Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Who Wouldda Thunk It? Bow and Arrow? Muzzle Loaders?

Minnesota / Deer harvest is second highest -
Minnesota hunters killed nearly 270,000 deer in 2006, the second-highest harvest in the state. Firearms hunters accounted for most of those — about 229,000, the Department of Natural Resources announced. Archers killed about 25,000 deer, and muzzleloader hunters killed about 13,500.

Amarillo Bishop Calls for Modesty in Dress – Fight the “Battle for Purity”

( – Bishop John Yanta of the Catholic diocese of Amarillo, Texas, has published a pastoral letter on modesty in dress, especially at Sunday Mass, a subject that inevitably arouses strong reactions even in conservative circles.

Titled, “Modesty starts with purification of the heart,” Bishop Yanta’s letter calls choosing what to wear a “moral act.” Bishop Yanta writes, “we can help the devil in many ways including the way we dress.”

Referring to the “battle for purity,” required of the Christian life, Bishop Yanta writes, “When the community of believers comes together for the Eucharist (Mass) let no one be a distraction from Jesus or provide temptation (an occasion of sin) to another because of our manner of dress.”

Citing the bible and the Catholic catechism, Bishop Yanta goes on to quote a homily by Fr. Christopher Hathaway, a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP).

The homily by Fr. Christopher Hathaway, cited by Bishop Yanta includes the admonition: “How many Catholics this Summer will attend Sunday Mass in tank tops, shorts, flip flops... in dress unbecoming of the Holy Sacrifice… Anyone who dresses like this at Sunday Mass does not know where they are; they have become spotted by the world.”

Bishop Yanta has a history of refusing to shrink from controversy for the sake of his flock, even to the point of being one of the tiny number of US bishops willing to enforce a Vatican instruction that pro-abortion Catholic politicians must be refused holy Communion until they have publicly repented their position.

Bishop Yanta has also encouraged the establishment of a new religious community of pro-life priests with the help of Priests For Life head, Fr. Frank Pavone.

By Bishop John Yanta
Diocese of Amarillo

Dear Brothers and Sisters, As the hot weather has descended on us [I don't think Amarillo is in Minnesota but this letter was delivered July 13, 2006] and we are in summertime or vacation time, it is appropriate to speak of modesty of dress especially in participation in the Holy Eucharist, the receiving of Our Lord in Holy Communion, the privilege of being a lector of the Sunday Bible Readings, and serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

This time of the year, I (and am sure many of you also) hear complaints about a lack of respect and reverence for the house of God, the sacredness of the Lord’s presence in the liturgy, and lack of respect for others and the lack of consciousness of the battle for purity in which the opposite sex finds itself even while attending Sunday Mass.

Immodesty in dress is governed by two citations from God’s Law:

1) The Ninth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exod 20:17);

2) Jesus said: “Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28).

To live our daily Faith as children of God (baptism), disciples of Jesus, and temples of the Holy Spirit, we are faced with moral choices constantly, many times a day. Conscience can either make a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law, or on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them (CCC, Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1799).

Dressing or putting on one’s clothes is a moral act and wearing them is a moral act. There are different appropriate modes of dress for different occasions, e.g. in the privacy of our home, with our spouse only or with our children in our home, at work or school, in mixed company, at the lake or swimming pool, grocery shopping, at church, etc.

The four cardinal virtues are in play here (Wisd 8:5-7). The wise person is guided by wisdom, the highest of riches that guides us to be prudent (doing and saying the right thing), justice (respects the dignity of other persons), fortitude (courage to go against popular, suggestive, provocative styles), and temperance (insures mastery over sensual temptations as occasions of sin). You can read more about these four cardinal virtues that play a pivotal role in our lives (CCC #’s 1803-1809).

Our condition – all of us are beset with concupiscence.
Concupiscence or covetousness: “Human appetites or desires that are disordered due to the temporal consequences of original sin, which remain even after Baptism and which produce inclination to sin” (CCC, Glossary).

St. John identifies and distinguishes the three kinds of inclinations of all human beings: “For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 Jn 2:16).

The road to modesty starts with the purification of the heart: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication…” (Mt 15:19). Bible beginners should be encouraged to get the basic overview of Jesus’ teaching by starting with the beatitudes in Matthew 5 in Jesus’ first sermon: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). Part of the essence of that teaching is a wholesome, orthodox, first hand appreciation of God’s plan for our sexuality – its sacredness, its fulfillment in marriage, its place in family, Church, and world.

The Catechism speaks next, after the purification of the heart, about “the battle for purity”. We the baptized and the forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires (CCC # 2520).

“Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden (CCC # 2521).

“Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It is discreet (CCC # 2522).

“There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies (CCC # 2523).

“Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person” (CCC # 2524).

Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint” (CCC # 2525).

“So-called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectfully of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man” (CCC # 2526).

Yes, we can help the devil in many ways including the way we dress. In the Act of Contrition we promise “to avoid the near occasion of sin”. St. Paul writes about “provoking another” (Gal 5:26).

The key to all modesty is rooted in our mother and daddy who model modesty for their children, i.e. a strong, but tender St. Joseph like husband and father who is blessed with a wonderful wife and mother for their children. “Happy the husband of a good wife...choicest of his blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste person” (Sir 26:1, 15).

When the community of believers comes together for the Eucharist (Mass) let no one be a distraction from Jesus or provide temptation (an occasion of sin) to another because of our manner of dress.

Lectors, Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, and Hospitality Ministers should model modesty of dress for the parish as parents do in the family, the domestic church.

May we cherish and bear witness to the virtues of prudence, temperance, chastity, and modesty for the sake of our own salvation and of others. St. Mary and St. Joseph, St. Ann and St. Joachim, parents and grandparents of their son and grandson, Jesus, intercede for us!

Sincerely in Christ,
Bishop John Yanta – Diocese of Amarillo, Texas
Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The larger role of lay people in the Catholic Church

Jody Smith is pretty much the person on site at St. Patrick's in Buffalo Center. Not only is she the director of Faith Formation, the religious education program for K-12 and adults, but she is also the parish secretary and takes care of what she jokingly calls “Church Lady” things.

Smith said she communicates with the priest any questions from the parishioners and when a member dies she is the one who meets with the family to help plan the liturgy and organize the luncheon and so forth. She sets up the sanctuary and sacristan, all the things that are prepared for the altar, and schedules the severs for the altar, the ushers and the lectors.

"I try to have it very turn-key," Smith said. “There is virtually nothing they (the priests) have to do so they can focus on the liturgy." In addition to her other duties, Smith is also the worship leader for one of the two Sundays the priest is not there to say mass.

She said on their two Sunday Celebration in Absence of a Priest (SCAP) services she will take turns with Deacon Dennis Popowski, of Garner, in leading the Liturgy of the Word service with communion. On these weeks, communion is distributed from sacraments consecrated by the priest the week before.

Smith said this was something the Archdiocese asked someone to learn in order to lead the worship service on occasions ranging from having no priest or a priest who is out sick. She was chosen because of her 20 plus years of experience in teaching religious education. "We are the only parish where this is being allowed on a regular basis," Smith explained.

She said when she joined the Buffalo Center church in 1978, it was already one of the smallest parishes in the Archdioces of Dubuque. She said the congregation was notified the church might be closed because of the low number of families. “So we have tried to have an active faith formation program and have been able to hang together,” she said.

And when the six churches linked in 2002, they were again told there was a strong possibility they would be closed. But the parish launched a letter writing campaign pointing out that members would have to send their children and members 30 minutes away to Forest City. They pointed out that there was a strong likelihood, especially for the elderly, that members wouldn't attend mass on a weekly basis.

The decision was made to keep the parish open and make full use of the lay ministry. "Our geographic location has kept us open. "We're the last outpost in the diocese," Smith said, pointing out that Buffalo Center is just a few miles from the Sioux City Diocese. "If we close there will be no presence here in this diocese.

"We're very proud of the fact that we've been able to remain financially okay and an active parish. We're very supportive of one another and there are no factions within the Congregation. That's the key to success," Smith said.

She said when she joined St. Patrick's, there was still a priest living in the Rectory but times have changed and it is something their elderly members are still trying to get used to. Lay people now do almost everything the priest once did. “That's not all bad. They are doing a terrific job," Smith said. “It has strengthened the faith of the people by giving them the opportunity to witness to our faith.”

Lake Elmo Carmelite founds Monastery in Wyoming

Something is on the rise in Wyoming, and to many it’s more majestic than the state’s Rocky Mountains.

It’s the Catholic Church.

In 2006, the sparsely Catholic-populated state made headlines with the newly formed Wyoming Catholic College, an ambitious, 14-square-mile campus that will become just the second four-year college in Wyoming.

But there’s another, quieter community taking wing in the Cowboy State — the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Founded just three years ago, the cloistered Carmelite monastery already has seven monks and several times that waiting to don the order’s habit and hard life.

So what’s going on in Wyoming?

“That’s something I’ve been wondering a lot about,” says Cheyenne Bishop David Ricken. “The Holy Spirit is blessing us. The Church in Wyoming is over 100 years old, and maybe it’s now time for Wyoming to start to grow and to have the full complement of what it takes to make the Church whole. Catholic education and contemplative houses of prayer, those two things have been lacking. But the Spirit is saying it’s time to grow these things in your own midst.”

The monastery is the inspiration of Father Daniel Mary of Jesus Crucified, M. Carm., previously novice master in the Carmelite Hermitage of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lake Elmo, Minn. Feeling called to found a new monastery in his native Wyoming, the 39-year-old Father Daniel Mary established contact with Bishop Ricken. [....Snip] Read More at the National Catholic Register

See the Register's Carmelite Slide Show!

Declining birthrates threaten a crisis of underpopulation.: The Solution? Tax Abortions and The Pill!

What we now know is that, yes, there is a world population crisis, but it is quite the opposite to the one which the contraception-sterilisation-abortion lobby, the media and so many politicians have been talking about, often hysterically, since World War II; and in large measure it is precisely agencies such as UNFPA and IPPF who are responsible for this new and terrifying crisis, the real crisis, which threatens our world. That crisis is the threat of demographic implosion.

To achieve ‘zero growth’, that is, a static population that is neither growing nor declining, every woman should produce 2.1 children. In the Third World (e.g., Mali, where 1 child in 5 dies under 5 years) the replacement rate has to be higher.

Today, in developed countries the situation can be described as catastrophic. In Italy in 1998 the female fertility rate was a mere 1.19. The Wall Street Journal called the Italian crisis ‘apocalyptic’1. In Spain, the situation is even worse: the average is 1.18 children per woman. In the United Kingdom and France the rate is around 1.75. Not too bad? Better than Spain and Italy (not to mention Greece and Germany). Nonetheless the next generation will be 20 per cent down on the present one. Spain and Italy will be 40 per cent down2. But does ‘less worse’ mean ‘all right’?

The European Union as a whole has a 1.4 child/woman rate. Do we really think that the EU has a bright future?

Now look beyond Europe. Canada’s rate is 1.6 (Quebec’s much worse). Even the US has only 2.0 and this largely because of Hispanic immigration. And on the other side of the Pacific is Japan, ‘desperate for a baby-boom’, and China, where the law restricts each family to one child per woman - with enforced abortion and sterilisation and female infanticide resulting in a society which has some 120 boys for every 100 girls3. So much for women’s liberation. And what will this lead to - polyandry (women having several husbands), sex wars? [....snip]

One of the immediate effects of this "population implosion" is that when people entering the labor force today are ready to retire and draw on their Social Security Benefits, there will be none. Social Security is essentially a "pay as you go system." 40 years from now, there will be far fewer people entering the job market and paying into Social Security for their parents and grandparents. Social Security taxes might have to exceed the income tax rate, with no deductions.

One practical method of raising funds for the future would be to tax abortions, prescription contraceptives and condoms. Put the money in a special fund to pretend that it is the contribution of those that never had the opportunity to contribute to the social security system.

It's the end of the world as we know it!

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2007 ( L'Osservatore Romano criticized a report published by an Italian weekly in which a journalist pretended he was a penitent in order to test priestly advice in the confessional.

The Vatican's semiofficial newspaper analyzed the article published in L'Expresso, calling the latter's report an "ignoble 'scoop.'"

A reporter for L'Expresso went to confessionals in 24 churches in Turin, Milan, Rome, Naples and Palermo, to confess invented sins and to compare the priests' answers on ethical questions such as euthanasia, drugs, prostitution, embezzlement and pederasty.

L'Osservatore Romano lamented: "To offend the religious sentiment of believers, to deceive the good faith of priests, gravely injuring the inviolable character of pastoral ministry, profaning a sacrament: All this
was achieved by the 'courageous' investigation of a journalist of the well-known weekly."

The newspaper added that it is an offense for "all those who believe in the sacrament of reconciliation."

Monday, January 29, 2007

15th Annual World Day of the Sick; Sunday, Feb 4, 3:30-6:00 p.m.

15th Annual World Day of the Sick (Local observance)

Sunday, February 4, 3:30 p.m. reflection 5:00 p.m. Mass
Cathedral of St. Paul (Cana chapel), 239 Selby Ave, St. Paul
Sponsored by Curatio
Cost: FREE

The Most Rev. Harry J. Flynn will celebrate Mass in observance of the World Day of the Sick. Before Mass Fr. Joseph Johnson will be giving a reflection to health care workers in the
Cana Chapel 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. on “Growing in holiness in healthcare.” A reception will follow the Mass.
All healthcare workers are encouraged to attend as well as the sick and those who are suffering and terminally ill. Pope Benedict’s message for this year’s Day of the Sick

Curatio is an apostolate of Catholic health care professionals which seeks to integrate their faith with their professional responsibilities.

For more information, visit Curatio’s website, or contact Dianne Johnson at or (763) 786-4945.
focuses on the terminally and chronically ill.

Newly Married Retreat; St Charles Borromeo, St Anthony, Feb 3 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Newly Married Retreat

Saturday, February 3, 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
St. Charles Borromeo Church,
2420 St. Anthony Blvd., St. Anthony
Sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office for Families, Laity, Youth and Young Adults
Cost: $35 per couple (includes continental breakfast and lunch)

Couples married seven years or less are invited to attend this retreat. Topics will include prayer, finances, communication, parenting, and the purpose of marriage.

Register by Tuesday, January 30. For registration form and further details, visit the Office for Families, Laity, Youth and Young Adults website
, or contact the Office at or (651) 291-4488.

Catholicsm 101 Live lectures with Jeff Cavins; Feb 1, Hastings

Catholicsm 101 Live lectures with Jeff Cavins
Thursdays, starting February 1, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
2035 West 15th Street, Hastings
Cost: $40

Jeff Cavins will teach a 10-week series entitled Catholicism 101: The Foundation Stones of the Catholic Church. Topics include conversion, sacraments, Eucharist, papacy, the Word, prayer, Mary our Mother, Reconciliation, the Liturgical Year, and the Communion of Saints. Students will not only understand more clearly these profound treasures that Christ has given His Church, but will learn to more deeply enter into them and communicate them to others. Scholarships and childcare available

For more information, visit the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton website
or call the parish office at (651) 437-4254.

For more information about Jeff Cavins, visit his website.

Bonds of Brotherhood in the Third Millenium

Steven, one of the Future Priests of the Third Millenium at the St Paul Seminary, reflects on the relationships between these wonderful men.

There is something to be said about the bond between men who spent time at the seminary together. Because of daily grind of seminary life -- classes, group projects, parties, liturgies, retreats, etc -- there is a beautiful connection in Christ that develops between men. There is something more than merely a "human" connection, though lifelong friendships do often form between men at the seminary. But rather, when the the document from Vatican 2 that talked about the 'supernatural bond among the presbyterate,' there is a keen insight to a reality that happens, though not always with perfection, when men pursue a particular vocation together towards Jesus Christ.

The only thing that I can liken it to is the bond formed between men who served in the military together. Though very different lifestyles in terms of occupational hazards, formation practices, etc, there is something to be said about military men who pursue a common ideal, understand a common way of life, and who practice discipline and obedience. The recent HBO series, Band of Brothers, offers a keen insight into the life of military men; the personal interviews with the actual men upon whom the series is based gave new meaning for me as to necessity of kinship in military service.

Military kinship begins, oftentimes, during camp. Likewise, fraternity among priests oftentimes begins at the seminary. When men leave the seminary, the whole house feels a loss. But when we see them again, there is great joy at being reunited with those with whom we lived for a time. Hence, when I was browsing the Pontifical North American College website, I stumbled across the pictures of two men who spent time at SPS. They were asked by their bishop to study in Rome for Theology. Off they went, perhaps with excitement at having been given the opportunity to study in the heart of Catholicism, perhaps with heavy hearts having to leave the men with whom deep bonds of brotherhood were formed. I look back fondly -- as well as many other men at SPS -- on the memories I have with these men during their days of Pre-Theology. Though our paths to the priesthood have taken different courses, the bonds of fraternity still exist. We continue to wish them well in the preparation for priestly ministry and eagerly look forward to the day when we begin our days no longer as brother seminarians but as brother priests in service of the Lord and of His People. Curahee!

Team Vianney and Theotokos Thursday, Feb 1, 5:45-8:30 p.m.


Team Vianney and Theotokos Thursdays
Thursday, February 1, 5:45 - 8:30 p.m.
(first Thursday of the month)
St. John Vianney Seminary, 2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul
Sponsored by St. John Vianney Seminary
and the Archdiocesan Vocations Office

Cost: FREE

Young men and women are invited to a new Catholic leadership and vocationsmovement held every month.

It’s a great opportunity to meet with priests, seminarians, and religious.

Everyone takes part in a Marianprocession at 5:45 p.m., followed by pizza, pop, and fellowship. Then they meet in one of three groups for a hard-hitting talk about the Catholic faith:

* Team Vianney: High school and college age men (9th grade+)
* Theotokos: High school and college age women (9th grade+)
* 8th grade and younger boys (accompanied by father or mother)

The evening concludes with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass. Parents and chaperones are welcome to attend.

For more information on Team Vianney, contact Fr. John Klockeman at or (651) 962-6832.
For more information on Theotokos, contact Claire Roufs at the Vocations
Office at (651) 962-6892.

Visit the websites of St. John Vianney
and the Archdiocesan Vocations Office.

This is Catholic Schools Week; Support Them!

Cathy of Alex who blogs at Recovering Dissident Catholic, mused about Catholic Schools Week this morning. Was it mentioned yesterday at your parish? Catholic schools used to be in virtually all parishes. It is interesting that that was the case when most moms stayed at home with the kids and it was a one income family.

Today when probably most families with young children are two income families, many Catholics say they cannot afford to send their children to a Catholic school if one is nearby. Perhaps another reason that parents don't make the sacrifice to send their children to Catholic schools is that they are not sure if they are truly "Catholic." Read Cathy's post!

A few months ago, I overheard a conversation between two executives in my company. One of them is a Lutheran, I don't know what the religious convictions are of the other executive. The Lutheran was telling the other his kids were in a Catholic school in the South Metro. The other was surprised. The Lutheran said: "Oh, don't worry, its not really....THAT way"

I was so mad I left the breakroom.

What the Lutheran meant was: "Don't worry. My kids are not exposed to Catholicism at this Catholic school. Thus, its ok for me, a Lutheran, to escape the public school system by sending my kids to this "Catholic" school".

I went to Sunday Mass yesterday evening. My pastor does an excellent job of really building up our parish school. He helps raise money, he publicizes the events, he "talks" it up from the pulpit. He also does more then that. He had an excellent homily where he incorporated the value of an authentic Catholic education. Primary parenting is done at home, but sometimes parents need help which is where the school comes in.
[....Snip] Read the Rest Here

Archbishop Burke Warns US Legal Infanticide, Euthanasia are Next


Archbishop Raymond Burke, archbishop of St. Louis, MO, addressed the annual March for Life's Rose Dinner and delivered a message of both encouragement and warning for the pro-life population of the United States.

The Rose Dinner is held every year at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. in the evening after the March for Life and, according to its website, is an opportunity "to enjoy delicious food, learn about important pro-life issues, and toast to the hope for a successful pro-life year."

Burke began his address reminding his listeners that another crucial front has arisen in the battle against the culture of death. "Given the legalization of procured abortion in our nation, we should really not be surprised that now the agents of the culture of death seek a constitutional guarantee of the right to generate artificially and destroy embryonic human life. A nation that permits abortion at any stage, including the practice of partially delivering a baby into the world in order to destroy it brutally, has so deadened its conscience that it is no longer horrified at the thought of embryonic stem cell research, which has rightly been called Frankensteinien." [....Snip] LifeSiteNews

Where was coverage of March for Life in Washington?

I was in Washington, D.C., earlier this week to cover the annual March for Life as a reporter for the Catholic press. I traveled with three busloads of youths and their adult chaperones, who came from La Crosse, Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point and just about everywhere in between.

On Monday morning, we were almost overcome by the enthusiasm of the other Catholic young people, who came from all over the country and packed into every available seat in the MCI Center for Mass. The MCI Center, by the way, has a capacity of 20,000. Another 4,000 Catholic youths followed this Mass from Constitution Hall, and 700 from the Cathedral. The Diocese of Wichita, Kan., alone sent 14 busloads of high school and college students.

After Mass, we left the MCI Center and were led by police escort to the Mall area, where we were swallowed up by a massive crowd of pro-life marchers like a single drop in a bucket of water. Not being a statistician, I won’t venture to guess at the size of the march, except to say that the Associated Press’ simple “thousands” should probably have read differently.

We shivered in the Mall area in front of the capitol for two hours and then marched past the Supreme Court over the course of the next few hours in spite of our numbed hands and feet.

The kids were a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event, but they made it through the day because they were prepared.

What they weren’t prepared for was calling home to find that their parents missed the minute-long coverage the event merited on the evening news. They weren’t prepared to arrive home on Tuesday afternoon and pick up the paper to find that there was no coverage whatsoever. It was almost as if the whole thing had been an illusion — that it hadn’t really been that big a deal. [....Snip] La Crosse Tribune

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Two Sons: One for God; One for Country


They laid a fallen soldier to rest on that sun-drenched summer afternoon. They celebrated his life and mourned his death, and his best friend gave the eulogy. A six-man honor guard took the flag-draped casket out of the church, and the red, white, and blue flew at half-staff throughout Mankato. Hundreds of people lined the procession route with hands over their hearts, and they played “Taps” at the cemetery and fired guns in salute. But before all that, the brothers brought the casket into the church—the four surviving Fasnacht boys of Janesville, separated by 13 years but bonded by grief. They helped carry the coffin, bearing their brother from the silver hearse into the sanctuary.

Twenty-five-year-old Michael John Fasnacht died where too many American soldiers die these days, in Iraq, on June 8, 2005, killed by a remote-controlled bomb. He was decorated: a Ranger, a basic-training honor graduate, first in an ROTC platoon that included 44 cadets. He was a leader: a first lieutenant in charge of more than 30 men in Iraq. And he was tough. But he didn’t have a need to prove it, which somehow made him even tougher. Mike looked tough, too. His brown hair, worn in perpetual bed-head style during his days at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (JWP) High School, had been shaved off. His muscles rippled under his black Army T-shirt. In Iraq, after his death, they even named a gym after him—the Iron Mike Fitness Center. He was a recruiter’s fantasy, the epitome of a warrior.

To Matt Fasnacht, though, he was just the kid brother. Matt and Mike—five years apart—had grown up together, wrestling and arguing, laughing and partying. Years later, they shared an apartment in Mankato, while Mike studied microbiology at Minnesota State University and Matt worked as a commercial artist. Matt had watched Mike turn from runt into Ranger, from boy into man.

But their paths diverged. One Fasnacht boy joined the military, armed with a gun, pledged himself to his country. The other went to seminary, took up a chalice, pledged himself to God. You follow your calling. [....snip] Minnesota Monthly Tip O' the Hat to Susan@SMU

Father John Corapi's "Spiritual 911"

All of us have had times and experiences when we've needed help. Spiritual help, right now!

In the United States and Canada, the telephone number used to call for police, fire, or ambulance emergency services is "911." When we call "911" we need help immediately.

Well, it often happens that people, suffering many and various things, need help from God right now. I have a "Spiritual 911" for you if that's the case.

I received most of the inspiration for this from Mother Teresa of Calcutta, although she didn't relate any of it to the term "911."

If you find yourself in dire need of help from God pray the following prayers with as much trust as you can muster. This trust, or childlike confidence, is of extreme importance. In a sense the more you trust God, the more you permit
Him to help you.

NOTE: All prayer is centered on Jesus Christ. Know with absolute certainty that all that we give to Mary, she takes it to Jesus.

With great trust pray:

9 Memorares. --- "Remember, o most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help, or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, o Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To Thee do I come. Before Thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen."

1 Rosary. Pray 5 decades of the Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, or Luminous Mysteries. The choice is yours). Try to meditate well on the Mysteries, bringing them into your own life. Pray the prayers of the Our Father and Hail Mary with great love and trust. The prayer of the Rosary is the prayer of the Gospel. That is why it is so powerful. When we pray the Rosary, we are praying the Gospel.

The Gospel or "Good News" is Jesus Christ: Infinite Power!

1 Chaplet of Divine Mercy. This is an age especially in need of God's mercy. Jesus gave this prayerful devotion,dedicated to His Infinite mercy, to Saint Faustina. Once again, pray with trust, even if it hurts. Just do it!
It is not a feeling. It is a decision. An act of the will. The prayers "Eternal Father, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity, of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world;" and "For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world," are filled with power.

The ending prayer "Holy God, holy mighty One, holy immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world" call down God's grace and mercy on us and all of our brothers and sisters. So, you have a direct line to God.

Call to heaven with the Spiritual "911" when you need to send a distress call for heavenly help. It will take less than an hour in most cases. If you don't have that much time, make the solemn intention to do it as soon as possible. God loves you and will help you. He may not remove the problem, but he'll always give you the strength and means to triumph over it.

May God bless you and keep you safe in his merciful love!

Father John Corapi, SOLT

Bill to Ban ND Abortions Hinges on Overturn of Roe v. Wade Passes in State House

The North Dakota House voted Friday to ban almost all abortions in the state in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

At the same time, House members overwhelmingly defeated a bill to ban all abortions now, which would place North Dakota at the center of a national court fight over the issue.

The first measure, dubbed a "trigger ban" because it would only take effect if triggered by the court's actions, would make it a crime to provide or aid in all abortions, except those to save the life of a mother. House members passed the bill 61-26, with little debate.

In doing so, they went a step farther than in previous sessions, where abortion bans have been proposed but soundly defeated. [....snip] Bismarck Tribune

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Reggie, the Pope's Latinist, Announces the Death of the Language

I'm not a huge fan of going to the Mass when it is said in Latin. But when it is accompanied by members of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and sung by members at the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale, that certainly piques my interest and you can count on me being in attendance at St Agnes in St Paul a few times a year; or more. I was there a couple of weeks ago on the celebration of their patronal Feast Day of the virgin and martyr, St Agnes, where the music was the Mass of St Cecilia by Gonoud. It was a wonderful musical and spiritual experience. All Souls' Day is also a special occasion when Mozart's Requiem is the music.

I am blessed in that I did study the language for two years in high school, was an altar boy for three or four years and am the proud possessor of a paperback copy of a Latin-English Dictionary for which I shelled out five bucks maybe fifteen years ago (to use in translating church genealogical records, if you must know). So I can understand what is going on far more than most who have not been exposed to the "dead language."

But I'm beginning to change my mind on the importance of the Latin language to the Church and to its members.

Since I have begun to blog on church matters last March, I have become somewhat aware of the difficulty that it has been getting a decent translation of the Mass into English. Our planet is blessed/cursed with thousands of languages. The Church, probably through inaction, has retained Latin as its official language. Probably the only other "official" use of Latin is a TV news program in Finland, believe it or not.

But because of the lack of competent translators, getting excellent translations of Church documents (like the Bible, the Mass, Encyclicals, etc.) into the various vernacular languages is a very lengthy process. The excellent Jerusalem Bible, which I use, was a translation from the French as no good English translation was available in 1966. Subsequently, adequate translations have been prepared from the Latin, but none seem to be universally popular. The U.S. Church subscribes to the New American Bible translation. This is the NAB expression used when translating the angel's greeting to the Blessed Virgin:
"Hail, favored one."

I'm sorry, but you will never get me to drop,
"Hail, full of grace!" Accuracy is extremely important when translating the Bible. And so is beauty.

It is absolutely critical that the Church have an official language for its documents. And rather than suffering with inadequate and miserable translations, maybe it would be easier to teach the Catholics a bit about Latin.

A second reason why the Church should use Latin in its liturgies is to minimize the abuses that have come about because of the use of the vernacular languages since the second Vatican Council. We all know what I'm talking about, so I won't bother to provide examples.

I used to believe that it wouldn't make any difference if the Church reverted to the use of Latin for the Mass because the celebrants would continue to abuse the prescribed language. I no longer think that.

In my opinion, the reason why priests modify the words of the Mass when saying it in English is that they want to impress their congregation with how progressive and cool and maybe rebellious they are. It's got nothing to do with theology or diversity. And extremely high percentage of our priests are "performers", not celebrants.

If the Mass were said in Latin, there wouldn't be much of an advantage for a priest to deliberately change the wording to impress the congregation because very few of the congregation would truly understand the Latin anyway. A strong instructional program and good Latin - English missals in the pews replacing the ones that we have now would provide excellent translations for the use of the congregation.

And if a few decided to say the Rosary instead of following along in their Missal, well, that's between them and God.

Unfortunately, as with many things, I'm a day late and a dollar short. The Pope's official Latinist, acknowledged most knowledgeable about our "dead language" has declared that it's last breath will be taken soon. [Sigh!]

Here's what Reggie had to say about Latin.

For years it was derided by unwilling schoolboys for being "as dead as dead could be". Now, despite the Vatican's best efforts, the Pope's top adviser on Latin has reluctantly joined them by saying the language of St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas is almost extinct.

"It is dying in the Church. I'm not optimistic about Latin. The young priests and bishops are not studying it," said Fr Reginald Foster, 68, a Carmelite friar who was appointed the Papal Latinist 38 years ago by Pope Paul VI.

He said priests were no longer compelled to study Latin at seminaries, and now found it impossible to read vital theological tracts.

"You cannot understand St Augustine in English. He thought in Latin. It is like listening to Mozart through a jukebox," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "We still speak Latin in the elevators and around the house in my monastery at San Pancrazio, just like 45 years ago. But nowadays the students don't get it, and I don't blame them – it's not their fault."

Yet even though Fr Foster, who has translated speeches and letters for four popes, says he can see no future for the language, he has just launched a new Latin Academy in Rome, near the Pantheon, in his final effort to prevent it from dying out. He hopes to attract 130 students a year, though he will not say how the new school is being funded.

Originally from Milwaukee, Fr Foster is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Latin scholars and until recently taught a hugely popular course at Rome's Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

He spends his mornings at the Vatican, in an office just along the corridor from Pope Benedict. Outside his door, he has reprogrammed a Vatican cash machine to display instructions in Latin: "Inserito scidulam quaeso ut faciundum cognoscas rationem" - which, translated loosely, means: "Insert your card so that the account may be recognised."

He said: "I'm not the boss, but I'm the oldest. I translated Deus Caritas Est, the last encyclical. We do bishops' appointments, which are still written on papyrus in Latin, and letters of congratulations from the Pope."

Although Pope Benedict grew up with Latin, and is fluent in the language, Fr Foster said he did not "have time" to compose and translate the hundreds of documents that the Vatican issues. Paul VI insisted on greater use of Latin within the Vatican, but Fr Foster said more junior members of the Catholic hierarchy were less enthusiastic now.

"I'm worried that if one Cardinal makes one or two decisions it could all go," he said. "Already, we are sending congratulation letters to some Cardinals and they say can we please provide a translation. They want to read them out in the church and so on. Of course, I won't provide translations. We might as well be writing in Mandarin."

He said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong – not least because of the Pope's desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

"He is not going to do it," Fr Foster said. "He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose." In any case, he added: "It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval."

He condemned the loss of Latin teaching in schools across most of Europe, and said that as a result students were missing out on important elements of history. "Like classical music, Latin will always be there. If we cannot understand it, it is we who are losing out."

Italy is, however, different: all schoolchildren, except those who attend technical colleges, must be taught Latin for at least four hours a week until they are 18. But Fr Foster said the techniques used to teach Latin were outdated. "You need to present the language as a living thing," he said. "You do not need to be mentally excellent to know Latin. Prostitutes, beggars and pimps in Rome spoke Latin, so there must be some hope for us."

Last year Fr Foster was fired from the Gregorian University for allowing too many students to study without charging them.

"I was not going to play the policeman," he said. "I was happy to teach anyone who wanted to learn. Many of my students studied for three, four, five years -without -paying a single cent."

He argued that the only solution to the decline of Latin was for the Pope to lead by example. "Instead of a siesta, he should announce that from 2pm to 4pm every day he will read Latin at the Vatican."

He added with a twinkle: "People who come will get assignments. You will be picked on to answer questions, and if you mess up, the Pope will make you disappear. He can do that, you know." Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Iconography, A Divine Discipline

Russian master Vladislav Andrejev brought his knowledge of the ancient, intricate, highly coded art of the sacred icon to Minnesota.

Talking technique

For six days last week, 13 artists bent intently over their work in a hushed classroom at St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral in northeast Minneapolis. By week's end, each had fashioned a work of remarkable beauty. Yet not one was a work of artistic self-expression.

That's because they were painting icons, an extremely disciplined and symbol-infused form of religious art that abides by ancient and rigorous rules. Icons, highly stylized yet deeply mystical images born in the cradle days of Christianity and associated most strongly with its Orthodox tradition, are created -- or "written," as icon artists say -- for only one purpose, to make visible and to glorify the divine.

Each student in last week's master class, taught by Vladislav Andrejev, a Russian native who founded the Prosopon School of iconography, was working from a sketch of the Christ child fashioned by Andrejev and based on traditional images. In the way of all icons, the figure was imbued with symbols. Every curve, every color meant something.

The icons show Jesus at age 12, when "he became aware of his divine consciousness," Andrejev said with the help of a translator. The image's title -- "Christ Child, Emanuel" ("God with us") -- also expresses the religious reverence that icon painters bring to their work.

"From an early age, I was searching for the one true faith," said Andrejev, 68, who grew up in Soviet-era St. Petersburg, when iconography, like most religious expression, was suppressed. The artist, a slight, quiet man with a long, gray beard and kind eyes, practiced in secret. He went on to found the Prosopon School, part of the Byzantine-Russian tradition of iconography. He emigrated to New York in 1980 and teaches master classes nationwide.

This is not his first trip to Minnesota; two years ago, he painted the dome of the new St. Michael Catholic Church in exurban St. Michael. [....snip] StarTribune

Friday, January 26, 2007

Archbishop Burke Warns US Legal Infanticide, Euthanasia are Next

Archbishop Raymond Burke, archbishop of St. Louis, MO, (formerly Bishop of La Crosse, WI) addressed the annual March for Life’s Rose Dinner and delivered a message of both encouragement and warning for the pro-life population of the United States.

The Rose Dinner is held every year at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. in the evening after the March for Life and, according to its website, is an opportunity “to enjoy delicious food, learn about important pro-life issues, and toast to the hope for a successful pro-life year.”

Burke began his address reminding his listeners that another crucial front has arisen in the battle against the culture of death. “Given the legalization of procured abortion in our nation, we should really not be surprised that now the agents of the culture of death seek a constitutional guarantee of the right to generate artificially and destroy embryonic human life. A nation that permits abortion at any stage, including the practice of partially delivering a baby into the world in order to destroy it brutally, has so deadened its conscience that it is no longer horrified at the thought of embryonic stem cell research, which has rightly been called Frankensteinien.”

Referring to his home state of Missouri’s passage of Amendment 2 at the end of last year, Burke described the amendment as a constitutional amendment which “guarantees the right to clone human life and to destroy the embryonic human life created in order to harvest stem cells.” The archbishop attributed the passage of the amendment despite Missouri’s identity as a pro-life state to the citizens succumbing “to the diabolically clever lies propagated by the financially and socially powerful proponents of the proposed Amendment 2.” [....Snip]

Bishop Swain Visits Catholic Schools

South Dakota's newest bishop is reaching out to the youngest members of the Sioux Falls diocese. Bishop Paul Swain is going to school celebrating Catholicism.

Bishop Swain started his day at St. Michael, St. Katherine Drexel School, and to keep with tradition he opened up the floor for questions and comments. He answered everything from "Are you a comedian?" to "What's that red thing on your head," and "How old are you?" “Last week one said 90, yesterday one said 100. 70 was good today haha,” says Bishop Swain.

But the Bishop says the visits go beyond questions and answers.

“Part of it is I hope they feel a sense of Catholic identity. The church is bigger than just their area and that it’s a loving a caring environment for them to grow in.”

After mass, Bishop Swain toured the school and visited each classroom. Students asked, "What college did you go to?" Each time he entered a room, eyes widened and hands flew up.

Bishop Swain says, “Part of it is for me to see the schools and to see the work that's being done. Part of it is so the kids can see the Bishop and have some sort of sense that he's a person who cares about them.”

Along with answering questions in each class he prayed with the children. Next week is Catholic Schools week and Bishop Swain will lead the All-City mass on Friday. KELOLand TV

EWTN television host to address Archdiocesan ‘new feminism’ conference at UST on February 10


A former White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush will present the keynote address on “The New Feminism” at a daylong conference for women Feb. 10 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

“The new feminism acknowledges and celebrates the differences between men and women rather than denying them,” said Colleen Carroll Campbell, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and host of the EWTN show “Faith & Culture.”

She is also the author of “The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy.”

The new feminism, she said, “is a powerful message articulated most prominently and compellingly in our day by the late Pope John Paul II.”
During the conference, Molly Druffner, a member of St. Michael in Stillwater, will perform “Julian of Norwich,” a one-woman show that tells the story of this 13th-century English mystic who survived war and the bubonic plague.

The day will begin with an 8:30 a.m. Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel, followed by a continental breakfast at 9:15 a.m.

In addtion to Campbell and Druffner, the conference will also feature Father Joseph Johnson, rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul, who will give a presentation on Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (“God is Love”).

Eight breakout sessions will target women of different audiences based on age and stage of life, said Megan Noll, a conference organizer.

There will also be an afternoon panel on “Women and Prayer.” The conference ends at 2:30 p.m. with a closing prayer.

The event is sponsored by the archdiocesan office for Family, Laity, Youth and Young Adults. The Catholic Spirit

Local Blogger's Letter Prompts Editorial Reply

Local blogger, "Cathy of Alex", who vigorously makes her points regularly at The Recovering Dissident Catholic, also sends them to the subjects of her scorn at times. Using her real name, Janice LaDuke questioned why the Spirit would profile a pro-choice Catholic legislator who voted against the Church's "non-negotiable" life issues, HERE.

Joe Towalski, the Spirit's editor, replied unconvincingly in an editorial defending himself.

The casual reader, which most newspapers could be described as, might think that the legislator's pro-choice positions were acceptable, as written up in the original article last week. Here is Janice's original post. (Articles from previous issues of the Spirit cannot be accessed with a computer).

More Reporting from the Pro-Life March at the State Capitol

The Archdiocesan paper, The Catholic Spirit, covered this 34th annual event commemorating the horrors of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. They also published a few photos of the event.

Mary, who regaled us all last year under her nom de plume, The Roamin' Roman, is now an official STU graduate and gainfully employed in a local parish. She made her first appearance at this event and reported on it Here, with photos, of course.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Adult stem cells can at least make blood


They were hailed as an “ethical” alternative to embryonic stem cells – adult stem cells that can turn into any of the body’s tissues. Doubts have grown, but now a prominent sceptic has shown that one claim seems true: they can form all of the cell types found in blood.

Catherine Verfaillie and colleagues at the University of Minnesota, US, described the "multipotent" adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) in 2002. Isolated from mammalian bone marrow, they belonged to a class called mesenchymal stem cells, which normally form muscle and bone. However, MAPCs seemed much more versatile, able to form any of the body’s tissues (see Is this the one?).

Other teams have since struggled to repeat the results (see Stem cells' miracle postponed). But now Verfaillie has teamed up with Irving Weissman of Stanford University in California, US, to transplant MAPCs into mice that had been irradiated, wiping out their haematopoetic stem cells (HSCs) – another class of marrow cells that give rise to blood. “From the beginning I was very, very sceptical that MAPCs could contribute to blood formation,” says Weissman.

Jury out

Now he has changed his tune: the transplanted MAPCs were able to form all blood cell types. “Mouse MAPCs can make normal blood, and we need to understand how they do it,” Weissman says.

MAPCs were much less efficient than HSCs in engrafting into the marrow and giving rise to blood, however. “This needs to be resolved before we would use [human MAPCs] to engraft in humans,” says Verfaillie, who is now at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

And the jury is still out over other claims made for MAPCs. Although the latest experiment was designed specifically to investigate blood formation, Weissman notes that the doses of radiation used caused damage throughout the animals’ bodies. This would have triggered repair mechanisms, giving MAPCs an opportunity to form a range of tissues. “I was disappointed to see that only blood cells were derived,” Weissman admits.

Journal reference: Journal of Experimental Medicine (vol 204, p 129) New Scientist

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What We Know About Embryonic Stem Cells

These are the last two paragraphs of a long and interesting article from First Things, The Journal of Religion, Culture and Public Life. You should read it all!

[....Snip] The hubris of scientists in the field of embryonic stem cell research who confidently asserted “Give us a few years of unrestricted funding and we will solve these serious scientific problems and deliver miraculous stem cell cures” was evident in 2002, and it is even more evident today. For the past five years, researchers have had completely unrestricted funding to conduct research on animal embryonic stem cells, and yet the serious scientific problems remain. They have had every conceivable tool of modern molecular research available to them for use in animal models, and yet the serious scientific problems remain. Millions of dollars have been consumed, and hundreds of scientific papers published, and yet the problems still remain. The promised miraculous cures have not materialized even for mice, much less for men.

In June 2004, Ron McKay at the National Institutes of Health acknowledged in a Washington Post interview that scientists have not been quick to correct exaggerated claims of the medical potential of embryonic stem cells, yet McKay justified this dishonesty by stating: “To start with, people need a fairy tale. Maybe that’s unfair, but they need a story line that’s relatively simple to understand.” Isn’t it time Americans recognize the promise of obtaining medical miracles from embryonic stem cells for the fairy tale it really is?

Nun's the Word

Italy's surge in women religious hints at a wider renewal. Cardinal praises the "vitality and dynamism" and "profound faith and fervor" of Italian convents.

(CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Vocations to female contemplative orders in Italy are booming, according to the Italian bishops’ conference.

In 2005, 300 women took their solemn profession of vows, bringing the number of contemplatives in the country to 6,672.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, welcomed the increase at a prayer vigil in St. John Lateran Basilica last October, noting that it is part of a wider trend.

“The number of contemplative religious sisters is growing throughout the world, but — and this is more significant — this is also happening in Europe and in our own Italy, which often seems so hardest hit secularization,” he said.

Others, such as Church statistical expert Brother Giovanni Dalpiaz, a Camadolese monk from Bardolino near Venice, Italy, caution that the trend is only a start.

“It is not good to deceive ourselves that all of the problems have now passed and a new spring has arrived,” he said, pointing out that there have been only incremental increases from 2001 to 2004.

But Brother Giovanni added that the recent increase “is good because it encourages hope that the Lord is still capable of bringing about strong and generous answers to his call.”

Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, told the Register Jan. 13 that Italy is the exception with regards to women religious.

In other parts of Europe, vocation numbers have dropped sharply. Meanwhile, vocations to apostolic institutions are also falling.

Still, the attraction to contemplative life is real. Cardinal Rodé believes it offers what is lacking in much of modern, secular society. In a general sense, he said, it “shows what young generations are looking for today: a space for silence, where they can enter into this silence, recollect, and therefore find — themselves, and find God.”

Like Brother Giovanni, Cardinal Rodé believes that the “vitality and dynamism” of convents in Italy is what is attracting vocations.

If a convent has an atmosphere of “profound faith and fervor,” Cardinal Rodé said, “vocations are born and grow spontaneously.”

Today’s young religious sisters give a variety of reasons for joining a contemplative order.

“On a cold Sunday in Advent, in the silence of a church, I heard this unmistakable call inside me: ‘Do you want to be only mine?’” remembered Sister Maria, 27, from the Benedictine convent of the Perpetual Adoration in Verbania, northwest Italy. “Yes, Jesus, I want it. I only want to follow you!” she replied. [....Snip] National Catholic Register

Six Habits of Highly Effective Catholic Dioceses

Why are some dioceses better at attracting vocations than others? In the National Catholic Register's Tim Drake’s recent story “Vocations Surge,” the Register provided some answers to that question.

Based on what we learned, here are six questions successful dioceses all answer “Yes.”

1. Is the Eucharist the center of vocation efforts?

2. Is the diocese unabashed about personally inviting men to be priests?

3. Is the seminary faithful to the magisterium of the Church?

4. Are there many strong and faithful families to draw from?

5. Do young men know and interact with priests?

6. Did young people in the area go to World Youth Day?

To read the entire NCRegister Article, Go Here

Six Habits of Highly Effective Catholic Dioceses

Why are some dioceses better at attracting vocations than others? In the National Catholic Register's Tim Drake’s recent story “Vocations Surge,” the Register provided some answers to that question.

Based on what we learned, here are six questions successful dioceses all answer “Yes.”

1. Is the Eucharist the center of vocation efforts?

2. Is the diocese unabashed about personally inviting men to be priests?

3. Is the seminary faithful to the magisterium of the Church?

4. Are there many strong and faithful families to draw from?

5. Do young men know and interact with priests?

6. Did young people in the area go to World Youth Day?

To read the entire NCRegister Article, Go Here

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

UTube? What's YouTube? Well, they know over at the St John Vianney Seminary!

Stephen, one of the St Paul Seminary's Future Priests of the Third Millenium, recently discovered that the kids over at the SJV College Seminary have been fooling around with YouTube, whatever that is.

So I was browsing around YouTube recently, curious to see what sorts of 'Catholic' clips I could find there. Lo and behold, I found something posted last semester from our minor seminary, St. John Vianney. I was quite surprised to find this, and curious to see what they would put on it. It is an impressive video, especially seeing that it was 'home-grown' ... I think that one of SJV's own men put the 10 minute video together. I know the men there well; they are indeed my younger brothers. Even though I'm at the major seminary in graduate level studies, I try hard to get to know the men at the minor seminary. Some of them are my dearest brothers in Christ. The are a great example of young men who are trying to pursue the Lord in their lives .... and they are quite joyful about it. It is a beautiful witness of manly men pursuing a call to follow Christ with every ounce of their being. They are a constant inspiration to me.

St Paul Seminarians Discover Wikipedia

Mike, one of the Future Priests of the Third Millenium at the St Paul Seminary, had a bit of time on his hands during the school's J-Term. Don't ask me what a "J-Term" is, I'm a geezer, remember?

Unlike other seminarians, who play card games (confession from a previous post), I found myself with a lot of time on my hands suddenly when my J-Term class ended and spring semester had not yet begun. So instead of playing many games of Solitaire on my computer, which I guess I still did, I began creating a wikipedia article for St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. With a few other seminarians contributing to its content, helpful books that reside on our receptionist desk, and anecdotal stories from ages past the page now has some content (and thankfully has been removed from the stub listing among wikipedia). The page can be found under Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity on wikipedia. Since I had so much fun with that, and at the suggestion of David, a small blurp was created on our rector as well. (If he begins reading this, I strongly urge him send me more content so I can beef up his page. Any inaccuracies are directly attributed to the biography which you provided the seminary at the time of your application however) Anyways, I have spent way too much time on this to continue typing anymore here...though I would appreciate it if people could try and get some pictures to me with instructions as to how to post them on wikipedia, or for that matter do it yourself.

What Science Fiction Writer Am I

When but a youth, I used to read Science Fiction all the time. Hard science fiction, not the fantasy stuff.

Erin at bearing blog found a questionnaire with great questions to determine "What Science Fiction Writer Are You?"

I am:
Isaac Asimov
One of the most prolific writers in history, on any imaginable subject. Cared little for art but created lasting and memorable tales.

Which science fiction writer are you?

And "Ike" Asimov probably was my favorite Sci-Fi writer of all time!
And he was afraid to fly!

Single-Sex Schools, the Education Gap and - Catholic News?

Sister Edith, who blogs at Monastic Musings and teaches Sociology at St Scholastica in Duluth, has posted an extremely interesting item on the education of boys and girls and same-sex versus separate classes.

An article on gender differences in education in Zenit, the Catholic News Service? Last Wednesday, there it was, nestled among more predictable titles like Croatian Leader Visits Benedict XVI and Charity Unites Christians, Pope Says.

Written by Fr. John Flynn, frequent news analyst for Zenit, the report begins with a quote the British newspaper The Telegraph:

Boys should be taught separately to stop them falling further behind girls as part of an extensive overhaul of the education system, a powerful Government-backed review says today. ... Teachers should be encouraged to tailor classes to fit the needs of boys, with more emphasis on "competitive" lessons and the reading of non-fiction books, according to the review, chaired by Christine Gilbert, the head of Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education), the schools watchdog.
I was surprised, but encouraged, to see an article with the first emphasis on the achievement deficits of boys compared to girls, recognized as a serious problem in Britain but not yet in the U.S. Fr. Flynn's article acccurately reported both sides of the gender gap, male and female:
A study published by the Program for International Student Assessment in 2000 showed that girls performed significantly better than boys on the reading test in all but one country. Mathematics also showed a gender gap -- in favor of boys -- although this was much smaller.
Much of the middle of Father Flynn's article focused on the impact of single-sex schools on girls' achievement - a surprising turn after his opening paragraphs. His examples, though, were interesting: girls who attend single-sex schools, according to studies, follow a wider variety of academic interests and careers; those in mixed-sex schools follow stereotypically female career paths, with reduced average earnings. The head of one school said that single-sex education was important if girls were to develop their full potential.
Sociologists, psychologists, and educators speculate about the reasons for the large and growing achievement gap between boys and girls. While subtle differences in brain and cognitive development may have some impact, they cannot be the primary factor: this gap has opened up, from a prior male-dominance, in just a few decades.

Christina Hoff Sommers, in The War Against Boys, blames a particular style of political correctness and feminism that turns schools into institutions hostile to the way boys naturally think and act. Others suggest that girls, aware of high divorce rates and the rising cost of living, take education seriously as a way to higher wages, while boys, especially in the working class, hope to earn good wages in skilled labor jobs as previous generations did - unaware that many of these jobs have been automated or globalized. Other explanations focus on boys' attraction to distractors - video games, online relationships, pornography - to the detriment of their school work. None of these theoretical positions would predict that single-sex education would benefit both boys and girls, although Sommers would not be surprised.

Fr Flynn closes with a quote from Lorraine Garnett Ward's editorial The Wonders of a Single-Sex Education. She is uniquely qualified to write, after teaching young women at Wellesley for 20 years and then teen boys at the Fenn School in Concord. Ward said:
If boys are falling behind girls in school, as some argue, we should not ask whether, in our admirable quest to level the playing field for girls, we have shortchanged boys. The right question to ask is, what must we do to ensure that both boys and girls grow to their full moral and intellectual potential?

Exactly! For decades, it has only been acceptable to recognize and act on girls' lower performance in math and science - especially as these areas open the door to higher salaries. We have not been willing to address boys' problems in academic achievement and finishing high school. The reduced proportion of men on college campuses is viewed as a problem in students' social lives, or of college income (we need those students to make our budget!) but not as a nationwide educational problem. Building on-campus drinking establishments, offering football teams, and improving internet access for gaming may lure more young men to campus, but it will not engage them in the academic endeavor - at least, not with the depth and enthusiasm that Ward describes at Fenn. [...Snip] Read the balance at Monastic Musings.

Pro-Life Demonstration at the MN State Capitol: Can't We Just All Get Along?

I've never been too much of a demonstrator. But I've attended a few big demonstrations in my time. Some were anti-Vietnam War events. I've been present at Fair Play For Cuba demonstrations (how's that for dating myself), anti-Russian demonstrations where an international incident was caused when the Russian hammer and sickle flag was stolen and never returned and early Black Power semi-violent break-ins. I never was present at a Pro-Life demonstration until four or five years ago and mostly since then I have only been to the Good Friday events at the Highland Park (in St Paul) abortion facility and most recently by myself occasionally at that same Planned Parenthood site.

Yesterday, I decided to head over to the State Capitol in St Paul to participate with the big Roe v. Wade Anniversary event. Minnesota doesn't drag out big crowds for mid January events even for us natives (unless ice fishing is involved). But there seemed to be a nice crowd from all over the state (mostly from outside the Metro Area, which I guess is not surprising), all very well organized by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).

But I left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Right before the event presentations formally started, one of the MCCL types made an announcement that some unauthorized brochures were being distributed at the event that they could not vouch for and so warned us to be careful of them. She then described what the MCCL schedule brochure looked like (gold paper with a contribution envelope stapled to it).

The only other brochure that I saw being distributed was one by Pro-Life Action Ministries. They are another of the many active pro-life non-profits working in the State of Minnesota. They were promoting a Rosary March to the nearby Regions Hospital (what a crummy name, by the way) which would last for an hour after the MCCL event.

I thought to my self, "Self, MCCL couldn't be warning us about PLAM, could they?"

And then at the close of the MCCL sponsored event, the person at the microphone merely said, "Thank you for coming" and made no mention of the Rosary March.

That sickened me.

Is the MCCL so worried about their credibility and their contributions that they refuse to acknowledge the existence of another pro-life organization intent on having people praying for an end to abortion?

Since I am relatively new at this kind of demonstrating, it may be that Pro-Life Action Ministries treats the MCCL the same way at their events.

How sad, on this, the 34th Anniversary of the abysmal Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court Decision. Can't we all get along, just for one day?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., PhD., to speak on "Islam and Christianity" at Mary, Queen of Peace in Rogers on Sunday Evening, January 28

Father Mitch Pacwa, host of many shows on EWTN-TV, in addition to speaking at St Helena's in Minneapolis on Saturday morning, January 27, will also be speaking at the Church of Mary, Queen of Peace in Rogers, MN, on Sunday Evening, January 28 on the subjects of "Islam and Christianity."

6:00 p.m. Mass; 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Presentation

St Martin Campus, Mary Queen of Peace, 21304 Church Avenue, Rogers, MN

Free Will Offering Appreciated. Refreshments and an opportunity to purchase items from Father Pacwa following the presentation.

Fourth Annual Corpus Christi Catechism Fund, Tuesday. February 6

5:15 - 8:45 p.m., Basilica of St Mary, Minneapolis

Keynote Speaker: Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, Rector and Vic President of the St Paul Seminary School of Divinity


5:15 p.m. Mass with Bishop Richard Pates
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:15 p.m. Program with Msgr Callaghan and members of the Corpus Christi Catechism Fund
8:45 p.m. Closing prayer and blessing

R.S.V.P. by February 5 by calling 651-578-7502 or email at

The Corpus Christi Catechism Fund distributes approximately 8,000 catechisms each year to young people being confirmed in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis