Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Isn't the Internet Wonderful? You Can Google Just About Anybody.

And isn't it neat how people we know turn up when we least expect it some times.

I was going through my typical afternoon/morning/evening/night of web surfing and checking for interesting "stuff" to put on Stella, checking out Father Tim Finnigan's blog in the U.K. to see what travesty of liturgy might be happening there when I saw that he had a link to some artwork. Even though I don't use it much these days, I decided to scarf some up and save it for the future. So I popped on over to In Illo Tempore to find it. It turned out that I already had it but in the process of finding it I got distracted when I saw the name of Duluth blogger, Sharon Mollerus, who teaches English at the College of St Scholastica up there in the Zenith City of the Unsalted Sea. Her blogging, with a lot of poetry and photography, is confined to Clairity Daily and Butterfly Net these days. I thought.

But she has a personal web page at that has links to her poetry and articles that she has had published. Check that out. I see some from that neat little monthly "missalette/magazine", Magnificat, and a lot of other journals that I have not heard ot.

And, most interesting perhaps for those of us who have been on the web for a while, in the In Illo Tempore post, entitled Electronic communication between Catholics before the Internet, a link was given to an interview with Sharon to a Catholic Answers "This Rock" magazine article, from back in 1997, entitled "Ten Years of Online Faith." Most of you don't know what we did before the Internet with its ability to have pictures and sounds and our hard drives and mice were confined to megabyte and 1200 and 2400 baud sizes. Well, Sharon was there with her husband operating something called the Catholic Information Network (CIN).

It's still going today and is being kept current, providing lots of solid information for today's Catholics. I'd bet that most of you are unfamiliar with it. I probably visited it back in those days of yore, but I haven't since then. I see that Sharon must be still involved with CIN as some of her articles are listed on today's index.

Thank you Sharon for all that you have done in sharing the faith, and your poetry, articles and photography.

And for those of you not familiar with Catholic Answers' "This Rock" magazine, check it out. Seventeen years of the text of those issues is free for downloading and they have some of the best articles anywhere that explain items of our Catholic faith.

Miller Makes Concessions; Boycott Ends; Crack Open a Leinies or an MGD!

Catholic League president Bill Donohue explained today why the protest of the Miller Brewing Company has ended:

“From the beginning of the Folsom Street Fair controversy, the position of the Catholic League has been that it was insufficient for the Miller Brewing Company to simply apologize for the misappropriation of its logo on an offensive Last Supper promotional poster. What we wanted was an acknowledgment that there were other extremely disturbing anti-Catholic aspects to this event. We have now secured that missing piece. Miller is now saying that following a review of what happened, ‘we are aware of other disrespectful activities, objects and groups associated with or present at the fair which, like the promotional poster, violate our marketing policies. We extend our original apology to include these unfortunate events and items as well.’

“This has been a team effort. We are particularly grateful for the support that several bishops and ad hoc groups have shown, especially the wonderful people in Michigan’s Chaldean community.

“The Catholic League is happy that Miller has reconsidered this ugly issue and has no plans to revisit it again. Accordingly, the boycott is off. So, too, is our anti-Miller PR campaign. There may very well be a follow-up meeting with the principals to this controversy; we welcome such an opportunity to convey our concerns to the Miller brass.

Now it’s time for everyone who enjoys Miller beer to resume consumption again.” Catholic League

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Big Brother's Pagans Re-Write History and Remove God From Washington Monument


[American Family Association] The National Park Service, a branch of the federal government, has joined the Veterans Administration in establishing anti-Christian bigotry as public policy. The NPS has censored “God” from a key display of America's Christian heritage in Washington.

The reference is an engraving of "Laus Deo," which is Latin for "Praise be to God," on the east side of the 100-ounce aluminum cap atop of the Washington Monument.

Since the actual inscription on the cap is unviewable atop the 555-foot stone column, the NPS created a replica which is on display in the white-colored obelisk of marble, granite and sandstone.

Now “God” has been removed from the plaque containing information about the Washington Monument. In 2000 the plaque read:

APEX OF THE MONUMENT Reproduction The builders searched for an appropriate metal for the apex that would not tarnish and would act as a lightning rod. They chose one of the rarest metals of the time, aluminum. The casting was inscribed with the phrase, Laus Deo, (Praise be to God).

The NPS censored the last sentence from the latest plaque, which now reads:

CAP OF THE MONUMENT Reproduction The builders searched for appropriate metal for the cap that would not tarnish and would act as a lightning rod. They chose one of the rarest metals of the time – aluminum.

In addition, the replica of the cap which is in the monument has been positioned so close to the wall that the wording “Laus Deo” cannot be read. Prior to the censorship by the NPS, the replica wording could be read.

It was the third time in just the past few weeks that an agency of the federal government has banned the use of “God.” First was the Architect of the Capitol banning religious references when issuing flag certificates. That ruling was later rescinded. Next came the Veterans Administration censoring religious references in the script used to describe each fold of the flag at 125 national cemeteries. That censoring came after only one person complained.

Because of the NPS censorship, children and other visitors to the monument now have no way to know that the words, 'Laus Deo,' ('Praise be to God'), are inscribed on the original cap atop the monument! This censoring of God will help establish anti-Christian bigotry into federal law.

Click Here for more information.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Spine in Winnipeg: Archbishop Weisgerber Cancels Homosexual Activist from Catholic Conference After Complaints

This is a big deal in Canada. Watch for a criminal complaint to be filed against the Archbishop by some lawyer in the Manitoba government.

( - A Catholic conference on social justice which took place last weekend was missing one of its featured speakers thanks to the work of Catholic pro-life activists and readers. The Social Justice Conference of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg took place over the weekend minus a man who gained fame by being taken hostage in Iraq and has used that fame to promote homosexuality, while professing to be Catholic.

Maria Slykerman, the President of Campaign Life Coalition Manitoba, had contacted Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber over scheduled speakers James Loney, the homosexual activist and NDP MP Bill Blaikie an abortion advocate.

Many readers responded to a article which noted the controversy by contacting the Archdiocese with their concerns. (see coverage: )

Late last week Loney told the press that Archbishop Weisgerber called him to tell him not to attend the conference. The Archdiocese released a statement on the matter saying:
"Since the invitation to speak was issued, the Archdiocese has become aware of Mr. Loney's public opposition to the Church's teaching on sexual morality. Once the Archdiocese became aware of the public dissent, the Archbishop had no choice but to ask him not to speak at the conference. Mr. Loney has not been excluded from speaking because of his personal life, which is a private matter."

In comments to the CBC the Archbishop acknowledged receiving multiple complaints about Mr. Loney. "He's being excluded because he takes public opposition to an important teaching of the Church," said the Archbishop. "I keep hearing more and more objections, and I began to do some research and I realized that he has taken very public and very clear opposition to the Church's teachings in this area."

Mr. Blaikie however did not have his invitation to speak at the Catholic conference rescinded.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a policy, approved by the Vatican, which bans giving supporters of abortion and same-sex 'marriage' pedestals at Catholic events. "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles," it says. Adding, "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." (see coverage: )

Since his decision to cancel Mr. Loney, the Archbishop has been under intense media pressure. Mrs. Slykerman told she is contacting the Archbishop to thank him for avoiding scandal by cancelling Mr. Loney and to encourage him to take similar actions in the future for all speakers who would cause scandal.

To contact the Archbishop of Winnipeg, Most Rev. V. James Weisgerber Email -

Church O' The Day: A "Prairie Shrine of Art", St. Aloysius, Olivia, MN


The Rev. Paul van de Crommert admires the restoration work at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Olivia (Diocese of New Ulm). Three bishops, more than 30 priests and up to 600 other guests are expected to attend the church’s dedication ceremony during a Mass Sunday. The restoration of the storied church took seven years.

Eight decades after the Rev. Henry Pomije led his Catholic parish in Olivia to build the church to be known as the “prairie shrine of art,” things are again as they were, and probably quite a bit better.

Three bishops, 30 to 35 priests, and up to 600 other guests are expected to join as St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Olivia dedicates its restored church on Sunday.

The 3 p.m. Mass will consecrate a new altar for the church, and mark the completion of seven years of work.

Some have described it as “divinely inspired” work. Looking about the bright, colorful and cathedral like surroundings of the restored church, the Rev. Paul van de Crommert puts it this way: “God’s hand is in it.”

The Olivia parish invested $1.2 million in the restoration. Almost all of the money was raised in donations. Van de Crommert said that only about 10 to 12 percent of the project needs to be financed.

There are no more than 480 families in the parish. The contributions have come largely from families who are middle to lower middle class in their economic earnings, according to the pastor.

That is not unlike how it was in 1927, when Pomije led a parish comprised of the hard working sons and daughters of German and Bohemian immigrants to the area. Pomije had traveled to Italy and was inspired by the art and architecture of Rome.

He convinced the rural Olivia parish to build a church of Italian or Romanesque architecture, complete with marble pillars and original artwork of Gonippo Raggi, renowned at the time for his religious works.

The work began in 1927 continued through the Depression years and into the 1940s. It was apparent that Pomije ran out of funds and had to take short cuts at times: Those omissions have now been corrected.

Van de Crommert said he had always been impressed by the beauty of the Olivia church, but he arrived as its pastor in 2000 without any expectations of leading an effort to restore its beauty. He and church members were initially concerned with fixing weather-damaged windows and doing other essential maintenance to preserve the art inside. That art — huge canvas renditions of Biblical scenes — were water and soot damaged from the years, but are now restored to their original splendor.

The restoration involved every aspect of the church, from restoring its stained glass windows and statuary to creating new wrought iron ornaments and transforming the Baptistry.

“You can’t help but believe in God that humanity has the power to create something like this,” said van de Crommert of the beauty found in the church.

He cannot easily explain how a small, rural parish was motivated to take on an undertaking so large as this. But he said the parish has been very united, despite the warnings he had received from other priests that nothing divides a parish like a building project.

Like the priest who inspired the parish 80 years ago, van de Crommert has put his own heart into the project. The parish contracted with the architect Angelo Gherardi— renowned for his work for two popes — to design the restoration. But Gherardi is expected to tell those who gather to celebrate the church on Sunday that his role was merely to “clean up” the drawings of Van de Crommert.

Van de Crommert said the importance of the restoration has more to do with faith than architecture. Whether it’s because of the unity fostered by the project or the sheer beauty of the surroundings, church attendance and participation has steadily grown through the seven years of the project, according to the priest. The parish has been able to welcome new members, and has reached out to the growing number of Latino residents of the region, he added.

If Pomije were able to come back to see the church today, “I think he’d be happy,” said van de Crommert. West Central Tribune

KSTP-5 On the Road Video

The Eucharist to Again be at the "Center" of the Faith in Fargo!

Renovations at Fargo’s Cathedral of St. Mary are giving more prominence to a central part of the Catholic faith.

One of the major components of the work is to move the tabernacle, a box which holds the Eucharist, from a side altar to the center of the sanctuary.

“In my mind, we’re putting the blessed sacrament back where it should have been in the first place,” said John Herlick, vice chairman of the St. Mary’s parish council.

Where the tabernacle should be placed has been a contentious issue among some faithful. Many churches moved their tabernacles to a side location or a separate chapel after the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. Now some are moving it back.

Church law says the tabernacle should be highly visible and elevated, and that the bishop has the final judgment on its placement.

Catholics believe the bread and wine used in the sacrament has been completely changed into the body and blood of Christ.

“It’s the center of our faith,” said the Rev. Chad Wilhelm, rector of St. Mary’s. “I’ve had nothing but people very, very overjoyed about (moving it to the center).”

The bishop’s chair has moved from behind the altar to the left-hand side, closer to the congregation.

The renovation also includes electrical work, a new microphone system, expanding the altar floor, adding a pulpit and railings to make the altar more accessible for elderly priests.

Total costs will be about $200,000, Wilhelm said. It’s paid for out of a renovation fund started from the estate of Cardinal Aloisius Muench, who was bishop of the diocese from 1935 to 1946.

The construction completes an extensive refurbishing done in 1996. It also is a prelude to further renovations on the south side of the 108-year-old cathedral in the next five years.

Wilhelm said this project will create a more accessible entrance, with an improved elevator and bathrooms on the main floor. The project may also include adding a chapel for perpetual adoration of the Eucharist.

“It brings pride to the people when things are kept up and clean and cared for,” Wilhelm said. “It’s God’s temple, but it’s their church home.” Fargo In-Forum

Cathedral of St. Mary Web Page

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anger Management: Looking Back on the Amish School Shooting

When, last year, the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania forgave the gunman who killed five young girls, millions watched in awe. Some were disgusted. Have we learned anything since about what makes forgiveness possible?

On October 2, 2006, Charles Carl Roberts, a man “angry with life … angry with God,” walked into a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania and took everyone inside hostage at gunpoint. He forced the boys to unload a strange assortment of supplies from his pick-up truck—guns, lumber, chains, nails, a change of clothes, plastic ties and rope, and KY Jelly. Then he lined up ten young girls by the chalkboard, ordered everyone else out of the building, barricaded the doors, tied the girls up, and, after a couple of fevered calls to his wife and to police, began shooting, execution style. Five of the girls were killed, the rest were wounded, and finally, Roberts killed himself.

‘Does anyone want to live in a society that doesn’t get angry when innocent children are slaughtered?’
The media sensation that followed wasn’t a surprise—after all, “if it bleeds, it leads”—although the added horror of a gunman targeting quiet, Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking Amish girls as young as six years-old seemed to echo a new depth in the well of human depravity. But what really kept the story in the public eye longer than usual was a deeper, more thought-provoking shock: the repeated statements from the Amish that they weren’t angry, and their offers of forgiveness to the dead gunman and help to his family. These included:

A grandfather crouching by slain Marian Fisher, 20 bullets in her body—one of two girls who pleaded with Roberts to “shoot me first”—and telling the other children, “You must not hate this man.”

The Amish community—including the parents of those who had died—visiting the killer’s wife and child, offering forgiveness and financial help. Many later attended a memorial service for Roberts.

An Amish woman interviewed by CNN, stating quietly but confidently, “Oh no no no, definitely not, we’re not angry. We just don’t do that here.”

The national conversation that followed—was it a brilliant example of Christian love in action? Was it psychologically warped? Both?—was epitomized by two opinion columns published a week after the shooting. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe (“Undeserved Forgiveness”) understood the Amish commitment to turning the other cheek as Christ did, and yet, he countered, “…hatred is not always wrong, and forgiveness is not always deserved. I admire the Amish villagers' resolve to live up to their Christian ideals even amid heartbreak, but how many of us would really want to live in a society in which no one gets angry when children are slaughtered? In which even the most horrific acts of cruelty were always and instantly forgiven? There is a time to love and a time to hate, Ecclesiastes teaches. If anything deserves to be hated, surely it is the pitiless murder of innocents.”

In The Dallas Morning News, Rod Dreher (“Amish Faith Shines, Even in Tragic Darkness”) was more appreciative: “What sets hearts apart is how they deal with sins and tragedies…. [S]ometimes, faith helps ordinary men and women do the humanly impossible: to forgive, to love, to heal and to redeem. It makes no sense. It is the most sensible thing in the world. The Amish have turned this occasion of spectacular evil into a bright witness to hope. Despite everything, a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

And, in a Beliefnet column, Dreher expressed the awe—maybe even envy—felt by fellow Christians when he asked: “Could you do that? Could you stand over the body of a dead child and tell the young not to hate her killer? I could not. Please, God, make me into the sort of man who could."

So, is anger good or not? Perhaps we should excuse the confusion, since you can find different answers to that question throughout Christian tradition.

The passions, like anger, are both gifts and attachments.
We chant psalms that are nothing if not angry: “Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!” (Ps 74:11). The prophets of the Old Testament spent most of their time expressing God’s anger at Israel for committing idolatry. And Jesus himself was righteously angry at the moneychangers for cheating the poor pilgrims who came to do sacrifice in the Temple.

On the other hand, we also have Jesus’ radical fulfillment of the Jewish law: "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment….” (Matt 5:22) Abba Agathon, a third century monk known for his holiness, states flatly, “A man who is angry, even if he were to raise the dead, is not acceptable to God.” And the Catholic tradition names ira, or wrath, as one of the seven cardinal sins.

Clearly, according to Christian tradition, there are times to be angry, and times when we’re called to overcome anger.

Cultivating anger looks like a splendid idea if the alternative is apathy. I know of a university that hosted a “protest day” in a desperate attempt to rouse students from indifference. Each student was encouraged to stand against what they believed was wrong in society. Did these students learn to “admonish the sinner” in useful ways? I doubt it. But I can understand the motive behind such extreme measures. Apathy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Widespread indifference makes it possible for human dignity to be trampled, rationalized, tortured and violated. When the culture of death makes headway, it’s usually not because the majority of people actively support the evil. It’s because they’re indifferent—they’ve lost their sense of righteous anger.

One way to overcome apathy is by being willing to see the world through God’s eyes, and seeing rightly means getting angry about injustice. Christians are angrier than realists or cynics, says Duke University theologian Gregory Jones, because Christians see the world ravaged by sinful choices, rather than the world of splendid beauty and goodness God created. That disparity between what is and what should be makes us angry. Righteous anger is how human beings say “No, it’s a sin. God does not want this!”—an echo of the words of 12 year-old martyr and saint Maria Goretti, whose courage in the face of violence is remarkably similar to the stand taken by some of the Amish girls. Anger can be, perhaps, the grace of lucid vision. Jeff Jacoby recognized this when he asked “does anyone want to live in a society that doesn’t get angry when innocent children are slaughtered?” Do we want to say humanity was created to silently consent to this kind of abuse and suffering?

But anger is a response, not a cure. It is diagnosis, not healing. It is a first move to holy sight, and too much of this medicine kills the patient. As the apostle Paul says, “Be angry, but do not sin.” (Eph 4:26)

Anger can easily slide from prophetic witness to a tool for hatred and killing, and move from sacred discontent to a power beyond our control. The ancient desert fathers—who chose to live a life set apart, like the Amish—were well acquainted with this misdirected passion, “the demon” of unrestrained anger. Living in solitude in the desert did not vanquish opportunities to get angry; on the contrary, the lack of external distractions was intended to make their inner lives and temptations that much more obvious. The words of Abba (later Bishop) Ammonas tell us how difficult, and necessary, it is to live without being beholden to anger:

Abba Ammonas was asked, "What is the ‘narrow and hard way?’" (Matt 7:14). He replied, "The ‘narrow and hard way’ is this, to control your thoughts, and to strip yourself of your own will, for the sake of God. This is also the meaning of the sentence, ‘Lo, we have left everything and followed you.’ (Matt 19:27)… I have spent fourteen years in Scetis asking God night and day to grant me the victory over anger."

Righteous anger is how human beings say 'No, it’s a sin. God does not want that.'
Most of us are loath to admit the real trouble with anger: anger feels good. Deliriously good. We feel righteously indignant. We feel deeply. We feel strong. We are alive, aware, on watch. And there are so many, many injustices, personal and global, worth our just wrath. It isn’t until later—and not much later—that the anger corrodes into something more like bitterness. Prophecy becomes acrimony. Taking a stand becomes self-interested pride. Anger at an act becomes hatred against a person. And we become so attached to the power of anger, we leave no space for the power of God.

When righteous anger is ordered to God, it is permissible and even right. But when the high of being angry tempts us to claim power that isn’t ours, power that is God’s alone, we fall into the grip of sin.

The passions, like anger, are simultaneously gifts and attachments. Another desert father, Abba Zosimas, presented the passions as such: “…inasmuch as He is good, God has given us to profit from everything [the passions]. However, we become attached and misuse God’s gifts to destruction through our evil choice, and are therefore harmed.” And in the case of anger, the damage is extensive. How many people are murdered “in the heat of passion,” as they say? How many battles (gangs, ethnic groups, religious groups, nations) rage because of a desire for vengeance? How many marriages corrode because angry spouses use the words they know will most hurt? How many parents and children have door-slamming, window-rattling arguments that defy reconciliation? This anger is not the power of love, as some ethicists would put it, but a grave sin against caritas. We accept a gift—the recognition that “God does not want this!”—and twist it into the oldest sin of all: wanting to be God, desiring and savoring that power, using it without anything approaching infinite wisdom.

So much of resistance to forgiveness is about power: clutching to grievances rather than letting go of the power of the past to move to a healed future. This does not mean we should cease defending what is good against evil, detailing compensation, recompense, apology: all those things are desirable and right, as a matter of justice. But if we recognize that the other is, indeed, a human being, created in God’s image, part of the Mystical Body of Christ, desired for salvation by a loving God, and a sinner like me: then forgiveness is about surrendering the power of corrosive anger, and yielding to the healing power of God. Forgiveness is the work of God, and we choose to enter into it or not. It is recognition that God has the ultimate power here: not the murderer, not the victims, but the One who created them both.

Trusting God to heal, not clutching at power for vengeance, was the shock of Nickel Mines. That was the fascination that transcended the blood and carnage. We saw there was a choice to be made; that could be made: not a choice between anger or apathy, but a choice between clutching to power that destroys or yielding to the God of life. As the original desert father and font of monasticism, Abba Antony of Egypt, said: "There is only one war left to fight, and that is the battle for your own heart.”

Anger can easily slide from prophetic witness to hatred and killing,
Letting go may well be foreign to our soil: the earth of our souls as well as the land of our nation. It takes the historically much-persecuted Amish to show us this strange light. If you are part of a culture accustomed to power and privilege, you don't have practice in ceding control. You can get angry and not bear any obvious consequences; you have the power, so who will call you on it? The very prevalence of the phrase “anger management” belies an ethos: anger is a power we can control completely on our own.

I remember last October’s fascination with forgiveness like this: millions of people sitting around, staring at the television, mumbling “that's incredible…” and shaking their heads. Translation: that's admirable, but I have no idea how they do that, and I know I couldn't. Indeed, given how reporters reacted to the Amish lack of anger and their practice of forgiveness, I suspect they felt the same way.

Admiration is a strange creature, and we experienced a lot of it as a nation that week. Søren Kierkegaard, the 19th century philosopher and no fan of vapid niceties or indifference, scribbled in his journal: “The ethical truth of the matter is just this–that admiration is suspiciously like an evasion.” And in Practice in Christianity, his pseudonym asserts: "What, then, is the difference between an admirer and an imitator? An imitator is or strives to be what he admires, and an admirer keeps himself personally detached, consciously or unconsciously does not discover that what is admired involves a claim upon him, to be or at least to strive to be what is admired." The Amish community of Nickel Mines did not “admire” Christ that day—they imitated him. We then began a great debate as to whether dropping anger and offering forgiveness was something to admire (could we? should we?) or something to imitate. Admiration kept the challenge of the Amish behind television screens and computer monitors: two conveniences the Amish never touch. But now, as we remember, at a distance of 365 days, maybe we can begin to take the next step beyond admiration.

The Amish community did not ‘admire’ Christ that day. They imitated him.
Luckily there is a common Christian practice in giving up ultimate control, in moving from admiration to imitation to participation in God’s life: the risky assent to prayer. Prayer is not an activity we manage or control, but an encounter with the Holy Spirit to which we respond. It’s not an anger management program, but a constant openness to God's grace that can transform anger into compassion, and blow away the excess like dust. Prayer risks transformation, to become like the One whom we love: the merciful God of Jesus Christ. Prayer yields temptation to power at God's feet, and completes the Ephesians admonition against all sins contrary to love:

“you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth…. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil…. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. (And) be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” (Eph 4:22-4, 26, 31-2)

Life has continued for the Amish community in Nickel Mines. The school was destroyed, the land is grazed. A new school was built nearby. Some of the girls still suffer significant injuries. A recent news article revealed that the young boys in the schoolhouse that day are suffering serious guilt, wishing they had reacted differently, despite the threat of Roberts’ gun. Yet the community's commitment to forgiveess stands, and is reaffirmed daily. I suggest we pray for them. Love in action is a harsh and terrible thing compared to love in dreams, as Dostoyevsky wrote. There is nothing admirable about it. But much for Christians to imitate. Godspy

SUSAN WINDLEY-DAOUST is an assistant professor of theology at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona, Minnesota, and teaches in the Institute for Pastoral Ministries. A core community member of the Winona Catholic Worker, she lives with her husband Jerry and their three small children.

Hey, a theology professor who writes using words even I can understand! This person writes well. I wonder if she has a blog? Nah. With three kids and a job, probably doesn't have time!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fr. Michael Keating Speaks on Pope's, "Jesus of Nazareth" at St. Helena's, Nov 3 9-11:30 am

Fr. Michael Keating, Ph.D., a Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, will be speaking on this Saturday, November 3, at the Church of St. Helena in Rowan Hall (3204 East 43rd St., Minneapolis) from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. about Pope Benedict's new book, Jesus of Nazareth, and its historical, Scriptural, theological, and philosophical background. The tuition is $5 per person (includes continental breakfast), however, complimentary tickets are available (for those who have difficulty with the cost). To register, please call 612-729-7321 by 12:00 Noon on November 2.

Bishop Swain's Year in Review in Sioux Falls


Year In Review
South Dakota Roman Catholic Bishop Paul Swain celebrated his first anniversary on Friday at St. Joseph Cathedral. Swain was installed one year ago as the 8th bishop to be based in Sioux Falls. So what has he accomplished in the past year?

One year ago, Bishop Swain dedicated his first months to learning and listening to the South Dakota Catholic community. And those who follow him say he's lived up to his promise and more.

"It's been wonderful. He's a very gracious and humble man," said Julie Kolda, a Catholic Church member.

A year ago, the South Dakota Catholic community welcomed a bishop they knew very little about. But in a short time, they have come to appreciate everything Bishop Paul Swain has done and continues to do.

"He's helping us build our new church. He's our Sheppard building the new church west of town. His love of youth and his love of prayers," said Kolda.

Over the past year, Bishop Swain has traveled across South Dakota learning and listening to the Catholic community.

"And that goal has really been accomplished. He's gotten a good sense of who the people in the church and the prairie are and the diocese of Sioux Falls," said Father Justin Wachs, Bishop Swain's secretary.

And while he's happy with what he's accomplished, the responsibility came as some what of a surprise.

"It's been different from what I expected. I knew it would be difficult because I've worked for bishops, I've been around them, I see the types of issues that come their way. But it's also a blessed opportunity," said Bishop Paul Swain.

But today wasn't only about the past, it was a look to the future. And a large part of the bishop's vision includes the renovation of St Joseph's Cathedral.

"So we'll be dealing with those structure things, but also restoring it to the extent we can," said Bishop Swain.

All for a community he's come to call home.

Bishop Swain isn't the only one that has grown to appreciate Sioux Falls. His mother, who currently lives in Kansas, has also decided to move here after falling in love with the city. Bishop Swain traveled to over 80 parishes and over 50,000 miles during in his first year to learn more about South Dakota.

Miller Brewing Boycott: Political Correctness Gone Wild

Some of you may be surprised to learn that I rarely spend more than 23 hours a day on my computer looking for those choice tidbits of Catholic news to exite, inspire, motivate or rile you.

Sometimes I even read other news (of course with a Catholic connection). Bill Donohue, mild-mannered street radical who has been tasked with leading the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is currently mastermining a boycott of the Miller Brewing Company (legal name: SABMiller plc) for their having sponsored a homosexual party or meeting or convention in San Francisco (there, it's hard to make a distinction between those types of events) using a photo staged mockery of DaVinci's Last Supper mural painting on a will in Milan, Italy. A Miller Lite beer logo was featured on the advertisement.

If you know anything about Donohue, he doesn't quit once he gets started.

Well, I was surfing away this morning after St Anthony's Marian Mass and Holy Hour up Nordeast and came across a news article about beer, one of my other loves. It mentioned how the big guys who control well over 90% of the beer market, are nervous about that other 5% owned by the "craft brewers", the little guys. So the big guys like Bud, Miller, Coors, etc., are putting out "craft beers" theirselves under names that don't identify them as owners.

The article mentioned that Miller owns Leinenkugel's in Chippewa Falls, WI, one of my favorites. I thought it was owned by Coors. So no more Leinie's for me! So I decided to check and see what other brands that Miller might own.

And lo and behold, when I did my Google search and found the SABMiller plc home page, I clicked and what did my wondering eyes see but the following paragraph:

US residents under the age of 21 are not permitted to enter this section of the SABMiller plc website. No persons under the age of 18 are permitted to enter this section of the SABMiller plc website and will be redirected to the home page.

Please enter your details below and click 'Enter':

So now it is illegal to read beer ads?

Now avid readers of Stella Borealis might recall that in an earlier post today I made note of the fact that computers are more than science and electronics and don't always work properly. Just now, SABMiller's computer told me that my birthday is wrong and that I was born in Egypt.

So I can't tell you what brands of beer they sell.

I can tell you to boycott Miller including MGD and the Leinenkugel brands.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cathy of Alex's Computer Has Died


Excommunication: a Very Commonly Misunderstood Church Punishment

Katherine Kersten of the StarTribune, the token conservative on that newspaper whose function is to keep the area's blood pressure specialists rich treating DFLers, posted Wednesday on complaints by homosexuals that the Catholic Church won't allow them to use church property as their sounding board for complaints about the Church.

Katherine is an excellent writer and her topics are always interesting. But what is even more interesting is the banter among her readers. She gets about 100 comments a day on a hot topic and most of them soon forget about her and what she wrote and devolve into "flame wars" among some generally very articulate people.

Someone pointed out that unlike other religions, Christians don't issue fatwas to kill apostates.

Somebody else responded: Historically, the Catholic Church held the threat of excommunication over the heads of misbehaving members. Fatwas weren’t necessary when the threat of eternal damnation would suffice. Of course in modern times such a threat is meaningless to all except the most devout, who would never be in danger of excommunication in the first place.

I wanted to make a correction to this response but even though I have been registered with the Strib for ten or 15 years, it wouldn't take my password today. It might tomorrow. Don't let anybody tell you that computers are nothing but science and engineering. And besides, it would be unlikely after 212 comments that anybody would bother to read my reaction anyway.

So anyway, I would just like to point out that, contrary to common opinion, "excommunication" does not subject someone to "eternal damnation."

Excommunication removes someone from "Communion with the Church." Think about that. It deprives people of the sacraments and the fellowship of the members of the Church in the hope that they will mend their ways, repent and return to that "Communion", within the fold.

It is serious and it generally takes more than three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys and a firm purpose of amendment to have a writ of excommunication removed.

You Want to See a Civil War Here? Try enforcing this rule!

Vets plan to ignore ban on flag-folding recitations

An American Legion commander in California says he and other veterans will defy a newly imposed ban on flag-folding recitations that include references to God.

During thousands of military burials, Veterans Administration employees and volunteers have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors. The fourth fold, for example, refers to God's "divine guidance." The 11th fold glorifies "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." And the 12th fold glorifies "God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost." Now the National Cemetery Association has made a decision to ban flag-folding recitations by VA employees and volunteers at all 125 national cemeteries -- all because of one complaint about a ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery in California that included a reference to God.

Rees Lloyd is director of the California Defense of Veterans Memorials Project and part of a 16-member detail that has performed military honors at more than 1,400 services. He says veterans -- and in particular, American Legionnaires -- are outraged by the ban.

"It's outrageous," he says bluntly. "These are decisions that should be made by the families of our deceased veteran comrades and not by Washington bureaucrats -- and most certainly not by any narcissistic, disaffected, offended atheist, agnostic, or any other [person] who is upset or offended by the word 'God' or a religious symbol which might offend his delicate sensibilities."

Lloyd vows that even if there are "a hundred-million offended atheists," he and other American Legionnaires will stand against the ban.

"We will defy this ban, pure and simple," he states. "If the families ask us to recite the flag-folding ceremony, we will abide by the wishes of the family -- not [by the wishes of] some bureaucrat sitting in an air-conditioned office in Washington, DC, or some lawyer wearing a diaper back there whose main mission in life is to protect his own behind instead of standing up for the American people and saying enough is enough."

Lloyd, who is a California civil rights attorney, says he and his allies at the Alliance Defense Fund are considering their legal options. One News Now

And guys like me, who served but never joined the Legion, will. And I live only a few miles from the Fort Snelling National Cemetery and if they want help with that flag folding ceremony now and then, they can count me in.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Pariahs of Our College Campuses: Conservative Students

Katherine Kersten: Over the years, Prof. Ken Doyle has seen a stream of students enter his office with a crestfallen look. The young undergraduates typically begin by saying they're worried about one of their professors. Doyle, who directs the communication research division at the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, has a good idea how the story will end.

The particulars differ, but the complaint is usually the same. "Some students tell of being mocked for holding views that differ from their professors'," Doyle says. "Some fear they are endangering their grades. Many say, 'I've figured out what the professor wants to hear and I just parrot back his ideology.'"

It's become a common complaint that U.S. campuses are home to a stifling liberal orthodoxy where contrary beliefs are persecuted. Doyle says it's no illusion.

A new film, "Indoctrinate U," documenting that atmosphere, opens near campus tomorrow.

Bethany Dorobiala, a senior political science major at the U of M, knows just what Doyle is talking about. Dorobiala was one of the few students who agreed to speak on the record about the problem.

In many courses, Dorobiala says, professors load up reading lists with books that reflect their ideological agenda. "If you speak up in class and present an alternative view, you may risk being ridiculed by a professor twice your age with a PhD.," she said. "Students who agree with the professor's politics are regularly praised and encouraged."

Dorobiala has encountered this disregard for intellectual diversity in classes outside of political science. "In geology class, I had a teacher who made side comments bashing President Bush," she said. A rigid orthodoxy prevails on issues as disparate as the death penalty and global warming, she says, and some professors regularly pontificate on topics outside their discipline.

"I definitely know of students whose grades have suffered because they became identified as a conservative in class," said Dorobiala. If this happens, it's "very difficult to defend yourself. The authorities -- your adviser, department chairs -- think you're complaining because you didn't do your work."

The university rarely receives official complaints about ideologically motivated grading and follows a regular investigative process when it does, says Jan Morse of the U's Student Conflict Resolution Center.

Dorobiala's only solace is her work with College Republicans, where she can trade war stories without having to look over her shoulder.

Norman Fruman, an eminent professor of English at the U, now retired, believes that political correctness has gained a stranglehold in the humanities and social sciences.

"In recent decades, we've seen a relentless assault on American and Western history and values as the primary source of wickedness in the world," he said. "Literature no longer explores universal human experience, but instead has become a branch of politics, with a focus on often-second rate works about the victimhood of favored groups."Contempt and insults are regularly leveled at one group: white, heterosexual males," he added.

Doyle and Fruman see this rigid orthodoxy as self-perpetuating. "Birds of a feather hire together," quipped Doyle. Politically correct ideology is quasi-religious in nature, he explains. "You're not going to hire someone who seems like an infidel."

Intellectual diversity

Doyle is fighting the good fight for academic freedom and intellectual diversity as president of the Minnesota Association of Scholars, an organization to which I used to belong. The group's mission is to "promote academic rigor and free expression for everyone on campus, not just the politically correct," according to Doyle.

The MAS is sponsoring the documentary "Indoctrinate U" that opens tomorrow for a week-long run at the Oak Street Cinema near the U. The film showcases horror stories of political correctness from campuses around the country.

"Indoctrinate U" reveals a world where conservative campus speakers are shouted down, where conservative student newspapers are regularly stolen, and where teachers' primary role is seen as advocating for ideological causes.

Unfortunately, many Minnesota students who see "Indoctrinate U" may recognize in it colleges that look all too familiar. StarTribune

I don't think this is a particularly new issue. I recall at the U of MN taking a graduate course in Urban Geography, taught by a visiting professor from Oxford who had his PhD and was still in his early 20s. That doesn't happen often to get the degree at so young an age.

I still regret the day when I didn't speak up when he showed slides of neighborhoods in Northern Ireland alternating between neat and flower-bedecked row houses with views of similarly constructed but now run-down dwellings and littered streets. We were informed that the latter scenes were from Catholic neighborhoods.

Other than that one day incident, he actually was an extremely excellent teacher.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"A Brilliant Soul" - The Life and Passing of Monsignor Ed Petty of Dubuque

Rocco Palmo of Philadelphia, who at the age of 25 has infuriated millions and charmed and educated millions with his blog, Whispers in the Loggia, has moved many today with this post on the life and death of Monsignor Ed Petty of Dubuque, among other places.

On a personal note, my favorite part of this experience has taken place behind the scenes (or, as it were, behind the page).

Over the 4,000-odd posts and close to 4 million visits these pages have racked up over the last three years, the unexpected gift of this readership has given me much, more than I’ll ever be able to justify or merit. Of it all, though – and this isn’t to discount any of the rest – what’s arguably been the greatest gift is to have gotten to know the many of you who’ve reached out, written in and given me something of a window into your lives, your stories, a piece of your minds and a piece of yourselves, all of which is a reflection of why we do what we do, but each in a unique and beautiful way.

Honestly, nothing has been more encouraging or inspiring, and no other part of all this has made me more grateful… not to mention more than a bit overwhelmed, as to know the great crowd of witnesses is to be reminded of how far along the path I have yet to travel... and how far I've already fallen short.

As some of you have come to learn, my ability to stay on top of the notes isn’t as great as I’d wish, but I do spend as much time as I can trying to keep up to the greatest possible degree. Even above the news, you see, I learned early on in this church that it’s our mutual task to keep an eye out for each other, and that doing so isn’t just among the things we’re called to do, but it’s a gift, and a life-giving one at that.

For a good while, one of the good folks keeping an eye out for your narrator has been a priest in Iowa who first wrote in to note his regret that Whispers wasn’t around “the last time Purple Rain fell” on the archdiocese of Dubuque. Over time, he’d fill me in on this or that – nothing that’d ever make the pages, but just an occasional musing on the joys of ministry and what was doing on his end.

But the one thing Msgr Ed Petty never disclosed was that he was suffering from the acute stages of multiple myeloma. Ever the good pastor, he just wanted to share a bit of news and make sure I was OK. And I didn’t learn the rest until it was too late – last week, not even a fortnight after his 60th birthday, the humble churchman with the great heart and gentle wit was called home.

Just as I didn’t know the degree of his illness, so, too, did his modesty conceal quite a personal story. The son of a casually-observant Methodist family, he swam the Tiber in his teens – and, after a stint as a high school teacher, got to live by the Roman river as a student at the Pontifical North American College, during which time he served on the papal Ceremonies Crew.

Not until the past week did I know any of this. All I knew were the things that, to him, were clearly the most important, the things he radiated: his love of God, his people, this faith and the priesthood.

In fact, even with just a few words, now it can be told that his last note spoke to each of these. Over the summer, following a certain catastrophe in the Midwest, a photo had circulated of three young clerics looking on at the scene, each with hand-over-mouth, but nothing more.

Msgr Ed shared the shot with me, informing that it had already been given a caption: “No stoles. No oils. No beads. No clue."

“Aren’t priests supposed to DO something in a crisis?” he wrote.

“I don't think this would have happened in Philly!”

…and, clearly, it wouldn’t have in Dubuque, either.

On Monday, in the basilica church whose restoration he oversaw, led by three archbishops – including his ordination classmate Tim Broglio, now the apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico and nuncio in the Dominican Republic – over 1,000 gathered for Ed’s funeral, with a young priest whose vocation he encouraged giving the homily.

Many of us are very sad today because know our loss is great so we’re here this morning to support each other and to offer prayers for a faithful priest, a dear friend and a brilliant soul. He would certainly have been overwhelmed at the great crowds that have come to Gilbertville and to Dyersville. He thought about this day quite a bit in the last month and dictated nearly every detail for his funeral. But he never could have guessed that the Basilica Angels who usually converge above the High Altar at Christmas time would make a special trip just for his funeral.

One evening late in August of 1967 a young man walked into Holy Trinity Church in Des Moines. He knelt down in front of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s altar. He looked at the statue of Our Lady. Earlier that day he had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most deadly kind of skin cancer. He had been given five years to live, probably less.

He looked at the statue of Our Lady and said, “I’m only 19 – I can’t make you any major promises – and I don’t know what I want to do with my life. But I promise you this: If you can talk your Son into letting me live, I’ll at least consider the priesthood seriously. I’m not particularly pious – I’m only 19.” The 19 year old's name was Ed Petty. That night in Holy Trinity Church defined the rest of his life – his loyalty – his devotion – his sometimes light­hearted piety – and who he was as a Catholic and as a priest.

He’s remarked numerous times in the past year, “She gave me 40 years – it was a pretty good bargain….

He was ordained in Rome on May 19, 1977 and he describes his ordination as the high point of his life because Ed Petty loved being a priest….

The next morning said He his First Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, in the choir chapel, dedicated to Mary Immaculate. The holy card he designed for his funeral is a picture of from what he has called, “The happiest day of my life”. The set of vestments that he used for that occasion was the same set that was first used by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854 when he solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. They were again used in 1950 by the Servant of God Pope Pius XII as he solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption. And only Ed, could find a way to raid the Papal Treasury and get these vestments for his first Mass.

Regardless of what he did up to the time of his ordination, or whatever endeavors he has done since, it was always been about how much he cherished his priesthood. His assignments to and accomplishments at, Gilbertville and Don Bosco High School, then to Catholic University, then as Director of Catholic Charities and pastor of St. Donatus, then to Charles City, and to Dyersville, and back to Gilbertville were all just a part of the greater gift of the priesthood….

As you know Monsignor always opted for grandeur and splendor. The evidence is all around you in this magnificent Basilica, which he so carefully and beautifully restored. He wanted to engage all of our senses in teaching us the faith but always with the ultimate purpose of inspiring our minds and hearts toward heaven. For Ed, Catholicism was thoroughly fun. And real fun is being a part of something greater than yourself. Belonging to the church is fun because it expands beyond the limits of this world. Ed knew the thrill of being a part of something that brings us together with all the angels and saints—the worship of almighty God in spirit and in truth….

Always in charge, as he requested, he’s being buried in the traditional roman vestments, of his old friend Monsignor Dorance Foley, and he picked the music for this funeral Mass: at a little of the old, a little of the new; with many different roots, now all Catholic. That was kind of like his personality ­­ he liked to blend the best of everything he experienced. He was “Catholic” with both a capital “C” and a small one. But above all, he was a priest, who loved, and dedicated his life to, Our Lord, His Mother, and the Church.

His struggle with Multiple Myeloma Cancer during the last two years was difficult and he fought it bravely. His health declined rapidly during the past month. When his death was near he said, “I’m ready. And do not worry ­­ this is God’s will.” Monsignor was fortified by the sacraments of the church, and hours before his death Archbishop Hanus visited him to recite the prayers for the dying and give him the Apostolic Pardon. I believe that it was significant that Monsignor Petty, who was a great promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, should die on October 16, the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alaquoque.

The Wednesday before he died, he realized he [was] dying and it was time to go on hospice. I spent most of the day with him in mercy hospital as he received his last transfusions. He spent much of the time meticulously going over the details of his funeral and making sure I understood them. He was a very detail­oriented person, as he would say “God is in the details”. We also had a chance to talk about the priesthood. I asked him, “Ed, do you remember the night we went out to dinner late in the summer of 2000 and you were trying to get me to finally go for the priesthood?” He nodded. I said “You told me that the priesthood was worth it. That it would be worth every pain I would ever have to suffer and every tear I would ever cry. The priesthood was worth all of it. ­­­ That was the night I decided to join the seminary.” He smiled and his eyes began to well up and he said, “Brian, it really was worth it all!”
They say Msgr spoke often of “home,” even using a Christmas homily to note that “all the happy home-comings and reunions that we experience in our lives -- especially at Christmas -- all of those homecomings are just a prelude to, if we are faithful, the great home-coming and permanent reunion we will have one day in heaven.

And on that “one day,” he said, “if we are faithful, we will hear from Him and everyone
with Him, those two most beautiful words a human being can hear: ‘Welcome home.’”

He’s just one of the many incredible folks I’ve met along the way, even if not in person. But each of these – each of you – have touched my life and guided the journey in ways bigger than any of us.

More than anything, what this speaks to is something that, in our daily lives, can be very easy to lose sight of: that each of us, all of us, share the great gift of this communion, not just with Above, but with each other, regardless of where we are, what we wear or what we’re up to.

So many of you have extended this gift to me, sight unseen, over the days, these years, and to call it a cherished and needed lifeline doesn’t scratch the surface; I’m the immeasurably changed, touched, better and much more blessed for it, and that's a pretty tough thing to put into words. And though one community’s lost one of its strongest links, as you can see, its effects have reverberated far beyond a handful of parishes in the Heartland.

In your lives and your daily situations, each of you – lay, professed, ordained, and everything in between – serve as the instruments of change and grace in the lives of more people than you’d probably ever be able to realize, simply in the gift of being yourselves and the gift of being “out there.” Keep it up and keep it going – and never forget that even in the smallest outreach, each of you are the face, the hands, the voice, the heart of everything that is the best of this church. Never underestimate what that best can give, never underestimate the impact it can and does have.

So, just as Msgr Ed did morning after morning, you're probably here for the news. I might've known him only from his notes, but something's saying that he'd want me to get back to "the goods," even though he's got a much better vantage with which to view it all now. Even so, I just felt the need to send up a word of praise and thanks, both for him and for all of you who do the work day in and day out in so many ways, often unsung, but always as the greatest treasure and asset this church can call its own.

I get thanked more often than I deserve, but merely covering the work is the easy part. God love and reward all of you who actually do it -- for which no words could say thank you enough.

...and, Monsignor, rest well... and welcome home. Whispers

Thanks, Rocco!

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. God Bless You, Monsignor Petty.

Dubuque TelegraphHerald

Homily (pdf)

Here's one UST Press Release that will take Tommies' Minds off of other News! A $60,000,000 Gift!

Correction to an earlier post that had incorrect information. I apologize. The news is even better.

When the newspapers are full of news about things that you'd rather not talk about, one way to get people's minds off of the gossipy stuff is to announce some really Good News!

A gift of $60 million – the largest single contribution to a college or university in Minnesota – has helped the University of St. Thomas launch a $50o million capital campaign.

Lee and Penny Anderson

St. Thomas announced the $60 million gift from Lee and Penny Anderson for a new student center and improvements to athletic and recreational facilities at a dinner and program held Wednesday evening to initiate the public phase of "Opening Doors," which is expected to be an eight-year campaign.

St. Thomas began the quiet phase of the campaign in 2004 and to date has raised $310 million in gifts and pledges. The amount – already the most raised in a capital campaign by a private college or university in Minnesota – includes 22 gifts of $1 million or more.

Lee Anderson is a member of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees and is owner and chairman of APi Group Inc., a St. Paul-based holding corporation of about 30 construction, manufacturing and fire-protection companies. Penny Anderson, a longtime community volunteer, serves as a trustee on the boards of the Naples Children's and Education Foundation and the Naples Winter Wine Festival, both in Florida.

"Penny and I have come to love the University of St. Thomas," Lee Anderson said. "Its mission, sense of spirituality, traditions and most of all its faculty, administration, fellow trustees and students have caused us to think about what we wanted to leave as our legacy to higher education in Minnesota. We especially have been influenced by the character of the students.

"When we were presented with the opportunity to help with the building of the new student center and athletic facilities, we knew immediately that was what we wanted to do. We believe this improvement in facilities will help the university to continue to attract bright, committed students for many generations. Our hope and belief is that it will help build and strengthen the sense of community among students on campus."

Also announced Wednesday were a host of anticipated academic programs and construction projects related to the campaign's three main themes: excellence, access and Catholic identity. The campaign's largest priority, $130 million, is for financial aid to help ensure access to a St. Thomas education for generations of students from all economic and cultural backgrounds.

"This campaign will advance St. Thomas to a whole new level of access and excellence," said Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas, "and will result in an even more remarkable transformation than occurred during previous campaigns."

"Excellence is something that we all strive to achieve, and it's a natural aspiration of any university that hopes to make a distinctive mark on its students and on its community," said John Morrison, a St. Thomas trustee. " St. Thomas has made that mark, in my estimation, thanks to strong leadership and an admirable commitment to educate students who will go out and make us proud."

Morrison and his wife, Susan, are co-chairs of the campaign, along with Richard and Maureen Schulze. Morrison is chairman and chief executive officer of Central Bank Group and has been a trustee since 1996. Schulze, founder and chairman of Best Buy, joined the St. Thomas board in 1995.

Honorary co-chairs of Opening Doors are Archbishop Harry Flynn, Eugene Frey, David Koch, Harry McNeely, Gerald Rauenhorst and Guy Schoenecker. They are members of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees.

Opening Doors is St. Thomas' fifth campaign. In its Ever Press Forward campaign, which ended in 2001, more than 24,000 benefactors contributed $250 million, or more than twice the original goal. The Century II campaign, which ended in 1991, raised $83 million, or more than twice its $35 million goal. St. Thomas also raised $20 million in its Priorities for the '80s campaign in the late 1970s and $6 million in its Program for Great Teaching in the early 1960s.

The campaigns helped St. Thomas evolve from a relatively small men's college to a comprehensive, coeducational university; to expand from its original campus on St. Paul's Summit Avenue to campuses in Minneapolis, Owatonna and Rome; and to greatly expand the scope of its undergraduate majors and graduate programs.

With the exception of contributions earmarked for new construction, most of the Opening Doors funds will build the university's endowment for scholarships, endowed faculty positions and educational programs. Proceeds from the endowment, or invested funds, will support students and faculty for ongoing generations.

"As its name suggests, Opening Doors will create a pool of scholarship and financial-aid resources for students of diverse backgrounds," Dease said. "This is the greatest goal of the campaign and speaks to our deepest roots. Archbishop John Ireland founded St. Thomas, in large measure, to serve Minnesota's growing immigrant community. The campaign also will allow us to recruit, retain and nurture the best teachers, and it will provide some exciting and much-needed enhancements to our campus facilities."

More than half of the Opening Door funds, or $252.5 million, will be directed toward academic priorities. Of that amount, $130 million will support several forms of financial aid, including need-based aid for students from low- and middle-income backgrounds, and merit-based aid for highly talented students. Something new, the Community Builder scholarship program, will help students who are most likely to use their higher education in service to the community. Finally, some of the funds will be earmarked for graduate students who often are juggling academic, work and family responsibilities.

"Scholarships not only open doors, but also keep them open," said Richard Schulze, whose $50 million gift to St. Thomas in 2000 was a state record at the time. "Students arrive confident but a bit unsure of themselves and their new environment, and mature into young adults ready to take on the world. We want to make sure those same opportunities are available to future generations of students."

St. Thomas will attempt to raise $185.5 million for building projects. The majority of those funds, $132 million, will be used on the St. Paul campus for the new Anderson Student Center, athletic and recreational facilities, and a parking ramp.

Student centers serve as the "living rooms" and main gathering places of modern universities; St. Thomas has outgrown the Murray-Herrick Campus Center, which opened 48 years ago on the St. Paul campus. When Murray Hall opened in 1959, St. Thomas enrolled 1,771 students; St. Paul campus enrollment this fall is more than 7,300.

The new center will be built on the parking lot at the northeast corner of Summit and Cretin avenues, and on the site of O'Shaughnessy Hall, a 68-year-old athletic facility that will be torn down. The student center will include dining for students who live on campus, retail dining, a ballroom, a convenience store, a bowling alley and other recreational and athletic facilities, an art gallery and museum, a large formal lounge, meeting rooms, and offices for student clubs as well as Student Affairs and Campus Ministry.

St. Thomas will lose the 400 parking spaces at the lot on Summit and Cretin. A new five-level, 700-car ramp will be built at the southwest corner of Cretin and Grand avenues. There also will be some parking under the new student center.

The university now has two swimming pools. One was built in 1939 as part of O'Shaughnessy Hall. The other, not designed for competitive swimming, is in McCarthy Gym on the "south" portion of the St. Thomas campus. St. Thomas plans to build a new aquatic center with a larger pool that will allow for varsity swimming and diving competitions. The site has not been determined.

A new basketball court will be added to the north end of McCarthy Gym. This new court will replace gym space that will be lost when O'Shaughnessy Hall is razed.

Construction of the parking ramp and the basketball court addition to McCarthy Gym will begin in May 2008. Construction of the Anderson Student Center, meanwhile, is planned to begin in May 2010. The construction date for the aquatic center has not been set.

Finally, the campaign includes $52 million in "restricted" gifts and $10 million for gifts to the university's Annual Fund. Restricted gifts are designated by donors; an example would be a scholarship fund for students from a particular background. The Annual Fund supports ongoing and special needs, and helps bridge the gap between income from tuition and the actual cost of educating students.

Academic priorities

If the Opening Doors campaign reaches its goals, these are the academic priorities that would be funded:

  • $130 million for financial-aid programs.
  • $57 million for endowed faculty positions. The university has 17 fully or partially funded endowed faculty positions; it hopes to increase that to 36. These positions allow St. Thomas to bring in established scholars with national and international reputations.
  • $25 million to support the School of Law, which opened in 2001.
  • $20 million to support the positions of four St. Thomas deans and provide strategic funds to help them develop new programs.
  • $5 million to support the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, part of the Opus College of Business. The center has a range of programs for teaching business ethics in the classroom as well as in the community.
  • $5 million to support the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy. This institute, named for the former president of St. Thomas, is a joint effort between the university's Center for Catholic Studies and School of Law.
  • $5 million to support the William C. Norris Institute. Named for the longtime leader of Control Data Corp., the institute is part of the Opus College of Business and has a mission to encourage the development of socially beneficial technologies by supporting Minnesota entrepreneurs.
  • $3 million for core-curriculum enhancement. These funds will support a "first-year experience" program for freshmen; new teaching methods; senior-level capstone courses that tie the Catholic intellectual tradition to specific majors; and activities that link the themes of liberal arts learning, ethics and career preparation.
  • $1.5 million to support programs of the Center for Catholic Studies.
  • $1 million to support the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning. Established at St. Thomas in 1985, the center sponsors many interfaith programs. St. John's University became a partner in the center in 1996.

Construction priorities

If the Opening Doors campaign reaches its goals, these are the construction priorities that will be funded:

  • $132 million for the Anderson Student Center, athletic and recreational facilities, and parking ramp, all on the St. Paul campus.
  • $20 million to help St. Thomas establish a new School of the Arts that would bring together existing programs in art history and music. If the university is able to secure gifts dedicated to this purpose from benefactors interested in the arts, the Music Department would relocate from St. Paul to a renovated MacPhail Building on the university's downtown Minneapolis campus. The building, on the same block as the School of Law, was purchased in 2001 and is the former home of the MacPhail School of Music. The Art History Department, which offers bachelor's and master's programs, will remain in St. Paul. It will manage art exhibits planned for the Anderson Student Center, which also will be home to the American Museum of Asmat Art that was donated to the university last summer.
  • $15 million to renovate the Murray-Herrick Campus Center after the Anderson Student Center opens. For the first time, St. Thomas would be able to bring together in one location a host of administrative offices that serve students. Part of the building would be renovated for classrooms, faculty offices and instructional areas equipped with new technology.
  • $5 million to support the university's Bernardi Campus, located on the west bank of the Tiber River in Rome and short walk from Vatican City. St. Thomas acquired the facility in 1999 and it is used by students in three of the university's study-abroad programs.
  • $5 million to support the Information Commons, which is a blend of digital and traditional library resources on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. Funds would be used for digital publication subscriptions and to renovate St. Thomas' libraries and wireless computer networks.
  • $3.5 million to expand Sitzmann Hall, home of the Center for Catholic Studies that is located at Summit and Cleveland avenues. The addition will provide additional office, meeting and instructional space.
  • $2.5 million to expand the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna. The 10,000-square-foot addition would include a new conference room, expanded dining facilities and an ecumenical chapel.
  • $1.5 million to upgrade the auditorium in O'Shaughnessy Educational Center, St. Thomas' largest presentation space.
  • $1 million to renovate the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas. In addition to improvements to the sound system and the addition of air conditioning, plans include a new movable altar, a new sanctuary floor and a 12-foot-high, ceiling-hung crucifix in the sanctuary. UST Bulletin Today

Congratulations, Tommies!

And a big thank you to Lee and Penny Anderson!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just in Case You Need Some Ideas as to What to Get Your Favorite Priest for Christmas:


"How to Say Mass in the Extraordinary Form" Training Kits:

The following kits are designed to give the priest all the resources he needs to familiarize himself with the ceremonies involved in learning the Extraordinary Form. Four separate kits are available:

The Complete Kit:

This kit is designed to give priests all the materials necessary for learning the Extraordinary Form. If you do not already have any of the materials below, we strongly recommend this kit as your first choice. This is the kit that we provide to the priests who attend our training seminars.

The Celebration of Mass, A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal:
A comprehensive study of the rubrics of the 1962 Missal by the Rev. J. B. O'Connell, explaining in precise details the laws, principles, gestures, and ceremonies of Low, Sung, and Solemn Mass. 622 pp.

Learning the Mass, A Manual for Seminarians and Priests:
A brief and concise practical handbook giving step-by-step instructions in how to offer the Mass according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum, by Rev. Walter J. Schmitz, S.S., S.T.D.

The Traditional Latin Mass DVD:
A set of two DVDs demonstrating the offering of Low Mass and Solemn Mass. Very useful as a visual reference for the gestures/actions involved.

The Prayers of the Holy Mass Recited and Sung:
A set of two audio CDs containing the full texts of the Mass recited as well as the parts of the Mass which the celebrant must sing during Sung/Solemn Mass. An excellent reference tool for learning the proper pronunciation and memorization of the Latin prayers

Rubrics of the Roman Breviary and Missal:
English translations of the General Rubrics of the Roman Missal (Rubricae Generales), The Rite to be Observed in the Celebration of the Mass (Ritus Servandus), and On Defects when they Occur in the Celebration of Mass (De Defectibus)

How to Serve Low Mass and Benediction:
Booklet by Rev. William A. O'Brien on how to serve Low Mass. Excellent training tool for altar servers.

Latin-English Sunday Missal:
The complete texts in both English and Latin for the Order or Mass for the 1962 Roman Missal, the Nuptial Mass, Requiem Mass, and Solemn Baptism.

Know Your Mass:
An illustrated catechetical guide describing the ceremonies, symbolism, theology of the Mass, and how to assist at the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Excellent for the laity and for priests new to the overall structure of the Traditional Mass

Quick Reference Prayer Cards:
Laminated cards containing the Vesting Prayers, Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, and Leonine Prayers for quick and easy reference when saying Mass.

Travel-size Altar Cards:
Two sets of laminated travel-size altar cards for use with the Extraordinary Form. One set for use at regular Low and Solemn Masses, another set for use at Requiem Masses.

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The Deluxe Kit:

This kit includes all of the materials in the Complete kit above plus a full size 1962 Altar Missal as well as a set of full-size, full-color altar cards suitable for framing.

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For those who already have many of the materials listed in the Complete Kit, the following scaled-down kits are also available:

The Essentials Kit:

Contains the items which are absolutely essential for the priest to study and thoroughly learn the Extraordinary Form:

The Celebration of Mass, A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal:
A comprehensive study of the rubrics of the 1962 Missal by the Rev. J. B. O'Connell, explaining in precise details the laws, principles, gestures, and ceremonies of Low, Sung, and Solemn Mass. 622 pp.

Learning the Mass, A Manual for Seminarians and Priests:
A brief and concise practical handbook giving step-by-step instructions in how to offer the Mass according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum, by Rev. Walter J. Schmitz, S.S., S.T.D.

The Traditional Latin Mass DVD:
A set of two DVDs demonstrating the offering of Low Mass and Solemn Mass. Very useful as a visual reference for the gestures/actions involved.

The Prayers of the Holy Mass Recited and Sung:
A set of two audio CDs containing the full texts of the Mass recited as well as the parts of the Mass which the celebrant must sing during Sung/Solemn Mass. An excellent reference tool for learning the proper pronunciation and memorization of the Latin prayers

Rubrics of the Roman Breviary and Missal:
English translations of the General Rubrics of the Roman Missal (Rubricae Generales), The Rite to be Observed in the Celebration of the Mass (Ritus Servandus), and On Defects when they Occur in the Celebration of Mass (De Defectibus)

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The Practice Kit:

For those who are already familiar with the Extraordinary Form and would simply like some basic tools in gaining proficiency in offering the Extraordinary Form:

Learning the Mass, A Manual for Seminarians and Priests:
A brief and concise practical handbook giving step-by-step instructions in how to offer the Mass according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum, by Rev. Walter J. Schmitz, S.S., S.T.D.

The Traditional Latin Mass DVD:
A set of two DVDs demonstrating the offering of Low Mass and Solemn Mass. Very useful as a visual reference for the gestures/actions involved.

buy button

Pictures and Audio of the Live EWTN Mass

Pictures and Audio of the EWTN mass available at

EWTN has placed a link for "Motu Proprio Resources" on their main page. Various materials can be found at this page including an online video of the mass.

Tridentine Mass Training for Priests

Latin Mass WorkShops

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in collaboration with Una Voce America will be offering another training workshop for priests interested in learning how to celebrate the “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite. All the fundamentals involved in learning the Traditional Latin Mass will be covered. Priests will receive a complete explanation with hands-on practice of the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum as well as an introduction to Latin, traditional liturgical principles, and Gregorian Chant. A comprehensive materials packet will also be provided.

The course will follow the same method used successfully in the workshops conducted this past June when the Fraternity trained diocesan and religious priests in the Older Use during three different sessions.

Further workshops are being planned for the late fall.