic practical skills. He was asked to leave his first seminary he attended, because he wasn’t dedicated to his studies! He was spending time fixing and doing all the practical/physical aspects of taking care of the seminary campus! After some time his bishop invited him to attend another seminary and was subsequently ordained in 1965. Here was an ordinary man doing his job but utterly falling in love with the people he served.

Because of his dedication and love for the poor he began receiving death threats. For a while he did go back to Oklahoma, but eventually his love for his people returned him home to Santiago Atitlán. His life is a testimony to the John passage: “No greater love than this than to lay one’s life down for one’s friends.” It is out of pure love that Father Rother returned to be with his people, his sheep. Three years later I cried once again when I heard that Father Rother was assassinated. On Dec. 2, 2016, the Vatican officially proclaimed Father Rother to be the first American-born martyr for the faith. When I heard the news I just happened to be at a Central American retreat for Franciscan Associates of the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters taking place in El Salvador. Associates from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador gathered together for the first time, and I returned to El Salvador to visit my goddaughter and attend the retreat as an associate. You see I continued to lean into my answer. I discerned a year later after my Guatemala experience that I was not called to sacramental ministry. I did have a very strong desire to serve the poor through working for their food security. My leaning led me to serve with the Mennonite Central Committee in the eastern lowlands of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, following the footsteps of Father Herman. I worked with Heifer Project International; I did well drilling to secure sources of water. I was finally living my “dream.” I married another volunteer, and we ended up serving as a couple in El Salvador administering fertilizer loans to displaced farmers between 1987-90 during their civil war. One night at a candlelight burial of three men from our community who were found dead at the Puerto del Diablo (Devil’s Gate), in anguish, I read Psalm 22, “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?” And so the question why do we continue to

crucify one another persisted in my life. I do know I have an idea why Blessed Father Rother returned to Guatemala. After the Jesuits were killed in San Salvador in November 1989, we were given the choice to stay or return to Iowa. How could we leave? We had been through so much with our friends. We chose to stay a few months longer and say our goodbyes over a longer period of time. I still do not know the answer to why people continue to crucify and kill others. Yet this is what I have come to know: Stephen gave his life living and reflecting the life of Christ. When we do that in our lives, however imperfectly, it gives the opportunity for conversion to happen. Saul witnessed Stephen’s death. Perhaps this antecedent was necessary for his own conversion later. When we are confronted with the goodness of Christ’s light in others who freely choose to serve, to give their life up, we are confronted with our own choices. I am forever grateful for my “chance” encounter with martyr Father Rother and so many other good men and women I have known like him who have inspired me to live my life as faithfully and joyfully as possible. God-with-us! Jesus in his later life invited us to “Follow me.” Lean into the answer as you live your daily choices asking: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I to do for Christ? Then maybe the seeds of love planted each and every Christmas as we worship the Christ-child will grow into a mature faith of giving our lives away in service. It is only in losing our lives do we find them! Gary Guthrie is a native of Nevada, Iowa, and his family, including his wife and son, belongs to St. Patrick Parish there. He holds a B.S. in agronomy from Iowa State University and has been involved in community agriculture for many years. Guthrie is also an associate of the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters.

Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, making him the first martyr born in the U ­ nited States. Father Rother is pictured in an un­dated file photo. (CNS photo/Charlene Scott)


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Archdiocesan priest appears on Czech TV news Celebrates Mass at ancestors’ church By Jill Kruse Witness Editorial Assistant DUBUQUE — “I can now say I’ve had my 10 minutes of fame in the Czech Republic,” Msgr. Thomas Zinkula said recently with a laugh. The priest, currently the rector for the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s St. Pius X College Seminary in Dubuque, unexpectedly found himself on a news broadcast on Czech TV when he was visiting the country over the holiday season. Msgr. Zinkula was in the Czech Republic with his brother Jerry and sister Donna and their families to explore their ancestral homeland. “My dad’s family came from Bohemia in 1854,” said the priest, who has an interest in genealogy. Msgr. Zinkula’s great-great grandparents – Jacob and Barbara Zinkula – had left Bohemia, then part of the Austrian Empire, now part of the Czech Republic, before coming to Iowa to farm. “We had the name of a town where they were from but could never figure out where it was because of a misspelling; we couldn’t find it on a map,” Msgr. Zinkula recalled. But that changed recently when he and his siblings located the hometown of their ancestors on Google Maps, and after some further research, which included scouring online documents written in Czech and Latin, they were able to find their ancestors’ baptismal and marriage records and learn more about them. “We decided to take a trip over there to see everything,” he said. On the day after Christmas, Msgr. Zinkula and his family flew to Prague, the Czech capital. The following day, they rented a car and drove the approximately 100 kilometers to the small village of Prisov, with a population of about 250 people. Once there, they were able to see where Jacob and Barbara Zinkula had lived – Prisov’s House #16. Though a new house

now sits on the property, the foundation from the original home is still visible. Prior to having left for the Czech Republic, Msgr. Zinkula’s family hired a local woman, Olga, to do further genealogical research for them. She also coordinated an itinerary for the family and led their tour once they arrived.

“I figured it would be a small, rather intimate gathering of my family for the Mass. ... By coincidence, there was a deacon leading a pilgrimage that day.” Msgr. Tom Zinkula, On saying Mass at St. Jacob Church in Ledce, Czech Republic Thanks to Olga, the people of Prisov also knew the Zinkulas were coming and provided a warm welcome. “We were greeted by the mayor,” Msgr. Zinkula said. “They had sandwiches for us, too.” The mayor also had her father with her, an elderly man who shared how his ancestors had been the ones who bought the Zinkulas’ home when they left for America in the 1800s. The little village of Prisov is, and was, too small for a church of its own, so Msgr. Zinkula’s ancestors worshipped and celebrated the sacraments at St. Jacob Catholic Church in nearby Ledce. Msgr. Zinkula inquired whether he might be able to celebrate Mass at that church, which is normally attended to by a visiting Polish priest. A man named Martin, who lives in the church’s parsonage, and with his wife operates a charity there for those with mental illness, helped Msgr. Zinkula with the logistics to make his request possible. “I figured it would be a small, rather intimate gathering of my family for the Mass,” reflected Msgr. Zinkula. But that is not exactly how it turned out.

Assistance for Victims of Sexual Abuse To report current or past sexual abuse by Arch­­diocese of Du­buque personnel, call our train­ed coor­dinator Dr. Thomas Ottavi at 563-584-3000.

“By coincidence, there was a deacon leading a pilgrimage that day,” Msgr. Zinkula said. The pilgrimage was being made by a group of university students and young families who were traveling from town to town on their way to a cathedral in nearby Pilsen, praying for the people of Aleppo, Syria, along the way. “Ledce happened to be where they began their pilgrimage,” Monsignor said. The deacon and the group of about 20 pilgrims, who had a police escort for security reasons, joined Msgr. Zinkula and his family for the Mass at St. Jacob’s, as did the Polish priest; Martin, the man from the parsonage, and his family; and a youth from the neighboring village who was recruited to be an altar server. And then the TV station showed up. A reporter and camera crew were following the pilgrims to do a news story about their journey. The reporter interviewed Msgr.

Zinkula, who explained what brought him and his family to the Czech Republic and to that particular church that day. The blurb with Msgr. Zinkula ended up on the Czech station’s evening news broadcast. “The whole thing was just very much a fly by the seat of your pants kind of thing,” Msgr. Zinkula said of the events of that day. Despite the randomness that brought them together, and despite a little shivering on the part of some, since there was no heat in the old church, Msgr. Zinkula said it was a beautiful Mass, and he felt that the people gathered that day shared something special with one another. In particular, he thought it was a memorable moment when the group joined in singing “Silent Night,” in both Czech and English. Msgr. Zinkula said he was happy to see so many young people on that day’s pilgrimage.

(Please turn to Page 5)

Teens Encounter Christ in Calmar

Teens Encounter Christ Retreat (TEC) #565 at CFS Elementary School, Calmar, was held Nov. 19-21, 2016. There were 16 participants from the following locations: Bellevue, Calmar, Cresco, Decorah, Edgewood, Fort Atkinson, Greeley and New Albin. (Contributed photo)

The Church Needs You! - Evangelize through “Totus Tuus” The Archdiocese of Dubuque is looking for amazing, faithfilled and high-energy college-­aged missionaries to serve the children and teens of the Archdiocese through the Totus Tuus program this Summer. The mission of Totus Tuus is to provide children and teens with a meaningful experience of the Catholic faith that fosters solid catechesis, sacramental engagement, and authentic faith-filled role models. As a Totus Tuus missionary you will spend the summer traveling from one parish to an­other leading strong Catholic catechetical programs during the day for children in grades 1-6 and at night for youth in grades 7-12. You will work with a team of three other men and women as traveling missionaries, sharing faith and joy with those you meet. You will stay with host families and live off of the generosity of host parishes. This amazing opportunity will change you and those you serve! Guaranteed! To be eligible you must have completed at least one year of college. More information and the team application can be found at www.dbq­ Contact Kevin Feyen at for more information.


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Naming Grace in the Domestic Church

Light to the nations


hortly after my mother died, I received a beautiful note from a woman who grew up down the street saying that as a child she had found refuge in our home because of my mother’s warmth and welcome—her sharing of Jesus’ love. I always assumed this childhood friend simply enjoyed playing jacks, but it turns out our home was a light to the neighborhood. In this Sunday’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah predicts, “a light to the nations.” In the Gospel, John the Baptist reveals this saving light—Jesus. God’s plan of salvation extends from the Jewish race to all peoples—all nations. The Second Vatican Council document “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium,” translating into “Light of the Nations,” reminds us the church exists “to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the church” (n.1).

MARY PEDERSEN Adult Faith Formation Director for the Archdiocese of Dubuque According to “Lumen Gentium,” Christ’s light also shines through the Christian family as a “domestic church,” the church in the miniature—the church of the home. In the domestic church, members are washed clean through tears of forgiveness and reconciliation, nourished by good food and rich conversation, and anointed through bedtime blessing. As the domestic church, “the family is called to join in daily prayer, to read the word of God and to share in Eucharistic communion, and thus grow in love and become ever more fully a temple in which the Spirit dwells” (“The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis, n. 29). Perhaps the domestic church shines most radiantly as a “contrast society” (“Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Man-

ual for Evangelization,” Scott Hahn). In a world of violence, alienation, consumerism and depression, the domestic church can offer a contrast of life, inclusion, intimacy, peace, simplicity and joy. In a society where families are pulled apart by demanding work schedules, relentless activity and endless entertainment, or ripped apart by selfishness or addiction, the domestic church testifies to a new way of living—a better way of loving as self-gift. No domestic church is perfect, yet the Christian family ideally responds to difficulties with prayer, mercy, tenderness and hope. We are reminded, “a family is holy not because it is perfect but because God’s grace is working in it” (“Follow the Way of Love,” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). Parents/grandparents name God’s strengthening presence— grace—when helping a tired mother, God’s healing presence when comforting a sick grandfather, God’s consoling presence when listening to a depressed sibling and God’s welcoming presence when inviting a lonely neighborhood child to play. Through good times and bad, Christ’s light prevails in the domestic church and others comment, “See how they love one another.”

For more information on the domestic church:

Though the Czechs were historically a Christian people, today, the Czech Republic is one of the most secular countries in the world with low rates of church affiliation and belief in God. “There is not a lot of faith left in the Czech Republic, but it is on the rise among some young people, and it gave one hope to see the young people there that day,” he said. The Mass also struck an emotional chord for Msgr. Zinkula on a personal ­level. 
 “I thought to myself, my ancestors worshipped here, they lived here, and that brought it alive for me,” he said. “As a priest, it was very meaningful to celebrate Mass where they had celebrated the sac-

raments, including the marriage of my great-great-great grandparents (Norbert and Margaretha) in 1821.” “Another thing that made this trip and the Mass so special was that my dad died the Saturday after Thanksgiving,” he reflected, “and of course it was his ancestors who came to the U.S. from Bohemia.” After their time in the Czech Republic ended, Msgr. Zinkula and his family traveled for a few more days in neighboring Poland – seeing the city of Krakow and visiting the site of Auschwitz, the World War II-era concentration camp, now a memorial – before arriving back in Iowa on Jan. 4. “It’s a trip we’ll always remember,” Msgr. Zinkula said.

“No domestic church is perfect, yet the Christian family ideally responds to difficulties with prayer, mercy, tenderness and hope.” Our world is in deep need of Christ’s vision, and as the great preacher, Martin Luther King Jr., proclaimed, “I have a dream!” God has a dream for the church to lead all of humanity to Christ—to a world of peace, justice, joy. God has a dream for each family to shine brightly as the domestic church, transforming each neighborhood—one porch light at a time! Now, that’s good news! How will your family live more intentionally as a domestic church? How will you reach out to those in your neighborhood?

Loras president is named to the 2016 Irish Education 100 Czech TV news (Con’t. from p. 4) DUBUQUE – Loras College, Iowa’s first college, announced today that President Jim Collins was named to the 2016 Irish Education 100, an annual list of the leading Irish-American figures in education across the United States. Collins also earned the designation, published by the Irish Voice newspaper, in 2009 and 2010. The Irish Education 100 honorees are some of the most distinguished and accomplished leaders in America with Irish heritage. It was first compiled by the Irish Voice newspaper in an effort to quantify the Irish commitment to excellence in education in the United States. This year’s listing featuring the 2016 Irish Education 100 honorees appeared in a special edition issue of the Irish Voice.

“The Irish Education 100 also recognizes the enduring Irish success in education, especially at the college level,” Collins said. “Loras provides an education that serves as a bedrock for students’ diverse futures and I was one of the many beneficiaries of this tremendous faith-based, liberal arts education.” After graduating from Loras, Collins returned to campus as an admissions representative, and in his 33 years of service to the college has held positions as director of special projects, director of alumni and college relations, interim director of development, assistant to the president and vice-president for institutional advancement. (Please turn to Page 9)

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PAGE 6 January 15, 2017

Coming events ALTOONA Mass for Life Iowa’s bishops have scheduled the annual Mass for Life for 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at Sts. John and Paul Church in Altoona. The Mass will take place at the conclusion of the first day of the Iowa Institute for Social Action. Bishop Martin Amos of Davenport will be the homilist. Registration is not required for the Mass. If you are interested in participating in the Iowa Institute for Social Action, you can find out more information by searching for Iowa Institute for Social Action at CEDAR RAPIDS Mass/March for Life All are invited to a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children. Fr. Steve Garner will be the celebrant at a Mass for Life on Jan. 22, 2017, at 1 p.m. at St. Matthew Church (3425 First Ave SE) in Cedar Rapids. The Mass will be followed at 2 p.m. by a March for Life to Planned Parenthood where we will witness, pray and visit. At 3 p.m., we will return to St, Matthew Church Kearn Hall (lower level) for free chili and fellowship. All are welcome to attend all or part of this activity. For more information, contact coalitionforlife@ or call 319-721-9730. Mt. Mercy Events Mt. Mercy University will hold an event titled: “Myths of the Oriental Woman: Stereotypes of the Asian Women and the Way They Have Fought Back” on March 14, 2017, at Flaherty Community Room, Basile Hall at 7 p.m. Dr. Anne Sokolsky will be the speaker. She has her Ph.D. in modern Japanese literature from Berkley and her M.Ed. in international education and development from Harvard, is a current faculty member in the East Asian Studies and Women and Gender Studies Programs at Ohio Wesleyan. It is free to the public. The Mount Mercy University drama department will present “The Toxic Avenger” on April 27 at 7 p.m., 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m., and 30 at 2 p.m. in the McAuley Theatre. This production is a combination of love, environmental issues and superhero’s mixed in one. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students and senior citizens and can be purchased over the phone at 319-363-8213 ext. 1229, in Student Services located on the second floor of the Sisters of Mercy University Center or online at www.mtmercy. edu/tickets.

immigrants in parish ministry in Charlottesville, Virginia, and as a legal assistant with the Children’s Legal Team of Americans for Immigrant Justice in Miami. She served as a Jesuit volunteer in Nicaragua from 2002-04 and has published widely on immigration and other social justice concerns. City Wide Bible Study Presenting Jeff Cavins, study of “Ephesians: Discover Your Inheritance.” This study provides insights on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and reveals how God’s great love can transform our lives. Offered Tuesdays beginning Feb 7; time 8:30-10 a.m. or on Thursdays 7-8:30 p.m. for eight weeks in St. Columbkille’s Presentation Hall. Workbook cost is $20. Register by email to r1berge@msn. com or call 563-451-2939. Registration required by January 30. Franciscan Way of Life If you’re looking to grow your spiritual life in 2017, consider joining the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters in a process designed to provide a deeper understanding of Franciscan values. “Franciscan Way of Life” is a free two-year process that is presented monthly in Dubuque beginning January 2017. Participants in the program will meet from 2-3:30 p.m. every third Wednesday of the month beginning Jan. 18 at Holy Trinity Church, 1701 Rhomburg Ave., in Dubuque; or 6-7:30 p.m. every third Thursday beginning Jan. 19, at Shalom Spirituality Center, 1001 Davis St. in Dubuque. “’Franciscan Way of Life’ is available to men and women of all faiths who want to learn more about Franciscan Gospel values and how to incorporate those values into daily life,” said Sister Pat Doody, OSF. To register or for more information, please contact Sr. Pat Doody, OSF, or Sr. Michaela Galles, OSF, by phone at (563) 583-9786 or by e-mail at or WATERLOO


Rite of Reception The Rite of Reception for adults and young adults who have been baptised, catechised and active in another Christian tradition begins on Sunday, Jan. 15, and will meet regularly on Sunday mornings at Sacred Heart Parish. For information, contact Dave Cushing at 319-233-0498 (email

Hope House Meals Hope House serves community meals, to which all are invited, on Sunday and Monday evenings at 6 p.m. About 2025 people on average share in the meal.. The following Sundays and Mondays are currently available: January 30; March 5, 12, 19 & 26; April 2, 9 & 23. Please consider preparing and serving one of those meals with a faith-sharing group or with friends. If you want to schedule a date or want more information, please call Tom Johnson at 563-582-9079.

Mini-retreat Bill Mulcahey, retired professor of Scripture and campus ministry at Mount Mercy University, will facilitate an afternoon of reflection on the Gospel of Matthew on Sunday, Jan. 15, 1:00-4:00 p.m. at American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls. This mini-retreat, sponsored by the Catholic parishes in Waterloo, is a timely opportunity for adults and young adults to prepare for the Gospel readings for the coming year, $10 registration fee, payable at the door.

Immigration Presentation On Monday, Jan. 23 from 4:30 - 6 p.m. at St. Raphael Cathedral Center (231 Bluff St, Dubuque) there will be a presentation on immigration that is free and open to the public. Pope Francis has called for a “culture of encounter” that recognizes the human dignity of our migrant brothers and sisters. Who are the immigrants in the Dubuque area? What are the push and pull factors that cause migration? What about the migrant children from Central America? Come learn about immigrants, refugees, reform efforts and local organizations that are taking action for justice. About the presenter: Rhonda Miska, MA is a candidate with the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters and a parishioner at St. Patrick’s in Dubuque. She holds an MA in pastoral ministry (with emphasis in Hispanic ministry) from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. She has accompanied Spanish-speaking

Online Examen An online new year examen sponsored by the Catholic parishes in Waterloo will begin on Monday, Jan. 16. This five-day online examen is based on the traditional examen process developed by St. Ignatius Loyola and widely practiced by Jesuits and many others, religious and lay. Register by phone at 319-233-0498 or online at Listening Session The Catholic parishes in Waterloo will host a listening session for inactive, alienated, discouraged and former Catholics on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7:00 p.m. at COR, 220 E. 4th St. This opportunity is open to any adult or young adult who wishes to discuss their past, present or future relationship to the Catholic Church in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. For information contact Dave Cushing at 319-233-0498 (email: dbqwcaf@dbqarch. org).

Retreat house offerings SUN














15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 AMERICAN MARTYRS RETREAT HOUSE 2209 N. UNION RD. CEDAR FALLS, IOWA 50613 319-266-3543 Jan. 15: Winter Mini-Retreat (Sponsored by the Waterloo Catholic Faith Formation Office): 12 noon lunch (optional) – 1-4 p.m. retreat. Jan. 15: Secular Franciscans: 12-4 p.m. Jan. 15: Centering Prayer: 3:30-5:30 p.m. Jan. 16: Antioch Planning Meeting: p.m.


Jan. 17: Evangelizing Through Small Groups with Peter Andrastek of Evangelical Catholic: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Jan. 18-19: Bishop Garrigan High School: Arrive 12 noon Wednesday and depart after lunch on Thursday. Jan. 20-22: Regnum Christi: Arrive 6-7 p.m. Friday and depart after lunch Sunday. Jan. 26-29: Regina Kairos: Team arrives 12:30 p.m. and students arrive 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Depart after lunch on Sunday. Jan. 31: PAMAD: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 31-Feb. 1: ACCW Board: Arrive 3 p.m. Tuesday and depart 3 p.m. Wednesday. Holy Hour of Adoration Join us on Tuesdays (except the third Tuesday of the month), 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Retreat House Chapel. SINSINAWA MOUND, SINSINAWA, WIS. 608-748-4411 WWW.SINSINAWA.ORG/MOUNDCENTER Jan. 15: The public is invited to join together for a “Circle the City with Love” prayer time at Sinsinawa Mound 2-2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. Join with thousands of others across the country and beyond to stand/sit together in silent meditation embodying the power of love that brings healing, peace and justice to our cities, our country and our world as we anticipate the inauguration of our new president. The event will take place in multiple sites, in cities around the country, including Washington, D.C., and beyond, from Canada to Australia. This is a

collaborative initiative of several faith-based, community people and groups. To learn more, visit or contact Sister Joy Peterson, PBVM, at 608-748-4411, ext. 164. Join us in person or in spirit. SHALOM SPIRITUALITY CENTER 1001 DAVIS ST. DUBUQUE, IOWA 52001 563-582-3592 WWW.SHALOMRETREATS.ORG/ Jan. 30: Bridges To Contemplative Living Mondays: Jan. 30; Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27; March 6, 13, 20; 7-8:30 p.m. Facilitator: Sister Marci Blum, OSF. Using the booklet “Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton,” we will reflect on our ordinary experiences with Thomas Merton’s writings and share our understandings of the contemplative spiritual life. The booklet’s subtitle is “Seeing That Paradise Begins Now.” Offering: $40 for the eight-session weekly series; includes booklet, beverages and snacks. Register & prepay by Thursday, Jan. 26. Jan. 31: Reading That Matters Book Discussions; 7-8:30 p.m. Facilitator: Sister Eileen Miller, OSF. All are welcome to join us in discussions of books that can impact how we look at our world and the people in it. Books not provided. Books are available at Riverlights Bookstore and Carnegie Stout Library in Dubuque, or from an online retailer. January book selection: “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion” by Gregory Boyle Synopsis: For 20 years, Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. In “Tattoos on the Heart,” he distills his experience working in the ghetto, telling the stories of people he’s learned to know and love there. The reader benefits from Boyle’s gentle, hard-earned wisdom. Offering: $6 per session. Register by Monday, Jan. 30.

Fundraisers Jan. 15 • St. Paul School, Worthington — A hashbrown breakfast and bake sale will be held on Jan. 15, hosted by Circle 5. There will also be a bake sale by Circle 1 & 2. Serving sausage (fresh & smoked) hash-browns, scrambled eggs, rolls, toast, coffee, juice and milk from 7:30-11:30 a.m. Adults $8, ages 5-10 $4.00, preschool free. Cash raffle with other prizes. Jan. 21 • St. John, Delhi — Delhi-Hopkinton Knights of Columbus Soup Supper, Saturday, Jan. 21,

serving 5-8:30 p.m. Serving homemade chili, chicken noodle and beef vegetable soups. Mass at 7 p.m. at St. John in Delhi. Jan. 22 • St. Patrick, Cedar Falls —All you can eat Dad’s Belgian Waffle Brunch. Serving: Giant Belgian Waffles. Serving from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 7th & Main in the Dutcher Gymnasium. Adults: $5 in advance & $7 @ the door. Children 6-12: $4 @ the door. Children age 5 & younger eat free.

Anniversary policy Share the good news of your wedding anni­ver­sary. For only $26, you can pub­lish your an­nounce­ment in your archdiocesan publication, The Wit­ness. For anniversaries sent via U.S. mail, we request that a check accompany the cor­re­spondence. Send to P.O. Box 917, Du­bu­que, IA 52004-0917. Anniversary submissions may also be sent at least two weeks in advance by e-mail to DBQC­WIT1@ Senders will receive a bill in the mail. The Wit­ness requests digital photos taken at a high resolution (at least 200-240 dpi), or good-quality prints, to ensure good reproduction.


PAGE 7 January 15, 2017

Death Notices AMES Edna P. Adams, age 96, died Dec. 31. Funeral from St. Cecilia Parish, Jan. 6, Rev. James Secora officiating. Interment in Ames Municipal Cemetery.

Richard J. Theis, age 79, died Dec 26. Funeral from Church of the Resurrection Parish, Dec. 30, Rev. Joseph Hauer officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Aaron T. Colburn, age 40, died Dec. 4. Private service, Dec. 15, Deacon Alan Christy officiating. Interment in Roland Cemetery, Roland. Mary Reinhardt, age 64, died Dec. 30. Private service, Jan. 2, Deacon Alan Christy officiating. CASCADE John J. Menster, age 90, died Dec. 31. Funeral from St. Matthias Parish, St. Martin Church, Jan. 4, Rev. Douglas Loecke officiating. Interment in Cascade Community Cemetery.

Mark A. Fitzgerald, age 52, died Dec. 25. Funeral from Basilica of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Jan. 6, Rev. Carl Ries officiating. Interment in St. Francis Cemetery.

CEDAR FALLS Janice Heath, age 76, died Dec. 30. Funeral from St. Patrick Parish, Jan. 4, Rev. Dennis Colter officiating. Interment in Hillside Cemetery. CEDAR RAPIDS Merle W. Garwood, age 85, died Dec. 22. Funeral from St. Jude Parish, Dec. 28, Rev. Mark Reasoner officiating. Interment in St. Michael Cemetery, Norway. Frank J. Miller, age 91, died Dec. 25. Funeral from St. Pius X Parish, Dec. 31, Rev. Philip Thompson officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Kenneth A. Volz, Jr., age 57, died Dec. 30. Funeral from St. Jude Parish, Jan. 4, Rev. Mark Reasoner officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. COLESBURG Kenneth L. Brown, age 72, died Dec. 9. Funeral from St. Patrick Parish, Dec. 14, Rev. John Haugen officiating. Interment in St. Patrick Cemetery. DELHI Joan M. Peters, age 81, died Dec. 26. Funeral from St. John Parish, Dec. 30, Rev. John Kremer officiating. Interment in St. John Cemetery. DUBUQUE Vincent Clark, age 85, died Dec. 27. Funeral from Cathedral of St. Raphael Parish, Dec. 30, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale officiating. Interment in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Key West. Denis D. Faber, M.D., age 81, died Dec. 28. Funeral from Cathedral of St. Raphael Parish, Dec. 30, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale officiating. Earl J. Garvey, age 88, died Dec. 31. Funeral from St. Patrick Parish, Jan. 4, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Mary Heer, age 84, died Jan. 1. Funeral from St. Anthony Parish, Jan. 6, Rev. Steven Rosonke officiating. Interment in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Key West. Timothy C. Mayne, age 67, died Dec. 28. Funeral from Church of the Resurrection Parish, Jan. 2, Rev. Michael Hutchison officiating. Interment at a later date. Adeline E. McAndrews, age 92, died Jan. 1. Funeral from St. Patrick Parish, Jan. 4, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale officiating. Interment in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Key West. Marian Sutherland, age 93, died Dec. 29. Funeral from St. Anthony Parish, Jan. 2, Rev. Steven Rosonke officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.


Benedict R. Thier, age 57, died Jan. 3. Funeral from Basilica of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Jan. 6, Very Rev. Dennis Quint officiating. Interment in St. Francis Cemetery. ELDORA Evelyn O. Lawless, age 99, died Nov. 10. Funeral from St. Mary Parish, Nov. 15, Very Rev. Kenneth Gehling and Rev. Rick Dagit officiating. Interment in St. Mary Cemetery. FORT ATKINSON Clair Hosting, age 75, died Dec. 24. Funeral from St. John Nepomucene Parish, Dec. 27, Rev. Kyle Digmann officiating. Interment in St. John Nepomucene Cemetery. GARRYOWEN Donald J. Molony, age 85, died Dec. 26. Funeral from St. Patrick Parish, Dec. 29, Rev. Douglas Loecke officiating. Interment in St. Patrick Cemetery. IONIA Rita E. Troyna, age 93, died Dec. 22. Funeral from St. Boniface Parish, Dec. 27, Very Rev. Brian Dellaert officiating. Interment in St. Boniface Cemetery. MANCHESTER Harold W. Lake, age 94, died Jan. 1. Funeral from St. Mary Parish, Jan. 5, Rev. Joseph Schneider and Rev. Herbert Pins officiating. Interment in St. Patrick Cemetery, Colesburg. MASON CITY Betty L. Johnson, age 91, died Dec. 27. Funeral from Epiphany Parish, St. Joseph Church, Dec. 30, Rev. Neil Manternach officiating. Interment in Memorial Park Cemetery. Patricia I. Paulsen, age 75, died Dec. 31. Funeral from Epiphany Parish, St. Joseph Church, Jan. 4, Rev. Andrew A-Mensah officiating. Interment in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery. MCGREGOR Eugene L. Trudo, age 87, died Dec. 18. Funer­ al from St. Mary Parish, Dec. 28, Rev. Nils Hernández officiating. Interment in Pleasant Grove Cemetery. TAMA Mary Fischer, age 89, died Dec. 26. Funeral from St. Patrick Parish, Dec. 29, Very Rev. Michael Mescher officiating. Interment in National Cemetery, Vining. TEMPLE HILL Thomas A. Hoffmann, age 80, died Dec. 21. Funeral from St. Peter Parish, Dec. 27, Rev. Neil Manternach officiating. Interment in Calvary Cemetery, Cascade. VINTON Mary M. Walker, age 95, died Dec. 11. Funeral from St. Mary Parish, Dec. 15, Rev. Ardel Barta officiating. Interment in Evergreen Cemetery.

Our family serving your family • Traditional Funerals • Cremation services with on-site crematory • Pre-planning at your request

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WATERLOO John P. McGinnis, age 87, died Dec. 26. Funeral from St. Edward Parish, Dec. 30, Rev. Scott Bullock officiating. Interment in Calvary Cemetery. ANNIVERSARIES OF DEPARTED PRIESTS JANUARY 15: Rev. Msgr. Francis Kopecky, St. Wenceslaus, Duncan, 1936 JANUARY 15: Rev. Thomas J. Carpender, retired, Sacred Heart, Meyer, & St. Mel, McIntire, 2011 JANUARY 16: Rev. John F. McCaffery, re­­ tired, Immaculate Conception, Masonville, 1946 JANUARY 16: Rev. Msgr. Joseph J. Klott, St. Mary, Dubuque, 1956 JANUARY 17: Rev. Frederick W. McKinley, retired, St. Mary, Williams, 1962 JANUARY 17: Rev. John W. Heles, St. Joseph, Mason City, 1978 JANUARY 18: Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Sulli­ van, retired, Holy Name, Rockford, 1999 JANUARY 20: Rev. Nicholas M. Cigrand, Im­ maculate Conception, Lansing, 1976 JANUARY 20: Rev. Donald R. Hutchinson, retired, St. Mary, McGregor, & St. Pius, Cherry Mound, 1992 JANUARY 20: Rev. Msgr. Robert L. Spaight, retired, St. Joseph, Nashua, 2003 JANUARY 21: Rev. Eugene R. Recker, Associate Pastor, St. Mary, Cascade, 1956 JANUARY 21: Rev. Gregory J. Einck, retired, St. Columbkille, Dubuque, 2002

Holy Family open house is Jan. 19 DUBUQUE – Holy Family Catholic Schools invites tri-state area families interested in learning more or beginning the 2017-18 early childhood registration process to attend an open house on Jan. 19 from 4-6 p.m. Open houses will be hosted at each of Holy Family’s six early childhood locations. Families are ­ invited to meet teachers and tour classrooms while learning about the system’s quality early childhood programs. No RSVP is required to attend an open house at the following locations: • St. Joseph the Worker Early Childhood, 2105 St. Joseph St., Dubuque, IA 52001, (563) 582-1246. • Holy Ghost Early Childhood, 2981 Central Ave., Dubuque, IA 52001, (563) 582-2578. • Resurrection Early Childhood, 4320 Asbury Rd., Dubuque, IA 52002, (563) 583-5206. • St. Anthony/Our Lady of Guadalupe Spanish Immersion Program, 2175 Rosedale Ave., Dubuque, IA 52001, (563) 556-2820. • St. Columbkille Early Childhood, 1198 Rush St., Dubuque, IA 52003, (563) 5831620.

Obituaries Sr. Mary Frances Shafer, BVM DUBUQUE — Sister Mary Frances ­ hafer, BVM (Francis Edward), 90, passed S away on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, at the Caritas Center – Mount Carmel, in Dubuque, Iowa. To honor Sister’s life, the funeral liturgy was held at 1:30 p.m., on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. To celebrate Sister’s life, family and friends visited from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel, followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Burial was in the Mount Carmel Cemetery. Sister Mary Frances served as president of the BVM congregation from 1980-84 and as vice president from 1976-80. She

was director of admissions and Scholasticate director for the congregation and served as liturgist at Mount Carmel. “Mary Frances Shafer’s leadership was marked by a commitment to the renewal of religious life, a dedication to the education of lay ministers, and a quest for justice and peace,” says Helen Maher Garvey, BVM (Robert Joseph). “She pursued this course with gentleness, courage and kindness.” She taught theology at Clarke University and eighth grade at Holy Family ES in Mason City. She also taught elementary school and was principal in Pontiac and Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; and Wichita, Kansas. She served as adminis­ tra­ tive assistant to superintendent of schools, Kansas City; director of lay minis­ try for the Diocese of Great Falls, Montana; and as personnel director for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois. She was born in Kansas City, ­Missouri, on July 15, 1926, daughter of Frank Edward and Mary M. Aigner Shafer. She entered the BVM congregation on Sept. 8, 1943. She made her first profession of vows on March 19, 1946, and her final profession on Aug. 15, 1951. She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and five sisters. She is survived by nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 73 years. Memorials may be given to Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Car­mel Dr., Dubuque, IA 52003 or online at www. Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main St., Dubuque, Iowa, 52001 was in charge of arrangements.

PAGE 8 January 15, 2017


KCs donate to Mason City Caring Pregnancy Center By Jo Hafermann Special to The Witness MASON CITY — The Knights of Columbus St. Patrick’s Council No. 7898 recently made a donation to the Caring Pregnancy Center to help cover the costs of our ultrasound program. The current donation from the Clear Lake KCs was for $431, which brings the total donated by the Knights of Columbus locally and by the head office to $42,549. The ultrasound program has been a resounding success: out of the 118 scans performed, 112 women are confirmed to have chosen life for their unborn baby. We would not be able to perform these lifesaving scans without the Knights of Columbus; they have been an amazing partner in this ministry. Gifts have been coming in from chapters all over northern Iowa. The partnership with the Knights of Columbus has been an amaz­­ing opportunity for so many young moms from northern Iowa communities to witness their babies as the precious gifts they are, long before they hold them in their arms.

The Caring Pregnancy Center and the Knights of Columbus have the shared belief that all lives, born and unborn, are precious. Nationally, we recognize this ideal by celebrating Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. It is a time to reflect on those lives that have been taken by abortion, as well as those lives that have been affected by the abortion choice they made. This year’s Sanctity of Human Life Sunday will be recognized on Jan. 15. In keeping with the tenet of the sanctity of life, the CPC is here to help those who have been touched by abortion or are considering one. We have our ultrasound program that confirms pregnancy. We have an education program and material help for those who choose to carry. We also offer a program called “Forgiven & Set Free” to help those who are dealing with the aftermath of an abortion. We are located in Mason City and are here to help. All our services are free and confidential. Hafermann is executive director of Car­ing Pregnancy Center in Mason City.

The check was presented to Jo Hafermann, executive director of the Caring Pregnancy Center, at the most recent council meeting in Clear Lake. Present­ ing the check were Msgr. John Hemann and Deputy Grand Knight Ken Chizek. (­Contributed photo)

Dubuque’s Mary’s Inn Maternity Home and Maria House receive baby donations (Photo at left) During the Advent Season, Aquin Catholic School families in Cascade, Iowa, collected many articles of baby clothing, diapers and other need­ ed items for the residents of Mary’s Inn Maternity Home and the Maria House in Dubuque, Iowa. Both of these facilities help mothers and families in need. Drop­ ping off the articles at Mary’s Inn to Director Colleen Pasnik are Sydney Weber, Anna McDermott and Emma Ostwinkle. (­Contributed photo)

Blessing, program at ‘COR at 220 East”

Classroom blessing by the Three Kings (l to r) Steve Cornelius, Nicholas Wulfekuhle, Morgan Schulte, Michael Schilling, Rob Kronlage, Charley Wulfekuhle and Grace Helle participated in a classroom blessing at Archbishop Hennessy Catholic School in Petersburg. (Contributed photo)

On Dec. 13, Archbishop Jackels joined sponsors and volunteers of the “COR at 220 East” ministry in Waterloo for a short program and a blessing of their building. COR at 220 East is an artsy, eclectic, vibrant hospitality and community center sponsored by Waterloo’s four Catholic parishes. The mission of COR is to bring the church and the broader community in closer contact with each other. (Contributed photo)


PAGE 9 January 15, 2017

Beckman Catholic High School dedicates new chapel Sacred space is added as part of major renovations

Beckman launched its capital campaign in 2014 with a goal of raising $6.5 million. As the campaign wrapped up in early 2016, the school had raised more than $7.9 million, which included $3 million earmarked for the endowment fund.

By Megan Vorwald Special to The Witness DYERSVILLE — Beckman Catholic High School held a dedication Mass on Thursday, Jan. 5, to celebrate the completion of its new chapel. The addition was in conjunction with their “Blazing Forward” capital campaign. Archbishop Michael Jackels was the main celebrant of the Mass. Beckman Pastoral Coordinator Father Dennis Quint, Father Al Vorwald and Father Carl Ries concelebrated. Over 100 students, faculty and community members were in attendance. The remainder of the Beckman student body and faculty were in the auditorium and were able to watch the Mass via live video stream. They were able to receive Holy Communion in the new chapel after the space was blessed.

“Over 100 students, faculty and community members were in attendance.”

Archbishop Jackels (center) concelebrates Mass with Father Dennis J. Quint (far left), Beckman pastoral coordinator; Father Al Vorwald (second from left); and Father Carl Ries (right) at the new chapel at Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville Jan 5. Students, parents, faculty and other supporters of the renova­ tion projects at the school attended. Those who could not be inside the chapel watched the Mass via live video stream. (Photo submitted by Megan Vorwald)

Dubuque pastor given recognition by NCEA DUBUQUE — Father Steven J. Rosonke, pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Dubuque, recently received a Certificate of Recognition from the National Catholic Education Association. The priest, who also serves St. Anthony and Our Lady of Guadalupe Schools in Dubuque, was recently nominated for the National Catholic Educational Association’s (NCEA) 2017 “Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award.” St. Anthony parishioner Kim Kintzle submitted the nomination application. Although Father Rosonke was not selected as the honoree this year from the nationwide pool of individuals, institutions and organizations that support Catholic schools, the NCEA decided to recognize him for his contributions.

“While Rev. Steven Rosonke was not selected this year, the National Catholic Education Association is pleased to offer this Certificate of Recognition, which we ask you to present at an appropriate time to acknowledge Father Rosonke’s tremendous contribution to Catholic school education,” states a Dec. 28 letter from James Pavlacka, NCEA director of leadership development, and Pamela Bernards, Ed.D., director of professional development. NCEA is the largest, private professional education association in the world, according to its website. NCEA works with Catholic educators to support ongoing faith formation and the teaching mission of the Catholic Church. NCEA’s membership includes more than 150,000 educators serving 1.9 million students in Catholic education.

In 1999, he was appointed the college’s senior vice president. Collins was then elected to be the 26th president of Loras in 2004. On the national level, Collins just completed a seven-year term on the Board of Directors for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities including time as its chair and member of the executive committee. He was elected to and began service on the Seton Hall University Board of Regents in 2011. There he serves

as a member of the Executive Committee and a member of its Board of Trustees. In Iowa, Collins recently completed service as chair for the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Early in his presidency, he was appointed by former Gov. Tom Vilsack as a member of the Institute for Tomorrow’s Workforce Board of Directors. Collins obtained a bachelor’s degree in finance from Loras in 1984 and a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Iowa in 2004.

By Dan Russo Witness Editor

Loras president (Con’t. from p. 5)

In addition to the chapel, Beckman also redid its front office area and has a new secure entryway. Construction has begun on the remaining phase of the capital campaign which includes adding a multipurpose room for activities and sports. Vorwald is assistant director of development for Beckman Catholic High School.

Clarke to hold Feb. 21 evolution presentation DUBUQUE – Dr. Andrew J. Petto from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will give a presentation titled “Descent with Modification: If You Can Doubt It, Thank Evolution!” during a special Evolution Weekend event at Clarke University on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The presentation takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Jansen Music Hall on the Clarke campus. Admission is free. Petto will give a brief refresher on scientific inquiry and the facts of evolution before focusing on research concerning why scientists have had difficulty convincing the general public about the usefulness and importance of these ideas. This will be followed by a panel discussion including Petto and Clarke faculty members Bill Gregory, associate profes-

sor of religious studies, and Tom Riley, professor of philosophy. Petto, senior lecturer in biosciences at UW-Milwaukee, is co-editor of “Scientists Confront Creationism.” His teaching and research interests are in promoting the understanding of nature and the process of scientific inquiry as a context for the factual information that scientific research generates. This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, contact the Clarke University Marketing and Communication Office at 563-588-6318.

Women’s retreat Feb. 17-19 at AMRH CEDAR FALLS — A retreat with the theme: “We are God’s work of art ... and, We are fellow workers with God.”(Ephesians 2:10, 1 Cor 3:9) will be directed by Sister Jeanine Kuhn, PBVM, Feb. 17-19 at American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls. Sister Jeanine Kuhn is a former director of American Martyrs Retreat House. She has served as a teacher, pastoral associate and congregational leader. Sister Jeanine is a spiritual director and gives retreats and renewal days. She celebrated her diamond jubilee (60 years) as a

member of the Sisters of the Presentation in July of 2016. She is now semiretired living in Dubuque at the formation house on the grounds of the mother­ house. The retreat begins at 8 p.m. Friday and concludes after lunch Sunday. The cost of the retreat is $135.00. A $25.00 deposit secures your reservation and is credited to your offering for the retreat. To register or for questions, contact AMRH at one of the following: email at or by phone at 319-266-3543.

Faith Alive

PAGE 10 January 15, 2017

Confessions of a grandparent By David Gibson Catholic News Service “A plant without roots does not grow.” Pope Francis was thinking of grandparents when he made that statement recently in Tbilisi, capital of the country of Georgia. In the pope’s lofty, inspiring view, grand­parents fulfill a necessary role in families by linking generations and making grandchildren aware — through “their words, their affection or simply their presence” — that “history did not begin with them.” He spoke of this in “The Joy of Love,” his 2016 apostolic exhortation on the family. Grandparents represent a family’s memory, while helping orient the family toward its future. That is the view of Pope Francis, who may be today’s leading proponent on the world stage of grandparenthood’s virtues. I suspect most grandparents want to fulfill the role described to them by the pope. They willingly would serve their family as a font of memories that matter. Their question, though, is how and when to do this. I confess I am no grandparenthood expert. But I am an experienced grandfather, with grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to nearly 15. That age range itself reveals one of grandparenthood’s complexities. Many grandparents find themselves called, in virtually one and the same moment, to devote caring attention to children whose delight it is to play in the ageold ways of toddlers and to teens who want little more than to immerse themselves in iPods and electronic games. Some grandchildren love school; others, not so much. Some might spend every waking moment outdoors if they could; others much prefer the indoors. What are grandparents to do? Planning a family activity involving a number of grandchildren can tax the imagination.

Luciana Stoppa sits behind her grandson, Francesco ­Biasin, 10, and his mother, Elda Stoppa, in a shady spot during a May 8, 2011, Mass in San Giuliano Park near Ven­ice, Italy. Grandparents frequently collaborate with their sons and daughters in economic matters, the upbringing of their children and the transmis­sion of the faith to their grandchildren. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) But I am amazed, I confess, by how many children’s movies I have seen over the past decade! I should also confess that like millions of 21st-century grandparents I am grateful when an older grandchild comes to my rescue after my smartphone or laptop misbehaves. If no two grandchildren are alike, neither are any two grandparents. There really is no grandparenthood rulebook or checklist to follow.

Our elders root us in our Catholic faith By Kelly Bothum Catholic News Service

I got rid of one of my grandmother’s old lamps last week. After years of use it had become more shabby than chic. I held onto it because it was a tangible reminder of my grandmother, a fiery woman with a head of red hair to match. She worked as a librarian for a magazine at a time when most women stayed home. When I was a kid, she’d make a spot for me in the bed and tell stories about what it was like meeting famous people and working with reporters breaking political news in Washington. She and my grandfather provided more than just after-school help to my mom. They formed a critical part of my childhood. My grandfather picked me up from school. He checked my math homework, taught me how to throw a spiral and made me practice my flute before dinner. Truthfully, I can’t imagine the trajectory of my life without them. I used to joke that my relationship with them was hero worship, but it was so much more than that. They supported me. They challenged me. (My grandfather once fired me from my job raking leaves because I goofed off.) They cheered me. Having them in my life will always be one of my greatest blessings. I’d like to believe this is the kind of relationship Pope Francis has talked about in celebrating the role of the elderly. In a faith that treasures life from the womb to the tomb, it’s no surprise that we as Catholics are called to recognize the gift provided by our elders. With their roots firmly planted, our older loved ones can offer the strength, support and understanding needed for us to grow and add to the branches of our Catholic faith. Through their wisdom, their perspective and their own example, they teach younger generations that nothing is

insurmountable and that God always provides in his own perfect time. Just like God’s word, all we need to do is listen. It’s a lesson that all children — both young and adult — should heed. And that precious relationship between grandparent and grandchild is such a powerful vehicle for this. My grandmother drilled me on spelling bee words but she also taught me about my faith. She told me stories about saints I had never heard of and gave me statues of Mary and Jesus to keep in my room. I was fascinated with the glow-in-the-dark rosary she tucked under her pillow at night. She told me that when she couldn’t sleep, she would pray. It was from her I first heard about Thomas Merton, and it was her dog-eared copy of “No Man Is an Island” that gave me a needed glimpse into how my relationship with God is reflected to the rest of the world. If faith is a journey, she pointed me toward the most accessible path. I can think of no greater gift. It’s not always easy to value our elders, especially when they are sick, when they are grouchy or when they are nearing the end of their journey on earth. But we must see how precious they are and how our connection to them transcends death. I watched my grandmother take her last breath, but I know she is always with me in the way I view the world. I am grateful for my relationship with my grandparents and the many ways it grew me as a person. I see it now in my own children’s relationship with their grandparents — the excitement they feel in seeing them, learning from them and sharing special moments with them. Grandparents are a source of light in a world that can sometimes seem smothered in darkness. I may have given away an old lamp, but I will never lose that light. Bothum is a freelance writer and a mother of three.

Upon first becoming grandparents, I am certain that many follow the example set long ago by their own parents. Many, I also am certain, are astonished to discover how much they love their grandchildren. Exactly where this love should lead is a grandparent’s dilemma. It is not uncommon in our highly mobile culture for grand­parents to live far away from grandchildren. I knew of one new grandmother who for months resolved this situation by driving several hundred miles each way almost every weekend to spend time with her newborn grandchild. Other grandparents are thankful in the internet age for a program like Skype that allows them at least to “see” children and grandchildren via long-distance visits. The fabric of grandparenthood is woven of numerous diverse strands. Some become grandparents at a quite young age. Others, with children marrying at later ages nowadays, may not feel particularly young when their first grandchildren arrive. Some grandparents are employed full time. Others are limited in their activities by health or income issues. Countless grandparents in varying walks of life share in rearing grandchildren by taking care of them one or two days a week or even daily while a parent goes to work. Could society get along without them? Yes, grandparents come in all sizes and shapes, so to speak. The untold story about grandparents involves their large role as sources of stability within their larger family, even financial stability. As the final report of the October 2015 assembly in Rome of the world Synod of Bishops observed: “Grandparents frequently collaborate with their sons and daughters in economic matters, the upbringing of their children and the transmission of the faith to their grandchildren.” Among the best-known grandparents of our time, though she was not actually “of our time,” is Pope Francis’ paternal grandmother, Rosa. He recalled her on Pentecost eve in 2013 as “a woman who explained to us, who talked to us about Jesus, who taught us the catechism.” She “loved me so much,” he has said. The story of his family involved growing up in a setting where “faith was lived in a simple, practical way,” Pope Francis said. Our era is “the time of grandparents,” he believes. He said when addressing participants in the Diocese of Rome’s 2016 pastoral conference, “Let our grandparents share and tell us their dreams so that we can have prophecies for the future.” Raising children always is a work in progress. So grandparents, like parents, sometimes struggle along when it comes to knowing how to serve as good models of adulthood and faith for a family’s newest generation. Grandparents, of course, are not their grandchildren’s parents. Usually this is good news, suggesting to grandparents that they have entered a rewarding, new and different stage in life. One hears frequently that children know on some inner and deep level whether they truly are loved by those around them. I confess that I only hope and pray, like other grandparents, that this is true. Gibson served on Catholic News Service’s editorial staff for 37 years.

In a Nutshell Grandparents represent a family’s memory, while helping ori­ ent the family toward its future. In a faith that treasures life from the womb to the tomb, it’s no surprise that we as Catholics are called to recognize the gift provided by our elders. With their roots firmly planted, our older loved ones can offer the strength, support and understanding needed for us to grow and add to the branches of our Catholic faith. In Scripture, we encounter many examples of the elderly being lifted up, venerated and respected. The Catechism of the Catho­ lic Church emphasizes “honor, affection and gratitude toward elders and ancestors” (No. 2199).


PAGE 11 January 15, 2017

Sunday’s Word


Jesus begins his life mission

Orthodoxy, sin and heresy

January 22, 2017 THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Is 8:23–9:3 The loss of Zebulun and Naphtali Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14 The Lord is my light 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17 Rivalries in the Corinthian church Mt 4:12-23 (12-17) Jesus begins his life mission 012217.cfm


he Gospel reading this week comes with two options, longer and shorter. The shorter version (Matt 4:1217) does not include the call of the four disciples. But the story of their call by the lake is familiar territory and will allow us to remember past interpretations. But what about the first part, the shorter read­ ing? What does that say? That might require some explanation. Here are four things about it.

First. It is Matthew’s way of marking the beginning of Jesus’ adult ministry. “From that time on, Jesus began to preach …” (4:17). This key phrase will be repeated at 16:21: “From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem …” Here in chapter 4 it indicates the beginning of the ministry in Galilee. In chapter 16, it indicates this part of the ministry is over, and it is time to move on to Jerusalem. Second. Jesus begins with this inaugural message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:17). This repeats exactly the first words of John the Baptist, at 3:2. Matthew is telling us that Jesus is beginning in sync with John. However, the Gospel will show Jesus moving beyond what John is saying in dramatic ways. This reminds us of the differences we saw in Advent, when Jesus answered John’s query from prison. Where John was looking for decisive judgment, Jesus points to the healing miracles that are taking place. Also, in the parables of Matthew 13, we see that Jesus preaches a judgment that is deferred until the end times, and not immediately, as John had thought. So Jesus begins at the same place as John, but quickly takes the mission elsewhere. Third. Matthew tells us, “He left Naza­ reth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea” (4:13). This is the second time that this Gospel mentions Nazareth. The first is at 2:23, when Jesus first went to Nazareth as a child guided by his parents. In the meantime, he has grown to adulthood. But Matthew shows no interest in the time Jesus spent in Nazareth. He only tells us (1) that Jesus went there as a child, and (2) that he left there to go to Capernaum as an adult. This will be his center of operations, as it were, during his Galilee ministry.

REV. ROBERT R. BECK, D.MIN. Fourth. The quoted lines of Scripture are from Isaiah 8:23 (or 9:1, in some Bibles). This statement leads into the poem in Isaiah 9:1-6, which we associate with the Advent season. The familiar opening lines will remind us: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.” Introducing the poem, we have today’s words about the tribal territories of Zebulon and Naphthali. Isaiah is referring to the loss of the north­ernmost tribal territories. This happened in 735 B.C., in the first hostile move of the great Assyrian empire against Israel. Later, in 721, the entire northern kingdom of Israel would be conquered and reduced to nothing.

Contemporary archaeological digs have found that the northern territories were not repopulated with Judeans until only a few generations before Jesus. It would come to be known as Galilee, the “circle” of nations. The families of Joseph and Mary would have been part of the movement to repopulate the area, with other citizens of Judea. Matthew seems to be making a point here about the ministry to come. He is saying that in his public ministry Jesus is recapitulating the history of loss experienced by Israel. His retrieval begins where the losses themselves began. He is removing the blight upon Israel, step by step. For reflection: How might it help to see Matthew’s larger plan? Father Beck is professor emeritus of re­ li­­­­gious studies at Loras College, Dubuque.


ecently, while on the road giving a workshop, I took the opportunity to go to the cathedral in that city for a Sunday Eucharist. I was taken aback by the homily. The priest used the Gospel text where Jesus says, “I am the vine and you are the branches” to tell the congregation that what Jesus is teaching here is that the Roman Catholic Church constitutes what is referred to as the branches, and the way we link to those branches is through the Mass, and if we miss Mass on a Sunday we are committing a mortal sin, and should we die in that state, we will go to hell. Then, aware that what he was saying would be unpopular, he protested that the truth is often unpopular, but that what he just said is orthodox Catholic teaching and that anyone denying this is in heresy. It’s sad that this kind of thing is still being said in our churches. Does the Catholic Church really teach that missing Mass is a mortal sin, and that if you die in that state you will go to hell? No, that’s not Catholic orthodoxy, though popular preaching and catechesis often suppose that it is, even as neither accepts the full consequences. Here’s an example: Some years ago, I presided at the funeral of a young man, in his 20s, who had been killed in a car accident. In the months before his death, he had for all practical purposes ceased practicing his Catholicism: He had stopped going to church, was living with his girlfriend outside of marriage and had not been sober when he died. However his family and the congregation who surrounded him at his burial knew him, and they knew that despite his ecclesial and moral carelessness he had a good heart, that he brought sunshine into a room and that he was a generous young man.

“Deep down, she knew that God reads the heart, understands human carelessness, welcomes sinners into his bosom and does not exclude goodness from heaven.” At the reception after the funeral, one of his aunts, who believed that missing Mass was a mortal sin that could condemn you to hell, approached me and said: “He had such a great heart and such a wonderful energy; if I were running the gates of heaven, I would let him in.” Her comment wonderfully betrayed something deeper inside of her, namely, her belief that a good heart will trump ecclesial rules in terms of who gets to go to heaven and the belief that God has wider criteria for judgment than those formulated in external church rules. She believed that it was a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday, but, for all the right reasons, could not accept the full consequences of that, namely, that

FATHER RON ROLHEISER, OMI her nephew was going to hell. Deep down, she knew that God reads the heart, understands human carelessness, welcomes sinners into his bosom and does not exclude goodness from heaven. But that still leaves the question: Is it orthodox Roman Catholic teaching to say that it is a mortal sin to not go to church on a Sunday and that such an ecclesial lapse can send you to hell? No, to teach that categorically would itself be bordering on heresy. Simply stated, Catholic moral theology has always taught that sin is a subjective thing that can never be read from the outside. We can never look at an action from the outside and say: “That’s a sin!” We can look at an action from the outside and say: “That’s wrong!” But that’s a different judgment. From the outside we can judge an action as objectively wrong, but we can never make the judgment that it’s a sin. Moreover this isn’t new, liberal teaching, it is already found in our traditional Catechisms. Nobody can look at the action of someone else and say: “That’s a sin!” To teach that we can make such a judgment goes against Catholic orthodoxy. We can, and must, affirm that certain things are wrong, objectively wrong, but sin is something else. Probably the most quoted line from Pope Francis is his famous response to a moral question where he simply responded: “Who am I to judge?” He’s in good company. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: “You judge by appearances; I judge no one.” That, of course, does not mean that there isn’t any judgment. There is, it’s real and it can condemn someone to hell. But it works this way: God’s love, life, truth and light come into the world, and we judge ourselves apposite them. God condemns no one, but we can condemn ourselves. It is God’s love, life, truth and light against which we weigh ourselves, and these determine who goes where, already here on earth and in eternity. In our catechesis and our popular preach­ing we must be more careful in our use of the term “mortal sin” and in our judgments as to who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, fully aware that there wasn’t any group that Jesus was harsher on than on those who were making those kinds of judgments. Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser, theo­ lo­ ­ gian, teacher and award-winning au­ thor, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Now on Facebook ronrolheiser.

PAGE 12 January 15, 2017

Column/Media Question Corner

Answers to questions on cremation and burial at sea Q. I am a lifelong Catholic and served 28 years in the Navy. As a junior officer, I saw the ashes or bodies of deceased sailors buried at sea; I decided at the time that this is what I want done with my body after I die, and I have not changed my mind. Recently, I shared that decision with some of my fellow parishioners, and one of them said that a new directive from the church provides that a Catholic can no longer be buried at sea. (In fact, he said that if someone were to be buried at sea, a priest is prohibited from celebrating any type of funeral service in a Catholic Church.) If that is really the case, I don’t see what I am doing remaining in a Catholic parish; in fact, it might be time for me to change to a different Christian denomination that will be there for me at the end of my life. (Virginia Beach, Virginia) Q. I am aware that the Catholic Church has traditionally discouraged cremation, but I am confused as to why. For centuries, cremation has been accepted by most cultures as a somewhat more humane way of dealing with the remains of a loved one. With a standard burial, the person’s remains are left to “rot in the ground.” Does it have something to do with an eventual “resurrection”? And is the presence of a body required for that resurrection? If so,

FATHER KENNETH DOYLE what would be left of Christians from, say, A.D. 200? Surely by now there is nothing left of them to raise. (Corydon, Indiana) A. The two letters above are typical of many that I receive and reflect people’s continuing fascination with the disposition of bodily remains. That interest was heightened in October 2016 when the Vatican issued an instruction regarding burial practices for Catholics. That document was issued at the request of bishops in several nations in response to the growing practice of cremation and the lack of specific church guidelines on the disposition of cremains. The instruction reiterates that the church, while not opposed to the practice of cremation, continues to recommend a traditional burial. The document specifies that either the body or the ashes of the deceased should be buried in sacred ground and that cremains should not be kept in private homes or scattered on land or at sea, nor “pre-

served in mementoes, pieces of jewelry or other objects.” Burial in sacred ground, said the Vatican, prevents the deceased from being forgotten and encourages family members and the wider Christian community to remember the deceased and to pray for them. Historically, cremation was linked to the burial practices of pagans, whose religious beliefs did not include the expectation of eventual resurrection and viewed death as the definitive obliteration of the human person. The Catholic Church began to allow cremation only in 1963, as it became more commonplace for both economic and sanitary reasons. But the church’s Code of Canon Law has continued to express the preference for burial over cremation because the burial of human remains, in the church’s mind, reflects a greater esteem for the deceased and more clearly expresses the Christian belief in an eventual resurrection, when the person’s body and soul will be reunited. As the Vatican’s 2016 instruction says, “Burial is above all the most fitting way to express faith and hope in the resurrection of the body” and shows “the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person, whose body forms part of their identity.”

That same instruction does note, though, that “cremation of the deceased’s body does not affect his or her soul, nor does it prevent God in his omnipotence from raising up the deceased body to new life.” In response to the Indiana letter writer’s concern about the decomposed remains of the Christian buried in A.D. 200, we don’t know mechanically how the eventual reunion of body and soul will occur and leave that — as the Vatican does — to the wisdom of the Lord. And as for the Virginia writer’s preference for burial at sea, he can relax. The new Vatican guidelines do not prohibit that, so long as the body or cremated remains are buried in a dignified and well-protected container. (Catholics should consult with their diocese for further instructions, since standards can vary from diocese to diocese.) The church’s Order of Christian Funerals has a specific prayer for such a burial, asking that the Lord who calmed the sea in Galilee may grant peace and tranquility to the person deceased (No. 406). Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at and 30 Columbia Circle Dr. Albany, New York 12203.


Movie on Jesuits in Japan among new releases “Silence” (Paramount) Dramatically powerful but theologically complex adaptation of Catholic author Shusaku Endo’s 1966 fact-based historical novel about two 17th-century Jesuit missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) in Japan. Shocked by rumors that their mentor in the priesthood (Liam Neeson) has renounced the faith under persecution, they voluntarily leave the safety of Europe in order to find their role model and minister to the underground Japanese church. What follows is a long, sometimes harrowing battle between doubt and human frailty on the one hand and fidelity on the other. Director and co-writer Martin Scorsese’s often visually striking drama is deeply thought provoking and emotionally gripping. But the narrative he inherits from Endo is not for the poorly catechized since it stretches and twists fundamental issues of faith and morality in a manner reminiscent of British novelist Graham Greene. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R. “A Monster Calls” (Focus)

Uncompromisingly dark melodrama about an adolescent British boy (Lewis MacDougall) struggling to cope with a variety of problems, the most dramatic being his mother’s (Felicity Jones) impending death from cancer. Coming to his “rescue” is a benevolent giant (voice of Liam Neeson) formed from the bark and roots of the local graveyard’s ancient yew tree. Though it’s based on Patrick Ness’ award-winning 2011 children’s novel, and scripted by Ness himself, director J.A. Bayona’s adaptation is not a film for kids. Even many adults will find its mawkish treatment of death and its supply of blithe “answers” to life’s struggles difficult to handle. Probably acceptable for mature teens. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13. “Hidden Figures” (Fox 2000) Appealing fact-based drama about an extra­ ordinarily gifted mathematician (Taraji P. Henson) working for NASA in the early 1960s. As she and two equally brilliant colleagues (Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae) who are also her close friends battle racism and segregation, she gradually wins the respect of her well-meaning but initially unenlightened

boss (Kevin Costner). In adapting Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, director Theodore Melfi successfully re-creates the tension of the Cold War space race, while showcasing family values and Christian piety as well as wholesome romance through the widowed protagonist’s relationship with a National Guard officer (Mahershala Ali). Given that the film also provides a personalized insight into the struggles of the civil rights era, many parents may consider it suitable for older teens, despite screenwriter Allison Schroeder’s occasional resort to light swearing for rhetorical emphasis. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG. “La La Land” (Lionsgate) Inspired by the musicals of Hollywood’s golden age, this comedy-drama set in present-day Los Angeles chronicles the gooey romance of two star-crossed lovers: an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling). She wants to be a movie star, while he hopes to open his own club. The path to success is rocky, and their relationship is put to the test. Writer-­director Damien Chazelle dreams big in this over-the-top fantasy where drivers exit their cars on a freeway over-

pass and burst into song, and lovers dance on air amid the projected stars in a planetarium. Beautifully shot in widescreen CinemaScope, it’s a unique film, though also a self-indulgent one, and tends to lose its way when the song and dance take over. Fortunately, that’s largely made up for by Chazelle’s engaging script, a cast of first-rate actors and superb music. An implied premarital relationship, a few rough terms, some crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13.

Cartoon of the Week


PAGE 13 January 15, 2017

Georgia woman killed by airport gunman was parish stalwart 84-year-old ‘caring and committed,’ says pastor By Catholic News Service ATLANTA (CNS) — Olga Woltering, a bedrock member of her parish and the Atlanta Cursillo movement and beloved to her family and many friends, was among five people killed in the Jan. 6 shooting at a Florida airport. Woltering, 84, was leaving for a cruise with her husband, Ralph, to celebrate his birthday and were flying through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when a gunman started shooting people in a baggage claim area. Ralph Woltering was not injured. Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Army veteran, is charged in connection with the incident. In addition to the five people who were killed, six were injured. The Wolterings, who are great-grandparents, have been active members of Transfiguration Church in suburban Marietta for nearly 40 years, according to the

parish. Her funeral Mass will be celebrated at the parish Jan. 12. “Olga was one of the most joyful, loving, caring and committed people I have ever met,” Father Fernando Molina-Restrepo, Transfiguration pastor, said in a statement. “This is a horrible tragedy for everyone here at Transfiguration, especially because Olga was so loved,” the statement said. “May God give consolation to all of the victims of this tragedy and may God give eternal rest to those who died. Especially to our beloved Olga.” The statement noted that the couple always sat in the front row at 5 p.m. Mass and had been members since 1978. Ralph Woltering is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Olga Woltering met her husband in her native England when he served in the Army there, according to Sister Margaret McAnoy, a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and spiritual director of the Atlanta Cursillo movement. They have been married more than 60 years. “They were still obviously so much in love. They just demonstrated the sacrament of marriage,” Sister Margaret said.

Sister Margaret recalled how Olga Woltering would tell stories during the Cursillo weekends that would both entertain the group and offer spiritual insight. She had “a wonderful presence,” Sister Margaret said.

“She spoke to groups about her personal faith as a testament to the power of God’s love for us. She will be terribly missed by her faith community.” Olga Woltering’s family, On their loved one “When she made the Cursillo, she got involved right away. She would do anything she was asked to do. It’s a great, great loss,” Sister Margaret added. “I was never around Olga when she was not smiling and joyful. She always had a positive attitude,” said Glenn Zipfel, who

serves on the Atlanta Cursillo leadership team. The Woltering family issued a statement and requested privacy “as we mourn her loss and support our father and each other in the coming days.” “Olga Woltering was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and good friend to many. She, along with our father Ralph, is the cornerstone of our family, and while she’s absent in our lives now, she remains in our hearts, thoughts, and memories forever,” the family said. “Mom’s heart and soul rested in this church and its spirit-filled community,” the family said of her involvement with the parish. “She spoke to groups about her personal faith as a testament to the power of God’s love for us. She will be terribly missed by her faith community,” the family said. Sister Margaret explained how receiving the news of the tragedy was devastating. “I burst into tears. You couldn’t wrap your head around it,” she said. The Wolterings had flown to Florida a day early for their cruise because snow was predicted in Atlanta. “I don’t know why God called her home at this moment,” Sister Margaret said. “If anybody walked into heaven, she did.”

Woman who survived abortion will speak at West Coast Walk for Life Mother was forced to abort in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1977 By Valerie Schmalz Catholic News Service SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — Melissa Ohden was delivered during a saline infusion abortion, a 2-pound, 14-ounce baby suffering jaundice and respiratory distress after undergoing five days of inhaling toxic salt and Pitocin-laced amniotic fluid. An adopted child, she did not learn the facts of her birth until she was 14 during a childhood argument with her sister. It wasn’t until last year that Ohden met her birth mother. She learned that her birth mother was forced to undergo the abortion procedure and that her ­mother’s twin sister — Melissa’s aunt — tried to help the pregnant 19-year-old escape from the hospital during the procedure in Sioux City, Iowa, Aug. 29, 1977. “It was literally forced upon her. She was given no other choice. We know that is representative of so many women,” said Ohden, who will speak Jan. 21 at the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. Ohden, who is now based in Kansas City, founded the Abortion Survivors Network, online at She counts 210 people who were born alive during an abortion. She said there may be many more. Those are only the ones who have contacted her. “I appeared to have a bleak future, but I was alive,” Ohden wrote in an account in

2007 for The American Feminist. She was adopted by parents who knew “full well that as they opened their hearts and their home to me, they took a chance on raising a child who would quite probably not live past her infancy. If I did survive, I would more than likely be disabled.”

“As a woman, we often hear about abortion being a right. As a woman who survived an abortion, where is my right in that?” Melissa Ohden, Pro-life abortion survivor For years, Ohden “struggled with strong feelings of guilt for being physically, mentally and emotionally able. I know full well that millions of babies each year are not as lucky as I was.” Today, Ohden told Catholic San Francisco, newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, that her experience and that of her mother highlight another often disregarded aspect of abortion. “As a woman, we often hear about abortion being a right. As a woman who survived an abortion, where is my right in that? Certainly the other piece of that is the rights of my biological mother. I spent years thinking she chose to abort me. It was literally forced upon her, she was given no other choice,” Ohden said.

For 39 years, her birth mother believed Melissa had died in the abortion, as Melissa’s adoption was arranged without her knowledge, Ohden said. To learn her child was alive, married, with two children and a successful career, was like a dream. Ohden has written a book, “You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir,” which was pub­lished in early January. Her birth father died before she could contact him. “I not only share my survival and my search for my biological family, I ultimately get to share how I’ve been united with her. It is honestly like nothing I could ever imagine,” Ohden said. “I met her face to face for the first time just late last spring. What I love about the book is that it not only shares my story, but her story.” “I was scared to write the book because I wanted to protect her. When I finally sent

it off to her, her response was she loved it,” said Ohden, who first met her mother in person at a zoo with her half-sister and her children — where the little cousins immediately took each other’s hands. “It is the way God wanted the ­story to end. Who could have imagined 39 years ago? A forced abortion. The baby was meant to die and no one would ever know,” Ohden said. Today there is “love, forgiveness. We’re part of each other’s lives. We’re committed to each other.” For her adoptive mother and father, the story has been challenging too, because her parents did not know her birth mother was forced into the abortion and did not even know Melissa was alive. “My birth mother is thankful for my adoptive parents. There is so much love and respect on both sides.”

Archbishop Flores of San Antonio, first Hispanic bishop in U.S., dies SAN ANTONIO (CNS) — Retired Archbishop Patrick F. Flores, 87, the first Mexican-American bishop in the United States, died of pneumonia and congestive heart failure Jan. 9 at Padua Place Residence for retired priests in San Antonio. The bishop, who dropped out of school to be a migrant farmworker, was known for his support for farmworkers, Mexican-American civil rights and his love of his culture and heritage. Funeral arrangements were pending, but services will be held at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez described Archbishop Flores as his good friend and mentor and “a pioneer and role model not only for me but also for a generation of Hispanic priests and Latino leaders.” He said the archbishop of San Antonio, who retired in 2004, “knew the struggles of Hispanics in this country, and he was a friend to the farmworker and a voice of conscience for dignity and human rights. He taught all of us to celebrate our heritage and traditions and encouraged us to share our faith and values proudly and to become leaders in our communities.”


PAGE 14 January 15, 2017

Briefs Young adult’s ‘dark past’ becomes asset in ministry to recovering addicts

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — By any measure, Scott Weeman seems contented. All of the pieces of his life seem to have fallen into place. The 31-year-old is a newlywed, married in September to his wife, Jacqueline. He enjoys the love of his family and a supportive community of friends. He has found fulfillment in a rewarding ministry. And he recently finished his first book, which will be published in late 2017. What a difference five years makes. Flashback to Oct. 9, 2011, when Weeman had hit bottom and, in a long-­ distance call to his parents and a few remaining close friends, admitted that he needed help. He had gone through “nine years of darkness,” enslaved by an alcohol and drug addiction that dam­­aged some of his closest relationships, cost him a full-tuition college scholarship and resulted in two driving under the influence charges and several underage drinking citations. Even after making the decision to sober up, he doubted whether he would ever be able to make up all the years he had wasted. “What’s funny is that ... I thought that my life was over at the young age of 26 ... and that really the rest of my life would be playing catch-up,” he said.

Aleppo friar says learn about Syria, keep an open mind

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Syrians don’t want to leave their homeland, they want a safe place to live in peace, said a Franciscan friar from Aleppo, Syria, who spoke on Jan. 5 with the Arch­ diocese of Washington’s Holy Land Committee. Franciscan Brother George Jamal, who is originally from Aleppo, said even though the situation in his homeland is complicated, it is important to learn about it and if people feel inclined to do something, they can learn about the different aid groups in the region to see how to best help. By some estimates, 5 million Syrians have left the country since the country’s conflict began in 2011. That includes some members of Brother Jamal’s family. “My family, too, wants to be back after the war is finished,” he said, during the informal meeting, aimed at learning more about the region. “It is home.” Recently, the Syrian government retook control of Aleppo after months of heavy fighting with rebel groups. It had been the largest city in the country before the conflict. Last year, Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, said the conflict has left 400,000 deaths in its wake and millions of people displaced as they have left to find safety in other countries.

‘Seek 2017’ inspires college students to evangelize By Ana Franco-Guzman Catholic News Service SAN ANTONIO (CNS) — In need of reigniting the fire for his Catholic faith, Jeremy Martins found the flame he needed during SEEK 2017. “SEEK is the log I was waiting for,” said Martins, a junior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. “It has been two years since a real encounter with Christ.” He told Catholic News Service that the conference, sponsored Jan. 3-7 by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, known as FOCUS, generated a new excite­ ment even though he previously had committed two years of his life to mission work that involved evangelizing young people. About 13,000 people, almost exclusively young adults, attended the biennial SEEK con­ference at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The five-day event focused on the theme “What Moves You.” “I know that if they are from my university and attended SEEK, we can now bring this experience that we have had together back to campus with us. We can talk about it and show what we learned on our university campus,” Martins told Catholic News Service. Speakers at SEEK included Father Mike Schmitz, director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota; theologian Edward Sri; Sister Bethany Madonna, a member of the Sisters of Life; and Sarah Swafford, founder of Emotional Virtue Ministries. Father Schmitz reminded his listeners to “not be conformed by this age. But be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Our call is to live like Jesus.” Austin Palen, a junior at Kansas State University, came away with “pages and pages of notes” from the talk. Kylee Mernagh, a freshman at the school, also appreciated how Father Schmitz urged participants to “strap our boots on” in order to live their faith in the world. She attended the conference with several of her sorority sisters from Pi Beta Phi. “It was helpful knowing we’d see these people at everyday events,” she said afterward. “Knowing when it seems that everyone is thinking differently, you’re not the

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only person with morality. You know others have similar values.” Mernagh said her sorority sister brainstormed about encouraging Catholic mem­bers from other fraternities and sororities to not be afraid of living their faith. “If each house took one hour of adoration, how cool would it be?” she said. Craig Miller, FOCUS president, told CNS that he hoped that the most important thing participants take from the conference is “the knowledge that Jesus Christ loves them and that they all have a father who loves them and will be with them through everything.” “Knowing what you are made for gives you purpose and knowing that you are born as son or daughter of God brings you in relationship with your creator,” he said. As a team director for FOCUS at Ave Maria University, Nick Smith described FOCUS as important to university campuses because the organization “counteracts the things that distract us in a way that really allows Jesus to enter into this culture of death and change it.” Martins said he was struck by Sri’s comments about the importance of people changing their actions to reflect their beliefs. “This stuck with me because I realized that although I was surrounded by Catholics in Benedictine College, I found myself going to Mass less and less,” he explained. “I now realize I was changing my actions and justifying them by other Catholic’s actions. This conference has helped me realize that I really need to act the faith taking

it upon myself to change, so my actions reflect my beliefs.” In another presentation, John H. Carmichael, author of “Drunks and Monks,” discussed the freedom of drunkenness and worldliness. “If you build your house on sand, it will wash away,” he said. “Young people, you should build it on rock. Go deep into the heart of the Catholic Church.” With such encouragement, SEEK parti­ ci­pants could head back to their homes or colleges with what Miller described as a strong relationship with God so that “this relationship allows us to live life at its fullest.” Among those in attendance were more than 200 college students from the Diocese of Salina, Kansas. Among them was Adam Urban, a senior at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. “(Adoration and reconciliation) were very well done,” he said. “For our group and myself, the adoration experience is really powerful.” The experience impressed Tracie Thibault, a junior from Kansas State University. “I think the moment I knew it was worth all the planning and fundraising was seeing more than 12,000 people on their knees at adoration,” said Thibault, who helped coordinate the school’s three charter buses. “Sitting in the back watching student after student go to confession, seeing 200-plus priests and knowing God’s mercy was present, that’s when I knew it was all worth it.”

Bishops issue National Migration Week statement; mention immigration policy WASHINGTON (CNS) — Urging Americans to look at their families for stories of immigration, the president and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called attention to the hardships and contributions of immigrants to American society as the U.S. church prepared to observe National Migration Week. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles also said in a Jan. 6 statement that the week is “an opportunity to embrace the important work of continu-

ing to secure the border, to welcome the stranger and serve the most vulnerable” as components of “a humane immigration policy.” National Migration Week was to be observed Jan. 8-14. “This year, we are invited to create a culture of encounter where citizens old and new, alongside immigrants recent and long-standing, can share with one another their hopes for a better life,” said the statement marking the observance, which began 25 years ago as a way to reflect on how immigrants and refugees have contributed to the church.

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Priest critical of Brazilian prison system Prison ministry head describes inhumane conditions in jails

cies campaigning against the cruelty and pressuring local, state and federal governments in Brazil for change. “What we need is international attention to this question, to force authorities to take action,” he said.

“Prisons are like time bombs, exploding throughout the country and, unless drastic changes are made now, we will continue to see this type of violence.”

By Lise Alves Catholic News Service SAO PAULO (CNS) — The more than 100 deaths of inmates since the beginning of the year in Brazilian prisons does not come as a surprise for Father Valdir Joao Silveira, national coordinator of the Brazilian bishops’ prison ministry. “Prison is a place of death and torture,” in Brazil, said Father Silveira. “It is a factory of torture that creates monsters,” he told Catholic News Service before leaving on a trip to the Amazon region to meet with family members of inmates at prisons in the state of Amazonas. Father Silveira said if the prisons had animals instead of inmates, there would be international animal protection agen-

Father Valdir Joao Silveira, On the Brazilian prison system Fixty-six inmates died in a 17-hour riot at Compaj prison in Manaus Jan. 1-2; many were decapitated and butchered.

Mexican church calls for calm amid gas-price protests 20 percent increase announced Jan. 1; will affect everyone

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Mexican Catholic officials called for calm as angry protests over hikes in the government-set gasoline price consume the country. Senior clergy also called for federal officials to show sensitivity toward the plight of millions of poor and middle-class Mexicans, struggling to make ends meet, as the country’s sinking currency erodes their purchasing power and higher prices for gasoline could increase costs for basics such as food and transportation. “We urge (citizens) to channel their discontent, understandable as it is, through peaceful, respectful and creative expressions,” the Mexican bishops’ conference

said in a Jan. 7 statement. “We urge the civil authorities to seriously reconsider — given the national context and international variables — this measure, which affects everyone in our country, especially the poor.” Outrage erupted almost immediately after the government announced increases of more than 20 percent, implemented Jan. 1 due to deregulation of the gasoline distribution and retailing market. The protests included peaceful marches throughout the country for more than a week, although media reported the looting of at least 250 stores. Mexicans say they cannot absorb the increased cost of gasoline, even those not owning a car. “They say they’re going to raise the price of gasoline and electricity ... and I only make 100 pesos ($5) per day,” said Alejandro Montes de Oca, a protesting janitor, who pays 40 percent of his wage on public transportation each day.

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Authorities say the riot grew out of a dispute between rival gangs vying for control of drug routes and prisons. During 2015, Father Silveira said he visited that prison three times. He said conditions were some of the worst that he had ever seen, with inmates needing medical attention and basic necessities such as food and hygiene products. “If a family member cannot provide for them their basic needs, they go without,” said Father Silveira. On Jan. 6, 33 inmates were killed in a similar uprising, this time in the agricultural penitentiary of Roraima. Since then, an additional four deaths were registered in another prison in the state of Amazonas and two in the state of Piaui. “No need to be a psychic,” said the priest of the latest riots that have Brazil’s federal government extremely concerned. “What happened at Compaj has been happening in Brazil for a long time, in prisons in Maranhao, Rio Grande do Norte, Rondonia, Roraima and Parana. And it tends to worsen and intensify throughout the country.” Archbishop Sergio Eduardo Castriani of Manaus had even harsher words to say about Brazil’s prison system. In a statement released about the massacre at the city’s penitentiary, the archbishop noted that it is the function of the state to take care of the physical integrity of each detainee and emphasized “that the prison system does not rehabilitate the citizen ... it offers the school of crime instead of offering occupational activities to inmates.” The archbishop said church officials had been visiting prison inmates for 40 years. He said the main flaw in Brazil’s prison system is the lack of public policies for the re-socialization of inmates into society. Father Silveira agreed. He told CNS until structural changes are made to relieve the overcrowding in Brazilian prisons and provide humane conditions in which inmates can serve out their time, these violent riots will continue. “Prisons are like time bombs, exploding throughout the country and, unless drastic changes are made now, we will continue to see this type of violence,” said Father Silveira.

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Briefs Pope asks for warm hearts to help homeless deal with cold

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Looking out over St. Peter’s Square where icicles hung from usually bubbling fountains, Pope Francis prayed for the homeless. The freeze in Rome, subzero temperatures in large parts of Europe and heavy snowfalls in many areas in early January forced the closure of roads and schools and were blamed for at least a dozen deaths. “In these very cold days, I think and I invite you to think of the people who live on the streets, struck by the cold and, many times, by indifference,” Pope Francis told people in St. Peter’s Square Jan. 8. “Unfortunately, some have not survived,” the pope told people who had bundled up against the midday chill to recite the Angelus prayer with him. “Let us pray for them and ask the Lord to warm our hearts so that we can help them.” Because of the cold weather, the papal charities office instituted a 24hour open-door policy at the shelters it runs with the Missionaries of Char­ity for homeless men and homeless women. Usually the shelters open in the evening and close in the morning.

Doctrinal chief dismisses idea of ‘fraternal correction’ of pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church is “very far” from a situation in which the pope is in need of “fraternal correction” because he has not put the faith and church teaching in danger, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Interviewed Jan. 9 on the Italian all-news channel, TGCom24, Cardinal Muller said Pope Francis’ document on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” was “very clear” in its teaching. In the document, the cardinal said, Pope Francis asks priests “to discern the situation of these persons living in an irregular union — that is, not in accordance with the doctrine of the church on marriage — and asks for help for these people to find a path for a new integration into the church according to the condition of the sacraments (and) the Christian message on matrimony.” In the papal document, he said, “I do not see any opposition: On one side we have the clear doctrine on matrimony, and on the other the obligation of the church to care for these people in difficulty.” The cardinal was interviewed about a formal request to Pope Francis for clarification about “Amoris Laetitia” and particularly its call for the pastoral accompaniment of people who are divorced and civilly remarried or who are living together without marriage. The request, called a “dubia,” was written in September by U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta, and three other cardinals. They published the letter in November after Pope Francis did not respond.

PAGE 16 January 15, 2017


How will U.S. policy affect Middle East’s Christians in 2017? By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) — A wide variety of issues, both domestic and foreign, have been raised during the presidential transition. One that hasn’t received much notice is the situation of the beleaguered Christian community in the Middle East. Given the interest in, and media coverage of, those other issues, it’s an open question as to just what the United States would do for the Middle East’s Christian minorities under the presidential administration of Donald J. Trump. Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said he would reintroduce a bill he first introduced in September that would ensure U.S. aid specifically reaches Christian refugees and internally displaced people in the region. Another feature would be to allow gen­ o­ cide victims — “at least the persecuted Christians,” Smith said — to apply as a family and get asylum in the United States. “It gives him the ability to get the interviews. It doesn’t guarantee that they will become an asylee in the United States, but it gives them the opportunity.” Smith said he gave a copy of the bill Jan. 4 to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. “I told him that everything in this bill you could do administratively,” he added. Stephen M. Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, was leaving for a mid-January fact-finding mission in the region, with the first stop being Irbil, Iraq, a Kurdish-controlled zone in the northern part of the country where many Iraqi Christians have fled. Two of Colecchi’s traveling companions will be Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Bill O’Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services. “I imagine we will meet with a fair number of internally displaced Iraqi Christians. We will also be meeting with some Syrians who have fled to the Kurdish re-

An Iraqi soldier stands guard during Christmas celebrations at the al-Tahira alKubra church in al-Hamdaniya, east of Mosul, Dec. 25, 2016. (CNS photo/Ahmed Jalil, EPA) gion because of the violence there,” Colecchi told Catholic News Service. Also on the itinerary are visits to CRS projects that assist all groups, including Yezidis and Shiite Muslims, “who have been affected by the terrible conflict,” he said. The U.S. bishops’ stance on policy matters relies in large part on the experiences of the bishops in the affected region or country. “We look for situations where there is clear church teaching, guided by the local church,” Colecchi said. “We consult with the Holy See and make sure our positions are consistent with the Holy See. And we look for situations where the United States can make a difference. The United States is heavily involved in the region and needs to take leadership to help those who are suffering.” “There’s lots of confusion” when it comes to consensus on solutions, said Michael LaCivita, communications director for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Vatican agency. “There’s lots of folks advocating for their people to return to their native communities, the ones that have been freed or liberated. The problem is that 80 percent of these places have been destroyed. There’s a lot of rubble. In order for people

to return to their villages and their towns, they need proper housing, and they need infrastructure and they need security — and guarantees that they’re not going to be exposed as they were a few years ago.” “No one knows what the future will hold,” LaCivita added. “Should we have safe havens? Christians are saying no,” he said. “’How can we be Christian witnesses to the Gospel if we live in the Christians-­ only zones?’ Others are calling for the swift emigration of Christians out of the Middle East. “Washington will talk and talk and talk, as Washington often does, but I can say this: Unilateral action by the United States in that part of the world typically has had consequences for the vulnerable communities, often for the communities these unilateral actions are intended to help.” The Department of State’s declaration of the Islamic State’s murderous sprees since 2014 as genocide “allowed the international community to come full circle and really realize the gravity of the situation. Communities were being wiped off the face of the earth. They were going extinct, basically,” said Philippe Nassif, executive director of In Defense of Christians.

Nassif said the fate of Christians will improve in some places, but likely not in others, citing “fundamentalism” in Egypt directed against the nation’s Coptic Christians. In Defense of Christians has the creation of a Christian autonomous region in the Ninevah Plain of Iraq as one of its legislative priorities. Another is to have Congress recognize the genocide with aid money to relieve its effect. A third is to support the security and stability of Lebanon, which Nassif noted has “the most populous and stable Christian population” and which could serve as a model for political cooperation between Christians and the majority Muslim populations elsewhere in the region. “To be honest, I find that politicians from both parties and the Congress seem to be very concerned about the crisis in the region,” Colecchi said. “I know there have been dramatic increases in U.S. assistance.” However, Smith complained to CNS about U.S. funds being sent to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees camps, where very few Christians have gone. Colecchi added, “What I’m fearful of is that political commitment will come up against fiscal challenges. It’s in our best interest that the fabric of those communities be re-knit. It will be interesting to see. Most Americans, if you ask them, are quite supportive of federal aid, and they think it’s about 20 percent of the federal budget. When you ask them how much it should be, they think, not that much, about 10 percent. When you tell them that it’s less than 1 percent of the budget, they’re shocked.” CNEWA’s LaCivita is grateful for the more than $9 million generated from a special collection in fall 2014 to help Middle East Christians. CNEWA received 25 percent of that, and CRS the other 75 percent. But absent stability, cash infusions are not a cure-all. Regardless of whether the Christians are in Iraq, Syria or the Palestinian territories, he said, “If the prospects for peace and economic and political stability are grim, then so is their future.”

Infant safe after being found abandoned at Minnesota cathedral By Maria Wiering Catholic News Service ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — A newborn child found on the doorstep of the Cathedral of St. Paul was in good health and being cared for by local children’s services officials said. Nathan Leonhardt, a custodian at the cathedral, discovered the child Jan. 4 as he was locking the building about 6 p.m. following evening Mass. The baby was left in a plastic laundry basket between the exterior and interior doors of a church entrance. Leonhardt and Father John Ubel, cathedral rector, cared for the infant boy in the church sacristy until emergency responders arrived. The priest said he baptized the

child while waiting for police and an ambulance to arrive. Father Ubel said he hopes the boy, whom he christened Nathan John, will be adopted by a Catholic family. He finds it significant that the baby was left at a Catholic parish. The baby was placed in the care of Ramsey County Child Protective Services. Police are not pursuing the case as a criminal matter, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, St. Paul police spokesman. Minnesota law allows a mother to leave a newborn in a safe place within seven days of birth, such as a hospital or urgent care clinic without having to answer any questions. However, a church is not classified as one of those safe places.

Father Ubel believes, however, that the baby was left at the cathedral because the mother knew her son would be safe and cared for with the parish’s help. When he first saw the basket with a blanket on top, Leonhardt thought someone had left laundry on the steps to the church foyer. He then heard a noise from the basket and thought it might be a puppy. When he removed the blanket, he saw the baby’s face. “I was speechless,” he said. “I froze for what seemed to be 10 seconds, but it was probably more.” He said the infant appeared to be recently born because he was still covered in blood and mucus and had not been washed. The umbilical cord was cut and clamped with a binder clip.

The priest said he is grateful that the mother chose not to abort the baby. His is also proud of Leonhardt’s quick actions. “The fact that this child was left off at a Catholic church is not an insignificant detail to me,” Father Ubel said. “Absent any other information forthcoming, I think it’s important that this child be given up for adoption, and there would be many willing Catholic couples who would welcome this child into their home.” Like Father Ubel, Leonhardt also hopes the baby can go to a good home. “They picked a good spot to drop him off,” said Leonhardt, 26, a parishioner of St. Patrick Church in suburban Inver Grove Heights. “It’s a church. We love children.”

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